Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter In Pictures..

There were 150 pictures of these precious gifts that God has blessed me with (my daughters) celebrating the birth of our Savior.  150..If only I could hold on to these moments just a bit longer, I might not need so many photos.
Here are a few of my favorites..

 Big Sissy loves her some peanut butter candy.
Momma knows and gave her a good bunch for fun.
 Jillian wasn't afraid at the Easter egg hunt though she cares nothing for candy.

 We loved, loved, loved coloring eggs again this year!
Shaking colored liquid is just so much fun!

 Blessed beyond measure to raise these two beauties up in the Lord!
We had a beautiful resurrection day!

This Glorious Hope

Two years ago on Easter Sunday, our sweet Chinese treasure was birthed into my arms.  A glorious picture of redemption and new life lived out before us.  This year as I sat holding our treasure's four year old frame in my lap during worship, it was beautiful to think of all that our hope means.  The last two days I have been quiet because the darkness of the crucifixion is horrible and painful for my heart.  I have cried tears over the ignorance of the men who killed our Savior and the unspeakable pain that He endured on my behalf.  Hard, but yet that darkness was allowed by God and necessary so that this light, the hope that we have in a risen Savior, could shine all the more brightly.  I love a God who laid down His own life for me, for the least of the least, for the hopeless, the poor, the drug addict, the broken.. Christ died for us all so that we might have life.  This life that I have because of Him is so full of light and some of the reason that I am so thankful for it is because before Him my life was so dark.  Without Jesus, life was dark and without hope.  This glorious hope that I now have in Him is something that I cherish.  This light that shines in my life when the world around me is in utter darkness  is something I rely on.  This hope fills me with JOY, allows me to love deeper than I could have ever imagined, and blesses me as I walk through this life.  On this Easter Sunday, I rejoice that I worship a risen Savior.  There is no greater hope than the hope found in my King.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Another sweet reminder that God has got our back..

 because you see, after almost two years home,
there are still things that Jillian has never let her Daddy do.
She LOVES him.
He is the fun and games man to her.
She loves his play, his rough housing, and much more
she has never let Daddy hold her like this.
She has never let Daddy soothe her much
never has she crawled up on Daddy to go to sleep.
In the last few weeks, she has..
come out of a deep sleep, looked over at me, and signed for her daddy.
(for real)
She has insisted that he be the one to carry her up to bed each night.
(never has she ever let him do this only me)
Last night, she signed "Daddy rock-a-bye baby".
(because she wanted Daddy to rock her to sleep-never)
Then she looked at me and signed "light off".
(you turn the light off momma-daddy's got this)
Daddy is of course loving this and eating it up!
Momma is breathing a sigh of relief knowing that God again is stretching this baby girl's heart so that sharing her momma with her Mei Mei will not be quite so hard for her.  Truly, this is so the hand of God at work in her and I am a little less worried about leaving this sweet treasure for 17 days.

Friday, March 22, 2013


The golden ticket has arrived today!!
We have our official travel approval!
Looks like we will be leaving for China around April 10.
I was hoping it could be sooner!
Keeping my fingers crossed that the next two and a half weeks fly by!

More Pictures of Our Baby Girl

These arrived in our inbox today!  
 A few new pictures of our sweet treasure.
 There are several pictures of this woman holding her.
Anna Mei is upset in most of them.
I am grateful to her for caring for my baby girl until I can get to her.
 This is the last picture we were sent.
You can't see her face, but you can see that she is eating!
(while lying down)
I can see that being up out of the crib and held was too much for her.
Food seems to be a big comfort to her.
I may need a lot of cheerios.
I think there are many trips to Walmart for snacks in the future for my travel partners Toni and Anna.  Sorry guys! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Children's Museum

My sweet girl got a ten dollar bill from her great grandma for her birthday and so today we decided to use it to visit the new museum in the city near our own.  I had been before with a group of kids that I get to hang out with on Thursday so I was familiar with what to expect for our treasure and I thought she might enjoy it.

Heading out at about 9:30 with lunches packed, we set off for our destination.
 There is a water play area.
Water is my girl's number one LOVE!
This was the first place she headed and by far we spent the most time here.
 She explored every nook and cranny of the water tables.
She willingly put on the smock, touched all the pipes, played near the balls, pushed the boats..
I could go on and on and on because she really liked this area.
Kids came and went around her, but she didn't let it bother her.
There was even a very loud hand dryer that stopped her dead
 in her tracks the first time it came on, but did little to effect her after that.
 I convinced her to move over to the block area.
There was a class there playing too.
They were preschool age and there were about fifteen of them.
They were loud, busy, and surrounded her, but she wasn't at all deterred.
 She built and stacked.
She played and explored despite all the chaos around her.
It was very hard to get her attention though.
Her senses were heightened as she was trying to keep up with all the commotion around her.
When the class was leaving and began picking up around her, she followed their lead and started putting the blocks away too.  She stood patiently in line with her giant block in hand waiting to get to the cabinet.
 She sat and played at the dinosaur table a bit.
 She even hung out in the small gross motor area they have.
Balls were present and she was aware they were there, but managed to coexist nicely.
(We have come a long way baby!!)
 She enjoyed the gear wall too.
She made me sing the round and round song while she worked those gears good.
She put several small ones together, but the big ones were her favorite.
We ended our day building race cars and running them down a ramp.
She loved the ramp.
Those cars fly!
There was even a giant sandbox in this room which you were not allowed to get in.
Jillian didn't think that was so much fun because she kept signing "in momma"!
What is a sandbox if you can't get in anyway?

Walking in to the museum this morning, I was thinking about how she was doing just that.
She used to ask to be carried any time we went somewhere new.
She interacted with every display that was at her developmental level.
She wasn't completely comfortable with the crowd.
She didn't smile too much and was really quiet, but she made it through.
(and so did momma)

I have to admit that I was wrestling with grief on the way home.
As the momma of a child with special needs, there are many times that I wrestle with the reality that she just can't always enjoy things the way "typical" kiddos can.  I mourn her inability to be carefree at times.  I miss the chance to see her laughing and playing, talking and interacting as freely as other kids her age.
It is in these times that God whispers tenderly to my heart and reminds me that He made her just the way she is and that His plan for her does not always match the dream that I may have.  He reminds me that I can mourn, but what I need to do most is lay my grief at the foot of the cross so that I can keep meeting this sweet treasure right where she is at-walking patiently beside her so that one day she can become all that God intends for her to be.  I praise Him today that He loves us so much and that He has given me the chance to parent this very special creation of His making who is fearfully and wonderfully made by Him..just the way she is.  I pray that I can continue to lean on Him as I work to be the best I can be for her through Him.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Last Step

Today our Article 5 was picked up and is being delivered to Beijing.  We have now entered the last step for our Anna Mei's adoption.  We are waiting on China to grant our travel approval.  It is like the golden ticket inviting you to come and claim your daughter.  I am praying that the golden ticket arrives quickly and we are able to get to our Anna ASAP.  Momma's are so impatient when they are separated from their babies..aren't they?  As soon as that travel approval comes, we will have about 10 days to wait until we travel.  It could be any day now.  Hold on baby girl..Momma's coming.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Jillian!

We had an amazing party for our girl!
 We lit the candles!
 Sang her Happy Birthday!
 She played with her gifts!
(She LOVED this stroller for her baby!)
 She enjoyed this singing ball.
 She even put together her new Mrs. Potato Head with ease!
We all had a fantastic time celebrating our girl!

And by the end, she was pretty tuckered out!

Breakfast Birthday

 Jillian woke up to streamers, pinwheels, and tops 
in the dining room for her birthday!
It made her very happy.
She spent the first two hours she was awake in her chair 
taking it all in and playing with her pinwheels and tops.
 She just keep pointing at it all.
"Look at that momma!"
 Then she opened some presents.
She got this baby doll from Grandma Ruie.
She gave her a bottle and hug as soon as it came out of the bag.
 She also got her a bubble machine.
You can see she liked it a bit!
 She played bubbles for about twenty minutes 
before she was willing to open up another gift.
This girl of my savors life-holding on to each moment.
This is another valuable lesson she has taught me.
 Giant Glasses!
These where a BIG hit given her LOVE of glasses right now!
 HILARIOUS on momma!
 She got some other dress up garb.
We have enjoyed playing dress up all day!
Her breakfast gift session ended with 
a few more books by David Ellwand.
These books are her favorite right now.
They are "song" books so she can't get enough of them.
We had a wonderful morning with our treasure.
She loved having all the attention.
Sissy took video, daddy captured photos, 
and momma was playing by her side.
It was perfect!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Letter to My Girl on Her 4th Birthday

Dear Jillian,
Last night, I rocked and sang to you before laying you down to sleep like I always do, but last night was different.  Last night was the last time I would rock you as a three year old because when you woke up were four.  I lingered long after you fell into a dead sleep snuggling you into my chest and kissing your sweet cheeks.  It was as if, as long as I held you, time could stand still and you would be three a bit longer.  It is hard to believe that these two years have passed so quickly.  It seems as if you have always been my daughter walking beside me.  Yet on the day of your birth..I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness at how little I know of this day.  As I held you last night, my tears fell over you.  I cried at all you have lost and how very much I have gained because of it.  I prayed for your birth mother knowing that this week must be difficult for her.  I thanked God for the plan He has for your life and for the way He has protected you and healed your heart in these first four years.  I prayed for you.  I prayed that you would come to know this God whom momma and daddy love and serve.  In one moment I was wishing that time could stand still and in the next I was wishing to see the future.  I don't know where these years will take you.  I don't know if you will ever find your voice to speak, but I know that I will do everything in my power to help you go as far as you are able.  I love you with a fierce momma love that is simply unexplainable and I am grateful to God for giving you to me.  I love taking care of you each day, rocking you to sleep at night, and watching you grow and blossom.  Some of your favorite things to do right now are spinning everything, singing, jumping, running, playing with your baby dolls, making music and most of all..bossing your daddy.  You love to involve him in all your games and to be in complete control of him.  He is a willing participant in this of course because he is crazy for you sweet one.  Today, you will have a cake in front of you, listen to us sing, and blow out four candles.  This day is one that may have never come without God's intervention in your life and so today..and everyday..I give thanks for His protection of you.  You are a treasure!  I love you with all my heart!  Happy 4th Birthday my sweet daughter!  You have changed my heart in ways I never dreamed!
With all my love,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Preparing for Her Big Day

Tomorrow our treasure is 4 years old!
Where has the time gone?
Such a special 4 year old requires 
a colorful birthday cake to celebrate her big day!
 So, we got busy this morning.
(There is nothing that blesses this momma more than this little munchkin 
standing on her stool in the kitchen helping me cook.)
We are making mini cupcakes for her rainbow cake.
 My biggest wish for her birthday 
is that I can get her to try some cake.
I know eating cake isn't the wish 
most mommas have for their little ones
but when your little is so very special
sometimes you just hope for those things 
that come so easily for most others.
Here's to hoping.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have had my little treasure home for just short of two years now.  She was literally a shell of emptiness when she first came home.  She remained that way for many months after as well.  That is why a morning like this morning just humbles me, makes me teary, and leads me to praise God for giving me this beautiful child who has taught me so much about faith and believing in my God.

We started the morning at the library in the toddler class.  We have been attending this class for several months on the odd Wednesdays when we don't have therapy.  In this class, there are about twenty toddlers and their mommas in a smallish space.  Toddlers are loud, unpredictable, and interactive by nature.  These are all triggers for my baby girl who is generally scared out of her wits around so many little people.  She shuts down or gets agitated and then we have to leave.  Slowly though over the last months, something beautiful is happening in her heart.  She is feeling more secure, communicating more with sign (even to others), and interacting with her environment even when we aren't at home.

This morning as we entered class I tried to sit against the wall with her..back a way from most of the action to give her a bit of space.  She told me to get up and moved me to the rug where she signed sit.  She wanted to sit on the rug in the thick of things.  Then she listened to two books..watching as they were read..and watched two flannel boards.  Then it happened.  Ms. N, the children's librarian, said to the group..Does anyone want to sing if you are happy and you know it?  Well, my little treasure's face erupted into a big smile at those words.  We have this book at home and she LOVES this song.  At home, she does the motions along with each page and even vocalizes two distinct sounds for the "I AM" page.  I didn't expect her to do any of that at the library.  After all, she was with a big group of people being directed by Ms. N and not by me BUT she stood up and did every. single. motion with each verse.  I just watched in awe as she stamped her feet, clapped her hands, and signed "turn around" requesting the turn around verse in our book at home.  The class ended with Ms. N handing out small party favors because the class had a birthday theme today.  Ms. N stood at the front of the class with a big bowl.  Jillian couldn't even see what was inside, but she saw all the children standing around waiting to receive something.  She walked right up to the end of the "crowd" anxiously waiting for her prize.  As she approached Ms. N she signed "please" while looking up at her without a single prompt from me!  She understood that she needed to communicate with this woman!  I could have lost it.  I really could have just shouted from the roof tops because my baby girl continues to defy all the odds that are so stacked against her.

We then went out to the play area.  She played and then we went to the craft table.  At the craft table, I gave her the blue crayon to use to color her picture.  I was holding a green crayon.  I hadn't labeled each crayon by color using words yet because we just sat down.  She looked at me and signed green because she wanted the green one I had too.  (And of course she knew it was green!)  Then Ms. N brought out a surprise..a fabric crawling tunnel much like the one we just bought her.  All the kids stormed it because they were so excited to play inside.  My Jillian, who  has been so hesitant to try anything or be around anyone, went to crawl through it too along with the other ten or so crazy kids left playing.  There was a wild little guy laying on the top and being pretty vocal, but she went in anyway!

Today, I am amazed at this little one.  I am in awe that God has allowed me to do this.  I am so flawed, so inadequate on my own..yet He trusts me with this precious one.  How can it be?  How can it be that He would bestow such blessing on me?  I am giving thanks to Him today for this life, for who He is, and that He loves me so very much!  I am one blessed momma...overwhelmed by what the Lord has done in the last two years! Praise Him!  Praise Him!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Getting Ready for Anna Mei

I opened my door yesterday to find this delivery..
So what's in the boxes?
Lots of diapers.
I have never had two in diapers before.
My word that is a lot of diapers.
This is the tower of diapers waiting to be taken upstairs
(minus one box because I wasn't sure what size Anna will be)
that we need to get through a month.
I may need to apologize to my Fed Ex man.
He is going to be carrying a lot more to my door in the months to come.
I just can't wait to have our newest little treasure home.
Her bed is up.
The bottles are out and washed up.
Her clothes are hanging in the closet
now her diapers are here.
All we need is her sweet face.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Basketball has come to an end.
Never again will my oldest baby play on a junior high team.
I hate that she is growing up.
We took time to celebrate with an end of the year banquet though.
Our Em was given the honor of being named the team's MVP.
She scored 186 points this season.
It was wonderful to take time to reflect with all the wonderful kids and their families.
What an incredible season we have had.
The girls had so much fun.
 These are the five starters with all their hardware.
They had great success all year.
Most importantly, they were amazing, Christ like examples.
These girls character is developing so well.
These are the eighth graders on the team.
(minus one who left too quickly for pictures)
These young ladies are growing up.
They are amazing friends and we are beyond blessed to have them in our sweet girl's life.
I LOVE her little school so much!
 Daddy was pretty happy to be able to coach this team.
He loves these girls, loves basketball, and most of all..loves to win.
It was a great season for him!

All By Herself

She is drinking all by herself with this amazing, new blue cup!
She is even taking about 2 ounces of smoothie at each meal!
She just doesn't have the oral muscle tone to keep most of those thin liquids from running out.
Smoothies and thinned applesauce are just right.
She is rocking them!
Miss K, our feeding therapist, is going to be so pleased!
I can't wait until next Thursday to show off what she can do!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Then and Now..

As I think of bringing home our Anna Mei, I have so many emotions.
I can't wait to have another sweet baby girl to call daughter.
I am over the moon excited to have another to lead in the ways of our Lord.
I look forward to so many things.
there is also a great deal of fear and many questions and what ifs.
What if I can't care for two treasures with special needs?
What if I can't love them both as much as they need?
(I could go on and on.)
One thing I know is that this fear does not come from God.

And so..
when fear begins to grip my heart I remember.

I remember my first sweet treasure when she was first placed in my arms.
I remember her at 26 months.
15 pounds.
Unable to walk.
Unable to eat solid food.
Unwilling to be held, cuddled, or loved.
I remember her low assessment scores.
Speech skills at 2 months.
Cognitive skills at 6 months.

That was then..

And this, my friends, is now...

She is vibrant, full of life.
She is signing up a storm, eating and chewing, and loves all attention to be on her at all times.
She loves, cuddles, and enjoys so many things.
She is a gifted climber, can run so fast, and takes apart everything.
She is a precious, valuable gift!
I wouldn't change a minute of this crazy, hard journey to our first adopted treasure.
Jillian is a miracle and she has come so far.
She is not a typical kid, but one who will likely always have challenges as she faces daily life.
I have come to cherish her just as God has made her.
I give thanks that God has allowed me a part of watching her come as far as she has.
I look forward to the future and know that He has numbered every one of our days.

I trust Him.

He is faithful.

He has shown Himself mighty in my life.

He knows our Anna Mei.

He set her perfectly in our family and I trust Him with this adoption.

I will not fear!

I will lean on the one who made me and set this journey before me!
(Now..if I could just be patient with His timing to get to our newest girl home.)

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11