Monday, April 30, 2012

Our weekend.

We celebrated Azahria's birthday on Saturday.  She's such a mini-me it's actually crazy!

She wanted a Cat in the Hat party with a few of her little friends. Josie (who turns 4 in May) and Jenny's beautiful girls (age 3 and 4) came to celebrate with her.

This I-don't-like-baking Mama made Cat in the Hat cake pops and had one happy little girl :)


Beautiful little Azahria Peace


She LOVED her Dr Seuss hat!


Well ... they are boys :)


Tirzah !


Azahria and he little friend Eden



  <3



Her cake that Mama made her!



So cute. She was too shy to do her pinata but after seeing everyone else do it, she was in!


laughing at the other kids hitting the pinata!



Go Azahria!



Presents!!



Little boo slept through the whole party :)



Love her!


Azahria's gift from Mama and Daddy was a wagon! Oh my goodness...the HOURS they have played with this all weekend! It's been a car, a moving store, an ice cream truck...you name it! Izrael LOVES it!




Ok so this is a picture of me and my sisters! Little Janice is on the left...see Azahria?? :)




On Friday it poured in the morning.  Zion disappeared for a while and came to me all red eyed. He said "I was in the garage. Crying.  I had a good talk with God." I said "what's the matter...?" He looked at me all puppy-eyed and said "well..it was raining, right? and I looked outside to see my God's little Warrior Bible in the rain....I ran and got it but it's ruined.  I went to the garage where it was quiet (he's seen me do that a few times haha) and talked to God. I told him that I know there's a lot of children in the world with very sad things in their lives right now. Like kids that have no mommy and daddy...or kids maybe that just found out they have cancer. Or...kids that have no food and no house like Chazano and Zunduka in the village....I told God that I know my problem is small but my heart is just broke over my Bible.  I just needed to tell Him how sorry I am for not taking care of it".  

That boy...there's something special about him.  I often think of the verse that really concreted our name choice for him. Zion Courage.  "Out of Zion...the perfection of beauty...God shines forth".  There's something special about Zion.

Last night was wonderful. The weather was amazing and we loaded up the family and wagon in the van and went to DQ for a box of dilly bars (yah...1 box feeds 6 kids! ;)...and went down to the river.  We walked along the river for a while first then went to the kids' favorite playground. They had so much fun.  Everytime one of our kids would walk by us, Izrael would light up and say "hiiiii!!!". Cutest thing ever!  

Oh, speaking of little Miss Izrael. She says a lot of words.  She says "chickee" (we have chicks). "Dada" "HI!" "Azlan"  "thank you" "all gone" "all clean" (when you change her diaper ;) and more.. But will she say 'mama' ...?? No. Sir.  

:)

To last night.  Ah.  Last night after our fun time at the play ground we cut up a watermelon. Well..that was a first...our family consumes 1 whole watermelon for a bedtime snack. haha. :)

Then it was bed time. I put the kids to bed as Dean fed Izrael.  "Bed" meaning our couch :)  I prayed with them all and lights out.  Not another peep.

At some point in the night, I woke to the most terrified scream I have ever heard from one of our children...ever.  One of the twins...I could not tell which one...was screaming "ZION!!!!!" at the top of his lungs in complete...total...terror.  I jumped out of bed and ran to Chazano who was snoring.  I sat back on the bed. The scream had already happened 3 times.  I was waiting to see what was going on. Then all of a sudden (I just got goosebumps typing this...) Zunduka sat up and SCREAMED "a hand...a hand...MOMMY I want to sleep with yoU!!!!!!!!" in the most piercing shrill I have heard in my life.  I GRABBED him and did the only thing I knew to do in that moment and just started praying out loud.  I prayed for God to send angels into our room right then and there and for peace. I was shaking and Zunduka is gripping my arm SO tight and just in terror.  He kept saying "the hand the hand...I can see a hand". I brought him to our bed where we tucked him in between us. Zion came too as surprisingly he was the only one that woke.  Zunduka laid in between Dean and I (a first .. he's never come to our bed before) and the child was shaking.  I heard Dean 2 different times sit up and pray very authoritatively over Zunduka.  All of a sudden he sat up and said "there it is...the hand" and his heart rate went through the roof. Now Dean and I are sitting again and just instantly praying.  This was not a nightmare...this child was seeing something.  

Dean literally wrapped his arms around him in a hug and tucked him in assuring him nothing could get him. He said his heart rate was so fast and just pounding.  I think Zunduka went to sleep before I did.  I could feel a presence in the room.  I sat up again and let it be known that this was God's house and nothing was welcomed here.  I even said I know that Zunduka was exposed to witchcraft in the past but now he's under our authority and that's over.  

As I laid and tried to sleep...I remembered about 3-4 months ago Zunduka told me in the morning that he was laying in his bed and saw a hand. Just one. Not attached to anything come towards him.  He was terrified. I asked if he was asleep and dreaming he said "oh no..I was laying in my bed praying to God to save me from whatever this was" he said it then touched his face then disappeared. I remember praying over him right then and there.  Now this.  

Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.



I thought of my friend Gwen's blog post about their adopted child in South Africa recently.  Take a minute to read it:

risebeforedawn.blogspot.com/2011/10/lighten-up-part-2.html

I have to say, as I finally drifted off to sleep last night it was with tears in my eyes. My heart was broken for the torment my little boy was going through.  And it was a reminder of God's full plan for these children.  Not just a home, a family, clothing, food and the basic provisions of life. It was so much more. To know of Jesus and how He once and for all paid for their sins on the cross. How He alone is the answer to forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  For freedom in every way.




Thursday, April 26, 2012

And...we are...

DTC!! (Dossier to China). I know it's a small step but it's a step :)  Now we sit. And wait.  First for the LID then for that beautiful LOA :)

Today is Azahria's birthday.  Beautiful little Azahria Peace.  She requested a Cat in the Hat party...and after searching all around town I made the cake. Totally confused why no one makes a Dr. Seuss cake!  Anyway...it turned out pretty cute, she LOVES it.  My fingers may be red for the next week... ;)  A few of her little friends are coming over Saturday for a little party for our little girl.

For those of you that are asking..yes we still have tee shirts. Lots!  S, M, L and XL. Any donation over $30 will receive one.  You can mail or paypal (paypal button to the left of blog). If you need our address just let me know.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love like that.

As I sit on the floor of our bedroom (remember that lovely sectional couch...? Yah...it's full ;)...listening to the snoring of several of the 7 children in our room...I think.

This is when I think the most.

Last night I was just about to fall asleep and I turned over and whispered to Dean: "What if we get to China and see Taizi is much more delayed than we are aware...like...what if they hand him to us like an infant and he's just blank...?"  Dean comes close and says..."I just read tonight in John 15...if we are to love like Christ...He gave His life for us.  So in light of that...we will love him as Jesus loves us".  I laid back on my pillow with a sigh...and a smile.

God made it so very clear that little Taizi Fu'An is our child and we cannot wait to scoop him into our arms and love him for the rest of our lives.

.......


After the kids were in bed tonight, Zion came running down stairs shaking as he cried.  He said he just started thinking...what if he was outside and a bee started coming after Izrael...and he wanted to protect her so he stood in front of baby Izrael blocking her from the bee...and the bee not only stung him but a "whollllleeeee pile of other bees came after me too"...the tears started to flow..."I would be so glad I did that for her because she's so little .... but that would really hurt and I can't get it out of my mind..."

A heart like that.

I reached out to give my 6.5 year old boy a hug and he clung to me and cried and cried.

It made me think of Dean leaning over last night, half asleep, "we will love him as Jesus loves us".

A love like that.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missed Opportunity...?

Friday night the kids suggested a "sleep over". I have to say I love this age when that is defined as "can we all sleep in your room?"!! :)

We have a very large master bedroom with a full u-shaped sectional couch in our room.  Sure.  So they all piled in with their pillows and blankets and bunked out on the couch...some on the rug.

I was shocked to see Chazano and Zunduka were asleep within minutes.

 They simply take forever to fall asleep.  Chazano especially...has serious fear issues.  Like not just normal "I'm afraid of the dark" issues...but deep fear. We don't take it lightly. We know they've been exposed to "the dark side" and even have the marks of witchcraft on their bodies to prove it.  We pray over them often regarding that.  Sometimes Chazano will just shake with fear...even though he sleeps in a room with his 3 other brothers.

Well...Friday night he was asleep within minutes.  Saturday night he came up and said "ummm Mom...can we have another. .. you know what...?" :) I had no idea what he was talking about and then he said "sleepover....menemb...er...? :)  So. We could fit in a one-room house according to the last 3 nights!! Azlan adores Tirzah and he's been sleeping with her in her room...and the rest have been on our couch.  Chazano said "I sleep so good in your room, Mommy!":)

Did we miss that? I think we did. We thought we were doing the best thing, given their age and the fact they were sleeping with their brothers (not alone)...but I think we missed an opportunity.  An opportunity to make them feel safe, secure and reduce the extreme fears they have.  We've decided if they are on our couch for a year...and grown and thrive feeling secure...then it's worth it.

We had already planned on Zihao and Taizi sleeping in our room with us for the first year. We've learned some things along the way in this journey.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Process update

We heard from Lifeline that our dossier authentication process is almost complete. We should hear this week that it will be sent to China!  Then the big countdown begins!

We received a phone call from Lifesong For Orphans this past week as well.  Those of you who followed us through Africa may remember they were so instrumental in helping us fundraise for our African adoption.  They stepped out on a limb with us and bent the rules of "only working with adoptions through accredited agencies" and after hearing our story how God called us to specifically adopt Chazano and Zunduka independently...they teamed up with us and offered us a generous matching grant of $3000.  They said they will notify us in about 2 weeks with a "yes or no" on another matching grant.  What this is ... is a way for people to donate...and get a full tax deductible receipt for their donation ... and they match up to a certain amount at 100%. So last time if we raised $3000 they gave an additional $3000 to our adoption.  So wonderful!

We are praying we do receive this grant~as well as some of the many others we have applied for.

Our weekend has been amazing. The weather ... bliss.  Azlan's recovery...wonderful.  Having non stop family time....perfect.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Surgery update

I woke Azlan at 5:00 Thursday morning, quickly got him dressed and kissed Daddy bye and we were off.  At least it was light outside...in November it was pitch dark and I was...spooked. :)  For real.

I grabbed a coffee in the hotel lobby, we drove across to the hospital and checked in.  All staff were exactly the same staff as we had in November except for recovery. How funny is that :)

Azlan was totally fine.  The doctors had him practice breathing into the mask to show me how it was done.  He promised he would not fall asleep ;)  He drove his little car into the O.R. I watched him get out and they helped him up on the stretcher.

With a lump in my throat...I walked away.  Knowing he was never out of God's sight or protection...though out of mine.  

I went back to the hotel and helped dress the other 6 kids and we went down for our hot breakfast.  After everyone was settled I went back to the hospital and waited in the surgery waiting room.  About 30 minutes later, Dr. Husein opened the door. He was beaming! He said everything went amazingly well and the screw was totally set into the skull which is obviously what they want to see.  He thought overall things went really well and he led me to recovery.

Always an emotional moment when you see your baby wrapped up in tons of gauze and on oxygen post-op.  The two nurses were wonderful.  They made my day and after they realized I was Azlan's mom and not his older sister (ha!)...they asked if it was difficult having a baby with special needs as a teenage mom. Okkkk...:)  They were quite shocked to find out I was not only married and 25 when Azlan was born but we have 7 children...5 of which are biological.  :)  We talked for over an hour and both women were entranced with our story.

Azlan took a while to wake and definitely a while to get off oxygen. We would take the mask off and 10 minutes later his O2 was down to 88 and 89.  So back the mask would go. We did this 3 times. Finally they ok'ed us to move down to the floor and he was still completely out of it.

Whenever I did get him to talk...without even opening his eyes...he'd mumble "food...pumpkin pie..." ;)  Finally he woke enough to order some food and his request was "banana, juice, pancakes and pie".  :)  He ate the banana...drank TONS of liquids...and had 2 bites of pancakes. He was full.  He had to go potty a while later so I took him and got him dressed (he's like his mama...as soon as he can get out of the hospital garb...he's there!).  He went back to bed and watched a show for a bit. The nurse was gone to get a wheelchair b/c it was discharge time and he wanted to go potty again.  I was just helping him wash his hands when I looked at him to see him totally choking.  I bend down and say "Azlan...take a deep breath...." and he projectile vomits like I had never seen.  I'm trying to quickly get this heavily bandaged...just operated on...head facing into the direction (at least!) of the potty...and uh.....

:)  Poor boy!  The nurse came back as he was all done...laughing at me as I went back to clean the bathroom and the floor. Never even thought that was someone else's job...I'm the Mama...that's what I do... ;)

We stopped on the way out in the gift shop where Azlan spotted the giant giraffe to his TY giraffe family.  He was so excited.  $25 later...we were out the door with my little trooper holding my hand walking into the parking lot.  How crazy is that?

He did amazingly well the whole way home...even put his headphones on top of his head of bandages (cranked in volume) and said he had no pain at all the whole way.

He slept perfectly last night. We were told to cut the bandage away Sunday morning and there would be a "pad and plastic plug" that likely would stay on for a few weeks would would be fine.

Tonight he definitely had pain and what appeared to be itchiness at the site.  He went to bed and later got up and the entire bandage was turned and covering one side of his face. ....

We looked at it and decided we needed to cut it off. As we are unwinding it we see all this padding and "plastic plug" at the very back of his head. Great.  Nothing was covering the site at all.  This is only 1 day post op.  So we put antibiotic ointment around the abutment (Mama with a weak tingling feeling) and re~bandaged him in a head band format.  He's sound asleep.

Here's a few photos of the surgery as well as the actual site tonight.

The day before surgery we did lots of fun family things...it was cold and rainy but the kids loved this park:



Out of order..but here we are at Azlan's pre-op last week. Azlan looks JUST like his daddy and this is the only pic I have seen where we look alike ;)



The kids all in Krispy Kreme :)  
L-R
Tirzah 8, Azlan 5, Zion 6, Chazano 7, Azahria 4, Zunduka 7



 It's about 5:30am, we are checked in for surgery and the nurse offered to take a picture


Azlan's car all ready to go into surgery...with Bear in the back seat




My first sight of my Precious :(




Azlan all ready to go home with his giant Giraffe in tow! ;)



Here he is tonight.  There is much-larger-than-I-pictured metal knob sticking out of his head...eeeeeeeeeeee....this is where the Baha processor will snap into.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A great family day!

We were on our way to Spokane shortly after 11am this morning. We made it just in Walker-time for Zunduka's appt with the urologist (yes never a dull moment here :). To keep it brief for my boy's sake...he has undescended testicles. Relatively common in baby boys. Today we found out from the urologist that it is operated on between 6m and 1year of age. Zunduka is almost 8 years old. He said we do run the risk that they are too small or have anomalies and will need to be removed simply from being inside the body for 8 years. That would mean infertility and that would break my heart. Surgery is scheduled for Zunduka for July 11.

We then took the family to Krispy Kreme because...it's fun to see donuts made and pick your favorite and savor every bite!

We arrived at the hotel~and were delivered a HUGE basket to our door of every delicious treat imaginable (reason #525 I love working for the company that I do...!~) and we all got ready and went swimming.

Ok...so I sat in the hot tub with Izrael and Azahria (both dangling their legs in) and the older kids went swimming with Dean. They had a blast!

We are now back in the hotel room(S) ... yes.... a family of 9 needs 2 rooms... this is getting expensive...and Dean is gone out to pick up pizza as the kids watch Happy Feet 2 on tv :)

We are just a parking lot away from the hospital where Azlan and I will walk to at 5:15am. Unearthly hour :) I will post an update when I can.

Thank you for following our journey through this wonderful life of ours!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is it...!

No this is really ... it! The big surgery we've been fighting for from day one.

I will never forget the day Azlan was born. One of the most memorable moments in my life. As I shushed in his ear and he wailed... I shushed in the other ear...he stopped crying...I tried again...no response in his right ear...total silence when I shushed in his left ear. This is only hours old. I called the pediatrician in and told him. He shrugged me off and suggested lots of wax in his right ear. ...

Azlan failed every hearing test in his right ear...had a sharply formed outer ear and ear tags on his right ear...

We returned 2 weeks later and he again failed every test in his right ear....

I fought for 18 months for that ear...

We sat in 'sound rooms' (technology out of the ark!) from 3 weeks old...

Every time... "he may have slight hearing loss"...

Azlan grew...

bumping into walls.

If you called him...he literally spun into a complete circle looking for you....

One day we were playing hide and seek and I came up beside him and said "Azlannn...." about 2 feet behind him...it was such a sad moment for me...he walked all the way downstairs (with me RIGHT behind him) looking for his mama.

I knew he was deaf in that ear.

I was 8 months pregnant with Azahria and I decided to fight for Azlan's hearing.

We were at Seattle Children's...I met with the entire team. The ENT, Audiologist, Speech therapist...all agreed he had perhaps 20% hearing loss in his right ear. Finally the audiologist leaned over in the room and said in a low voice to me "have you ever been called a hypochondriac before....?" Courage came alive like a lion.. "why no I haven't. But I'm open to that. How about we do the ABR test (hearing test under sedation with total accuracy) and if I'm wrong you come tell me I'm a hypochondriac...I will accept that". He smiled. Deal.

We do the ABR.

I was called into a small room with a different audiologist. Not surprised.

She was deaf herself and had 2 cochlear implants.

She looked at me and said "I don't know what to say..." .....? "Azlan is 100% deaf in his right ear...literally he has nothing. Not even a functioning cochlea which isn't formed at the same time as the middle ear. He's not a candidate for anything. We can't help him".

18 months old. I'm glad I fought for you.

Knowledge is power.

Changing teams to Spokane made a huge difference. "nothing we can do" changed to "wait there's the BAHA...we can help you!"

And here we are. Finally getting the BAHA for Azlan Honor.

It won't give him a working functioning ear. It will vibrate the sounds from the deaf side of his head through the skull bone into the one functioning cochlea on his left side.

Surround sound.

The ability to localize.

The ability to distinguish sounds from each other.

To enhance his speech.

To give what we all take for granted.

This is it...!

We met with Dr. Omar Husein last week for the pre-op. He just grinned from ear to ear. He kept saying how excited he is about this surgery. For the last 6 months Azlan has been wearing the BAHA device on a tight headband. He can't wear it for long periods of time...just a few hours each day but that has made such a HUGE difference for him. Dr. Husein says this ... will improve his hearing by a minimum of 10 decibels over the headband. No plastic, hair and scalp between the device and his bone anymore.

He says this is a tougher surgery to recover from. He thins out his scalp and skull from what I understood. He attaches a piece into the screw (that was implanted into his skull 6 months ag0) and sews the skin around that piece so it is sticking out of his head. This is what the BAHA piece will attach directly to once he is healed. He said his head would be bandaged for a few weeks for full healing.

He also received approval (from insurance) to do a bit of plastic surgery on his ear cartilage. We discussed the main shape of his ear and we are going to hold off for now. His ear has changed a lot since infancy (he was dramatically different from his left ear..now is much more subtle) and if we wish to work on it down the road we can. We are going to do that piece of cartilage that is at the base of his ear canal. Azlan's is cleft. I'll take a 'before' photo before surgery. He is going to open that and remove the sharpness of the cartilage to make it smoother.

Dr. Husein did talk about how Azlan doesn't scar well. His scars stay red for years. Even his lip scar is pink as opposed to many children go to skin color very quickly. Where the ear tags were removed 6 months ago is hot pink. Another reason to keep the plastic surgery to a minimum.

I showed the doctor close up photos of Taizi and Zihao and asked his opinion. He noticed the ear tags on Zihao and said it's definitely possible he has deafness in that ear, we won't know til he can evaluate him in person. Regarding Taizi ... he said he feels strongly that he's lacking one full ear canal and the other ear significant hearing loss. We discussed how important it is to get them in to see him as soon as we can once they are home. Especially when he realized Taizi's palate is still wide open. Having a doctor that specializes in ear reconstruction and clefts...is....amazing...seeing we are now adopting two precious little boys that will need just that in a doctor.

So here we go. Our big moment for Azlan.

He has taken a bear to every surgery with him so far and he's already picked one out to go with him this time.

Do I have a lump in my throat...? Absolutely. Such a huge part of my heart belongs to this little boy. He needs every bit of it.

A few weeks before this new adoption journey began, I was reading my Bible and I could not move past this one line in this one verse. So much so that I was very compelled to keep going back and rereading it. I remember stopping and saying out loud "ok God...you have something here for me...I have no idea what...but I'll keep it in mind..." Oh little did we know.

All that we had been through and fought for with our precious gift of Azlan...

was for so much more than Azlan....

all the way down to his diagnosis of Goldenhar Syndrome (that we fought 2 years for in Children's)...

to his deafness...

to finally a medical team that is equipped and proactive to fight for him...

the line God kept bringing me back to was "and who knows but that you have come to (this) position for such a time as this...?"

It was just a few weeks later it all hit me and this verse came back to me. And I knew. Crystal clear. It was for such a time as this. Azlan is paving the way for his 2 little brothers coming from China.

Esther 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"


Monday, April 16, 2012

A corner was turned...

Tonight we had this crazy evening (but our garden looks amazing!)...and I was eating at the counter...Zunduka came up to me and said "mmm can I have a bite?" (you have no idea how out of character that is..!). I put a fork full in his mouth and he ran off. At bed time, Azahria was giving out the vitamins. I came in to read and pray with the boys and Zunduka said "what about my vitamins?" I told him Azahria already gave them out. He looked at me and said "oh she did but I told her 'no thank you' because I wanted YOU to give them to me..."


With adoption you just give and give and give and you never know if the day will come when love is given in return. Oh yes they would hug if you asked and smile at a whim....but never taken down the brick walls and let themselves love...genuinely...from the heart...love.

Tonight our verse was from Isaiah. "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory". We talked about the Glory of God. James MacDonald explains it like this: Glory is to God what wet is to water...and it's displayed all through the earth. So we talked to the kids about things in nature that make them go "wow...God is so awesome!" They all mentioned at least one thing. When we got to Zunduka he said "the Bible. The Bible makes me go "WOW God you are amazing"! It's God speaking to us!!" Then he said "and that you adopted me..."

ok. Zunduka. Ok.

Let the walls come tumbling down my boy...

Tenth Avenue North sings one of my favorite songs...it came to mind when I was writing this. Click on the link below and listen to the words...applicable to so many of us in so many different situations of life. I'm thinking in Duka's own little way he's feeling that freedom of letting the walls fall to the ground...





Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 years. Plus 1 week.

And wow.

We had a moment tonight. We had gone out for a drive for Dean to do an estimate on a job...combined with 30 minute stop at a super awesome playground for the children.

We came home and it was after bedtime. Everyone was getting a drink of water before bed and I plopped Zunduka up on the counter and gave him a lotion rub down to make his very ashy dry skin super shiny :) Then Chazano.

Zunduka stood beside me as they were all going upstairs. He held up his arms for a hug. I bent down and gave him one. He then said "no...no...up...." I looked up a Dean...wide-eyed. "what...?" "up...pick me up...." I picked him up....all 38lbs of him. He layed on my shoulder and wrapped his bony limbs around me in a tight bear hug. I was speechless and probably not breathing. Dean and I were just staring at each other. Dean whispered "don't let go...let him let go". He held on and said nothing. It had to be 2-3 minutes. I never said anything. Neither did he. I kept motioning at Dean a face of "Oh My Goodness......~!" Finally with as tight of a grip as ever I carried him all the way upstairs...he still never let up one bit. I brushed his teeth and put him into bed. As I started to pray for the boys he was just staring at me in this day-dreamy look...

Two years. Plus 1 week after he became my son. This is not 'just a first' this is a huge first.

My heart is full and the best part is....his heart is full.

So many people think the adoption journey is all the pain up until the big 'gotcha day'. Oh...that's just the beginning.

The last year has been wonderful. The first year was rough. Tonight was one I will never forget.

Zunduka Jacob....I have loved you when it wasn't easy. When it wasn't natural.

I love you my boy. I cannot imagine our family without you.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Faith.

Last night when I tucked Tirzah (8.5 yrs) into bed she called me back into her room and said "I feel like I've been waiting for Heaven....forever...! When do you think the castle is ready? When do you think Jesus is coming back again? If it's not going to be until I'm an adult...I wish I knew...because everyday I hope it's that day...."

And I stopped and kissed her and said "it just might be" (smiling at how she's a realist like me..."just tell me how it is") and walking out with a warm heart at the purest faith ever.

When we read her the verse "I am gone to prepare a mansion ('castle' in her words) for you..." let me tell you she took it quite literally (and she should!)...and waits daily for the big reveal.

Faith.

Chazano said today "I wish I was a bird!" I asked why and he answered "I'd love to be an angry bird and kill the pigs!" (ok you have to know Chazano to appreciate this convo ;).. I said " but then they die...you and the pigs! How sad!" He looked at me and said "dying is sad for you? Not for me. I can't wait to see Jesus..."

Faith.


Friday, April 13, 2012

The fear of God.

I wrote the title...and got a lump in my throat and my eyes filled up...

This has been on my heart a lot lately.

Today as we were driving to Spokane for Azlan's pre-op appointment and the kids were all enjoying a movie in the new van (with headphones!) and we listed to pastor James MacDonald. Probably from his third or fourth sentence I had chills. The message was on the fear of God.

He spent time going into detail of the two extreme ways Christianity has gone. One swinging far legalistically so much so that we view God as unapproachable and far-off. One swinging far liberally...so that God is one of us and we approach Him in a "hey yo...what's up" manner.

Both are off.

He jumped into Isaiah.

It's been on my heart for the last few months...the fear of God. Sometimes we say "oh it's reverential fear...not fear".

According to Isaiah...it was I-Cannot-view-his-face-or-I-will-die--fear.

His holiness. I'm so unworthy.

Dean and I have been talking a lot lately about big decisions in our life being made in light of our fear of God. The fact that one day we will stand...alone...and give an account of our life to God... fear.

Have you ever heard "live with the end in mind?" ...

It changes everything.

And this same God...that Isaiah could not look upon....

... SO loved the world...that He gave...His only Son...so that whoever believes in Him...will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).

This same God...

adopted me into His family through Jesus...because of His sacrifice...

and I can call Him "Abba"..."Daddy".





Monday, April 9, 2012

Dossier is sent to Lifeline!

Ok this morning was a little hectic.

First...I get sick about once every 18 months and today I was sick. Like hardly any voice, sneezing, coughing, sinus pain...sick. Lovely.

After Izrael's nap we headed out to meet Dean at Walgreen's for "passport photos" for the dossier. Taking turns staying in the van with the kids we each went in. Everytime we've done this the photos are printed instantly. Oh...not today. "Come back in 20 minutes". RRRRR.

So we part ways and I head over to our accountant to get proof of income and self employment statements from home. Well that's about 18 minutes drive each way and a 15 minute wait for him to talk to me.

I come back to Walgreens, pay $44 for the photos (And people wonder how the $ all adds up!~!!) and sit in the van....I open the photos to see that mine are severely blurry. Like not a little...but wow. Ok now I'm frustrated. I call Dean who's working nearby. He comes and talks to the manager...gets refunded...gets reprinted (I had 2 photos taken so they tried the second pose) Comes back out and he opens them to see they are maybe 5% better. AHHHH! So I had to go in and get them taken all over again...wait all over again. Meanwhile said beautiful 7 children that seriously have been angels for what has turned into 2 hours of being strapped in carseats in the van...are hungry. Izrael is now past nap time and is crying. Poor Dean was desperately needing to be at his job. But now there was no way I could go to Fedex and overnight the docs. So he did. :)

I talked to Lifeline and they said it takes about 2 weeks to authenticate the documents. Then another 2-3 weeks before China gives a Log In Date with the dossier and at which point we sit and wait for LOA.

Bottom line...we are waiting now til LOA and plan to keep fundraising b/c once this 'lull' is over...we have a lot of payments due til the rest of the process is completed.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

A special gift.

After meeting with a sweet friend and confidant a few days ago...one phrase of a song was in my head. I dismissed it b/c I've never enjoyed the song. I woke the next morning with the same line. I again kept pushing it out and I remember dressing Izrael and thinking "wow this just won't leave me..." I still didn't pause to look up the words.

The next morning I woke with it loud and clear. Ok. I'll look it up.

And I got busy and forgot.

But a few hours later in the most random moment there it was again. I wasn't singing it...it just keep coming to my mind and I'd stop and realize it's this line again.

So last night, again trying to push this line out of my mind I sat down and googled it.

The song is from a Bible verse. It is word for word...they simply attached a tune to it.

It was a pivotal moment for me. I put my head on my desk and cried. It wasn't adoption related...but it was such an amazing moment I thought I'd share.

When I shared it with Dean he said "let's order in it wall words for our house".

(By the way the line ... the only line I had for a few days was "skip about like calves".)

"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves (coming) from the stall. Malachi 4:2



I'm humbled that God would pause and speak to my heart in such a real way. I smile that He would choose many times...to speak to me through song...since I always wished He had given me the voice of an angel. Perhaps in Heaven...He will.





Friday, April 6, 2012

Shirts.

Oh and I have a massive box of shirts in my office that I'd love to mail off. :) Please let me know if you want one.

i800a approval :)

I love how I wasn't thinking it or looking for it...but received it :) So now we are ready to send our dossier to China. We have a few documents to mail tomorrow to Lifeline~they will put it all together and review it and then we will wait for our LID (log in date). Just to give the timeline...LID to LOA (Letter of Acceptance) is the big countdown. It can be 60-150 days. Once we receive that Letter Of Acceptance we are really moving forward and closer to travel to China.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Positive first.

Yesterday was 2 years to the day that Meleki and Jacob Lumbala became Chazano and Zunduka Walker. WOW. We love our boys and so thankful for all God did to bring us together.

Last night after everyone was in bed, I watched "19 kids and counting" the show where they lost their 20th child. I cried discreetly as I watched their grief unfold. I really love this family and love how they live their faith very boldly on national TV. They don't sugar coat anything.

After the show I went into the bathroom and sobbed. It was also 2 years to the day that I said goodbye to our little baby in Africa. I've never known grief like I experienced that day and in the dark days to come. I could feel myself in the clamminess of that bathroom...I could feel the total solitude that I felt in that moment. I could feel the complete grief come up from deep inside me. Loss like I had never known. The hopes and dreams and attachment that died with that little baby that I had prayed so earnestly for...

I look at our little promise child today...a healthy vibrant Izrael Promise. She's a gift. I have truly cherished every moment of her. Never missing one.

We have three children in Heaven waiting for us.

He makes all things Beautiful.

In His time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shirts!!


Ok shirts are in!! Here I am wearing one today! They are VERY true to size...and a very surprisingly soft fabric! I'm wearing a Medium in this picture.

I have Small, Medium, Large and XLarge!

No set price, any donation will receive the shirt of your choice. We suggest $30 to cover all costs and allow $ to go to the adoption fund. 100% goes to bring Zihao and Taizi home from China!

Paypal link to the right of this screen. Paypal address is thewalkers2000@mac.com