Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Six Months and Counting...

But now, thus says the Lord...,

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
I have called you by name; you are Mine! 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; 
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. 
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you."
Isaiah 43:1-2

We have recently celebrated our six-month home milestone.  WOW!  Time is flying by.  It is hard to believe we have be together as a family of 8 for half a year, and yet, China seems like such a distant memory at the same time.  Some days, I think the dust is settling a little bit, and other days, we still seem to be in the whirlwind, but through it all, God is with us. We see Him working in us and in our children in ways we never could have imagined. 

Life is hard and it is good.  God is refining me by the "fire" of life with 6 kids. Lots of stuff, yucky stuff, has come to the surface in the day-to-day busyness of it all, and  I am constantly reminded of my weaknesses, but also of His grace and strength and mercy. 

As I think back over this journey, I am reminded of God's promise in Isaiah 43:1-2.  I think of the times when following Him meant stepping out into unsure waters and how, many times, the difficulties and uncertainty of adoption seemed like they would sweep us away, but God was there, just as He promised.  He kept reminding us of His sovereignty and His perfect timing and His complete provision.  He did miracle after miracle after miracle to bring us all together. 

And as we have been home, many days, we have walked through His refining  fire of adjusting and learning how to love and care for our children.  These last six months have been challenging in so many ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  We have put life on hold to focus on attachment and bonding, and this has been hard for some to understand.  But we are so thankful that we have made so much progress in these areas and that we are now able to slowly regain some sense of normalcy, although we are certain that our lives will never be normal!  And that is quite alright with us!

We are loving getting to know our babies and discovering their amazing personalities, their likes and dislikes, and watching them interact and bond with their awesome big brothers. 

Aaron Li (affectionately known as "Yao-Yao") is a joy.  He has such a compassionate heart and loves people.  He has an amazing grasp of the English language and is very very aware of everything that goes on around him.  He doesn't miss a thing!  He loves to laugh and play, loves to ride bikes, and loves to be Daddy's helper.  The thing he loves most, though, is to ride the 4-wheeler!  He can hear it crank up, even in his sleep, and he moves at lightning speed to make sure he has a seat for the ride!

Meili is a wild and wonderful mess!  She loves to discover new things and is curious about everything, especailly the things that she's not supposed to touch!  She has the unique ability to get into mischief the very instant I turn my head!  Her laugh is infectious and quite often has her giggle box turned over. She adores her brothers and always welcomes them with great big hugs. And when Daddy gets home, watch out, 'cause she will run right over you to be first to get to him, hollering "Daddy" at the top of her lungs the whole way there. 

Both babies are amazingly healthy.  Meili has no health issues that we know of at this point, and Aaron Li goes every 2-3 months to have his platelets check.  Right now, his platelets are maintaining a safe level, even though they are still a little low.  His doctors are content to simply watch him for now and think that it is possible that he will outgrow his ITP without any medical intervention.

We are so proud of our older boys and how they have loved and cared for their babies.  They have learned what it means to not only look out for their own needs, but also for the needs of others.  They have learned so much about who God is and how He keeps His promises.  They have seen first-hand how He leads and provides and how really good His plans are for us. 

As we have celebrated Thanksgiving and are looking forward to Christmas, it is hard to put into words how wonderfully content and thankful we are.  For the last three holidays seasons, we have longed for our babies and have been torn because they were so far away.  Our hearts were heavy because we could not hold them and love on them.  And, now, here they are, in our arms and in our home, and there is no greater feeling.  Our hearts overflow with thankfulness at the wonderful things He has done to make this all possible.  He is Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who Provides, and we are living proof.

We are so grateful for where we are in our adoption journey and so excited about where He is leading us next.  For us, this journey has changed us so completely that we will never be the same.  Our eyes have been opened to the great need right in front of us to care for orphans and to the amazing opportunity to experience our great God and Savior as we follow Him into the fields of the needy.  Our heart's cry has been for Him to continue to use us to care for these precious babies that so desperately need love, and He has opened a door for us to do that.  We are anxious to share more details as we know them and can't wait to begin this next chapter in following Him.  There is NOTHING better than being right where He wants us to be, serving Him with our lives.  He is the only one who can satisfy the longings of our hearts.

Through this journey, we have passed through the waters, and He has been with us.  We have walked through the fire, but have been refined and not scorched.  We have learned that the more we die to ourselves, the more we get of Him.  David Platt says in his book, Follow Me

"As we die to ourselves, we live for others, and everything Christ does in us begins to affect everyone Christ puts around us."  

This is the reason we share our journey, to bring glory and honor to His name, and as a way to invite others to follow Him wherever He leads.  He is an amazing, trust-worthy, wonderful Savior and Lord, and in following Him, we get to experience His presence in amazing ways.

If you would like to hear the 7 minute testimony we shared with our church, click here.

Here are some pictures from the last few months!