Thursday, December 27, 2012

Marriage of 19 years and Our First Day With Jael a Year Ago

I've been told that not everyone realized what was written on the van in back of this picture.  My husband does stuff like this regularly. 

Our 19th anniversary is today. 

Getting married around Christmas, what were we thinking?!  We weren't (laughing), because truthfully it was NEVER about the wedding, but the marriage.  Would we have eloped? Yup, if our family and friends would have joined us. 

We were away at college and didn't even plan our wedding, except maybe our colors and choosing the music.  Was our wedding beautiful and were we thankful for all the effort, money, and planning?  Absolutely, but it wasn't about that.

I married my best friend and we just wanted to be married. 

He was and is my fairy tale.  Life hasn't always been easy, and we have (brief moments in time) wanted to throttle each other.  We have had harder and easier years...but there has ALWAYS been tremendous friendship and love.

I was sitting down answering questions of one of my teens the other day.  They asked about our relationship.  "How did you and dad handle "it"?

Our relationship has always been based first on God.  I can think of one EXTREMELY hard time, but not once did "we" feel in jeopardy. 

The key for us...

#1 through #8,357,265:

 God is the foundation of our relationship.  HE is in control.  Thomas loves God MUCH more than he loves me.  I love God MUCH more than I love my husband.  It HAS to be that way...always.  If not, a person can become an idol.  When they fall (as we all do...we mess up BIG TIME) everything falls down around us.  With God as the infallible get the drift.

It makes me think of the following verse.

 "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26

Happy Anniversary honey!!!!  Thank you for filling my life with laughter, just remember I'm laughing with you, not at you.  (Bwahahahahaaaa)

December is now filled with even more memories.  Today (a year ago), in China, was our first real day with Jael.  It was simply easy to love her.

Below, we walk down memory lane....again.

December 27th,2011~ Nanning, China

Though this day is tinted with worry of Jael AoJing, it was also a day I was greatly blessed. Happy Anniversary sweetheart. I am privileged to know and be married to you.

There’s more though.

Today was also the day Jael, by Chinese standards, would legally become our daughter and that Thomas would meet Jael (via Skype) for the first time.

We rose early to go to breakfast and Skype home. Jael doesn’t eat many things, but eats well. She loves fruit, veggies, and hard low sugar cookies that your find commonly around here…but not much else. That’s a battle we aren’t going to pick right now.

On the way upstairs we met another adoptive family heading to the elevator. They looked tired…weary. It is often such a battle for our little ones. Their daughter looked to be about eight. She was mourning and they were having to fight to get her anywhere. The parents said, “Look at that little girl, she’s not crying”. Truthfully, I understood the weariness, but I understood even more the mourning. The little girl had lost her foster family. The only family she had ever known. I think I’d have been kicking, screaming, and so much more if someone took me away from my family of eight years…sigh. It’s trauma no matter how we look at it. Often, we parents take on some of that trauma ourselves while we help our children to heal. It’s not always pretty, but the battle is always worth it.

When we got to the room we sat down to Skype and, as usual, found such peace in seeing our family. Jael pointed at the screen and said “Baba” when Thomas came on. She calls me “Mama”, but we do believe at this point, though God has prepared her, she views us as her caretakers and “safe”…which is a wonderful place to start.

She met her brothers, sisters, and Uncle at home as well. Thomas is in love. I have to say that daddy meeting his children for the first time is one of my FAVORITE things ever. It’s a time I always cherish.


We headed off to appointments. I didn’t realize that her nanny and orphanage director would be at the first appointment. I knew we may be in for another bout of heartbreak, but knew it was necessary.

When Jael saw her nanny she smiled and waved, but clung to my arms. She didn’t want her. She wanted me. This in itself was such a huge step. God had chosen her as our daughter. It was now her choosing us…awesome!


We exchanged gifts and now it was off to the next appointment.

At this next interview a question was asked. She asked if we were “satisfied” with our daughter. My answer was, “Oh Yes!”

My thought was this…
“A child is not to be satisfied with or not satisfied with. Our child is our child. If God had to be satisfied with my behavior all the time, I would be in trouble. My bad behavior doesn’t make me any less HIS child. Jael is our daughter and NOTHING can change that. Though she has been sweet and loving, it is the blood of our Savior, not blood that runs through human veins, that makes us family…forever.”

Yep, my thoughts ran on a little longer than my actual words. I know it’s part of the ceremony/tradition…yet (in case anyone doubts) this is our daughter….our grafted in, fully beating as a part of us, daughter
.On the way home we swung by Wal-Mart. Yes, even here….

We really just went to get necessities…orange juice, water, chicken feet (ok, maybe not).

It was so different. It is the same contrast that we witnessed in Russia. Such ancient beauty, modernism, and something that’s hard to put a finger on. They had computers, and modern conveniences, but wrote up and added most by hand.

There are mopeds/scooters (and traffic) everywhere, yet often you see hand woven cages tied to the back to hold chickens (thinking of you, Amber...laughing). We're thinking the police officer in the picture below needs to get hazard pay.


This is a five star hotel and the lobby is stunning. Huge restaurants and shops fill it, yet the rooms are not as comparable to the Holiday Inn.

These are in no way criticisms, just me trying to get a pulse and understand.

The people here are so kind. Their laughter genuine (and let me tell you, we probably deserve to be laughed at…smile). Yet everyone seems rushed and often worried about perfection. Sometimes they can seem like they really don’t like you with their brisk manner. It was hard feeling that, but I have found that I don’t believe it’s dislike (I choose to believe that), but cultural.

It’s crowded and bumps are the norm.

The traffic is much like Russia and Ethiopia (minus the goats and donkeys). You find yourself closing your eyes occasionally. I think I’ve become more immune….didn’t even flinch…lol. People do not have the right away here and I must say that makes me nervous.

The pollution is high. We cannot see the blue sky at all. We think that is contributing to our illness most likely.
We love seeing Mandarin on all the buildings. It’s like art. I wish I could reproduce the beauty.

We found that superstition still has a hold here. Jael’s little string and stone necklace was a necklace to protect her…safety. We will treasure and keep it, but snipped it off tonight. God has our daughter safer than any necklace does.

This is a pulse hard to understand, but we are trying. We want to share truth and beauty with our daughter as she grows.


Please continue to keep Jonathan and our current journey in your prayers.  He is very much on our hearts.  The master of lies is throwing fear at us all over the place.  Much of the time we have our shield up and it doesn't hit, but occasionally....

Our Personal Requests...
Please Pray....

*…..For Jonathan, our son we are pursuing in an Eastern European mental institution.... that God’s sustains him and touches hearts around him. That he dreams of us and God prepares him to attach and heal, even beyond what is expected.

*….against satan’s attacks. They have already started.  Please specifically pray against not only physical attacks, but ESPECIALLY for our children as satan knows attacks against our kids are some of the most painful. Please pray our children, entire family, and EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS BOTH HERE AND INTERNATIONALLY are completely protected and against ALL emotional and physical attacks.

*Please pray blessings on this process. That all papers are correct, medicals are wonderful, and evaluations (psychological) go great….and for blessing and speed that can only come from God.
*Please pray God uses this journey to touch hearts around the world and to ignite a new fire for orphans.

*Please pray for the strongholds of satan to be shattered in our lives; that we have strength, self-control, motivation, peace, and clarity to overcome.

*Please pray for the funds to come in to completely cover this adoption.  We KNOW God has this, but also know the blessing of prayer.
*For my husband’s professional life…that he may bring glory to God.

*Please pray for wellness, peace for our family, and for hope to reign.

Prayers for others:

*PLEASE PRAY FOR RUSSIAN ADOPTION.  All that is left to ban adoptions in Russia by U.S. citizens is for President Putin to sign.  It is looking like that is his plan.  PLEASE PRAY HIS PLAN CHANGES!!!!
*Please pray for Selah, whose stroller (with her brother) rolled into the Erie Canal. Her brother is completely recovered and no longer in the hospital, but Selah (they are currently saying) doesn't have activity above the brain stem. Please join us in storming Heaven for a miracle (8/17/12). Please also pray for peace that passes understanding for her family. (Update 10/4/12: Selah has recently shown dislike for things being done which is an above the brain stem function. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY!!!!)

*Please pray for Amelia (previously Liliana) who has come home fighting for her life. She has suffered from severe neglect and is 12 years old and only 12 lbs. She is doing well, but needs continued prayers.

*Please pray for Tommy, a 15 year old in Eastern Europe. He is very special needs and his family is trying to get to him. Please pray that God sustains him and prepares his heart as his family fights to free him from the "prison" he has lived in for so long.

*Please pray for Eden, a little blessing from Ethiopia, who has a life threatening disorder.

*Please pray for Rex and Joey's families as they both went into the arms of Jesus recently after a long bout with cancer. Please also pray for Henry, another child of God, who joined our Creator recently as well.
*Please continue to pray for Daniel, Ruby, Wes, Jeremiah, Selah, and especially little Katie and Carrington. These little ones came into their families with health difficulties. A few were caused by severe situations of neglect or malnourishment (or both).

*Please pray for our friends the “K” family who is struggling with attachment and other situations.

*Rolando and Julia (Guatemala-It has been over SEVEN years.) AND Junior and Diamoh (Liberia) to be able to finally come home to their families and that these countries open to legitimate adoptions. (Update on Rolando and Julie 10/4/12: THEY ARE HOME!!!!)

*Eliz and her family as their three new boys, who have suffered severe neglect, transition into her family.
*Please pray for Gena (and family) and their teen son. Please pray for him to come to know CHRIST.

*Please pray for Jill and her family for money to be returned that is owed them. Also, please pray for a grant/financing as they need for their current journey (as well as for a smooth and blessed journey).

*Please pray for our friends, the Clute family, whose father has Cancer. There is no cure, but treatment that can prolong his life. Please petition for his dad...

*Please pray for the "S", "P", and "D" families. All three families have members of their families fighting for their lives against drug addiction.


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