Sunday, April 17, 2016


There is chaos.

There is also peace.

ZhenAi is doing really well.  There's this sadness that has hit me, however.  She's just...there.  And you can tell ... she's just always been...just there.

She is non verbal.  She just sits. Follows Tirzah and I... like a shadow. Often unaware of any rule of personal you have to show her to not sit on top of you on the couch etc.  She almost just...exists.  And she's so content doing so...that it's scary.

School has begun with her.'s really hard. Right now we are doing pre-k...but pre-k in the sense of teaching her how to color.  That's our focus.  Trying to make up for some of the major milestones that she has missed.

She will sit there for HOURS during school working on the picture. Often...just drawing lines with the crayon. I have to keep demonstrating the color motion. She will do it for a bit then stop.

She is now down with Tirzah. Her bed is set up and she seems to be doing well.  It's hard because she's definitely a big (tall) girl and 12.5y...but developmentally...not a peer.  So we just want to make sure Tirzah is not feeling a little claustrophobic.  So far, it's going well.

I am trying to push her a little bit with bathing and drying herself off. She has zero initiative to do more than necessary :)  She won't do anything besides sit in the bath and forces me to do it all. If I put the shampoo in her hair she will let it just run down her hair.  Sometimes yelling out if a drop of water drips on her face.  She definitely needs help getting dressed and most days the clothes will be inside out and 90% of the time...backwards.  If you come and see's ok. We are ok with it. It's a lot of work for me to take it off and start over. Right's ok :)

She still just imitates the same few words and appears to have a significant paralysis of her mouth. She can't move her tongue on one side which makes sense for how her words sound.  For example..."thank you" sounds like "Dah...DAH...DAH...DAH...DAH DUUU" that's how she says it every time. She's working really hard to say it but it has this huge build up and then finally happens.  Yes there will be lots of appts ahead as we try to see where we go from here to help her reach her potential in baby steps.

She's 12.5 years old. But ... it's not as it seems.  Someone recently told me they were shocked we adopted out of birth order.  Well #1...we followed God. As simple as that. But actually answer your "concern" (I'll give the benefit of the doubt here)...we know the difference between age and developmental age and Tirzah is still "the big sister".

On Thursday I look the girls to get their hair done.  It was a treat since I do everyone's hair. ZhenAi's hair had to be cut.  It was actually...awful :( It looked pretty but it was thin, tangly and super oily. We were having a hard time managing it. The moment we cut felt thick and healthy. It's cut right to her shoulders.  By the way she bounces around...she appears to like it too :)

There have been other things happening in our family. Without any details, just asking you to pray.  Oh the darkness that is often in an adopted child's past. A past we know little about but are starting to see peaks into.  There's so much trauma. Pain. Loss. Darkness.  And that leads us to today.  Simply asking you to pray. God knows who and what.  And we are asking you to simply stand with us and pray for God's hand to heal and guide and direct.

In the midst of so much sadness...there is so much peace.   Last night, friends came over for coffee and desert and were referencing a secular book where the regret of someone's life was summed up in "if only..." but they were saying how as christians..."if only..." is not the thought.  No. In all of this we focus on what we know. For sure.  God led us here. To this child. To each of them.  Not because we were strong enough, qualified. No.  Not one bit. Because He is.  And this journey started in faith and today we realize the faith part of our story will continue.

Those of you who followed our story home from Africa will remember how God kept giving me the one line of the one song by Jesus Culture "though the world sees and soon forgets...we will not forget who You are and what You have done for us..." It was actually to the point of me sobbing in the airplane bathroom b/c I was almost tormented by this phrase. I knew right then and there God was giving me something I would need for days...and now I come.

It's so easy to forget.  In my reading in Joshua I was struck by how God told His people to set up memorials so that their children would ask and be told the stories of how God rescued them.

(Joshua 4) He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

It hit me right there. Such a simple thought...but am I remembering...? Am I recording the moments that God rescued us? The moments when He 'showed up' and my faith was built and I couldn't miss how real my God was?  How quickly do I forget?

As the song says...the world sees and soon forgets...yet so do we all. It takes a commitment to remember.  To see and not forget.  And that...? That is where we are right now.

Yes. We are ok.  Our home is happy. Full of love. Joy. All the wonder.  But there is a pain and now a process that we have to muddle through for healing. Deep healing.  And for that...we ask for your prayer.  Thank you for walking this journey with us.  All the way. Here.


  1. Praying for you and your family Janice! Will be in touch later via fb to update you as promised. Have a doctor's appt. with my endocrinologist in a bit! Love and hugs!

  2. Jay Gisella BakerApril 18, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Your Dad spoke yesterday about the ancient landmarks that the Israelites were told to set and not remove as a reminder of what they went through to get there.

    1. Jay Gisella BakerApril 18, 2016 at 9:19 AM

      Sorry for your struggles and difficulties will try to remember and pray for you all.

  3. Praying now. I'm considering it a privilege to know (of) you. Although we meet at Convention last year, being introduced and knowing someone is very different. Reading this, though, I feel like I know you because I feel your heart.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Christina thank you for your kind words. Thank you for sharing our journey <3

  4. She will blossom beyond your dreams. Love, all of your family's and God's, will bridge the chasm. You are totally on the right track. She is made in the image of her Creator, Who is yet creating within her. What a wonderful greenhouse you have for her to grow in! ChrisM