Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mei Mei turns 4!

Sweet Mei Mei,

You have been home from China for 8 days. It seems unfair to have your birthday party when you aren't even over jet lag yet. We didn't want to overwhelm you with a big family birthday party. It was a quiet event compared to our usual birthdays around here. Next year you will love the attention of your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. 

You weren't sure what to think when we sang Happy Birthday and had you blow out your candle. When it was time to open presents, you decided that this birthday thing was alright! You knew exactly what to do with your lip gloss and your tea and coffee sets. 

My precious daughter, you amaze me. You have every reason to distrust us. Instead, you came to us with open arms. You were ready to be restored to a family. You have only been with your Daddy and me for 20 days yet your disposition is clear. You are gentle and kind. You are quick with a smile and a giggle. You are brave. I cannot wait to get to know you more. There is so much to look forward to.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful princess!
Your Mommy

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pop and My Heavenly Father

Our trip to China was emotional to say the least. We were following God's calling to the other side of the world. We were desperately missing our six children at home while beginning a brand new relationship with our daughter. We were overjoyed to finally have her in our arms, all the while we were deeply aware of the loss she was experiencing.

The night before we began our long journey home, we received this message from Pop.

It spoke peace into our night.

It spoke strength into our weakness.

"We are praying for your endurance to complete the critical task you are called to complete. While it is heavy and painful, our God has ordained it and he never abandons what He has ordained. Take heart and lift your head, almighty God is your assurance and sustainer.  He is working on your behalf as we speak. He is ahead of you working and prompting people you will encounter on your behalf.  Exhausted but not down trodden, weary but sustained by the grace and power of God. Finish the mission Precious Ones."

On the last leg of our journey home we hit a snag. It was possible that we wouldn't make it home that night. I was exhausted and overcome with emotion.

Pop called.

"I just want to be home." I said and burst into tears.

"Oh sweetie, I know." He said.

We made it home that night. Praise God!

Before I got in the van to head home with my family, I stopped to hug Pop.

He looked at me with pride.

He said, "It is over. You did it. You got her here. You completed the mission."

"It was so hard." I said.

"I know." He said. "But you did it!"

I want to be the kind of woman who hears the voice of God.

I want to say yes to the missions he has for me.

I want to be brave and strong.

I want to have full confidence that He will see me through it.

I want to run to His arms when my mission in this world is complete.

I want to hear Him tell me, "Well done my daughter. I am proud of you. I know it was hard but you did it!"

I have been given a glimpse of what this will feel like.

Oh what a gift I have been given.

A picture of my Heavenly Father right here.

Right here on earth in the arms of my Dad.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Airport Reunion

Oh how I longed for this moment.

The moment when all my children would be together.

The moment when we would start our lives as a family of nine.

While we were in China we tried to focus on bonding with Mei Me.

I am so grateful we had that time to get to know her.

Being away from the other children was hard on my heart.

I was always near tears when we spoke of them.

I remember one day, EJ asked me if I wanted to do a video call with the kids.

I welled up with tears and shook my head no.

I could record videos and send it to them but I could not hold it together if I saw their faces.

I am just made to be with them. 

God has equipped me for this life. 

It is where I belong.

This the face of a woman who is home.

EJ and I were surviving on about 1 hour of sleep and sweet Mei Mei had only slept about 3 hours. We were delirious. She was such a doll even in her sleep deprived state. She was overwhelmed by all the new people but she had seen pictures of them and she knew they were hers.

The support we receive from our family makes all the difference. I have said multiple times that without their willingness to step in we could not follow hard after this mission the Lord has given us.

They say, "What can we do?" "How can we help?" and then they do it. 

Love in action.

I am eternally grateful.

Our first photo as a family of nine. 

Headed home to begin the rest of our lives together.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Saying Goodbye to her Orphanage

Mei Mei was in Sunshine Academy at Dongguan Social Welfare Institute. There are orphans as well as elderly people and those with special needs unable to care for themselves. The orphanage was 1 1/2 hours away from where we were staying in Guangzhou . We had our guide tell Mei Mei that we were going to the orphanage to say goodbye to her friends and nannies. She told her that mama and baba would stay with her the whole time and she would leave with us. She looked away and promptly fell asleep in my arms for the rest of the drive. 

When we arrived, we were greeted warmly. We went upstairs to her classroom and her friends shouted in excitement, "Mei Mei! Mei Mei!" (They actually called her by her Chinese name) One little one said that her hair was beautiful. One little one called EJ "Uncle". Another little one pointed to me and said, "Mei Mei's Mama!" Mei Mei was in my carrier but I felt she was okay to get down and greet her friends. 

She got to have snack time with her friends while we watched the little class eat and drink. She was the star of the show. The class had 3 boys and 7 girls. Her best friend in the class is being adopted soon by another family using our agency. I am so excited to say that we are in contact. It will be a special connection for the girls when they are older. Mei Mei says her friend's name frequently. She asks to see the pictures of them together. (We were not allowed to take pictures of the children. In fact, the staff member who gave us the tour took pictures with our camera since she knew what could be photographed.)

We said goodbye and then toured some more of the orphanage. Miss Mei Mei led the way. We stopped in a room that had special needs little ones. A tiny little child (unsure of gender...they cut their hair short and they all wear uniforms) just stole my heart. This little one was a premature baby and was now a tiny almost 2 year old. I held his little hand and rubbed his back. He soaked up the attention and held my hand tight.  When it was time for us to leave he welled up with tears and so did I.  Oh precious little one, there is room for you. If only we could bring you home too!

We are extremely thankful that we were able to tour her orphanage. We want to be able to give her as much information as we can about her life before she came home. We thank God for those who cared for her over the past two years.