Monday, December 22, 2008


We have been talking for awhile about writing a post about some of the more challenging aspects of our adoption journey. While we rejoice in God's goodness in bringing Moriah to us, we have also had some struggles. 

One of the hard things has been Moriah's attachment process to Andy. While we were in China, she didn't have a preference  for one of us over the other. That quickly changed when we got home. Andy returned to work, and Moriah decided she didn't really like all that coming and going. By the time he gets home, they are both tired and it is hard sometimes. I am ready for a break, but Moriah doesn't really want to have anything to do with her Daddy. It is interesting that on the weekends, she does much better. We know that this will improve over time as she learns that Daddy will always come home. Andy enjoys playing rough with the kids. The older ones know that is Daddy's way of playing and they love it. But I don't think Moriah knows what to do with that kind of play yet. He has had to change his approach to find things that she will allow him to do with her. She likes it when he gives her a bath or reads her a book.  Some days are better than others, but we are trusting the Lord to build this relationship over time.

Another challenge has been chasing down medical appointments and information. There are a lot of things going on with Moriah which have required multiple tests and appointments. It is interesting that her biggest medical concern, which involves her spine, was not in any of her paperwork. And her heart problem which was one of the major things in her paper work is a non issue.  We are glad to do whatever Moriah needs, of course, but this process has been tiring. 

And finally, in all honesty, I think we have struggled emotionally more than we expected. Sometimes it is painful to accept that Moriah had a life before we were her family. She will always bear some scars from the hardships of that life. We didn't know how intensely we would wonder about all that happened to her before she came to us.  We take comfort from the knowledge that God knew and that he saw her in her mother's womb and every day after that. He sovereignly cared for her and brought her to us. In this we rejoice! 

To end this slightly depressing post, I will include some funny pictures of the kids. This is what happens when I tried to get a good picture of all four of them.  God has been so good to us. We are so thankful that he chose us to parent this special little girl (and our other three). Each day we see His faithful provision for us. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

These are all the Leongs who have sat in this high chair!

I love to sing!

Moriah loves Grandpa

The days and weeks are slipping by so fast. Fall has definitely transitioned into winter here in the Rockies. We have had a couple of small snows, which the children have thoroughly enjoyed. We have a small (and I mean small) hill in our back yard that has provided hours of fun.  

Moriah is becoming more and more at home with her role as the youngest Leong. She likes all of the attention that the other kids give her. She is starting to say a few more words such as "hi" to everyone in the mall, "all done" accompanied by the sign, "bye-bye" with vigorous waving and several others.  She gives kisses (ok...licks) freely. Especially nice just after she's had a snack. 

She has been struggling to overcome a persistent ear infection. We are on our third antibiotic. Next step may be tubes. She is excelling in her OT and PT. I think the therapists look forward to seeing her cute little face. Her right thumb, which was almost completely turned in and unused, has strengthened a lot. She uses it quite a bit now to turn pages in a book or hold a spoon or cup. Her back has straightened quite a bit, too which has improved her walking. She is not doing her bottom scoot at all anymore. When we first started going to the therapy, she was very timid. Now she walks in like she owns the place. The therapists are excellent, so we are thankful.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at Andy's parent's house. It seemed that Moriah knew it was a special day. She ate her turkey and all with gusto! Grandma has a Little People Thanksgiving set complete with pilgrims and Mayflower, so she enjoyed playing with that. 

And now Christmas is just around the corner. Andy and I have had some trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Could it be because we feel like we have already received the greatest gift that we could wish for? The older kids are busy lobbying for their wish lists and working on school.  It is a great blessing to live near family again after living away for twelve years. We have lots of fun things coming up with both of our families.  What a blessing it is to add our fourth stocking to the mantel and have our little Moriah home at last. 

Love Without Boundaries and Swallow's Nest

I have wanted to write about foster care in China ever since we got home. Somehow life with four kids has been busier than I expected. So I am finally getting around to this post!

Moriah was blessed by two separate foster care situations. The first, Love Without Boundaries, is an organization that was started by families who had adopted from China. They wanted to do something to improve the lives of those orphans who were still in China. Over time their work has grown to include nutrition support, homes for children who are not sick enough to be in the hospital, but not well enough to be in the orphanage,foster care, help to pay for surgeries, coats and cribs, etc etc... They do a huge amount of amazing work.   

Moriah was one of five children who came to the Zhengzhou orphanage in the winter or spring of 2007. The orphanage director felt that these five children would do better in foster care than in the orphanage. There was no Love Without Boundaries foster care program in Zhengzhou, so he made arrangements for them to be taken to Keifeng, which is another city about two hours away. There, each of these children grew and thrived. They received loving care from their foster parents. We prayed daily that Moriah would be loved and cared for until we could come for her, and by God's grace she was.  The agreement between the Zhengzhou orphanage and Love Without Boundaries lasted for only one year. The logistics of the arrangement made it complicated. So in June, all five children were brought back to the orphanage. They all got sick within a short period of time. 

That is where her second foster care home came into the picture. Love Without Boundaries made it possible for all five children to enter another foster care program called Swallow's Nest. This was another huge blessing for Moriah and the others. Each of them received tender care which restored their health and prepared them for adoption.  We were able to meet Pam and Clay who run the Swallow's Nest. What a highlight of our trip that was. They have given their lives to investing in "the least of these." And we are so grateful.  

We knew that Moriah had been in foster care, but we didn't know very many details about it until we got home. At that time, Love Without Boundaries sent us the pictures and reports that had been written about Moriah. What a treasure to have these early pictures. One way that Love Without Boundaries raises funds is through a sponsorship program. Our Moriah had two sponsors who helped to pay for her care. It is just amazing to see God's hand of Providence as he cared for our little girl long before we even knew she would be ours. We will never be able to thank her foster parents in Keifeng personally, but I hope by spreading the word about this great organization, more little ones will be able to be helped. You can visit their site at 

The Swallow's Nest is funded by donations as well. Their site is   We will never be able to thank these folks enough for the love they showed to our little girl.  And we continue to pray for them as they help so many little ones in China. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Finally...An Update

Reformation Day...heading over to V7 Presbyterian Church for their Reformation Celebration

Here is the crew with grandma

B-2 flying over our house for the AF-Navy game...Go Falcons (Andy's alma mater '95)--we won't mention the final score :(

    Caleb watching the football practice at the park near our house

        Kimberly and Moriah at the park

        Out for a family stroll at dusk...

Moriah takes in God's snow cone

    First haircut in the US...not too sure about this

           Getting ready for the winter!

     Opening gifts from our church's welcome home shower

Moriah in a bowl!

We have been so remiss to get an update out (by about a month or so)...but finally some new photos.  October flew by as we were busy with lots of doctor appointments, homeschooling and just getting settled with Moriah. Overall, she is doing very well.  Kimberly, Caleb and Josiah love her very much. It feels like she has been with us for a very long time. It is hard to imagine that a short two months ago, we were meeting her for the first time. It has been a great joy to watch her get to know her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. It has been hard for her to have Andy coming and going to work. She isn't too thrilled about him when he comes home at night. He leaves before she gets up, so in her little world, he is gone for a long time. On the weekends, she seems to do better. We know it will take time, but it is hard for both of them in the process. 

Instead of big shower, our church had a mini-celebration between church and Sunday School for us. Our pastor prayed for Moriah and we had cake. We brought the gifts home and had fun opening them as a family. Everyone was so gracious to us in showering Moriah with cute clothes. Kimberly was relieved because she thinks it's embarrassing that I sometimes put Moriah in some of her old clothes. I think it's fun to see her in things I remember Kimberly wearing, but Kimberly thinks they're very outdated. (They are 10 years old.)

Moriah was baptized at our church on October 26. We were blessed to have lots of family and friends at church and later at our home to celebrate with us.  Our pastor preached a wonderful sermon about baptism. It was a special day that we will always remember.  Thanks to both of our moms who helped a great deal by making chili and cookies and staying to clean up.  Sadly, we were both so busy and preoccupied, that we didn't take pictures! argh! I will put Moriah in her baptism dress again and get some pictures soon.

We had a lot of fun on Reformation Night with my brother, sister-in-law and their kids. Village Seven Presbyterian Church does a great job of teaching the kids a little about the Reformation while also having a lot of fun. Our costumes weren't all Reformation themed, but the kids had fun. Moriah's squeaky shoes from China were a hit. The place was so loud that they didn't drive anyone crazy. She had a great time walking all over. I burned off the extra candy calories chasing her! I am thankful that in God's providence this positive event in church history happened on October 31. It is a wonderful things that we can celebrate and teach our children about. We will choose Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation over witches and ghosts every time. It always gives the kids something to talk with their neighborhood friends about, too. 

We have gotten a fairly predictable school routine going. Moriah is pretty happy to play with various toys while we do school. I am trying to keep some activities just for school time for her. Her attention span is about 30 seconds, so we can go through quite a few things (and make quite a mess) in the course of a few hours. The older kids are frustrated with the added noise and chaos at times, but we all seem to be adjusting to this new "normal" for our school day. We all appreciate nap time, when we can dig out from the mess and finish up our school work. 

Our doctor appointments have included multiple x-rays, two MRI's, an eye exam, ear exam, heart exam, orthopaedic exam, and PT and OT evaluation.  We are waiting for results on some of these. Her heart is fine, though, so we are very thankful for that. Ears and eyes are great, too! She will start PT and OT to address some of her developmental delays next week. I am excited to be done with all of these appointments. She handled each one very well. She is quite relaxed and curious in each new situation. She makes everyone who meets her smile. We are so blessed to have the privilege of parenting her.

We have changed our blog name in hopes that we can continue to post occasionally about our family as a whole. The Latin words "Sola Gratia" refer to the grace of God alone by which we are saved and by which we live our lives. His grace brought Moriah into our family, and by His grace we live each day seeking to glorify Him. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pizza and Fried Rice

We have been home for just over a week now. We had a good week. God has been so faithful to us during some tiring days as we recover from jet lag and adjust to being a family of six. Andy had to return to work on Monday. He was tired, but he made it through each day. The kids and I attempted some homeschooling on Thursday and Friday. I definitely have some fine tuning to do to figure out how to help the older ones while also keeping the little one out of trouble. I had forgotten how short a 19 month old's attention span is! 

It was a week full of "firsts" for our little Moriah Mei: First time to the park, first ride in a car seat, first time to church, first time to try a popsicle, first time to see the Colorado sky. It was fun to see her delight in each new experience. It was great to go to church last Sunday and let her meet so many people who have been praying for her for so long. She also got to spend  some time with each set of grandparents which she (and they) enjoyed. Tonight she had her first trip to Fargos Pizza. This has been a favorite pizza place of ours since Andy and I were kids. She tried some pizza and some tastes of items from the salad bar. She was far more excited about the Fried Rice that we had the other day, but she seemed to enjoy the experience. She has slept well for the most part and continues to eat with gusto! This week she also decided to take steps on her own. Her record is ten steps! She has a delightful personality and seems to really enjoy meeting people. We are encouraged, too, that she is beginning to identify us as her parents and to differentiate between us and other people. It was wonderful to have meals brought to us this week by my family and Andy's parents. What a blessing to not have to figure out what to fix each night! 

This week we were also thankful to receive some pictures of Moriah from the first months of her life. Love Without Boundaries is an organization that sponsored her to be in foster care. Every other month, a report was made on her progress. What a treasure to have those pictures and reports. She seems to have been well loved and cared for there and later in another foster home. We know that these kind people made a huge difference for her. God was so faithful to provide for her needs. Love Without Boundaries does a lot of great work for orphans in China. You can check out their website for more information. (

So week one is in the books. We continue to rejoice in the honor of parenting these four gifts from God...and continue to rely on His grace for wisdom and strength for the journey.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day-16(x2): Homecoming!!!

Phew...What a journey!!! We saw two sunrises and two sunsets for 19 Sep--what a long day. But by God's grace we arrived safely (albeit tired and somewhat frazzled) in Colorado Springs!! Moriah (and mom & dad) had a rough flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. She was overly tired from our early morning departure (along with everything else that is new, etc.) from Guangzhou and cried inconsolably for the first 8 hours of the 12 hour flight. And no I'm not exaggerating or embellishing, it was really that bad. We felt like we had parents of the century posted on our foreheads (along with the major loser sign). Wouldn't you know it there were no other toddlers in her age group on this huge Boeing 747 and so she and her parents were the scourge of the flight. Gotta love those "do something about your kid" stares. Had they had ejection seats on the plane, the passengers would have punched us all out over the Pacific! We were really at a loss and tried everything (except the Benadryl which we had hastily deposed of because of the increased security measures...yep, we were regretting that we didn't find a smaller bottle). She did finally settle down and rest near the conclusion of the flight and thankfully she slept the entire flight from San Francisco to Colorado Springs. No we never want to get on an airplane again (at least any time in near future:) . I told Moriah her folks were going to need trauma counseling! But we made it!! We were met at the airport by a huge welcoming party of our family...what an absolutely joyous moment. For her it was like she became an instant rock star with the paparazzi shooting off flashes like she was Princess Diana. But the sweetness of the moment was to see her united with her brothers and sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all these people who have loved her and prayed for her before she was ever born. As I reflect on our journey to Moriah, Amy and I have been profoundly shown (albeit imperfect) a portrait of our Lord's grace in adopting us. Except in God's work of adoption it is not some sweet little child who needs a home but He adopts wicked, rebellious, evil objects of wrath whom He makes children of the Most High God. The doctrine of election seems to capture what we have in some faint measure been able to see in a more profound way. Moriah could never have come to us or chosen us (of course if you asked her about her new parents after this long journey yesterday I'm sure she'd have some comments to make), it was us choosing and coming for her. Thanks be to God that He has adopted us (His people) and brought us to Himself and into His own household. Eph 2:19 "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God..." This has been such a spiritually profound experience for us in so many ways, emotionally draining and trying, yet all so rewarding. We are so blessed and rich in Christ...His benefits are eternal and unsurpassed in joy and fulfillment. We want to first and foremost give our triune God the praise and glory for Moriah and His hand upon both her life and ours. He has blessed us in our journey to Moriah and now as we begin our lives together as a family He leads us. Next we want to thank our family and friends who have encouraged, prayed for, and supported all of us through this adventure (which is just beginning). We love you and are so thankful for each of you. We do plan to keep up with this blog, although not each day as we have been. So please check back whenever our adventure comes to mind. Blessings to you all from Colorado Springs, CO, USA!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day-15: Last Day in China

We stayed around the hotel this morning. Moriah enjoyed practicing her walking in the hotel lobby. While we packed, she hung out in the big drawer where we kept her toys and in the empty suitcase. This afternoon we took a forty minute bus ride to the visa section of the US consulate. The oath we took stated that everything in our adoption paperwork was acurate to the best of our knowledge. The room was filled with about 30 babies and children and their American parents. After the oath, the room burst into applause. It was a great moment.
It is with mixed feelings that we finish our last day in China. We are so eager to get home, but it has been a wonderful experience to see the place of Andy's ancestery and to add Moriah to our family. We've enjoyed getting to know our travel mates and look forward to keeping in touch with them. We've enjoyed meeting many other people as well. We had terrific guides who held our hands through each step of the way. Here in Guangzhou we've met lots of other adoptive families. It is neat to see so many little children getting ready to go home with their forever families. We'll never forget the sights and experiences that we've had and we look forward to sharing them with Moriah as she grows older. Our faith has been strengthened as we have experienced the miracle of adoption first hand.
We're packed and ready to go. We have to have our luggage outside our door by 5:20 a.m. Then we will head to the airport for a very long day of travel. Lord willing, we will arrive at the Colorado Springs airport about 6:30 p.m. How good it will feel to be home! We can't wait to give those three kiddos and grandparents at home a big huge hug. Thanks for all of your prayers and comments during our time here. It has been fun to read them each day and encouraging to know that so many were praying for us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day-14: Red Couch Day

This morning after breakfast, Moriah and I went to a children's park while Andy stayed at the hotel. Our guide took our papers to the consulate, so one of us had to be available in case there were any questions. The children's park was fun, but it was so hot and humid that we didn't stay very long. We rode on a carousel and a little train. The most exciting part of the outing was trying to catch a taxi home. It was a busy time of day and it took us a long time. I forgot the camera, so there are no pictures of this little excursion.

This evening, we had the "red couch photos." This hotel has a lot of red couches, so it is a tradition for groups to have pictures of the kids on the red couch. The little boy who is crying is usually a very happy boy, but he didn't like the idea of sitting on that couch with all of those girls! Moriah entertained herself by pulling off her shoes and pulling out her little friend's hair bow. The parents were laughing and taking as many pictures as we could. The kids were not as amused as the parents were. Then we all walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner. During dinner, Moriah and Daddy played, "eat the cheerio off of Daddy's nose." She thought Daddy was pretty funny today and laughed when he tickled her. She has decided that she is not too crazy about nap time, but other than that she is such a happy girl. We are really enjoying her. We get a lot of comments that she looks like her Daddy. She seems to think my nose and hair are funny and likes to touch them a lot. We bought a $15 dollar suitcase today to help us get all of our stuff home. We hope it makes it home in one piece. It says "Polo" on the outside, so it must be high quality. : )

We would like to continue to ask for prayer for our friends in Colorado whose infant son is gravely ill. We know that God always does what is right and that all things work together for our good and for His glory. Yet our hearts are heavy for these friends during this time. We would ask for prayer for peace and wisdom for them as they face difficult decisions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day-13: Medical Checkup and Pearl River Cruise

As we reflect on this day our hearts are heavy at the news of a hard Providence our dear friends in Colorado are facing. We received word this morning that our friends newborn son who suddenly became gravely ill may not survive the day. We have spent as much of the day as possible in prayer for God's grace and comfort upon them during this time of great trial. While we know that the same sovereign God who brought the affliction can certainly remove it, we are comforted that His will is perfect and that our Lord has so ordained each of our days for His own purpose and glory. Our hearts and prayers have and continue to be lifted up to our great Physician on their behalf. It is difficult to be away from our church congregation at this time and this makes us all the more eager to get home. But we are thankful that we have a faithful and merciful High Priest who hears the prayers of His people wherever they are physically located.
Today Moriah had her final medical appointment and we were able to enjoy the dazzling night scenery of Guangzhou during an evening dinner cruise on the Pearl River.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day-12: Shopping and Thai Food

We are at the end of another pleasant day in Guangzhou. Andy spent some time doing some things for work this morning while Moriah practiced walking around the lobby of the hotel. She especially enjoyed dipping her little hand in a very low, shallow fountain. There is also a large cage of birds in the lobby which she liked watching. We spent some time in the Swan Room which is a play room furnished by Mattel. She enjoyed playing with the toys and other kids in there. I enjoyed talking to some other adoptive parents. We went to Starbucks for a little lunch. It was really nice inside. It smelled and felt just like a Starbucks should. After lunch we did some shopping for gifts and souvenirs. We found some cute clothes for Moriah and a few other fun things to bring home. We liked the one called "Andy's Shop" When Andy told them that was his name they said, "Oh, you are our boss!" Andy is very good at the bargaining thing. He got some good deals today. This afternoon, Andy went to our guide's room to do some paperwork and then several families from our group met for some Thai food for dinner. It was a delicious meal. Moriah hung in there well even though she was tired due to having only had a short stroller nap today. She wasn't quite as cheerful as she has been on the other days. She woke up kind of grumpy this morning and had a hard time off and on all day. It would be nice to know what is going on in her little head, but we'll just keep loving her and trusting the Lord to give us wisdom in how to meet her needs. We are getting more and more eager to get home with each passing day. We are so ready for this little girl to meet her brothers and sister and grandparents. At the same time, it has been a wonderful gift to see some of China, to learn more about the culture of this vast country and experience it first hand.