Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Vision in Berries

 This was my view this morning as I turned on our walk.
They are a vision in berries if you ask me.
Truly, this life is much more than I ever imagined.
I could only whisper..thank you Jesus.
It is so good to have these beauties together.
We walked to the bank.
 Then headed to the park by the river.
Little Mei thinks she can do everything big sis does.
She loves exploring, climbing, and following Jillian.
 Jillian found her favorite pass time also known as digging in the dirt.
 Mei Mei soon followed her.
It was a beautiful morning.
I had to tell Mei Mei that she could not go up the huge chain ladder.
She does not like to be told no.
Sweet girl perked right up and enjoyed her sucker from the bank on the way home.
She fits in beautifully our Anna and I am grateful to God for these sisters.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Home Sweet Home

My heart is full!
(And I am still wearing the clothes I slept in last night.)
(This may be the new norm as I learn to mother two littles at once.)
Anna Mei is already sleeping through the IL night!
She took a walk in the wagon to the park, 
is sitting in the high chair eating American food, 
and walks around like she has lived here her entire life!

She and Jillian are learning to coexist.
At times, this has been hard.
BUT it is a good hard!

This morning I am finishing this post.
I brushed my teeth today and even got to shower.
(For those of you who have been doing two kids or more forever, you can laugh at me.)
We took a walk to the post office for stamps,
played in the backyard,
have done laundry,
and enjoyed eating at the table together.
I have changed seven diapers already today
(two of which were dirty)
this momma is one happy lady.
At the park, Anna Mei followed Jillian around like a little elf doing everything she did.
They were jammed in the tunnel and kissed.
My heart these two were meant for each other.
They are so good for one another already.
I was made for this.
This is beautiful!
Truly beautiful!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Anna is napping.  We have spent the entire afternoon at the pool.  In the quiet of this dark hotel room, I can't help but be grateful to you.  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your gifts to us so that this girl could be ours.  Thank you for helping to provide her the gift of a family.  Without your partnership,  I wouldn't be holding this precious treasure in the sunshine listening to her laugh as I throw her above my head in the pool.  With everything in me, I thank you.  So many of you gave so much so that we could come again and there are simply no words to tell you how God is already using this little girl for His glory!  THANK YOU!  It is only because of you that she is now home!  Grateful to God for you-each and every one of you! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grabbing a Hold of Life

It amazes me how quickly these little treasures acclimate to life outside of their orphanage.  In just over a week, everything for my little girl has changed drastically and miraculously she is grabbing hold of this life.  She loves being out, loves eating, playing with her toys, and enjoys new experiences.  We shopped Shaman Island and ate at the famous Lucy's where she enjoyed her first sweet tea.  She commands attention where  ever she goes wearing her squeaky shoes and her smile.  She loves to play on the slide at the hotel and to climb the giant staircase.  She even enjoyed swimming with momma in the hotel pool yesterday.  I am not looking forward to traveling for 24 plus hours beginning tomorrow, but I can't wait to be home.  Seeing this little treasure with her sisters and her daddy will bring much joy to this momma's heart!  Please cover us with prayer beginning Thursday night at 7:00 our time.  We will arrive home Friday at 9:50 PM in Peoria.  Then, life will really begin!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Special Needs and Adoption

We just returned from the doctor and Anna Mei is napping.  She fell asleep on my chest for the first time and she is already letting me rock her and feed her a bottle.  I had to write down her special needs given to her by China on the medical report for the clinic.  The doctor read them, examined her, and with a perplexed look asked if she was very smart because he could see her writing and could tell she had no significant delays.  He examined her body-probably looking for the cerebral palsy- and asked in broken find trouble with her?  I said no.  This sweet baby has none of the special needs listed in her file..none.  She is signing open and more already.  She is saying momma.  She kisses and feeds her bear.  She shakes her head no, scribbles with a pen, points to things, invents games, engages adults around her, and is absolutely perfect.  After a week with her, I don't think she is delayed enough to qualify for any therapy at all. 

This is such a big reminder that while we try to control our lives by filling out medical checklists and taking files to the doctor..God is in control.  He alone knows the outcome of each step we take.  He asks us at times to follow Him into the darkness and we are only to follow obediently.  This baby girl's file was a little scary.  I can't lie about that.  When we started this adoption, I was sure that I would not accept another special focus referral again.  I just wanted an easier special need and something that I would be sure I could handle on top of our sweet Jillian's needs.  Well, we were given Jia Ren's referral whose diagnosis was a little scary..developmentally delayed, brain abnormalities, cerebral palsy and she was a special focus case too.  Despite all this, we were sure that she was meant to be ours the minute we opened her file and saw that her Chinese name was the same as Jillian's-Ren.  As sure as I was, I have continued to battle fear as I was waiting for our TA.  I was questioning whether I could care for two special treasures.  And while I am quite certain that the days ahead will not be easy and I am even more certain that all adoptions are special needs to some degree, this little treasure is just about as healthy and on target developmentally as an orphan can be.  I don't know why God has given her to us, just as I will never know why He has chosen to bless us with our other two beautiful girls, but I am rejoicing that He trusts me with this baby.  He is faithful and good.  I simply can't wait to have my girls together and to see this little one in her daddy's arms.  I know that her life will bring Him much glory!

PS Being here in Guangzhou is like a piece of heaven.  There are Chinese babies everywhere with adoring new mothers and fathers looking on.  I know the Father above must smile down on this place watching so many of His people caring for the least of the least.  My heart I love the Chinese face.  These children are in my heart and I tear up watching so many experiencing family for the first time.  If God is asking you to take a step toward bringing home a precious treasure don't let fear rob you of the greatest blessing of your life.  There are many waiting.  Could one be waiting for you?


It is Amazing watching this sweet treasure become a daughter.  She is finally feeling secure enough to leave my arms and is walking around like crazy!  Toni and Anna bought her some squeaky shoes and she is squeaking all over the place.  She gets her shoes and goes to the door to ask to go on a walk.  She is already calling momma when she rounds the corner and gets on the other side of the bathroom door if I am not near enough to her. I think she understands some of what I say already.  Yesterday, I told her to get momma's shoes and she brought them to me.   She plays so well.  She kisses her little stuffed bear and feeds it from her snack bowl.  The girl loves her some tupperware.  Her favorite thing to do is to sit surrounded by all the containers we have and move her food from one to the other.  She also loves feeding me and her bear.  She really enjoys putting things in bags and taking it all out.  She loves to write with the pen on paper and yesterday she played on the slides at the playground here at the hotel.  She even ate a happy meal!  She is very stubborn too.  She cried the whole time I was trying to get her to nap yesterday because she had to give up her fork and container.  As soon as I let her get up, because she obviously wasn't going to sleep, and gave her that container she turned off the tears and played happily.  She engages us in her games, but isn't too comfortable with people other than Toni, Anna, and I.  Of course because attachment is so important to me, I haven't let Toni and Anna do too much beside look at her and smile.  Toni and Anna have been wonderful.  One of the other moms told them they could start a travel companion service. Only five more days now and we are home.  Wahoo!!!  I can't wait to get my family back together!

Friday, April 19, 2013


We had a relaxing day.  We spent lots of time playing in the hall with the other families.  She ate some pizza too.   Today, we fly to Guangzhou to finish our journey!  Can't wait to be home!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good Grief

My sweet girl struggled a bit today.  When she is tired and needs to sleep, she is just unable to let me comfort her yet.  The grieving is good, but hard for momma to watch.  Also because food comforts her, she has been eating like there is no tomorrow and so she has had some tummy problems too.  I have just taken things very slow today.  She saw the video camera and thought it was an iphone.  She started dragging her finger across the screen as if it were a touch screen and putting it up to her ear as if it were an ipod.  I bet the nannies let her play with their phones.  She loves to be out people watching in the ergo, but has not gotten down at all.  She stays very close to me when we are in a group.  She still hasn't walked much and doesn't want to even stand.  I think she may have some need for PT which will be new to me because that is the one therapy Jillian doesn't have.  She is strong when we play, but hasn't probably had much chance, or desire to, run, climb, and play.  She took a long bath tonight too.  She dumped water back and forth between the two cups I had and really enjoyed herself.  We went to eat at an Italian restaurant tonight were she sat and delighted in the company of Anna and Toni for an hour and a half.  She loves adults and loves being the center of the universe.  It seems that she has been highly favored and is very used to getting what she wants.  I love that my girl has known love.  I love that she smiles and poses for the camera.  I love that she loves the ergo.  I am nuts about this little one.  I am very ready to have her home.  Only about 9 more days until we fly out, but whose counting?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting to Know Her

My heart this baby is delightful.  She is easily engaged, laughs, plays, and snuggles.  She is not very outgoing or secure yet in large groups and prefers to be held by her momma.  She has a small birthmark behind her right ear and an outie belly button that reminds me of a cabbage patch doll.  She was well loved that is for sure.   She seems to feel as if momma is here to serve her.  At breakfast yesterday as I was feeding her, a noodle dropped and stuck to her chin.  She almost wiped it away with her hand and then stopped to look at me as if to say..what are you going to do about this?  She jabbers, but is not speaking Mandarin yet.  She has no signs of  CP as listed in her referral.  She seems strong, clever, and loving!  She is beginning to know Toni and Anna as they are always following her around quick to serve momma as I meet her needs.  She almost engaged Toni in one of her games yesterday, but was too shy to do it in the end.  Of course, they are not pursuing her much as I am trying to get her bonded to me so they just sit back and watch from afar adoringly.  Anna did hold Anna Mei's hand last night.  She isn't much for getting down and walking though she did get down once yesterday and walk a few steps toward me.  She is very hesitant to leave me.  Her main coping strategy is to eat.  She eats everything!  She also drinks pear juice and loves the fresh pear juice at breakfast.  We may need to get a juicer.  I am nuts about her.  She is a gift from God and a delightful daughter.  I can't wait to have her home so my girls can be together.  We miss them and Daddy so much!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Gotcha Day

This morning our sweet treasure was birthed into my arms..
 There were twelve babies being adopted today.
She arrived somewhere in the middle of the group and I spotted her right away.
 To say this gotcha day was a dream is a understatement.
She came right to me with a little crunchy cheese stick prompting.
 She let me hold her, cuddle her, rock her, kiss her.
Dare I not jinx the rest of the week by saying.. She didn't shed even a tear.
 She played with the cups and stacked them while we waited.
She even laughed and smiled by the time we were on the bus.
 My assistants were a HUGE help.
They loved watching all the babies being born into their families.
This little treasure is a pure delight!
She has spent the afternoon eating, creating games with her new toys,
cooing, babbling, and playing with momma.
She hasn't slept any yet so I am hoping that tonight she will crash.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Letter to Anna

Dear Anna Mei,
Tomorrow I will look into your eyes for the first time.  Tonight will be the last night you go to sleep without a momma to hold you.  I can't wait to meet you, hug you, and begin to know who you are.  I can't wait to teach you to pray and tell you again and again about all the ways He has been so faithful in leading us to you.  I can't wait to help you understand that you are a cherished treasure placed in our family by a creator who loves you more than you can imagine.
I love you already with all my heart,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Beijing Day 2

We tackled the Great Wall today!  We decided to start our trek up the steepest side and we made it to the first gullet.  We should have counted our steps but it seemed like we went up a million.  It was an amazing view.

The most interesting part of the day was the fame we have here in China.  Many of the domestic tourists are from rural areas and have never seen Americans.  We must have been asked to pose for a photo with hundreds of Chinese and a few middle easterners. 

I just love the Chinese face.  As I looked into the face of the beautiful women, I could see the face of my daughter.  The beauty of these people that radiates in the eyes of one (soon two) of my own takes my breath away.  I was "dreaming" of my daughter's birth moms today as I watched all the women pass.  I was thinking that we are walking on the same continent, in the same country, and I was wishing with everything in me that I could have just a moment with them. 

Tomorrow, we fly out to the next destination.  The city in which my daughter will be birthed into my arms.  After waiting all these months, I simply can't wait to meet her. 

Thank you for your comments and for prayers!  I am relishing each and every one!  I feel like I am carrying many friends with me.  Onward we go.  Zhenghzou here we come!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Leaving the 99 for the 1

I love that Jesus said that.  I love the He loves me so much that He would "leave" everything to come after me when I was lost.  Today, this verse from God's word comforts me.  I am missing my 99.  My precious family 6,000 plus miles away, but in just two days when I hold that sweet baby in my longer an orphan but my daughter..I will again have a get picture of my Lord who is willing to leave the 99 just for the one!  How I long to draw Anna Mei near and to tell her that she is  not just any old 1 among the 147 million orphans in the world.  She is the 1 Jesus sent me for.  I can't wait to get to her.  As much as I am enjoying being in Beijing, adjusting to the time  change, experiencing my girls' rich culture, and getting to know the thirteen other families and seeing their hearts for the orphan..I want nothing more than to hold that sweet baby in my arms, to love her, and to whisper scripture over her.  I long for her to know just who she is in the Lord and how very much He loves her.  Soon now..very soon!

Beijing Day 1

 Rikshaw ride with my new friend Lisa.
 We visited an old alley community and the home of Ms. Wu.
 Then, we visited the silk factory.
We came away with lots of knowledge and a few silk items.
 Yummy lunch!
This was sweet and sour fish.
 Really lunch was delicious.
 We posed at Tiananmen Square.
We even encountered our first squatty.
We are exhausted, but have enjoyed our first day.
There are 50 in our travel group so their are lots of people to meet.
Two more days until we meet our Anna.
We can't wait!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Have Landed

After 27 hours of travel, we are finally here.  I got about six hours of sleep last night after only sleeping about an hour on the plane.  It felt so good to lay down to rest!  We tour today and tomorrow in Beijing before flying on Sunday to Zhengzhou to get our girl on Monday, April 15.  There are several families here already that we have met.  Toni and Anna have been amazing travel partners.  I will update with some pictures tomorrow.  Thanks for your prayers.  Keep them coming.  I miss my babies so much already, but Daddy is taking amazing care of them.  Jillian even went in the tunnels at the chick-filet play land yesterday for the first time! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As I sit at this screen at 4:00 in the morning waiting to leave for our 6:00 AM flight, I just want to slow time down so that I can process all that is on my heart.

This morning I am sad to leave my family.  Leaving them is so not easy for this momma.  My heart hurts that I can't hold my little treasure for 16 days and I am worried that when I get home I will have to work very hard to earn her trust again.  I have never left her for even a night in the last two years that I have had the privilege of being her momma so I pray that God will show up in a mighty way in the next week and a half to protect her and give her peace.

I am grateful.  Grateful to know a God who orchestrated all of this.  A God who has called me to love the least of the least and who continues to provide a way for us to live out that which He has called us to.  Oh this adventure that He has us on is simply greater than anything I ever imagined.

I am so very thankful for the good friends and prayer warriors who are on their knees this very minute for me.  I am in awe of the many people that God has used to write my baby girl's story in the last ten months.  Without so many of you giving and sharing what you have with us, I simply couldn't be boarding a plane to get my sweet girl home.  You have no idea how much I love you and how God has used your offering to make a HUGE difference in one very special little girl's life.

I am excited to share the next two and a half weeks with my dear friend Toni and her daughter, Anna.  They are giving up sixteen days of their life to love on my girl and help me get her home.  I couldn't do this alone and so I am forever indebted to them for their willingness to do hard with me for the next two and half weeks.  Anna Mei will always have a special bond with them.

So in less than eight hours, we will catch our flight and begin the long journey to China.  There on the other side of the world a sweet girl is lying in a crib unaware that her momma is about to hold her for the first time.  She has no idea that in the next five days her life will change forever.  She has no idea of the love, joy, and hope that she is about to receive, but God knows and has written this story for us.  I rest in knowing that this morning.  I rest in knowing that God goes before me and that He will be with me!

God will go before you and He will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid.  Do not be discourage.  Deut. 31:8

Monday, April 8, 2013


It is hard to believe that 48 hours from now, I will be on my way to my baby girl.  These last ten months have gone painstakingly slow and yet lightning fast at the same time.  As I prepare to leave in two short days, I look back and can't help but see how miraculous this all is!  Never in my life could I have hoped that I would be able to travel to China and never did I dream I would have the blessing of these two Chinese daughters.  Please pray for us as we travel and for Daddy as he is home caring for Jillian and Emily.  In the next week, we will become a family of five!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Her Name..

I got the travel packet for our trip yesterday.  It contains a lot of information..a lot!  One of the things that it contained was the name of the woman who will be bringing my sweet baby to me and placing her in my arms.  She is a nanny from the orphanage where my treasure has spent her entire life and her name is Mei.  Mei...the very name that we have chosen for our Anna.  I love my God.  I love how He shows me that He goes before me!  Without a doubt this journey is ordained by him and I can't wait to live out His purpose in the next months as we graft our Anna in.

The Lord Himself goes before you and He will be with you!  He will never leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Get Away

Grafting a new little one into your family is hard business.  Please understand that the hard is 100% worth it and that becoming my treasures' momma is an experience I wouldn't ever trade for anything, but I just wanted one last chance to savor the two special girls that God has already given me before we enter the next few weeks and month of HARD again as we begin grafting our precious Anna in.  My girls will sacrifice much in the coming days as I spend more time and devote more attention to the newest treasure God has called us to bring home and so we decided to book a room with an indoor water park for a 24 hour get away.
It was heavenly...

humidity was horrible but the smile
 It is only about a 90 minute drive which is not hard on Jillian.  She enjoyed her weighted blanket and music as we drove through the scenic countryside.  She walked right into the hotel hand in hand with her big sister to go down a strange hallway and right into an even stranger hotel room.  She was quickly changed into her adorable ladybug swimming suit complete with a matching hair bow.  AND MY WORD when she saw that HUGE indoor water park with pool space galore, she lit up!  I teared up watching her!  In the last 24 hours, her joy has been bigger than her anxiety and she has had the time of her life.  She enjoyed being assaulted by the GIANT waves in the wave pool, splashing in the baby pool, flapping her arms in the water over her head, flying down the water slide on momma's lap, and swimming alongside her adoring family.  On Monday night she swam about five hours. FIVE HOURS!  She slept like a log as she was exhausted.  She woke up first thing this morning in that hotel room and the sweet thing was signing "water please" the instant her eyes were open.  Oh how my heart overflows with the precious memories of the last twenty four hours.  Emily and I enjoyed the lazy river and a few water slides when I could pry her little sister off of her.  It was truly glorious!  It just reminded me once again how faithful God has been as we have grafted Jillian and how very far she has come.  As much as I enjoyed these two girls, I couldn't help praying that God would allow Anna's heart to know this feeling of family and JOY as she joins us.  Truly, we are so lucky to be able to add one more.  We all hope Anna likes water because her ladybug swimsuit (and hair bow) is waiting.