Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beauty From Ashes

It's been almost 3 weeks since little Ru went to be with Jesus. This road has been a bit bumpy but we consider it a privilege to have been chosen for this journey. The Lord has already shown great things through His calling for us to be Ru's parents from afar. She will always hold a special place in our hearts. I expect the sad moments will continue to arise when we hear a certain song, land on that dreaded date each year, hear about babies who share her story. We wouldn't trade one minute. God's plan for us is perfect and we are beyond grateful to be right where we are, amidst His amazing story of grace.

God is faithful in His plan. He provides a continuous occurrence of miracles in our lives. We don't stop here, in the midst of grieving a loss. We don't quit because things got hard. We don't close the book on caring for orphans, or ignore the next chapter. No, we press on in the fight to spread His gospel and love the least of these as He commands. He's no less faithful today than He was yesterday. He continues to provide and we will walk wherever He leads us. As we turn the page, while never forgetting Ru, we look forward to what God has prepared next. He is already revealing the next chapter in our story and we foresee beauty coming from ashes.

We can not imagine a more beautiful way to honor Ru's life than to fight for another precious child who has been left to fend for himself. We are thankful God calls us to love these vulnerable children. We have a home and plenty of love to share. There is a need and we are available. Furthermore, our deepest desire is for our life story to tell God's story of redemptive love. Jesus willingly sacrificed everything so that we, as orphans, could be eternally united with our adoptive Father in heaven. We pray that our story of earthly adoption would always point to the gospel, God's story of eternal, heavenly adoption.

We are excited to introduce the newest addition to our family... Samuel Martin Loman!


Samuel means "God has heard" (yes, He has). And Martin is Seamus' middle name. Chosen for his father's namesake, he will know he is loved. :) We submitted a letter of intent to adopt this little sweetie and China has granted us pre-approval. He is almost a year old and lives at an orphanage in Lianyungang City which is on the east coast of China, just north of Shanghai. He has a congenital deformity of the left arm. We believe he is otherwise healthy but thorough medical information is limited until he comes home.

Because we had the first half of our adoption expedited (for Ru), we are that far along for Samuel. Our home study is complete and we have immigration approval. This progress absolutely carries over for any child we choose to pursue. Because of this scenario, Samuel won't have to wait an entire year for us to get to him! We are hoping to scoop him up within 4-6 months from now. Also, the money we've invested in Ru's adoption can carry over for this adoption. Phew!

Needless to say, we are thrilled to be adding a son to our family. You can imagine how excited our kids are, especially the boys. That's a lot of stinky socks, y'all! We will continue to keep you updated. Your prayers are no less coveted now than they were before. Here we go again...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Faithful. Still and Always.

We are humbled beyond words over the support and prayers, hugs and gifts that have been offered for us during this time of healing. That is truly what it has been. Healing. Little Ru went to be with Jesus only 4 days ago and in this short time God has continued to amaze us. We are feeling a great peace and although there are times of sadness, our hope abounds all the more.

There are important details that we need to work through as we move forward. One of the unavoidable matters is funding that has been donated to our cause of fighting for Ru. We'd like to make a few public comments and if you have further questions or a personal concern, please feel free to contact us directly.

Through our t-shirt fundraiser and other donations, we have raised about $5,000 for our adoption expenses. If you have contributed to our adoption expenses, we would be more than happy to return your donation. We don't want this to be uncomfortable for you and we are certainly understanding of the importance that your sacrifice goes to a worthy cause. That being said, if the funds go unclaimed, we commit to using them for a purpose that fulfills our mission to defend the fatherless. We will be praying through how best to use the funds but we are not in a hurry at this point. The money will sit in our savings account until we are ready to address that.

We aren't able to return shirts but we are hopeful that y'all will continue wearing these in Ru's honor. We still plan to wear ours on Easter Sunday as we forget the frock! We do have about 15 people who have paid for shirts for our second order. We'd like to go ahead and place that order now. If you'd like your money back instead, please message us. Again, this is no problem at all! If we don't hear from you, we'll assume you still want to order one and will let you know when your shirt arrives.

If you donated formula for Ru, I think you'll be excited to hear how God has worked through that. We have a new friend whose baby girl just came home from China weeks ago. She also has biliary atresia and is currently on the liver transplant wait list in Chicago. They happen to be in great need of Pregestimil at this time and it brings us much joy to be able to provide for them! This important formula costs about $40 per can and each can only lasts about 4 days. Ack! We have 16 cans that will be shipped to this precious baby girl tomorrow. Praise The Lord!

We haven't had the chance to respond to every text, email, FB message, comment, phone call, and delivery. Please know that not one of them have gone unnoticed. We feel so very lifted up and are grateful that God is providing the strength we need, through each of you. Our deepest desire is that this journey will continue to glorify Jesus. All praises go to Him alone, for He alone is the one who provided Ru with life and graciously provided this community for her. You have prayed, donated, cried, listened, sent, and prayed some more. For that, Ru is forever blessed. This is your journey as much as it is ours and I pray that you will stand with us in giving thanks and praise to God, who remains faithful. Still. Always.

Thank you for you understanding as we work through these details and many others that will face us over the days to come. We ask for your prayers that God will lead us clearly through our next season. We know the fight for orphans doesn't stop here. We just don't know where he'll lead us next. We are certainly excited to continue our healing process and watch how God uses this!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Song Ya Ru ~ 11/29/2014 - 3/28/2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015 is a day that is branded on my mind forever. I'll never forget what I saw on my phone only 2 nights ago. I saw the unread message in my inbox and I knew instantly. She sends me an email almost every day but this one was different. I fell to my knees before I even opened it completely. "I'm very sorry to tell you that she passed away last night. We didn't even have time to get her to the emergency room. It was very sudden. I don't know what else to say. I am so sorry." Ru was 1 day from turning 4 months old.

Searing loss. Immense pain. A hurt in my body and heart, much like the one I had when we lost our first biological baby in 2004. There are few words to describe the physical and emotional pain that comes with knowing your child has died. We only knew Ru for a couple months and never had the privilege of holding her but that doesn't diminish the truth that she was ours. She was a fighter. We had this in common. She was fighting for her life and so were we. She fought so very hard.

So much pain and effort could have been avoided had we never gotten involved. We knew how very sick she was. We knew her prognosis wasn't good. We knew what all the doctors said. We knew this would be the biggest risk we'd ever taken in our lives. We could have avoided all these tears. It would've been so easy to have simply prayed for that sweet little face we saw on FB that evening our lives were changed forever. All that being said, with the piercing pain still pressing on my heart, we wouldn't change a single minute of it. We give thanks for the privilege of being called to fight for this precious life. And we can't wait to meet her in heaven one day. We know that's where she is, completely healed, completely whole, worshipping the one true God who has always been faithful in her life. Our God is sovereign and holy beyond comprehension. His will is perfect. That doesn't change when our daughter is taken from this life. He is still faithful. Not once has He let us down. We witnessed miracles. You witnessed them with us. And the miracle continued when Ru comfortably and peacefully went to be with The Lord.

The past couple days have been pretty hard. But we cling to good news. We know where Ru is and we know that her life brought nothing but glory to Christ. That is our purpose in this life. To bring Him glory. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's all we want for our children. Ru's life was one that glorified Christ and we are so honored to have been a part of her life for a short time. If trial and tribulation bring glory to God, we pray for more.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2Cor.4:16-18)

Eternal glory. We really have a great peace today. It's because we are keenly aware of those two words. Eternal glory. For Ru. For us. For all who carry their cross in this life. Our lives are but a vapor. There's no time to do anything but thank God for His work on the cross. Are we sad? Yes. Is this life hard? Yes. Does the joy in knowing the truth of God's love outweigh all of this? YES!

I don't think it's an accident that we are in this at the start of an amazing week. This week marks the searing and painful loss that Christ suffered on our behalf. Friday will be a day to reflect on Christ's crucifixion. I'm sure we will ponder Ru's death as well. But Jesus doesn't stay in that grave! From death comes His miraculous resurrection. Ru has passed away from this life. But she is alive because Christ defeated death on that precious tree. The gospel tells us that He not only defeated death but through his resurrection secured eternal life for all who believe! I find great comfort in knowing that truth is for Ru. This truth, this hope, this good news... it's for Ru and for us. We choose to hang on to that and praise God for all He's done... on the cross, in His resurrection, in our lives, and in Ru's beautiful life as well. She is whole again, healed and fully resurrected!

We don't know where we go from here. We will be in constant prayer, seeking God's will for the next chapter in our lives. For now, we just give thanks through our grief. We have so much to think about but need a little time to heal first.

Rest my darling. He's got you now. Never again will you feel the pain of abandonment or sickness. You are an orphan no longer. You are an adopted, treasured child of the risen King and I am so happy that you now sit peacefully in His lap. Never forgotten. Forever loved.



Praise to the King of Kings, maker of the heavens. You are my everything and I will adore you. I will sing to my God, my King, Healer, Lover and Redeemer of souls!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow4OfW4DP9s



Friday, March 20, 2015

Green Poop and Other Fun Stuff

We continue to pray diligently for sweet Ru and we appreciate all of you who are doing the same. She is recovering well and is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Monday. We do have a bit of news that we believe is exciting. I am reluctant to share because this has been such a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I hate to say something is "good" news when it all falls apart the next day. At the same time, I know you are eager for any information, even if it's up one day and down the next. So here goes...

Her poop is green! Ha! What does that mean? In Dr. Cheng's words, it means the bile is beginning to drain as it should and the Kasai is working! We even received a picture of the wonderful outcome! ;) Remember, there was a very small chance it could work and we believe God is moving mountains once again! What this means for her longer term future, we know not. But right now, each day is a victory and we are considering today just that. Keep fighting Ru Ru! You are one strong little warrior!

We are pleased to have raised a total of $3,616 towards Ru's surgery. Although this doesn't come close to paying for the entire amount of approximately $50,000 (Ack!), it is much appreciated by China Little Flower, who provides many life-saving surgeries for orphaned children in China. Feel free to continue contributing to their cause. Without these donations, the surgeries are simply not possible. Thank you for your help, friends!

We placed our first order of t-shirts and they should be arriving next week. I'll let you know as soon as we have them. If you were included in this order, consider "forgetting the frock" this year at Easter (www.forgetthefrock.org). I'm hoping we aren't the only ones at our church who will be in t-shirts and jeans on Easter Sunday. (My grandmother will likely roll over in her grave. Ha!) Nothing I love more than a comfy t-shirt... and all for a good purpose! We WILL be placing another order if you haven't had a chance to order one yet. All the proceeds will go straight to our adoption expenses. You can find out more about how to order HERE. We will place this 2nd order in a week or two, depending on the response. If you haven't ordered a shirt yet, please do! Maybe stock up on early Christmas presents!

Switching gears here... There are now 4 babies at Little Flower who have biliary atresia. This is just heartbreaking. Little Flower has never had a BA baby in their care who lived to meet their forever family. We know Ru will set the precedent! ;) These sweet babies desperately need Pregestimil formula. We've had a few donors step forward to have some sent to Ru and we are so very grateful that she is finally getting what she needs. Each can costs about $40 and lasts about 4 days (for one child). Yes, that's a tremendous cost. 4 BA babies who need Pregestimil equals about $40 a day to feed them what they desperately need. Yikes! I have a sweet friend who has been raising money on her page in order to send these babies formula. She's doing a great job (has raised $380 so far... about 9 cans of formula) and I want to throw the need out here as well. If you are interested in giving specifically for the babies' Pregestimil, feel free to donate through our "donate" link on this page and put "formula" in the notes. If you do not specify (formula, surgery, t-shirts, adoption expenses), we assume you are contributing to our general adoption expenses. If you would like to donate Pregestimil specifically for Ru upon her return home, we would be grateful for this too. We'd like to have a stash waiting for her. In the event she doesn't come home, we commit to sending it to Little Flower for their ministry to BA babies.

Lastly, we are humbled and grateful for a kind friend who has offered to host a fundraiser for us. I can't give you details quite yet but be on the lookout soon for a fun way to help us out! Ladies, this one's for you (or men who want to do something very sweet for their ladies). Hint... Don't do anything with your nails until you hear more! ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Lift My Eyes From This Fragile Life

"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:31-32)

We finally have a generous amount of information following Ru's surgery. We'd love to share this with you now, as we know so many of you have been praying and waiting as patiently as we have. Ru's story is one that we are all a part of and we are eager to pass her news along to those of you who have been praying, giving, hoping, encouraging.

Ru survived the surgery. This is a victory we give thanks for. She survived, is now out of the ICU and recovering well in a ward room. She has a nanny with her and will likely be in the hospital for about a week before she returns to Little Flower.

The diagnostic portion of the surgery revealed important news. Previous ultrasound testing was deceiving. These tests gave Dr. Cheng hope that Ru's bile ducts were not completely obstructed and that there was a possibility of repair in this case. Upon entering with the scope, he learned that this wasn't the case at all. All of her bile ducts were fibrotic and completely blocked off. He confirmed that she has the most common form of biliary atresia, which is not what we hoped for. He did perform the Kasai procedure following the diagnosis but they are pretty sure that it was too late to help. Only time will tell for sure.

It's pretty clear to us that a liver transplant is still her only hope. We suspect she needs one very soon, as originally thought. We are grateful for the surgery she had and I believe all involved would do it again if given the foreknowledge. Because of the surgery, we have a definitive diagnosis and a clearer picture of her prognosis. There's also still a small chance that the Kasai could help extend her life.

The fore mentioned is reality. But there is an even greater reality than this, friends. God is limitless. His mercy will not end. His miracles are real. He has already blessed Ru's future, whatever that may be. He loves her infinitely more than we do. And all things are possible with God. We are resting in these truths, not the temporal facts of this world.

We are thankful for your support. We are thankful for Ru's life and the miracles we have already witnessed. We are even thankful for the affliction she and we face, because we know glory follows. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor.4:17-18) We give thanks in and for all things because we know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28)

"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1Thes.5:16-18)


"I will lift my eyes from this fragile life. You will rescue me. You are my Prince of Peace and I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole. Oh mercy, love of old, in you I place my hope."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRWA_NEJpsc

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Surgery Tomorrow

Yaru is being admitted to Beijing United Family Hospital right now. We don't know the exact time for the surgery but we know it'll be Tuesday morning. They are 13 hours ahead of us so we are thinking surgery may begin around 8:00pm our time Monday night. I don't foresee much sleep for this mama tomorrow night. I'm hoping that any news will trickle to us as it becomes available.

If you are confused about the purpose of the surgery, expected chance of success, and what it means for the outcome of Ru's life... well, you're not alone. There are so many unknowns, even for the doctors. We do know the first part of the surgery will be exploratory. This will include a laparoscopic cholangioscopy (which is basically a scope to examine the bile duct) and a liver biopsy. These diagnostic procedures are generally non-invasive. However, babies with biliary atresia are prone to rapid blood loss and there is a concern among the doctors about the possibility that she may lose a significant amount of blood during the first phase. If this occurs, they won't be able to proceed with a potential curative solution, such as Kasai or other bypass.

So we pray she doesn't bleed out. We pray that the scope and biopsy reveal everything clearly. We pray that the diagnosis reveals that she's not as sick as everyone thinks she is. We pray that Dr. Cheng and his team are able to repair the defects that are making her so ill. Will you please partner with us in praying for these specifics? Please pray that God is at the center of her surgery, that the doctors' hands are HIS hands, their minds HIS, their discernment and compassion HIS. Please pray that Ru survives the surgery. This is a very risky surgery for a baby who is so sick and fragile. We are at peace believing that the risk of the surgery outweighs the risk of trying nothing.

I'd be lying if I said any of this was easy. Our hearts are heavy. This is hard. But God. God so lovingly brings victory from hard. Jesus was nailed to a cross and suffered the wrath of God for the most beautiful victory ever witnessed. That was hard. And glorious!

God does all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28) so why would he bring us here to not fulfill His perfect will? We are not afraid because we know that the God who created Ru is the Great Physician, healer and recreator. He called us in to Ru's life. He will provide in all things. He always has. It's a promise that we cling to. Hard, yes. And beautiful. Each of us, whether we're praying, giving, or going, are a part of God's beautiful unfolding plan.

If you would like to help fund her surgery, there's still a huge need! China Little Flower has received $2,400 so far for Ru's surgery. This is a great start but we have a long way to go to fund the whole operation. Please click on her picture on the right side of this page to donate directly to Little Flower. Even a donation of $10 helps. Imagine if 1,000 people who read this donated $10!

Lots of friends praying for you, baby girl. Be well and rest. Rest in the hands of He who loves you more than you could ever imagine...



Saturday, March 14, 2015

URGENT REQUEST

Yaru is officially scheduled for surgery on Tuesday! Praise The Lord!

There is a foundation in Beijing that has agreed to help with the cost. China Little Flower, who is currently caring for Ru, will be responsible for much of the cost as well. Without these two groups, Ru would literally be without the hope of surgery. Both organizations use donated funds to provide life-saving surgeries for the "undeserved" in China. We have committed to helping them raise funds for Ru's surgery in order for this to be able to happen.

To learn more about China Little Flower, you can visit their site HERE.

And HERE is information about the doctor who has been fighting for Ru and who will perform the surgery.

I am pleading and praying for you to consider this request. Will you please pray over the possibility of helping to fund this $50,000 surgery? If we do not fund it in full, the foundations will still proceed with paying for the surgery. However, any deficit in their surgery budget will result in denying another child a life-saving surgery. Many surgeries for orphans in China are only possible through private donations.

Any donation you make directly to China Little Flower will be tax deductible. I have a button on the right side of this page (if you are on a mobile device, click "view web version" at bottom of page to see it) where you can donate directly to them, specifically for Ru's surgery. If you are more comfortable sending us your donation through Paypal, feel free to do so (use the "Donate" button below the thermometer on our page) and we will make sure the funds are forwarded for her surgery. Just be sure to type "Yaru surgery" in the note so we know the donation is for this purpose and not our general adoption expenses.

Please share this with everyone you know and help with any amount you can. Perhaps your church would like to get involved by using their mission funds for this. Maybe you are willing to organize a drive in your neighborhood. We are grateful for any creativity and generosity in generating the needed funds. Remember, this is a request to provide life-saving surgery, not to fund our adoption expenses. We know that all things are possible with God. We know that He has called us to fight for Ru's life and that includes requesting donations for her surgery. We are so grateful for any amount you are willing to help with. Will you please help us in our fight for this precious baby's life?

THANK YOU!



Friday, March 13, 2015

Witnessing Miracles

(Written on March 12, 2015)

My head is spinning. The past couple days, and the few to come, have been and will be a roller coaster ride for sure. There are so many details I'm not able to share. There are confidentiality laws that do not allow us to receive or share information. The last thing we want to do is compromise this adoption or compromise the relationship between governments who allow international adoptions to continue. I realize this post will present many questions. Please understand the position we are in.

That said, here's what I can share. Basically by chance (no such thing), Ru saw a well-respected, brilliant, international doctor yesterday who has taken a second look at her diagnoses and prognosis. She was only there to receive immunizations when this doctor showed favor on her. There is a ton of reevaluation going on and many doctors involved, including some at Stanford University. The medical information is vast and confusing but it seems there may be hope for Ru after all. All I can say is... we are witnessing miracles, y'all. We have no confirmation of any new prognosis but we do have hope that the doctor who said she's not a candidate for Kasai MAY have been mistaken.

It pains me to not be able to post this real-time. All your prayers are working and I want to share that with you now! We don't know the outcome. We still don't know what tomorrow holds for her. But we do know that people are listening and studying and fighting for her. God's hand is in this, regardless of the end result. Please keep praying. He's listening! We give all glory to God for this glimmer of hope. He has granted us an amazing gift of FAITH that allows us to have "a peace that surpasses understanding". We are well-prepared for this roller coaster ride and are comfortable with any path God leads us down. Nonetheless, we are still praying for a miracle, for complete healing, for Ru to come home to us soon. God has already made it abundantly clear that He loves Ru so very much. Please keep praying!

Side note... We've sold almost 100 shirts for a net profit of about $1100 towards our adoption expenses! We are grateful for your involvement in this fundraiser and we will continue to take orders if you missed out on the first order. Thank you!


(Written on March 13, 2015)

The entire world has changed since yesterday. God has been at work through so many people and so many avenues. I am overwhelmed at the amount of information we now have and am trying to discern what to share. At this point, I think it's important that we share the main points of what we are learning. Otherwise, we could compromise relationships in China and confuse the heck out of y'all. ;)

Yaru's ultrasounds are showing that her liver disease could be a result of several causes. Although we know she has biliary atresia, we are not certain of the type or severity. Doctors are in agreement that they need to proceed with surgery (this is a major change since last week, when other doctors said that her liver was too damaged for surgery). We are not sure what the surgery will consist of until they are in. The first part of the surgery will be exploratory and diagnostic. There is a great risk of profuse blood loss in babies with BA so our first prayer is that she doesn't bleed out. If her bleeding stays under control, they will likely proceed past the exploratory phase. This could include Kasai, liver biopsy, and other possible curative actions.

Ru will be admitted to the hospital in Beijing on Monday and her surgery will take place Tuesday morning (Monday night our time), but we are first waiting to hear about funding. This could be an obstacle but we are hopeful the surgery will happen. The cost will be about $50,000 and this is a steep price for any foundation to pay for a baby with a hopeless prognosis. Please join us in praying for funding! We will have more information on this very soon.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kasai Update

I haven't had a ton of time to sit and write much but I also realize that some of you who aren't on FB check my blog for updates. So here's a quick update that we posted on our FB page yesterday.

It turns out Ru is not a candidate for the Kasai surgery that we were hoping would extend her life. Apparently, her liver is already too damaged to have the surgery. It seems her only hope now is a transplant and it needs to happen soon. Please join us in praying her home quickly.

https://www.facebook.com/230680524654/photos/a.10152971351484655.1073741868.230680524654/10153115638284655/?type=1&theater

Thank you, friends!

But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pluggin' Along

I know so many of you are waiting to hear anything new about baby girl. While I don't have any earth-shattering updates, we have received a tidbit here and there.

It seems they took Ru to Beijing yesterday for some medical tests. This is great news! As you know, we are waiting to hear if she may be a candidate for the Kasai surgery. Kasai could potentially add months to her life, in order that she may make it home for a transplant. We have no idea what tests are being done and we are praying that we'll somehow be privy to the results. Nonetheless, she is being examined which means someone is listening to the pleas of her advocates.

We also have reason to believe that since she was taken to Beijing for medical evaluation, she has been placed in a foster-orphanage called Little Flower. This home takes special care of their babies, as most of them are hospice recipients. We haven't received confirmation from anyone that she's actually there. They do have a FB page and you better believe I'm stalking it incessantly.

We received a generous response regarding formula. A hand-full of people stepped up and we are so very grateful! The first can of formula has made it to Hannah, who was supposed to give Ru her first Pregestimil bottle today. Because Ru had been taken to Beijing, Hannah wasn't able to do this.
:( However, we are hopeful that Hannah will somehow connect with Ru soon and find a way to get it to her! There are a couple other shipments in process so we can be sure she doesn't go without. I'm so anxious to hear when she finally gets the formula in her system but I know God is in control of all the details and will work it out perfectly.

We have received a few very generous donations and we have sold 42 shirts so far. God is providing, slowly but surely. If you haven't ordered a shirt yet, we'd be so very grateful for you to do that. You can learn more about how to order HERE. Thank you for your support!

We will continue to keep you in the loop as we know more. Thank you, again, for all the support and prayers. We are grateful to be connected to so many lovely people. Blessings to each of you...