Friday, March 29, 2013

One Week Home!

I can hardly believe we've been home a full week!  Khloie is doing incredibly well.  She is repeating words, gradually eating more and more table food, and she's decided Mama is a rockstar!

Hair compliments of Kambry...

 Kasidi Joy is taking on the role of big sister very well, for the most part.  Yesterday she melted down big, which is to be expected, considering the major changes in her world as well.

I wish we could stay down a little more, but with a houseful of people, there are some things we just can't eliminate.  So...we've had some other big goings on this week.

Kennah-bug had another tube surgery.  She and Daddy left at 3:30 this morning and are on their way home.

Kenzie would say this is the biggest thing of the week ~ passing her driving test in the Beast yesterday!  It was certainly huge for me, leaving the house before 8 am with 3 toddlers, 2 teens, practice parallel parking in the lot, sitting at DMV for 3 hours, bringing Kenzie back for her license, then back to town for major grocery shopping with said toddlers. 

So proud of you, Kenzie!

And speaking of eating, we have a new Chick-Fila
 fan in the family!  Girlfriend can eat many new foods now as we gradually introduce them.  She is learning to chew and swallow.

So much goodness this week.  And best of all, we celebrate our resurrected Savior!!!!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Are You Ready...

...when God calls?

God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am."
Exodus 3:4

I find myself waiting for God to call me to the big stuff, but too many times I miss the small things.  Although both my husband and I have a dream and desire to serve the Lord in a very specific way, we need to be in a constant right relationship with Him so we don't miss HIS plans.  I wish I could say I'm always on the right path...but that's not so!  I'm so very human.  I've missed so many chances to be the hands and feet of Jesus in everyday life.  The Lord and I are working on that :)

Today my heart is so full!  Clayton and I have been reflecting on the last 8 months, and we still can't believe all that God has done.  Please understand this is not a post about us.  It's not about anything we have done.  This is all about HIM!  If it were about me, I'd have nothing to say.

Eight months ago, I was seeking the Lord.  I admit, I was pleading with Him about the desire He's placed in my heart to serve Him in another land.  Ever since I surrendered to Jesus 11 years ago, Clayton and I have wanted to share the gospel in foreign lands.  I keep clinging to that desire.  So far God has had different plans for us.  So the path looks a little different from what I imagined.  

As I was conversing with the Lord about this last year, He did promise to send us to another adopt again.  That was okay with me!  But what about my dear husband?  *He'd made it clear we were done*  What about the finances?  *There was nothing in the bank*  What about the process?  *Such a long road*  What would people say, again?  *"Crazy" comes to mind*

But God!  He resolved in both our hearts that we were to move forward to adopt a very specific child.  A child whose medical need was frightening to us.  A child who deserved a family.  A child whom God had already set into our family from the beginning of time.  And we were determined to not only move forward, but to do so with joy, with every single step.

Eight months later Khloie is home!  It was the hardest and yet easiest 8 months ever!  It was hard to announce we were adopting again for fear of the response.  We started fundraising the day we submitted our Letter of Intent to adopt her because we didn't have the funds for the next step.  It was humbling to admit we needed help.  It was exhausting to hold one fundraiser after another for eight solid months.  And yet, it was easy because it was from the Lord.  We were certain this was His plan.  We constantly focused our attention on Him. It was easy because all the things that were completely out of our control went so smoothly.  

Now that Khloie is home, we are able to see His intent all along:  That HE would be glorified!

He provided all the funds needed.  Khloie's physical development is incredible.  But most of all, many people have been drawn to the LORD.  They have watched as He has shown Himself in ways we couldn't imagine.  He has touched hearts and brought tenderness.  We've been given so many opportunities to share and brag on Him, in China and since coming home.  

In my estimation this was probably one of the big things God has called us to.  Because it was beyond our reach.  Because He had to show up for it to come to fruition.  But He is revealed in all the little things too.  He has reminded me that I must share His love, His grace and His provision in daily life.

Only if I am in a right relationship with Him, will I hear when He calls me to the big and the little things.  Only then will I be ready for the finish line.
Are you ready?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dream On...

We could say, "this must be the calm before the storm" or "honeymoon," but I'm just gonna call it a dream transition!  Yes, I am.  Because I know that God knows exactly what we need *even when we have no clue what we need - can I get an AMEN* and God knows that we need a smooth transition.
So I just wanna pause a moment and lift my hands in praise to Abba Father.  Girlfriend is rockin' the transition, and that makes life here pretty doggone good!

We made it to church Sunday, oh yes, we did!  On time!

More silliness
Thank You, Father, for knowing exactly what we need, giving us that...and more!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I started this post the day before we left China: 
As our time in China draws to a close, I am reflecting on God's goodness.  Not just over the past 8 months, but over the last 9 years.  If you'd told me that God would grow our family by 8 children in 9 years, I wouldn't have believed it.

We've heard amazing testimony of God's sovereignty in the last 2 weeks.  We knew that many families were fully funded within a week or so of travel - praise God!  But there have been so many things that only God could orchestrate and bring to fruition.  The timing of our travel was nothing short of miraculous!  The timing of meeting friends (old and new) while in China was amazing! The timing of Brad and Kim's availability to move into our home and care for our family was incredible!  I truly stand in awe of HIM!

It's true the enemy tried so many schemes to destroy our joy, but the enemy is not victorious!  Three weeks before we left we still needed over half the funds to complete the adoption.  One and a half weeks before we left we had an ice/snow storm that left us without power for days.  Because of the outage I wasn't able to prepare the food I'd planned for the family while we were gone.  We weren't able to work during that time.  We learned that our in-country costs were much higher than estimated.  Our travel to China was one nightmare after another with delays and missed flights, making us arrive a day late, only to find out our Gotcha Day would also be delayed, due to another reason.  And so on...but GOD!  He allowed these things to happen, and HE worked out every detail.
Catching a much-needed cat nap on the luggage during our 7 hour layover in Beijing...

And now it is 5 am, and although I thought I was gonna kick this jet lag, tain't so!  I didn't sleep a wink last night.  I am determined to press through it today and not give in to the 2 pm shutdown of my tired body.  I'll let ya' know how that turns out :)

My inability to sleep gives me lots of time to talk to the Lord.  I am still overwhelmed by all that transpired over the last few weeks.  I can't believe our friends would move their entire family to our home (a state away) and not only care for our children, but entertain them and love them the whole time.  I can't believe the only time Kim had to cook for this krew was the weekends because the church provided food the rest of the time.  I can't believe so many people showed up at the airport to welcome us home.  I can't believe how well Khloie has taken to her siblings.  I was afraid her shy self would struggle so much with the realization she is not an only child :)  Quite the opposite actually.  My goodness, she loves the attention.  She has already explored the entire house.  She has said new words, out loud!  In fact, we are reining in a little because she would be perfectly content with her sisters feeding her full-time and Mommy just scooting out of the picture.  So, things will need to be a little different today.

Just the two of us going to China was a much-needed time of bonding for Khloie.  She needed to know who Daddy and Mommy are, and we needed to give our full attention to her.  With ten kiddos at home, we pretty much hit the ground runnin' once we are home.  We are so grateful for the time to refocus.

But I know some things about myself.
*I like soft beds.
*I like routine.
*I like my tiny shower with soft water.
*I like doing my own laundry.
*I like my drinks with ice, please.
*I like preparing meals.
*I like ground travel...

But seriously, all selfishness aside, we witnessed so many miracles while in China!
*Khloie's transition has been incredible
*Hiccups for families in our group caused us to pause and pray right there in the lobby of the ginormous Garden Hotel lobby (and every one of those prayers were answered!!!)
*We met friends we never dreamed we'd get the chance to meet
*As a group we witnessed to one of our guides in *GZ, a family bought her a Bible and she'd already started reading it before we left
*We attended an international ch*rch where 50 countries are represented
*We never got sick

The day before we left China I pulled a doozy!  In a rush to get a pic with a dear friend I'd only met on line until last week, I lost my camera battery.  Yep, totally lost it.  Only phone pics after that.  Had the entire hotel staff searching for the battery.  Turns out, it had fallen into a gift bag my friend delivered to an orphanage that day :)  Ah well.

Truth is, we have so much to be thankful for!  I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to follow, but for now I will share some of the phone pix I took and some of the airport pix from my friend, Anita.

Goofin' at the Terra Cotta Warriors...

We were so captivated by this archaeological find
 Buckwheat fav!
 Saying goodbye to Xi'an, bittersweet.

And in Guangzhou...

 Fried rice noodles with beef, yumilicious!
Consulate day!
The panda!

Beautiful tiger!

My favorite flower arrangement at the Garden.  So many beautiful flowers!

Stroller, no thank you!

 On a quest for something the Peanut would eat, we found baby cereal.  Finally a full tummy!  It's only a matter of time now ~ she loves mac n' cheese!

 Ah, sweet sweet Rebecca!  Not everyone can name all my kiddos :)

First Wal-Mart shopping experience.  In China, no less!

This daddy loves kids!  If his own aren't around, he'll find others to love on.  Love this man!

Just two of the amazing friends I met ~ Angie and Amy!

Another precious friend ~ Sonia!

Headed home~

Packing helper

Personality Plus

Thank you, M'Dee's OJ in the HK airport!

At the airport~

Look at that beautiful greeting party!

Kasidi Joy walked to me...and then we both melted!

Oh, the joy!

In biggest sister's arms!

First day home~

After a 1 am party in the living room, we all went to bed :)

Breakfast was glorious!

Jet lag :)

Trying the chicken feet we brought home.  Eww, no thanks! 

And despite the fact that Ms. Kim had my house clean and the laundry completely done (seriously!?!), there's no denying that today is laundry day!

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving our family!

As we reflect on what the Lord has done, just watch and see what He will do...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodbye, Guangzhou

This is it.  We leave the hotel at 5 am.  That's an hour and a half away.

There are so many things swirling through my brain right now, I can't even process them.

Khloie is still shy in public but has come alive in the room.  She's repeating words now, and her ornery self is beginning to show :)

We will land in OKC some 27 hours from now, and I can't wait to see my kiddos.  And then we start the transition and get back in the krazy groove we call life.

But for now, we want to say thank you for praying for us, and for supporting us in every way, including investing in Khloie's life through giving.  What an amazing gift she is.

I will have much to say once we are home.

Goodbye, Guangzhou...goodbye, China...goodbye, orphanage...Hello, hope!

Jer 29:11

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Consulate Day!

Today our eight month paper pregnancy bore beautiful fruit as we submitted the last bit of paperwork to the US Consulate!

Tomorrow we will receive Khloie's visa which allows her to travel to the US, and once she sets foot on US soil she will become a citizen!

We broke out the Cheerios!  It's the only food Girlfriend has actually swallowed! 
Our travel group went to the zoo.  We so enjoyed the sweet fellowship!  And the panda!
 Khloie was beside herself with excitement ~ can you tell?!?
More later...
We've been so blessed to join other families for meals on this trip, and tonight is no exception!

And not that we're counting, but only one more full day till we leave for home :)

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