It is always so hard for me to make time to keep up with this blog!!! It is like the last thing I have time for but the thing that is always waiting in the back of my mind like a nagging voice…”WRITE YOUR BLOG or people won’t know what’s going on!!!” HA this is so true! I send out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter and update on that but I forget not everyone gets that!! SO here are a few updates from the last few months!!! Overall Life is going well!!!
This Was our first Birthday party planned by KANDICE!!! We are so grateful for all that our new helpers are doing here in our house:-) Kandice was an awesome birthday party planner:-) Anna, Moxi and Rosa all live in Apartment number 15(this just means they are on the 15th floor in our building:-) ) I decided we would have the birthday parties with the children in their groups. That’s a little less confusing than all 27 children at one party;-)
We had Cake, as you can see from the cute chocolate faces:-) The children played bubbles and jumped on the trampoline. We sang Happy Birthday in Chinese and then the children opened their presents!!! Kandice did such a great job shopping for the gifts!! Moxi got some new clothes and some really cute cars!!! He was precious because he immediately opened them and shared the cars with all his friends:-) Rosa(Who is being adopted and has the cute new name of Riley Mei) got some awesome new clothes including gold boots:-) and a ready bear! Anna got some blocks that she can organize in a little holder. She LOVES to organize things and put things in order. She immediately got started after opening the gift!!! Everyone was excited and felt special on their day!! Kandice made cute boards of all the children’s likes right now. Anna loved using hers down and Moxi just wanted to hold his shirt up and pretend he was a grown Chinese man(that’s how they pose). Rosa was cute as always! Since Anna loves to sing I tried to get here to sing a song for her birthday:-) Hope you enjoy a little bit of their special day!!!
I have not blogged in a while and if you get my newsletter you will understand why. If not…well it’s been busy!! I am just going to start with updating on a few things!!! First of all…WE HAVE 23 KIDS!!!! YAY for more babies!!! I want to introduce them!
First is Susie…She is 10 years old and full of all kinds of energy! lol When I asked what her special need was they told me she like to HUG??? I was so confused until I met her…lol. She is like a little leach! At first she was quite difficult to understand but I have grown to deeply love her. I feel so bad for her. I wish I knew better how to help her. She is very smart. She can feed herself, go tot he bathroom without help, get dressed and put her shoes on on her own and play nicely. She is very starved for attention. She is also unable to communicate verbally. She does feel very deeply. This week I chose to take her to the Hot Springs with us for a special day out. She is like a little fish!!! SHE LOVES THE WATER!!!! Normally she is very difficult to keep under control. But she was wonderful. We just let her play and she did a wonderful job of expressing herself through swimming. She loved the water:-)
Next is Jenny…She is 8 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. This child exudes the Love of the Lord!! When she smiles she lights up the room!! When she first came she didn’t like to use the part of her legs from her knees down but I am happy to say that she has been walking more and more now!!! She is such a cutie!! She loves to Play with Maddie(our other child with CP). They are good friends:-) I love to see how we have children who can be siblings for each other and love on each other!! It is a very special thing!
Next are GeGe and YanZi…GeGe is 6 months old and YanZi is 9 months old. These two little babies are without a doubt precious in every way…just like all babies:-) They love drinking their bottle. They were both in the hospital with Pneumonia for the first 10 days out of the orphanage. But I am thrilled to say that they are much better. YanZi struggles with a bad cough so please keep her in your prayers!! They are starting to gain weight but it’s a slow process. Yesterday I would have said they are starting to sleep through the night but last night ruined that;-) For some reason i have no problem with the middle of the night wake ups…they are so enjoyable…who needs sleep anyway?? I am So grateful for my friend Dannye who came back with me from America. She has had YanZi duty and I have had GeGe duty:-) We meet in the night from time to time:-) lol
Last but not least, Nienke…Her picture is first for some reason:-) She is 5 years old and I’m not exactly sure what her special need is. I can tell you that she responds very well to discipline and has become a very obedient child:-) She is very nervous to walk on her own but she is getting more and more courage:-) We love her…she loves morning play times and is very particular about her food;-) She loves it when I make noodles for dinner! She is also starting to sing!!! We watch a lot of veggie tales around our house and I can hear her humming along to the tune of the theme song:-) SOOOOOO cute!!! I also heard my Chinese worker singing the veggie tales song the other day;-) So funny!!
Well that’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed the introductions!!! Blessings!!
On February 28 the biggest dream of my life came true and on March 20 the biggest nightmare I ever had came true. I have dreamt for my whole life about having 20 children. You don’t think when you are blessed with children about how long you will be given the gift of loving and caring for them. I hoped it would be as long as possible even though I pray and long for all of my children to have “forever homes”. When I went to the gvnmt orphanage on February 28 and was given 2 babies my heart was overwhelmed with joy. I love babies!! Everyone knows that, but also I love to rescue the children at a young age so they have a greater chance of survival. When the woman handed me Levi I just knew this would be his name. I also knew the same about George…they fit their names:-) Levi was very pale from day one. He had a little cough but nothing too bad. From the first day those became “my” boys!! I was their Momma. They didn’t have another momma…I was it:-) Levi woke up about 2-3 times every night for milk. The Ayis who work in the day didn’t want to hold him or care for him much because he was so tiny. He weighed just under 6 Lbs. All of the clothes I had just hung on him. I kept him swaddled most of the time and when he wasn’t asleep in his bed he was in my arms. I didn’t leave him very much at all. I have never birthed a baby but I can’t imagine loving any natural born baby more than my babies I have now. Levi was no exception. He slept most of the time but also spent time looking around at me or other surroundings. One day, in the first week he was with me, he was sleeping in my arms and he smiled. It was one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. I immediately thought, “he must have just seen the face of Jesus”. It was angelic! I called him my “tiny love”. I bought a special baby swing and carrier for him. He was most always in the baby carrier attached to me. People thought he was my baby because his skin was so white. He didn’t look very chinese but I always told people “he is a Chinese baby with my skin:-)”. On the morning of March 20 Levi woke up at 5am like normal but was not interested in his milk. I swaddled him in his carrier and held him-I had to get the other children up and fed but the whole time he was in my arms fussing off and on. He seemed to be very congested. I put oils on him and after the Ayi got here I called my mom and asked about some other meds to give him. I hated to give him anything too harsh because he was so tiny. He continued to have trouble breathing so I gave him a breathing treatment. This didn’t help at all. I took him to the volunteer apartment because they have a western shower and I thought maybe I cold steam up the room and that would help him breathe. I called the girls there and they got it started while I was on my way over. I had been holding him the whole day…when we got into the steam I gave him some antibiotics and he calmed down for a few minutes. It wasn’t too long before he started fussing again and I was at a loss as to what to do. i had been texting my sister, who is a nurse. She said I could give him some tylenol and that might help him. So I did…after that I was so worried. I never had the real thought that he would die…I had fleeting thoughts about it in the morning and it was almost noon at this point but nothing helped. I just held him and tried to calm him. But no more than 15 minutes later he breathed his last breath. I couldn’t believe it. I ran out of the apartment and ran to find our driver. I shouted his name and all the people around were watching me and listening. He came running and I screamed “He is dead!!, I don’t know for sure!!”. We jumped in the car and I continued the CPR had been giving him, all the way to the hospital. I was weeping and talking to him the whole time and to God. We ran in the hospital and they made us go to the 7th floor. Hospitals are so different here. No ER with immediate care. We had to wait for the elevator:-( The nurse was doing CPR while I held him. We finally got the the 7th floor and I laid him down on the bed and they hooked him up to oxygen and kept up the CPR. That was the first time I had put him down since 5am and I knew that my Tiny Love was not with me any more. He just laid there, lifeless with his little baseball outfit on. My friend had given me some clothes that week and of course I chose the baseball outfit. After about 10 min they stopped. I was sobbing, as I had been the whole time. The woman in the hall told me to stop crying, she said it’s just a little child. I sobbed louder. I asked the nurse if I could pick him up and I picked his little body up once again…I sat there and held my beautiful, dead baby and sobbed. I talked to him and to God. “Oh Lord, What have I done? What should I have done?” I knew it must have been his little heart. Many Downs Syndrome kids are born with hearts that need fixing. He hadn’t been congested from a cold, his little heart was failing and he was only given to me to love and to know a momma’s love until he went to be with his Father. He experienced a momma’s love for almost a month and now he knows his Father’s love. He has no pain…he breathes. I felt as though I couldn’t breathe and Levi was in Heaven breathing with Jesus. That last time he opened his eyes, looked at me and breathed his last breath…I will never forget how he fought to breathe that last breath and then went limp in my arms. My stomach felt like I had just went down a roller coster and fallen off. So many emotions…my baby Levi was gone from my love into the love of the Father. It happened so fast. There were so many details to work out but I just sat there and held my lifeless baby. My driver, Xiao Chen, went and did the paper work for me. Marianne came and sat with me for a while. She seemed to be the only comfort at this moment. She knows this pain so many times over. She understood and encouraged me to express my emotions. She said we must show the chinese people that it is ok to grieve. She said if he had been in the orphanage no one would have cried over his death. But we get to cry for him…We mourn his death!!! He was loved and I loved him with all the love I could…now I grieve for myself…He is safe in the arms of Jesus and I grieve my loss!! I sat on the edge of that bed and held him from 12:30-3:45. At 3:45 the man came to get his body. I carried him out of the hospital all wrapped up and had to put him in a big white truck with a tube like container in the back. It was metal and the man told me to put him inside…I sobbed and kissed his little doll like face for the last time. I have never felt so empty as that moment. I laid him in and the man closed the metal tube. Then shut the door of the truck. People were watching me. I was alone. No one weeps over the dead here…especially not a baby. I walked home form the hospital with his baby carrier wrapped around me, very alone and empty handed. It was about a 30min walk and I cried as I saw the white truck pass by me. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful day to go to heaven and be with Jesus. I didn’t want to go home but at the same time I longed for the other children and their love at that moment.
Many people called and wrote notes and 2 of my friends from Guiyang came over that night. It was nice to have friends around. Talked about him and remembered his sweetness. No memorial service here…just memories to share with each other. I had to explain to the Ayis and the children when I came home. They didn’t care for him but they teared up a bit with me. They thought telling me I have 19 other children would comfort me…I was beyond comforting. My soul aches from the deepest part. I can not explain the pain…unless you have lost a child I don’t really think you can understand. Nor do I want you to understand!!! I didn’t like people telling me to be strong for my other children and that God had a plan…I know all this!!! I am hurting!!! I just need to hurt!! I can not explain how I feel…I didn’t want to get out of my night clothes…I wanted to stay at home and hug all my babies and never leave. i couldn’t take the baby carrier off…I tried 2 times but failed in a puddle of tears. When I finally took it off I felt like that was the end….I will no longer hold my sweet Levi again until heaven. I wept without stopping for hours.
It has been 4 days now…there have been many more tears. i don’t know how I have gotten to this point…I truly believe God has me under His wings and is carrying me through. I don’t know how to heal. I read yesterday in Psalms about how we need to rejoice in the Lord. I have read this so many times in my life and for the first time I felt like I didn’t know how in the world to do this. I don’t want to rejoice. I want to frown. I don’t want to go on. But really when I think about it I want to rejoice!!! I want to rejoice in the Lord!!! HE GAVE LEVI LIFE!!! Eternal life! How in the world could God send his son to the earth to die for me???? I am not worth dying for!!! I am horrible!! I don’t even want to rejoice in the Lord??!! God knows how I feel?! SO wonderful to have a God who knows my pain and cares about me and does have a plan. He wants me to grow to be more like him…to be thankful!!! I really don’t know how to be thankful but God can help me. HE is helping me as I type. I am SOOOOO grateful to have had Levi in my arms for 3 and 1/2 weeks. I loved him like my own. through every night feeding and poopy diaper…I loved him. Through the pain of his death I can rejoice because God loved me enough to send His son for me…then he loved me enough again to send me Levi…my Tiny Little Love…My angel. I am grateful friends…I am hurting from the depths of my soul and I am so thankful to MY GOD who has a plan and a time for life and a time for death. He knows all things and is in all things. I will chose to keep going and loving like I will never lose because that is what HE has called me to do. I love love….I love my babies…the ones in heaven and my Tiny Love in heaven.
Levi, God holds you now…just like He is holding your Momma:-)
Well after weeks and weeks of no “time off” I finally decided that I wanted to take a special day with Stephanie before she left for America!!! So we decided to leave really early in the morning and see some sights around Guiyang!!! I will do the rest of the talking through pictures:-)
If you can imagine working for weeks on moving and getting things settled and then getting a call…not just any call but a wonderful call!!! “Can you take another child? She was with another Chinese family but they are not able to take care of her anymore…Can you get her tomorrow?” I here this and my heart leaps with joy. Now please don’t think that I wish any child to need this kind of help…but I’m just saying, if they need to be rescued and have a home…I love that they come to mine:-) They more the merrier!!! That statement was never so true until last week! When WhenI arrived to pick her up I was nervous and excited! This is always how I feel….it will never be “another child”…it will always be “I’m getting a baby!!!” lol even if they are not babies:-) That’s my southern Momma’s heart coming out…we call all our little loves “baby”:-) They kids have started getting used to it but the oldest girl can’t handle it…she stops me and tells me she is NOT a baby and I don’t need to call her that. It’s too hard to explain the reason I just say, I’m sorry…I forgot!:-)
Well my new baby came in the room with a very sad face. She looked a little lifeless. they carried her in and sat her on the couch.” She is 4″, they said, “and she doesn’t like to smile but she can and she can wave…but she won’t”. So I anticipate many things but I can see a twinkle in her eyes:-) They leave and I go to her and pick her up and she just looked at me. The Foster office director talked to me about the situation and I held back the tears. She is an angel and very strong. They told me she has cerebral palsy and can’t walk. I sat with her on my lap for a while and then we headed home. As we walked to the car she smiled:-) I knew immediately she was a strong little girl and VERY smart.
I named her Maddie:-) My dear friend and PR warrior in Texas is named Madeline…She has been such a support to me. I know she doesn’t have any grand children and I have been thinking for a while that I will name a child after her. After I saw Maddie I knew she was the one. I have only learned more about Maddie in the last week…She has strength and determination and the light of the Father shines through her! Everyone that walks in the house sees her smile and joy and they are in love! Maddie is precious and such a blessing. She has made such great progress this week! She is feeding herself, crawling, pulling up and walking along the side of the couch and coffee table! She is quite the little stubborn thing!!! She is very inquisitive:-) She gets into all sorts of things and is much smarter than any of us know:-) She is trying to talk!!! The Last two nights she was in her bed and trying to comfort one of the babies in her room that was crying. We could hear her saying “Shh”, “Shh”…if was so cute!! She cried very hard for about the first 5 days when it was time for bed. She doesn’t have good memories of beds or darkness, I think. Poor baby has had a very hard life and has scars to prove it but very quickly those scars are turning to faint memories. She is now happy to go to bed and has leaned so much about being obedient in the last week. I try to be very strict with all of them and have boundaries. It is hard when you know all the things they have experience in the past but I really believe this will help them to feel secure in my love and protection for them. We memorize the verse that says to “Obey your parents in the Lord”…We are also learning how to be patient!!! This is a hard one:-) Ya Mei often tells them, “Be patient, Be patient!” and we sing the “Have Patience Song” but meal times are the hardest:-) It s so great to see progress:-) But we still have crying babies at the dinner table when they are finished or Momma can’t get it in their mouth fast enough:-)
Please keep Maddie in your PRs and I will be sure to write more about her progress!!! Next week is Chinese New Year and i am giving all my workers the week off, starting Saturday! PR for us!!! LOL I have friends coming from Wuhan and I have 3 dutch volunteers here now so it will be fast and furious but tons of fun!!! I will blog after it is calm again!!!
Well, it’s been longer than I would like since my last post!! Nothing seems to go as planned these days:-) The lesurly Holiday Season was very crazy with parties and friends and then we got the news that we had to move very quickly. I had in my mind that we would move very slowly over one months time….instead we told that we had to move all the children into a new home in 4 days:-( This was impossible in my mind!!! Good thing I am not in control:-) I sent out a few texts and emails and before I knew it people were poring in from all over China and even America to come and help with the move and the children. God is so good…He is faithful in everything!!! I am often amazed at how He knows exactly what we need when we need it. Encouragement and chastening, Love and a hug come right when you think you can’t go on. I will put many pictures so you can all see the helpers and the move! It was amazing!! there were over 10 people that came to help and most of them I had never met before! They came to help the children and serve the Lord in such a powerful way. We had to move because of an accident that happened in China with another home of children. this home was not registered with the government and when the accidental fire broke out and children died they blamed the woman that was helping the children. So as a safety they wanted all home that care for orphans to only have a few children in each home. Well I had 16 and that was not acceptable. They knew the higher authorities would send the kids back to the orphanage if we didn’t change the situation. Praise the Lord we already had a place to go. It wasn’t finished but it was workable. Everytime we were visited bythe government it worked out. I was so nervous and scared at times but He carried us all through! It was a crazy time and I have not really rested in so long but the Children are happy and safe and thriving now!!! They are learning more things in smaller groups and getting a more structured lifestyle. I love it!!! I am in the apartment with the 3 youngest and Ya Mei. It’s great to get to train them while they are young to obey and understand right and wrong. I try to spend time with all the children and also manage the work. It’s a big job but I enjoy it so much!!! I don’t exactly love keeping the very strict records but I know that in the end it is all worth it! I try to do all my book work and paper work in the car or at night when everyone is in bed. But at times that’s difficult because I am falling asleep too:-) I will write another blog soon that is full of exciting news but I wanted to get caught up with the last month first!!! Love to all!!
It is 5am China time and I have been awake since 3. i thought the jet lag was over…lol Oh wel, maybe this is not jet lag? Maybe this is “Oh My Word I’m 30 today!!!”, kind of no sleep:-) So grateful for my little guy who is sleeping next to me:-) He laughed his way to sleep last night. He brings me so much joy I can hardly contain myself!! I thought I would not have time to write this blog until the weekend but I guess this is the perfect time:-) “Those who can’t sleep, Blog!” and talk to their friends in America since people are awake there:-) Got to have a wonderful conversation with my best friend Jaqueline in these early morning hours:-) Love her and her husband and their faithfulness to the Father…Just grateful for people today. After 30 years of life I would have to say, people, weather they be family, friends, children, strangers…after the Father they are the most important to me. I just love people. I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness to so many who have come along side me and supported me throughout the years and recently, in my new Journey. Your love and encouragement and more importantly PR is far beyond anything I ever could have asked for.
Being in the US was such a wonderful time of seeing friends and speaking about the work and sharing about all the Father is doing here…but as everyone knows who saw me, I missed the children SOOOOOO much! Before I went to the US I was nervous about fitting in…i thought I might be too Chinese to still be Texan:-) But I realized that the Texan never leaves my heart and as chinese as I become I will always be a Texas girl:-) I did speak chinese at the mexican food restaurant…lol kind of embarrassing! But it was a good laugh:-) I accomplished everything on my “To Do” list while in Texas…and that made me so happy! being with my family and friends was such a wonderful thing! I needed it so much!! But all the while I couldn’t wait to come back.
Arriving and being greeted my the four oldest girls at the airport was so much fun!!! they came along to welcome with Hans and Marianne!! I think they were surprised…even though they knew I was coming:-) I could not wait to see Sammy!!! When I got home and went to him he was eating and I immediately picked him up and loved on him:-) He started smiling and laughing and dancing in my arms:-) I cried tears of joy! We have been inseparable ever since:-) The other children were also happy to see me as well as the AYis:-) I am so happy here. It’s unexplainable.
We have been looking for a new house to move into. This is something that I am PRing will happen this week. Find the house and move next week. hans and Marianne will go back to the Netherlands for their time of rest and Pring we can move and get settled into our new home while they are gone. But whatever HE wants is what I want. Just PRing for direction. Last night we went to dinner out(we normally do that on Wednesday). I brought Sammy and we went to a steak place for my birthday. It was great! Then we had DQ ice cream and Sammy LOVED it:-) lol
Getting back into normal life has been easy, minus the no sleep but that’s ok. Not being a morning person is not always good but when you wake up at 3am it’s no problem to be fully functioning at 6:-)We have a full day ahead with looking for houses, going to the police station to talk about Visas for the visiting Dutch girls, looking for a new washer and dryer, etc. We are in need of an industrial sized washer and dryer. We have so many clothes to wash and dry that it takes so long to finish then in the small one. Also we can only hang the laundry to dry and in a cold damp house you can imagine that we are having issues!!! Please PR for the Father to lead us to the right place and provide for this!! It would be such a blessing!
Love you all…it’s almost 6am and I better get started:-) or at least make my coffee:-)