Friday, April 18, 2014

Empty Beds

It's been a whirlwind since we've been home.  

First came a sort of medical triage, as a number of unexpected medical issues for both children had to be treated quickly.  

At first, it was simply one appointment after another...until they all started to blend together.  

To make a long story short, both kids are headed to Dupont Nemours Hospital in Delaware to be evaluated for surgical needs and receive other treatments.  

We know this is the right path, because it has become clear that these kids need the best specialists in the country after spending their lifetimes in cribs without any medical treatment.  We will do everything we can to make this right for both of them.

As we push through the sleep studies and other steps on the way to Dupont, we are watching as our children slowly come to life...

This sweet boy loves his Mama, 

and his favorite thing to do is climb all over me.  

We aren't sure how much he can hear, and he has no language at this point, but he communicates quite well using one finger.  

I fetch whatever he points at and am pretty much his puppet, 
which he loves.  

I'm head over heels for this kid.  

I always have been.  

How blessed we are that God vetoed our plan to "only adopt one" this time around.  What a treasure we would have missed...our beautiful boy.

As for Haven, 
she loves her new family so much.
Especially her Mimi.

You see,
Mimi understands adoption better than any of us do.

She remembers everything.

So they are best friends...

Like Tigger and Pooh.

Haven recently lost two front teeth.  

We have no idea where one of them went, 
but we are certain that Mimi had 
something to do with it.  

Haven loves her dog, George.

And she naps on the floor, 
so she doesn't miss anything. 

We are back to school now, 
and after a few curriculum modifications and changes...

all six of them are officially a class together!

Lilly schools in the afternoon during naps.

 In the morning preschool sessions, she serves as my helper - 
she is such a good sport!

I am totally impressed with Haven - 

she is able to master new skills quickly.  

I can tell that she knows she is playing catch up, 

and that she is absolutely determined 
to learn to do everything that Lilly can do.  

Aaron's progress is nothing short of 


Of course, while I am very happy with his rapid improvement in movement, crawling, walking, and putting together small puzzles and games...  

I am just rejoicing 
over the joy he has found in this family.

On a weekend that symbolizes Resurrection and Redemption, 

I have to revel in these images...

Of my children...

Redeemed into our family.  

And while the journey has been long 

(and not at all what we imagined for our family 
when we got married ten years ago),

He has given us Joy along the way, 
and has refreshed our hearts with Living Water
over and over again.

And all the while... 

The story of our own Redemption
 is being repeated before our eyes.

As a little girl finds Home

And a little boy 

is brought back to life.

Happy Holy Week.

We rejoice in Empty Tombs 

and Empty Beds...

"Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, 
who was crucified.  

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.  

Come and see the place where He lay..."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Airport Pictures and Video

Six years ago, I gave birth to my first child - my sweet Lilly.  She was everything I had waited for my whole life.  

I had no idea that on that day, while I held Lilly in my arms for the first time, oblivious to the world around me, that another daughter had already been waiting for me for 6 months...and would continue to wait for another 6 years.  

Today, it was my turn to wait.

Surrounded by friends and family while holding half of my children, my knees trembled beneath me as I felt the weight of our future riding in this moment.  

Would she understand why I didn't come for her?  That I couldn't come for her?  Not just last month, but last year, or the one before? 

And my would I tell him that this is forever?  And that this is better than propped bottles and shoveled-in rice and wet sheets and lying in silence, when those things are what he thinks "life" is - and all he knows of "comfort"?

Every day, I am living this story of my own faith.  I am these children.  I will never forget how He fought for me.

As I stood there watching other passengers run into the arms of waiting family, I knew this was a preview of things to come - of the day that I would run towards my Beloved Savior.

And suddenly, there she was...running towards me.  

She broke free from the crowd and ran as fast as she could towards me, 
and she yelled one word...


She grabbed onto my neck, 
kissed my cheek, 

and smelled my hair as if she was checking to see 
if I was really real...

And just like that, after almost 7 years of disappointment and waiting, 
she whispered into my ear,

"Wo a ni, Mama."  

"I love you, too," I said.  "Forever."    

And forever begins.

And all I can do is thank Jesus for choosing me 
so that I could choose her.

I told her in Mandarin that I loved her, 
that I had been waiting for her, and she already knew.  

As I turned to my Aaron, he decided he had had enough 
of the changes in his world, and the crying began.  

As I tried to win him from Becky's arms, 
I wondered how long I would have to fight for this child's trust.

The moment I held him, I knew I would fight for the rest of my life for him, if that is what it took.

(Luckily, it only took one night of sleeping on my chest...
He is officially a "Mama's boy".)  

Before we headed home, we spent some time watching as Haven introduced herself to her siblings and new friends.  

As I watched her light up the whole airport terminal with her personality, I just kept thinking what a privilege I had been given on this day - to be her Mother.

And as she introduced me to my own friends at the airport 
as her "Mama" over and over again, 

I realized that God had been preparing this child's heart for my spot in her life before I ever knew she existed.   

Much as He had prepared my heart, before I ever cared that He had died for me, He had pursued me, that He had loved me from the Beginning...

You see, our lives have always been 
the story of scandalous, undeserved Grace.

Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you for loving me first.  

Thank you for choosing me over and over again, 
even when I don't always choose You.  

Thank you for giving me this Family, 
these children, 

and the kind of friend who would 
drop everything to stand in my place...

To bring my children Home to me. 

Thank you for supporting us, praying for us, and reading our story so far. 

Video Link:
Video by Moving Memories:

Watermarked pictures 
(and all of the good ones on this blog) 
by Christina Rose at:

Christina Rose Photography