Saturday, December 31, 2011

Home for 16 months...What has God been up to?

Gabriella came home from Guangxi, China on July 31, 2010.

Over these last 16 months, we have been to multiple doctors and therapists to help her some day walk and talk like a normally-developing child.

Her SN (Special Need) was diagnosed as "Severe Cerebellar Atrophy." In simple terms, this means her cerebellum is atrophying. This of course, is not the case.

Her cerebellum is under-developed. It affects her ability for her eyes to align, her communication (both hearing and speaking), and her ability to balance/walk.

When we got her at 3 1/2 years old, she could say "Mama, Baba, Jie Jie, Gu Gu, Now Now (pee pee), Boula (full), and xie xie (thank you)". She seemed to understand what people said.

Her movements were very shaky, she would fall as she attempted to crawl on the ground, she could only stand for short periods of time while holding on to the table (a couple seconds), and could not stand unassisted nor walk.

After seeing the pediatric neurologist, I went on a quest to help Gabriella. She saw a physical therapist once a week in school and out of school, she had speech therapy at school for 30 min./week by herself and 45 min./week with a group of kids, she is on Pro EFA and Pro EPA fish oils twice a day, she takes Univera's 3oz. Essentials once a day, ZRII's Nutriveda once a day (I wish she could drink more), eats organic food, with little wheat, no corn, and dairy only in her daily cheese stick and yogurt.

She saw an accupuncturist 5 days/week for 1 1/2 months, but there wasn't enough change to warrant continuing. She saw a chiropractor for a couple months twice a week. We were grateful for that. She then went to see a NUCCA chiropractor in which we saw substantial immediate changes. She has seen a naturopath, neurologist, and a bunch of specialists (bio-chemist and geneticist types)looking at her genes via the multiple blood draws, to help rule things out or see if there is anything they can do to help her improve.

Honestly, in all of this, her greatest improvement was when I made a decision in February 2010 to fast and pray for her for 21 days. Within days, she went from having ZERO balance to standing 4-6 seconds. Over the course of the fast, she stood a handful of times for 12-15 seconds and one time for 18 seconds. God was giving me a glimpse of what would come.

Fast forward to the end of the year. Gabriella can stand for 12-15 seconds many times during the day. There are still times, if she isn't ready, that I will ask her to stand and she will still immediately fall over. But, I know God is healing her.

She use to need to wear a helmet because she would crawl and fall or sit and fall, multiple times a day... and, that just broke my heart when I couldn't catch her and protect her. She no longer wears her helmet.

She use to bathe in a bathing chair that she was fastened to, to protect her from water injuiries. She no longer needs this.

She use to sit on a toddler toilet seat on top of the regular seat but this week we have even graduated from that to help her build her muscles even more.

She went from not being able to get on her little ride on toy, and falling off once she did get on after multiple tries... to riding a 16" bike with training wheels a mile per SUNNY day.

She went from not speaking English, to knowing her letters and sounds just 3 weeks home from China. Within 3 months home from China, she was blending two and three letter sounds.

She now can read simple Bob books with three or four words per page.

I use to help her drink from a sippee cup. Now she can drink out of any cup.

There is so much more, but I at least wanted to blog what she has been up to until now.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We got an update on my baby Amaris!

To learn more about baby Amaris, you will have to visit her very own in-depth, full of her own

Amaris is anticipated coming home in June 2012.

Christmas 2011

We are excited to share this Christmas 2011 photo... but, we are still missing Amaris (1) and Annabella (2)... we hope they will be in our arms before the end of June 2012.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birth mama, to the Orphanage, to foster China mama, to Forever Mama

Gabriella's short story.

She was abandoned 590 days after birth: 1 year 7 mo. and 15 days later.

She spent approxiametly 318 days in the orphanage, or about 11.5 months.

By June 1, 2009, she was placed in the Grace and Hope foster care program with You Mu Lan. They are now Chinese foster sisters. Gabriella was in foster care for just under 14 months before we adopted her.

RE-ADOPTION on National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day.

Gabriella is being re-adopted.

While we were in China picking up Gabriella, we had the very pleasant surprise that Gabriella was left at the gates of her SWI with a note attached: her birth mama had given her a name and also recorded her date of birth.

So, today, we are officially adding ANOTHER name to her already beautiful name. I am not mentioning this name because this is ONE of the links we have to identifying her family sometime in the future.

Thank you Jesus for this special gift.

Oh, and one other thing. Today Gabriella got her VERY FIRST (AND ONLY) Happy Meal from McDonalds... and, only because it was free. Her next Happy Meal she can get when she is 16.

While we celebrate with Gabriella today, there are two more princesses waiting for us in China.

Princess Amaris...

And, possibly identified (Nov. 25th) Annabella (but God will have to show Himself REALLY BIG if we get this little one). Her story is just beginning, but God is leading...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gabriella, post eye surgery

Gabriella's eye surgery was just 48 hours ago. It took just under 30 minutes to complete.

She went in with 20/40 in one eye and 20/50 in the other.

Twenty-four hours post-op she was evaluated and they found that her eyes were 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other.

We are praising God for her new sight and that her eyes are already beginning to line up. The extreme itchiness of her eyes stopped within about 36 hours.

She read a "Bob" book called Mat just a couple minutes before rolling in to surgery. 48 hours post-op I had her read the same book. She zoomed through it today.

Baba asked if she got smarter with her surgery because last night when they were playing with her little Fisher Price Little People and Animals, Gabriella's animal approached Baba's person and asked, "What's your name?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eyes... "Line up" in Jesus name!

Gabriella will go in for surgery to cut muscles so that her eyes can align.

I don't do eyes... so, this will be interesting. I have a hard time talking about my other daughter's contacts... not sure what I am going to do, or how I am going to do looking at my baby's eyes, post-surgery.

We are praying that God will do a mighty miracle, put a hedge of protection around Gabriella, and give wisdom to the doctor, anesthesiologist, and attending staff.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Our updated family photo... well, almost...

This is our latest updated photo October 2011... but, our oldest (almost 20) decided that he didn't want to participate in the photo session... and, as for our littlest princesses, Amaris and Annabella... they are still in China until June 2012.

As for the other two boys, they joined our family August 1, 2010 (the day we returned from China with Gabriella). My mom, their Grandma, died suddenly just a few weeks before we left for China... so, they needed a new home... from 2 kids with 2 or 3 China babies on the way at the beginning of summer 2010... to 5 kids with 2 China babies on the way at the end of summer.

I have been working on life scrapbooks for Gabriella... So...

Because a significant number of hours are spent creating Gabriella's digital life scrapbooks, I have only been posting on Facebook all the amazing things that God has been doing in her life.

Since I haven't posted since Valentine's Day and now it's October, I will have lots to write about.

Gabriella now has a baby sister named Amaris, "God has promised." We waited to know who Gabriella was for 16 years and for Amaris for 18 years. documents the AMAZING miracles since Thanksgiving 2010 and how God brought Amaris to us.

We are currently looking for Annabella... if I were to make any guesses, she is probably 2, lives in Nanning, and has the SN label of "developmental delay". That's what my heart says... but, we are open to whatever age and wherever she is located. Our papers are ready for two... I can't imagine not bringing her home in the spring 2012, but that is a possibility.

One of my hearts greatest desires is to bring home a 1-4 year old Xi'an or Yulin Starfish princess home. Someday I will be a Starfish Mama... even if it isn't in 2012.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dream Vehicle Delivered

In 2008, one of my girlfriends encouraged me to start writing my prayer requests down and those things that I am believing God for. So I did... and over that year, I saw God fulfill many of those requests. But, one of my requests took a few years to come to a final decision.

One of those items was my dream vehicle... since 2001, I had dreamed of the Toyota Sequoia, but as the years went on, my dream changed... to some sort of suburban, to an Escalade, then a Navigator, until finally I realized, that when I drove down the freeway, I was most drawn to the Infiniti QX56. As I did my research, it seemed to me that the identical car, but much more affordable version, was the Nissan Armada. I was sure we could eventually afford it, and so I began to consider: "it would do." With three driving teenagers, we needed another car... and I was happy to give up our 10 year Toyota Sienna.

It seemed like God was pushing open a door for us to purchase a new vehicle... we were having some unusual issues with the minivan because it was dying for no apparent reason. Jason suggested to take it to the local Pennzoil to get the oil changed. When I got there, they found that I had been driving with no oil. Weird... the oil monitor didn't register "no oil". I also purchased a new battery from Les Schwab. The van seemed to be good to go now, but it convinced my hubby that it was time to get a new vehicle for the family.

He asked me what I wanted. I told him that we could probably pay cash for the Nissan Armada but I really wanted the QX56. So, I was just going to wait it out. But within a few days, faith rose up inside me that it was time to get the vehicle... the QX56. I told Jason that I thought it was time. He said, "I already found you a few, which one do you want?" We looked at all of them, did some preliminary research on our own, and then decided on the one. It was beautiful, but it wasn't a black QX56, nor did it have 8 seats.

Because it was in the next state, he drove there to check it out. It was visually perfect... until he took it in to have Infiniti look at it. It just had too many things wrong with it. I wanted Jason and I to have God's perfect peace about this purchase, especially since I wasn't there. I told him not to buy it if he wasn't sure. When he received the report, he just wasn't sure. That was fine. My prayer was that Jason would know whether this vehicle was ours or not. It clearly wasn't. I would see him the next day and we would keep looking.

But, that night, I felt like God told me to Craigslist "Infiniti"... since this has happened to me a couple other times in my life, it was no longer a question of whether I should do that or not. Each time, God had specifically put me in the right place at the right time to receive the right blessing. I had to trust my gut that I really truly heard from the Lord. I searched again... black, 8 passenger QX56 had just come available that hour... I arranged for Jason to go see it. Ironically, coincidentally, or perhaps a Divine Positioning, what I call a God Wink, Jason happened to be in the city of sale, because he was already there to look at the other vehicle. Had he not been there, perhaps it would have been easier to sell the vehicle to another person.

Jason later confessed that he had been looking on Craigslist for months for a QX56, he just didn't want to tell me. But today, God had it waiting for us. After having Infiniti check out the vehicle, Jason returned the next Saturday, September 24, 2011 and bought the vehicle.

To our surprise, when I went to date my prayer journal that my dream vehicle had arrived, I saw that God had divinely orchestrated things so that this vehicle would be purchased 2 years after I had written my dream vehicle request out before God... and, when I had finalized it and truly told him what I wanted, He delivered it.

Coincidence or miraculous... if you have read our stories before... you KNOW we believe this is miraculous... God allowed us this purchase on 9.24.2011... two years to the day that I wrote what I was believing for.

God knows the desires of our heart and wants to grant them to us.

Gabriella's triple stroller for her and her sisters

Over the last few months, but more specifically since we received PA for Gabriella's baby sister Amaris, I have been looking for a triple stroller.

After much looking, I finally decided on a particular one that could seat 3 princesses... 2 in regular stroller seats and one in the back to sit or stand.

For some reason, I decided to look again on-line to contemplate the places to purchase it and to remind myself of it's ridiculous price. I have seen much more ridiculous prices, but this was ridiculous for a stroller.

I felt very strongly that God was directing me to "Craigslist" for this stroller. But, I thought it rather odd, because the stroller has only been on the market for a few months. But, I did what I felt was so strongly directed. (9.24.2011)

To my surprise, the very stroller I wanted was on Craigslist, just 20 minutes away... it had been taken out of the original box, but the tags were still on it and everything was in mint condition.

I shared my story of looking on-line earlier in the day. I also asked why she was selling her un-used stroller for 1/2 price... she was a nanny with a new job... and, therefore didn't need it after all.

God is our provider... and, His timing is perfect.

On this day, two years ago, I wrote down my desire for a particular castle bed in my prayer journal. A year later, EXACTLY, He gave me the castle bed. Read this story in in Gabriella's blog, It's pretty amazing.

Two years ago, in the same prayer journal, on the same day, a few entries away from each other, I wrote my dream vehicle down as well that I was speaking and believing for. Two years later, on the EXACT day of my original journal entry, He answered my prayer. He gave me our new SUV, but that has it's own story.

Two new full sets of wheels in a day... September 24, 2011. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We found Amaris... well, God did!

Our story to Amaris... our baby we waited 18 years for... has finally begun with a picture.

Please join our journey to our precious little princess at

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm standing AND riding my bike!

Even my baba didn't think I could do it!

Yesterday was another big day for me.

My mama is always praying that God will heal me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes so that I can walk and talk, run and jump, hop and skip and play basketball.

This week, since my mom started fasting and praying for me, God is hearing her prayers. I can ride my bike, I am standing between "4 and 6" seconds (at times), and I am now speaking in sentences without my mama helping me with my sentences. I also decided, on my own, to walk up the stairs while holding the rail. I might as well. My mom talks about me walking all the time.

I will walk. I will talk. I will run. I will jump. I will hop. 

I will skip. And, I will play basketball. 

And, I will do it, because my God is a big God!

Looking for 2 NEW princess sisters!

My mama and baba are looking for 2 new princess sisters. We are praying that God will open the door for us to bring 2 two year olds home in 2011-2012.