Monday, November 11, 2013

"I was Ai Guo, then"

I was fortunate to receive several of Patrick's drawings on his Gotcha Day. I know what a rare gift I've been given and put every drawing in a plastic sleeve after it spent several weeks on the fridge. In fact, one of the first things I had Patrick do when he and I came home was to put his drawings on the fridge with those of his sisters. So, I had all of his artwork lying on the bed the other day and he found it. He seemed surprised that his artwork was so important to me. I explained that his drawings were treasures and I wanted to keep them forever. He said, "But, Mama, I was Ai Guo, then. See, I put my name there." I was a little taken aback and just did not know what to say. I asked him whether he still wanted to be called by his former name and he said, quite emphatically, "no". I asked him whether it was "good" to be Patrick and he said "yes". But, the question remained in my heart whether Patrick felt like his former identity had no connection, no relevance, to who he is right now. I didn't have to wait long to have him elaborate.

Now, Patrick is ordinarily a chatterbox deluxe. I cannot understand all of what he says, but I get a lot of it. His sisters seem to understand most of what he says. It's a hoot when Moxie interprets for Patrick. At that point, they both might as well be speaking Klingon. Anyway, Ben and the kids picked me up from work and Patrick had my ear since the girls were napping. He began by telling me about a child at school who had acted poorly and likened it to how an older child had treated him in the orphanage. Then he began to tell me about his "little brother". Now, I know that Patrick does not have a biological younger brother, but he was, according to what he told me, very attached to the little boy he slept with right before I came to get him. The child he slept with before this particular child is home with his sweet mama, who is my dear friend. Patrick told me that this child was much smaller than he and drank a bottle that Patrick would hold for him at night. He told me the "little brother" needed to come home. And then, he told me about saying good-bye to his friend. I haven't written about our trip to the orphanage, and I won't. Those memories are only for Patrick and I have recorded them in his adoption journal that I kept while we were in China. But, I do remember Patrick going to the top of a short flight of stairs and shooing a small fellow backward through the doorway. That little fellow was pulling on Patrick and trying to go with him. Patrick gave me all of those details and then said, "Little Brother say, stay with me, Ai Guo. Stay here. Don't go." I was crying of course, but Patrick continued to talk in his precious broken English. "I say, Ai Guo all gone. Go back." And then he left with me. I asked his friend's name and age, but Patrick is sketchy on the details. I may never know the name of the little brother we left behind.

Just typing that story twists my heart over and over. But, there are some truths that I have pulled out that I will keep forever. Firstly, Patrick exhibited the faith that Jesus asks of us all. That childlike, blind, faith. Patrick had no idea where I was taking him, how he would communicate, whether he'd be safe or anything else. He looked for the fulfillment of something he simply BELIEVED IN. That is the very definition of faith. Second, while his first seven years will always belong to Patrick, he is a new person now. He is a son, and brother---new identities that he recognizes are not who he has always been but are who he wants to be now. And finally, my son is one of the single most courageous people I have ever met and that is Jesus's gift to Patrick. I had nothing to do with it. In fact, I am guilty of letting fear overwhelm me if I don't constantly keep my eyes on Jesus. Patrick's courage and faith gave me courage and faith. Jesus is like that. Christ's adoption of me begat Patrick's adoption and Maisy's adoption and Moxie's adoption. Adoption begets adoption.

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that Patrick's heart surgery was cancelled in October because a virus was discovered in the pre-op appt. It has been reset for February. We are going into the holiday season with great joy and anticipation. We are incredibly blessed.

Happy Adoption Awareness Month!!!!
In Him Who Does All Things Well,

Friday, September 6, 2013

"No Butterflies" and Other Things I Thought I Figured Out (The Catch-Up Part II)

It didn't take long for me to figure out that Patrick was less than thrilled with his "foreigner mama". He flat out said it. When we left the civil affairs office he attempted to throw himself onto the concrete when I wouldn't let him run into traffic. He wouldn't look at me and asked our guide, Kelly, whether he could sit in the back of the bus. She replied, "With Mama?" I'm sure my son's answer was something akin to "Oh, heck no!", but Kelly told me simply that he declined to sit in the back if he had to take me along. He preferred Kelly to me. He preferred EVERYONE to me.

Now, I'm number one. But, it didn't happen overnight and even now, two-and-a-half months from Gotcha Day, we are still learning things about each other. We are still discovering the funny, the sad, the tender and the tortured parts of who we are and looking forward to who we will become. In many ways, I have grown more than Patrick. But trust me, just because you can "read the sign" doesn't mean you understand it at all.......

Early into our relationship of new mama and new son I determined that Patrick would know I trusted him. He needed to understand that he was important, a whole person, all his own, whose opinions and feelings and thoughts mattered. He needed to understand that there were things that could not be accomplished if he did not take part. I wasn't sure that either of us were, in any way, prepared for that amount of trust or for the repercussions if such a situation didn't work out, but God was leading and I was in so deep, there was no turning around. I gave Patrick authority over the room key. Now, I kept it in my purse when we weren't using it, but, if the door was being locked or unlocked, Patrick was the one doing it. He pushed all elevator buttons, even if he pushed the wrong one (which happened, maybe, once) and he got to hold the television remote. The maneuvering of the key and buttons and remote were incredibly important to him. He took those responsibilities very seriously and came to believe that I could not function if he did not perform his duties. Did it make him feel like he had some control over this foreigner mama? Yeah, probably so. I'm a big girl. I don't intimidate easily. And let me tell you something, it's much harder to dislike and avoid someone for whom you are responsible. That's right, this foreigner mama isn't stupid. I played to his little male ego that was driven, even this early on, to protect the woman God gave him (as a mother).

As he locked and unlocked, pushed buttons and announced "Lobby" in the weirdest Chinese/British accent I've ever heard (He sounded just like the recorded voice on the elevator) every time the elevator landed on that floor, my son began to see me as a candidate for parenthood. I don't think he'd quite decided until I bought him a Coke. Never underestimate the power of Coke. Frankly, I love Coke Zero. When I take that first drink in the morning, it's like rainbows and bluebirds, only fizzier and without feathers. Patrick's first English sentence was "Ahhhhhh....I likah da Cokah!" From then on out, I used that stuff as the ultimate reward. He hardly ever drinks it now. He prefers water. But he never hesitates to tell me "Mama, amember Guangzhou? Pahtwick an Mama likah da Coke?!"

About 3 days in, we were supposed to get the Visa picture made in the afternoon, so Patrick and I decided to go to the park. It was the one past the Dong Fang hotel in case you know the neighborhood. So, anyway, having been up since 5AM, we'd had breakfast and were on our way to the park by 8:30. We down into the tunnel and then we came up. Oops. Mistake. We went down again and began going back up, when, mid-staircase, my little boy grabs his chest and looks at me with eyes the size of silver dollars. Those are some narrow, fairly steep and lengthy stairs. I picked him up and carried him like an infant to the top. I am not a big person, but in that moment, God made me so strong, I could have carried Patrick anywhere. Once we got to the top of the stairs he hopped down like it was no big deal and yanked my arm toward the park. Once again, Little Man was the leader. We strolled around the park and looked at the lake. I really enjoy Chinese signage. It's so much more expressive than boring old American signage. So, I'm reading this pictorial sign that seems to say "No Butterflies". It was a butterfly with a line across it. What does it say to you? Now, I am the one that saw the picture of the bugle with the line across it and thought it meant no marching bands (it means no honking) but still........ I was sticking with my interpretation. Not to my credit I verbally (yes out loud) admonished a couple of butterflies in the bushes who clearly did not know they were breaking the law. And no, I did not stop to think about the reason behind my supposed rule or anything else. Oh, except enforcement. I did wonder about how the rule was enforced. But, it is not for me to question. We carried on.

As soon as the concession stand opened a certain someone reminded me that he "likah da Cokah". I bought him one. No diet. BOO. Interestingly, Patrick thanked the concessionaire in English. He wanted to ride the kiddie train. I was all for it. He looked so cute and I was really loving how he kept pointing me out to people and yammering on in Chinese. My guess, since I heard the word "mama" frequently, was that he was explaining that "yes", in fact, he had acquired a "foreigner mama" and although my Chinese language abilities are a mere 16 (Chinese for barely passing) and not the superior 18 like he claimed his English skills to be, I was pretty decent. For.A.Foreigner. Of course, he could have been trying to trade me in. We'll never know because he claims to have forgotten everything except the train ride and how very lost we got.

First, the train ride. So, it's a kiddie train. I put my kiddie in line and plan to swipe a couple of swigs on his Coke while he's not looking. My son gets in the train and starts adamantly telling the attendant that he wants "HIS MAMA". Oh yeah, that's me, ME THE FOREIGNER MAMA!!!!! The attendant gives him the "oh, you're a big boy speech" (I can recognize it in any language") and goes about her business of putting the other little dudes on the train. My kid busts out the biggest squall you have ever heard. Of course, I got him off that train and the two of us walked all the way back to the ticket booth looking very smug, me because my status had just been elevated from "the mama" to "my mama" and Patrick's because he got his own way. I'll take it. I got a ticket and the train about gave me whiplash. We held hands through the entire thing. THANK YOU JESUS.

So, after the train ride we walked around and watched people sing and dance and play hackey sack. I'm just wondering why all those people aren't at work, but anyhoo...... Eventually, I decided we should head back to the hotel. Patrick said he knew the way. "Okay, I'm good with that because, frankly, I was already waaaaaaaay lost." After we passed the same flower bed about 4 times I realized Patrick was just as lost as good ol' foreigner mama. He just wouldn't admit because of the whole Y chromosome thing he's got going on. I was feeling like Pooh and Piglet lost in the forest, only, Tigger wasn't going to come and save us. I decided to get out on the street and just follow the sidewalk back to the hotel. Oh, the mislaid plans of mice and foreigner mamas.......

We were SO LOST. SO VERY, VERY, LOST. at first, I really thought we could just keep going in the general direction and we'd get there. I stopped at a paper stand and tried to get directions. NOTHING. The sidewalk was starting to look very old and crumbly. People tried to mow us down on their noodle-selling bikes. There were fewer cars and more trees. I started to fear that every footstep was taking us farther from the hotel instead of closer too it. The neighborhood was becoming more apartment houses and fewer stores. I started talking to Jesus out loud. "Jesus, I need to get back to the hotel. Please don't let Patrick's heart give out. Please don't let my blood sugar get low. Please don't let us get hurt. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. When I saw the freeway on ramp I decided to get a taxi. It took 4 or 5 tries before I got one to stop. We were between 12 and 15 minutes and 20 RMB from the hotel. Patrick was elated when we got back to the room, but no more than Foreigner Mama. I was so shaken that I ordered room service. Bacon cheeseburgers, fries and Coke Zeros. Oh Man, it was heavenly. It was so funny when the server pushed the cart into the room. Patrick exclaimed, "OH WOW, OH WOW, SAHNK YOU!!!" He hadn't even seen the food yet. The presentation was almost more than he could handle.

Kelly later told me, when I pointed out some landmarks we had passed on our death march...ahem...I mean our WALK, that Patrick and I had been farther from the hotel than the hotel was from Shamian Island. I think it took me that far to read the signs and UNDERSTAND them. The "no butterflies" sign was really a sign restricting kite flying and the leave me alone and I don't like you signs I thought I was reading from my son were really signs saying "put your importance here" and "value needed", "please acknowledge efforts to survive in uncertainty".

I'm still reading my son's signs. I'm much better at it now. My favorite sign reads, "I luh loo, My Mama"! We've come a long way from being lost in the park.

May God Bless You and Keep You. May His Face Shine Upon You and Bring You Peace.
In Him,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The China Me

Ahhhh....I miss China. I'm pretty sure I left something there. I'd better go back and check before my passport expires and after Patrick's heart surgeries are complete.

The time has flown, really, since Patrick and I landed at Will Rogers World Airport on June 27th. And just so you'll know---I don't see any reason to call that airport a "world" airport. There is NOWHERE in the world that you can get to from OKC directly. Just sayin'.

The only time I got lost in an airport, was when I was trying to leave Will Rogers. Seriously. I know it's small and tiny compared to LAX and the Guangzhou airport, but I just couldn't find the dag-nab exit door. Oh, and I dropped a suitcase down the escalator. I was so tired. It just slipped all the way to the bottom. At least it didn't know Patrick down like a bowling pin, for that I am extremely thankful. There were two men and a woman at the bottom. For some reason, I thought they were going to arrest me for dropping the suitcase. I got to the bottom of the escalator and they started asking me a lot of hard questions like, "Where are you headed?" and "Are you meeting someone?" I about bawled. Thankfully, I called Ben on my cell phone and he came and found me.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me give you the highlights of my miracle-infused trip and tell you why my goal is to live like "China Me" from this day forward.

June 14, 2013--Ben, Maisy and Moxie and I ate lunch at Ann's Chicken Fry. It's classic. I was at the airport shortly after 4. The plane was supposed to leave at 6. Both of the girls fell asleep in the van and I was wondering if I would ever see them again. Satan had pretty well convinced me that the China Southern A380 I was soon to board was going to crash. I'm not kidding--CONVINCED ME. However, I may be a chicken, but I'm the Lord's chicken, putting one little chicken foot in front of the other.... I woke Maisy up to tell her good-bye. She clasped my hand, held it to her face and wept. She didn't throw a tantrum or wail loudly. She grieved. I prayed over her, kissed her tear-streaked face and left after kissing my still sleeping Moxie. Ben hugged me, promised to pray for me and told me "You can do this. Go do it." I had never left Maisy since we brought her home in 2009, unless I was in the hospital with one of her siblings. My heart broke.

When I got to the gate, I found that my flight was delayed. Ultimately, we left 2 hours late. I called Bobby and told him I loved him. I'd already said good-bye to Abby that morning. I called Ben. He told me I hadn't been gone "that long" yet. It seemed long. I started praying for someone to help me find my way in LAX. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am extremely directionally challenged. EXTREMELY. Nobody sitting around me seemed all that interested in talking to me. Maybe I look craaaaaaaazy. Some flight got canceled (not mine) people came and went. This one man kept making eye contact with me. His friend had left because the friend's flight was canceled. I thought the guy looked kinda craaaaaaaaazy. Guess who I sat by on the plane?? So, he wasn't actually crazy. He was nice. He was an answer to my prayer. He was the first instantaneous answer to many prayers I would pray over the course of my trip. On the flight, my new friend told me that he didn't usually talk to people on planes but that he felt "compelled" to talk to me. We talked about adoption. I told him about my fears regarding LAX and getting lost. He said, "Stay with me and I will get you through it all." You betcha!!! I've been in towns that would fit inside that airport. Holy Cow! My friend helped me get my suitcase, he waited for me. He walked slowly so I could keep up with him. We rode a bus where I had to stand up. My friend kept me from falling. Finally, we were outside on a sidewalk. He turned to me and said, "Walk around this curve. Don't cross the street. Walk against pedestrian traffic and go up. You will be in Tom Bradley International. Be Safe." I shook his hand, thanked him and said God Bless You! I never knew his name.

I followed my friend's directions and ended up right in front of the China Southern ticket counter. It was about 9:30PM. The gate was the very farthest one. I suppose that is because the A380 is so humongous it can only park in certain places. The plane took off pretty much on time. Boarding took forever. It seated 506 people. I saw people boarding who had anti-Christian logos and insignias on their backpacks and clothes. At first I was frightened by that, but, I remembered that the one sheep was just as important as the 99. I'd only called Ben 2 times from LAX. My blood sugar got low, too, while I was waiting to leave. Not exactly a great way to start a trip. Anyhoo, I was against the window and over the wing. And I PAID for that. I paid A LOT. After we reached cruising altitude there was a beverage service. NO.DIET.POP HOW CAN YOU CALL THAT A BEVERAGE SERVICE?????????? I call it torture. After the beverage service there was a meal served. It was good. And then nothing for 12 hours and 40 minutes. After a while, I needed to go to the bathroom. BAD. But, the college-age guys sitting next to me, with their huge long legs, were asleep. Now, I considered climbing over them. But, I was afraid we'd hit turbulence and one of them would wake up with me poised precariously over his lap. I'm just not that brave. Now, about 12 hours in, a flight attendant did come around offering cups of water. I wasn't feeling good AT ALL, so I really wanted a cup of water. I wanted it until I remembered the Chinese drink their water warm. Mind over matter...I drank it anyway. Two hours before landing there was another beverage service and another meal. The landing was awesomely smooth and I found a potty in the airport. OH HAPPY DAY!!!!! It was 4:18AM. My guide wasn't there. 3 1/2 hours later, she still wasn't there. I waited until 7:30 just sitting on my suitcase by the front door watching people watching me sweat. Finally, I decided nobody was coming for me. I found a taxi and told the guy I only had USD and that I'd give him $40 to take me to the China Hotel. He said it was $50. I said, "Not for me." He took $40. Before you say, "Yeah, it was probably $20", I saw the laminated conversion chart. It was $50. And, it was probably worth that. But, I was in a stinky mood and didn't want to pay $50.

I think the staff at the hotel were a little taken aback by my disheveled state. They also couldn't believe that I showed up with nothing but a small rolling suitcase (carry-on) and an even smaller backpack. It didn't help that I hadn't slept on the plane, was sweating like a brick layer and didn't feel good. The lady at the counter made sure I understood that I did not get breakfast that day and then I was allowed to go to my room. I felt a whole lot better after I took a shower and a nap. I ordered room service. My guide called. There had been a misunderstanding. Everything was cool. I slept some more. Ordinarily, I don't like to be alone at night. Yes, I know I'm a big girl, I just don't like it. However, I had such a God-given peace in that hotel room, I was never the slightest bit anxious. I read First John, one of my favorite books of the Bible, and Lamentations, another of my favorites. At first blush, you may not think that those two books have much in common. Read them again.

The next day, I went to breakfast knowing that I would soon hold my son. I would get to touch, see, smell my Patrick. The little boy that I thought had been lost to us forever. I'm sure I looked like an idiot smiling at my food. I met my travel group. They were some of the nicest people ever and all of them had amazing stories telling of the way their individual adoption journeys came about. We went to the bank. I went to 7-11, the land of Coke Zero, and we waited to go to the civil affairs office.

The civil affairs office was jam-packed. Our previous Gotcha Days for Maisy and Moxie were in Nanjing. There were 2 other families in the office with Maisy and we were the only family on Moxie's Gotcha Day. But, Guangzhou...Guangzhou was a madhouse. Patrick was the last child brought out of the little room where they held the children. He was literally shoved toward me and told to hug and kiss me. He did, but he was terrified. It was just a few minutes before he began to howl. It wasn't crying really, not crying like a secure child---a child who is tucked-in every night and has enough to eat and owns his own clothes cries. No, it was a mournful, toneless, slowly escalating howl of a child who has been shut away in darkness with no hope of ever being rescued. Who? Who did I think I was? I couldn't help him. He did not want me to help him. He moved away from me and refused to make eye contact. He cried for a Baba he didn't know because he KNEW his Baba wasn't there. I'm sure he felt deceived. Had anyone told him that adoption hurts? That it's scary and there is loss and the people in those pictures were real people who were going to take him away from everything he'd ever known? He told the assistant director he did not want me as his mama and that he did not want to be adopted. We went into another room to wait. He got as far from me as possible. I cried. I sucked it up. I prayed. And then I did what 3 years of teaching therapeutic foster and adoptive parents taught me to do. I pulled him into my lap and did not let him go. I spoke low and slow. I told him I loved him in English and Chinese. He pulled away. I had our guide translate for me. "I am your mama. I love you. You will hold my hand or we will stay in the hotel room. You must stay with me so you don't get hurt." He tried to pull away as we were leaving the building and threw a fit when I wouldn't let him run into traffic. He wouldn't look at me on the bus. It was slightly better in the hotel room. In fact, over the course of the trip, I found that when we were alone more eye contact was made, more laughs shared and more communication in general. He put his things away in the room and was very pleased to see that I had a drawer of clothes for him. He would not bathe. He would not put on his pajamas and he wouldn't go to the bathroom except once. He was very dehydrated. He was very scared. He did not like me or love me. I was just scared. I took him to Mcdonalds. He was fascinated with his Happy Meal. He didn't eat much be he did hold my hand the entire time while we walked there and back. It was the first and only silent trip we would take to Mcdonalds. By our third trip, I had become "Mama".

When Patrick went to bed that night, I let him sleep in his clothes. Tonight, he's asleep in my room (so are his sisters) wearing his Angry Bird pajamas. When I would tuck him in and tell him I loved him in China, he'd just nod his head. Now, I get "I luh loo, tooooo!" But, that first night, when he slept in his clothes and I pulled the covers back and smelled his butt because I was afraid he'd pooped his pants and been too afraid to tell me, that night was hard. I cannot say that it was love at first sight on Gotcha Day. Did I love him? Yes, I did, before I ever went to China I loved Patrick. It just wasn't that baby-talk saturated, overwhelming have to talk about them every second and every thing they do is sunshine and roses love. That night, I asked Jesus to let me see Patrick through his eyes, to let me love Patrick with his love. He heard me. I read First John again. I read about REAL LOVE. I read it until I felt it. Until I KNEW it. Until I could give that to Patrick. I read it until I could say "I will lay down my life for this child." And then, well then Jesus.....

I had to come to the point of realization that I am exactly who Jesus says I am. I was so busy planning and then second-guessing and worrying and theorizing to just be who I had to be right then. During those days in China, Jesus made me brave beyond any kind of bravery I've ever seen in myself. Jesus made me patient, so patient that at times I wondered if I was really the me I've known for 42 years. Jesus made me physically strong. There is no way I could ordinarily carry 40 pounds of dead weight (because forget Patrick actually holding on when I carried him) up flights of stairs and for several city blocks. Jesus made me steadfast, because nothing else would sustain me while visiting Patrick's orphanage. Jesus made me aware and smart and capable. I talked to him out loud while in public. I praised him at every communication and emotional breakthrough with my son. Oh, Jesus! I love you! Why can't it always be like this? Ah, and that's the point, isn't it? It could have and can always be, between me and Jesus, the way it was in China. In China, the superficial was stripped away and I was free to surrender it all. But, I had always been free to do that. Nobody stopped me but me. Even last week I said things that China Me wouldn't have said. I immediately regretted those things. After all, I didn't leave Jesus in China. I have very recently come to the realization that the things and people I think I've "lost" were blockades between me and Jesus. They were strongholds that, had I come up against them carrying Patrick's referral before me, those voices and attachments were so strong I would have put them before My Lord. I would have held to a stronghold of sin despite eternal consequences. Do I think God would have removed my salvation if I'd done that? NO. God doesn't do that. Do I believe that some day I would have had to answer for putting those strongholds before the very word of God? OH, yes I do. I have some strongholds to tear down, still. It is a daily occurrence----my dying to myself so that I can live in Him and it is so worth it!!!

I think I will continue this blog entry another day. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday or Thursday. Please keep Patrick in prayer. He is scheduled for a heart catheterization on Wednesday, July 31st at 8:30 AM (CST) There are so many things that I don't know about Patrick's future, but I know that with our family is where God meant for Patrick's future to take place. I know that we are infinitely blessed simply because we said "yes".

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Do I Want?

I cannot believe I'll be leaving for China in THREE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!! My stomach is doing flip-flops and at times I feel as though I cannot breathe. Have I mentioned I'm terrified of flying? Oh, yes! TERR-I-FIIIIIIIIIIIED!! I've flown into and out of thirteen different airports. Once, I took two Tylenol PM when the flight began. Ordinarily, those little suckers KNOCK ME OUT. when I'm in flight. When we landed, after not even blinking while on the plane, I laid down in the airport and fell asleep. Ben had to practically drag me down the concourse. I keep imagining various and sundry disasters occurring. I have a vivid imagination. I searched "fear of flying" on the web, read a good article written by a flight attendant and then resolved to NEVER trust another flight attendant. What was helpful about recommending

I have moments of ease, too. Moments where I am not freaked totally out. Those come out of that place in my soul that KNOWS who holds my life, and that airplane, in His hand. He is the one that has orchestrated this entire adoption, brought new friends into my life and given me a beautiful little boy to bring home and love. Jesus did not give me a spirit of fear. Please pray for me as I embark on this trip. I have always told my children that when things get crazy, Jesus expects us--His people--to be the standard in the storm, the place where others can look to find comfort and guidance. Pray for me that I may bring comfort and guidance to those who do not know my Jesus.

Even as I typed that paragraph above, part of me whispered, "Don't write it. You don't really WANT to have to be the standard in chaos because that will mean that---duh--you are involved in something chaotic." Friends, that's just plain stupid. For starters, writing it does not make it so. Look at L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology if you need an example. Secondly, how can I presume to be able to force God's hand. I don't have my finger on the Lord's action button. If I did, there would be a lot of just plain old weird things in this world and you would have me to thank for them. What it comes down to is this, "What do I want?" Do I want to follow the Lord and seek His will at all costs??? If I answer that with complete honesty I can say, "Yes, sometimes." Because, the truth is, I have some pretty major things going on in my life and I'm pretty set on how I want them to end up. I'm not a "whatever happens, happens" kind of girl. So, when I'm praying for my eldest child and I say, "Break his heart, Lord. Turn him around and create in him the undeniable, gut-wrenching need for you that leads him to rely on your holiness and faithfulness and bring him back into our family as an active participant", am I cringing just a little because I'm afraid of the actions the Lord may take in order to give me the desire of my heart. Again, in all honesty, the answer to that question is, "Yes, and I'm sorry, Lord." I think this flawed thinking comes from my human inclination to control and manipulate and deceive (myself, mostly) and in forgetting (or choosing to ignore) the fact that God is not like me. I am created in His image. He is the Master. I'm just the clay. So to think that the clay can determine, by its composition or pliability the creation of the Master's hands is ignorant and egotistical. I know I'm in good company consider: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David....You get the picture. God was in control without those men "helping him out or believing that they could, in any way, control God's hand. Submission does not require fear. It does require trust and faith and love for God who wants only the best for me and for my children. So the question, then, is really do I trust and love and faith in the God who has brought me to this place. The answer is, "Yes." With fear and trepidation, sometimes, with tiny baby steps, often, and always with a praying heart---I trust Jesus.

I was going to write, in this blog entry, about my inability to pray for God's will for Patrick's physical heart. Two recently adopted children have gone to be with the Lord this week. I cannot imagine the grief their parents feel. My mind refuses to think about the possibility that Patrick will not survive his childhood. My heart goes to that scary place frequently, though. I was going to blog about my inability to accept that God may allow my son to die. As though, not praying for God's will would somehow protect my son. But, Dear Friends, My God, the one who has known Patrick from the time he was knit together in his birth-mother's womb and my heart, has had a purpose for my tiny boy. He, the God of Heaven and Earth, wants only good things for me and for my sons. Why then, would I be afraid to trust Him in asking for His will in Patrick's life. God knows my heart. I thank Him for that. He wants to give me the desires of my heart in accordance with His will in Christ Jesus. So, what do I want? I want to trust Him more. I want to raise my children to follow Him and love Him and be willing to give-up everything to follow Him. Jesus has already paid the price for my life, for Patrick's life and for your life, too. My Lord has proven Himself to me time and time again. He has paid the ransom for my sons. Help me, Lord Jesus, to trust you more.

Please pray for me as I journey to bring Patrick home. Please pray for my little girls who are already anxious about their mama leaving (even though their fun daddy is staying at home with them) and please pray for God's healing hand on Patrick's heart. He is able.

May the Peace that Passes Understanding be Yours in Christ Jesus,

Oh, I won't be taking a computer to China, so this is probably my last blog entry until Patrick and I get back.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Standard Fee Monster

Despite the American Consulate being closed for almost an entire week, we got our consulate appointment exactly when I thought we would. I will leave OKC on June 14, 2013, at 5:20 pm and land at LAX at 6:20 (time zones :-). Then I have approximately 6 hours to find my gate because I don't leave LAX for Guangzhou until 11:30PM. As directionally challenged as I am, even I can find the gate given that amount of time. Besides that, I'm a woman--I'LL ASK FOR DIRECTIONS!!!

I'll land in Guangzhou at 5:20AM on June 16, 2013, and Gotcha Day will take place at 2:30PM the following day. Oh, Sweet Jesus!!!! I am so excited to hold Patrick in my arms and put my praying lips onto that tiny chest holding such a fragile little heart. I can barely stand it. This time last year, I thought Patrick was lost to us forever. We are so miraculously blessed. Our appointment at the American Consulate is on June 25, 2013, and we leave Guangzhou for LAX at 9:30PM on June 26, 2013. We'll spend the night of the 27th in LA and then be home sweet home at 1:30PM on June 28th!!!! Patrick's first cardiologist appointment for an EKG and echocardiogram is already scheduled for July 2, 2013 at 3:15. I'm as prepared, I think, as I can be.

Now, my agency is not inexpensive. I should know this being as this is our third adoption through them. I guess I should have had an heightened awareness regarding expenses, too, since we went into this adoption virtually BROKE. God has provided every cent from all different kinds of places through this entire process.

Why then did I freak out when I saw a "standard fee" of almost $1,700.00 on my invoice for in-country costs? Ummmmm....because I am a control freak and I totally freak out when I realize that all that control I've been loving is nothing but a sham. A BIG OL' SHAM!!! I was expecting in-country costs, ie: hotel, tours and guide fees to be about 2K. Well, thanks to the "standard fee" it's $4,003.00. Frankly, we don't have it. My last paycheck was $1,800.00. All of that is going toward these in-country costs. We are selling my car (a 2002 Mercury) for whatever we can get for it and the proceeds of that will go toward the adoption as well.

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that "someone" will not be driving Mama's car because "someone" has been rebellious, belligerent and made vastly stupid decisions, despite Godly counsel. So, the car that was intended for stupid is now being sold to pay the ransom for redemption. Ashes to Roses, I say.

The plane tickets have been bought and I have enough money in savings to pay for the provincial fees, medical, TB test and visa along with the guide's tip of $150 and the driver's tip of $50. I also have spending and eating money as well as some back-up money in case the provincial fees go up suddenly. That happened in Nanjing last September.

It just seems like satan has really gone on the attack when I'm at my weakest. But, come-on, what did I expect? Moxie's major surgery is today, our weather has been horrific here in OKC, "someone" has had his mama in tears most of this week and I'm looking at taking my diabetic self across the world alone to bring Patrick home with money I don't have. All of that is of no consequence until I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus them on the problems I think I have. That is sinful. These are not MY problems. These are opportunities to rely more on Jesus. To trust Jesus more. To praise him MORE. I have no more right to claim control of these problems than I have right to claim credit for my salvation.

Today has been hard. Moxie was in horrible, and needless, pain because the hospital dropped the ball on pain management. It is never easy to lay your baby down and walk away. I know I'm about to experience that again, with Patrick. My entire life has been, I believe, training for this moment--Patrick's adoption and heart surgery. Help me Lord Jesus to keep my eyes on you.

God Bless You and Keep You. May His Face Shine Upon You and Give You Peace.
In Him,

Monday, May 13, 2013

God Can Work With That...

Yesterday was Mothers Day. Ben and the girls wanted to go to the zoo. I went along because, with it being Mothers Day and all, I wanted to be around most of the people who call me "Munner" or some derivative thereof. There were about a gajillion folks at the zoo. Seriously, that many mothers would pick the zoo as on Mothers Day?? I'm not buying it. I'm betting, just like me, they wanted to be with their kids. God can work with that.

Oh.Yes! God can work with my attitude of "I love ya'll but pushing the stroller up hill both ways answering questions like "Why does the Okapi only have stripes on its butt?" is not my idea of a relaxing Mothers Day. By the way, I have no idea about the Okapi's stripey butt.

God worked on my heart as I watched my littlest girls scamper through the stream in the children's zoo, holding hands so that neither got knocked around by the bigger, faster-moving kids. From the depths of my soul, to that place where it almost hurts to breathe, my heart cries "Oh, thank you, Jesus, for these babies. I know I don't deserve them. They are so precious. Please let me continue to be their mama for a long, long time." God can work with selfishness.

You know how some women never seem to perspire? And, if they do perspire, it's just kind of a natural "glow" and not really SWEAT? Yeah, that's not me. And, you know how some women can be "of a certain age" and still have flat stomachs and thighs that don't touch as they gleefully push designer strollers holding perfectly behaved children? That's not me either. At 42, I've had 2 c-sections and an open hysterectomy. I have enjoyed food when I, most likely, should have refrained from that much joy. I have been bigger, and smaller, than I am now. I do not like my stomach, my round face, my shortness, my hair, my eyes or the sound of my own voice. God can work with that.

Yesterday, my girls could not seem to hug me enough. I heard, "Mama, I love you. Mama, I luh loo and Mama, I looooooooooooooove youuuuuuuuuuu" all day long. I was told I was beautiful, pretty, not-old, smart, a good cook and a good snuggler all day long. Those beautiful words were not delivered from hearts of deceit, set on getting something from me or gaining anything at my expense. Those words came from the purest of sources, from hearts of little girls for whom I am the ultimate in comfort with my roundness and softness. They came from little girls who will stroke my hair while falling asleep on my shoulder. They came from my darling daughter, confined to a wheelchair and peacefully reliant upon me to use my voice for her good, her protection, her safe passage into the world. God can work with a poor self-image.

Bobby, who had to work yesterday, and the girls signed a card for me. I know Ben bought it, but they signed it on their own. The girls each made me a card. Abby made me a magnet with the two of us drawn in magic marker. She gave me a flower in a pot. Sweet, sweet gifts from my children, to me, they are treasures, creations of great worth. Sometimes, I reflect upon the possibility that I could lose everything, and if I still had my children and husband, I would be just fine. BUT.WHAT.IF??? I lay in bed last night, Maisy snuggled next to me, praying that God would keep my plane from crashing into the ocean (or anywhere else) as I fly to China. I prayed away Chinese earthquakes and sink-holes. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I know where fear comes from. God did not give me a spirit of fear. I know, that when the angel visited Mary, telling her she would give birth to the Messiah, that Mary was afraid. I am sure, that when she gave birth to Jesus, her young body pained and exhausted in childbirth, she was afraid. I have no doubt, that when she saw Our Lord, hanging on the cross, she saw Her Son, and she was afraid. God can work with fear. He did then. He does now. He loves my children even more than I do and he will protect their mama.

Last week, our Article 5 was issued and we received Travel Approval. I will be given the Gotcha Day date today!! I will leave on either June 13, 14 or 15, depending on the date for Gotcha Day!! There was a time when I did not believe I would ever hold Patrick in my arms. I cried out to God, wondering whether I'd heard him wrong, why Patrick was being forced to suffer, why He allowed me to be hurt. I doubted. I put my reliance in the wrong place. I identified the multitudes of problems and obstacles and told God how to fix them. I was mad when my plan did not succeed and, for some reason, amazed when God worked miracle after miracle to pave the way to Patrick. God can work with doubt.

Ultimately, I am human. I am flawed. In and of myself, I will never be enough for my children. I will never be worthy---just by being me. But, IN HIM, I am perfect for my children. God's design, from time immemorial, was for me to be the mother to Robert Benjamin, Elizabeth Abigail, Margaret Rachael, Maureen Selah and Patrick Judah Root. In Him, I am enough. God can work with that!

To God Be The Glory!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Man, just let me tell ya', God is good! Good times? He's good. Bad times? He's still good. We, as flawed human beings are the fickle ones. God is constant. Unchanging. Never fazed by what we perceive as a sudden roadblock or disaster. He's already been there.

So, we were having a nice Saturday. We were loading up into the van to go to the park and I side-tracked to the mailbox. Sometimes I do just wander a squirrel, only not that fast. Anyhoo, what should I pull out of the mailbox but an envelope with the USCIS address on it. Whaaaaaaaaaaat?? I'm thinking it's probably a a request for more information or some such, which would not make me happy, AT ALL. Ben kept saying, "Is it good news?" Then, I opened it.

OH, THANK YOU, JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! OUR I800 HAS BEEN APPROVED!!! We mailed the application on April 11, 2013 and it was approved on April 24, 2013. I took it out of the mailbox on April 27, 2013. I just finished e-mailing the National Visa Center in an attempt to get the NVC letter!!! Happy, Happy Day!!

Of course, my happiness and praising the Lord really irked the devil. Have you ever noticed that nowhere in the Bible does the devil promise anybody anything. Now, he coerced and lied to Eve, but he didn't promise to love her, protect her, care for her and abide with her for eternity. He can't. He doesn't have the power. Or the right or the capacity for those things. And, he tried to tempt Jesus. That didn't work. Throughout God's word we read about the devil's plot against God's people. We know how the story ends. And still, he was able to plant a tiny seed of fear in my mind--RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF MY JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He started saying, "Awww, Root, you can't do it. You know, nobody believes you can go to China alone. Your plane will crash. You know how afraid you are of flying. Buy into it. Remember the nightmare you had. It'll come true if you do this crazy thing. You all alone. It's a bad idea. You'll get lost. Even if you make it to the hotel, something bad will happen. Think about it." He talked loud, my friends. It was ugly.

But, I know how to fight that business. CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS!!!!!!!!!!! Because the devil is a liar. He may know my fears, all those ugly, dark, terrifying, things that could keep me from serving and trusting the Lord. But, at the mention of my Savior's name, Satan has to go. He must flee. He cannot stand The Light. He has given me nothing. He's promised me nothing. He wants me to fall, to fail, to give up. That's the only way he can win, if I let him. Nothing would make him happier if I gave up on my son. Didn't go to China. Chickened out.

WELL, LET ME TELL YA' SOMETHING satan, THAT IS NOT AN OPTION!!! No more joy-stealing. No more fear. I owe you, NOTHING. And you DO NOT control me. Sometimes, folks, I think you just have to call him out and throw him down.


Some people may think I'm silly. That this post is just a bunch of bravado and will result in me failing, anyway. But, I already am a failure. I'm capable of absolutely nothing without Jesus. My life is not worth living without Him. My "righteousness" is like a dirty rag---worthless. But, covered by his blood, I'm a conquerer!!! Covered by his blood, I'm a warrior! Covered by his blood, I'm FORGIVEN!! Covered by his blood, I'm royalty. Covered by his blood, I'm protected, sheltered, favored and BLESSED!

I expect I'll travel soon. Please do pray for me. There is no greater responsibility that the Body of Christ has than to support and intercede for the saints. Please pray that the funds will be available for my travel and the last few fees associated with the adoption. But, most of all, please pray for my sweet Patrick, that God would continue to guard and nurture his physical and emotional heart. I cannot wait to hold him in my arms.

In Jesus,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hoos and Hockies: A Moxie Update!

Oh, how I love my Moxie Socks. This morning, she is at the surgical center getting her fourth saline fill. The surgery to remove the nevus on her scalp and forehead should be in about 5 weeks. She is tolerating the fills well. I do believe her proprioception is a bit affected by her ever-growing noggin. It's like if you were to cut the whiskers off of a cat. No, I haven't actually done that. This is just an example. Don't call PETA. Cats use their whiskers to tell whether they can fit into any given space. If the whiskers don't touch, the rest of the cat is confident it will fit into the space. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, no whiskers means the rest of the cat is duped into thinking it can fit anywhere. Moxie doesn't realize how big her head has become with the expanders. She thinks she can fit into places she cannot. The head tends to get bonked quite a bit. Yeah, a helmet might work, but trust me, they don't make helmets in Moxie's current size.

Moxie, even with her ginormous head, is still a doll baby!! She tells me all the time. "Motsie da baaaaaaaaaaaaaaabeeeeeeeeeee!! She loves being my "tiny baby". She is such a snuggle bug. Or, a "nuggle buh", if you speak Moxinese.

Moxie talks a lot. Maybe she will need speech in the future. Maybe not. It's too early to tell. I do know she does not qualify for our state's early intervention program. The program requires a child be "behind" 25% in each of 3 development areas or 75% in one area. There is no way Mox is 75% behind in speech. She does substitute the letter "H" for the letters "S" and "F". She wears "hoos and hockies" on her feet. She does not like her "hace" washed. She loves to play "outhide". I can understand her about 98% of the time. She has my drawl. Perhaps she is "Southern Chinese"!!

Moxie's favorite book is entitled "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb". Oh how she adores that book. I loved it when I was very small. Frankly, it kind of creeps me out, now. The image of "Millions of fingers, millions of thumbs, millions of monkeys, millions of drums" kind of weirds me out. She calls the book "Dum ditty dum." She says it in a very low voice and has to put her nose on the end of my nose to say it. She is very serious about my reading it. Over and over and over. Once we misplaced "Dum ditty dum". It was a bad scene.

Moxie knows that "Patick" as she calls her brother is coming home soon. She does not approve of the idea of "Mama go Nina". I use to worry that bringing Patrick home so soon after bringing Moxie home was unfair to Mox. I had the same worry when I gave birth to Abby in Dec. of '96 after having Bobby in March of '95. It's a good thing God operates on His time and not mine. I am certain that Moxie is seriously attached to me, her daddy and her siblings. We were in the store yesterday with her in the front seat of the cart and Maisy in the basket. The entire time we were in the store everyone within a 5-aisle area could hear, "Mama, I luh loo!!!" Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. "Matey, I luh loo!" "Maaaaaaaaaateeeeeeeeeey, I luh loo." "MaaaaaaaaaaaaMaaaaaaaaaaa, Moxie is pulling my hair!" Sometimes, love hurts.

I cleaned out the baby girls' closet last night. I put things they had both outgrown in a bag to give away. Maisy and Moxie are still such babies. So snuggly. And cute. And full of wonder. It's funny how children stay "babies" longer as I get older. Patrick, to me, is not much more than a baby. I will treat him much younger than his 7.5 years. We have a lot of time to make up for just snuggling and rocking and singing and loving on my newest little sweetheart. Isn't it wonderful that love multiples and does not divide? Even as I packed those small clothes into that bag, I wondered, God do you have another one for me? Because if you do, I'm ready. Here I am Lord, send me.

To God be the Glory. Great things He has done.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Me, A "Heart Mama", Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat????

In 2007, when we began our first adoption journey, we chose to get in the "regular" line. As has been established, I am a very slow learner. God takes extra time with me because He is patient and I am thick-headed and easily distracted. We were in the "regular" line because for some reason we didn't think we could raise a "special" child. Forget the fact that we already were raising a "special" child and loving her right where she was, I think I, in particular, was just bent on having a "perfect" child. That erroneous,(for me, not dissing the folks in the "non-special needs line)feeling lasted until my heart and arms began to ache and overtook the fear in my mind. That process took 2 years and 2 months. On Mother's Day, 2009, we sent our application to GWCA to be put on the Waiting Child list. We were matched with Maisy in August of that year. PRAISE GOD!!!!! I have never, not for one nano-second, regretted the decision to adopt from the Waiting Child list. Maisy is a blessing a million times over. In all honesty, though, I would not have looked at her file if she had had Patrick's diagnosis. My mind could not go to that place. I had said, over and over, through the process that I could not even consider adopting a "heart baby." But God, oh My Friends, but God!

I knew when we left China with Maisy that we would return. I knew we would adopt from the Waiting Child list. I knew we would adopt a little girl. No boys. Ever. No older children. Ever. And absolutely, positively, no "heart babies". Ever.

In September, 2011, when I first saw Moxie's face. I knew she was mine. KNEW IT!!! It didn't take any convincing to get Ben on board. He's good like that. We had pre-approval 3 days after submitting our LOI. Our home study was filed in February. I kept checking GWCA's agency specific list. And then, God, God changed my heart in the face of a round-faced cherub in an orange tee-shirt. A boy. An older child. Severe CHD. I couldn't stop looking at him. I prayed for him. Oh, how God broke my heart for that little boy. I was still too afraid. Absolutely consumed by fear, of a lot of things, not just the diagnosis.

I'm pretty sure, at that point, God had enough. We got his file. We loved him. We committed. We got our hearts broken. You can read all about it in the post entitled, "I'm sure there is a reason, but I don't know what it is". We brought Moxie home and that little boy stayed in China.

Satan thought he had won. I grieved. Ben grieved. It affected our marriage. It affected my walk with the Lord. I remember standing in the shower, crying, asking God, "Did I hear you wrong?" "I said I would go. I said I would love him." "Why, didn't you give him to me?" And then, the day after Thanksgiving, that was God's perfect timing. That day, he gave me another chance to take his gift immediately. It was a second chance to trust Him in the face of financial inadequacy, shortages of time, mental clarity and some seriously raw emotions. And incredible fear of that little boy's diagnosis. But, as I write this today, I can tell you, because I know from personal experience, God's word does not return void!!! I did hear Him correctly. But His timing is not my timing. His ways are higher than my ways. I exist to glorify HIM. He does not exist to glorify me. This time, when obedience was immediate, oh how the floodgates of blessings opened up.

I know that the dark that came between the social worker's refusal to approve us for a second child and the LOI being submitted for Patrick in December was important to my spiritual growth. I know that Satan worked hard to beat me down while we were in China. I know that God had me covered the entire time and when he finally moved his hand and closed it over me, saying "That is ENOUGH", Satan could do no more. I know that even while I was despairing, He was working all things for my good and for the good of my son. He will continue to do so.

I was talking to my neighbor a couple of days ago, telling her that our LSC had arrived. Wanda is a Prayer Warrior. I had gone to church with her before our first attempt to adopt Patrick failed. Members of her church had prayed over me. Prayed for Patrick and for Moxie. Spoken in tongues and assured me that God would bring my children home. When that didn't happen in my time, I was angry. I confessed that anger to Wanda. I apologized. And then, that sweet lady blessed me immeasurably. She said, "Yes, I knew he was coming home. I bought him a gift. I was going to bring it over to you and ask when Patrick Judah was coming home, but the Holy Spirit stopped me." I asked her, "But why?" She replied, "Oh Amy, it was months ago. The Holy Spirit told me you didn't know yet that your son was coming home." But God, Friends, But God.

So the woman who was never going to adopt a boy, or an older child, and definitely not a "heart baby" is about to do all of those things. Because, His ways are higher than my ways and because He knows what I want and need long before I do. He knows the desires of my heart and the desires of that sweet, darlin' boy in Shenzhen. I am still concerned about my son's diagnosis. I am still amazed that I'm going to be a "heart mama". But more than that, I amazed by My God, who has and does bless me "exceeding abundantly" more than I can ask or imagine!! To Him be all the Glory! Forever and Ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Psalm 23: What I Thought I Knew

As we all know, I am a slow learner. Slow. Very slow. When I was in third grade, I learned the 23rd Psalm because I had to for Sunday School. My memory was a lot better then, and I think somebody promised me gum if I learned it. Anyway, I could rattle it off and thought, even up until last week, that I knew it. Not so much.

Here's how my latest ephiphany went down. I was reading on one of my favorite blogs, owned by Dawn Wright, of Are Those Kids all Yours?, and Dawn challenged her readers to read and pray the 23rd Psalm 7 times in 1 day. I've been feeling spiritually battered, so I was all in for that one.

First prayer. I rattled off my 3rd grade memory version and should have yelled "Done" and thrown my hands in the air like a third grader because that was about the sum of it.

Next time, maybe I'm growing up, I prayed it slower. Okay, now I'm catching on. What's that first line, again? "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." Stop. In my mind, for the last 33 years, I have heard "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. Because God doesn't have time for you wanting stuff. Don't be bothering God with what you want. You big whiner." SUPRISE!!!! Amy Root, that is not what the Lord wants you to hear. I'd been hearing that lie for 33 years partly because of the way I was raised and partly because I never stopped to really HEAR it. To pray it. This is what I hear now. "The Lord is my Shepherd. The one who watches over me. Cares for me. Tenderly loves me. The one who is awake when I sleep. The one who looks for me when I wander off and far from him. I shall not want. I shall want for nothing because he knows and anticipates my needs. Because he wants to provide me with everything I need to be healthy, truly happy and secure. He wants to give me what I need so I don't have to ask for it.

Next Line--He makes me lie down in green pastures. What I "heard" before. He makes me lay down on the ground because I am annoying and sheep like grass. Part of that really is my childish understanding, but the other part, I think somewhere in my psyche I really believed, until last week, that I was capable of annoying the Lord. Sometimes in my imperfect parenting, it is so hard to understand his perfect parenting.

Next Line--He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. What I use to hear. "There's the water sheep. Don't fall in. Drink it. Get rested up because here comes the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I'm going to lead you, but remember, you'll be walking behind me. Remember, before you think how slow I am. You're right. What I hear now--"He leads me beside the still waters where it is beautiful and lovely and refreshing. My Lord knows how my focus is ever-shifting, a lot like a squirrel and not a peaceful sheep. He knows that I need rest. That I need to relax with Him, knowing he is there and focusing on my relationship with Him.

Next Line--He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His namesake. What I use to hear---"Don't get out of line our you are not a Christian. Fear=not a Christian. Doubt=not a Christian. Disobedience=not a Christian. If you mess up you must not love Jesus. God wants you to be afraid of him. And you should be. What I hear now--"Unable to find a pathway on my own, I am guided by my Lord who loves me because of His Son Jesus. Praise Him!!!

Next Line--Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me. What I use to hear. God will take me into some ugly places. One of those places I will die. God carries a big stick. In an adult Sunday School class our instructor, who seemed to really believe what he was saying, told us that the shepherd would hit the sheep with the rod and staff. He used that logic to justify whipping his kids. I never actually believed that, though. What I hear now---"There is nowhere. NOWHERE that I have to go without my God. He is always with me. My comforter. My security. My protector. His rod and staff are my protection, because, being the BEST Shepherd, he is prepared to fight anything that should attack me. And My God always wins.

Next Line--"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. What I use to hear--"You justify me in the presence of people who would make fun of me, belittle me and hurt me. You show great love and preference for me. I am blessed. Strangely enough, I think I got that part right. It just means even more to me, now.

Next Line--Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever. What I use to hear---"Goodness and Mercy might be following me, but good luck on them ever catching up. It's hard out to be a Christian. It only gets good when you're dead. What I hear now--"I am constantly wooed and pursued by God's bountiful love and blessing. I cannot get over how much he loves me--how exceeding abundantly I am blessed. And when I do die, Oh GLORY, it gets that much better FOR ETERNITY!!!!

I NEEDED to read Dawn's post. I needed to re-learn and re-love the 23rd Psalm. There have been hard days lately. The LSC that we were told had been mailed on March 27, 2013, wasn't actually mailed at all. I feel a gut-wrenching urgency to bring my son home, quickly. I smarted-off to the cashier at the grocery store who asked me, in front of Maisy and Moxie, whether I "had any of my own". I said, "Well, I didn't steal them." Then I went on to say, flat out, that it is offensive when someone asks me whether my children are mine. The bad part is, I really don't feel very badly for saying it. It was high time, if you ask me. But, nobody has.

I'm going to end with this. Someone asked me the other day how we decided to adopt Patrick. I've thought very hard about my answer. And this is it. We did not decide to adopt Patrick. We loved him because God gave him to us. He is undoubtedly ours. I cannot imagine not pursuing his adoption. For however long, and I pray it is very, very, long, God gives him to me. I will love him.

That's it. I have no more.
God bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and bring you peace.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better than what?

I have to confess, I have waited to write this blog post until I was not angry. I don't believe anger, when it is justified, is a sin. I do believe lashing out in anger because one was hurt or personally offended is a sin. That's what I was going to do. But, now I'm not. Because God gave me grace, His grace, in the moment that I needed it. I asked for it. He gave it. Seriously, I need to do that more often.

Here's the situation that got me all riled up. A person I know remarked the other day that a relative had given birth to a child with Down Syndrome. My first reaction was, "Congratulations on the baby!!! Was it a boy or a girl?" The person continued, "Well, we knew something like that was bound to happen. That families xx# child is Autistic. That family has XX# kids and the mom is older (not that it matters but the mom is only 2 years older than yours truly). This person went on to say,"But, you know, the family is X religion, so they probably didn't even want to know that something was wrong with the baby, because it wouldn't have made a difference." At this point, I'm pretty much standing there with my mouth hanging open, thinking, "But, it's a BABY!!!" THEN SHE SAID IT. The words I've heard only one other time in my life as a mom (and from a church member no less). The person said, "Well, I guess it's better than having a kid with CP." Instant pain. Almost instant anger. But, I remembered the words of one of my heroes of the faith, Adeye' Salem, written in her blog--"Ask for GRACE!!." I did. The grace didn't take away my pain, but it kept me from hurting someone that I know does not have a relationship with Jesus. So I said, "I live with CP every day, as you know, my oldest daughter, Abby, has CP." The person blanched. They had forgotten, even though we've known each other for years. She managed to get CP confused with MS and CF before the conversation ended. I'm sure it was, on her part, soon forgotten.

I didn't forget. "Better than what?," just kept running through my mind. I can think of a lot of "better than" situations.

Having Abby with cerebral palsy is BETTER THAN not having her at all.

Living my life knowing Jesus is BETTER THAN the alternative.

Adoption is BETTER THAN being an orphan or a parent with empty arms.

The journey that God is taking us on to bring a critically ill son home from China is BETTER THAN anything I could think of to buy or do or see.

And....extending grace, even when I honestly did not want to, is BETTER THAN being a stumbling block on someone's pathway to meeting Jesus.

Every child is God's child, created in his perfect image, fearfully and wonderfully made, full of purpose and promise, beloved and BETTER THAN anything this world has to offer!!!

Adoption News......We were DTC on 3/1 and logged in on 3/6. Since Patrick's case is being medically expedited, our referral counselor, Kristin, will call the CCCWA tomorrow to check on the status of our LSC/LOA (Letter Seeking Confirmation/Letter of Acceptance). It is literally a "check the box". Just so ya know...We'll be checkin' the OH.MY.GOOD.GRAVY.ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME.OF COURSE.WE.WANT.HIM box!!!! Then we wait for Travel Approval. I really hope I'll be traveling in May!!!!

We are still behind in the financial department. I've applied for 2 grants. We'll use our tax return (I have no idea of the amount we'll be getting back) and if we have to, we'll sell Ben's watch and my hair :-) Anyone read O'Henry's Gift of the Magi? Anyhoo.....I cannot wait to get my arms around that precious boy!!!

We are so blessed that my friends Katie and Sonia are going to be able to hold and love on Patrick in just a matter of hours!!! They are both in Guangzhou, right now!!! HOLLA, Y'all!

I'm sure I was going to say something really brilliant (yeah, right), but now I'm not.

May God bless you with every good thing---including children that are perfect for you, picked just for you, by a God who loves you beyond measure.

In Him,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My HOPE is in The Lord! Waiting is not my strong suit. We are still not DTC (dossier to China). We mailed the documents to the courier on February 7, 2012. Today is February 26, 2013. (for those of you using the Mayan calendar, I'm just catching you up. You might want to get a regular-folks calendar so you don't miss your trash pick-up day or your birthday or ya' know, like a day that ends in "Y") Anyhoo, sarcasm aside, I was kinda startin' to wonder if our documents were ever going to leave the consulate. I was seriously considering asking to have them back and then sending the to DC for authentication. But, that would be more money. And more time. And whose to say the consulate in Houston would give the documents back? And whose to say the consulate in DC would not be having the same little problemo with or dossier that the folks in Houston are having. BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! It's hard out there for a mommy.

Then, in my fairly dusty, cobwebby, not-so-bright brain, a tiny little light flickered. I think the Girl Scouts sing a song about "It only takes a tiny spark...blah, blah, blah..." (I really wouldn't know, 'cause I got kicked out of Brownies for being "rambunctious". I know. I can't believe it either.) Anyway, when the light went on, there was a little bit of smoke, and then I remembered---"Oh yeah, Mongo not in control." When will I learn? So, I prayed my childlike, "Lord, I know I've been putting my reliance in the completely wrong place. Please fix it. I'm just thankful that you don't leave me and you allow me to come back to You with all my faults and flaws. Thank you for bringing my son home." Then, the Holy Spirit had me call the secretary of state.

I was kinda concerned that the whomever I spoke to would tell me to take a hike. But, if God is for me, who can stand against me? Right, nobody. So, I called and I was nice and explained the whole thing that was going on. I might have cried. What it boiled down to was, the Chinese Consulate sent a fax at the end of last week ASKING for the signature pages for the new secretary, because it DID NOT have them. Then, our secretary's office went something like, "Ohhhhhh, that????!!!!!! Why didn't you say so?" The Chinese Consulate---"Uh, duh. We did." (only much nicer and in Chinese) The lovely woman who spoke with me assured me that the correct documents were mailed after the request was received and should arrive at the consulate either yesterday or today. Want me to tell you the miracle part of all this business? The consulate didn't have to ask for the papers. I don't believe that is the normal course of business for them. And---our secretary of state changes, AGAIN, this Friday. Ummmm...that would be a humongous deal if we were not already athenticated. ANNNNND according to our agency, we are likely the first file in the Oklahoma dossier pile. I learned my lesson. Thank you, Lord.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we bought Patrick a Big Wheels!!!! It's so cute! It was half off at Bed, Bath and B@yond!!! The great part is that it's the "traditional" Big Wheel and is identical to the one Ben rode as a little boy. I love the irony that it is the "Patriot" model---all red, white and blue with an eagle on the wheels. I cannot wait to see my sweet boy tearing down the sidewalk on his Big Wheel being chased by his two little sisters pushing their grocery carts. Maisy and Moxie LOVE the little metal grocery carts that they each got for their birthdays. Those things will last forever, but they have seen some serious miles already.

I have paint swatches taped to the boys' bedroom walls. I'm going to redecorate in their before Patrick comes home. Bobby is cool with it, although he probably wouldn't be as cool with it if I told him we are not buying bunk beds with a futon on the bottom. The bunk beds were his idea. I don't understand the fascination with the futon. We are going to tear the carpet out of that room and put down laminate like we have in the rest of the house. I think the change will be good for Bobby's asthma and easier to keep clean so that Patrick doesn't get any upper respiratory problems that would make his heart condition all that much more complicated.

We turned all of our tax documents into JJ-The-Tax-Man. I love JJ. He and I use to work together. He did look at me funny when I started explaining that the ginormous pile of receipts and documents on his table were there because we finished an adoption and began another adoption both in 2012. He asked me if we were "done". But, that's for another post.

Hopefully, we will get some tax money that will help with the rest of our adoption costs. I'm not good at fundraising. I know I need to be, but, I'm not. I don't really have a good understanding of how to do it. I'm not charismatic in the least and I dunno.....I'm just kind of at a loss. But, what I do know is that God is our provider and He has never, ever, let me down. I trust Him, completely, to provide us a way to bring Patrick home. Because, remember, He has already made a way for this adoption to happen where there was no way at all!!!

I must figure out how to post pictures here. Most people have probably stopped reading already. But, for those of you who have stuck with me---THANKS!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Please take some time today to pray for the orphans of Russia and for their American families. I am burdened for these babies and their parents. Certainly, the government of Russia may be able to keep those children confined as long as God chooses to let them, but, when God decides enough is enough.....Well, read the book of Exodus. In my heart, I believe it will be a whole lot like that.

Joy Unspeakable and Full of HIS Glory,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Our dossier is cooling its proverbial heels with the courier. Little did I know, when we paid $75.00 to get it to the courier "first thing in the morning", that the courier would leave for the consulate before 8:30 A.M. I also didn't know that there would be an issue regarding our secretary of state having changed on February 1st. Apparently, the consulate may not have been notified that the secretary of state for the state of Oklahoma has changed. This little blip could cause our authentication process to be slowed. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out because the consulate has been closed since Monday for Spring Festival. Yeah, didn't know that either. Alas, we won't make the projected DTC date of 2/15, but hopefully, we will make 2/22!!! After that, I think things will go pretty quickly.

It was nice that when my fingerprints failed the first time (after I discovered that I'd lost my driver's license and had to come back the next day) I didn't have to be reprinted. I just went on down to the sheriff's office and got a handy-dandy letter and sent that to the orphan officer. Amy has a clean background---CHECK!!

The girls are getting ready for Valentine's Day. Maisy and Moxie are having parties at daycare. We are sending candy because that's what they picked and I'm too cheap to buy anything more expensive. The daycare does not accept "homemade items". Gone are the days when a kid could volunteer her mom to bring 24 cupcakes for the next day's party and then watch her mom make them during breakfast all the while muttering angry words about Valentines, first-grade teachers and the creator of cupcakes. Usually, though, Betty Crocker came across as a saint. :-) We will send "princess valentines" to all the little girls' friends. Abby has a party this evening. I've only been reminded about 5,000 times--give or take a few thousand. I bought boxes of candy for The Littles, and their favorite snacks for The Bigs. I so wish I could just hug and hold and kiss and lavish attention on my newest valentine, My Sweet Patrick. There is absolutely no truth to the saying, "You cannot miss what you never had", because I guarantee you, I miss him so bad my heart hurts.

Speaking of hearts.....please continue to pray for the health of Patrick's heart, both physically and emotionally. I pray that he will be prepared to accept all of the love his mama and daddy have to give him! I think all of the kids are ready for him to come home. the little girls cannot understand why I don't just show up with him one day, even though Maisy understands that China is a long way off and the adoption process is an arduous one. Maisy keeps telling Moxie that "Mama is going to China to get Patrick." It dang near broke my heart when Moxie came running up to me just as fast as those chunky legs could go, grabbed my knees and in her tiny voice with her big dark eyes wide-open said, "Mama go Nina?" She's okay with going to daycare, and likes it a lot, but, I'm afraid when I do go to "Nina" it is going to be very hard on my little Moxie Soxie.

Moxie's surgery to have the expanders put under her scalp in preparation for the removal of her nevus this summer is scheduled for March 19. Please pray for her. Even though I know that Maisy was younger than Moxie is now, when Maisy's surgery occurred, Moxie seems so much younger to me. Maybe it's because I'm no longer ignorant of the removal process or maybe it's because time has (somewhat) dimmed the painful memories of Maisy coming out of the expander surgery. I'm just dreading this surgery for Moxie. Her English language skills are improving every day. She's securely attached. I have total faith in Dr. Wayne and his amazing skill as a surgeon. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that GOD HAS MY BABY IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND. I'm just a worried mommy. Please pray for me, too!

I'm excited for my friend Katie to go to China and bring home Patrick's best buddy, Simon! Please pray for Katie and Simon. My Patrick will then be the last Musketeer in China. His bed buddy, Darren, came home in October and has just had heart surgery. Please pray for Darren and his wonderful mama, Sandy. If it weren't for an e-mail from Sandy, we wouldn't be on this amazing journey to bring Patrick home.

There is no other news fit to print (or blog). My friend Connie is leaving very soon to bring her daughter, Khloie, home from China. Please pray for them. Lots of children in China and the world over are without parents and a family to love them. Maybe you have some extra love to share??? I promise, love multiplies. It doesn't divide. There's always enough for one more!!!! Happy Valentine's Day, Bobby, Abby, Maisy, Moxie and Patrick. Mama loves you all!

Ben, if you read this blog (which I doubt), I love you too, Honey!

In Jesus, Whose Love Never Fails,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Still waiting.....

Seriously, it did not take this long to get the biometric (fingerprinting) appointments for Maisy's or Moxie's adoption. However, I'm not stressing as much as I would if I hadn't been learning to wait. I'm a very slow learner. We got the letter from USCIS saying that the application was received on 1/15 and that the biometric appointments should be issued in 10 to 15 working days. I almost broke a leg jumping out of the van before it came to "a full and complete stop" just so I could be the first one to the mailbox. Nothing. Except a sore leg. Oh well, they might come tomorrow. Our local USCIS office is closed on Wednesdays anyway.

We plan to be DTC (dossier to China) on February 15, 2013. It will be a good day! Since China is basically closed for business from the 9th to the 15th, it's just a chance to get our ducks in a row before they are processing dossiers again. I think once we are DTC, things will really speed up due to the expedited status of Patrick's adoption. Trust me, I'd go get him today if I could!

I'm worrying less about traveling by myself. I wake up in a brand new world everyday, anyway. So, really, what difference does it make where I am---I'm still ME!!!!

This evening I asked Moxie, "Mox, do you remember any Chinese?" She looks at me with her trademark cocked head and huge grin and DRAWLS "NAWOOOOOOOOOH". Maisy, not to be outdone, says, "I do!" Pretty fantastic since she came home at 10.5 months. "Really?" I said, "What do you remember?" Same drawl different baby, "Shaaaaaaanghai!!" Hilarious. I love my little Chinese Okies!

This Friday is our Heart For Patrick Fundraiser at Freddy's Frozen Custard on North May. If you are local, come see us between 5PM and 9PM. We get 15% of the sales before tax with the presentation of one our flyers. Freddy's is awesome! If you have one in your town, you should check it out! Think of me if you eat a Chicago dog! I love them so!

Our profile at Adopt Together is up and running. You can access it at

My friend Katie Hurst has made us a beautiful necklace to sell benefiting Patrick's adoption. You can purchase one at

The tee shirts that my hubby designed and had printed came in today! We used them as "perks" for contributions to our indiegogo campaign. They feature a Celtic style shamrock with a traditional heart in the center. The heart contains the Chinese symbol for family. As soon as I figure out how to put pictures on this blog, I'll post a picture and take orders. Ben did a good job! They really are very cool!

Ben has shingles. Please pray for him. Are those caused by stress? If so, IT WASN'T ME!!!! I DID NOT DO IT!!!! I AM INNOCENT!!!! I'M BLAMING THE KIDS!

I feel good. Nothing as nutty as I am ever stays down for long!!! BWWAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAA!!!!!

Please continue to pray for Patrick. Soon, his best friend will leave to go home with his wonderful mama and Patrick will be the last Musketeer standing. Please pray that he will find favor with those in authority and feel peace in his little heart until I get there!!! I cannot wait to hold my boy and tell him what a treasure he is. Soon and very soon........

God Bless You with Every Good Thing,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Lamentations 3:22-24 says Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion. Therefore, I will wait for him. Have you ever considered the result of being "consumed"? To be so overcome by grief or fear or hate that there is no going back, no opportunity to be who you were, ever again? To be so engulfed by that absence of God you are no longer recognizable? My goodness. That person could have been me. If you know Jesus, it could have been you. If you don't know Jesus, Friend, it is you.

His love prevents us from being consumed because His love, "his compassions" never fail. But there is another kind of "consumed". To be "consumed by God's great love and purpose for your life. You know, those people who just talk and talk about how much they love Jesus. They seem genuinely happy driving a used (okay, very used) vehicle, living in a smaller home and eating a whole lot of macaroni so they can give their money to missions or adoption or some other crazy thing that is surely somebody else's problem. Right? Right? Do I hear a cricket chorus? Those people are consumed by God's love, by their love for Him and an overwhelming desire to DO HIS WILL!!! I want to be consumed like that!!!

I have contemplated many, many times this week what would have happened if we had not said "YES!!" when God gave us the miracle chance to adopt Patrick. The picture is very frightening. For starters, I would not have met two, already dear friends, Katie and Sandy. I would have missed multiple opportunities to share the love of Jesus with my friends who don't know Him. I would have missed the lessons that come with humility in accepting a love offering. I would have missed having the opportunity to grow in my reliance on God. To feel comfortable in coming to Him, in tears, pleading for my son's life--that my baby be healed---that he get to know the love of a mama and daddy and experience every "first" that are so often taken for granted but that he has never experienced. I would have missed reconnecting with my friend Julie, who was in our 2012 travel group. I would have missed experiencing Facebook and what a technological alter it can be for prayer. I think Facebook, like nothing else, gives Christians the opportunity to pray for one another and collectively like nothing else. I love, love, love watching The Body of Christ pray for each other and lift one another's children up before the throne of God. I am blessed beyond words just for saying "yes".

Which brings me to this...I can't tell you the number of times I've heard, "Oh, it's a great thing you're doing adopting all those kids." Uh, no it's not. And, really, 3 is not "all those". It's not "a great thing" I'm doing. Obedience is not a great thing. Don't you expect obedience of your children? So does God. Don't get me wrong, adoption has blessed my life beyond measure and I would go toe-to-toe with the devil for my babies. But, I wouldn't have heard the call to adopt if I hadn't been listening. And even if I had heard it, I could have been disobedient and done nothing. Just ignored Him. Gone on about my business. Disobeying. Have you ever used the old excuse, "I didn't hear you" when you just flat didn't want to respond to someone--or didn't want to do what they asked---or thought the request was too hard, or boring, or stupid? Do you do it to God? Because I'm just wondering if all those people who "aren't called"---ARE. They just don't want to answer. Because it's scary and financially sacrificial and time-consuming and invasive and lots of other things when you decide to be CONSUMED by God. Listening. Obeying.

Please, for yourself, for your relationship with God, consider whether you are "called" but just not listening. It will make an eternity's worth of difference to a child. Taking care of the widows and orphans is not somebody else's calling. It's EVERY Christian's calling.

And, as for my darlin' Patrick....He's gorgeous. I cannot wait to post pictures of him and listen to everybody say, "Wow, Amy, you were right. He is crazy cute!!!" USCIS has cashed our check!!! WOO HOO, never have I been so stoked that someone has taken my money!! The fact that they cashed the check means we should expect the fingerprinting appointment letters (probably) this week. SWEET!!! We have a fundraiser at Freddy's Frozen Custard on May Avenue in Oklahoma City on February 1, 2012. We have an Adopt Together fundraiser at I'm trying to figure out how to avoid checking any bags because I don't want the hassle of carrying more than I have to when I leave to bring our boy home.

Please continue to pray for the orphan children of Russia. There are American families in Russia, right now, petitioning the courts to allow them to bring their children home. My prayer is that God will treat these children just like he did the Children of Israel and never let Vladimir Putin rest until God's children go free. He alone sets the lonely in families and NO ONE can stay His hand.

Joy Unspeakable and full of Glory!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waiting Thankfully...

God is so good, isn't He?!! Our indigogo campaign ended last night with a wonderful total of $2,800.00. What a blessing. Even after indiegogo and Paypal get their cuts, which are deserved, we still have enough to pay the USCIS fees!!! God's like that---providing what we need when we need it. I am so thankful! If you contributed to our campaign, bless you. I hope you reap 100 times what you have sown!

My prayers as of late have been for the children of Russia and their adoptive families. I prayed that the Christians of Russia would stand in the gap for their children, for God's children, and they have. I don't believe the world has seen, yet, what God can do in Russia and how very, very precious those orphan children are to Him.

I am such a blog hound. I get such a blessing from reading the blogs of my sisters in Christ. I love praying for others. I believe that one of my spiritual gifts is intercessory prayer. I take that responsibility very seriously. So, if I've read your blog, it's pretty likely I've prayed for your child or children! I won't put your children's names on my blog. I think that would be invasive. But, I do think initials are okay! So in that vein, let me say, "Thank You, Jesus, for HS, KS, IJS, SH, DK, MB, EB, JP, EP, CP, CP, and an entire alphabet's worth of miracles!!!!

I'm going to sew on Patrick's blankets this evening. I've washed the flannel I bought with Spiderman, Captain America and Iron Man on it as well as the Transformer fabric and now I'm going to put the satin binding on it. I bought a yard and a half of each one, so that my sweet little boy can wrap up. My mommy heart tells me he will need a security blanket in the near future. Right now, I've got him wrapped in prayer!!!

I look forward to showing everyone the beautiful necklace my friend Katie has created in Patrick's honor. They will sell for $20 with much of the profits going to Patrick's ransom!!! God bless you, Katie. I love you, Sweet Friend.

Isn't it nice how adoption doesn't just create nuclear families but also big ol' flawed, loving, praying families of believers that will drop on their knees for somebody else's child because they know what that much love feels like? I'm so blessed to have been adopted by the King of Kings.

The USCIS application is in the lockbox!!! We are waiting on that fingerprint appointment. Then we are going to ignore the appointment and walk-in ASAP. Our local office is great about allowing that for adoptive parents! Every day is another day closer.

Hold on Patrick, Mama loves you!!!
To God be the Glory--Great Things He has done!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jesus is not my co-pilot!!

Before the collective gasp sucks all of the oxygen out of the room and the intervention planning begins, allow me to explain!! I'm not denying my salvation, I'm stating a fact. Jesus is not my co-pilot because I am not the pilot. You see, nobody in their right minds would let me pilot anything. Not even a riding lawnmower. I get lost in parking lots, malls, (which I visit only when absolutely necessary), hotels, big rooms, hallways with more than one door, thought....You get my drift. So to think that I needed Jesus only as "back-up" is beyond ridiculous. Jesus is my "pilot", my leader, my Savior, my dearest Friend, My All in All. He isn't "Co" anything. He's everything.

So, it's a good thing that Jesus is the leader considering I'll be going to China on my own. It is a scary prospect to be perfectly honest. I'm not into singularity. A very dear friend, who shall remain nameless (Dee), said, "Amy, how are you going to go to China alone when you cannot even find Edmond. Sad. It's probably true. I'm sure I only live a very, very short distance from the demarcation between OKC and Edmond. I also believe I could get to Edmond on my own. I'm just walking North, Folks, I do know that much. But, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you once I got there..... Am I there yet? How 'bout now???

Like I've said before, I can't see "my way" from here. It's all about Jesus!!!

The home study is completed, approved and will be mailed to USCIS very, very, soon. I cannot believe that soon and very soon I will be able to hold Sweet Patrick in my arms and tell him how precious, how fearfully and wonderfully made he is. I do not know why Patrick had to wait so long for a family. I do know that we ARE his family. God has made that infinitely clear, because this entire adoption process is a miracle from the beginning. I do believe that God has been stretching, testing, and molding me into the mother that Patrick needs. I was not that mother when I gave birth to my first child. I wasn't that mother when I gave birth to my second child. Although, the trials that came with her delivery and her need for me to be an advocate gave me abilities that God is using now as I prepare to advocate for Patrick and care for his special little heart. I was not the mother that Patrick needed at the time of our first adoption. But that process taught me patience and certainty and perseverance and the absolute worth of fasting to become closer to God. While I wanted to be the mother that Patrick needed when we brought our last child home from China, I simply wasn't. But, looking back, I have learned the best lesson so far. I have learned that Miracles do happen. That no child is outside the heart of God. That when my heart is broken, His is too. That He loves me so much, He will make a way where there was none. I have learned trust. Thank You, Jesus. No, I am still not refined. Still not the ideal mother. But, I'm running the race and I know He goes before me. And, when the race ends, He will be at the finish line.

Yes, there are still fundraising issues and waiting for deadlines or avoiding deadlines or discovering deadlines and then more waiting.....But, I have Peace. That Glorious Peace that Passes Understanding. I may not be able to find Edmond, but I can find Jesus. He's holding my hand and leading the way.

Please remember my darlin' Patrick in your prayers. Also, please continue to pray for my dear friend Mary Sammons and her Precious Ivy Joy as they spend time in Boston for Ivy's heart.

All Praise and Glory to Him,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Can't see "my way" from Here

I knew it would happen. I knew the time would come when I would wake up in a cold sweat wondering what in the world I think I'm doing. Why would we choose to adopt again so soon after bringing Moxie home. Where is the money to fund another adoption going to come from. What must other people think. Am I as crazy as some have said I am. And then, once the room stopped spinning and the consuming fear ebbed away, I answered my own question---because God has made the way. He has told us to bring Patrick home. He did not create in me a spirit of fear. I am a conquerer in Him.

It is funny to think of myself as a conquerer, unless conquerers are typically short, curvy, middle-aged women with frequent bad hair days. If that is the profile, I'm totally IT!! But really, I cannot think of a single reason why God would use me. I'm certain that He has, but only because He chooses to use the insignificant, the broken, the unlovely and the weak. I have been blessed beyond measure by His Grace and Patience for me. And still, frequently, I find myself wondering, full of doubt and fear, about things over which I have no control. I imagine myself in Peter's place, walking on the waves one moment and gasping for air the next as my head goes under the water--with my hands above, clawing the air for the Master's hand. Many times, I have prayed, "Jesus, if ever I've needed you to hold my hand, now is the time. Please, don't leave me. I need you. I need you." Every time he has been there.

My fear has kept me from concentrating as of late. I know who is responsible for that. I know that he would like nothing more than for me to say, "Oh man, World, you are right. It isn't fair to Maisy or Moxie that I bring Patrick home. It is ridiculous to go into massive debt to bring this child home. I've done my part. I'd sure be better off not sitting in lawn chairs around my dining table." But, here's the thing. As faulty as my flesh is, and as weak as my faith sometimes turns, I just can't turn around. You see, I've bought into God's plan so much, so wholeheartedly, I can't see my way from where I am now. It's not that I can see where I'm going. I'm pretty much taking this one moment at a time. It's not that I'm not afraid, sometimes. I am. But, I must keep following Jesus's plan because I gave mine up. I'm plan-less. The only sure thing, the only solid, light-giving, soul-lightening way I can see, one step at a time, is God's way. And God's way is leading me to China. To Patrick. To heart surgery. To massive risk. To love. To family. To eternity.

So, as I contemplate the fact that our fundraising is faltering, and the world is a flighty bird with a really short attention span, and I am not the woman I was yesterday or the woman I will be tomorrow, I remind myself---God put me on this path. He'll take me every step of the way.

Our home study is about finished. We've submitted every required document. The lifestyle pictures have been completed. They look slightly goofy. I guess that's reality for ya. And, this year, somehow, we will bring home our son. Thank you, Jesus, for holding my hand and leading me on this journey. I love you more than anything this world has to offer.

Please pray for our Patrick, that his heart would be strong, that he would be shown favor by those in authority and that words of love would be spoken to him until I can hold him in my arms.

In Jesus,