Monday, December 31, 2012

Additional December Memories

Our girl turned 6!
  


















And, our boy received a box from the Chapmans
and Maria's Big House of Hope.



With most importantly, a CD of pictures! Here are some:

May 2010


 August 2010

 February 2011



 March 2011
(I'm can't keep this one from flipping.)





July 2011


 August 2011


What a treasure that CD is!
What a wonderful gift!

****

 December has been so special,
and as we look forward to welcoming in a new year,
we are excited and ready...
to bring Hope home!

 God bless you all,
and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

This Christmas season and time of celebration was an extra-special one for our family. It was the first time in 13 years of marriage that Derek and I stayed home. We spent the entire time at our house and kept things simple.

On December 4th, Cherish decided to memorize Luke 2:1-20 as her surprise Christmas gift for her daddy. Therefore, every weekday while Derek was at work we studied the passage. Cherish would read the verses, and then we would listen to the passage several times throughout the day (from a CD). Thus, we were soaked in the true message and meaning of Christmas. It. was. wonderful! And, Cherish had the passage memorized by December 21st!

In addition, for Andrew, we read from My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas by Dr. Mary Manz Simon each night. Each day is a continuation of the Christmas story with an activity or a portion of the story to act out. Andrew (and the rest of us) thoroughly enjoyed acting out the story, and we also used a child-friendly nativity set along with the story.

One evening, Andrew made Joseph, the shepherds,
and the sheep bow down to baby Jesus.
And then, he did.

On December 17th (Cherish's "Gotcha Day" Anniversary), Cherish became a "new creation". She entered into God's family. Reborn. Made new. Adopted, once again. But nothing can compare to the awesomeness of being adopted into God's family! And, as this one kindergartner describes it, she became "different".

On Christmas Eve we were able to attend our church's worship service, and Andrew and Cherish each got to sing in their children's choir. (Andrew was too little amongst the preschoolers to be able to get a picture.)


After the service and dinner, the children got into their pajamas, robes, and slippers, and we all went caroling in our neighborhood. We had so much fun! We laughed so hard!

On Christmas morning, the four of us exchanged gifts. Then, in the afternoon, Mom, Jen, Pedro, Sebastian, Paul, Becky, Kyle, and Hunter came for a meal. We were blessed to have such sweet company!

On Christmas night, Derek and I stayed up and watched "The Nativity Story". It was our first Christmas movie of the entire season. It was the perfect ending to a month focused on Jesus.

This December was one of my favorites. It was a month full of quiet reflections and times of pondering many sweet and precious memories in my heart.

Christmas.
It's all because of Jesus.
The most awesome gift to the world!
Thank. You. God!
What a wonderful Savior!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sibling Love

These two are constantly loving on each other!


They give me "aww" moments daily!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Andrew's "Gotcha Day" Anniversary

We have been so blessed to have Andrew in our family! We have been continually awed by the vast amounts of joy, love, and laughter we have experienced this past year!

We have been blessed beyond comprehension!


We love you so much, Andrew!
Happy 1st "Gotcha Day" Anniversary!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cherish's "Gotcha Day" Anniversary

Well, today I cried and hugged Cherish again and again.
and again.
and again.

I can't believe it has been 5 years since Cherish was placed into our arms.

Derek and I have been blessed beyond words!

video

Happy "Gotcha Day" Anniversary, Sweetheart!
You are a blessing from God!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving

You may have noticed my long delay in writing a post. My heart has been thankful and heavy at the same time. Conflicted, really. Thus, I've been silent in prayer.

Last Sunday my church family had a praise night to offer up thanks to God for that which He has done over the past year. I had so much to share, but I needed to narrow the praises down for the sake of time. Thus, I wrote a testimony before the praise night to read to the body of believers.

Here is the testimony I shared (slightly edited):
I want to offer up thanks for all that has transpired this past year. Since last Thanksgiving, my family and I were able to adopt a little boy--who is amazing!
When we reached Ch*na, Derek and I promptly blew the fuse in Cherish's nebulizer. Due to her--at the time--severe asthma, she was on two preventatives a day (one of those needing the nebulizer to dispense), Albuterol, and her inhaler. We were on our first day in Ch*na, and Cherish had no nebulizer--thus no Albuterol or preventative. A dangerous situation--especially since she normally catches every illness that comes her way and due to the incredibly dense smog we were headed into. But, God! When illness hit the other children of the adopting families, Cherish. never. got. sick! Not only that, but NOT ONCE did Cherish have the slightest wheeze or cough during the whole time she was in Ch*na. This was a miracle of God! An answer to many prayers.
The day we received Andrew, he was so sick and frail, that the first night he stopped breathing twice (from choking on the phlegm from his bronchitis). The following four days Andrew was in the outpatient hospital, and he and I strongly bonded.
When we all returned home from Ch*na, the bonding greatly increased--as we were house-bound for about  months due to a number of contagious illnesses that kept hitting us. Through the hard times came a family so tightly knit, that to this day, Derek and I continue to marvel. The bonding process was truly beautiful.
After being home a few months, I ended up becoming very ill. The ER doctor thought I had spinal meningitis, but the spinal tap showed negative. Thus, he dug further. Before I left the hospital and transferred to a disease-specialty clinic I was told that the x-rays showed I had Hepatitis in my liver. The Clinic would investigate to find out which Hepatitis it was.
At the time I was too sick to even drive Cherish to her preschool--which was only two miles from our house. Graciously, George and Carileen (my in-laws) drove Cherish to school 5 days a week, 36 miles a day! With Derek and George's help I got to the Clinic where numerous tests were performed.
The Saturday evening before Palm Sunday, Carileen called me to tell me to plan to go to church if at all possible. She would stay at my house with Andrew--who was still house-bound.

Palm Sunday morning the pain in my abdomen was so intense that I almost passed out three times before leaving the house. Derek brought me to church and during the sermon, our pastor asked if anyone needed prayer for healing. Though he had never done so before, he asked that anyone who needed prayer to please stand. I stood up with Derek.
WHILE our pastor was praying for Jesus to heal, the constant, agonizing pain in my liver stopped. STOPPED! I leaned over during the prayer and told Derek.

During the next twenty-four hours after the prayer, symptom after symptom of the liver disease disappeared--including the hardened portion of my liver which by Monday morning had become soft. I had an appointment at the disease clinic that day, and the moment the doctor saw me, he said I wasn't the same person he had been seeing. He was right. Change had occurred. Healing had come. A miracle had been wrought.

And, as he drilled me, no I had had no medications and no treatments of any kind. It was pure healing.

I have been tested twice since seeing the doctor that day, and both times the results showed my diseased liver had indeed become a healthy liver.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is from eternity past to eternity future. He is the same Jesus Who did miracles two thousand years ago as He is today. And, today, He still chooses to heal and to make well--not because of who we are or because of what we've done, but because He chooses to heal for His own reasons. To Him be all the Glory!
The next day the pastor e-mailed me to ask if I'd be willing to share the healing part of the testimony again the following Sunday morning. (His sermon was on Acts 8-9, and he was wanting to show that God still heals today as He did in the early church.)

During the week (last week) leading up to Sunday, my heart was in agony. I had read of a lady who went to Ch*na to adopt a little boy, and the day after "Adoption Day" (the third day the boy was in her arms), her son died from heart failure. Then, last week, a family who had just returned from Ch*na found out their little boy is terminal and inoperable. Also, my friend's daughter is on a heart transplant list and has not yet been called. So many sicknesses. So many children dying of diseases. Yet, for some reason--which I don't know--God chose to heal me.

Who. am. I??? Let me tell ya: a nobody!! I don't deserve healing. I don't deserve anything. But, God. For His own reasons chose to heal and to bestow grace upon me.

Grace! What a word! So, instead of being quiet out of feeling guilty that I was healed while others suffer, I will post this in praise and thankfulness to Him.

"Thank You, Jesus, for choosing to be gracious to Your undeserving servant!"

And, as I pray for the orphans and children around the world who are suffering from illness, I will remember that God cares for each of them too. He loves them amazingly more than anyone could ever fathom. He cares and sees their every need.

God is good. He is sovereign and trustworthy.

And, He is gracious. To Him be all the glory!

Monday, November 12, 2012

5 years ago today...

we saw our daughter's face for the first time.
We were in awe.
We were in love.
We were in awe.
Actually, we were in shock. We had to keep reminding ourselves to breathe--shock can do that to ya, ya know.

There before us on our computer screen was the daughter we had prayed so long for. We had already named her Cherish and were praying for her by name.

On that day, written on the computer screen was, "Name: Mei Ai Mei, Translated: Love/Cherish Rose." We cried. We knew she was the daughter God had planned for us, but the confirmation blew us away!

So, 5 years ago today we saw this face:

And, still today, Cherish can take our breaths away.
 
We love you, sweet Cherish Rose!
Daddy and I still cannot believe we get to be your parents.
We are the ones who are truly blessed!
We love you!
xoxoxo!