Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Loosing Teeth

My big, six year old has lost three teeth in the last few weeks.  THREE.  All I have to say is STOP.  Stop getting so grown up.  One of the teeth she lost was her extra peg tooth in that cleft.  There is no tooth to replace that extra which is a HUGE blessing because there is simply no room in that mouth for extra teeth, but it is also so sad.  Sad because her mouth, her smile, will never look the way it did as a child again.  Emily was poking some serious fun at me as I teared up about that.  My Jilly will never again have that extra, crooked, smooshed up smile.   The smile that, to this day, makes my heart overflow with JOY each time I see it on her.  Emily said again and is just a tooth mom. It is so much more than that though, it is another milestone marked along the path of this little girl's life that has so greatly changed mine.  How altered our lives are because of her presence.  What a miracle it is that I have her to love, that she is alive at all and thriving, and that she led us to two more beautiful girls from China.  I can't praise God enough for the blessing of her!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

When All Is Right in the World

There are days, when I look at this face sitting at our tea party table and it feels that all is right with the world now that this darling baby is home with us.
 I hear her laughter, see her playing, and I simply can't believe that only three short months ago I was on a plane bound for China to get her.  Now here she is fully our daughter as if she has always been here wearing an apron and playing in our toy kitchen.
 All too quickly though, I remember the millions more who don't have a tea party table to sit around with their adoring big sister, and I remember that all is not right with the world.
The truth is millions more beauties wait for a home to welcome them.  Who will welcome those who wait?  Who will invite them in?

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Mathew 25:40

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Medical Stuff Galore

The dental cleanings, orthodontics, periodontics, orthopedics, and many, many specialist appointments that are necessary right now have meant that I am living in the medical realm.  I try to be thankful on a daily basis that we have access to such high quality medical care that is so readily available to our kiddos, but I am looking forward to a day when I don't have to talk to a doctor every other day.  Last week, we had our appointment at Shriner's so Molly and I headed up to see the docs there.  It was a very, very long day as it is a four hour drive from here.  The local Shrine drove us up and back which helped so much.  We got our peanut's first ever x-rays of her beautiful hands and arms, saw the hand surgeon, and the pediatrician.  Miss Molly showed them all she could do, and, as usual, most were amazed with her.  The hand surgeon recommended that we leave those beautiful hands just as they are for now as making them work differently really wouldn't benefit her.  She also recommended that we get our babe into the genetics clinic ASAP as having a missing radial bone can mean some other serious medical stuff.  I was well aware of that when saying yes to bringing home this sweet girl, and I have been trying to get her into the genetics clinic for three months.  There is a fifteen month wait for an appointment.  So, armed with a plea from the hand surgeon, I set out this week to make something happen.  I began at the U hand clinic thinking if Molly was their patient they might have some pull to get her in at the U genetics clinic.  When trying to make an appointment with the hand clinic, they said I needed to first be seen at genetics right away.  DUH?  Then, I asked if they could help me get in because I wasn't getting anywhere.  I was passed around all morning, but finally given a lead to the geneticist on call.  My doc consulted with them, and pleaded our girl's case.  He ordered some tests based on his better understanding of this gene stuff and promised to get us in the next two or three months.  This was much better than the original fifteen months we were quoted, and, I was even happier with the screening tests to help check for scary medical stuff while we wait, so I rejoiced.  Today though, my phone rang and it was the golden hall of genetics offering us an appointment at the end of this month because they had a cancellation!  WAHOOOO was all I could think when answering that phone call.  I am anxious to know what our girl may or may not be up against inside that precious little body of hers.  I don't look forward to blood draws or all the complicated vocabulary, but I am so very thankful to have this appointment on the books.  Soon, we will hopefully know all we can about our precious treasure!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Abolishing the "Nevers"

Monday, I had this beautiful girl to my self all morning.  We woke early and headed together, just the two of us, to the U for her cleft board appointments.  This was the first appointment of this kind for our darling girl because her palate was complete when she was born, and her lip was repaired when she came to us.  Honestly, that lip and cleft in her gum have been the least of our concerns over the last four years as so many other things have been so much more prevalent.  Medical stuff is so traumatic for her as well, that we just hadn't pursued addressing this type of appointment after her initial "all looked good" when she came home, but my has she grown.  As I walked alongside her through the many, many specialist appointments throughout our four hour stay, I was emotional to say the least.  Before welcoming this baby girl home four years ago, I could have never imagined the struggles that we would face with this sweet, sweet one.  I could have never imagined the love that would develop in my heart for her or the triumph that I would feel watching her conquer this morning as I think she is the most courageous little thing I have ever known.  As I stood with her in the line at the clinic waiting to check in, I could hear the words of the official in her country who told us on adoption day that she would never accomplish anything, and (with words much too harsh for my heart to type) that she would never be able to learn.  I stood next to her as she communicated through sign language how scared she was to me, and I thought to myself how very wrong that "never" statement was because my baby girl has learned and grown so very much as we have loved her.  She started with her hearing test.  I watched her walk into the sound booth, put on headphones, and then execute every single step of that test with ease.  I watched her eyes turn to the mysterious window to look at the face of the audiologist who was talking to her behind the wall because she recognized the sound was coming from her.  I saw her point to the pictures as she was asked in the headphones.  First one picture at a time, then two, and finally three in a row that she could point to as the words were presented.  I saw her do it all, and steal the hearts of the audiologist as she did it.  I watched her jump up triumphantly from her chair, take my hand, and then bounce out of that booth to tackle the next appointment when she was finished.  The "she will never bond to anyone", and "the she will never know you are her mother" statements spoken from many professionals in those early months home with her came to my mind as well throughout the day as I watched her sign "momma" for me when she was scared or unsure.  During the morning, I tearfully relayed to each new specialist all about her as I told them about her start and all that she has accomplished in the last four years.  I watched her bubble with joy as she saw the ceiling mounted microscopes in each exam room because she loves to watch cataract surgery on youtube and was thrilled to see those microscopes used by Dr. Ritchie in her videos.  Oh, how her excitement and joy about that equipment brought some giggles to the medical staff.  I watched as the staff loved on her, reassured her, and let her use the ten thousand dollar microscope, which made her over the moon happy, as we went along throughout the morning .  As we left, I was praising God that He has not let the "nevers" put on my girl by so many limit His plan for this wonderfully, amazing little girl that I get to call my daughter.  How extremely blessed I am to walk alongside her each day as loving her has taught me so very much.  I never dreamed when I set across the ocean to claim her as my own four years ago that I would be saying yes to caring for a child for the rest of my days as our girl will always need us to care for her because her special needs are so much more than we planned for, but I also never would have dreamed that I would feel so privileged to have been chosen to care for her and be called her momma either.  While I am in no way worthy or deserving of such a job, what a tremendous blessing this baby is to me!  We are so grateful to live so close to such great medical care for her, and we are praising God that all looks good as far as her lip/cleft go.  If she can ever stand orthodontics, the cleft in her gum is so small that it shouldn't be an issue and no bone grafting is needed.  PRAISE GOD!

Monday, August 10, 2015


 Recently, we celebrated our biggest girl.
 It is hard to believe that she is 16.
 It seems like yesterday that I was delivering a six pound beauty whose head was rather cone shaped from being lodged in the birth canal for six weeks while we tried to stop my preterm labor.  When I became a momma, I was overcome with joy.  Being a momma was all I ever wanted and I was so happy to have to her in my arms.  She has been a joy to raise up.  She is bright, gentle, and funny.  She looks just like her daddy and is cautious, can memorize anything, quiet, and so very easy going. 
I could have never imagined my baby would be surrounded by three beautiful, little, Chinese faces on her sixteen birthday that day I gave birth to her.  I am so proud of the big sister she has become.  I know she has moments during the hard of raising these girls that she thinks this crazy, family life is nuts,but God is using each and every day to shape her heart for Him.  I pray her life will be used in big ways to glorify the God we love and serve.  Parenting her is such a tremendous blessing!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Those Beautiful Hands

Yesterday, it happened.  I have had my newest little one home now for nine weeks, and, honestly, I expected it to happen before now.  When we were in the pharmacy picking up a prescription (endless these days), the pharmacist hoisted the magical bucket of suckers over the counter because, frankly,  my girls are treated like royalty there.  I swear they would give them golden suckers if they had any on hand as they love on them so much!  As the bucket of treats was thrust my girls way, the kind pharmacist said to Anna Mei.."Maybe you should grab two because I am not sure your sister (Molly Kate) can (because of her hand deformity)."  Just as the words were coming out, my dear baby used those amazing hands to grab a sucker before her big sister even had a chance.  The pharmacist didn't expect it, and was surprised that she could use her one finger on her "worst" hand to get a sucker so fast.  I am sure this isn't the first time that Molly will meet this situation.  She may come in contact with many who think she can't do something because of her hand deformity.  So, I used this as an opportunity to tell my babies that they can do absolutely anything.  Those hands being different won't stop my  Molly one bit.  In fact, the girl is more independent than both of my other babies who came home at two from China without a hand special need.  She can color, take off her shoes, feed herself, climb the ladder to the slide, string beads, play the ipad, and just about everything else most other two year olds can do!  She is truly amazing, and, while most of the other world sees those beautiful hands and short arms as a disadvantage, they are her most precious feature when I look at her.  I praise God for she is fearfully and wonderfully made by a creator who knew what her story would be long before I said yes to bringing her home.  He has loved her, cared for her, and kept her close even as he was knitting her together in her China Momma's womb.  Those beautiful hands, and all she can do with them, are reason to believe that there is a creator whose plan is so much bigger than our human minds can ever imagine.  I am so very blessed that I get to walk alongside this little one because she is taking on the world and changing many hearts as she does it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Because I just can't get enough of her...

How did I ever live without the JOY of this little one?
Full to overflowing that she is home and she calls me mommy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Camp Fun

Enjoying the simple was such fun at East Iowa Bible Camp.. 
A floatie in the pool,
splashing your sister,
jumping off the side into the deep end of the water,
wagon rides,
digging in the sand,
filling buckets,
and burying ourselves were a few of our favorite activities.