Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Pictures

Reformation Day costumes...two pink divas, a hunter, a German boy and cheerleader...the Reformers would be proud!
(The other Diva is my niece, Sophia)

Snow Fort!!

Moriah's first tea part with her big sister.
A "Madeline" outfit...She wore it a couple
of times last year, and we were so glad that
it still fits this year. She was very funny about
the hat...wanted it on ALL DAY!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Next Step

We are all fully recovered from "the surgery that wasn't." It really did take us several days to readjust our minds and hearts to this change of plans. It wasn't that we were looking forward to the pain that Moriah would experience, but we were ready to be on the other side of it. We were really geared up. Andy took a few days off work since he had already planned to be out of the office. We just needed the time to regroup. After we had been home for a couple of days, as we were about to head out the door to get some Subway for dinner, our pediatrician called. He raised a lot of issues regarding the surgeon in Denver that we had not really considered. He was quite upset about the emotional roller coaster that this surgeon has treated us to over the past several months. He strongly suggested that we consider getting another opinion...out of state. We had considered this option previously, but we were really hoping to stay in Colorado if we could. So, our next step is an evaluation appointment at Shriner's Hospital in Salt Lake City. The date of our appointment is December 23rd. Crazy timing. But we are thankful for the opportunity for Moriah to be seen by a very experienced pediatric orthopedist. Shriner's Hospitals offer free care to their patients. They are even giving us some money to help us get to Salt Lake. God is faithful! We know He will continue to guide us through this process.

Meanwhile, we have received some funding for Moriah to be able to increase her therapy. Now she has PT twice a week and OT and speech each once a week. It makes our weeks extra busy, but it is a help to her growth and development. She is a hard worker. It is amazing to see her progress.

The older three have really been focused on school this fall. Most days it seems like that is about all that we do. And that is good. But we are all ready for a break. We had a piano recital with my brother's kids last Saturday. It was a really special time. I love living near grandparents at moments like that. Kimberly and Caleb each played several pieces. They did a great job.

Pictures to follow as soon as I get a chance to upload!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thirty Years

Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of my mom's homegoing. She has spent the last thirty years in the face-to-face presence of the Lord. What a glorious time she has had praising Him without the weight of sin. It is easy to think of the things I wish we could have shared over these past thirty years: my wedding, births of my first three children, and Moriah's adoption. But how much more glorious it has been for her to be with the Lord. I rejoice that she has not had to deal with life in this fallen world. And I rejoice that we will be together for eternity.

How thankful I am for the seven years that the Lord gave me with her. She was a wonderful mother who loved me and cared for me very much. She made my early life joyful and secure. I have lots of precious memories of life in our happy home. She was a very friendly and outgoing person who always looked at the bright side of things. Some of her friends have shared stories with me through the years of her optimistic view and her faith in Christ. I remember many of the things she taught me and I find myself saying those same things to my kids. "A soft answer turns away wrath" and "let's talk about something pleasant instead." It's amazing that I can hear her saying those things even though I was so small when she died.

Now that I have my own husband and kids, I can imagine a little bit more the sacrifices that my Dad made for us. His career couldn't be his focus as it can be for many men. He always made sure that he was available for us. He kept our home and gave a wonderful home life, even though we didn't have our mom there with us. The Lord blessed us with many people who helped my Dad raise us, too. How faithfulHe has always been to us! And now we have our wonderful step-mom, too. Though none of us like that term : )

Someday, my children look forward to meeting their "grandma in heaven." They know that she is waiting there for them. That will be a great day! Meanwhile, we rejoice in all the good things the Lord is doing in our lives here and we eagerly await all that He has planned.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Moriah is in print!! The foundation which is raising money to help in Moriah's home province has put together a calendar just in time for Christmas!! How fun to see that little face that we love so much on the pages!!

If you would like to see what the Henan Kids International Foundation is up to, or order a calendar, you can follow this link:

I am hoping to update more about Moriah's postponed surgery and where we are in the process of figuring out the next step for her. Maybe later today...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Surgery...Or Not

We went to Denver this morning for x-rays and a last pre-operative visit with the surgeon. First we checked ourselves into the Ronald McDonald House. Then we headed over to the hospital for x-rays. We have been gearing up for this day for months. The grandparents were set to watch our kids. Andy was off work. Snacks and clothes and movies were packed so that we would be ready for at least a week in the hospital.

We got the x-rays and went to the orthopedist's office. He began to talk with us about Moriah's x-rays. Then he told us that he had been at a conference this past week where he discussed Moriah's case with 12 other doctors. He said they had a split opinion about whether or not this is the appropriate time for her surgery. There are lots of pros and cons on both sides. If we do it now, the rate of correction will be better because her bones are softer. However, the pins have a greater risk of coming out which would require further surgery. If we wait, her spine will have more curvature to correct, but the bones will be stronger and will hold the pins better. Also, they may be able to use a stronger rod and pin because she will be bigger. We spent about an hour talking about these and lots of other issues. Finally, Andy asked the Doctor what he would do if it were his daughter. He said he would wait. Specialists had flown in from Massachusetts to help with the surgery. Special titanium rods and pins had been ordered. But we agreed together that waiting would be the best thing for Moriah. We will have x-rays every three months. If there is rapid progression, we will know it is time to do the surgery. If it continues to progress at the rate that it has been, we can wait awhile for her to grow.

It was such a strange thing to be so geared up for something so major and then to change gears so suddenly. We feel a little like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" because so many have been praying. One of our major prayers was for wisdom for the surgeon. So we are thankful for this answer to prayer. We are also thankful that the surgeon chose to share the opinions of these other doctors with us. We feel confident that he has her best interests at heart.

We had already made plans to have dinner with some friends who live in Denver, so we gathered our wits and enjoyed a great evening with them. About 8:00 we got home, sent my parents home and resumed normal life. It feels a little strange to be home again. But we are thankful for His leading in all of these things.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Caleb and I were working on school in the dining room the other day when I heard a strange noise from the kitchen. It was a rustling kind of sound. I listened for another minute or so and finally decided I'd better see what Moriah was up to.

That girl loves butter!! She had the whole stick in her hand and was munching away with abandon. I like butter, too, on some toast or homemade bread. But eating it straight from the stick...ugh. I'm glad the camera was handy.

The evidence!

caught in the act!


We had fun at a farm! Moriah thought the hayride was great!

We are in a strange state of mind this week. The sense of anticipation is very strong. I expected to be feeling dread or fear as we draw closer to Moriah's surgery, instead I am feeling peace and eagerness to move ahead. I am thankful for the weeks that we have had to prepare and pray and think it through. Even though the waiting has been hard, I have needed the time to process it all.

Meanwhile, Moriah is spending each day in her usual joyful way. She can put her shoes and socks on by herself (not always on the right feet.) She is talking a lot and gaining more confidence all the time. All of her earlier attachment issues with Andy seem to be forgotten as she joyfully greets him at the end of each day. She stops whatever she's doing and runs up to him to be picked up and hugged. She loves to play outside. She must have gone down the big slide at the park twenty times the other day. She wasn't phased at all by the fact that it was crowded with kids three times her size. She loves to play with other kids and gets along very well with them.

Today will be our last "normal" day of school. Tomorrow we go to Denver for blood work and other pre admission stuff. Friday we have a pediatrician appointment. Monday we head up to Denver for the pre-op appointment with the surgeon. Then bright and early Tuesday morning, Moriah will have surgery. We plan to spend about a week in the hospital. Our parents will be holding down the fort here. (Say a prayer for them!) The goal is to straighten and stabilize her back so that she will be able to stand straight and tall. The deformities in her spine will cause her kyphosis and scoliosis to continue to progress, so action is definitely needed.

We know that lots of people are praying for our little Moriah. We are comforted by that and so thankful that our Sovereign Lord is holding her in His hands, as He has since her birth. When I feel fearful, I only have to reflect on all of the amazing ways that He has cared for her throughout her life. What comfort to know that she belongs first of all to Him.

We will try to update here from time to time next week.
Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Visit to a Special Place and a Dr. Appointment

How often I dreamed of taking a photo like this!

Last Monday, we went up to our adoption agency as a family. It is located in the south part of Denver. Andy and I have been there lots of times for parenting classes. We wanted to take Moriah there so that the ladies in the office could meet her. It was also a great photo opportunity! We have been very impressed with our agency, CCAI, since we started our adoption way back in 2006. They do a great job! They have a school there, too, where kids can learn Chinese culture, dance and language. They don't have classes on Mondays, but they opened up the little store for us and we had fun shopping. Moriah grabbed a cute Chinese doll with a pacifier that is held in her mouth by a magnet. She is a super cute. We got a couple of books about the Mid-autumn festival, because that is the time of year that Moriah came to us. Kimberly found a necklace she loved that has the Chinese characters for "sisters." After we shopped, we ate our picnic lunch on the playground.

The other part of our day wasn't as much fun. Our real reason for heading up to Denver was to see Moriah's orthopedic surgeon again. We took the kids this time because it seemed like a good idea for them to meet the doctor. The boys didn't seem to care, but Kimberly went back with us and looked at the CT scan and listened to our conversation with him. (And critiqued his fashion sense.) He gave us a few more details about the surgery and we set a date: October 27th. Now the waiting begins. We are convinced that this is the right surgery and that this is the right time, but it doesn't make it any easier. The Lord has been faithful to remind us that He is sovereign and that He is working all things together for our good and His glory. I hate the idea of the pain that she will experience, but we trust that it will make the way for her to have a full and healthy life in the future. We are constantly amazed at the treasure that God has given us in this brave little girl.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One Year

We celebrated the first anniverary of our forever family day a week ago. It is so amazing to reflect on the journey that this past year has been for all of us. A year ago a little girl was delivered to our hotel room door (kind of like a pizza delivery). She was scared. We were happy, but scared, too. Even though we had anticipated that moment for years, it felt surreal. A little, tiny girl in a big jacket, a couple of strange people, a pile of money. Everyone left within a matter of minutes and Andy and I looked at each other feeling amazed that we were now responsible for this little person.

We have reflected in new ways on God's sovereignty. He saw her unformed body in her mother's womb. He brought her into this world. He saw her when she was left that day on the steps of the hospital. He was with her when she went to the police station and then to the orphanage and then to foster care. He saw her when she went back to the orphanage and to another foster care home. And finally, on that day, September 8, 2008, he saw her as she was placed in our arms. And He is sovereignly in control of every day of our lives together. We have understood the wonder of our own Spiritual adoption more clearly. Not every day has been easy, but God has been faithful to us.

We decided to celebrate on Labor Day. We went to see the hot air balloons and to a potluck breakfast at church. Later in the day we went to Andy's parents for some crab legs. We put her gotcha day outfit on her again to see how much she had grown. She thought it was fun because she loves to play dress up. The shoes wouldn't even fit on her feet! We gave her a book wrapped in lady bug paper. We decided this will be our tradition. Each year we will give her an age-appropriate adoption themed book for Gotcha-Day.

We are so thankful for this year that we have shared. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in mind for this little miracle.

It was bit bright! We watched the balloons from
the top of Palmer Park.

Cousins and our kids watching the hot air balloons

Moriah modeling her gotcha day year later.
Note the tiny shoes and short pants. Still plenty of growing room in the jacket, though.

A special book to celebrate the day.

One year ago...first breakfast with us.
In our arms at last! One year ago.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New School Year Underway!

It is hard to believe that a year ago we were in China getting ready to meet Moriah for the first time. Kimberly and I have been re-reading our journal entries having fun remembering all of the details of that life-changing time. How far we've all come in a year! How much we have to be thankful for!

We have finished our fourth week of homeschool. It is beginning to feel like we are in a good routine. We have slowly added subjects and everyone seems to be doing well. Kimberly is doing an on-line based school this year, which is totally new for us. She is doing great with it and it seems to be the change that we needed. The boys go one day a week to an enrichment program through a classical charter school. It is a blessing to live in a state that is so friendly to homeschoolers. Moriah motors around making a mess most of the time that we are doing school. Her attention span is really improving, though, so it is easier to keep her occupied. We have some baby videos that she likes and she likes to draw or play with her toys while we do school. (And eat snacks and sing little songs to herself.)

Ready to go to in her ride (as she likes to say)!
Kimberly does her school work at her own computer in our bedroom. Not an ideal set up, but it's working.
Josiah's ready for his first day at TCA!
Caleb ready for his first day at TCA!

Moriah is a future scientist!

We are gearing up for another surgery for Moriah in October. They will fuse a section of her spine to correct her kyphosis. It's a pretty major surgery that is necessary to prevent paralysis in the future. She continues to have physical therapy and speech therapy weekly and occupational therapy monthly. It is amazing to reflect on where she was a year ago and see how far she's come. We know the Lord formed her in her mother's womb and all of her physical challenges are being used for her (and our) good and for his glory. We are honored that He chose us to parent this precious child.

Moriah calls almost every round fruit "apple."
She loves peaches!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chapmans Bring New Hope from Sorrow

Chapmans Bring New Hope from Sorrow

Shared via AddThis

Check out this great clip about Steven Curtis Chapman and family's work in Moriah's home province!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It has been a busy summer so far. We started off in June with a trip to Washington DC and Pennsylvania. We felt like it was important to go to that part of the country to visit with Andy's great aunt who lives in Pennsylvania. We travelled with Andy's parents. After spending three days with her, we drove down to DC to spend about a week. Several days were spent visiting with family on Andy's dad's side and several days were spent seeing the sights. Andy spent the first eight years of his life there, so it was fun to see the house where he lived and some of his favorite places from childhood. It was a busy, exhausting trip, but a good one. Many of the relatives had never met the kids, and it was fun for the kids to meet their second cousins for the first time. There is so much to see there. It seems like we barely touched the surface, but hopefully the kids got a little taste of some of our country's history. They were all good travelers, but it sure felt good to get home!

We had dinner in Alexandria at a tavern where
George himself used to eat.

The boys with Abe

Aunt Ruth, 94 and still charming everyone she meets

Hot kids in front of the Washington Monument

When we got home, it was almost time for Josiah's 7th birthday! Hard to imagine that he could be seven already! He wanted a big cookie instead of a cake. We had both sets of grandparents over for cookie and ice cream and his cousin Stephen spent the night. The next day, we went to see Night At the Musuem 2, which was especially fun after having just been in DC. Josiah is a great blessing to our family. He has a gentle spirit which endears him to everyone he meets. He shows a lot of spiritual insight and makes all of us laugh. 

July 2nd, just one week later, was Caleb's 9th birthday. I guess as a mom it is always surprising how fast the years are ticking by. I found myself thinking that our time of parenting Caleb is now half over! (At least in the formal sense of him being a child in our home.) For his Birthday, we took cupcakes to a huge park and met some friends for a little party. We played a couple of games and let the kids run around a lot. They had a great time. We also tried to make a cake to have with the grandparents in the evening. But it was a complete flop, so we ran to the bakery and grabbed a beautiful and far more delicious cake than I could have ever made. It is handy to have the best bakery in town less than a mile from our house! (Even better that the owner is a friend from church). Caleb is quickly becoming a young man. He shows initiative and leadership with his neighborhood friends. He is concerned with doing the right thing. He is creative (quite a lego designer) and kind. 

What a blessing these boys are to our family!

We have also been taking swimming lessons, trying not to forget everything we've learned in school, playing with cousins, and generally enjoying a beautiful Colorado summer.

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Caleb and birthday friends at the park

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Moriah's Favorite Things

Nine months ago, Moriah was placed in our arms. She was so small and vulnerable. She was brought to the door of our hotel room by people she hardly knew and given to people she didn't know at all. God's grace has been so abundant to all of us in this process. I am amazed when I think of all that He has done in her life and in all of our lives in the past nine months. To remember how far our little one has come in these nine months, I would like to share some of Moriah's favorite things.  

1. Having a forever family! She has definitely found her place as the baby of our family! 

2.  Eating yogurt. "Yogi," as she calls it is her favorite way to start the day. We had quite a few tears last week when we ran out. No other breakfast is quite as satisfying.

3. Playing outside.  Moriah knows how to open the screen, so if we don't lock it we are risking an escape. If the boys are outside, she will head on out. Last night we sat down to dinner and everyone looked around and said, "Where's Moriah?" She had followed Josiah out, but had not followed him back in! Yikes! Thankfully, she was still in the yard. Not one of our most glorious parenting moments!

4. Sleeping with sister. She always goes to sleep in her own bed, but every morning we find her snuggled up with sister in her bed! She gets up and goes over to Kimberly sometime in the night and says "up, up" until Kimberly puts her in her bed. Thankfully, Kimberly doesn't mind. But if she keeps this up, they are going to be pretty crowded in Kimberly's twin bed!

5. Mo Mo. This is our family's word for pacifier. Kimberly started calling it that when she was little and it stuck. Moriah's first full sentence was, "Mo, Mo, where are you?" Moriah did not come to us with a pacifier, but when we got pictures from her time in foster care in China, we noticed that she always had a pacifier. Andy bought a variety of types trying to match the one in the pictures and she was hooked (again.) Is this a good thing?? 

6. Bath time. She would take several baths a day if we let her. She doesn't mind getting water in her eyes and could stay in forever. For some reason I have always sung a bumble bee song to the kids when they get out of the tub. The song has nothing to do with the bath, but somehow it became the bath song. So now she begins to sing "bumble bee" when she gets out. 

She is growing and learning so much each day. She brings us great joy and many opportunities to rely on the grace of the Lord.

Happy nine months in your forever family, Moriah Mei!

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Parenting Tips

9. Train them to a habit of obedience.
"Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may cost you much trouble and cost them many tears...when you give a command let them see plainly that you will have it done."

This point is made clear multiple places in the Scripture. Ephesians 6:1 and the fifth commandment are two that come immediately to mind. This is exhausting, often discouraging, work. It helps to remember, as Ryle reminds us, that training them to obey you goes a long way toward training them to obey God.  "Teach them to obey while young, or else they will be fretting against God all their lives long, and wear themselves out with the vain idea of being independent of His control." 

A happy child is one who knows that Mom and Dad are in charge. 

10. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.
God is often presented to us in the Old Testament as "the God of Truth."  Surely it is an attribute He would have us cultivate in ourselves and our children.  Ryle also points out that being able to trust your child's word goes a long way toward your own comfort and assistance in dealing with him. I would rather have my child confess his wrong than to find out later that he lied about it. The children have some friends who like to tell incredible stories. The boys know that a lot of what they say is not true. The problem is that it has come to the point where they don't really believe anything these friends tell them. And, as Caleb told me the other day, "one lie always leads to another and another." 

11. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.
Oh, yes...this is a struggle at my house. I get very frustrated when my children come to me and say that they are bored. They have healthy bodies and minds and more than enough toys, but they are bored. I don't know why they even come to me with this complaint, because it almost always gets them at least two or three chores to do immediately. I like Ryle's reminder that all creatures were made for work. The angels in heaven work as they serve the Lord. A horse is never so healthy or happy as when he has work to do. Our bodies whither when they do not have regular work to do. I have found that we are all much happier when we have enough work to do that, when we have free time, we are thankful for it. I want to meet this challenge head on as summer approaches. We will have less school work but, by God's grace, we will have lots of things to keep our bodies and minds busy. 

All of these "tips" remind me again of my utter dependence on the grace of Christ. It is only by His grace that we can train the little ones that He has entrusted to us. It is also only by His grace that they can learn to do what is pleasing to Him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Boys

  Pikes I love this view.  Our house is
in that little valley.

This hill is just a block or so from our house. 
It is the entrance to a wonderful, natural park 
with trails for hiking.

Best Buds!

On top of the world!
Hiking with Dad is great fun!

A quick break from parenting hints to post a few pictures of our boys. Caleb and Josiah went with Andy for a hike on Saturday in the hills behind our house. They had a great time and Andy got some good pictures. These two are best friends. It is fun to see them enjoying one another as they explore God's world. They love to be outside checking out the bugs and rocks and whatever else they can find.  We are looking forward to doing more hiking this summer.