Monday, August 3, 2015

I Have a Prayer

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." (Luke 9:23-24)

I have a prayer. I have a deep desire for my time in China.

Yes, I'm praying for safety. I'm praying for Samuel, and for my family back home. I'm praying that God would complete and fulfill our adoption of Samuel and bring him home to be with us forever. But I want more.

I want to be reminded that Jesus is more than enough, all I need in this life.

I want to see the world through His eyes while I'm there. I pray that He would expose me to the worst, show me the pain like never before. I pray He breaks me over it.

I want to see "real" and I want to feel a fraction of the compassion that Christ has for these souls.

I want to remember the darkness I see in China, long after I leave that burdened, beautiful country.

I want to leave China different than when I arrived. I want to be changed forever. Again.

Then use me, Lord. Use me as a tool for your justice, Father. Rid me of myself. Make me brave.

Tear my heart in two that I might desire to sacrifice everything to make you known.

I have a prayer. And I'd love for you to share it with me.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happily Ever After?

Samuel has lived through more trauma in his first year of life than any child should experience in a lifetime. I think we sometimes take this for granted, assuming that because he's young, he hasn't been affected. Unfortunately, that's just not true. It's not true for any of them. These children feel the brunt from the moment they are abandoned, sometimes way before.

Samuel was born with a visible special need, one that stigmatized him in China. His birth mother immediately decided she couldn't handle it. So he was left in the grass for someone to find. He was admitted to an institution where no one knew his story, his background, his name. When he cries, his mom isn't there to soothe him. If someone hears his cry, a nanny, a stranger, someone may or may not care enough to respond. He lives in a place with hundreds of other babies. Even if the workers there do care, it's simply impossible to meet even his basic needs. Statistics (ones that I'd love to forget but can't) estimate that over 50% of institutionalized children are abused physically or sexually (Jesus, please envelope Samuel with your protection). We can't ignore the fact that even at one year old, his life has been no cake walk.

So when I hear, "Aren't you so excited?", my immediate response is, "of course!" I can't wait to get my Samuel lovin' arms wrapped around his little body. There's no place I want to get to faster. But I can't shake the reality of what's really about to happen.

Gotcha days are not glamorous. It's not a "happily ever after" moment. He doesn't know me. I am just another stranger to him, someone who will pluck him from everything he's known for the past year. Whether that scenario was okay or terrible makes no difference to him. These children are only comfortable in the atmosphere they know, even if it's not what's best for them. We know this adoption offers redemption. Samuel does not share this perspective. When I arrive at the civil affairs office to meet him, I will tear his world apart, once again. He will experience tragedy on a very deep level. He will grieve. And it will be evident. Anger, confusion, fear, sadness are all emotions he will relive.

I remember so clearly the levels of grief our sweet Emily had to endure. She cried so hard when we took her away. She screamed. She trembled. She cried herself to sleep. Then the painful days of zero expression on her face. Then a laugh! It was 2 steps back, one step forward for weeks, even months, but we held on to those forward steps. Eventually, she was taking 2 steps forward, one step back. In less than a year, it was clear she knew where she belonged.

I am well aware of the darkness I am about to enter. It won't be the first time I've caused an incredible feeling of loss for a child. It will be painful for me to witness. I will grieve with him. He will experience a sense of abandonment once again. He will have to learn that he can trust us. And we know this miracle of attachment will come to fruition in time. We will be patient and we will teach him that he can trust us always. It. Will. Happen. But there's a lot of hurt that has to come before the healing can begin.

Am I daunted? Not a bit. This is one kind of pain I welcome. I pray often that the Lord would burden my heart for what burdens His. He has answered this prayer by blessing us with the ministry of adoption. To be the rock that Samuel has never had is a privilege beyond anything I can explain. The pain it brings is a beautiful blessing. There is no greater satisfaction than to whisper in the ear of a crying, scared orphan, "You are chosen and wanted. I love you and I will never, ever leave you. And your God has promised the same." Hard? Sure. But what part of leaving a helpless child in the pit of despair is okay? It's just not. And I'm forever grateful that I get to be God's vessel, His hands and feet, as HE rescues His precious Samuel.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nearing the End

I love to write almost more than anything. I'm able to express my thoughts much more clearly than I am through word of mouth. It's where my heart is revealed. It's where I feel comfortable exposing myself. I'm saying all this to simply say I miss it. This season of life is unbelievably busy, no matter how much we commit to keeping it simple. And busy is good! We are blessed beyond measure to be given a multitude of responsibilities for the furthering of His kingdom. But things like writing go by the wayside when you are flying through life at mach speed. Anyway, I'm glad to be here.

Our adoption journey is plugging along quite nicely. We received our LOA (letter of approval) from China, which basically states we have been granted full permission to adopt Samuel. The next step involved was submitting an application (i800) to US Immigration requesting citizenship for Samuel. We are currently waiting for this approval. Our travel estimate still seems to be on target for mid-August.

I will be traveling to China alone this time. It was a hard decision to make but we believe the best one for our family. After we adopted Emily, we said that if we do it again, either we're all going or just one parent goes. The price tag for 6 of us to travel to China is more than we could stomach. Don't get me wrong, if money wasn't an issue, we'd all be on that plane headed for "didi" (little brother in Chinese). God has prepared me well for this journey around the globe. It's possible that a special friend, who works at an orphanage in China, will be able to meet me and help throughout my travels. We'll know for sure after our travel dates are confirmed. And if not, we have an amazing agency who will pair me with an English speaking guide. These guides work directly for Lifeline and are trusted and well-known throughout our adoption community. I am very comfortable traveling to China alone. My tenacity and skepticism should serve me well. ;)

God has been so faithful in providing the finances for this adoption. We are only about $5,000 away from being fully funded! We don't plan on having anymore fundraisers before travel. We are certainly grateful for any future donations to help bring Samuel home but we have no doubt that God will provide the funds another way if donations are not in His plan. We saved quite a bit over the past few months and will continue to tighten our belts where needed. I am certain it will happen!

The next few weeks will involve more paperwork and lots of stalking the mailbox and email. We'll be sure to keep you posted on our progress (feel free to like our FB page at for more frequent updates). I'm also beginning to plan and pack for the trip. It's hard to believe we're almost at the end... the beginning of a new journey, really. If you would, please pray for our Samuel. We are asking God to protect him and keep him healthy until I can get there. As always, your prayers are coveted and appreciated!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Facing Reality

As I get closer to travel, I have begun seeking advice from other families who have traveled to the same orphanage to pick up their little ones. Over the past week, I've been in touch with many people who have offered information and pictures about Samuel's orphanage. We were thrilled to get those 3 pictures of our son smiling. But the realities about his "home" are very hard to digest.

The fact is, he lives in an overcrowded institution run by a Communist government. This is not news to us. We are well aware of the reality that exists in China for the millions of children who have been left to fend for themselves. In some ways, we didn't have to face it as much with our adoption of Emily over a year ago, because she lived in a foster orphanage (Harmony House) where they truly did their best to care for her.

Here are a few things we've learned this week, none of which are surprising but all of which deeply pain my heart.

Most of the children at this orphanage have an intestinal, parasitic infection called Giardia. It's awful. Just google it. They do not test for or treat Giardia at the orphanages. Many of the children have had it for so long that their bodies become accustomed to it and are asymptomatic by the time they come home. Chances are Samuel lives with this.

His orphanage has no central heat. The winter was rough. We don't know if they have A/C in the scorching summer heat.

Children with blankets on them in the "play" room

Samuel was born without his left forearm. We are confident that with therapy and practical use, he will learn to function just fine. For now, it seems his lucky fin is simply being covered up. I doubt he is receiving any assistance in learning how to use it. I'm hopeful he will make up for lost time when he comes home, as they all do with their unique special needs.

There's no getting around the simple fact that most of these institutions are filled with hundreds of overcrowded rooms.

One baby room at Samuel's orphanage. We hope mattresses are put in the cribs before the babies are returned.
Other common ailments in the orphanages include scabies, head lice, malnutrition, even scars on ankles from being tied to their cribs. We don't see any evidence that Samuel is affected by these. We pray daily that God will protect him from disease and abuse. It's hard to consider what he may be going through but it's a reality. These realities don't scare us away. Quite the contrary. They drive us.

I'm not trying to be Debby Downer here. I write plenty of posts about the redemption we see offered to many of these children. But we have to face reality. They don't have a voice. I have to be their voice. We have to be their voice. It's all an injustice. One look at these places, one look in to the eyes that barely survive here... it's plenty to convince us that we will never stop fighting. It's too important to the kingdom of God. They are His most treasured ones.

We must go in to the hard places. The price paid for not going is just too high, y'all. And these children don't deserve to pay that price.

Yes, my heart breaks over the conditions Samuel may be experiencing. Hiding from it won't bring justice for him. We will fight every single day to get there as quickly as we can. His life is worth everything to us.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We recently received an update from Samuel's orphanage. It included an email with a small amount of information and some precious pictures. We were given growth data and some answers to other questions. We may or may not be able to trust the validity of these answers but we were happy to hear, nonetheless. The pictures though... they were game changers.

I have to be honest. I've loved Samuel since the moment we saw him. I loved him right away because I knew God called him to be our son. But I never felt an emotional connection to his first pictures. So often, the pictures included in these kids' files look like mug shots. The children tend to look empty and stoic. It usually isn't until these children come home that an amazing transformation takes place. It's true that real love changes a person physically.

Whether or not he's receiving proper care, we'll never know. But these recent pictures show life in our boy's eyes. To see that smile, those 2 front teeth, those handsome features... melted my heart. We are one month in to our LOA wait and this new glimpse of Samuel now makes the wait harder. I am so very grateful for this new perspective that God has granted me. It may not seem like a big deal but these pictures are an amazing blessing for this family who, so desperately, wants to connect with our son. They are all we have right now.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From Fear to Faith

Fear. What an ugly word. What a disgusting power it has over our lives. It is the devil's stronghold, his darkest lie. He loves to use it to the detriment of God's plan.

Anyone else lie awake at night, head spinning, thinking about all the things that could go wrong tomorrow? I do. And ya' know what? It's sinful. God detests my fear. It takes my focus off of Him. It says my faith is weak. Fear blinds me from truth.

I know pride is at the center of every sin but I'd like you to consider for a minute that fear always accompanies pride. Fear is powerful. Adam and Eve made a choice to be their own gods. They believed the lie that God wasn't enough. I'm certain that without fear, they would have completely trusted their God. That slimy serpent snuck into Eve's innermost, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God." (Gen.3:4-5) I can hear Eve thinking to herself after she's heard the lie. "Hmmmmm... I wonder if God's really who he says he is. I'm afraid He may not follow through. Yeah, He's always provided in the past but who knows? Plus, I really want this yummy apple. I can totally do this my way." Anyone ever share those very thoughts? (insert huge hand raise from me)

Maybe we don't say outloud that we don't trust Him. Maybe we don't conciously think we believe it. But we do. We believe the lie. Every day. We're afraid. We're afraid God isn't who he says he is. We're afraid he won't provide. We're afraid he doesn't really love us as deeply as he says he does.    

"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked." (Gen.3:7) Believing Satan's lie always leads to shame. Always. Do we understand that this life is a war? Friends, we are literally in the midst of spiritual warfare. Satan is fighting for us to carry our shame, hold on to our fear. His battle is for our hearts. Fear and sin are still very present in our lives. We battle every day but Christ has risen to the challenge and already won the war! We need only embrace that truth to experience real freedom. Fear and shame should not hold us any longer.

For those of us who believe the lie daily (throat clear), there is also grace daily. And this grace is way more powerful than anything Satan thinks he can kill us with. You see, the cross of Jesus Christ eliminated our shame, it covered our sin, it forgives our doubt and fear. We are made new every day. The cross, His blood, covers all. Moreover, the resurrection proves that Satan has been defeated. We live in victory! We can live in peace, y'all. With no fear. With no worry. The cross and the resurrection are proof that He is in control and that our lives belong to Him. If you belong to Christ, you are a child of the light and darkness shall not overtake us! (John 1:5)

What are you afraid of? What keeps you up at night? Why is your answer to God's plan for you today "no"? The landscape of God's call on our lives is vast and various. We operate as one body, each with a different part and purpose. He calls us to different ministries, each for the same cause of course... to bring Him glory, to make Him known. God has made it clear to our family that the ministry of adoption is where He wants us, so this is my heart here (You can apply these same questions to whatever area God has ordained for you).

Wanna know what I'm afraid of? I have no qualms about sharing the weakness of my flesh because God's power is made perfect in weakness. I'm afraid we won't raise the money we need for this adoption. I'm afraid to hear the comments from people who don't really understand what we're doing. I'm afraid we can't afford a 5th child. I'm afraid Samuel will have a cognitive disability. I'm afraid he will be ostracized because of his missing arm. I'm afraid I won't know how to love him through that. What if I don't have an immediate connection the way I did with my others? I'm afraid my husband and I will have even less time together. I fear how my 4 children could be affected by this adoption. I'm afraid of what could happen to me while I'm in China.

These fears can be paralyzing. And ya' know what? Fear blinds us from truth. We literally can't see reality when we are afraid. I hear Satan in those fears I've confessed to you. "Hang on to your wordly possessions and passions. You will surely not die from these things. They will bring you great comfort and control." My fears are many and the lies ring loud in my head. But. My faith prevails. Seamus and I are taking the leap, day by day, trusting that God's will for our lives is bigger than our limited understanding, bigger than our carnal desires. We have decided that He knows best. He loves us too much to let us fall. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt.10:29-31)

When I remove the blinder of fear (which can only happen by reminding myself of His work on the cross) I realize what's true. The worst consequence of my fears has no eternal effect on my soul. When I ask myself, "What if Samuel is sicker than we think he is? What if we can't afford to send our kids to college? What if I die in China?" my answer is... So what? No, seriously. So what?! Even my life is worth saving just one lost soul. Radical? Maybe. Consider it. What price is too high to be God's hands and feet in saving souls? The answer is simple. There is no price too great. Our fears are what complicate the answer. They are what stands in the way of us being God's vehicle to His precious world.

One step back for a second... I'm not saying we shouldn't use wisdom in discerning where He wants us. It's important to pray about what it should look like for our faith to be put in to action. I'm betting God wants me in my children's lives for many years and that I probably play an important role in their upbringing. ;) But I can't let fear control me. If God has called me to China (which he clearly has), then I trust He will provide in my safety. And if I do die, then God has ordained that too and I am sure He would continue to provide in giving Seamus every support needed to raise them on his own. Hard? Of course. Again, the cost is often great but never too high for His glory to be made known. The point is that we trust His plan and follow His lead, never doubting His goodness and promise to provide. Y'all, it is freeing to not feel like we have to be in control of every detail of our lives.

I sound brave, right? Ha! I continue to fear but His mercies are new every day and I am constantly reminded to let my faith win the battle over fear. Seamus and I are far from perfect in our faith but grateful for the daily renewal of our souls. Our faith, the faith that is a gift from our merciful God, overcomes all fear. God is love and there is no fear in love. No. Fear. In. Love. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." (1John4:18) The only fear God calls us to is a deep understanding of who He is, an awe over His holiness. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." (Proverbs 9:10)

Let go, Laura. Let go, y'all!! Rise up! Live a life of freedom. A life that honors Him. A life that has no regrets, no boundaries. Not out of obligation or guilt. Not a life of charity but of gratitude, deep gratitude for all Christ has already done for us. I don't know about you but I sure can't wait to see the face of God one day as he tells me, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done."

Friends, this life is but a vapor. It is seriously done and over with in the blink of an eye. There is no sacrifice on earth  that's not worth receiving the untouchable joy that God brings to us when we follow Him. There's no border scary enough to keep us from living for Christ. To trust and not fear is hard. Very, very hard. Life doesn't get easier when you pick up your cross and hand all your idols over to The Lord. But the freedom that comes. The joy. It's irreplaceable. And it brings everlasting life. I'm hanging on to that promise, not the false lies of this world. I'm moving from fear to faith. Who's in?!

The words to this song are so poignant. I love it...
"I've counted up the cost, and you are worth it... I don't need safety as much as I need you. You're dangerous but Lord you're beautiful... I'll carry my cross because real love is not afraid to bleed..."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Waiting for Samuel to Come Home

It's been awhile since my last blog post, I know. While we are working and waiting for Samuel to come home, we are obviously very focused on every day life here. "Busy" doesn't begin to describe my life and although I am incredibly grateful for all God has led me to, I have little time to focus on my personal passions, including writing. ;) Sooooooo... I'm thankful to have 5 minutes today to share just a tad of what's going on.

Where are we in the adoption process right now? As you know, we submitted a letter of intent for sweet Samuel and China issued us Pre-Approval. He is ours, designated solely for our family and waiting for us to come get him. Our dossier (fancy word for our entire life on paper) is in China. It will take a couple months for them to issue us LOA (official letter of approval). So right now, we're in a waiting period. Once our LOA comes, we'll be looking at several weeks that include scrambling and more paperwork before we travel. I'll be sure to update here when we receive LOA. That's a major milestone in the process and always a huge celebration for adoptive families.

We are hoping to receive some updates and new pictures while we wait but this adoption is very different from when we were pursuing Emily. You may remember that Emily was in a special place called Harmony House where we were able to Skype with her periodically and speak directly to her caretakers. Ru was in a similar setting. Both were unique situations that we were very thankful for. Samuel is in a government-run orphanage. While we have been told that this orphanage is one of the better ones in China, we still can't be in direct contact. We can request pictures and information but may only receive one or two updates between now and travel. We'll be grateful to hear anything and will be sure to share with you!

In the meantime, we're exploring some fundraising ideas that may help fund our adoption. We have about $10,000 more to raise in order to bring Samuel home. We know God will provide, as He always has. We have a few ideas and will share them with you as they come to fruition. Will y'all please rally around us and help us to raise the last chunk of change to bring our baby boy home?

One fundraiser that seems to work well is t-shirt sales. We have already placed 2 shirt orders and the response has been great. I recently inquired on our FB page if anyone would be interested in a 3rd order and we feel like it'll be worth it. We will begin taking orders today and will place one big order in a few weeks. This time, we have 4 shirt options! If you didn't get in on the first couple orders, we will still offer the original brown super soft tee. Many of you requested a brighter, summer color shirt so we are adding coral and light blue options. Your 4th option is a V-neck tee in silver. All 4 options will have the original graphic on the front and are the same super soft fabric. Here are pictures of the options (picture of light blue coming soon):

The t-shirts are $20 each. The silver V-neck is $22. If we will be shipping them to you, please add $4 per order. All shirts come in adult sizes XS - 3XL (coral, light blue, and brown shirts go up to 4XL). To place your order, you can pay through Paypal using my email address (or just click on the "Donate" button on the right of this page). Please be sure to enter your color choice with size in the notes, as well as your shipping address. If you'd rather pay with cash or check, that's fine too. You can email me for our mailing address.

Our goal is to sell 100 shirts for this order. I know this is lofty being our 3rd order but we can do it! We would be so excited to meet this goal and be one step closer to bringing home Samuel. If you haven't purchased a shirt from us yet, now's your chance! If you've already ordered a brown shirt and would like a different color or style, we'd be grateful for your second t-shirt order! Another way to help is to share our shirts on FB.

We'd love for you to link in to our journey directly by praying for Samuel and ordering a shirt from us. We'll be sure to keep you updated if we hear anything about Samuel. We'll also keep you posted on our progress in raising the funds needed to bring him home. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all your support!

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Phil.4:8-9)

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!