Friday, December 30, 2011

Almost Time

We've sent this . . .
 And this. . .

 And now finally it is almost time to meet the reason for it all. . . for all of the hours spent doing paperwork since July, for all of the emails and phone calls made to follow up on all of the hours of paperwork, for the trips to the Secretary of State's office, for the packages sent, for the prayers offered, for the anxious moments when worry and fear crept in, for the love in our hearts for one we have never met, for the moments of wondering is she happy, well, and full or sad, hungry, and sick.  By God's grace alone, we have made it this far in our journey to Leiney Grace. Today we give thanks that we are now officially waiting only on Travel Approval and should travel at the end of January.  Praise God!

   The precious reason for it all ~ Leiney Grace Qingquan

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catch-Up Post #4/ Ethan's Birthday

New bikes were the birthday gift of 2011 - Lilly and Ethan both  received new bikes!

Just love this picture of my boys!  Not staged -  I grabbed my camera and thankfully,  got it.  The 4th boy is Ethan's best friend, David, who spent the night to help us celebrate Ethan's 8th birthday back in October.

Bike races down the driveway - what could be more fun?

Our sweet dog Wuzzy!

My aunt gave me a bag of candles a while back.  I very innocently put these candles on Ethan's cake.  We had the best laugh watching Ethan attempt to blow out his candles again, and again, and again!  Obviously there were a few trick candles in that bag of candles!  May have to buy some more of these in the near future as we had such a great time watching the birthday boy!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Catching-Up Post 3/Lilly's birthday

In October we made a trip to see the Barbees, the Horners, and the Sylvias.  I evidently did not take any pictures at the park with the Horners and Sylvias - uhg!  On Sunday, we worshipped with the Barbees and then went to Mamaw's (Mrs. Barbee) house for lunch with the extended Barbee family.  This is their Sunday tradition - lunch after church at Mamaw's house.  Even Mamaw's sister comes for lunch, and she made Lilly this delicious birthday cake.  It was so thoughtful of them to remember Lilly's birthday and to celebrate it with us.  Thank you, Barbee Family! 

This is Toby.  I decided I wanted a kitten after my birthday.  Lilly also kept saying she wanted a kitten.  It worked out that we found an adorable kitten right around Lilly's birthday.  little Toby is adorable but he is into everything!  Lilly and Ellie adore the little guy!

Lilly had a great 6th birthday.  Oh, I just can't believe she is 6 now.  Seems just like yesterday we were holding her for the first time in Changsha, Hunan.  She loves her new big girl bike.  Ellie's birthday comes first but our old computer is on its last leg which is where Ellie's birthday pictures are.  Hope to get that worked out soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Catch-Up Post #2/ Leiney Grace's Story

When introducing Leiney Grace, I did not share much about her story or how the Lord led us to her.  After coming home with Hudson, I just knew our family was complete.  David certainly "knew" it too!  I was NOT looking at waiting child lists.  I wasNOT receiving emails from agencies.  I was NOT planning to adopt another child.  David was definitely NOT planning on adopting again.  Then back in March, I very innocently went to my dear friend, Jen Barbee's blog, ( to check on HER family.  Well, that changed everything!  She had a post on her blog which she had copied from another blog.  "Uncomfortable".  (I tried to post the link - didn't work. go to 3/24/2011 on Jenn's blog) I read it and cried.   That was what the Lord used to show me the way back to China; the way to our new daughter.  David wasn't convinced quite as quickly as I was.  I was thinking with my heart while he was thinking dollars and cents!  I agreed with him that it did not make sense, by the world's standards for us to adopt.  However, I knew it made perfect sense to God.  We had seen him provide again and again for us, and I knew He would again. God is faithful! 

Time went on.  We prayed.  I prayed for God to change David's heart or take the desire from my heart.  David prayed for God to take the desire away from my heart : )  Then I got a job!  Yes, I did.  I have kept my nursing license active through continuing education courses.  I spoke with a friend who shared with me that her facility was looking for more prn nurses.  I applied, interviewed, took the job.  I think David was a bit shocked!  I, of course, talked with him about it each step of the way,and he gave his approval.  Why did I get a job?  To help pay for our next adoption!

I then began to look at many waiting child lists and signed up for agency emails.  I knew we had another child in China, but I didn't know who or where she or he was.  David tolerated my "looking", and he looked and prayed with me when I would show him a file of a waiting child. We both are "toddlered" out and have been amazed at the older children we have watch come home to friends.  We thought an older child may be who we were being led to.  I felt led to a child with CP, he ultimately said "No."  I thought maybe an older boy, but again David said "No."  We thought Hudson would have been a heart baby, but he wasn't so I thought maybe our next child would have a heart defect. (We have such a strong  affection for heart babies after witnessing the miracle of Lilly after her heart surgery.)  I looked and prayed.  David did not say "No."  Then I saw Lei Qing Quan or "Leah" as BAAS called her on their agency specific list. She was an older girl, already 8 years, with a heart defect.  Maybe?  David and I looked at her report and prayed.  Her file was a year old, and David said he had to see updated information before he could say "Yes".  We requested an update on June 28, and then we waited and prayed.  I was ready to move forward after waiting a week, but David and Xiaoqing, BAAS's SN coordinator, said we needed to see an update to ensure her health and development was ok.  On July 11, we received a wonderful update, and we accepted her referral the next day.

Lei Qing Quan was a toddler when she first entered the orphanage in Leiyang, Hunan.  The staff knew quickly that she had a heart defect as she would turn blue with any physical activity.  Through testing, she was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot.  This is a congenital heart condition characterized by 4 defects.  In the US, this condition is repaired within the first few months of life.  Sadly, Qingquan has suffered and endured 8 and 1/2 years without any surgical treatment.  She still becomes cyanotic with even a brisk walk.  She needs surgery.  It is her only hope for a healthy life.   

We are now being expedited and hope to travel in late January or early February.  Chinese New Year is January 23 and the entire country of China shuts down for a week.  That holiday will certainly delay us.  My aunt has decided to travel with me, and I am so happy and thankful for this.  She is also a nurse so between the 2 of us, Leiney Grace should be in good hands until we can get her home and in with our cardiologist.

Please continue to pray for our fundraising, our adoption process to move quickly, and most importantly for Leiney Grace's health and emotional readiness to join her family. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Locks of Love!

We interrupt the "2011 Blog Catch-Up" to post about Shelby and her donation to Locks of Love!

  The pictures tell the story quite well!

Can someone tell me how to turn the picture.   I did it easily on our old computer.  I am right clicking and rotating it in my pictures folder, but then when I add it to the blog, it reverts back to the original view.  HELP!

She was pleased and says she loves it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Catching Up: Post 1/ Horse Show

I am so far behind in posting so my goal is to do a post -a-day (or maybe one every other day is more realistic) between now and  New Year's Eve.  I keep this blog as a family journal so it is important to me to put our important family happenings on the blog!  Sadly, I have missed quite a few.  Thus begins my blog-catch-up before the end of 2011!

Shelby and Katie love horses, and therefore; they love to compete in horse shows.  I am not all that keen on the idea due to the expense - both our time and money.  Also I don't really think it is necessary to wear a hair net and gloves in order to be a good rider.  Yes, those are just 2 of the many requirements of the riders.  But my girls LOVE it so we allow them to do 1 show in the fall and 1 in the spring!  Here are some pictures of their fall show. . .

Like I said, horse shows cost a lot of money and TIME.  As you can probably sense by these photos, some of the spectators were a bit tired of looking at horses and having to be on their best behavior so as not to spook the horses!

Overall it was a great day - Shelby and Katie did really well and despite the sour faces above, we all had fun being together and supporting Shelby and Katie in doing something they truly love. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Leap Pad Give-a-way!

John Wesley
This little cutie pie is coming home to our dear friends, Marty and Sharon.  Please consider supporting their effort to raise funds by buying a raffle ticket for a Leap Pad Bundle Give-a-way.
Go to 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Next Best Thing to LOA. . .

An Update - Yeah!

We were thrilled  to receive an email today from Angela at "Ladybugs N Love".  We recently sent a care package to Leiney Grace through Angela and also paid for Angela to contact the orphanage on our behalf to ask 10 questions.  We were able to choose the questions and the answers revealed to us just a little glimps of who this little girl we call Leiney Grace really is.

1.Is child taking medication for her heart condition?
She’s received expectant treatment.

2.Specifically how is her health - is she having colds, pneumonia often?
She’s been healthy. She sometimes catches a cold, but no pneumonia.

3.Does she know she has a family and has she been shown our pictures from the care package?
She knows she has a new family. She has received the care package and been shown the pictures.

4.How does she feel about being adopted and coming to another country?
She is very happy about it and looks forward to be with her new parents.

5.What are her favorite foods, drinks?
She is not picky eater.

6.What are her favorite things to do?
Play games with her little friends.
7.What are her fears?

8.Who is she closest to in the SWI?
Director Wang, her caregivers and teachers, and her best frined Min Yan Xia.

9.What are her favorite toys?

10.What comforts her when she is upset, sick?
Family and friends’ love and care.
There you have it!  Today was day 45 of our LOA wait and although I was hopeful it would come today, it did not.  But the next best thing to LOA is an update, and we are so thankful to our God for providing it.  We are also praising God that Leiney Grace knows she has a family and that she has seen our pictures.  She knows!  That is so powerful to me.  We aren't together yet in the physical sense, but on another level, we have been united.  She knows!  Now please Lord send our LOA so we can  bring our girl home!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet Gestures

Lilly's friend Abby, who she met at kindergarten this year, gave the above purse to us for Leiney Grace.

This is what was inside - $9.04!  Oh, how my heart melted by such a sweet gesture from a child of 5 years.  Abby is also adopted from China. How can one not be touched by such a sacrificial gift from one child for another child who waits in an orphanage for her turn to be the chosen one. 

Another sweet gesture from Shelby and Katie's dear friend, Emily.  Emily donated to Hudson's adoption as well.  This time, out of the blue, she sent this note with $20 for Leiney Grace.  Once again my heart was truly touched by such sweet kindness from a child teen! (sorry Emily : )
To Emily and Abby:
Thank you so much for your love of our family and for your love for our Leiney Grace.  We are most grateful for your kindness!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Big Praise!

Just had to share that we made $900 this morning at our yard sale fundraiser for Leiney Grace.  Many friends donated lots of great items and without their support, we would not have made nearly as much.  It was literally freezing this AM and the traffic was quite slow early on.  Instead of doubting, I kept telling myself and my family, "I gave this to God.  It is his to do with it what He will."  He blessed us in a mighty way, and for that, we are so very grateful!
Also we found out this week that our dossier is "in review" so hopefully we will have our LOA in a few weeks!  Today is day 29 of our LOA wait!  We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgivin,g and I would just love to add one LOA to that long list!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Isn't he adorable?  He is an original handmade Pogo, and he can be yours in time for Christmas.  Auction for Adoption is underway on the link below.  Help spread the word!  Send an email or post on your blog!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Leiney Grace

On October 22, we received a much anticipated update on Leiney Grace and 4 new pictures.  It appears that she has grown up and lost some of her little girl look.  Or is it just the photos?   Is the orphange staff allowing her hair to grow out as it appears a bit unruly in these new photos or is it just a "bad hair day"?  Not sure. Does she look a bit more frail in these photos?  I can't quite tell.  Does her left hand in this bottom photo appear to have definite clubbing in the fingers due to lack of oxygen?  I'm not sure.  What I am sure of is that Leiney Grace is a child of God, created in His perfect image, in need of love and care, and Lord willing, will be our daughter in a few more months. 

Do all the unknowns scare me?  You bet.  Do I think about our hospital stays with Lilly while in China and wonder if it will be the same with Leiney Grace?  Yes!  Do I wonder how will I ever do "this" without my husband (who is not making the trip to China with me), the one who helps me whole it all together when everything seems to be crumbling?  Absolutely! 

How do I do "this"? 

By believing in God's promises and trusting in His Word and His character.  By believing He is who He says He is.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 4:19
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12: 9
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" Ephesians 3: 20 

And by remembering quotes from a great theologian:

"Faith never knows where it is being led, but it knows and loves the One who is leading."  Oswald Chambers

"All of God's people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them."
Oswald Chambers

And a quote from a women's conference:
"Never uproot in doubt what was planted in faith!"