"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Move Over God! (Part II)

It's taken me a bit to get back to that same mindframe that I was in yesterday, so please bear with me as I pick up where I left off with my thoughts during the brief weed-picking session.

I do want to again say thank you all that have written me with words of support and encouragement (and even the offer to help pick the weeds!! :). To those that have stated that my words have helped your situations, thank you. Please know that my prayer is that whatever I post will be used to honor and give glory to our Lord, who is so worthy of praise.
Now, going back to the weeding. One of my thoughts was something that I had recently read and I can't seem to get out of my mind because I have caught myself doing it quite often when the need arises. We, Christians, are always trying to "negotiate" with God. I've seen myself trying to make deals, "Lord, if you give me this....I promise to do that.", etc. I don't know if God is up there laughing at my ignorance or having pity upon me, whichever the case, my heart tells me that you don't negotiate with God, I wish my brain would follow. As I said in my previous post, there is nothing I could do to make Him love me less. Yes, sometimes His will is not what my will is, but in the end all things work out for His glory and the good of those who love Him. (I need to keep telling myself that.)

Two days ago, I received a confirmation of Kai's VPI surgery. His palate, although repaired, is short and thus not allowing him to make certain sounds. This condition also allows air to escape through his nasal passages giving his a hypernasal sound when he speaks.

The surgery will be in Orlando since his doctor no longer practices here. I am so filled with mixed emotions over this surgery. First, I think about my poor little man. I can't even describe what a trooper Kai is. This will be his 6th surgery in his short 3.5 years of life. His palate surgery ended up being much more traumatic, for both of us, than was expected. In addition to pretty bad pain, he had a reaction to the morphine and what was supposed to be a 2 night stay in the hospital ended up being a 5 night stay, with 3 of the nights being in ICU.

As a mother, there is nothing more painful than seeing your child go through such hardships and not being able to do anything about it. But, I am eternally grateful to our Father that He has allowed me the privilige of being by Kai's side the entire time. Which leads me back to the hospital stay. We are hoping that he will be in ICU one night, and then 1 night in a regular room and finally discharged on the 3rd day. The doctor's office has arranged for us, Scott and I, to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House which is literally about 50 feet away from the hospital. I won't leave my baby alone, but since one of us needs to be coherent and well-rested, Scott will go there to sleep at night and I will go to shower while Scott stays with Kai sometime during the day. Please keep him in your prayers. I will post more about this as time gets closer.

After thinking about Kai's surgery, while weeding, I again thought about the negotiations with God. How we think that if we pray more often and all of a sudden behave how a "Christian should behave", God will in turn bless us and grant us our prayers. Yet, the book of Matthew (10:30) tells us that "even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Well, if God focuses such incredible attention to detail, where is the trust? There is no need to be praying harder and trying to make deals, not that God doesn't want us to do that. He fasted and prayed many times to His Father when here on earth. What I am trying to say is that it is the humaness in us that begins to grasp for straws when we finally realize we are not the ones in control.

Although I love my God with my entire heart and soul, I feel like my faith is so small at times. And He knows this. He's allowed us to have the faith of a mustard seed and still be able to move mountains. The apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). Jesus' response? "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." I have to trust and believe that He will take care of my baby and that the surgery will be successful so that Kai can begin to speak clearly. The greatess desire of my heart would be for Kai to stand before the parishioners at our church one day and witness (in clear, articulated words) to God's love and what the Lord has done for him. I live for that day and, again, I have to believe that God is in control and that all will be well.

The last of my thoughts after Kai's surgery took me back to Anna Grace. As I mentioned yesterday, she is progressing so well with her attachment now. She understands much of what I say, although I know that her receptive language still is not 100%. Therefore, how much does she understand? Who knows. She can follow instructions, but can she understand an explanation of events? This is where I can't let fear set in. As Kai's surgery date approaches, I need to start explaining to her that Mama and Daddy will be taking Kai to the doctor. Since we will be in another city, she won't see us for about 5 days. That's a LONG time for a two year old when you don't really understand where your parents went. I am terrified of a huge setback, but am preparing for it. I am also preparing for whatever I can do to reassure her that Mama has not abandoned her and that although I will not be the one tucking her in at night, that Mama is still there and thinking about her every day.

She will be staying with my sister during this time. I am going to prepare a few small interactive video clips that my sister can show her on the computer, much like I did for Kai when Scott and I went to Tennessee earlier this year. According to my sister, they worked wonders. I will be singing to her our ritual good night song, be asking her if she was a good girl for Ayi and will be repeatedly telling her on the videos that Mama and Daddy will be back soon. Will it work? Lord, I hope so! But, since there is nothing I can do to change the circumstances, I cannot drive myself crazy over it. I have to trust that God in His omnipotence is everywhere and while He is healing Kai's palate, He is also continuing to heal Anna Grace's heart. If you are a praying person, please keep my babies in your prayers.

Throughout scripture, His most repeated command is "do not be afraid". That is what I ask for you to pray for me. Fear is not of God and He goes before me always. I have to believe!

I am humbled and thank you all for sharing in this journey with me. God bless!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Move over God!

How many times have we said those words? Out loud and verbally? For most of us, probably never. In our actions? For most of us, probably daily.

The past few days God had created some instances in my life where He has made me reflect on myself, my children, my life. Even yesterday, he led me to the Mooney's Blog detailing their short 99 days with Baby Eliot, and after hours of reading, had me down on my knees thanking Him for being our sovereign Lord.

This post will once again be in rambles and a flurry of thoughts that have been crowding my brain, so if you get to the end of it and you are still awake, I commend you. If not, I totally understand. But this is one of those moments in which I have to journal my thoughts and feelings since I am pretty much overwhelmed with an array of different emotions.

First, before I began typing, I prayed. I asked God to use me to glorify Him. I'm not quite sure what I want to say and I again ask the Holy Spirit to lead me and give me the words that not only I need to read back to myself, but that may lead others to question their faith, and to ask themselves the very same question that I was asking myself yesterday...."How truly big is my God?"

This morning, I thought I would put the kids down for a nap and do what I have been meaning to do. Weed the yard that has somehow been overrun with weeds in the past few months. Although I hate the heat, it's something that I enjoy sitting on the grass and doing by myself because it gives me time to think without distractions. So, all excited to have my quiet time, I grabbed a big cup of ice water, the telephone and plant myself smack in the middle of a vine/weed fest. As I started pulling the weeds, I started thinking about the kids. Anna Grace for starters.

As many of my regular readers know, it has been an emotional struggle for both Anna Grace and I, the past 4 months. The culmination of my public posting came with this post. In whereas I received a barrage of emails, all positive, with the exception of one that stated (the words still resonate in my brain) that holding time "is just killing your relationship with Anna". Wow! Those were powerful words, but as God has told us in Romans 8:28 "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God-those whom he has called according to his plan." While at first, I was hurt (because this is someone who I have befriended for some time now) and angry, I now have to step back and be so very thankful for that email. That single email of over 40 some emails that I received from that blog entry, sent me humbly back into my Father's arms, asking, no, pleading to Him for knowledge, wisdom and guidance, but most of all begging Him to take over the situation. He did. The next day, I read a blog with the picture affirming that I needed to stay on the path.

I continued to pray, he continued to reassure me that holding time, love and most of all prayer was what my daughter (and I) needed. Yet, the bitter taste in my mouth of the email still remained. Until this morning, while I was pulling those weeds. Now I can, with a cleansed heart, thank God for that email and thank my friend for sending it. You see, in the past few weeks since that email, Anna Grace has made an amazing turnaround. Oh yes, we still have rough days, but they are patchy with some very sweet moments blended into them. Now we can go 3 and even 4 GOOD days without having displays of attachment. Whereas, a month ago, a good day meant I had to prepare for a battle in hell the next day.

Every morning she wakes up and comes to my bed yelling, "Mama! Mama!" as I hear the sounds of her little feet pattering closer and closer to my room. Nothing makes my heart swell and my eyes tear up more than driving in the car, peering into the rear view mirror and watching her. She will sometimes realize that I am and go from a quiet little girl watching the going-ons in the world around her to a radiant, glowing angel with a smile for her Mama that goes from ear to ear. Oh yes, I am so very grateful for that one single, negative email. Thank you, Lord! You are SO very big! There were times when I thought that things would never change and that this child would hate me forever. I was beginning to succumb to the realization that this would be our lives.

Instead, now after my tantrums, my waivering faith, and my lack of patience, you have once again revealed to me (I'm a really slow learner) that you are the almighty Savior. I am ashamed and embarassed that it takes someone hurting my ego and making me doubt my abilites to parent to bring me to You, but on the flip side, I am so very thankful that you are a merciful, loving God who despite my disappointing you daily, sometimes ignoring you completely and even have questioned you at times, You never for one single moment have stopped loving me or left my side. And the most incredbile part of it all is that, like with our own children, there is nothing I could do to make you love me less. I am Your child and have been saved by grace.

Anna Grace continues to have holding time, now maybe once or twice a week, compared to 3-4 times a day. We continue to do play therapy, while nurturing and caring for her baby. Although most people would think that a 2 year old needs independence and should be feeding themselves, learning to dress themselves, etc. I have reverted her back to being a baby. She will even tell you when asked, "Who is Anna Grace?" Proudly she says, "Mama's baby!" We both gleam with pride. I am so very, very proud of her. She truly humbles me. I can't even fathom going through what these children go through, yet they come through it and shine. I pretty much do everything for her. I feed her by hand at every feeding, bathe her, dress her, carry her, stopped toilet training and have made her almost 100% dependent. Something that is so evident that she so desperately needed and never had. Every baby needs to know that they can depend and trust, yet in her past, whenever her little heart had allowed her to do this, it ended in a painful separation causing her to feel abandoned. This time she is realizing it is different, and is beginning to allow herself to love without regrets. What a heavy burden for a 29 month old to carry. This little sparrow's walls are breaking down quickly now, brick by brick. When once she had to rely on herself for comfort and her needs, she now knows that Mama is always there for her. She loves prayer time and our ritual song of Shout to the Lord, at bedtime.

We were at mass the other day and as we were leaving, she pointed to the huge crucifix behind the altar and whispered to me, "Mama, Jesus?" I said, "Yes, Anna Grace, that is Jesus." She stared intently at the cross. So, I took her up to the altar and she stood in my arms, looking up at the enormous crucified Jesus on the cross with a questioning look on her face. No words, but I could tell, many thoughts. So, I said to her, "Anna Grace. See his hands have boo-boos?" She said, "Yes". I then said, "Those boo-boos remind us of how much Jesus loves us." She said, "Jesus loves Anna?" I fought hard with myself so that the rush of tears would not come flooding out. After swallowing hard, I replied, "Yes, Anna Grace, Jesus loves Anna Grace so very much!" I held her tight and whispered to her, "Yes, baby....you are living proof of how much Jesus really loves us."

I will finish Anna Grace's portion with a reminder to those of you who do bring home children with attachment issues to follow your heart, pray and know that there is a very big God that will equip you with everything you need to handle whatever situation arises. And when it gets to the point that you just don't think you can carry that cross anymore, go before Him and lay it at His feet. Even if you have to envision a little two year old Chinese girl standing before a huge 40 ft. cross asking Jesus if he loves her as a reminder. He loves you infinitely and unconditionally and He will never leave your side, even during moments when you are surrounded by total darkness, He is there. Actually, that is when He is most waiting for you to call on Him.

You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will make my darkness light. (Psalm 18:28)

.....this is it for now. Please come back for Part II of my weed picking thoughts. Oh, by the way, I weeded for less than 5 minutes before I had God drawing me back inside to tell the world about His awesomeness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unconditional love

I know you are all anxious to hear about Anna Grace's attachment, but I first have to share this video.

God's grace (again!) is amazing as these parents love, nurture and care for their only child, Eliot, born with Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18).

Little Eliot's parents, Matt and Ginny Mooney, see life, however threatened and fleeting it may be, for what it truly is - a gift from God. Regardless of the outcome, they continue to give God the glory that He is so worthy of. Eliot revealed to them, and so many others that God uses humble means for his glory. How much more humble can you get than a new born child? And through it all, what did Eliots parents pray for? They asked the Father for not their will but that His will be done.

You can follow their entire journey by clicking here.

Warning: Have tissues ready!

(Please remember to scroll down to turn off the background music)

Monday, October 15, 2007

I know...I know....

I'm crazy!!! But, since Anna Grace has been doing so well with her attachment (I will post about that soon) and our lives are starting to become normal (if there is such a thing with 3 kids under 3 years old), I confess that I've had more time to do "feed" my addiction of going through the waiting child lists. ::GASP:: Oh, how I would love to bring one of those kiddos home!

Yes, it's true, but before you all start emailing Scott to have me committed to the closest insane asylum, I want to clarify that we really have no intention of adopting again. We are totally broke with 3 adoptions (and a failed one) in the past year and a half, and I truly don't think I have the stamina to keep up with yet another little one, not to mention the fact that if Scott ever agreed to another adoption it would be because Jesus appeared in the flesh before him personally and told him he HAD to! Scott even had me promise that if we won the lottery someday I would set up grants for others to bring home waiting children and not want to adopt them all myself.

But, my Lord....some of those babies (especially the little cleft boys) on these groups just make me throw all reasoning to the wind and start praying for another one. It breaks my heart to see those beautiful children on those lists waiting and waiting to find their forever families.

In addition to the list, I also have a couple of friends in China now adopting their new blessings and it has only fed the fire about going back to China. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but there is just something about that magical country that keeps wanting to draw me back.

Today my friend, Charlotte, called to tell me that her agency is expecting TA for her any day now and she should be leaving in less than 3 weeks!!! While I am so excited that her beautiful Rachael is coming home, it brought back floods of memories of the anticipation of getting to know Kai and Anna Grace for the first time. That euphoric feeling is something that can't be compared to any other. The miracles of how God orchestrates such perfect reunions and creates families, as tough as it may be sometimes, leaves me in awe of His greatness. His love for us is unconditional and never ending, and He has graced us with the ability to love His children with that same love.

I know in my heart that we are done with adopting, but I also know that there is no doubt that someday, we will be back in China again. In the meantime, I guess I will continue to live vicariously through those of you bringing home your blessings.

Lastly, I want to steal something from my sister's blog that she posted, a synopsis of adoption. I, too, will be teaching my three little angels that same meaning of adoption because it is so true.

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted. A little girl said, "I know all about adoption, I was adopted." "What does it mean to be adopted?", asked another child. "It means", said the girl, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead ofher tummy!"

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