Why We Call Our Blog the Miracle of More

The miracle is a beautiful image of Ephesians 3:20--more than I can ask or imagine. Every day is a miracle. Every moment is a miracle. Specifically for our family, the miracle of more is our family growing in ways I would never have imagined when we first committed to adoption 8 years ago. But, the greatest miracle is the change in ME!

If you have questions about adoption, our work in South Africa, or spina bifida, please email me at rbmattox@bellsouth.net

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Great Adventure

I'm so glad God gave us the gift of music, the notes that work in perfect harmony with one another, rythym, and melody. How is it that the scale repeats every eight notes in an octave? It's all amazing to me.

And, it's amazing how a song can speak such comfort to me at just the right time. Like Tuesday, What Faith Can Do....

And, today, as I was getting Ellie ready for her Saddle Up Therapeutic Horseback Riding, I kept thinking of the song, The Great Adventure.

Ellie's got a trail to blaze.....

Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace...

She'll travel over mountains so high.

She'll go through valleys below

Still through it all we'll find that
This is the greatest journey
That the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far
Beyond our wildest dreams

Who could have imagined that there would be therapeutic horesback riding just 2 1/2 miles from our house? Who could have imagined all of the staff and volunteers who would love on Ellie with the love of Jesus?

Who could have imagined an entire community of love and support for a little girl who once had no family?

Thank you for your prayers and for joining us on this Great Adventure!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Passing Through Deep Waters

Many of you have walked with us through troubling times, while others have just begun to follow our journey. Choosing to adopt a child with spina bifida was one of the biggest leaps of faith Stan and I have ever taken, and I must today rely on that faith.

Today, as we received news I did not want to hear, I kept thinking of this verse:

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

There are so many unknowns when a person has a spinal defect, and I have learned that every case of spina bifida presents itself differently. I have learned that God has the answers that many medical professional do not. I have learned some tough lessons. I have learned that I never know what tomorrow holds, but I do know WHO holds tomorrow.

Today, as we met with professionals in the clinic at Shriners, I shared my concern that Ellie has seemed to stop making progress in her walking skills. She has gone from the inability to take steps to walking across the room, from crawling, to walking with a walker, to walking with 2 crutches, and then to one crutch. Praise the LORD! But, she continues to fall often, and hasn't made much more progress in the last several months.

So, we set up an evaluation with PT at Shriners', even discussed the possibility of intense physical therapy this summer when school is out, and we can spend more time in Tampa.

Then, the PT came to meet with us.

She did a thorough evalutation.

What she had to say was disheartening.

We learned, that, according to her findings, many of Ellie's muscles are not receiving messages from her brain. Her unusual gait is the result of other muscles taking over the walking, as the muscles that should do the walking are not functioning. Then we were told, "No amount of physical therpay is going to help that."

Not hope.....



We discusses a change in her braces, to give her more support, but I felt we were being told, "Ellie's walking is not going to get any better." There were other implications that just break my heart...concerning her future ambulation.

As we left Shriners' and are now here in Jacksonville for an MRI of her spine tomorrow, I heard the song from Kutless, "What Faith Can Do."

I want to share with Ellie dreams that move mountains, hope that never ends, and miracles that just happen. Will you join me in prayer...that when she walks through the water, she will know Her Savior is with her.

As I've come to the business center of the Ronald McDonald House to post tonight, I looked up Isaiah 43, and was further encouraged. I challenge you to read it to, but, OH, what a great God I serve. He sent me there to read verse 2, and then I read....

verse 5---Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

My Jesus brought our Ellie from the east. He brought her to the west, to America, to our family, to our church, to a place where she could learn of hope, to a county where she could rise above the odds.....

and then I read......

Get ready for this:......

verse 7Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Ellie was created for HIS glory. Praise the LORD! It has been my prayer that her life will manifest His glory, and today I read, that was why she was created. (That was why we were all created, by the way.)

Please pray with us, for hope, for strength, and for us to see HIS glory!

Courtesy of Kutless...."What Faith Can Do"

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!!

This weekend has been lots of fun,
but we have so been on the run.

Went to school--then home again
Took Josie-Tatum to the gym.

Then for Ellie to ride a horse,
which was lots of fun, of course.

After horses and the gym,
we then met our mission friends.

From South Africa, they did fly,
to share with us the reason why,

They left their jobs and worldly fame
to serve the poor in Jesus name.

On Friday at school, we did test
and then back home with little rest

We went to see a saint gone on
No longer making earth her home.

We came back home to cook and wait
New friend to meet, Brandon's date.

Heather, well, was quite a hit,
She entertained the girls a bit.

On Saturday, we then did rise.
To cook for family who said good-bye.

We went to church to celebrate.
Ellie's bm made us late.

We left the church and headed home.
To wrap a gift, then we were gone.

To attend a birthday celebration,
For death to birth, was some rotation.

Games and cake and some ice cream.
First birthday with her family.

But, when we left, it did not end.
Another birthday to attend.

Then, that night, we went to bed.
After getting Sunday threads.

We went to church and praised the LORD.
Our mission friend shared the word.

Lunch was shared with our new friend,
Then, the packing would begin.

I packed for Ellie, Stan, and me
Tampa is the place to be.

On Monday, after school, we leave,
follow up from her surgery.

Then we go to Jacksonville.
An MRI is the doctor's will.

So, for us will you please pray.
Rest and peace and to be safe.

I'll post again on Tuesday night.
When in Jax, we arrive.

(Disclaimer: I don't know who wrote this silly song....;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Passport

While in Chicago last week, Brandon told me how often my stories began with, "When we were in China..."

Well, this story, too, begins....When we were in China....

It was Adoption Day!

The date was Feb. 6, 2004. We were in Guangzhou China, the day after we met Josie-Tatum for the first time. (I am not able to post photos right now, but you can see that moment captured in time in the side bar.)

Stan and I were parents of a baby again. Whitney was 15. Caleb was 12. (It had been a long time since I had prepared diapers, fed a baby, and packed a diaper bag.) Josie-Tatum had been with us just over 12 hours, spent her first night in the crib beside my bed, and we had to go to the Civil Affairs office early that morning to proceed with her adoption.

All of the other families went down for breakfast before the bus departed.

Not us!

I had forgotten how long it takes to do all of those "baby" things.

Stan and I rushed around the hotel room, getting Josie-Tatum ready, boling water for bottles, gathering baby things, gathering paper work, opening the safe, counting the bills for the orphanage donation, while sending Whitney and Caleb down for breakfast without us.

When it was time to go to the Civil Affairs office, we left Whitney and Caleb with other older children at the hotel, put Josie-Tatum in her carrier, stuffed two cereal bars and bottles of water in her diaper bag, and headed down the elevator with all of the paperwork and documentation we needed. At least, that's what we thought we did.

We hopped on the bus with sixteen other families--seventeen babies, thirty-four parents, a driver and our guide--and rode to the Civil Affairs office. Imagine the noise. Some babies were laughing. Some were crying. And, some, like Josie-Tatum, just stared blankly. A few parents were staring blankly, too.

When we arrived in the large conference room, our guide and adoption facilitator gave us further instructions about the paper work and process we were about to begin. I opened our folder to retrieve what was necessary and asked Stan to get our passports that he had taken from the safe.

Stan gave me the passports.

I opened them.

One belonged to him.

The other was....


It was time to begin government proceedings, and I was holding Whitney's passport.

Stan went into alarm mode---his method for handling crisis.

I went into--okay there's a way out of this mode.

I began to tell Stan. You know, what, if we have to, Shiyan can bring us back tomorrow. No one is going to deny us an adoption because we picked up the wrong passport. Our agency doesn't want this to fail. The China Center of Adoption Affairs does not want this adoption to fail. We'll talk with Shiyan. She'll know what to do.

I don't remember praying.....

But, I do remember Shiyan's reaction.

She stared at me blankly----like Josie-Tatum had for the last 15 hours. All she had to say was, "You tell them what happened when you see the officer." Are you kidding? I was thinking that, but I didn't say it. I really wanted to scream..."Hello! You're the Chinese citizen. You're the facilitator. We help pay your salary. Is that all you have to say?" I didn't say any of that, but THAT was all SHE had to say.

So, Stan and I sat, waiting our turn. In alphabetical order with sixteen other families we had quite a wait. We sat anxiously, while holding Whitney's passport, ready to "tell the officer."

When our name is called, I feel my pulse in my neck. We walk with Josie-Tatum into another room where we sit across the desk from a man in a suit. He begins to ask for our paperwork, and I produce what he asks for. He asks for our passports. I give him Stan's. Then, I give him Whitney's. He looks at me strangely. I tell him what has happened. He doesn't say a word.

He simply begins processing our paperwork.

We visited two other government offices that day. I received the same reaction. The government officials we met with took my word that I had left my passport at the hotel and picked up my daughter's by mistake. Are you kidding? Communist China. No identification. Nothing happened. Try that in an American airport. (Wait, I did. It didn't work. When I accidentally picked up JT's passport on our way to South Africa, the security agent escorted me to our gate.)

We proceeded with all the court business, as if nothing...NOTHING...

Whitney's passport has expired now. So, I'm going to put it in our Memorial Box. I want us all to remember that God can make the crooked paths straight, even in a court room, even in Communist China. When we are in the LORD's will, he can give us favor in the sight of the Egyptians, in the sight of princes, in the sight of judges, in the sight of officials in China. He is THE Almighty, Mountain-Moving God!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super Saturday Morning

Well, early, super Saturday morning---

I got up at 4:00 a.m., so we could go see Caleb at the airport. (A mother makes many sacrifices. I even let me hair be a little crazy.)

We were able to visit with him for about 3 hours before he boarded his plane. We met some of his new friends and chatted with Scott....I hope his wife enjoys the photos. :)

To save time, I posted this link below from Snap Fish....You can click below and see all of the photos.

Hope your weekend was as blessed as ours!

I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
Click here to view photos

Friday, April 16, 2010


What a blessed day we've had.

Of course, it really began just a little over 24 hours ago when we left home. Thank you for all of your prayers. None of our flights were delayed. With less than an hour to make our connecting flight, we had no problems getting from one concourse to another and finding the gate for our connection. We had enough time for a potty break and a few minutes to spare.

While it was all smooth, if you had heard Brandon, you might have thought differently. (He can try to get even later.) We get to security, and, since he's not flown since he was very young, and Casie has NEVER flown, I was leading the way. Since some in security are concerned with how quickly you move through the line, I thought someone could follow my example. Instead, he says, "Mrs. Robbie, you're feeding me to the wolves. Mrs Robbie, what do I do with this? Mrs. Robbie, what are you doing? Mrs. Robbie, Mrs. Robbie." Well, I thought I had him settled, and I go through the metal detectors. I look back, and who have those chosen to do a random screening on? You guessed it. There was Brandon being escorted into the little bubble......heheheh

Note for Future Travelers:
When you arrive at your destination after midnight, and you go to pick up your rental car, use this phrase, "No, thank you."

I had already paid for the car online, I had already chosen the car I thought fit our needs, and still....the young lady says, "May I suggest a Chevy Malibu for your party? It's only $10 more." I didn't use the afore mentions phrase. I was tired. I said, "Okay." The lady with the too-long nails clicked across the keyboard, smiling, and then said, "Oh, that car isn't ready, but I have an Infinity that is ready to drive out of here." She begins telling me all of its accessories, and Brandon, no longer intimidated by security says, "Get that one. Get that one." The smiling lady with the long nails tells me how much it would cost ordinarily and what deep discount she's giving me, and wanting so desperately to get to our hotel room, I again do not mention the afore mentioned phrase.

So, we're driving an Infinity.

Nice car.....

Don't know what to do with all of the buttons.

Found hotel, no issues.

Nicest hotel I've ever paid so little for...Hilton Garden Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois. Highly recommend it.

Slept, fitfully, three hours, time to get up.

Leave for the the base.

Guess whose car is chosen for the random search...YEAH!!!

No problem, we still made it to the graduation ceremony with over an hour to spare.
There was some awesome music and flag work at the beginning of the Pass In Review.

AND, then the divisions entered.

Caleb's division was first.

He was on the front line.

Yes, I cried at first sight!!!!

And cheered when his division was announced with a lump in my throat.

But, you know my favorite part was that photo in my previous post, that one of Caleb with just his mama. My family and his sweet girl friend let me have him first....I nearly ran to find him, and he gave his mama the very best BEAR hug I've ever had...(tears again)....and then we were able to spend eight hours together.

We came to the hotel for just a few minutes.

Then, we left for the Cheesecake Factory, less than 10 miles away...Can you believe it? How cool is that? When we left, I asked a very kind stranger to take our photo....look how lovely this shopping complex is.

And, all my sweet son wanted to do was come back to the hotel and chill with his family. We obliged....and, we all took a nap while Casie and Caleb sat up and spent a some time almost alone together, just two snoring parents in the room and Brandon napping on the floor.

Caleb just wanted to take off his shirt...any of you who have followed my blog the last couple of years know he and Brandon are too sexy for their shirts.

And, we talked and we talked. Caleb talked and talked, shared funny stories, and made his mama feel better about his time away from us. While letters sometimes made me worry, I could tell once he was with his support team, he could share the parts of basic he enjoyed.

For those who have commented on his weight loss.....

Tomorrow morning, we will be able to spend a few hours with him before he leaves for his next destination....and we'll have to be up around 4 a.m., so I'm going to bed...I'll post more tomorrow.....

See My Baby

More details later!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Take a Look

This photo arrived in a package from Fed Ex yesterday.

And, in less than 36 hours, I get to see that handsome face in person.

Check back for ONE HAPPY REUNION!!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memorial Box Monday--Words from my Granny

I've had this post rolling around in my head for over a week, and was further encouraged to share when I learned of another's heart ache. Today, when I told the girls I was going to share a story with them at bedtime, their questions encouraged me even more. They wondered if they would be part of the story.

This Memorial Box story begins when Stan and I had been married just four years. Stan had ALWAYS wanted children. I was the spouse who said, "Wait." I wanted to finish college first.

We were finally expecting our first baby.

He was excited.

I was, too.

Six weeks into my pregnancy, I began spotting.

After five days of bed rest, I miscarried.

I was grief-stricken.

Another of those stories, before there were cell phones. Stan was driving a truck, and I had no way to reach him. I had to wait ALL day long for him to come so I could tell him. Devastated and heart broken, I had my cousin who had been staying with me make several phone calls. I sent word that I did NOT want to see anyone. I only wanted to talk to Stan.

Hours went by.

Sometime in the afternoon, I heard a car drive up. I hoped it was Stan, but it was my Granny. And, I admit, I was ANGRY. I did NOT want to see anyone, not even her. I went to the door anyway, and I don't know what she read in my face.

But, here is what she had to say:

"Robbie, I'm sorry. I've waited as long as I can wait. I have to tell you something. I've been thinking all day. I have to tell you....if I hadn't lost my first baby, I wouldn't have had your daddy."

Let those words sink in.......

No Daddy, no me....

And, had I not miscarried, I would not have found myself pregnant three months later with this beautiful baby.

And, she would not have grown into this beautiful girl

This beautiful girl who encouraged us, and prayed for a baby sister....from China...

And, this baby girl would grow

and ask for a baby sister.

And, the more I pondered those words from my Granny, the more I thought of God's sovereign plan for our family. I remembered that Caleb and I both nearly died in child birth. Fifty-percent of all mothers with the complications I had don't live. Fifty-percent of all babies don't make it either. Statistically, one of us shouldn't be here. But, God had a plan for this darling.

He knew that the baby born to this mother....

was one day going to be without a mother. God knew that Caleb needed to be here to be Brandon's friend, so he could place Brandon in our family.

So, in our Memorial Box, I am placing this

I want my children to know that God knew them in their mothers' wombs. He knew the plans he had for them. He planned to give them a future and a hope. He chose the perfect time and the perfect place for their birth. He chose the paths they would take to become a part of our family.

And, that plan is PERFECT!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fun Photo Shoot

I took these photos today. They are just too beautiful to wait to share. Josie-Tatum and I had taken a walk through a plowed field and then through a path in the woods where I use to walk sometimes when I was a young girl. We found this field off the beaten path....planted in some sort of grass. Maybe one of you know what it is. We decided it would make the perfect backdrop for photos, a sea of green. We came home, dressed, and found a way to drive Ellie there....ENJOY!

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