Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adoption... one year later

One year ago today we officially embarked on this beautiful, miraculous,  life-changing, and sometimes challenging journey of adoption. A calling, to stand in the gap for orphans, led us down a road that has challenged our faith, tested our patience, stretched our endurance, and been one of the most joy-filled, rewarding experiences of our lives. And no, we have never had regrets. Doubts and fears? Yes. But we signed up for this as a team and we trusted our God would provide for us. He has abundantly supplied for all of our needs, and strengthened our love for each other, and Him, through the process.  People warned us that it would be hard, as if we hadn't thought of that. We really did expect it to be hard. I personally went into it scared. Determined, but scared.  We have watched some friends go through really really rough stuff with adopted kids. We hoped and prayed it wouldn't be that difficult, but we knew it might be. Just as we did with our biological kids, we opened our hearts to the unknown and knew God would be there through it all. His grace has been sufficient, and He has confirmed over and over again that He planned for little Ivy in our family.

Where are we today? We have worked through and resolved a lot of conflict. We have done a truckload of child training. We have strategized and re-strategized. We have cuddled, rocked, and sung lots of songs. We have prayed a ton. We have played and laughed . We have cried. (Some of us more than others)  We have slept not enough. Each family member has bonded in their own time and grown to dearly love Ivy Ruth. She is so perfect for our family.

Where is Ivy today? She's a remarkable one who can't wait to face each day full of joy. I wish I had a big dose of her optimism, bravery, resilience, intelligence, forgiving heart, eagerness to learn, and willingness to eat any healthy food presented to her.  (I'll take a set of her long, muscle-defined legs too) She is blossoming and maturing more each day. Orphanage behaviors and habits are falling away. Meltdowns are less frequent. She loves her family and her life so much. She's really some girl.

We face another year together with renewed hope and energy, more laughter, less tears, and peace in our hearts. Be certain, it's a sacrifice. Yes, sometimes I daydream about being on a cruise ship at this stage of life. But truly there is no where else I'd rather be. Our lives are rich and full, overwhelming at times, but blessed beyond my wildest dreams. We face another year with more faith, more resolve and more joy.

"Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting through, and adoption is one of them"
-Jen Hatmaker

And now..off to PF Changs for a celebration!

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, April 13, 2013

This time last year

One year ago today we were in China. I was a bundle of nerves about to meet our little Huanyue for the first time. I tried to relax and enjoy the sights and experience. But the emotions were running too high. I am so grateful that we were able to take our two youngest daughters along on the trip. Their lives were also forever changed. It's a sentimental time for me as I reflect on our one year "Gotcha Day" anniversary. I realize more all the time that I left a part of my heart in China.

Here's our scared little girl the first time we met her.

And here she is today .

What a difference one year makes. What a difference love makes. What a difference Christ makes.

"A life changed is worth it, even if only one. God's love made known is worth it, 
even if only to one." -- Katie Davis, Kisses From Katie

"No eye has seen, nor ear has heard
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared 
for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

....More to come on Gotcha Day Anniversary

Ni Hao Yall

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Catchin' Up

It's been a long while since I've blogged. The recent months brought some challenging times with my health. Barely getting out of bed for several weeks tends to make one re-evaluate how they spend their time when they are able to get out of bed. Blogging is not near the top of the list. I started writing here last year primarily as a way to record our adoption journey. I'm glad I did. As I go back and read the stories, I am surprised at how I forgot many of the details. My other motivation for writing is orphan advocacy. In consideration of whether or not to continue this blog, I prayed and came to the conclusion that yes, I will for now. My prayer is that people will be touched, and God will use this blog to motivate at least one person to rescue an orphan. That would make my heart very happy. 

We are finding it hard to believe that it was one year ago this month that we brought our Ivy home. I have a lot of posts written in my head. We'll see how that goes. So for now allow me to catch up a bit. The moments in this life I enjoy most are the simple ones..like these. Thank you to my family and some special friends for loving me through this challenging time and working extra hard to keep things goin' around here.

Rainy day card games are so much fun.

'Miss Little Creativity' made herself some fancy earrings with bobby pins.

Macy has been busy with sewing some spring skirts.

Ivy worked hard to help get the fruit off the trees before the freeze hit.
Our first crop of blood oranges were super yummy.

It's always someones birthday around here!

So thankful for help getting the garden planted. We are now starting to reap some of the harvest!

Lively visits from the 'cutie-patooties' are the best!

These dear friends came to visit recently. I was so excited to spend the evening with them. We used to hang out with Dave and Becky thirty years ago when we were both newlyweds. We had our oldest babies together in the 80's. Then fast forward to last year when we told our friends we were adopting a little girl from China. Some simply looked at us like we had lost our marbles. But not these friends. They were our faithful cheerleaders. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths. Psalm 36:5-6