Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Gracie

I'm not going to lie, these pictures are very hard for me.  The walls are full of mold and I'm sure lead paint.  Her bed has some kind of stains on it and she has no smile.  I opened my email this morning and my heart skipped a beat when I saw I had new pictures.  My heart sank when I looked at them. In all of this, I see on her bed the little panda bear we sent her a few months back and my sweet little gracie covered her baby with a blanket.  I see a little girl that loves her panda.  I see in her eyes fear and sadness. But I also see that panda must give her joy and I'll hold that in my heart.

Today is day 39 of waiting for our LOA (China has up to 100+ days to issue our approval), We have never waited more than 54 days but that means nothing.  It's up to Jesus.

My heart is heavy, I want my baby home.  She needs her mama and daddy. 

Please pray for her.  Please pray her heart and lungs are not damaged due to the mold and poor quality of air she's breathing. 

I know her Abba Father is with her, I feel it deep in my soul.

Praise be to God!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Kidsin pictures (missing Trevor-boo hiss)

I could not locate my USB cord forever...Well it was right under my nose the entire time.  Here are my littles...missing my Trevor, he seems to be gone so much with work and school...sigh. 
Madelyn and Rachel getting ready to play in the little bit of snow we got a few weeks ago.

All three girls with Buster

Warming up with hot chocolate and cookies.

She looks so grown up in this picture!

Rachel Cate

Linzhi lost her very first tooth.  Snapped this pic after she stopped crying...LOL...

Getting ready to pray before board breaking class.  This is the only picture of Linzhi as it got a bit too overwhelming for her with all the extra people there to watch. She stayed with mama.

Rachel getting ready!


Madelyn breaking her board with a kick.

board #2

Getting ready to go to Church for the Christmas program.

My baby

My big girl.


Rachel Cate asking me not to take her picture.

I love this face.

The big girls were not ready but I snapped a picture anyway.

Being goof balls

Rachel and her baby

Madelyn lovin Buster

Decorating cookies.

taste testing the cookies.

working hard...in her PJ's

May God bless you all during this PRECIOUS time of year as we prepare for the birthday of our Lord Jesus!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When you get all twisted up with anxiety and junk...

I tend to lean on Jesus. 

Lately, there a some major things that are going to take place that are still in the "pending" folder and for me, someone that  had to be broken of being impatient (I still struggle some days)...Well, it's starting to get on my last nerve!!!  :)  *sigh*

First,  I want my baby bird in my nest, like NOW.  I want to nourish her little body with healthy cooking and lots of vitamins.  I want to snuggle with her (if she'll let me),  I want to brush her beautiful black hair and dress her in clean, warm clothes, I want to see her little hands holding a pencil doing school work with her sisters...  I can go on and on and on and on...  I just want my baby home!

There are a few "Other" pending items that need to finish up so my heart can rest a bit.  I feel the Holy Spirit in me, working on me, calming me down and probably wondering why I am getting myself all worked up when I KNOW, GOD is in total control of all the "pending" items in all of our folders.  We must wait, have faith and total trust at all times which can be very hard for us humans.  I am so grateful I can bring my heavy plate with all kinds of worries, anxieties and selfish requests to the one who will provide all that I need by His mighty hands.    GOD IS SO GRACIOUS.  I love him so.


Today, as the girls were working on their math lessons, I looked around at each one of them with tears in my eyes remembering how I longed and waited for each one to arrive (Trevor too).

Trevor was the easiest child to bring into our family.  Easy pregnancy, easy delivery (hurt a lot but over all good) and easy up bringing.  I am so proud of him!!  I was so in love with that child from the minute I looked at him. That was it, smitten for the rest of my life!   After a number of years, I was convinced I would only have one child and never thought about having any more....

Until I met CJ and then...

Rachel Catherine came next, 11 years later.  Oh my baby girl!  CJ and I went to get our first ultra sound on a Saturday afternoon and the next day (Mother's day), we were in the ER believing I was having a miscarriage.  Total shock!  We were sent home with instructions and what to do in the event our baby  went home to be with Jesus.  I spent my mornings and afternoons alone, praying and waiting, praying and waiting for a miracle.  When CJ came home, we were almost too scared to talk about it and every night as I went to sleep, I asked the Lord to spare my baby's life.  And He did.  Oh what a treasure that stinker is to us!  And she is a stinker, a lot like her mama.  One word to sum up Rachel is, Joy!

Linzhi Rose came 4 years after Rachel.  In fact, on Rachel's 4th birthday CJ and I were on a plane to Beijing.  I think I cried the entire way because I could barely leave my little girl on her birthday.  Luckily, Rachel had no idea as we celebrated a few days before.  -Anyway- Linzhi Rose was an angel from day one.  As we watched this tiny little China doll grieve for her life in the orphanage, my life changed.  I had to learn how to mother a child that was not born from my womb.  I had to "learn" her, because had her own way of living without me and didn't really need a mama. She just kind of did it on her own.  She LOVED CJ from the first Ni hao, but me...not so much.  She liked me and I loved her but it took us a little while to figure each other out.  Fast forward to now.  I look at her and cannot imagine my life without my little shadow.  She is always within a few steps from me, she loves to help with anything and tries so very hard at getting things just right. My angel baby with a servants heart.

Madelyn Grace,  Oh my, did we work hard to get this child out of the life of an orphan.  The enemy had a tight grip and was giving us a run for the money....Oh yeah.... he lost.   God's hands unlocked the chains around her neck and released her into freedom on July 19th, 2011.  19 months from the first time I saw her round, rosy cheeks.  When I walked into the office in Wuhan, China I felt complete victory!  As I was crumbling with tears of joy, Miss Madelyn walked right up to me and said "Ni Hao" and it felt like I was in a dream, it was SO surreal to see her face to face.  I just could not take my eyes off of her, she was so pretty and self confident but still a little vulnerable when our eyes met.  She would look away real fast and I would follow her lead.  I never wanted her to feel uncomfortable so I let her take the lead on how much space she needed and when I was allowed in.  On a funny note, now that she speaks fluent English, I asked her what she thought of us when she saw us walk in the door...  Here's her response...  Trevor, was tall and looked like a big brother.  Daddy, he looked nice and Mom, you had on a lot of make-up!!!  Oh that girl!  She's getting to the age where she's testing me a bit.  I know it's totally normal for a 10 year old to think they know it all...she takes after her brother for sure!

I'm sharing this not just to share it but to remind myself to STOP and remember the perfectness of His timing and the lessons and wisdom that comes from patience.  I must be obedient and remember His way is the only right way for our lives.  <><

So I choose to just lean on Jesus and I can feel His hand pulling me out of the murky black waters again...

Thank you JESUS CHRIST for saving me again from myself. 

I will humbly and patiently wait for you.  <><

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My heart.

I have written this post in my head for the last three days and for some reason as I try and type it,  I have writers block.  So I'll try again.

If you know me or my family you know we're adopting for the third time from China.  I love China!  I really can't wait to be there again very soon with CJ and Rachel.  I can't wait to be among my daughters people, culture and history.  The adventurous side of me is ready to get our bags packed (I'm type A so I enjoy the lists and organization of packing...I know, I'm a nut).  I can't wait for take off and ascending into China for the third time.  But...

Then I stop and think about it a bit more.  This is not a vacation. This is another life changing journey for our family and a little six year old girl.

There have been days that I have been in prayer asking the Lord why He is sending me? I know CJ is right there with me and he can hardly contain his excitement but I am not there with him.  I am going to be real honest here.  I've had my moments of complete fear.  Fear I have never experienced. With my fear comes many tears. Every time I am physically alone with no little one, husband or son around me, I find myself almost childlike going to my Father in tears asking why are you sending me?  I am too afraid Lord!  I am too comfortable in my life.  We just went through this transition with Madelyn and now we are settled again and you're asking us to go again?  But then I think about the One calling us to be His hands and feet and through many tears and my GAZILLION fears, I answer.

Yes, my precious Lord.

We will go.

When Gracie drifted into my life, I knew I was looking at my daughter.  CJ very quickly agreed and we started all the necessary paperwork and excitement filled our home with Praise and we were humbled to be called again.  We had a little bio on her, she has CHD (congenital heart defect), she looked good and in the video we could hear a cough but we chalked it up to a cold or something...

Then we got the report back from the Drs. in the US and one in particular asked us if we were for sure she was still alive.  huh? what do you mean alive?  The second Dr. didn't say that but told us she has a serious heart problem and will require a lot of work and called her a "flight" risk. Huh? Flight risk? 

I stopped dead in my tracks and said NO Lord, not us, PLEASE not us. PLEASE! I CANNOT DO THIS.  I CANNOT BURY A CHILD. PLEASE! (Ye of little faith I was that day).

CJ came home and I told him very matter of fact what I had learned about her that day and I knew for sure CJ would back me and say no. This is too big for us.  I KNEW he would back me and agree. I just knew His heart.

I was wrong. 

My sweet husband told me very gently.

Amy, we can't leave her there. She has to come home with us.

Huh? Home with us? What? 

My response.

Um, ok... Yep, that's all I could intelligently come up with. Um!?!?

Do you ever feel like Peter when He saw the Lord walking on the water and even though he was terrified he stepped out of the boat and started to walk on the water to Jesus and then when he realized WHAT he was doing started to panic and began to drown. 

But then Jesus reached out and saved him. 

Do you ever feel super powered by worship and prayer and feel like you can do anything though Christ that strengthens you? (because we can)

But then when He calls you to do something that requires YOU to step out of the boat and onto the water of waves and storms to follow Him, do you ever lose that strength and begin to drown in fear?   

But then Jesus comes and reaches down into the black water and saves us. (over and over again).

That's where I've been for the last 6 months.  I keep stepping in and out of the boat. I get all pumped up talking about her with family and friends and I love getting things ready for her here at home but then the enemy comes and trips me and I fall into the black water drowning in fear.

It's been a constant battle and SO not like me at all!

Until last Saturday night at church during praise and worship.

We sang this song, I have no idea what the name is, I've heard it 100 times on the radio but I never paid that much attention to the lyrics.  It's goes like this...

Who YOU love, I'll love.
How YOU serve, I'll serve.
If this life I lose.
I will follow YOU.

And just like that, I felt the hand of Jesus pull me out of the black mucky water I was drowning in.

Just like that.

My baby is coming home and this mama has her spirit of excitement back and her strong will that was planted in me from the time I was conceived has returned and I am ready to go and serve Gracie in any way that she needs.

Will I stumble.


Will the fear return.


Will I cry when I leave three of my children behind to gather my little daughter from the East.

A lot.

Will I open my heart and soul to another treasure and LOVE her because He loves.

Of course, I will.

I also want to share our thoughts about Gracie's heart.  This little miracle has survived for 6 years on this earth with a "broken" heart with no repairs so far.  A pediatric cardiologists nurse told me our little girl is a walking Miracle and SOMETHING is keep her alive.  Well, as believers we know God is keeping her alive.  We also believe He will heal her. We're not sure how or if it's already done but we know He is in control.  We believe He will lead us to the right cardiologist and Trust Him to lead us as we travel this road.  It's hard to give up that control (for me).  I feel like I am now a cardiologist as I have read SO much on her condition...Haha... 

This is what I know for sure.  Gracie was fearfully and wonderfully made by the Hands of God.  As His servants CJ and I will rely on Him to guide us as to how to care for His treasure.  We are not in denial.  She will be healed.  Here on earth or Jesus will come to bring her home.  Our prayer is for her life to be a testimony for other families or children that suffer from her heart condition or whatever the Lords will is for her life. Our prayer is for our little flower to blossom in our arms for however long the Lord grants.  And to add, we feel this way about all of our blessings...Trevor, Madelyn, Rachel and Linzhi Rose.

Please pray for Gracie.  Her transition may be very hard as she has been with the same foster family for the last four years.  I know this will put strain on her little body.  Please ask the Lord to COVER her in His Grace. 

Pray for Lots of Grace for Gracie.

God bless.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Linzhi Rose Xiao Li

Four years ago today CJ and I walked in the Civil affairs office in Nanjing, China to receive a blessing designed by God.  This child never ceases to amaze me!  I am so blessed to be called mama by this angel on earth. 

Happy 4 year forever family day!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rachel Catherine

Oh this child of mine, how I love her so.
Happy 8th birthday to my joy Rachel Catherine!

She's a great student.. when she feels like it. :)

She's always ready with a beautiful smile.

She LOVES animals...Especially her baby tinkerbell.

A very early morning picture of mama and her baby on our way to Disney.  I love her bedhead.

My baby.

Rachel's is a bit choosy of the foods she will eat but she LOVES mama's brownies!

Dear Rachel,
YOU are a treasure!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


We're DTC!!!!!!!!!
(dossier to China...one BIG step closer to our girl)!

Thank you Sweet Jesus!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exciting news!

Today marks day 53 since we sent in our I-800a application (US immigration).  From time to time I would  check on the status to see if I could figure out when we could expect our approval.  Well.... The Lord sent me another sweet blessing today... APPROVAL!!!!!!! 

We are in just complete shock!  This process has gone so smooth and after the nightmare we faced getting Madelyn here, I am on bended knees giving thanks.  (We gave thanks during the nightmare too).

One HUGE step closer to our baby girl.  <><

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy 6th birthday to our baby far far away...

Grace turned 6 on October 3rd, the day before her daddy's 40th birthday (pics to come later).  We were able to get another cake and gift to her for her special day. Our cake service said it will be awhile before we get our pictures due to the moon festival in China so I didn't expect anything until next week...

Well, I think the Lord knew this mama needed to see my baby girl and gave me a sweet blessing this morning delivered to my inbox...

Looks like she might be getting ready to blow out her candles.

My Baby girl...Look at those eyes and the little piggy tails on top of her head.  **when we started this adoption, I sent a request asking them to let her hair grow (a little bolder the third time around I guess...)Well, I think they got my request and I am thankful!!! 

that's a big piece of cake and I LOVE her little buddy!

Aren't they precious!!! 

being goofy.  We have a picture of Madelyn from China doing the same thing! LOL

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin patch!

We took our annual trip to Curtis Orchard, about an hour south of our house. The weather today was simply perfect for the first day of October...56 degrees with a little breeze which made it chilly in the shade...perfection! This was the first time we went on a Saturday. There was live music, fresh kettle corn, face painting, pony rides, apple/pumpkin picking, etc... Oh how I LOVE this time of year. And next year, little Miss Gracie Faith will be in the gang too. God's blessings to all... Happy Fall!

Kettle corn!

Annual picture in front of the Emerald City!

My perfect pumpkin.

Following big brother out to the patch.

Trevor helping Linzhi Rose.

Linzhi Rose

My boy.

My loves.

Daddy helping Rachel Cate.

All finished!


Taking a break in the shade.

Pony ride for Linzhi.  The others decided to watch only.  Rachel stated she prefers to ride horses instead. :)

waiting for Madelyn and Rachel to bounce down the inflatable slide.

My heart.