Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some weeks are hard

"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest of store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today's trouble is enough for today." 
Matthew 6:26-27, 33-34

The past few days have been difficult. Adoption is hard. That isn't a secret. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. But people don't want to do things that are hard. And many days, even though I have chosen hard, the burden becomes greater than I can manage on my own. Normally I don't write about "the hard stuff."  I cry with K.C., call my friends, go shopping :) But right now I feel that the best thing to do is to just humbly ask for your prayers. I want to dwell on the above passage, let it soak into me.  I want to feel God's peace over everything in my life, especially Samuel's adoption.  But right now I cannot do it alone. Would you please lift me up in prayer?  Please pray that I would allow God's peace to overwhelm during the next several weeks. That I would "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else." 

So here's a little bit of the back story. Of course there is more, but these are the two big things I would like to share.

On Adoption- On May 22nd our Adoption Dossier was Logged-in in China.  That was five weeks ago. Back then, many families in our same situation were receiving their Letters of Acceptance 45-60 days after being Logged-in. Once you receive your LOA (Letter of Acceptance) you can plan to travel within 8-10 weeks on average. So I was thinking that by today, 35 days into our wait, we were at least half way through our LOA wait.  Unfortunately, adoption timelines change all of the time and over the past month many families have been waiting well over 60 days to receive this very precious adoption document.  This is the part where the worry and stress have become a problem. I am not in control of any portion of this process. All I can do is wait.

For the past month I have had a wonderful peace over the adoption. Our paperwork was done, all we had to do now was wait around 60 days and I was OK with that. (Not thrilled of course, but I knew it was just part of the process.)  I was excited that we would probably travel sooner than we had originally thought.  Originally, we had thought we would have to wait until November, but things moved quickly during the first several months and our Dossier was in China in 3 1/2 months. Very fast!  I was content with waiting 60 days for the Approval, and had figured that would put us in China in Late September/Early October.  But now I'm doubting, I'm worrying, I'm stressing about things that are completely out of my control.  I want my little boy home. I miss him, I love him, and I long every day for his presence in our family.  I know that God has all of this worked out in His perfect timing and I trust Him.  It is very possible that things will speed up again over the next month and I'm worrying over nothing. Lord, please let this be the case. 

So today I pray the passage above.  Will you pray it with me, for me, for yourself?  I am sure that most of you reading this have your own life situations that are making it hard for you to trust God and not worry. I firmly believe in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” We may not be in the room together, but our hearts and minds can be together in unison asking for the Lord's peace in whatever situation we are in.

The second situation I would request prayer for is regarding Anna.  As you read in my previous post, Anna is doing just great! Unfortunately there is still the matter of the excess spinal fluid in her spinal column.  So on Monday, June 30th she will undergo her semi-annual MRI to check on the level of fluid in her brain and spine. This procedure requires over 2 hours in the MRI so she will be going under anesthesia to keep her asleep and still during the process. If you have read my previous posts on this you know that in this particular matter I have been asking God for a miracle. 6 months ago, the MRI showed no increase in fluid, so the neurosurgeon felt that it was in her best interest to just continue to watch and wait. So here we are, 6 months later, watching again. I try to be at peace, but I struggle. I don't want her to have to go through another surgery, especially a spinal surgery. But again, it is not in my control. Outwardly, she shows no signs of any change.  She continues to improve in her walking and strength, she has good bowel and bladder function (way above expectations for her condition.) Here again I need your prayers for peace. Help me to trust that God has this under control. He loves Anna, He loves our family, and He knows the outcome. 

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about miracles. As I read the Gospels and the book of Acts recently I observed the patterns of healing. I was convicted that my prayers were too narrow, that instead of asking God for too much, I was asking Him for too little. Why only ask for healing in her spine, why not ask for complete healing of her feet and legs too? What stood out to me most was that Jesus and His disciples healed to bring glory to God. It wasn't so much so that people could have a happier, easier life. For all of the stories we read of healing, I am sure there were hundreds more who did not receive the healing they desired. Did those who were not healed not have enough faith? I don't think so. I think that God in his infinite wisdom knew that through their disability they would bring Him more glory than if they were healed.  So I believe it is with Anna. Every day, I see how God uses Anna's disability for His glory. Every time we go somewhere and people see the little girl in pigtails, smiling and strutting around on her crutches they can't help but smile too. I can't go anywhere with Anna without someone coming up to me and telling me what an inspiration she is to them. So for now, even though I do, every day, pray for complete healing for Anna I don't think it is what is going to bring God the most glory.  

Would you continue to pray with our family for healing, for peace, and for God's glory to continue to be evident through our little girl.  Please pray that Monday's MRI will show no increase in spinal fluid and even more, that it would show less. Pray that we would have God's peace no matter what the outcome and that we would continue to trust Him with Anna's health. 

Thank you for lifting up our family during these emotionally draining weeks and months. I believe in the power of the prayers of the saints. Amen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Update on Anna

It's been a month since Anna got her casts off! What a blessing to see her running around again with her crutches.  It didn't take long for her to get back into the swing of walking, although there were several reminders to walk and not crawl.  Our trip to Disney World and the Beach ended up being excellent physical therapy and she is now doing better than ever in her ambulation. She still has a long way to go in balance, but she continues to become more independent every day.  She is learning to master the stairs and has now at least figured out how to scoot and crawl up the stairs with her crutches around her arms so that she always has them with her.  She is becoming much more independent in toileting. It is HARD to get your pants on and of when you can't stand up without support, but she is figuring out all sorts of tricks to get the job done.  As always she is full of energy and non-stop talking.  She absolutely cannot wait for little brother and prays every day for us to be able to go to China soon to get him.

Here's a little video of Anna walking with her new feet.  She's not wearing her braces here, which we don't normally do, but I wanted to get a video to show how awesome her new improved feet are! If you are viewing over e-mail the video link is

Yesterday we went to the Kansas City Zoo.  Anna decided it would be fun to do a ropes course. I was so impressed with how skillfully she conquered the ropes I made a little music video. Enjoy! The video link is

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anna's first trip to Disney World!

I'm sitting and writing this post from  a wonderful balcony overlooking the ocean. Tomorrow we will be heading back home to enjoy the rest of summer vacation and to get our house prepared to welcome Samuel this fall.  A few months ago this trip seemed so far away.  With school schedules, adoption paperwork, K.C.'s work travel, and lots of home improvement projects I wasn't really enjoying my life as much as I would have liked to. In January, before we knew we would be adopting Samuel, we had promised ourselves and our kids that this year was going to be a vacation year.  The last two years of preparing for Anna, bringing her home, and adjusting to life with a little one with special needs along with K.C.'s work and travel schedule increasing had taken their toll.  Anna's adoption and medical care left us with little money or time left over for vacation. But vacations are important. They help you get away from the everyday stresses of life and connect as a family. So we decided that despite the fact that we were embarking on another adoption we really wanted to keep that promise to ourselves and our kids and we wanted to go to Disney World! Anna is at such a fun age, and the older kids hadn't been in years so we decided to just go and enjoy ourselves. Thankfully we still had 2 day tickets left to Disney we had purchased 8 years ago and with the miles on Southwest from K.C.'s business trips we were able to fly all six of us to Orlando for free.

While we were at Disney World I mentioned to K.C. that I felt a little guilty spending money on this vacation while we are in the middle of an adoption.  I was so blessed by his response, " You should never feel guilty about adopting a child."  That was the grace I needed. Adoptions are so expensive and it is so hard to figure out how to afford all of it, but God always provides. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need.  I know that right now, for us, we needed to go to Disney World. We did it as frugally as we could and we enjoyed every minute of making memories with our kids. At the end of our day at the Magic Kingdom we were riding the monorail back to the parking lot and a very sleepy little girl looked up at me from her stroller and said, "Mommy, that was fun going to Disney World." That was all I needed to know that we had made the right decision. In a few months Anna's life is going to change dramatically. Right now, spending time making her feel special and loved is very important. Taking time out of our busy life and just enjoying time together as a family is something we have all needed and it was worth every penny.

Here's a little slideshow of some of our Magic Kingdom fun.