Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shamian Island, typhoons, struggles

I'll be honest- I'm not sure how to go with this post. Keep it positive, or keep it real. Since there may be other families in the adoption process, I think I need to be real. I would be doing others a great disservice by only painting a rosy picture. The fact is, two of us had a meltdown today (and Enya wasn't one of them). Emma didn't care for Shamian Island very much. We've settled into what is becoming a familiar routine- She acts fine until we're with the guide, and then she acts like we have the plague. Once we leave the guide, she acts fine again right up until it's evening time. She then starts crying and wants to talk with the guide. Tonight she told the guide she doesn't want to go home with us. I know she is homesick, and my mind understands this, but it is hard on the heart to hear those words. I know once she is home and realizes it isn't a scary place that she will be fine. She's an outgoing girl, and I'm sure it won't take long to feel comfortable with the family and those around her.
On Shamian Island there are a ton of places to take pictures. I was excited to get some good photos of Emma and also some of Enya in some of the same poses as she had had six years ago when she was adopted. Emma refused to take any pictures. She wasn't interested in anything about the island, so we left quickly and came back to the room. Typhoon Roke (right now a category 8) started dumping a ton of rain on Guangzhou, so that has put a damper on getting outside. We're supposed to go to the zoo tomorrow, which Emma and Enya are excited about, but as it looks now we'll need to find some inside activity to keep us busy.
The highlight of my day was on Shamian Island. We were in a store and I heard what I was sure was worship music. When we went outside I realized we were right beside a church. Inside they were singing, "How Great is Our God". He truly is a great God and He is holding us in His hands! He is in control, which is such a comfort, when things feel out of control.
I'd like to ask for prayers that the TB test comes back fine tomorrow afternoon, and also that the interview at the US consulate goes well on Tuesday morning (They will ask Emma if she wants to be adopted and go to the US)




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Guangzhou- Medical Exam Day

Last night we checked into the hotel, unpacked, and headed to a nearby 7-11 (yes, no kidding!) to pick up some ramens, bread, and drinks. Located right outside the hotel, it's very convenient for picking up basic supplies. After talking with Virgil and the girls, we headed on to bed. About 2:00 am I woke up to the sound of crying. Emma was upset, and it took a while to get her calmed down and back to sleep. The night before, she had also gotten upset, and it took about 2 hours to get her calmed down. Even though adoption is a beautiful thing, it is born from grief. Sorrow at being abandoned when they are small, and then sorrow at leaving all that is familiar to them. From what I can tell, Emma was well cared for, and for a while that will make things harder for her. In the long run however, it will be better because she won't have to deal with the memory of abuse that some children go through.
Imagine how hard it would be to be uprooted from your friends and caretakers, language, culture, food, sights and smells. Now imagine you were a child. So very scary.

SO VERY HARD.

This morning she was fine, though we had the same distancing herself from us when the guide is with us. I wasn't sure how the medical exam would go, but she bounced her way right through the exams and shots. They did a blood draw as well to check for TB. Prayers please that the TB comes back negative. If she tests positive, they will do a chest x-ray. If that shows TB, she will not be allowed to leave China until she is treated, which will take a while. I always breath a sigh of relief when we get the results back. We will find out the test results Monday afternoon.
Going to the medical exam building is always a pleasure for me because we meet so many other families who are also adopting. As I've mentioned on other trips, I'd love to collect all their stories and share them in a book. Each family is so unique. It was a double pleasure to go today because we were able to see a friend of ours who works with an adoption agency here in Guangzhou. We first met John when we came in 2011 to adopt Xiaoyun and Enya. He was our guide then, and also when we adopted Nini, Ximi, Erin and Meimei. He's like family now, and has kept up with us through the years. He hasn't seen Enya since 2011, so it was nice to reintroduce her to him.
One thing about staying at the China Hotel is that breakfast means you're bound to sit near other adopting families. This morning as we sat down to eat, we started talking to the family beside us. Usually I ask three questions- Where are you from? Where is your child from? How's it going?
I was delighted to hear they are also from Kentucky (Frankfort) - just an hour and half from our house. As we're talking, another family sitting opposite of them tell us they are from Louisville!!! Just down the road from us. What are the odds? I look forward to getting to know them more in the days to come.
After the medical, we went to Walmart to stock up for the week. The girls both picked out junk food to go with their super nutritious ;-) ramen noodle, and we headed back to the room. Emma was tired from the night before (I think she's also getting a cold) and she and I both rested for awhile and Enya played on the computer. Enya continues to keep a great attitude and goes with the flow.
Tonight John took us to a restaurant that is barely larger than some people's walk in closets. The girls had dumplings, and I had noodles that (I think) had some type of pork sauce. Emma ate a good amount, but is subdued still. I think partly from the shots, but also it is starting to be a pattern that as bedtime approaches she struggles. Please continue to keep her in your prayers!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Who Am I? July 21 on train bound for Guangzhou


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Red Folder- Nanning Day 4 With Emma

This afternoon we received what we've been waiting for- the RED FOLDER. Months of paperwork came down to this one special folder .It declares that she is no longer He Fuhao- foundling. She is now Emma Fuhao Willoughby- daughter of Virgil and Cindy. This is like her adoption birth certificate in a way. There are now 8 of these precious folders in our family and we thank God for them!!



Today we also went to a park in the center of Nanning. Surrounded by high rise apartments and businesses, it is an oasis in the middle of this city of over 6 million. It was close to our hotel- only about fifteen minutes walk. Miko said many of the older people go there frequently to get their exercise. She said because they often exercise in the city squares, they call them square dancers, though it is a far cry from the do-si-do we think of. This is my idea of exercise πŸ˜‰. The ladies are so graceful in their movements. There were some ladies being photographed, and a man with a traditional Chinese instrument- close to the size of a violin- accompanying two ladies singing. A small waterfall, several ponds and lakes, a cherry tree orchard and peach trees, children's playground, amusement park, and miles of trails lined with flowers, magnolia and palm trees were just a few of the things we saw.  In the midst of this bustling city, it is a place to get away and relax.This afternoon we packed for the next leg of our trip. We head to Guangzhou tomorrow morning. Only one more week before home!!! Thanking God for His goodness!!




Enya, Miko and Emma










Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Day 3 With Emma

Our view at breakfast.
Emma's friend LanLan sent her the shirt. LanLan was adopted from the same orphanage as Emma and they were best friends. She now lives two hours from our home, so they will get to see each other

There are statutes throughout this park. They represent different children's stories

This is a tropical area and the bamboo grows well.

One of the many interesting things to see at the Green Mountain Park.

Enya and I climbed one million steps (ok, maybe not a million, but our legs felt like it-lol) to the top of the tallest pagoda in Guangxi. It had a view that was well worth the aching legs. You could see the entire Nanning city landscape spread out below.

Tallest pagoda in Guangxi

Emma and Enya loved feeding the koi. I have never seen such a thick group of fish. They were literally jumping out of the water to get to the food.


Today we went to the Green Mountain, a beautiful park with lush greenery and flowers blooming everywhere. Nanning's flower is the hibiscus and it was covering this park. Bamboo, palm trees, cycads, roses, and so many exotic plants and flowers were everywhere you turn. Teak furniture surrounded lake after lake, so you could sit and enjoy the view. Koi fish filled the lakes and ponds. Sculptures, carved stones, exercise areas, and children's areas were throughout. We could have spent a week there and never seen all there was to see and enjoy. Such a beautiful place.
As beautiful as it was, it did not compare to hearing Emma laugh for the first time. The girls were playing with a balloon, and Emma started laughing. It was good to see her and Enya playing with each other. She pulls away from us when our guide is around, but once we are alone she interacts with us. This afternoon has been the best, as far as talking with us and she is even using a few English words. Her demeanor is really improving. She asks about Virgil often and wants to know how long before we can skype with him the next time. I can't wait for them to meet in person!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017





Official! Emma Fuhao Willoughby




We officially have a new daughter!! Today we went to the notary and Civil Affairs office to finalize what we started yesterday. Because Emma is over ten years old, she was required to be interviewed and sign papers. When she was asked if she understood why we were here, she said "Yes, they came to bring me home". HOME!! What a precious word. Even the guide was touched by what she said.
There were three other families adopting today. What a blessing to see these other children getting added to families as well! There was a speech given by the director of all the orphanages in Guangxi, and then she presented is with the coveted red folder that says Emma is now a Willoughby.
When the lady from the orphanage said goodbye, Emma got emotional and shut down for a bit. When we got to the hotel she wanted the guide to come to the room with us. The guide, Miko, talked with her for quite a while. Besides being scared, she was also upset because the water in the shower wasn't warm. Bless her heart, I had showed her last night, but didn't stay in the bathroom so she could have her privacy and she didn't understand how to adjust the temp. I had no idea. 😞 Miko explained it again and also told her to point to my phone and I can call either Miko or Xiaoyun if she needs to tell me anything.
After that she has perked up, and is currently writing notes to send to Baba and the girls. She had learned to write the alphabet, but I don't know yet if she actually knows the letters or is just copying.
The Power of Attorney that we had to have still had not arrived yesterday. We weren't going to be able to proceed without it. God, in His timing, had it arrive just when it was needed. It was delivered as we were walking into the notary office this morning!! I have no idea why I stress when I know He is in control!! It is a lesson He is continually teaching me. (I sure wish I'd hurry up and learn this lesson!!)
Continued thanks for all the prayers!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Emma Fuhao

Welcome Emma Fuhao!!
We have Emma!! She is tucked into bed playing video games with Enya. Our flight landed on time and before the storm (thanks so much for the prayers!!) . I found out there is a typhoon heading this way, but other than heavy rain it shouldn't affect us too much.
We had a few minutes at the hotel before heading to the Civil Affairs Office. Emma was very nervous, which is to be expected. There were a few tears, and I found out later that she had heard the orphanage director mention that she needed more surgery on her lip, and it scared her. Bless her heart. I'd be upset too. Leaving all you know, and hearing you have to have surgery, would upset anyone.
We visited Walmart for some comfort food, which looked a lot different for each of us ;-)
PB and J for me, ramen for Enya, and snack things for Emma. She didn't want supper, and they had told me earlier that she had been a little carsick. She's very observant, and quick to pick up on things (which is going to keep me on my toes!).
The director had some pictures of her as a baby, and they are also giving me some other information tomorrow on a flash drive. I'm so grateful to have that. She had the photo album we had sent, and when we got to the room she pulled it out and wanted to go over everyone's names. She and Enya are doing well together.
I think the day has caught up to all of us, so we are heading to bed early. Again, thank you all for the prayers!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Monday, July 17 China local. - 12hrs ahead


I think I need to start a series on the best laid plans😊.

We arrived in Beijing Saturday afternoon. The flight was great. So many empty seats that Enya and I were able to stretch out and rest. I've never been on a flight that wasn't full. After clearing customs we found our way to the domestic counter only to find that our flight to Nanning had been cancelled. Because of lightning, most flights to southern China were cancelled. Of course I couldn't get the internet to work on the phone and it took hours before I was able to get in touch with someone from our agency. The flights for Sunday were booked, so we had to stay in Beijing until this morning (Monday). By the time someone made arrangements and picked us up to go to a hotel we had been standing in the airport for over five hours. We looked like the walking dead. Enya was a trooper and not once complained. Since we would be in Beijing a day and a half, I decided to show Enya a little more of China. Our guide took us to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. It was hot, but beautiful. So thankful Enya was able to have this extra experience. 
We won't arrive in Nanning until this afternoon, which is when we are supposed to meet Emma so I'm not sure if we'll go to the room first, it straight to Civil Affairs office. 
Prayers please for Emma's heart and also for the weather. It is heavy rain there right now so prayers we're able to land. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

The day has finally arrived! Enya and I are sitting at the airport waiting for our flights. First to Dallas, then Beijing, and final a connecting flight to Nanning, China. We arrived at the airport at 6:30 am, and we'll arrive in Nanning at 11:05pm Saturday evening (China is 12 hours ahead of us). Hopefully we'll be at the hotel by 1am Sunday morning. Nanning is a city of close to 7 million so the airport could be quite a distance from our hotel. Sunday will be a day to catch our breath and stock up on supplies.
Leaving was hard, especially when we'd planned on Virgil and I traveling together. Fortunately most of the girls were still asleep so that made it easier this morning. Please pray for their hearts. Telling mama goodbye is hard, especially if you've had a mother say goodbye before and never return. Pray also for Emma, as she is about to have
her life changed completely.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Best Laid Plans Part 2

Right now Enya and I should be half way to China. Instead, I'm sitting in my living room. The paperwork needed for only one parent traveling should have been ready today. However, for some unknown reason, the consulate sent a message to all couriers that paperwork scheduled for pickup would now not be ready until next week. Without that paperwork, we are not allowed to proceed with the adoption, so we had to rebook flights yesterday and our coordinator in China is working on changing all in country travel. It feels like I was on a bullet train and the brakes got slammed on. Everything was ready to walk out the door. It's been an emotional rollercoaster. We will now fly out next Friday.
The worst of this is the fact that a little girl on the other side of the world expected to meet her Mama and a sister soon. She's been told there is a delay, and I pray it hasn't caused her to think we aren't coming. I can't imagine the doubts and fears she has anyway. Please pray for her heart.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Best Laid Plans...

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The time is almost here to bring Emma home. Our plan was for Virgil and I to travel together. Our first time with just the two of us. I was excited and really looking forward to our time with Emma- a special time of just the three of us.
God, however, had a different plan. Last week Virgil developed a blood clot and had to have surgery. He's doing better, but won't be able to travel. While he was still in the hospital we received travel approval. Since Virgil cannot go, Enya will travel with me. While I sat at the hospital I filled out paperwork that we need because only one parent is traveling, and also paperwork to get Enya a travel visa. Virgil got home late Friday night, and right after getting home we found out my beloved Mamaw had had a massive stroke.
To say it was a stressful week is an understatement. As I type, I'm sitting at the ER with Virgil again because he started running a fever. He's evidently picked up a virus on top of everything else.
This is not the way I envisioned the week leading up to travel going. However, I know God is control (and yes, that's something I have to keep reminding myself of right now) and His plans are perfect.
Enya and I will leave July 7, and will welcome Emma FuHao into our family on July 10.
We'd appreciate prayers for Emma as she leaves all she knows to start a new life, prayers for travel, and prayers for healing.



Monday, April 24, 2017

They are all 'My Own'

Recently Virgil and I were talking to a couple who was asking about adoption. The comment was made that, though they were planning on adopting, he was wanting to wait until after they had one more "of our own". I knew he meant one more biological child, but I wish I had had the opportunity to tell him-

Adopted or biological- they are ALL your own.

I have had the joy of giving birth to three children. They were placed in my heart long before they were placed in my arms. Long before they drew their first breath they were prayed for. We waited expectantly for months before we looked into their eyes.
I have also had the joy of adopting seven daughters. They, too, were placed in my heart long before they were placed in my arms. They were prayed for long before I heard their voice. We waited expectantly for months before we looked into their eyes.
Granted our adopted daughters were not babies. The youngest came home at five years old and the oldest was just shy of fourteen. They came to us with broken hearts and broken dreams. They have carried burdens I will never understand. But they came with the same desire that all kids (and adults) have- the desire to be loved. Just as with a newborn, they wanted to be held, protected and provided for. They wanted to feel safe.They wanted to be wanted.

I have heard people say they aren't sure they can love an adopted child as much as a bio child. I'm here to tell you that YES, YOU CAN! I have a special place in my heart reserved for each of my children. No two are alike- even the bio's. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, that make them unique, that make them special, that make them mine. Yes, I parent differently now, but that has more to do with the fact that I am older (and hopefully wiser) than I was with my first three. When a child comes home with heartaches that have not healed, we must meet them where they are and love them unconditionally, but isn't that the same thing we do with biological children?

My kids are just that- my kids. All entrusted to us for a season. All bring their own 'specialness' to our family and makes us better people. Each a special gift from the God who knew us long before we were formed. I hope to one day meet this couple again so that I can tell them the real truth-

God places children in the families He has chosen. Sometimes He does that through birth and sometimes He does that through adoption.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

One More Daughter- One Less Orphan


We are excited to announce that we are soon to be the parents of Emma Fuhao, a ten year old who has waited so very long for her family to bring her home. We hope she’ll be home in the next few months. The girls are looking forward to introducing Emma to all those things she’s missed out on for all these years. Emma has had a first repair of her cleft lip/ palate and, like Enya, will need several more lip revisions and possibly palate revision. She had a congenital heart defect that was repaired when she was almost two, and hopefully will require no more surgeries for that.

Those who have spent any amount of time with us probably won’t be surprised at our good news. Truly, those who have met our other children realize how much adoption has blessed and enriched our lives. God has blessed us so very much and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to show His love to a child who yearns to be loved and to belong.

We invite you to follow along as we prepare to travel to China once again. If the Lord impresses upon your heart to donate towards Emma’s adoption we would certainly appreciate it. Prayers are even more important and we covet those greatly!!
Our church has partnered with Lifesong to provide us with a $3000 matching grant, which means if we receive $3000 they will match it for a total of $6000. We thank God for a supportive church family who has come alongside us in our adoption journey, and who have a heart for the orphans.

Donations are tax deductible when donated through Lifesong. To donate you can click on the link below and put in our family number- #06655. You can also mail checks (with our family number in the memo section) to Lifesong at:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
Family number #06655

https://www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate/?gift=2&adoption=1

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Tapestry of Our Family

Our family is like a beautiful tapestry that is yet  unfinished. It has been woven together from threads from my side of the family and Virgil's and new threads continue to be added. The old and the new combine to make a beautiful picture, and when you step back and look at it as a whole, you can clearly see the Mighty Weaver at work. God has skillfully placed threads together that no other would have chosen. He's interlocked different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses, different talents, gifts and abilities, different backgrounds and cultures, different likes and dislikes. He has put it all together in a pattern that clearly demonstrates that a Designer is at work.
On any given Sunday at church, you'll find some of the girls sitting with grandparents, an older brother, sister-in-law, niece, aunt or uncle, or family friends. On holidays, you'll hear what is a beautiful sound to this mama's ears- voices of grandchildren, children, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all laughing and talking together. When we're able to visit my family in Alabama the girls all vie for their time to snuggle with their great grandmother.

I can't begin to tell you how precious it is to sit in my mamaw's living room and listen to the girls singing worship songs and old hymns with her, my aunt and uncle. Who but God could have chosen seven girls from halfway around the world to weave into the fabric of our family in such a beautiful, miraculous way!

Sharing in the joys of life, the sorrows of life and everything in between. Celebrating marriages, new babies, graduations, birthdays, and Gotcha days. Mourning those who have passed away. We are living life together as a family, and each experience is tightly woven into this beautiful piece of work God is creating. How I thank God for this mighty work He is doing!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Birthday X Three

 
We celebrated three birthdays in a three week time span starting with Nini's on October 16 and ending with Meimei's on November 8. 
 

Nini's 9th birthday



Elli's 13th birthday

Meimei's 8th birthday.
(Complete with frosting on her cheeks)

.

 
We were given a recipe for a Chinese-style cake (sponge type cake and whipped frosting/ with fruit in between the layers). I made it for Meimei's birthday. It was such a hit that all the girls have asked for one for their next birthday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Meimei's First Forever Day

                                                

I'm pretty sure Meimei has been part of our family since before birth- it just took her almost seven years to come home. Her adjustment has been the kind everyone who adopts hopes to have. She has blended in seamlessly with the rest of the family. She is helpful, loving, bossy when she's allowed to be ;-)  , and just a delight to all who know her. Happy Gotcha Meimei!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Erin's First Gotcha Day








It is hard to believe it has been a year already since we sat in a Civil Affairs Office in Haikou and signed the papers to make Erin Qinglian our daughter. What she knew when we met her amazed us, and she continues to amaze those she meets. Not until after we adopted Erin did I fully appreciate how much we were indebted to Bethel Foster Home for teaching her English (among other things). It made adjustments so much easier because we were able to communicate the basics with her and she with us. Once home, we were even more grateful because she already knew the English Braille alphabet. There is not a lot of resources out there for teaching blind, English language learners. So much of it is visual, which does her no good. Thankfully, she knew how to read and type simple braille words (in English) already. Her teachers have all bragged on how well she is doing and what a great memory she has. We are blessed to have an assistant assigned just to Erin, who was with her last year and through the rest of this school year, that really cares about Erin and helps her navigate a strange new world. Erin also has a wonderful vision impaired instructor who is excited to teach Erin and help us find all the materials we need to help Erin to succeed in school and in day to day living.
It is rare to see Erin in a bad mood. She is always singing or humming. She's quite the joyful young lady. We are thankful for her!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

33 Years of Standing By Me


This blog has been swirling around in my head since that day last September…

After 22 days, 4 provinces and two new daughters, we were headed home. It had been a long trip. I was tired, overwhelmed and homesick. We were just on the first leg of a 33 hour journey. I knew when we arrived home we’d be just at the beginning of our REAL journey- adjustments, attachment, medical.

Thousands of feet above the earth, somewhere between Guangzhou and Shanghai, I did something I’ve done in every flight we’ve flown in China. I plugged in my earphones to see if there was any music.  Usually there wasn’t any, but this time there was not only music, it was American oldies.
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me. (Stand By Me- Ben E. King)


I looked across the aisle to where Virgil sat between two of our daughters. The tears began to flow. A wave of thankfulness swept over me. My wonderful, compassionate husband would be there to stand by me whatever we were facing in the days, months, and years ahead. I was not walking this path alone. God had allowed us to walk this path together.

Not many men would embark on a journey to adopt seven daughters when he had just finished raising his bio children. Not many would forsake the comfortable life to go into debt to bring these girls home. Not many would give up peace and quiet, and weekends spent in favorite leisure activities.

Not many- but my man did.

Today we celebrate 33 years of marriage.

I could have guessed until eternity, and never dreamed up the dream we are living.

God has blessed me beyond measure with the finest of men for my husband-
one who will always stand by me.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nini and Ximi's 3rd Gotcha Days




The end of May brings us to the last of the Gotcha Days in the past month. Nini and Ximi celebrated 3 years home. These two rays of sunshine are about alike as Felix and Oscar of the old Odd Couple show :-)  . Nini would rather die than leave a crumb on the table, and Ximi looks like most of her food ended up outside of her plate. Ximi messes up the towel when she brushes her teeth and Nini comes behind and straightens it back up. But somehow, these two polar opposites make great sisters. Before we adopted them, we thought Ximi's vision would be a challenge, but in the end it was Nini's needs that proved far greater. They have both come so far in the last few years and have each- in their own special ways- been such a blessing to all who know them. They light up the room when they come in. Ximi bounds in with her infectious grin, and Nini quietly walks in with her shy smile. Two very different, and very wonderful little girls. We thank God for them!!
Nini and Ximi on Ximi's Gotcha Day

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Birthday Xiaoyun!!



Xiaoyun is now 19. Can you believe it? She has grown into a beautiful young woman. 5 years ago we landed at the Louisville airport and sang happy birthday to her with all our family and friends who came to welcome her and Enya home. Time has flown and she has grown up so much. She is capable of running the household and keeping all her sisters in line. I never have to worry when I leave her in charge. If possible, she's a little bossier than me 😁.
I must confess that prior to adopting her a wondered how those teenage years would go. I shouldn't have worried. She is a blessing and is mature beyond her years. I'm so thankful that God blessed us with this very special girl!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Ximi's 8th Birthday/ Mother's Day

I can think of no better way to celebrate Mother's Day than to celebrate it on one of our children's birthdays. Ximi turned 8 today. In true typical Ximi fashion, she didn't care what we got her for her birthday. She is so easy going and cheerful from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed. Easy to please should be her middle name. Ximi just recently won student of the month at her school. She wins everyone's hearts after being around her a short time.

 

 We were both spoiled today. Virgil wouldn't let me step into the kitchen all day. He and the girls handled all the meals and cleanup. I was blessed to be able to worship in church today with many of my family. Virgil's mom passed away many years ago, so I know that it is an extra special thing to be able to have 4 generations together for the day. They all came over to the house for lunch and birthday cake. There is such joy in just sitting on the porch surrounded by so many people I love. It is not something I take for granted.
All the girls had made me a card, and had homemade gifts for me. They are a creative bunch of girls. Virgil bought me a necklace that Love Without Boundaries was selling to help raise funds for the cleft repairs they just completed in China. It was a special gift because not only do we have a child who had a cleft repair done before she came home (Enya), but we also have two children who were in foster care through LWB (Elli and Meimei) .
Though not all the kids were here, we did try to get a family photo. That is a tricky thing with this bunch. This was the best one of the thousand or so taken- lol!


 
Praising God for my family!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Elli's 6th Year Home




Our sweet Elli has celebrated yet another year home. A few months ago we mentioned that she had been with us half her life. She corrected us and told us the half way mark was Gotcha day, so from now on we can say she has been with us longer than she was without us.  Elli is such a deep thinker, but it took me by surprise that she had even thought about that. We laughed with her tonight watching the videos of our first days together. She seemed like such a baby then. She's grown up so much, and is truly a delight to all who meet her. Her gentle, quiet spirit is so nurturing to the other girls.  She's a little mama, but in a very tender way. She's by far our most introverted, but this year she has started to come out of that shell some and it is like watching a rose blossom.
When we look back at how far we've come in 6 years it's really quite unbelievable. Our world has changed, and we see things so differently than we did before we took our first trip to China. Truly we see life much clearer now than we used to. Priorities have shifted. Worldly things have lost their luster. God is teaching  us how to appreciate life more fully, and He is using the girls to help us learn that lesson. I'm so grateful that we've been given the opportunity to live the life we are living!