Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Jie Jie almost went to be with Jesus!

My jie jie Tyanna, age 16, almost went to be with Jesus. Mama and Baba and I were very scared.

Jie Jie's blood sugar dropped to 32. She had collapsed in the bathroom. Hit her head twice. When she became conscious again, she had some weird seizure-like activity.

Mama called 911. The fire fighters brought their aid car to our home. They worked on jie jie. They were eventually able to get a drop of blood from her. That's when they found out her blood sugar was dangerously low.

Jie Jie was WHITE, clammy and totally out of it. We gave her Mountain Dew to spike her blood sugar. Then we gave her some protein (Peanut butter... which she hated it) to maintain her blood sugar.

A couple hours later, the same thing happened again. This time, because everyone was at church for our Christmas Eve celebration, mama had to do everything.

She called 911 again while she was also calling Baba. Fortunately, mama was able to get jie jie to the hallway. Mama was also smart enough to put the key under the front door mat should this happen. So, the fire fighters were able to open the door and come right in.

Mama and baba opted out of the $25,000 ambulance ride to Children's. By all appearances, jie jie Tyanna appeared to be stable. Tests were run. My sister is healthy, but she needs to eat better and more often.

My family and I are thanking Jesus that she was kept safe.

First Christmas, Her Bike, and Her Diagnosis

Gabriella celebrated her first Christmas as a pro. She opened all her presents as though she had done that before.

Her big gift this year was a two-wheeled princess bike with training wheels.

To some, this gift was a bit ridiculous, since she has been diagnosed with "severe cerebellar atrophy." With this diagnosis, she has an inability to balance on her own while standing... ZERO balance.

Obviously, a child needs to be able to balance to ride a bike.

Do I look at the diagnosis or do I look at how big my God is?
God is bigger than ANY diagnosis. God is a healing God.

So, I bought what appears, in the natural, to be a waste of money, but I am believing with ALL MY HEART that Gabriella will get on it and ride it soon.

Some day she WILL ride this princess bike!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Many doctors... One God!

As I think about all the doctors and therapists I have taken Gabriella to in the last 3 1/2 months, I was quite amazed: Adoption pediatric specialist, Chinese accupuncturist, chiropractor, pediatric, dentist, hospital OT, PT, and speech, school OT, PT, and speech, outside therapy PT, naturopath, neurologist, opthomologist, radiologist, and probably others, I do it because I KNOW that Gabriella will be healed. She will walk.

A friend shared this video today with me... and though it has nothing to do with Gabriella, it has everything to do with MY GOD.

If He still raises people from the dead, He certainly can give Gabriella a new cerebellum so that she can walk. Wait, watch and pray with us. You will see a miracle. I believe that one day Gabriella will speak to the nations about the amazing things God did for her life.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

God Called... Her Castle Bed is Ready for Pick-up

In April 2009, the Lord very clearly told me to prepare a bedroom for our little ones that He had shown me in a vision. (These stories can be accessed quickly on the right hand side of this blog under "Our God Stories").

While preparing the bedroom, I had found many, many castle beds. But, one particular bed continued to pop up and be on my heart and mind. I wanted it. The only problem: the bed was $3,500-$6,000 depending on who and where I bought it from. That was a bit ridiculous for a princess bed. I communicated with 3 different builders... one even came to my home. But, nothing seemed right in my heart. So, I called off all 3 of those deals at different times over the last year.

Instead, I did what I know how to do... I prayed. I confessed that, that bed was going to be in our house some day. I dreamed about it. I spoke it out loud for all the world to know. I never once gave up hope to have that castle.

My girlfriend sent me a CD on faith which reminded me of a story about Dr. David Yonggi Cho. He prayed, and prayed and prayed for 3 things: a bike, a desk, and a chair. But, he was frustrated because God hadn't answered his prayer. One day he asked God why. And he felt God had told him that he needed to be specific about his desires. He needed to write down what kind of bike, desk and chair. And, so he did. And, God answered his prayers.

On September 24, 2009, I wrote in a prayer journal many, many, many situations, people, and things that I am believing for. One of those things was Gabriella's castle bed.

Fast forward ONE YEAR TO THE DAY... September 24, 2010... just a couple minutes before midnight, the Lord spoke very clearly to my heart. And, I heard him very clearly. He told me to get on Craigslist and search "castle bed". I thought about it for a minute... was this God or was this me? Why was this thought so clear? Should I get out of my nice comfy bed and do such a crazy thing? I KNEW that I had heard from the Lord... so, I got up.

As I searched, up came a small gray castle bed. It wasn't what I wanted, but I would settle for it. But, as I responded to the seller, I knew this was not my bed. I felt God was saying, "No... not this one... keep looking!"

I'm not sure what happened next, but within 5 minutes of searching, the castle bed that I had been praying and believing for popped up before my eyes.

I was so excited. I quickly emailed the family and told them my story and that I could meet them in the morning. I didn't fall asleep until after 4am. I couldn't believe it.

As I laid in bed, I began thinking about all the "coincidences": the bed was listed for the exact amount of money I had saved over the last year and a half... money ONLY for the castle bed... a reasonable amount of money... not what I had seen the beds for.

What's more, is the way the bed was coming to me... God spoke to my heart to go on Craigslist (something I hadn't done for months), it was EXACTLY one year to the day that I wrote down my request before the Lord, the bed was only one hour from my home, and the seller would deliver and set-up the bed. WoW!

I had to prep it and then re-paint it, but I was so overjoyed... even if my kids and hubby made me do it all by myself. The final product was just perfect in my mind.

That God delivered this bed to me in a time in our lives where our finances are VERY tight due to the 3 new kids and the loss of my job, got me to think and ask some questions.

I asked Him why He chose this time in our life to deliver this frivolous castle. I felt like He immediately said, "So that you will continue to trust me and know that I am in control."

The sudden death of my mom this summer, raising my 2 teenage nephews, the loss of my job, and the adoption of our littlest princess (all in 3 weeks) wasn't going to change His continued miracles in our life. These life-altering events were not going to destroy us... they are going to build us up. He is not leaving our side.

My faith is great... even in bringing home castles. And, my God is big... He cares about what is important to me. He desires to see me happy. He desires to bless me with the desires of my heart. And, He desires for me to trust Him... regardless of the outside circumstances. If He will do this for me... He will do it for you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

She Knows all her ABC SOUNDS!

Three weeks home from China with my 3.5 year old, I decided to practice what I preach in my preschool... put your kid in front of Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD for two weeks straight, and your kid can learn all their ABC's and sounds.

Well, this is true for normally developing children, children who speak English as a second language, and even for delayed children (children who don't seem to remember ANYTHING I teach them). But, would it work on my daughter who has been currently diagnosed with severe cerebellar atrophy.

RESULTS: After watching the DVD every day for 2 1/2 weeks... only being home from China for 3 weeks, Gabriella knows all but 3 sounds. She does not yet seem to know the names of the letters.

If I show her the capital letter on a flashcard (or say it), she can make the correct sound for all the letters except "Dd", sometimes "Jj" and sometimes "Vv". Not sure why those sounds are not cemented into her brain.

If I could change Leap Frog Letter Factory, I would have Tad teach the lowercase letters... because that's what the kids see when they read books. Other than that, it's a phenomenal tool.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We Found MULAN!

We are very excited to say that God has granted us our request. Since we started our adoption process May 1, 2009, we have prayed that if our daughter ever has a foster sibling or crib mate, that our daughter would always know who he/she is and that his/her family would be a Christian family that loves and honors our Lord.

We are excited to announce, that God has answered our prayers. Gabriella's foster sister, Mulan, was matched with her forever family in March 2010. She was actually adopted the week before Gabriella was to a Christian family in Canada.

I had the great privilege of speaking with Kelly and Tom on the phone August 28, 2010. We are very excited to be able to let the girls grow up knowing each other. For now, we are going to try to use SKYPE. Both girls are very excited to kiss each other's pictures when they see each other on the computer.

At 3 1/2, that's impressive their special bond.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shopping for Our Quilt Pieces

Tonight we shopped for our quilt pieces... I don't think it's a special day... it just so happened that everyone was home tonight.

We looked for our 100% cotton pieces of fabric (half of us chose 100% cotton felt pieces... but, had to return them and find the correct fabric) that represented us.

It was interesting to see the choices that the kids and Jason made. It was a fun family experience. We hope to get 100 squares from our friends and adoption acquaintances, so that we could create a memory for our little princess. We got 9x9 squares... just to make sure we had enough fabric.

Grandma Pirate is going to put the quilt together next spring when she returns from her trip on her pirate ship with Grandpa Pirate.

So, get your quilt piece to us soon. We are counting on it. It takes A LOT of quilt pieces to get to 100.

Sympathetic Mei Mei

My daughter continually amazes me. Today one of her brothers was crying... hysterically... because he misses Grandma. Grandma suddenly passed away June 26, 2010... and, he had lived with her. Since then, he has joined our family and become one of 3 gu gu's in the house.

Mei Mei and I sat on his bed while crocodile tears poured out of his little 12 year old eyes. I was rubbing his arm. Mei Mei was rubbing his arm too. She watched him intently... not moving... not even a little bit.

Her heart was his. She shared her panda bear with him and continued to pat or rub his arm... for minutes. We sat for 45 minutes with gu gu as he cried and shared with us his thoughts and feelings.

It was precious to see that she could be so attentive and alert to him.

Later, I found the golden retriever on the bed with gu gu. That's totally not okay though. There has got to be a line drawn about which family members are allowed on the bed. Furry ones must be excluded!

Went Through the Drive Thru

Yesterday I went through the drive thru without telling Gabriella what I was doing. I probably wasn't making the best choice either, because she had just told me she had to go potty. But, I have been trying to distract her this last week, since I learned that her need to go potty is not related to a urine infection. It is however related to two other things: total access to fresh water at all times and the opportunity to control her mama by asking to go potty (EVERY 15 minutes).

Anyway, that's not what this post is about.

I went through the drive thru and ordered a mocha. After being handed my mocha, I started to drive away. In the back I heard, "coffee... mama's coffee?"

I just had to smile. Boy, this girl has no idea. If I remember correctly, "Starbucks" was her third or fourth English word she learned. Those that know me, would believe it!

The Words She Now Knows

The initial findings on Gabriella's MRI have caused her doctor to be concerned that she will struggle with gaining language, that she will probably be ADHD, and that school will be a challenge.

I have to smile because she came to us on Gotcha Day, opened up her photo album and pointed to each of us and called us by name: "Mama, Baba, Jie Jie, and Gu Gu." By the grace of God, and truly another miracle, she has absolutely understood everything we have ever said to her. It is almost like she was a little Chinese princess (or empress) learning only English.

By the end of the two weeks in China, we were convinced that not a single word we spoke was missed. We are still convinced.

By her first week in America, she was repeating EVERYTHING we said, and she could say many words: potty, bottle, nigh nigh, so so pretty, wo ai ni (I love you), shoes, Starbucks, coffee, juice,

She also could point to and name her body parts: ears, nose (nosey), mouth (mouthy), toes (toesy), and eyes.

By the second week, she could also close her eyes if asked, wiggle her toes, raise her arms when you said, arms up/arms down, etc. She also knew what her foot, knee, belly button, head, hair, and legs were.

This week, thanks to Leap Frog's Letter Factory DVD, she knows the Aa says a and the Bb says b. She also repeats most of the motions and sounds to all the letters of the alphabet, but I think her favorite letter is Nn because they say "no"... which actually isn't a word she currently says... but, she sure does shake her head "no" when you ask her if she wants to go "nigh, nigh."

The first DVD of Your Baby Can Read has also helped Gabriella. She has learned to clap, wave, say elephant and tiger, and many other things.

The Words She Came With

We have been home with Gabriella about 3 1/2 weeks. And, I was just thinking the other day of the words she came with: Mama (Mommy), Baba (daddy), Jie Jie (sister), Gu Gu (brother), Gou, Gou (dog), Mao (cat), Baula (full), Niao Niao (potty), and xie xie (thank you).

Not sure if I got these correct... and, I have no idea how to put the marking on the words; but, as you can see, she had an extremely limited vocabulary... even in Chinese... at 3.5 years old.

Her receptive language seemed very good though. She understood what all the doctors and nurses requested of her when she had to be checked prior to leaving China. She knew where her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands and legs were. She also lifted her legs when asked. She cried when the nurses told her what they were going to do... give her an immunization in 3 of her 4 extremities.

What's amazing, even miraculous, is what she has learned since Gotcha Day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tyanna Turns 16 and the WHOLE World Can Now Know!

Monday, August 16th was a very special day in our home! Tyanna celebrated her 16th birthday and invited her friends to our home.

The whole world can now know about her baby sister.

Tyanna wanted to keep her sister a surprise. She had secretly hoped that Gabriella would arrive during basketball season and she would just be able to bring her onto the court, but that didn't happen. So, she waited until it could.

With Gabriella's arrival home on July 31, 2010, Tyanna began figuring out when she could get the majority of her girlfriends to our home.

The girls started at the local ice skating rink, stopped for slurpees, and then came home and ate some hamburgers, chips and watermelon. Tyanna prepared her life video (birth to her family 16th party) for her friends to watch... and, at the very end, she added some words about the gift her parents gave her for her 16th birthday. (Of course, the truth is, if you read in one of the earliest posts, Tyanna had known for 16 years that God had two sisters for her). She ended her video with pictures of mama, baba, and mei mei and then pictures of her and Gabriella.

Before the video ended, baba brought in mei mei in her red Chinese outfit and holding a ladybug balloon.