Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year's End

Christmas at our house was a little crazy, a bit chaotic, and tons of fun.  On Christmas Eve one of my sons made puppets to use to illustrate reading the Christmas story.  Emery was VERY concerned about getting to sleep so that Santa would be able to come. For the one non-believer kid in our family it was a bit more difficult to get to bed with the others:)    Christmas morning was a blast.  Emery opened one present and savored it.  She looked at it, examined it.  Exclaimed over it.  It was a new doll.  So we paused all of the present opening to encourage the boys to not just move on to the next gift after a quick 'Thanks'.  After a couple more presents Emery was asking, " 'nother present, please?"  Ah, well it was a nice thought at the beginning.

We went to Christmas morning church and left a bit of glitter on the pew from Emery's Christmas dress(we got it off!)  Who knew little girls dresses with sparkles shed?  Somehow, we didn't take any pictures of everyone in church clothes, so we will be restaging that event:)!

While there was plenty of hustle and bustle, baking and making, wrapping and buying, singing and reading and watching Christmas movies,  I was struck by the fact that last year we had barely started the process to adopt Emery.  We made Christmas ornaments for her so that she would have some this year to put on the tree, and she did.  And I was struck by the fact that I could not have necessarily predicted this exact path, and it is one so much greater than one I might have thought I would choose.  It has been a great and crazy year.  I am looking forward to a year that is maybe a little bit less crazy but just as great!

And my focus even more this year is going to be about something I was reading in John.  When it talks about how Christ is the vine and that we are the branch and the branch can't produce fruit on its own.  Well the closer the branch is to the vine the stronger it is and the more it can carry.  I feel like my plate has gotten pretty heavy and full so obviously I need to be moving a little bit closer to the source of my strength in order to carry it a bit easier!  So that is my continued, carry-over goal for 2012.

May God bless you and yours this year.  Thank you for your help and prayers for our family in 2011.  We have been so very blessed.

Friday, December 9, 2011



Need I say more?

Heart surgery is scheduled:) 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life As We Know It

First, the good news.  Have I mentioned that I really loves Seattle Children's?  I really do.  They are fantastic in so many ways.  I called yesterday ti check on where we were at since it has been a month since Emery's second cardiac cath.  I KNOW they will call me when they hear an update, but still it has been a month, so I called just because it felt like at least I was doing something.  I talked to the resident who has gone above and beyond for us.  Seriously a FANTASTIC doctor. We went over a few things that had been going on with Emery's health and pretty much ended with no new news but the hope and expectation to hear within the week.  Then last night he called me with an update.  Stanford has a surgery plan for Emery, has officially accepted her to be put on their schedule and we are FINALLY moving forward, although still waiting for a surgery date.  We should know the date within a week.  Our next contact should be with Stanford's surgery schedulers and there are no new tests or retests that need to be done before the surgery.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He called right when he heard the news.  How incredibly nice:)

Emery is having so much fun waiting for Christmas.  She doesn't quite understand that we have to wait.  Every day has the potential of being Christmas for her, which is kind of funny.  She also knows that it is Jesus's birthday and is convinced that Jesus is coming to our house so that we can sing Happy Birthday to Him.   She got a stocking and thought we needed to two for Santa's two feet that must be sooo biiiigg.  Complete with hand gestures.  She loves the advent calendar, although I don't know that it is because there is a countdown or because she gets a piece of candy every day, probably the latter.

We are making big steps in attachment.  My husband is out of town and she really misses him, that is a good thing.  We countdown to when he will be back and she understands that.

I am still not her favorite person, I might never be, and I am OK with that.  Some of my sons would definitely prefer my husband to me(I don't blame them!) but we are so much better than where we were.  I look back and am amazed at the progress that has been made.  She will let me help her, and looks to me for help now.  She doesn't try to go with every other woman or man available.   I can now say no and it is ok with her.  It is nice to be moving away from the media entertainment phase. There are still things to work through and time to spend and places to improve but we are on the right path I think.  Last week she told us that she wanted her China family, her sisters and ayis and not us.  I hurt for her.  To me, that is a normal thing, one I have been waiting for.  I don't think it was truly a rejection of our family but a expression of grief for the loss that she has had, and she is finally able to verbalize some of the things that there are to grieve for.  So we are back to the crying at night for a variety of reasons, that are all completely understandable to me at this point and she lets us hold her and comfort her and it is so much easier to work through than when we held her like a rigid board or rubbed her back while she sat up perfectly straight and cried quietly.

We are grateful for this season of the year, and this season of our lives.  We feel so very, very blessed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


One year ago we submitted our letter of intent to adopt Emery.  I remember thinking that we weren't quite ready to adopt  We had just bought a house that was a fixer upper;  not just a few cosmetic changes, but a gut it to the studs and , upper.  We live in a community where it can be hard to find housing and this one kind of dropped in our lap.  It has a yard and is in city limits.  We really wanted a yard and it is hard to find that here.  So we (mostly me) decided to buy it when we walked around the outside before we went inside.  Some rooms inside we didn't even go in.  It is small.  One of my sons had to go to the doctor right after being inside because he had a severe allergic reaction to cats that lived inside.  We lived in a hotel for weeks while we cleaned it up and repaired enough to move in.   But it is in a great neighborhood, and did I mention it has a yard?  In the midst of this craziness we saw Emery's pictures, read her files, prayed, fasted and decided to move forward in a leap of faith.  Her file seemed pretty straightforward.

Jump ahead a month and her file wasn't quite as straightforward.  There were all kinds of complications that could be happening and time became precious for her chance at a repair surgery.  The cardiologist who reviewed her file gave us best and worst case scenarios and told us realistically she was probably somewhere in the middle but they couldn't tell from the testing that had been done.  The worst case scenario was that we would bring her home to die. 

We weren't really ready to expedite the adoption.  We had planned on a 10-12 month period to go through the steps and get all our finances in order.  And I was a bit scared.  Should we proceed with this adoption when surely there was someone else who was more ready to go forward?  In January I put out the word that we needed help to expedite.  I have never been so humbled than by the extreme outpouring of support and help that we received from friends, family, and strangers.  We did a 10 day fundraiser and were completely overwhelmed by the grace we were shown.  And we had, almost to the cent, what we needed to expedite the adoption and start rushing things through.

Our homestudy writer was amazing, she put in all the visits in one week and got it written up quickly.  We had to fly to Anchorage to be fingerprinted for USCIS and they allowed us to walk in whenever we could, once we explained the situation.  We got an extremely helpful and sympathetic USCIS worker who helped us to expedite.  Our agency representative was extremely attentive to our file to make sure it wasn't lost and to ask if it could be expedited at every step of the way.  Eight months later we were meeting our little girl.

In the last year our family has grown in more ways than the obvious,  we have felt embraced and carried by so many wonderful people, and we have seen God's hand in our lives more. 

I have so very, very much that I am thankful for.  I am thankful for the power of prayer.  I am thankful for the gift of friendship.  I am thankful for the blessing and strength of family.  And above all I am thankful for God, who knows and blesses me in so many ways.

Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas season. 

Hopefully we will have a surgery date soon:)

Sleeping Beauty

First Day

The Little Princess

Monday, November 14, 2011

All Clear

The cath was successful and they were able to get the pressures that they needed to plan a surgery.  In addition the pressures in the collateral vessels were low which is apparently a very good thing.  Emery was a champ and it was SOOOOO much better than last time.  Hard to believe that in less than two months we did not need a translator and Emery turned to me for help instead of the nurses  I have to admit I was strangely happy to be puked all over after Emery came out of the procedure.  I don't think she has ever vomited before and was very scared and disturbed by it all.  I told her that her geges and baba would be so proud of her and that is was a cool gross thing.  She was so excited to call baba and tell him that she puked 3 times!  Eew gross, giggle, giggle!  We still have a predominantly boy family.  We had a fantastic trip.  Emery was hungry and begging for pizza right after she woke up, but we waited until the next day and had pizza for lunch in the airport and then baba made pizza for dinner.  She was one happy little girl.

The exciting thing for me was that her oxygen levels were higher coming out of the cath than before, only a few points but I'll take it!  We didn't have a repeat of last time trying to get her stable at 70.  She was a solid 77 when she woke up.  So great!  It was so nice to sleep the night in the hotel instead of the hospital that night.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  We are so grateful for the way they have been answered.  We are back to the waiting game to hear a surgery date.  It snowed here last night.  I don't think Emery has played in the snow much, or ever.  She LOVES it.  It is really cute to see how much she enjoys these firsts. 

At the Ocean

Friday, November 4, 2011

Three Months

Three months ago today, we came home.  Tired from a long flight with little(Emery) to no(me) sleep.  A doctor's visit that confirmed her diagnosis and another quick flight, with me mostly passed out while Emery colored happened pretty quickly and then we were home.

Emery was so excited to see her baba pick us up, it had been at least 7 hours since we split up not knowing for sure what the doctors visit would bring.  She was so excited to meet her geges.  She walked(almost strutted to be honest) into the house with a huge smile on her face and hasn't looked back much since then.  I was so excited to see my boys.  I had missed them so extremely much in China and was so thrilled to see them, but could barely drag them away from their new sister for quick hugs:) 

Three months ago, Emery barely spoke English.  Now she speaks sentences and can make herself understood without pointing and grunting.  Three months ago she shut down completely if told no or not given what she wanted.  Now she tries to negotiate, Maybe later?  We'll see?  She knows that it's ok to be told no; it doesn't mean we love her less.  Her brothers get told no too.

Three months ago, everyone was walking on eggshells and on their best behavior.  The boys gave her anything she looked like she was interested in(except for the youngest brother:)) Now they are OK with not letting her have things that are special to them and she knows she doesn't have to share her dolls.  Three months ago we were staying up all night watching Strawberry Shortcake(so very girly I really was not prepared for this!!)  and trying to stave off nighttime crying.  I was sleeping on the floor in her room since she kicks.  Now we can all sleep in our own beds without waking up crying in the night.  I wake up to check on her, but not because she is silently grieving in her bed.  She knows she can call for mama or baba. 

Three months ago Emery had short hair that could barely be put in little pony's on top of her head.  Now it is shoulder length and she is thrilled that it is going to be long hair and she can 'let your power shine'.  Her favorite movie is Tangled.

In the past three months, Emery has flown to Seattle twice for doctors visits, passed the dentist with flying colors, and had lab work done twice.  We have had one major health scare and a few smaller ones.  I have gotten a couple of white hairs that I have pulled out promptly and told my husband that he will enjoy the way higher salon bills if I have to start dying my hair:) 

We have had a bonfire on the beach, jumped on the trampoline, hiked to a lake(it is much harder carrying a little girl that just hiking!), gone out on a boat whale watching, gone trick or treating, watched movies, eaten ice cream, bought dolls, baked cookies, gone to a musical, and had so much fun.  It is amazing to think it has only been 3 months, but what a great three months.  We have made big changes in our family and have really been blessed to be able to move forward in attachment and in relationship building. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're Back

Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf.  Emery had a scary week last week.  She has been having a harder time catching her breath after exertion with longer blueish heavy breathing spells, but both my pediatrician and cardiologist assure me this is normal for her.  Then she woke up and her lips were white, her fingertops were white, she was obviously in a lot of pain and said her heart hurt and was completely limp except for the pain on her face.  It lasted for an hour and by the time I got her to a doctor and hooked up for an EKG she was getting over it.  There was a lot of discussion with our cardiologist and pediatrician and we ended up flying to Seattle the next day since she was still pale and not back to a hundred percent.  Well, she was THRILLED to go on the airplane, loved visiting the doctor and all of her tests were better than they ever had been, not to mention that she charmed everyone she met and had more energy than I have seen in a month.  We stayed overnight in the hospital, went to the Ronald McDonald House(love them!) next to the hospital with a Holter monitor, basically a portable EKG, and spent the weekend in Seattle.  She did great.  If I hadn't seen the scary white episode myself I never would have believed it was the same little girl!
She was off the monitor for a day so we went to the zoo.  She LOVED the monkeys:)  She got to learn animals by seeing them in person and it was so precious. 

We went from being monitored in the ER to being on a plane in about two hours.  I am so very blessed to have wonderful friends who prayed and took care of my family.  One of my friends took my children, my husband was at work, then came into the ER and worked some kind of magic with the insurance, along with feeding my guys for me for a few days.  Another friend heard what was going on and jumped on the plane with us for the duration. It was so nice to have her there and not be alone!  Another fabulous friend started her prayer chain going when she called me to tell me about receiving her own LOA, which Emery and I are SOOOO excited for.

We have had quite the week and will be heading back to Seattle in a week for another, more specialized, heart cath to get more information to determine the surgery.  There is a bit of uncertainty over whether the data requested is possible to get since they couldn't get it the first cath, but a special wire is being ordered and we will be praying that they can get a measurement on the collateral vessels pressure, the veins going directly from her heart to her pulmonary artery.  Then hopefull we will be moving forward with surgery dates!

Thank you for your prayers.  No one knows for sure what this episode was and is hoping it was an anomaly.  I am concerned that she rides on adrenaline.  She is such a sweetheart regularly, but she does have her normal kid moments.  But in new circumstances she is charming and sharing and kind 24/7 and I hope that it wasn't that she was finally comfortable with us for her little body to relax and then her heart struggled.  Who knows?  She is doing great now, her oxygen levels are normal for her and she is playing with her brothers not slumped over the couch or limp in my arms so I am thrilled.

A Little Bit Sassy!

80% of the Time or More

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday Emery had a scary morning and we went to our clinic for an EKG but by the time we got there she felt better, also she actually enjoys going to the doctor for the most part so  she was excited to go.  Long story short, Seattle Children's is pretty concerned so we need to fly down tomorrow morning for some testing and are not sure how long we will be down there.

I am not sure whether to hope that she has another scary episode so they can monitor it and know what is going on or pray that it never happens again.  Anyways, as always we really appreciate all the prayers that have helped preserve Emery's heart and keep her healthy and ask for you to keep her in your thoughts and prayers this weekend and that the doctors will be able to find what is going wrong.

Thank you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Emery and I just finished making dinner together, for some reason she has WAY cuter aprons than I do:)  We had chili and cornbread and watched Beauty and the Beast together, and we got to sing along with all the songs, oddly I know every word and she tries valiantly.  It is amazing what a little quiet girl time can do.  I think we are really moving forward in our attachment and maybe, just maybe, she is starting to accept me as something more than a changing caregiver, at least that is what I am hoping.

It is funny that she doesn't have a problem with hugs or kisses or tickling or whatever, but snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, no.  Sitting on a lap for a while, nada. Prolonged physical contact, nope. So when we watched tv together I gave her a choice of having my arm around her or holding my hand or no movie.  We held hands.  It was precious to me.

Hopefully we will be hearing about her surgery schedule in the next couple of weeks, we so appreciate all the prayers that have upheld her health.  She passed her dentist appointment with flying colors.  She liked it so much that the tooth doctor is now included in her evening prayers.

Seasons in life are so interesting.  I am really loving the season of spending time with my kiddos and watching them grow.  Watching a five year old learn and explore her new world is pretty amazing.  I am very, very blessed and grateful for the moments.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Not an Orphan

For an update, everything is going well.    Emery is doing well and learning English more and more.  She loves schooling and taking a break from extra things is making a big difference.  We aren't really seeing any issues relating to adoption, just normal five year old girl seeing where limits is really fun to have her in our family.

This week a couple of times Emery has shut down because she didn't get her way.  It is a lot better than it used to be, but typically she shuts down if she gets told no or doesn't get her way.  She has come a really long way and doing so much better with this.  This week it happened again and I was surprised since it had been a while.  She pulls herself out of it quickly and is back to being a happy girl.  But this week I was thinking, 'you are not an orphan' and then I thought, do I treat God this way.  If I don't need Him for something or get a no for an answer do I ever retreat or shut down or try to do it all on my own when having help would make it better.  Do I act like an orphan when I am a child of God?  Do I act like I don't belong or like I am being punished simply when the answer isn't exactly what I want, even when God has a better idea of what I need for the long term goal of me being a great person?  It really hit I living like a child who is adored and watched over and taken care of, or do I live like an orphan?

I would hope that I am living like a child of God, not an orphan.  And I should try to make sure that I am always living like I know what that privilege is and that I am not ever an orphan, but am always a cherished daughter of God.

Not an Orphan!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good Times

Mud Fight at the Beach
It is so interesting the way that there are seasons in our lives.  The past couple weeks we have really treated our family more like the birth of a child then bringing an active five year old home, and what a difference that has made.   When we have a baby, I become a hermit.  I take 4-6 weeks off.  I stay home; we spend a lot of family time and I don't really do much other than focus on the new baby and the children who need a bit of extra attention since there is a new addition.  We have been doing that a little bit more, actually I don't know that the kids have noticed a difference, since it isn't like we haven't been spending a lot of time together since we returned home.  I just cut myself a break.  And it has felt great.  Emery's attachment has become a bit better, we are still taking baby steps.  She is still such a sweet darling daughter, so very smart, so fun to listen to singing all day, so adventurous,  and so concerned for her special meimei and jiejie who are still at the orphanage but being adopted.  She is so very, very concerned for them to be in families.  Her English is moving ahead in leaps and bounds.

I have been reflecting over this year, it has sped by so fast for us, when some parts of the adoption seemed to take so long.  I have drawn near to God, and He has drawn near to me.  It has been a gift to me.  It has been humbling. It has been teaching.  It has been rewarding.  I am so very convinced that prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have, even if the answer is no, or not now.  I believe that prayer has the power to change hearts, whether others or our own.  I am so grateful for prayer in my life, never more so than this last year.  Emery has begun saying her prayers with our family, she calls prayers 'Fold your arms'.  But she adamantly wants to have a turn.  It is really sweet to hear her say Thank you for my family.  It is one of my biggest blessings.  I am grateful for my family.  They are so fantastic.  I love getting to spend time with them.  In a world of so much uncertainty and with so many problems in all areas of life, I am grateful to feel peace in my home and with the people I love.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I got lab results from Emery's blood work and our cardiologist update today!  All the bloodwork is looking great.  Emery even has antibodies so she doesn't have to start in on a full immunization schedule which is fantastic!  The vaccinations she had in China were effective and we don't have to go near needles for a while which is even better.  And no giardia, anemia, liver problems, or kidney problems.  Everything looks very great which is wonderful news.

Then we talked to our cardiologist, who I really, really like, and Emery's information was presented to a large group of cardiologists and surgeons this morning.  There are a couple of different surgery options and everyone agreed that she is an excellent candidate for heart surgery.  She is in a very stable condition with extremely minimal lung damage so there is no emergency at all.  He wants to have Stanford look at her file since they are the number one in the world for treating her heart specific heart condition and asked if that would be ok.  YES!  So we should know their input in one to two months and decide where we will have the surgery done if Stanford will agree to see her, and then see if our insurance will cover the procedure if it is not in Washington.  But he said we are looking at having a surgery date by December/January and surgery next spring sometime and that she is doing great and to let her just live her life and enjoy the holidays.

So that is our update, totally not what we were expecting when we adopted her, and still some pretty major surgery options that we will have to decide on, mostly whether or not to do one major surgery or to have a series of surgeries to fix component by component and there are pros and cons to both options. In the meantime, we went shooting again today, 4-wheeling, playing in a stream, getting totally muddy, out to a bonfire on the beach with friends last night and our families kids were involved in a major mud fight at the ocean edge and just becoming an Alaskan girl and loving being a part of a family where we all share the same last name and belong to each other.  Life is great right now, I am going to enjoy it since it will fly by too fast.

As a footnote, for those of you who are familiar with Dora the Explorer, yesterday Emery was trying to tell my youngest son 'No' and he wasn't really responding so she held out her hands and yelled 'Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping!''.  I couldn't stop laughing.  She was using English, I guess:)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Faith is Like a Little Seed

One of the songs that my kids sing says 'Faith is like a little seed, if planted it will grow'.  I think this is so very apparent when you get down the road and look back and instead of this small seed you have something strong and precious and meaningful.  Even though my life doesn't always reflect my faith in the way I would like, I get busy and sometimes my days seem like a string of appointments and chauffeuring children to activities, and cooking and cleaning and just the everyday things that can make up our lives and none of them are major or super impactful on the world, I can see the way that my faith colors my life.  It was a little seed that I planted when I was very young and now it is a rock that I am built upon.  It is a source of comfort, a well of strength I can draw from.  I am interested in what this new season of life will/may bring.  I had cut back on most activities for myself before we adopted Emery, but I am going to be cutting back more and keeping her home more until her health is taken care of. I have been able to be more involved in the community and have so loved it but now I get to take a step back or maybe to the side or in a different direction and refocus on solidifying my family and I am really excited about it.

What a gift to be able to focus my energy on strengthening our family bonds and solidifying us as a unit.  Societies and communities are only as strong as the families that make them up and I am thrilled to be able to really focus my time solely on my family for a while.  I had a thought the other night, that the world is kind of like a huge storm right now and I need to strengthen my family against any storms that might come at us. We live a pretty peaceful life.  We are very blessed in our daily lives, but I know on many fronts there is potential to do better and to be stronger and I am really glad that this adoption gives me the added incentive to focus on things that I haven't since my boys were younger since we have kind of moved on.  We don't focus on the extreme basics of what our beliefs are, but with Emery we have to since it is completely foreign to her.  We haven't done as many crafts or basic little songs or games since my older three were much younger, and now we do again and surprisingly they are all enjoying it.  While there is always a focus on our family and I love my family, in the past years as our kids have gotten a little bit older, we are more and more busy and have more and more distraction that gets more of our focus and even though everyone is still involved in activities of their own my refocus is a really great thing.  Learning the basics of what I have faith in has been fun for the older boys, I am loving hearing about their own faith.

I remember seeing a lesson when I was younger, there was a jar and a pile of rocks and a cup of sand.  The teacher poured the sand into the jar then tried to fit the rocks in, they wouldn't fit.  Then she put the rocks in first and allowed the sand to fill up the space around them and everything fit.  I am getting the rocks of the most important things on my schedule and then letting whatever else can fit make it, or be left out for this season and at least I will be assure that I have the important things taken care of.

On the medical front, we spent a nice long day on Thursday going back and forth to the hospital and clinic for a pediatrician check up, blood work, and more blood work.  By the end Emery, who is a total trooper, was pretty much done.  And I realized that spending five or six hours dealing with medical issues that I thought would be 45 minutes can really impact a schedule:) I have been assured by the cardiologist's nurse that I will hear a surgery plan tomorrow afternoon.  I am hoping that will be the case.  Emery is doing really well, we just keep taking two steps forward and one step back with the attachment and bonding and adjustment process which is great since we are definitely moving forward!

We went shooting as a family yesterday and Emery loved it!  Too bad she isn't old enough for a bb gun of her own, that is usually an 8 year old thing around here, but she has three older brothers and a dad who can share.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  I know God lives.  I know He loves us.  I know He hears our prayers, every single one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Month Ago Today

We got home from China one month ago today.  It has been a really great month.  In so many ways things have gone better than I could have hoped for.  Emery is a gem.  She is sweet and smart and her English is improving by leaps and bounds every day at this point.  She is learning to read in English, can write her name and has learned that not everyone is a girl:)  She is learning that she doesn't have to shut down if she gets told no or something is taken away from her and that she doesn't have to cry in her bed at night.  She is learning how to ask if she is hungry instead of either eating snacks from her bag or waiting for a meal.  She has learned that the dog is not a monster and very firmly tells our dog to 'Sit down.  Sit down.  Good girl.'   Our lab  weighs probably three times as much as Emery and will, in fact, sit down at Emery's feet.  She has also learned not to hit the dog or poke her but to be nice to the only animal she has ever been in close contact with.

Emery has learned that she doesn't have to be on her best behavior to get us to like her, nor does she has to be in competition with anyone else because baba and mama spend time with all of their kids and don't favor one above the other.

She has learned that when her clothes are dirty, and it is ok if that happens, we will wash them(not by hand) but in the machine and she can wear different ones.  She has learned that it is ok to have her own toys and some she does not have to share and there are some toys that her brothers don't have to share with her.

I have learned that there is much more courage in facing a new life when you don't have a choice than in bringing an unknown child into a very happy life.  I have learned that God doesn't only answer the prayers that are spoken but also the prayers in your heart that you didn't even realize were prayers until they were answered.  I have learned that it is a blessing to be able to cry and grieve and feel and be able to identify and articulate your emotions.  I have learned that when God blesses you with peace you can rest on that peace.  I have learned( or relearned) that being home with my family is one of the best gifts ever and that time together doing nothing special is just as important as the time spent on special planned things.  I have learned that the time I have spent with my sons has given us great relationships and allowed me to know them in so many ways and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to spend my time with them.

It has been a great month, in some ways it seems like we just got home and in others it seems like Emery has been with us forever.  She is such a part of our family and fits in so easily.

We are going to be keeping her home for the next month and then reevaluate where we are attachment wise.  She has been exposed to a lot of female caregivers in her lifetime and while she wants and thinks she knows what a mama is I don't know that you can really understand family by a worded expression or a dream of a different life especially at barely 5 years old so since she is so very willing to go to any of my friends or other women for food, love, to sit on their laps, hold their hands, blow kisses, say I love you, etc.  and not necessarily to me( though at home is great with all of those things) we are going to keep her home, plus keep her out of germ's way as well.  I am hoping that will help to give us a better attachment foundation and know we have only been together for a small percentage of her life and that attachment is a process not necessarily a destination.

I am grateful for the blessing of my life.  I have had a good life so far.  It hasn't been perfect, it hasn't all been happy or pain free.  But it has all made me who I am and I have enjoyed the journey and am happy to still be on the path.  What a great joy life is and what a blessing to go through it with people that you love and to know that I am never alone. 

Today at church my eldest son got up and spoke briefly and as he ended he said "I hope that any of you who are adopting will be able to have your adoptions be as successful as mine."  I guess that sums it up as well as I could.  It has turned out remarkable well and I really feel that God has put our family together.  We have felt strongly about each of our children before they were even born. And it is the same with Emery.  We felt so strongly about her and I too hope that anyone adopting can have as much success as us.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


So far we have no update, which I am choosing to look at as a good thing.  When I called the hospital yesterday they said that they would leave a message with the cardiologist and were unsure whether Emery had been presented for surgery conference last Monday or would be this Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend but not to worry I would be called.  And that is my update.  I am thinking that it is great that she is doing so well that they are not scheduling an emergency surgery and that we can have time together as a family. 

It was FANTASTIC  to start school today.  It felt like heaven on earth to me to be gathered with my kids and their books around the table.  I really can't say how great it felt to not be stressing about anything or checking on paperwork whereabouts or anything like that.   It is so peaceful on this side, even with medical things up in the air.  I think that maybe the adoption prepares you to know that you have to trust in the Lord about your child because above and beyond they are His and He will take care of them. 

I put Emery down for her nap today and then there was a knock on the door.  Flowers from a wonderful adoptive mom who is my friend through this adoption.  With Jeremiah 29:11-13 on the card.  What a gift and a reminder.  Thank you.  I can't wait for it to be your turn!

Emery's English is getting better by the day.  She has unfortunately learned the word 'NO' and uses it indiscriminately.  Do you want to wear this?  No.  Do you want breakfast?  No.  She shakes her head and sometimes says No thank you, but then once you ask again will usually say yes.  It is pretty funny.  She also started her reading program today so we will see how that goes.  We can only do parts of it since somethings just don't translate into English well at this point and some pronunciations are going to be a little bit interesting, but she really liked getting to learn some new sounds and work on writing her name in English.  It is really fun to have two kindergarteners since the older boys pretty much form their own group.

Life is really great right now, and I am loving this lull in the activity.  Emery is not well attached to us at all and it will be a long journey I think.    She is super easy going and loves to be involved in things and will happily adapt to any activity or new person. She enjoys us.  She likes us.  She trusts us. But that applies to pretty much everyone she meets as well which while that might seem like a great thing on some levels, on others is potentially problematic as she grows since she needs those attachments to help her have healthy relationships throughout the rest of her life.  So we are back to trying to really keep her at home.  And the fall rainy season is upon us which helps that cause out. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  We really appreciate and are in awe of the many people who continue to pray for Emery's heart.  She is a really sweet, intelligent, funny, loving little girl who is so much fun to be around.  Her oxygen was lower when we went to Seattle and she is getting a bit stuffy nosed, we all do around the change of the seasons here.  But we are praying for her to stay healthy.  She  still wants to laugh long and hard and enjoy her life even if she has to take a few deep breaths afterward to pay for the moment of joy.  I guess that is a lesson for me.  Live your life and enjoy the beautiful moments even if you have to breathe hard afterwords, how can you enjoy the great if you don't know the opposite.  Living in southeast Alaska we have rain more than 2/3 of the year.  And when their is a sunny day, the whole town enjoys it.  The beaches are packed, the trails crowded and parks full because you don't know when the next beautiful day will come and you don't want to waste it. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I was talking with a friend this week and she shared with me the verse from Psalms that she is focusing on for this part of her adoption.  Psalms was where I spent a lot of my scripture study time during the adoption.  It has always been one of my very favorite books of scripture.

A verse that I held on to was, to paraphrase, "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."   Partly for me, and partly for Emery.  And it is something that I still hold on to.  I do strongly believe that God has a plan for us.  Not that He keeps all bad things from our path, but that He knows the end result of where He wants us to be and who He wants us to be when we get there and that He does and will turn all things to our good, even the bad or uncomfortable.  I have seen it happen in my life and others, and while there are still a few things that have happened in my life that I don't know that they have truly been turned to the good category, I know that at some point they will be.

So as we head into this new phase of our family it is comforting to be able to lean on the Lord and truly I feel as though my burdens are carried by Him.  I am not concerned about Emery's health future.  I really am not.  I was blessed with a gift of peace and trust when we decided to go forward with her adoption and I still have it.  We will continue to look forward knowing that God's plans are not always our plans and that they are always better.

Emery is doing really, really well.  She is learning words in phrases which is hilarious.  She told me the other day out of the blue, "you're a funny girl."  Haha, she must hear that a bit:)  She is loving life.  We got to watch a Coast Guard rescue demonstration out of a helicopter yesterday and after she realized that, no she didn't get to ride on it, she was fascinated by the water coming off the ocean spraying us and the whole rescue.  We toured a boat which she loved exploring.  We have been to two lakes this week, when it is remotely sunny here you have to seize the opportunity to be outside, and she has gotten muddy and splashed in the water and looked at waterfalls and had so much fun.  She is doing really well with her brothers and even tolerates, ie ignores, the dog who is still so curious about this little girl.

Thank you again for your prayers, I know they are heard and answered.   I have always believed in the power of prayer, and that is continually reinforced by the way I see the answers to those prayers.

What a difference love makes!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catch up

We just got back last night from Seattle.  It went really well.  We stayed overnight in the hospital to get Emery's oxygen levels back up.  The surgeons meet on Monday and should be able to give us a plan by Wednesday so that will be great.  Emery did really well and was very patient while we waited in the hospital all day due to backed up prior procedures.  She came out of anesthesia well, except for when she had her first popsicle and it broke at the end and mom couldn't put it back together.  That was very sad, but Tangled to the rescue and all was right with the world.  They found what they needed to know in the cath so that is good.  There are essentially five vessels getting semi oxygenated blood out of her heart.  So the surgeons will decide whether those can be used or whether there will be a shunt or how they will proceed.  The surgeon said that we could opt to do nothing and since she was doing so well she could live to 20.  Nope, I said that wasn't going to be enough for us:)  The nice thing is they go over all options and risks and pros and cons to determine the best ways to deal with things and I appreciate that.  We have nothing but great things to say about Seattle Children's.

We had an interpreter meet us to go over things with Emery, the upside was that she was not scared to go in to the surgery room, she knew that she would just have a sleep and then wake up and stay still.  The down side was that for attachment, an interpreter was not so great, so we won't be doing that again.  I was so grateful though that she was not scared.  We had fantastic nurses and the anesthesiologist was seriously the very best.  Emery was in very good hands.  Thank you for your prayers, the trip went very smoothly, even the hiccups were taken care of by very nice people(there was a booking error with our plane tickets and they were reversed, departing from Seattle instead of going to Seattle)  It is wonderful to be back home and sleep in our own beds.  It is fabulous to be with family.

Thank you for caring for us.  I am grateful for the family I was born into and the friends that have become family.  I am so very, very blessed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First Day at Church

It was so nice to go to church this week.  It has been a while and it was nice to be with our family together.  Emery did really well.  She loved the organ and singing.  She really likes music and sings all the time.  We love listening to her songs during the day.

So there was a talk today in church that was really meaningful to me.  I haven't been to worried about Emery's heart too much.  I know what the options are.  I know what we are hoping for.  I know the best and worst case scenarios.  I know the likely plan of treatments.  We did all of the research and education we could so we are not going into her medical needs blind.  But I don't really try to dwell or think about it much.  For one thing, Emery is doing phenomenally well.  I have to remind myself that she has not been a part of our family forever.  She fits in so well and has transitioned so easily that I am in awe of the way this adoption has worked out.  I know that it is still in the early, possibly honeymoon, phase, but she is truly a sweetheart.  Every now and then, especially when scheduling doctors appointments and flights, I think about the seriousness of her heart condition and the possibility that we won't have her with us for long, but I don't go down that road of thought often.

The speaker talked about the fact that we shouldn't ask God how long a certain trial will last, or to get us through it quickly or ask why us.  But instead, ask what we are supposed to learn from it and how it can make us better.  I found it really comforting.  The idea that it is ok for me not to worry about Emery's heart.  I don't need to be concerned with any of that, but to treasure each day and be glad for the journey.  Also in the talk was that no one dies early except those who are unprepared to meet God.

I don't mean to be morbid.  Emery is doing really well in every way.  And I am grateful that she is.  We are looking forward to all of the great things our family is going to get to do together.  And I am grateful for the days that we are given and the people we are able to spend those days with.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This morning we had a delicious breakfast.  The hotel buffet is extensive.  We tried to get on the internet to blog but can't even get into email so we'll try again later.  We are doing some laundry and waiting for 1:40pm.  That's when we meet our guide in the lobby and go to meet Min!  The gifts for the orphangae director and caregivers are in red bags.  Min's backpack is filled with treats, books, coloring books, crayons and a mini magnadoodle and her doll is all ready.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.  Min is leaving her orphanage this morning, riving for hours and being given to strangers who loo, talk, and act different than anyone she knows.  I don't know if she has been prepared for this adoption.  It could be truly terrifying.  We love her but she is about to go through trauma and I hurt for her.  I am praying for her heart in all ways.  I hope that God will comfort her and help her to trust us.  I am praying for God to walk with us all today.

Fast Forward....WOW!!!!!

So we were anxiously waiting in the lobby, got into the van and drove to an older looking building, climbed to the third floor and were directed to a glass walled room  in an office that was slightly similar to a DMV.  We walked into the glass room and there were three adults sitting on a couch...and our little girl looked at us with a bright smile and said "Ni Hao Mama!"  "Ni Hao, Baba!"  She smiled excitedly from the couch and there was a lot of Chinese spoken back and forth.  Let me just say that our entire time in Chengdu, very little was actually ever translated back to us so we tried to piece things together as best as we could.  So,  Min beamed at us and I walked over to the short table in front of the couch they were on and held out the doll.  She loved it and said Shi shi.  She smiled and showed it to her caregivers who really liked it, apparently it is hard to find Asian looking baby dolls in China.  Min kept looking to us and smiling constantly.  I sat down on the floor and showed her her bag full of things.  She gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek then gave DH a hug and kiss.  I truly think he was in a little bit of shock for a while. We had been gearing up for screaming and crying and sadness and here was this happy little girl who was THRILLED to meet us.  She had her photo book that we sent her in June and was very familiar with it.  One of our sons is in the background of the picture of me, like his shirt is visible walking out of the shot, she says Gege and points to his sleeve even in the picture.  She was obviously prepared and looking forward to meeting us.  In my wildest dreams our first meeting could not have been that amazing.  Min has the cutest smile with two little dimples high up on her cheeks under her eyes and she was positively beaming. 

Her caregivers were very kind and obviously cared for Min.  We asked/ tried to talk about the two other girls that Min has been raised with who are being adopted this year.  They knew about one and smiled when we told them her mom loves her very much.  The other they did not know about and they clapped, it took a bit to figure out who we were talking about, our pronunciation of names was not correct:)  There are not a lot of children who have been adopted from this orphanage and they were thrilled that they were getting families.

For  thirty or so minutes we showed Min what we brought for her, she shared a cracker with everyone in the room before she would eat one herself:)  Our guide payed the donation that we had wired prior to the trip.  There was a lot of talking going on, I wish I knew what was being said, but it was so nice to just be with Min and have her near and interested in us and what we brought and check with us to see if things were OK.  With each new item she smiled bigger and bigger.  Then we left and she held my hand and walked out the door with a smile on her face.

Our guide told Min that we would take her to McDonald's before she left us all off at the hotel after filling out some adoption paperwork, so much to my dismay(something just felt so very wrong about that being her first meal with us, especially when I don't like it in the US:)) we got her a happy meal.  She was very happy.  We went back to the hotel, she loved the huge panda in the water fountain wall at the entrance of the hotel.  We took her to buy some shoes which she loved.  We got two pairs for about $13 USD!  She let me hold her and kept patting my nose.  It is much bigger than hers:)She colored at the desk in the hotel room for a while, she is very good at coloring and very meticulous about having things just so.  We showed her the bag of hair bows I brought for her, she wanted every single one in her hair, the we painted our toenails, DH opted out of that one, and her fingernails. Then we gave her her new pink pajamas and she laid down after tucking her doll in next to her and went to sleep.  Not a frown, not a sigh, nothing but smiles and happiness the whole day.  While we know, and are praying for her to be able to grieve with us, today was a huge gift.  It was like a Disney movie and could not have gone better with a song and dance number(and I have a weakness for those!)  It was a huge blessing and Eric and I are in awe of this sweet little girl who tomorrow will  legally be our daughter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We left the hotel  at 4:30 am and the hotel had a taxi ready for us.  We loved this hotel.  They didn't speak fantastic English and we don't speak fantastic( or even passable) Mandarin so it worked out great.  We loved it.  We got to the airport nice and early for our flight,beat rush hour traffic and went through security.  DH got wanded, they are extremely efficient in China with their airport security.  We flew Hainan Air, small legroom, great flight, congee not so bad:)  We were truly spoiled in Beijing, everyone was kind and welcoming and it was a wonderful start to our trip.  When we landed in Chengdu, we searched for our guide and after a few minutes found her and were taken to our hotel.  We waited for our room to be ready for a while and then were shown to our room...2 twin beds almost wall to wall on a smoking no.  I went back to the front desk and after calls to our guide and the travel agency were assigned a room with one king sized bed on a nonsmoking floor.  We are HOPING to be able to fit a crib in the room for Min.  The hotel did not know there would be anyone but my DH and I in the room and it was difficult to explain that our 5 year old daughter probably wouldn't want to sleep in a twin sized bed with me.  There was not room in our room for a rollaway bed which our guide also explained to us would cost extra by the day.  I am not sure how 3 people could fit at all in the first room so hopefully it will all work out.  When I asked if we could upgrade or what our options were, apparently there weren't any.  So we walked up to our 2nd room, opened the door and it was trashed.  Not a little bit messy or rumpled, TRASHED.  We went back to the lobby, they said they would send someone right away to clean it, we left our luggage and went for a walk.  To say we were frustrated would be a major understatement, after coming from Beijing where we had flown by the seat of our pants and done all the arrangements for ourselves, and everything had gone smoothly except for the initial taxi switcheroo this unpleasant start to the 'official' part of our trip was extremely disappointing, but ultimately we are here for Min. Point blank, we want this to be OK for her.  Walking around the hotel was great.  There are little shops all around and restaurants everywhere and a nice, busy pedestrian area all around the hotel.  We went back to the hotel after walking for an hour and a half, they still hadn't started cleaning our room.  It took over four hours from when we checked in to getting into the room.  The staff was nice to deal with and the room is fine.  A bit mildew smelling, but nothing a little Lysol spray can't cover:)

We went to a grocery store to get water and had dinner at a great little restaurant where they cook the meal in small clay pots that are placed in giant clay jars.  It was so good and we had four people trying to help us, not understand our order, we are getting pretty good at pointing at pictures on menus, but to make sure that we got something to eat that we would like.  It was so nice and an answer to prayers for me to be able to center and focus.  It is really hard to keep your expectations low, and then to have those low expectations not met.  That has been what today has been for us.  From pick up at the airport through out the day, it has not been a welcoming or great day, I am so glad I am here with DH and not on my own.  Chengdu though is beautiful.  The people are lovely and kind.  We always feel safe and it is so fun to be in a different country.  Once the 12 hours of traveling and WAITING from one hotel room to the next had been taken care of and we figured out a place for Min to sleep I felt so much better.

I think it was a good day to have, ultimately, and I am glad to get it out of the way before we meet Min.  I want for her to be able to come to a calm, welcoming place.  I want her to know that we have planned for her, have room for her, will be taking care of her and providing for her.  I don't want her to feel at all like we are just wedging her in to our lives or that somehow she is not going to have her needs met.  I don't know what expectations she will have of us.  I don't know how she will react tomorrow.  I don't know if she will be scared, or nervous, or excited, or apprehensive.  I don't know what she will think of any living conditions she is presented with, and want it to go smoothly for her since she will be in transition for the next two weeks before we can go home.  I just want for her to at least not have to worry about where she will sleep with everything else she is going to be dealing with.

And of course I have 'we are almost there' jitters.  I am so excited that we are at this point.  I am a little bit in shock that we are so close.  I am likening this day to labor pains, they aren't fun and I don't enjoy them at all, but it gets you there.  So tomorrow is supposed to be the day, and I am so very, very thrilled and praying hard for the heart of this precious little girl who is about to officially become ours.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beijing Day 2

3:30am...I slept for 8 hours!!!

We met our guide in the lobby at 7.  We booked a tour through the hotel front desk, we planned the Beijing part of the trip on our own and then go with the travel plans through our agency once we get to Chengdu.  Sherry, our guide, was full of info.  We were together with a French couple, an Australian couple, and a man from Northern Ireland.  We went to the Ming Tomb first, there were a lot of similarities to Egyptian history.  A lot of the artifacts had been destroyed during the cultural revolution, so they are actually replicas.  The tomb itself is several stories underground and made completely out of jade.  It was extensive and amazing to see the amount of preparation for essentially 1 man's burial. 
Then we went to the Jade factory, got sales pitched, left, drove to the Great Wall.  We went to the Mutianyu section.  We lunch with our group and it was delicious...I would have loved to have eaten there again:)  Then we took the cable car up to the wall, the steps are not part of the wall just to access them so we wanted more time on the actual Wall, plus it was in the 90's.  When I say cable car, think old ski lift(no seat belts, no enclosure)  which went up quite a ways to the Great Wall.  Our guide showed us the hard side and the easy side and recommended the easier side.  It was over 90 degrees, extremely humid and DH and I were sweating, so of course we picked the hard side because it was up further and looked cooler!  It was steep and we went through several guard towers to get to the top one.  How many times are we going to walk on the Great Wall of china?  Exactly!  We were drenched, and everyone else was sweating, including the Chinese visitors.  The only ones who acted like it was easy were the children who scampered around like little mountain goats.  It was awesome and breathtaking.  Wow!  The boys would have loved cooler weather.

We drove back, visited the silk factory, escaped the sales girls who kept telling DH he would be the king of our home if he bought a dragon silk comforter! 
We ate a quick dinner at a local restaurant with a picture menu and went back to the hotel.  They set off a light and fountain show at the park across the street, which we can watch from our 25th floor room.

Tomorrow we are flying to Chengdu and are scheduled to meet Min on Monday.  I am excited and concerned for her.  It is going to be such a big change for her and I am praying for her comfort.  I have felt your prayers and am so grateful for them.  So far we have been safe and healthy and blessed with peace to be able to enjoy our time in Beijing and our children at home are safe.  Thank you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Travel to Beijing

After over 24 hours of traveling, and one extremely long 12 hour flight which wasn't that bad, just long, we arrived in Beijing.  The airport was fantastic.  It was clean, efficient and quiet until you got outside, it was also 10:20pm:)  We got scammed by a 'taxi' in the taxi lane.  If they don't have meters, they ARE NOT a taxi, even if the have the taxi sign on top of their car.  We got safely to our hotel.  We love the hotel, it is right across from a gorgeous park, Longdan Park.  By street I mean 6+ lane road/highway.  There is a walking bridge over it.  After sleeping on an extremely comfortable western style bed for 4 hours I waited for DH to wake up at 6am.  We went to see about going to the Great Wall and booked a tour for Saturday, got a walking map and decided to walk to the sites.  We walked around the beautiful park first.  It cost 2RMB to enter, about 35cents.  There were groups of people doing tai chi and playing hacky sack. The park encircles a lake and there are rock gardens, recreated temples, and beautiful pathways.  We exited the park, walked the wrong direction for a couple/few miles, then asked some guards where we were, back tracked and went the right way to the Temple of heaven.  The architecture was cool.  It felt so very sad to me to see a place that was once an epicenter of worship allow peddlers(DH is a softy!) and noisy tourists. Even though it is not my religion I felt a sense of disappointment for the loss of belief or sacredness,  it is hard to describe, but like a historical site has been downgraded to a photo op for foreigners, although most of the visitors were Chinese.  I guess a loss of history.

Then we walked a ways to Tiananmen Square.  It is very large.  Then we came to the Forbidden City which is the Palace Museum.  We rode the shuttle to the exit accidentally and had to take another one back to the entrance since there is now only one way in and one way out to control traffic flow.  It was amazing.  The Forbidden City was so extensive and historic.  There is a beautiful Imperial garden in the center.  It was amazing even in the heat and humidity.  It was truly fantastic.  I could have spent an entire day there in 30 degree cooler weather!  Then we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel.  It was a 'no go'.  We could not get a taxi at all.  We walked back around the outside wall of the forbidden city(which is 178 acres big) to get back to the front, found a 'taxi' that had no meter and offered to drive us back to the hotel for way too much money so we walked to the subway.  For 2RMB(35cents) you can ride anywhere in Beijing, including connections.  We rode a packed rush hour subway back to our hotel vicinity and got back.  We walked for well over 10 hours straight, had a quick dinner and crashed.  Beijing is totally laid out for pedestrians.  It is extremely safe.  I really enjoyed our first day here in China...and my feet are killing me!!!!!!:)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Post

I am hoping to catch up on our trip this week, but for now a little recap of the journey, since jet lag is hanging on and I was up with a wide awake little girl until 3am and then once an hour:)

It was amazing to take a trip with my DH  we don't get away from our children very often and it was really nice to spend time together.  I was amazed by the trip.  We were healthy the whole time, which was a major prayer of mine.  We didn't really have much jet lag on the way over.  The weather was hot, but wasn't overwhelming and I didn't get heat stroke which I am prone to, so that was another answered prayer.

Then there was all of the adoption stuff.  All of our paperwork was correct.  All of the adoption process went smoothly, other answered prayers.  We were able to complete each needed adoption step on time and none of our travel was delayed at all, more answered prayers.  I am grateful that with our agency, I was really confident that our paperwork would be correct and was grateful that we weren't one of the families with surprise fees or paperwork snags(not our agency).

Then there was meeting our daughter.  It could not have gone better.  We had prayed that she would be comforted and not scared of us.  She has come to us with an open and willing heart and except for testing moments(which I am not complaining about, I am thrilled that she is able to go through that part of development:)) she is a happy girl smiling through the day.  She is brave and embracing of new things.  She has been happy to have a family.  She has loved airplanes, especially the turbulence.  She was healthy through the entire trip, another huge blessing.  We were worried about plane rides and the heat and over exertion, and while she can't be tickled much or joked with a ton, because she laughs so hard she turns purple and then asks 'Again?' she is active and healthy.  Her heart is quite something.  Her echo confirmed that her need is very, very serious.  but her oxygen levels are good and we get to be home for rest, go back for a cardiac catheterization in a few weeks and go from there with knowing if and what kinds of surgeries will be available.  Another prayer of mine was that we wouldn't have to do emergency surgery upon arrival in the US and she could get to know her brothers a bit and her home before having to go through that.

This adoption has been an amazing walk of faith for me.  I was talking with some other adoptive moms in Guangzhou about how God completely directed and blessed our adoptions.  I don't truly know how things will work out.  I don't know God's plan for our family.  I don't know His plan for EmeryMin.  I do know that He cares for the orphans.  I know that He is a God of the downtrodden and those in need and when our family stepped out in the tiniest way, all of the doors were opened wide to bring Min home and I have been blessed to be a part of this journey.