Tuesday, July 31, 2018

One Year Today (The Video)

Thomas walked in the door tonight and a little girl named Hope started clapping.

She said, "Daddy!!!!  Hi Daddy!!!"

She has never put two words together before.  My mama heart may have just about burst.

She took longer than most realizing the beautiful joy of having a Daddy that loves you.

Today, one year after she met her very own Father, she spoke her first two words ever.

Hope~Glory/3 years         Grace~Victory/4 years
(Picture collage created by precious friend Chari)

Two precious gifts from God were carried out of a plane one year ago today, by Amy and I.

This seemed an appropriate time to share the video of their home coming (created by beautiful Megan, Amy's daughter).

If you hear that still small voice saying maybe your house can fit just one more....
If you feel that nudge, outside of yourself, that maybe you can love one more...
If your heart says it needs to get out of comfortable...and into the Heart of God....

your life will be forever changed.

God has so many different paths for all of us,  I know that.  I look at Grace and Hope though and realized just how privileged each and every one of us are to follow God.

If HE is Whispering...please listen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Prayers of Grace and Ultimate Victory (1 Year Home)

When I think back a year, I can almost see (when I close my eyes) God's power growing until I can't see the edges.  He's blinding.

Does that make sense?

Holding Grace~Victory in my arms is like a moment in time marking God's triumph as much a physical memorial stone.

Two years we fought to bring her home.   Through mountains and governments that seemed like immovable objects...

There were times which we thought we lost our daughter...BUT GOD.

Two years of full out war to bring her home...

It's now been a year since that victorious day.

Remember with us...


Monday, July 17th, 2017

I'm not even sure how to write this.  My heart feels like it's exploding.  

Two years...TWO YEARS I have longed for this day.  There won't be as many words in this post.  I just can't.  This is too real and precious.  It makes me think of the verse that said Mary treasured up these things in her heart.

At two o'clock we met our guide in the lobby.  Truthfully, it seemed like just another day and not real.  This day that we had waited for so long took on a dreamlike quality. 

In the van on the way to meet Grace~Victory.

We arrived knowing it would be a few minutes before we met Thomas and I's newest daughter and  we needed to organize and sign some papers first.

Our guide Ying (pronouced "Ing")

Three other families were there, two having met their children already.  We watched and witnessed one daddy and his two teen sons meet their new little girl.  There's nothing like it.

Within minutes we were told to get ready.  (Prepare for an ugly cry.)

It was time.  

(I can't describe this moment and will let the pictures speak for themselves.)


Hope and Grace weren't interested in each other at first. (I finally stopped crying for a bit at this point.)

 That quickly changed.

Wait, there were more tears in there.

We finally headed back to the hotel.  My heart was raw and I'm sure it could be seen on the outside of my body.

Our girls!!! I HAD OUR GIRLS!!!!

She wasn't sad, but very very tired.  We received
custody during her nap time (and Hope's).

Hope,is the precious little sister.
She is
such a character and a gift.

She couldn't stop looking at the picture of her Daddy.


Hope fell sound asleep on the floor next to me at around 6:00 pm (after no real nap). 

Grace fell asleep about a half an hour later.

Finally our two cribs are filled...with gifts from our Heavenly Father.

During these last two years some really rough stuff happened.  Yet God reiterated again and again that we were not look to the right or left, but follow Him.  Sometimes following Him doesn't have instant results.  It's not always easy.  Let me tell you this though, it is blessed. 


This victory is not ours.  THIS VICTORY IS GOD'S.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Day We Met ~ The Glory of Hope (1 Year)

I was terrified.  This little girl felt like a fish without bones when they first placed her in my arms.   Would she live?  What would she face?  There was NO doubt she was my daughter or I loved her, but I admit it.  One year to the day and I admit.  I was so scared.  I was scared that she was sicker than I could ever have imagined and I would lose her.

There are things we know now.  She was a crib baby, her head flattened by laying there day in and day out.  She cried for me (I now believe) that first day, because she may have been afraid she'd not be picked up again. 

But God....

Today is an emotional day for me, for several reasons.  Today is the day that Amy and I met Hope across the world. 

What would Thomas and I's lives have been without her?

She's changed, just a bit (chuckle), over the last year.  She's grown, her body AND her hair (see pictures below).  She crawls and has some muscle tone.  She drinks now (as of the last 8 weeks), not just out of a spoon (or us using a dropper), but a straw as well.  She's happy.  She's interactive.  She's (99.9% of the time) will always stop crying if I pick her up.  She spunky and stubborn.  She's a blessing.

She is our daughter.

Sister of twelve...daughter...aunt...granddaughter...niece...cousin...friend...

She's our Hope~Glory.

(Below is the blog that was written this day, across the world, one year ago.)

When Hope Came Home (Day 4)

July 12, 2017~When Hope Comes Home

We walked everywhere early in the day, first to exchange money for adoption fees and then to the grocery (very similar to a local Walmart) to get drinks for the room.  If people wonder why there is weight loss in a country of such wonderful (inexpensive) food, THIS is why....walking everywhere.

Side note: Our guide David is ahead of everything and had them take out everything from the minibar in our rooms so we weren't charged two million dollars.

As 2:00 pm crept closer the butterflies erupted again.  Really, the butterflies were doing a moonwalk all over my stomach.

As David called from the lobby, Amy and I gathered the few gifts we needed to bring today and headed down.

The drive over to the adoption office (about 45 minutes) was nerve racking for both of us.  We probably looked like we had ants in our pants.

Yes, you can see the nerves.

We did the only thing we could and distracted ourselves with the scenery.

The high heels and Chanel bag were fascinating to me.
We LOVED the color of her hair. (We are cool like that.  Chuckle)

By the time we got there and Amy learned why we pray when driving through traffic (wink), we found out they were already there.

David and one of the directors waiting on the bottom floor
before we went up.

 I was immediately handed our precious Hope~Glory.  

They told her I was her Mommy and she held out her hands to me and I took her in my arms for the first time... after a year of praying and working to bring her home.  

She was so sleepy and we "think" that maybe she had meds for motion sickness for travel from their hotel (they had arrived the night before).

Truthfully it just didn't seem real.  Her head was shaved (the heat) and she felt limp in my arms (like a rag doll).  

This was our daughter.


There were many many papers to sign and Hope quickly sacked out.

We were told by the director that she doesn't need a lot of attention and is easy.  We shared with her that Hope will get a TON of attention at our house anyway (smile).  I doubt she and Grace will be put down much.

This is our guide David, the nanny, the orphanage director, and the overall director.

 They needed us to wake her for the adoption registration picture.  It was a hard one to get as she leans her head way back to avoid contact if she's overwhelmed.  (You can see that in one of the pictures above.)  They needed to fully see her face.

Side note: Amy did a wonderful job capturing her sweet smile and personality.

Besides signing a million custody papers (adoption papers are tomorrow), they needed her footprint on the paperwork (above).

The heat started melting us all.  Hope and I were body to body much of the time.  She's a wiggle worm!

Though she doesn't have much muscle tone, she will gain it quickly.  She can sit on her own, but often starts rocking if she does.  She can also put weight on her legs while we are holding her.  It reminds me of about where our Isabella (my granddaughter) is about right now (though Isabella has more muscle tone).

When we made it back to our room, we fed, changed, and distracted her.  Clapping games and peek-a-boo had sweet smiles on her face.  She learns quickly and will make big strides once home.  The caregivers and directors were SO kind and they care for the kids, yet...there just are not enough hands.

We were told (as stated in the last blog post) that she only takes liquid by spoon.  She doesn't know how to suck.  I attempted a bottle and found she can suck a tiny bit, but has yet to "get it".  We appreciate prayer that she "gets it" quickly.  I will be getting out our medicine dropper to help get liquids in her tomorrow.  (We also add to food and such.)

Recognize one of the blankets Marie?  How about 
the other one Jennifer?  We brought 
both as we keep the room very cool.  

The longer we have her the more she shines. She has a long way to go, but she has a sweet personality.  She learns pretty quickly and of course we know she's brilliant.  We were told she doesn't talk, but makes noises (says "dada" when she's overwhelmed), but she DEFINITELY repeated the word mama for us a couple of times.

As shared earlier as well, she had heart surgery in her past.  This was new information to us, though we knew she had a heart issue. (CHD is what her file said.) We now await the mandarin medical files.  The precious director said she will email them to us so we can get them translated.

We found a scar down Hope's chest when changing her and a protruding bone under the skin.  Please pray no heart related issues come up, though she shows no sign of them.

Little Hope was so tired tonight, as well as her Mommy (and Amy).  I rocked her, sung to her, brought her to bed with me, and finally laid her down in her crib (thinking that it was the only way she may sleep since that's what she's used to).  She very quickly starting crying and reaching out to me.  I think she's afraid I will go away (mixed with unfamiliar surroundings).

Finally I put the carrier on which limited our little wiggle worm.  I wanted to at least introduce this blessing from God to the world of prayer warriors.  This is where she finally fell asleep.

I also wanted to really talk to my husband before I posted.

He got my "roller coaster".  I am praising God for having our Hope, but admit there is a part that mourns for what I see and what she went through without family.  The meeting day is full of elation, mourning, exhaustion, PRAISE, LOVE, and sadness.  So much emotion is rolled up into one brief moment of time.  It always is...and my husband/best friend is the one that gets that more than anything.

He heard his daughter for the first time on the phone.  In the morning we hope to Skype (it's the middle of the night right now) and prayerfully she will be able to meet her siblings.   (Oh how I miss the kids and they have been waiting for her!)  We have an earlyish morning and a long day tomorrow.  I look forward to getting her in a bath and in the sweet clothing so many gave.

God gave us Hope.  He gave us hope in his SON and now a little inkling of his beauty here on earth in our new daughter.

Thank you for your prayers friends and joining us in this adventure to Hope~Glory and Grace~Victory.  We do have immanent prayers below.  Hugs and much love from across the world!!!!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving

    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Psalm 100:4-5

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Ride (Part 2.5)

I wanted to get to this post a tad sooner, but I ended up with some very unexpected autoimmune stuff going on that took me off guard and laid me out.

The beginning of this week I spent in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with a precious little boy and an amazing doctor. 

Jacob and Timothy playing a game of frogs (a sweet gift).

As many of you may remember, Timothy's specialist in Arthrogryposis is located in Philly.  He's world renown and a complete gift from God.  Thanks to Miracle Flights and some forever friends (The Ceraso family) in New Jersey, we are able to do this.

As always, Dr. VB (nickname) is more thorough (and humble) than any doctor I have ever had the privilege of meeting. 

The Waiting Room #1

Very quickly he took one complete surgery off the table for tibial torsion (his left foot turning completely in) .  At this age, Timothy would most likely end up with multiple surgeries.  Instead we will be casting again.  We will have five casts (three in Philly, two at Scottish Rite) starting in August to turn his foot in.  We may do this again in the future until his bones solidify more (around ten). 

The Waiting Room #2

He looked at the x-rays of Timothy's hips and said that one looks beautiful and the other looks a little messy (just not as in the socket he created as he likes).  We aren't going to do anything about it at this point, just keep and eye on it.  Their MAY be a surgery sometime down the road.  There is no bone death though, so we did a big happy dance there (remember the sockets with donor bone were created).

Chillin' with a very special family in New Jersey.

Right now we are looking at Philadelphia casting in August & September and surgery (to remove plates and pins from his big surgery) in September as well.

So today I lay here writing Part 2.5 (since I'm didn't update on everyone) in a bed of pillows on the couch.  I'm very much taken care of by by husband and kiddos right now.  I know I am a blessed woman.

If you read the post titled "Lemons-An Intermission", please remember to pray for Jeremiah.

Also, Jack's birthday was this week (as well as Father's day, with the loss of John).  Please remember to pray for Amy, Nick, and Sam as they walk this seemingly impossible walk,  Next month will be equally as hard with the anniversary of Jack's death.  Please consider covering them in prayer through this time (and continually).


We've racked our brains of any way we can send our three to the mission trip in Eastern Europe.  Barring a very quick miracle, it's not possible. (It all stems from a tax issue.) This makes me a bit sick and sad.  One of my teens asked me if there was ANY way the other day.  There just isn't unless God intervenes.  We know He has a purpose, though there has been a few tears (mine..chuckle, but true).  I'm posting this link to our mission trip's "Go Fund Me" one more time, but know God's Will is paramount.  If He Wills them to go, they will. 

Please pray, IF it's God's Will, we see a way overnight (the trip is happening so soon).  


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