Friday, December 30, 2011

Gabriel's Birth: God's Miraculous Timing

We arrived at the hospital on time, noticing all the clean and fresh details of a facility that had only been open for 2 weeks.  Everything went as planned for the first hour, even though this aspect of preparing for delivery was all new to us.  At 6:30, my doctor checked on baby with a sonogram, and Gabriel had interestingly turned to breech.  (He had been transverse the day before.) 

The anesthesiologist then came in to give the epidural; he was finished by 6:45.  After I laid back down to await the upcoming procedure, the nurse began re-attaching the monitors.  At that point, she became very nervous and another nurse came in to assist.  They began turning me from side to side, saying the baby's heartrate had plummetted.  Everything went very quickly from that point.  I remember the nurse calling for my doctor and saying we would be having this c-section sooner than we thought. 

They rolled me down the hall, leaving Eric behind bc they weren't sure if the epidural would be effective enough so soon, thinking I might be put to sleep.  All this time, I remember begging the Lord to save Gabriel.  And the only verse I could recall was Philippians 4:7:

"Let your gentleness be made known to all men; the Lord is at hand."

"The Lord is at hand.  The Lord is at hand.  The Lord is at hand." 

Later, I remember the nurseanethesist asking me if I had been praying when they brought me in.  When I answered yes, (of course! what else could I do?!) she said, "I thought you must.  You were so calm."  That can only be the Lord's strength.

It was very scary.  The unknown of not having a full grasp on even how long Gabriel could survive.  Would they get him in time?  Thankfully, our doctor, who has now delivered all 7 of our bio babies, leaned around the drape and reassured me:  "Beck, everything is going to be OK." 

Eric was allowed in the room, and he sat down beside me just seconds before Dr. McK brought our precious baby boy into the world, snatching him from his perilous condition.  Gabriel Isaiah Hixon was born.  At 7:09 AM.  All in God's perfect timing. 

Had we been at home, we would have never known of his circumstance.  We would not have realized that he had finally turned again to vertex but compressed his cord.  We would not have known until we realized he was no longer moving.  It is overwhelming even now to consider what might have been. 

And if I had had my own way, I would never have been there for a scheduled c-section.  But my own "wisdom" is mere foolishness to God.  He can be trusted.  Even in that hallway that seemed so, so long between the pre-op and the operating room, my mind was trying to tell my heart that no matter what God did, no matter what He had written for our lives, it would be OK. 

I'm just so thankful that His "OK," his providence, included Gabriel's quick rescue and safe delivery.  We don't deserve one safe delivery, much less seven, and definitely not nine amazing blessings. 

The Lord is most assuredly at hand.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Introducing the Hixon 2011 1/2 Model. . . .


Gabriel Isaiah Hixon
December 2011
9 lbs. 10 oz.
22 inches


We are so thankful for little Gabriel and for the fact that the Lord would be gracious to us and bless us with this precious child.  He is God's handiwork and a testimony of God's timing from beginning to end of this pregnancy. 

As some of you may know, I discovered the news that I was expecting this little gift while we were in China receiving our other 2011 blessings (April of this year).  Yes, I was overwhelmed and wondering how I would ever do a pregnancy well while I was helping Jonathan and Josiah adjust and attach.  Yet, in our weakness, God is strong.  And throughout the past 8 months, I have seen time and time again how man's wisdom cannot compare to God's.

The majority of the pregnancy was uneventful and even easier than some in the past.  I never felt like it was interfering with the bonding process or adjustment period after the adoptions.  It wasn't until the last 2 months that I began to feel the toll of the pg and never really felt the "miserable stage."  (just really close ;)  All of this I attribute to God's grace.

The last few weeks proved a little more interesting bc Gabriel seemed to be fickle about which way he would turn.  This turned out to be bc of an excess amount of amniotic fluid.  Several factors resulted in our scheduling a c-section.  This would be a first for me, and my attitude was not shining about it.  But God always has a plan.

We woke up early to be at the hospital by 5:30 AM; the c-section was scheduled for 7:45.  Bc of my anxiety over the whole ordeal, I knew I should read Philippians 4:6 before leaving for the hospital.  I read it over and over, making sure I knew it by heart.  ;)  It was then I noticed Philippians 4:5:

"Let your gentleness be made known to all men; the Lord is at hand."

Now this was very convicting to me.  I knew my lack of trust in the Lord's plan was a very poor testimony, and this verse chastised me, showing me it made a mockery of the Lord's name to say I had faith but to not really trust Him in this, too.

I did not realize how much I would need this verse just 2 hours later. . . . . . . .

It's Me Again, Margaret

I know.  I have been a terrible blogger.  And it has been a terrible time to neglect a blog when the Lord has done so many wonderful things in our family's lives.  So I will try to catch up just a bit. . . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Little Setback

Ok, I will say it felt like a huge setback.  However, everything is a matter of perspective.

Tuesday Jonathan's dressing fell off in a public restroom, only to reveal that his incision had significantly opened.  Mmmmmm. . .not nice.  It was larger than a quarter, maybe half-dollar size.

Before I panicked, I pulled out the extra dressing supplies in my purse, rewrapped it, and fumbled for the doctor's number on my phone.

Now the reason we were in a public restroom is bc we were at Josiah's doctor appointment--a plastic surgeon (more details on this later).  I explained our predicament to the receptionist; she was very understanding and said she would get us right back (so we could see him and then get on to Jonathan's dr). 

Now a plastic surgeon could have been helpful in this situation, but I never got to meet him.  After waiting an hour and a half and never seeing even the shadow of this dr, I packed up the 8 kids and our stuff and left.  :/

Jonathan's doctor took us right in.  He looked at it and said it would have to be repaired in the OR. 

So Wednesday we were there at 6 AM.  The procedure went well.  Evidently, the skin that had been pulled over the knee did not survive.  The doctor had to trim away a good bit of dead tissue, and the wound could not be stitched back together.  They applied a wound vac which should accelerate the healing.

The doctor said he needed to change the wound vac in the OR bc it will be painful enough that he needs to be asleep again.  I think the total time with a wound vac should be around 2 weeks. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan is a bit stationary.  :)  The doctor discouraged walker use or other active movement at least until Monday.  Mama is discouraging most mobility.  ;)  Jonathan gets carried everywhere and gets to watch a lot of movies. 

Goal for the weekend?  No more setbacks. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Since We Have Been Home

Just a little update.

I am so pleased and even surprised at how well Jonathan has been doing these past few days at home.

We are able to go longer between pain medicine, and he does his therapy exercises without complaint. (I won't tell you how they wear me out. ;)

Using the walker and doing things that require balancing on one leg are our challenges, but we keep pluggin' away.

This morning dear hubby and the big kids have gone to church, so Jonathan and I are sitting on the deck enjoying the mild weather and watching Faith play with Josiah and Micah in the yard.

So thankful!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jonathan's Progress in Pics


Last knee stroll before surgery


Lovin' his Thomas the Train sticker--about to go to surgery


"Now just how do I get this thing off?"



Therapy is not easy.



"I could get used to these wheels--too bad they are not #1 priority. . . ."


Jonathan's day has been very up and down.  It seems to take a lot of medicine to keep
his pain managed.  We're praying tomorrow will be more promising, especially as everyone seems
so anxious to send him home.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Post-op

Jonathan is resting.

The surgery went very well, and we are so thankful!

It must have gotten rough in recovery bc they came and got me saying, "He really wants his mommy."

(As an adoptive mommy, I do not take that for granted! Praising the Lord for positive attachment! But I can't imagine the fear of waking up in a strange, sterile room with strange adults.)

He had a rough 3-4 hours of pain and probably anesthesia issues. But for the past 2 hours, he has seemed somewhat more comfortable. Thanks to another dose of morphine and some benedryl, he is now napping peacefully.

Not sure he has really grasped what has happened today.

I think he will have a little physical therapy tomorrow.

Praising the Lord for His help today!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preparing for Surgery

Tomorrow is Jonathan's big day.


Tomorrow is the first hard step toward his prosthetic leg.

We have to be at the hospital in the morning at 6 AM for Jonathan's knee disarticulation.  The doctor will be removing his right leg from the knee down.

We are so excited for Jonathan's future and the promising potential of his soon walking--probably before Christmas.

But I have to admit that it is a bit (or a lot) nervewrecking as we try to imagine what to expect in the next few days and weeks for Jonathan.

How will this loss affect him?  Will he be able to comprehend the big picture?  Even the little picture?


All we know is that we love him. . . .and that God loves him even more.  And our trust is in Him.




Will you please pray for Jonathan???

Friday, September 23, 2011

Matching Fund for Ferrill Adoption

I know many of you have a heart for adoption.

And I know many of you know the Ferrill family.

If not, you are missing a blessing! :)

Laine is one of my "real life" friends, and we have known their sweet family since we each had two kiddos. She and her family now have 8 precious blessings,with two more waiting in China.

The Ferrills have adopted 4 children from China and have stepped out on faith to bring home their newest son and daughter. They are about a month or so from travel and are lacking about $15,000.

The Lord has allowed our church to offer the Ferrills a $5000 matching grant in hopes of helping them bring home their babies.

If you feel led to give to the Ferrills' adoption costs, your $10 can turn into $20 or your $50 can turn into $100!

And your donation would be tax-deductible!

You can bless this family and live out James 1:27 yet again by sending a check to

New Covenant Baptist Church
PO Box 4
Oneonta, AL 35121

Be sure to include on the memo "Adoption Fund."

I cannot wait to see how the Lord raises the funds for these two babies to come home to their family! I know from our experience that He LOVES adoption!

Let's see how we as the body of Christ can get involved and partner with the Ferrills to bring these babies home!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let the Chips Fall Where They May

I love being a wife and a mommy.

It is truly the most rewarding roles and experiences of my life. 

More rewarding than college achievements.
More rewarding than teaching 150 children in a 7th grade classroom.
Better than traveling to Europe, Canada, Bahamas, and China.
Greater treasure than even ministering in orphanages and teaching the Bible to impoverished women in a 3rd world country.

Yet, hands down, I believe it to be the hardest.  (Do I have a witness? :)

There is nothing easy about serving others from sunup (or before) til long after sundown. 

It just doesn't agree with my flesh.  I mean, sometimes my flesh just screams against it.

I remember just a few weeks after we had returned from China.  I think I was still trying to shake off jetlag or something (just how long does that excuse work anyway?), or maybe it was that first trimester fatigue.  Or could it have been 3 very little and active boys?  I don't know, but I was exhausted.

And I remember lying back across my bed shortly after breakfast and saying to the Lord, "Really, Lord?  Do I have to die to myself AGAIN?"

For about 60 seconds, I thought that I just could not do it.  No more.  Nada. 

But I felt a response as clear as day coming from His Word that I had hidden in my heart:  Yes, you do.  You must die daily.

"Then he said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it'" (Luke 9:23).

"I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31).

Some days are easier than others to die to self.  But I want to look back on these years as helpmeet and mommy and know that I gave it my all. 

"Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all" (Philippians 2:17).

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand" (2 Timothy 4:6).

I don't want to give a little.  And while I may not be a "seasoned" mama yet (I don't know, when do we qualify as seasoned or veterans?  when we get wounded?  lol), I know enough to realize that giving just a little will never. ever. do. 

I must be poured out like a drink offering. 

Give when it is inconvenient.

Give when it hurts.

Give when you would much, much rather receive.

And let the potter chip off a little--or a lot--at a time.

Cause while I am being poured out like a drink offering, I know that my earthen vessel that is pouring this drink is very, very imperfect.

But the potter is still using me.  Gracious enough to even allow me to offer up any drinks at all.

And meanwhile, chip.  Chip.  Chip.

That's what He does.  Provides the grace.  Provides the faith.  Even provides the drink.

And as I offer, He chips.  Chips.  Chips.

Making me into something I could never do on my own.  Showing me that even though I go to bed tonight with the drink completely poured out, He will fill it back up again in the morning with beautiful new mercies.

Proving over and over that He *is* faithful.  That, yes, He can carry me through losing a parent, adopting 2 children, a seemingly unorganized move, and a God-timed pregnancy in such a way that it can only be His grace.

Chip.  Chip.  Chip.

Keep pouring.  Keep pouring.  Keep pouring.

They are worth it.  And He sustains.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Still Here. . .;)

OK, so I know it has been a long time!  I have become a backslidden blogger!  And I have been seriously considering repenting.  But that would require one more thing to think about, wouldn't it? 

God has been ever so faithful this past month or so, faithful in so many ways.  As I update you, I will relay God's goodness.

First, we celebrated Micah's 2nd birthday.  (what???)  He has been my Sweet Potato since before he was born, and we all just can't get enough of him!  He always has us giggling and wondering what he will think of next.




Once he turned the big T-W-O, we decided he needed to lose the pappy. 
So this little accessory. . . .


. . . .is now a thing of the past!



We have new chicks!



We've been busy with school. . . . .




And at least one fun field trip!




And celebrated Mary Grace's 10th birthday!!!!


Isn't she beautiful? 
And she's just as perty on the inside! :)


And though I haven't scanned his sonogram picture to prove it to you,
we have learned that Baby Sweet Pea is a little boy! 

Maybe he will get a "real" name before December, but I'm sure
Sweet Pea could serve him well. ;-)


Jonathan and Josiah have been home for 3 months!
Josiah is doing remarkably well.  He fits right in and seems very happy.


It is amazing how adjusted he seems.  He just clicks right along


like he has always been here!

He loves to explore and thrives off learning.  He is learning the
language so well that I am now spelling things I don't want him
to hear, lol!


He minds well and enjoys new experiences.

When I consider how well he has adjusted and how he
tries to and does fit into the groove so well, I can only
attribute it to the grace of God. 



Jonathan is also learning a lot and making a good deal of progress.
He has and is making great strides in the language, attachment,
and even some life skills.  


Jonathan has a lot of challenges ahead of him.  What we had once
considered the toughest challenge, his leg deformity, will be one of
the easiest to "fix."  (He is having surgery the first week of October on his leg
to prepare for a prosthesis.)

It is some of the recently discovered issues that won't have a "fix."

You see, we knew before going to China that Jonathan was "behind" the
other children in the orphanage.  The day we received him we realized he had significant
delays.  We had estimated that he might be 2 years delayed.
(The developmentalist confirmed he is developmentally
about 20-24 months.)



Since coming home and visiting quite a few specialists, we have
learned that Jonathan has a rare syndrome:  Syndrome XQ23 (plus about 10 more letters and numbers).
It is so rare, the geneticist has never seen it. . . .and says there is no literature written about it.
He's supposed to be getting back to us. . . . .

We have also learned that Jonathan has schitzencephaly, or a cleft in his brain.  This, along with the syndrome, causes significant delays. 

If I think about it all for too long, it is a little overwhelming.  The unknown is tough.

But we are encouraged by what we see in Jonathan.  He has made such remarkable
progress in the past 3 months, it is hard to be discouraged.

I mean, while it took him a month to call Daddy "Daddy" instead of "Mama,"
he did learn.

And he is already graduated from a pull-up to underwear.

And he is no longer terrified of American toilets. :)

And while the orphanage said he could say "a few simple words,"
he is now saying a few 3-word sentences in English!


 And one of his favorite things to say is "thank you, Mommy."
Which really makes my day.  :0)

So here again, I am seeing the grace of God.  I see His grace
in Jonathan's life and in his progress.  And I see it in how He
is equipping me to take each day,
one
at
a
 time.

There's really no sense in fretting over
whether Jonathan will ever live independently
or even if he will learn to read.

God has had Jonathan's life planned out from before
the foundation of the world.

I'm just glad He planned for me to be his Mommy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What We've Been Up to the Past Few Weeks. . . .

Of course, we are settling into a new normal.  Somehow that is dotted with quite a few specialist appointments. 

Hoping this is not the "for real" and long-term normal. . .but if it is, then so be it.  :)

In the past few weeks, we have enjoyed celebrating our oldest son's 13th birthday!


Note that I said "celebrated."  We try to make a big deal of the big 13, inviting lots of family and friends.  We also believe it is signficant bc by this age, we hope to be seeing the transition from childhood to young adulthood.  However, Benjamin's birthday was in March.  :0)  Due to some major events in our lives in March and April, we postponed  his celebration time until May.  But I think it was worth it!




Our older three children played in their piano recital.  This was their first recital with their new teacher, and I was very pleased.  We are so thankful they have an opportunity to learn a musical instrument for the potential of serving the Lord with their aquiring knowledge and skill.

We also added a new friend to the farm. . . . .


Meet Bonnie!



Evidently, our farmhands don't have a dresscode.



Our children participate in a science co-op for local homeschoolers, so we always love the end-of-the-year program.




Our older two were in my government co-op class ;) and gave speeches on the Constitution.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera out when they were speaking. :(

Of course, it's not all farmwork and schoolwork around here. . . .sometimes it's just some plain ol' fun.


z


And I will leave you with some plain ol' cute. . . . . .




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Home a Month (or so;)

We have actually been home 5 1/2 weeks.  It seems like we have only just begun (wonder why? lol), and yet, China seems like a time so far away.

We are especially pleased with how the boys are adjusting.  It is truly going better than I ever expected.

Now, of course, everything is not easy, but I think we were trying to prepare ourselves for anything and everything and are now so pleasantly surprised.

Of course, it is most likely the Lord's amazing grace on us and our precious boys.  His mercies *are* new every morning.  ;)

I have written more specific updates on each boy at their website:  http://www.jonathanandjosiah.com/

Sorry, just too tired to write more here.  But you gotta love links!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Attachment Progress

Oh, the dilemmas of what to share.

How much should I keep to myself in the name of privacy? How much to share in the spirit of keeping it real?

Anyone who has adopted or is close to someone who has knows and understands the issues behind attachment and bonding in adoption.

It is very real and very key to the child's adjustment and even future relationships.

This is why we have tried to be very careful with their interaction with others outside our home.

I feed them.
I bathe them.
I dress them.
I gift them.
I reward them.
I "potty" them.
I rock them.
And I (and hubby) hold them.

*I* am trying to teach them that I am different.
I am not just a mama.
I am the mama.
I will always be here.
I will always be safe.
I can always be trusted.

Jonathan loves to be held by me. He loves to be rocked by me. He loves to curl up in my lap, suck his little thumb, and have his back rubbed.

He loves to rub my hair, give me kisses, and call me mama.

But he would do the same to you.

Or the elderly lady on the street. I promise. It has happened. :)

So we have a long way to go with him.

But that is ok. We will go that long way.  He is worth it.

Josiah is a little different. You see, he seems to have had a wonderful, caring foster family before he came to our family. He knew love. He knew a "mama" who helped him learn what a family is like.

Josiah seems to understand, as much as he can, that we are his. He understands that I am the mama. But his affection towards me has been very slow.

Very, very slow.

I mean, he wants me to feed him. He wants me to help him. He even prefers my assistance in the bathroom. (go figure) And he cries for me when he gets hurt. And he when goes to bed, he wants me right there.

But physical affection? Not so much.

I can count on some good holding time when he wakes up and when I wrap him up in a towel after bathtime.  Or when he gets a boo boo.  Other than that?  He manages to wiggle down and find something else to do. 

So imagine my delight when tonight, after I helped him get his very favorite footie pajamas on, he spontaneously threw his little arms around my neck and gave me his first Josiah-initiated, spontaneous neck hug! 

Thank you, Lord.  We are making progress.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Details for Sonia

LOL!

Well, I'm in China, and I realize something is amiss.

So I think, "maybe I am just stressed. Maybe I just need more sleep."

A week later in China, suddenly the breakfast buffets don't seem so yummy. And the Pearl River cruise makes me even queezier than it makes Jonathan.

And the return flight home through 4 airports pushing a stroller and carrying a 22 month old in an Ergo seems really, really tough. ;)

So the first morning we are home and hubby can't sleep and is making a run to Walmart.

And I say, "How bout picking up a little test while you're there."

(pick hubby off the floor)

And the rest is history. :)

True story. (except the part about hubby on the floor ;)

Post-jetlag? We are very excited!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Mother's Day......

feels extra special.

I have much for which to be thankful.

Actually, I ALWAYS have much for which to be thankful; the list could go on and on.....

But today I am especially thankful for all my children.

The 6 the Lord gave through the miracle of birth.

The 2 the Lord very recently gave us through the miracle of adoption.

And the one on the way. ;)

(This time no papercuts.......)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God's Glory Evident in the Lives of Tornado Victims

I've been a bit quiet this week.  Obviously, we are in "re-entry" mode, somewhere between "survival" and glimpses of our "new normal." 
However, I will unfortunately always remember our boys' first week home as marked by our state's tornado destruction.

Our family, personally, received very little backlash from the storms.  We were without power for less than 24 hours.   We never lost water or phone lines and were able to offer our water and showers to friends nearby who did. 

Sadly, though, we have dear friends who were affected much worse by Wednesday's deadly tornadoes. 

About 5 or 6 years ago, one of my closest friends, Robin, began taking me to a monthly Bible study led by Kelly Crawford (www.generationcedar.com) and Kathy Broddock (www.teachinggoodthings.com).  The things I learned and the women I met changed my life. 

I remember meeting Sherry Lee.  She was expecting her 13th child, and I thought that made her an official "supermom."  Maybe "the" supermom.  I was only to learn that it wasn't the number of kids she had that made her so special.  It was the gentle and quiet way that she mothered and directed and disciplined and taught them.  As I observed her children, I realized how the fruit of our parenting shows up in our children's lives.  I was making mental notes and soaking in all I could.

I realized that these ladies met together with their husbands and families every Sunday night in the same little cabin (just next to the Lee's home) for a (family-integrated) Bible study.  My husband began to take us, and the studies and the leader and the families made such a big impact on our lives.  My husband was so impressed with Sherry's husband, Tom Lee, and has used him as an example in sermons countless times as an example of a godly husband/father who was committed to leading his family in the faith.

I am sorry to share that the Lee family was tragically devastated by one of Alabama's deadly tornadoes.  The same F5 that plowed through Tuscaloosa and lifted up at the edge of Birmingham but touched down before ravaging the Lee's and the Crawford's and the Boyd's little community.

The Lees' home collapsed upon them, trapping them for hours.  Several of their 13 children were injured, and Mr. Lee was killed.

Below is an interview with the Lees' oldest son.  God is definitely glorified through this family.
 


Also affected by the storm were the Crawfords.  This family is another testimony of the Lord's grace and goodness, even in the midst of great trial. 


The Boyds are another precious Christian family who live very close to the Lees and Crawfords and saw and experienced the power and destruction of the F5 tornado, yet testify of God's faithfulness and love.



These families are fine examples of persevering through trials.  They definitely need our prayers, but I think, also, our admiration.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finding our Groove

We are home, and things are going well!  (or at least in my mind :)  It is so nice to be able to relax and take the time to get to know the two precious jewels the Lord has allowed us to love and parent. 

They both seem very happy (most of the time).  They seem very comfortable in the home, thrive off of playing with their new siblings, and can't get enough of the yard and the outdoors.

The jetlag has been a little mean, so it has not been too hard to enjoy the downtime and slowing down to love on these sweeties and help them transition to our family, the family structure, and the family rules.

We haven't started back to the school yet.  In a way, I look forward to getting into that new normal, and in a way I dread the extra responsibilities. ;-)  But I know it will definitely help give everyone the routine to which they are accustomed.  Our summer break is about to end. ;-)

Tomorrow we will be taking Jonathan to the International Adoption Clinic.(that is assuming we aren't blown off course by the predicted bad weather) I believe it will be a big asset to us as we try to learn everything we can about this precious son.  They both have orthopedic appointments later in May.

I expect to continue journaling on their website; I hope to have it made into a keepsake book after a year.  www.jonathanandjosiah.com

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Preparing for Travel

These past few days have been a whirlwind of preparations in anticipation of going to get our sons!

We definitely leave Thursday morning for the very looooooong trip to Ch*na (which includes 4 airports).  As of today, 70% of us are packed and ready to go.  I won't mention who is included in the 30%.  ;-)

Tomorrow we should have our itinerary for in-country.  We have a good idea of what it will look like, and it should be another whirlwind since we will be receiving both boys in different cities the first week!  This will be crazy, but the bright side is that it will help keep our costs down in several different ways.

Ch*na blocks blogger, so this tends to make blogging a bit difficult while there. ;-)  There are a few alternatives, and one that I had planned to try seems to have given a few adoptive families trouble lately.  So we will be updating and journaling daily (maybe, hopefully, lol) through our new baby jellybeans website. 

You can read about our Journey to Jonathan and Josiah at http://www.jonathanandjosiah.com/.  We hope you will follow along!

(And, yes, I am going public with my children's names.  Might as well be transparent here, all in the spirit of keepin' it real. ;-)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TA!

Wow!! A lot can change in just a few hours!

Learned this morning that our Travel Approval came, and our flights are being finalized for next Thursday, April 7!!! Our consulate appointment in Guangzhou is Thursday, April 21. We will return the night before Easter.

Gotta run! Much to do!

We're going to China!!!!!!!

Still here.......

In more ways than one......;)

Life has been extremely busy these past few weeks.

Between the grief of losing a parent, the work and emotional load of organizing and sorting their lifelong belongings, and the anticipation of adoption and travel to China, I think I'm living in the "margins" of my life right now.

We are working beyond what we would normally *think* are our time and energy limitations in hopes that when we return home with our precious darlings perhaps it will be calm, normal (what's that?)or at least a new normal, and stable around here.

God is so faithful and teaching me to live day by day, sometimes hour by hour ;).

We have enjoyed celebrating a few things around here, such as Bigger Brother turning 13, Zheng Zheng turning 4, and Little Sister losing a top tooth.

We were so blessed again by our sweet friends at church as they gave us a baby/adoption shower. These dears have been unbelievable in their show of love throughout our many fundraisers, their support after Daddy's passing, and then with this fun and very helpful shower.  We are blessed beyond belief with a church that values children and their arrival, whether the child is your first, your tenth, by the miracle of birth, or by the miracle of adoption.

In adoption news, we have now been waiting two weeks for travel approval. Hopefully, we will be getting a call soon!  We are waiting in hopeful anticipation to see how the Lord continues to write our story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Article 5 #2!

Today Hai Hai's Article 5 was picked up!  Now we are officially waiting for Travel Approval!  Woo hoo!  We're coming for you soon, sweet sons!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Specks of Light in the Darkness

Grief is hard.  There is no way around it.  The sadness that weighs my heart is heavy.

But God's grace is always sufficient.  And He is faithful.  Maybe soon I will be able to share how His grace has sustained me in these hard days, but right now I am still walking through it.

I do want to testify of His amazing hand in our adoption journey.

As many of you know, we have been counting on the Lord to move mountains as we prepare to bring not just one precious boy home but two precious boys home.  For we started this process a year ago with about half of what it takes to complete one adoption.  The Lord has taken the insufficient amount that we had and multiplied it in His sufficiency to complete not just one adoption. . .but two!

In the past week or so, we have received a $500 donation, a $1000 grant, and our tax refund! :-)

God has moved the mountains for both our boys!  What a testimony the Lord is building in our sons.  And He has used many of you to write the story.  When I look in their faces I will always be reminded of His faithfulness and of your love and compassion.

To God be the glory.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Seeing Through the Glass Dimly

Today was a very bad day for my family. My daddy died.



Today was a very good day for my daddy. His faith became sight.

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). 

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Friend's Online Auction

Shonni over at Nations Around Our Table is holding a Bao Xinu auction! ("Bao Xinu" means "precious children.")

Shonni and her family are bringing home 2 sweet darlin's and are holding this auction to raise the funds needed for a double adoption.

Hop on over there and see the great frame her son built for this auction! You will love it! And just think, you will be making a difference in the lives of TWO orphans, who will soon be ORPHANS NO MORE!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cabeled Again!

We are so thrilled and thankful that Hai Hai's paperwork has been cabeled by the National Visa Center to the American Consulate in Guangzhou, Ch*na!

Once step closer and just 2 more steps to go!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More on Trough Cleaning

So messy houses remind us to be thankful for the oxen.

Right?

"Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox" (Proverbs 14:4).

But do I need to be doing it all alone?

Think about the latter part of this verse.

And consider another Proverb:

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when his old he wil not depart from it" (22:6).

As we train our children in the right ways, which I believe include the spiritual ways AND the practical ways, we eventually see the "much increase comes by the strength of the ox."

When Big Sister was about 7 years old, I finally awoke to the fact that I was doing her a major disservice by only requiring her to pick up her toys and make up her bed. She was capable of so much more and could contribute to the team in many ways, if only I would take the time to teach and train her.

We started small, but it did not take long to realize how much a child could accomplish, given the chance and the instruction.

It is such a blessing now to see that she can do ANY TASK IN OUR HOME if and when needed. From baking and cooking to washing and ironing to cleaning and childcare, she is able to jump in and handle it, even if it is not her normal chore, because at sometime or another, she has been trained to do it and given the opportunity to practice it.

Bigger Brother is just as capable and often accomplishes some of these tasks better than I do!

The other children are still being trained in several "job opportunities" and still need. . .ahem. . .more practice before promotion. :0) Some showing more promising signs of moving up the ranks than others. . . .but I digress. . .

Imagine the benefits of intentional life skills training. How many of you had to call home to ask Mom about every little thing after you were married? I know I did. Seems like everytime I turned on the stove, I was picking up the phone!

I hope it will also instill in them a strong work ethic, a sense of "do it right, do it light; do it wrong, do it long" (as hubby says, lol), and hopefully help them to strive towards diligence and responsibility.

And praying for servant-hearts to be moulded in the process. . .

What about you? How has this played out in your home?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reflecting on a Clean Trough

Several weeks ago, I was bemoaning the neverending cycle of messy house-clean the house-messy house again.

I mean. . .why can't a clean house stay that way for just a little bit?

I thought of my many household projects that were yet to be done and wondered how I would ever squeeze them in between school, supper, and sunrise.

Then the very next day, I came across God's wisdom on the matter:

"Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox" (Proverbs 14:4).

Wow. God very clearly says it all in just a few short words.

Sure, if my home were just a house. . .with no precious babies in it. . .it would probably stay clean for a while.

But with the mountain of laundry and the many meals and the multitude of toys, books, and games come a mountain of joy, many smiles, and a multitude of laughter, fun, and memories.

And with the blink of an eye, they will be gone. If how fast they are growing now is any indication.



So I will keep cleaning the trough but not worry when it doesn't stay clean.

Cause that just means my house is not yet empty.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rumor Confirmed!

The rumor has been elevated to a confirmed status!

I was so thrilled to receive a short little email from the immigration officer today saying Hai Hai's application received the provisional approval we had been waiting on and that it was sent (I like that form of the verb: "sent"--instead of "to be sent", lol) via USPS.



So, I guess I'll be stalking the mail-lady now. ;-)

We're comin', boys, as soon as we can!

Rumor Has It. . . .

that Hai Hai's 800 application was approved yesterday.

Oh, I am ever so hopeful!

If you hear a Dukes of Hazzard-like yell coming from my part of Alabama, you'll know I found it in my mailbox. ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

An Article 5 Valentine!

Seventeen years ago on Valentine's Day I received a diamond ring and a proposal.

This Valentine's Day we received an Article 5!!!

We are praising the Lord that Zheng Zheng's Article 5 was picked up today, the last little stop before Travel Approval. It will be sent to the C*AA in Beijing to await Travel Approval, which normally takes 2-3 weeks from this point. :0)

Where, oh where is Hai Hai's paperwork, you may ask. Ahhhh. . . the question of the month.

Well, I learned today from my 357th phone call to immigration that his 800 application is "in the system" and "in the building!" So it has made it out of the mysterious and autonomous Texas lockbox and found its way to the Missouri office. Where it might be "in the building," who knows. Unfortunately, it hasn't made it to our immigration officer's desk. Hmmmmmm. . . . Anybody out there in Missouri want to go walk it over to the appropriate desk for me? ;0)

If I sound disgruntled, maybe it's your imagination. Or not. . .;-) You see, not only are 2 of my babies waiting on us halfway around the world, but one of them is going to have a birthday next month. And I really want to have them in my arms by then. . . . .

Anyhoo,. . .I keep trying to remind myself of all the wonderful lessons we have learned about God's perfect timing and resting in the Lord's sovereignty. To be honest, some days I find this easy, and other days, not so much.

Like my husband said a few months ago, we definitely have our LID (Lessons in Discipline ;-).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Interruptions

Wow. This week has been full of them.

It is so interesting that a week like this has come after I noticed a small point in Sunday's sermon that mentioned the way Christ dealt with interruptions.

It seems when Jesus was teaching or ministering, there were often interruptions. Yet, He always used these interruptions as teaching opportunities.

The instance mentioned Sunday was in Mark 3:31 when Jesus was teaching to a multitude. His mother and brothers sent someone to Him, interrupting Him. Instead of becoming frustrated at their ignorance and lack of understanding His ministry and work, Christ used it as an opportunity: "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother" (Mark 3:35).

Remember when Jesus was teaching, and people brought their little children to Him? The disciples saw it as a major interruption and rebuked those who brought them. But the Lord was displeased with the disciples and used the little interruption as another teaching opportunity: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14).

I am reminded to keep it all in perspective when interruptions come my way. It is so easy to become task-oriented when mothering a large brood ;-), and especially in these last weeks of preparing to travel to China, I find myself more and more check-list driven.

So knowing that Christ never let a teaching opportunity slip him by, and remembering how when "He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them. . ." (Matthew 9:36), I am praying He will help me seize every opportunity to teach, love, and show compassion to my little "multitude." :0)