Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big Day at Mississippi State:)

We are only able to get to a few games each season. While I LOVE going I usually dread how Madeline behaves. We have finally figured out that she gets overwhelmed by the crowds and acts out. Well this year seems to be a whole other ballgame. She RAN to Julianne to hug her and hugged and kissed her goodbye. That is a BIG deal......since Julianne has been in college Madeline will not talk to her or hug her or anything for that matter for a few is as if she holds a grudge. She finally admitted to Julianne last spring that she was mad at her when she leaves for school:). Anyway we have made SO much progress and this mommy is so happy with her maturity!! The pics say it all!

happy to be together again

already has Taylor doing what she loves best, stickers:)

Now Carson is pulled into the sticker vortex as well!!

Julianne, Madeline, Taylor and Carson

The twins still obeying their charge


randomer(is that a word?)

LOVE this kid!!

Seriously he is so cool!!

The sticker entourage

Julianne and Margaret

Seriously she could be my child too! and yes I do need some wrinkle helper too!

And she even jumped in Julianne's arms to say goodbye, such a great day!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tough Enough, Swim-a-Long and a Triathalon

Wow, last weekend was a crazy one for John David. He and Madeline had Tough Enough at their school on Friday afternoon. All the grade levels have a race and the kids really get into it. John David can't wait until next year when he is in 5th grade and gets to run a mile:).

We were so proud of Madeline this year. Last year she was very overwhelmed by all the classes and parents and would have nothing to do with the race. The preK and Jrk run down the field in a pack, it is really cute. As soon as we arrived this year, she was totally into it and could not wait until it was her turn. She has blossomed this fall. We are not seeing that scared, timid little girl who is afraid of new situations. We think it is because she was so nervous about getting a new teacher and class, and now that she knows how much her new teacher loves her she is so much more confident. It is a blessing to see her like this, just precious. That afternoon she ran over to a my good friend's husband and sat in his lap and hugged him, we were all shocked and so thrilled to see her embrace others with such willingness and openness, such an answer to prayer!

The Three Muskateers

Madeline LOVES John David's friend John Parker:)

They are too cute!

At the start

And finish:)

some of the 4th grade boys

Saturday morning John David had his swim-a-long for his swim team. They raise money for the laps they swim, the goal is 100 laps, which he completed easily:) We are a big swimming family and are pretty competitive with each other. I swim 2 miles 3 days a week as does Hank,  so John David, Hank and I try to see who swims more and faster. I'm winning right now but that won't last much longer, John David will kick my rear end by next year. The only reason I'm beating Hank now is because he swims 2 days a week instead of 3, he'd be right back to killing me if he added another day!!

The finishers!

On Sunday, John David competed in his 3rd kids triathalon. He did so well and really pushed himself. I think this was the year that he got the fever, he is still out of breath after the run and said "that was AWESOME!" So cute. He won the Cory Horton sportmanship award this year and we are so very proud of him. A child is chosen by being recommended by another family. Our friend Elaine wrote the sweetest recommendation for him, her son Graham was also competing. Hank told John David that he will always be more proud of how he treats others than how he competes, it was a sweet weekend!!

Graham, John David, Kayley and of course Madeline

Not wanting to obey her Mama

JD and Graham, this was Graham's first triathalon and he ROCKED!

Mom please stop!!

He really was in the race here:)

Yay and they are done, they completed it within 1 minute of each other:)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Opening Doors

When Hank and I started our paperwork on Janie, we both felt that we were being obedient to God yet did not have any idea what he was going to do with this. Hank was really hopeful that God wanted him to be willing to say "yes" to him and would not make him go through it, kinda like Abraham and Isaac....I was a little skeptical of that:)! We both had the attitude of let's just see what doors he opens and closes. I have to say during this entire period not one door closed, only our own disbelief that it could be done got in the way.

When we first started working with our agency the worker in charge of our dossier called. We talked about the process and I shared with her what we were trying to do: I did already have a commitment from the head of waiting children, Stephanie, that she would help us ( thanks to sweet Diana). Well this worker was pretty skeptical to say the least, helpful but skeptical. I went for a walk after I got off the phone and was praying about it, I remember asking myself if I was crazy and I clearly heard "no". Seriously I thought I was losing my mind. I called my sister and shared it with her and she totally believed God was telling us to keep on we did. I have to say over the next few months when dealing with home study delays, USCIS delays ect, I kept going back to God telling me "no" you all are not crazy, keep on. I had to remind myself that He was in charge, we just had to keep moving with it. Needless to say that was the most stressful time.

Fast forward to Friday, August 26th. I got an email from Stephanie that "Llil" was going to be released on the shared list that Monday evening. I was scared to death but thankful we knew she was finally being released. And as God always does, we had just gotten our LID date the week before  so we were good to go.
I was a nervous wreck the evening of the release of the list. I begged God to not give her to us if it was not in his will even though I desperately wanted her. I knew that he knows what is best for us, I prayed for her family no matter who it was......and then it seems like a I waited forever. Hank went on to bed because he had surgeries the next morning, seriously how do men do that????:)  Stephanie called at  10:30 and said "We got her", I was so stunned and so very thankful. I had been so hopeful but did not know what God wanted, always wondered if he was using her to lead us to another child, but my heart always told me to wait on her.

Then the sleeplessness set in......her file was really scary and uncertain to me. I don't think I slept much at all because I was so worried that Hank would tell me we could not do it. I got out of bed at 4:30 and was so burdened and sad for how her life started and so uncertain of my feelings. I was walking out of the hall bathroom and I clearly heard "watch this miracle unfold before you". I just stood there and thought, did I just think that??? But I don't use words like unfold and I don't refer to myself as you. I felt like I was slowly losing it.

 Hank got up shortly after that and had read through her file. He was not really concerned about all I was concerned with and went into doctor mode and started calling the forces in to look at her file. I was terrified and he felt we did not have enough information yet. We had 72 hours to lock her file and I reached out to my blog buddies who have walked this before me and they helped me so very much! (thank you Diana and Jennifer). We had lots of doctors conversing and sending us opinions. I got an email from Diana and really thought that Hank would interpret it that Janie was urine incontinent, but his reaction was still, we don't have enough information to say that yet. By Thursday it came down to that we had no information telling us we could not do it, no doors closed yet. So we sent in our LOI. Janie has imperforate anus and one of the concerns we had was if she was urine continent and we could not get a straight answer on that yet. We knew that Cincinnati Childrens can help us with the bowel problems but could we handle a child that has to be catherized many times a day for urine for the rest of her life. So we waited on those answers over the past 3 weeks. About a week ago I had a peace come totally over me that God had it under control....he had brought us this far and was not going to stop now. I even told Hank that we were getting her and I wasn't worried, we could handle it. He just looked at me with this blank stare, still makes me laugh, I think I was a little too cocky!!

On Sunday evening September 18th I got an email from Diana telling me that Qingzhong " can control her urine. she doesn't leak urine.  She has postoperative formation of anus, postoperative repair of rectovaginal fistula. So she can not control of stool.  And her stool leak out very often. So she need use diaper." 

Well that was the best news ever. I had resigned myself to believing that we would not get a straight answer and were going to have to jump out there and go with it. So very thankful that God gave us a clear answer and Hank can now go get his little girl without even more medical worries than we already have. He knows way too much medically to be able to let that go, it is so much easier for those of us that don't know all that can possibly happen. I think in the end God blessed Hank for being willing and gave him the answer he needed to know before we travel to get her.

I want Janie to read this someday and know how much we loved her just from seeing those sweet eyes and how God lead us to her and saved her for us. It is a privilege to be a part of her story, to have front row seats watching what God wants to do with her life. Now I cannot wait to hold that sweet baby and watch how John David and Madeline interact with her. They have never wavered in their desire to have her as their sister. Allie, Gardner and Julianne all want to go to China with us so we are trying to figure it all out now. I NEVER in a million years thought I would have 6 children. As usual the joke is on me since I am the queen of never say never!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great Joy!

It is with great joy and thankfulness that we introduce our newest daughter and sister Lily Jane, soon to be called Janie by her new family!!

This is the first picture I ever saw of our girl. We started sponsoring her through Pearl River Outreach. Her eyes never let me go.  As as the saying goes the rest is history. God knew exactly what he was doing with her and in my heart when I first saw her. My heart has been burdened for orphans since we went to China in 2007 for Madeline. I think once God opens your eyes to orphans you are never the same. I had accepted that.  I prayed for orphans, we began sponsoring orphans.....I remember distinctly feeling "maybe I'll feel better now".  Well I didn't and I don't. I have come to realize through this journey to Janie that God does not want us to "feel better" , I think I will always be burdened for orphans! I know what God wanted with me on that day: to trust him, believe him and to be willing to serve him. 

Hank and I had not even talked about going to China again. We are 48 years old for heavens sake!! Hank reminded me of that again this morning:) Obviously God had other plans with our lives. We were both very content with our big family, Madeline has just started blossoming in her trust for others, kids are in school, we might get some time to ourselves....the list goes on. 

Well, here we are 9 months later now waiting on our LOA from China. God is so very good. Over these 9 months he has once again shown me that he can be trusted. This story may make some think I'm crazy which I'm pretty certain I am! I have had a few instances in my life where God spoke to me and afterward I just sat there and wondered" is this real, did that just happen?" The first time was back in 1993. Jeff and I had just left the neuro surgeon's office for a surgery consult. We had been told that he had a 50 percent chance of dying on the table during surgery due to a bleed. I had STRONG reservations about the surgery, Jeff not so much. We were driving along Poplar Avenue and he just started talking about how he did not think he could do it ect........... then it just happened.....I talked him into it, KNEW he had to have it. When the conversation was over, he was having the surgery and he NEVER wavered again. I NEVER again felt confident in the surgery. God made me talk him back into it. It was the strangest experience I have ever had until now. Every time I became paralyzed with fear over the surgery, I looked back to that day in the car and trusted God. Trusted that he knew best. Thankfully God never allowed Jeff to question again as we waited 6 weeks for his surgery date. After an 11 hour surgery that sweet man was able to live 7 more years, allowed to be a husband and father for more time than he was ever given medically. And for that I am thankful I listened, that I  believed  He wanted Jeff to have the surgery.

Well, here we are in 2011. The first week of the new year I wrestled with God over this sweet child. All the disbelief of , are we really to consider this???? I was walking down the hall to bed and clearly felt him saying, this is for Madeline. The realization that this was not about me and Hank hit me. This is about "Lili" (as she was called by Pearl River and now by us) and Madeline. Hank and I continued to talk, all the while he was thinking I had lost my mind:) . That week God started driving Hank crazy. He could not get away from it. He went to a veterianary meeting and what are they speaking about???? Not so much veterinary things as business and goals ect. The speaker asked them to think of what they have done in their lives that they are most proud of and fulfilled by. Hank's answer was Madeline:). On Sunday we are in our Sunday school class and our teacher is speaking on service ect. He goes on to speak about retirement and are we really supposed to put our hopes and dreams into an "easier" time in our retirement spoken of in the bible ect.....Hank leaned over and asked me if I had called our teacher...
We move on to the church service. Our pastor is speaking on what???? SERVICE.  He talks about putting ourselves in a place that is uncomfortable, uncertain, being willing to serve where God is leading you. Hank leans over again and asks did I call our pastor??
We filed our application with our agency that week.....

More tomorrow on the rest of the story.....
Facts about our sweet girl:

Her birthday is May 9, 2008
She was born in Changsha, Hunan
She is in foster care through Pearl River Outreach
She is the cutest thing I have ever seen!!

celebrating her birthday, last one without her family!

I have so many pictures with this expression on her face, she is so uncertain of strangers poor baby!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh How I Love This Child!

                                                         This is the "after" of our playtime with scissors:)

Look how great that left hand is working now:)

she makes me laugh

                                      I took these one day on my iphone when she was playing pre haircut
                                                                         She makes me smile!            

Sparkle the bear goes just about everywhere with her now!
Gotta go get another one soon :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Judgement......My soapbox

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?" Romans 2:1-3

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5

Today I was reading a friend's blog and someone anonymously, of course, wrote a hurtful comment about my friend. I was so sad and mad at the same time. As fellow mothers we should be lifting each other up, not pushing down. There are MANY verses in the bible about judgement, I guess so, since we all are privy to do so. I think I judged more in my younger years since life was hard and I just did not have the maturity to understand how futile and wrong it is to judge. It is so very easy to judge another when you are not in their shoes......easy to say you would not do that if you were them....I would never do that. Well I am the queen of never say never!!! I had my tubes tied at 28 years old because "I' was done, obviously God was not!! I was not  EVER going to drive a Suburban....haha...don't have one now but drove one for 10 years and loved every second of it!!

Those are all kind of young, funny things...... but what about getting married again less than a year after loosing your husband of 16 years to cancer....yeah I got some judgement on that one. My closest family and friends however were so very happy for me. Why?? Because they know me and know what a blessing and  a God given gift Hank is to our family!! Makes me teary thinking of that time and of him:) Yes it was a time of judgement that I chose not to see since I knew that I was where God would have me.... I knew he had handed me this wonderful man on a silver platter.... do I accept or pay attention to judgement. I chose to accept and and I am so very thankful that I did. My life  and my children's lives are much richer because I listened to God and accepted what he gave me.... I am thankful for that...... thankful that I did not care of others judgement.....thankful that God had matured me to listen to him........

Wow.....all that because someone judged a friend of mine!!!!
We can all learn from others how to be more Godly wives and mothers without judging. We all have decisions we need to make for our family and what is best for us....private, public, home schooling.....sports, recreational and competitive.....vegetarian, gluten free, junk:) children to 8.......when to start your children in preschool..........whatever it is, God gives us choices or decides for us..........our choice is that we listen to God or we listen to judgement..... I choose God every time!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011





After I calmed down and stopped saying over and over how I just could not believe she did it again, I asked her why??? Her response in a quiet, sad voice was, "because it's fun"
I did laugh then!!
ARGGGG her hair just got long enough to put in braids again!!!

In other news, still waiting on a few answers......God is so good!