Wednesday, November 28, 2012


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!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Andrew Heads to Court

Last Wednesday, October 31, our family had a very special day. Derek took off work, and Derek's parents met us downtown at the courthouse. It was time for Andrew's "Recognition of Foreign Adoption".

First of all, Andrew was fully adopted in China and became a U.S. citizen when he stepped foot on U.S. soil. That was done. Complete. Good-to-go.

However, we wanted our state to officially "recognize" Andrew's adoption that was completed overseas so that he could receive a birth certificate from our state. This step is not necessary, but it makes life A WHOLE LOT EASIER for the remainder of his life in the United States. Thus, in so receiving a U.S. issued birth certificate, all his important Chinese paperwork would not have to be pulled out continually in the future--when he entered school, got a driver's license, went to college, got a new job.... The "Recognition of Foreign Adoption" preliminary paperwork allowed our state to have copies of all his important Chinese paperwork along with all the English translations, and from there, they did a full investigation. Upon completion of all their investigations, they have found that all Andrew's records are complete and accurate, so they in turn, they will now issue him a state birth certificate. This birth certificate will stand in place of all his previous records (as far as school, jobs, etc. is concerned). And, with that birth certificate, we will now be able to apply for a passport for him so that he can travel internationally with us.

This "Recognition" step just makes all the future steps MUCH EASIER! All his records are now stored in our state's computers so that--just like any child born in the U.S.--all he needs to show in the future is his state birth certificate and/or passport.

In addition, we only received three original Chinese birth certificates for Andrew, and that's all we will ever be able to obtain. So, if we didn't take this step and anything happened to his birth certificates (i.e. fire, flood, lost in a move, etc.), we'd have a lot of trouble--I don't even want to mentally go there....

So, with the investigation finished, we received an appointment and headed to court. After we swore before the judge that we would "never abandon, neglect, or mistreat Andrew"--as we had earlier at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, we had an opportunity to chat with the judge and get some pictures.

It turned out that Andrew's judge is the same judge Cherish's case had been assigned to =). Thus, we took pictures of Cherish with the judge on this special day as well, so that we could have memories as the children grow up.

Also, since there are so many family-law judges in this city, the judge told us to be sure to ask for her so she could be Hope's judge as well. How cool that she cares even about the "little things"!

And, by the way, on the way to court Derek played "Orphans of God" over and over again in the car as he drove us all downtown. He knew I'd be a crying mess--but quite happy. He was right! =)

At the courthouse:
Waiting for our turn with the judge:

Cherish in May 2008:
And, now:

Happy Pappy! =)
Waiting for official documents at the Family Law Department:

Afterwards, Pappy and Nanny treated us to lunch at a nearby
restaurant--which is at the top of the building.
The restaurant happened to have a view of our courthouse:

Then we had some family and a friend stop by:
(Thanks, sweet ladies!!)

And lastly, we celebrated Andrew's half-birthday.
Here's Cherish--always hugging and kissing Andrew.
Nanny makes half-birthday cakes:

Patiently waiting:
Cherish had picked out a gift for Andrew:
Look at Cherish's hand around him:
 I love how excited she is for him:
It's Percy!
A car from daddy:
Jonah's "big fish" from Pappy and Nanny:
And a handmade, crocheted blanket from Grandma
(which I, unfortunately, did not get a picture of
Andrew unwrapping).

We praise God for the wonderful gift of our precious son!
He has been chosen...
for life!