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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guess Who Is Coming Home!

In Two Weeks!!!!!


I'm so excited!!!



And, I don't think I ever shared this Christmas gift with you. The beautiful couple in the photo gave me the photo for Christmas, and they will be home in TWO weeks!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sometimes.....

I often receive emails about waiting children...children who are waiting on a forever family.

Sometimes......

I receive one of those emails, and my heart is moved in a way I know the LORD wants me to be involved.

Today was one of those times.

This little boy calls to my heart. I KNOW he is not ours, for we have two sons waiting for us already.

But, I wonder if he is YOURS.

Please go take a look. His special need is correctable. I have much more information about it, and I know more than one parent who would welcome serious inquiries about it. So, I ask again...please go take a look.

Please.

Click here: Mitchell

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seeing Through Different Eyes



Ellie came to me in the kitchen just like this! I had nothing to do with it. Really. I knew I had to share it with you. Seeing her enjoy life the way she does brings me such joy. I cannot imagine a minute without her in our home. Can a file from China filled with medical notes and growth charts give you any idea what is bubbling from that soul? What do you see?


Well, I thought surely she couldn't see a thing..and even made such a suggestion to her.


She proved me wrong.


Don't you just love it when your 5-year-old does that to you? Oh, wait, I was also informed that she is almost 6 years old. She's right. Again. She'll be 6 years old in 8 days.


Back to that proving me wrong thing., though. She said, "Hold up some fingers." I did. She knew how many--each time.


And, as I watched Ellie the Superstar enjoying her world through new eyes, I thought of the other new things in our house.


Changing the name of the blog to The Miracle of More has brought much more to my mind. Our family is growing more than I ever could have imagined, much more. God is providing with more miracles through the body of Christ, as we have seen every penny we needed here when we needed it.


The greatest miracle of more, though, continues to be the change I see in Stan. While orphan awareness has been my PASSION for a long time, it has been an interest to Stan. He watches me work and he supports my endeavors.


Until now.....


I am seeing a PASSION in him like I never remember before....and we've been married a LONG time. (I mean that in a good way...really)


I've been selling necklaces and t-shirts and sharing our fundraising efforts around the groups I belong to on the internet. I've spoken to our youth group, and he came along for support.


Since last week, though, I've seen Stan begin to work for something he really believes in, something he truly KNOWS will make a difference in the world.


We have two other local fundraisers going on right now, to be concluded on February 12th. Stan has been out in the community sharing the information everywhere he goes. He has delivered shirts that I've sold and collected money. He has visited local businesses and asked for their support. Tonight, he spent quite some time on the phone with several people who are involved in
some way with the upcoming fundraisers.
And, he sold a necklace today. Yes, my manly man visited our insurance agent, necklaces in hand, and asked the ladies in the office if they'd like to purchase one. He took beads to the eye doctor today. He told me I need to go back on their pay day.


The most powerful statement he made though was this, "When we are finished with our adoption, I'd like to see if we could start a group that supports families who are fundraising for adoptions." That was my Eyore talking. I am Tigger, the risk taker, the bouncer. He is my balance. He has a desire to do something spectacular. And, I can't wait to see how the LORD is going to balance Tigger now. ;) I may need a new pair of eyes.





If you'd like the opportunity to see the orphan crisis through new eyes, click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Josie-Tatum Update

I apologize to those who have asked. Thank you for your prayers.



The doctor said the bone is as strong as it could possibly, perhaps stronger than the uninjured arm. It may be months before she has regained full use of it....and please pray that she will regain 100% use. He advised us not to push her, to allow her to use her arm only to the extent that she is comfortable.



And, today, do you know what she chose to do?




She went to the gym! What a brave girl! She did not work on the bars, as her arm is not ready for that, nor did she to the vault. She did, though, work on the beam. Brave girl! She did her floor routine, minus the back handspring. Her coach was wonderfully supportive of allowing her to do what she is comfortable doing, letting her take it slow, and making sure her return to the gym is positive.

Oh, me...of little faith. I was worried that her anxieties would keep her from going back.

And, take a look at that photo again.

The arm that is bent is NOT her injured arm. Her joints are so flexible, it is bent in the opposite direction. The straight arm is the arm that was broken.

While JT was at the gym, Ellie and I had an afternoon with just the two of us. It's been two months. We need to enjoy this Mama and Ellie alone time. I pray that the end of this year will bring a house full of children even when Josie-Tatum is not home. We enjoyed Just Dance 2, my new exercise routine.



Now, just for fun....if you want to read the story of a miraculous provision, go over to my friend Terry's blog . Tell her I sent you. And, then come back and tell me what an inspiring story you think it was!

The Blog Needs a New Name

So help me decide on a new name:

I was thinking...since it started as Mei Mei Makes Four...back when Ellie would have been our fourth child...but then..SurPrise...there was Brandon....

Maybe....Mei Mei Makes Four and More


Or....Blessed With Four and More

Or, with all the LORD has done to make it clear that Drew and Zeke to be a part of our family

The Miracle of More


Do you have a favorite?

Any other idea?

Leave a comment and tell me what you think....

Monday, January 24, 2011

AS Promised!

I do have a surprise. And, yes Vicki, I have been holding out a little. It seems the joy of the surprsie has been overshadowed by recent events.



I absolutely enjoyed reading your comments and learning about some of you I've never heard from before. I am convinced there are still many lurkers out there, so let me know who you are.



And, before the surprise, you have to promise to read to the end. I have an urgent prayer request, and I need to know there are MANY in the body of Christ carrying this burden to the LORD.



PROMISE?



But, first the sweet surprise:



Look at those chubby cheeks! Don't you want to squeeze them? I sure do!


That is our precious Drew, aka Zhuang Zhuang. I received some photos and an update after Christmas. Here's the update:

Here are a few pictures of Zhuang Zhuang. He has been attending a montessori kindergarten with his friend Ping An and Xiao Yong and they all enjoy it very much. All of a sudden they seem to have grown up a bit, it seems! The other day Zhuang Zhuang came home humming the "ABC" song. He likes to sing and is not embarrassed to belt it out when you ask him to sing for you. Really cute!

Now, take a look at the photos. This boy loves his food apparently. And Brandon says that means he'll fit in quite well at our house.



He is being so well cared for while he waits for his family. To God be the glory!!

But, the burden of my heart is our Zeke. Please, please join us in prayer.

We have learned some things about the possible conditions of his SWI. (That's Chinese for orphange...Social Welfare Institute.) There was a two year old girl who was to be adopted from there who was in need of urgent medical condition. Please pray for QP. The family felt they were unable to continue with her adoption. I've been told that Love Without Boundaries is hoping to get her and give her the care she needs. As of now, I don't know anymore about her condition, but believe me when I say she will soon die without intervention. If you have any contacts in China, or know anyway to get help to this child, please email me.

I have other concerns as well. Please pray that the LORD will intervene in a mighty. Pray His hand of protection and comfort for our Zeke.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Come Out, Come Out











Come out, come out, wherever you are.


The girls had fund posing for these pictures, and Josie-Tatum was particularly intrigued by the reason I took them.

You see, I've been thinking about all of you. I've been especially thinking about all of you who read this blog and have never posted a comment. I might have run into you at Lowe's, or Wal-Mart, or even Okefenokee Swam Park, but you have never let me know you are here.

So, let this be come out of hiding week. Pretend we've been playing hide and seek, and I caught you before you made it to base.


Click the comment link, and tell me who you are. You don't have to have a google account. But, do leave your name this time, or a little about yourself. Tell me why you visit here. Are you an adoptive mom? Are you someone considering adotion? Do you have a special needs child? Or, are you just interested in the Crazy lady who said she could be a fool for Jesus and add two more children to the five Jesus has already given her?


If you have commented before, leave a comment anyway...and tell me about you.....You sure do know A LOT about me. ;)


And, once ten people comment, who have never commented before, I'm going to share something else with you. (No, we're not adopting THREE.) But, I think you'll enjoy my surprsie.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

If....



If you had met this little girl....held her, and loved her....knowing she had spent the first 14 months of her life here:




If you had witnessed the daily transformation of her personality, until her face lit up with joy...and saw her become what God intended for her to be.



If you had been here when this precious child walked across the room for the first time in her four years on earth:


If you knew there were 147 million others, just like the two you tucked into bed tonight...who had no one to tuck them in.


And, if the LORD brought these children in your path:



If you knew that these two precious boys had been available for adoption for months.... And, you knew that their names were being lost in a list of over 2,000 names...

If you knew that mountains were moving to make it possible for them to join your family.

And, their lives could change forever...like you have witnessed before:


What would YOU do?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Josie-Tatum Update

Tomorrow we go for Josie-Tatum's six week check up since the broken arm and surgery.

Please pray for good news, that her arm is healing well, and she will regain 100% use of her arm. Gymnasts need 100%.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Memorial Box--Zeke's Story



I have recently realized that I have not shared much of Zeke's story, how we came upon the decision to adopt two little boys rather than one.

And, the simple version, but, oh so powerful, is one word.

JESUS

But for those who want to know more details, allow me to share how the LORD moved in such a way that Stan and I knew HE had two sons waiting for us in China.


Most of you have already read of the beginning of our journey to Drew. (If you haven't you can read it here.) The beginning of Zeke'es journey to his forever family will begin, of course, with our journey to Drew.


So, while we were beginning to paperchase to adopt Drew, I read a post from a mother who often advocates for waiting children. I see many of these posts, and don't read most of them. It's not that my heart is not burdened for these children, but I am a working mother with 5 children. I suppose what made me want to take a peak was the fact that the agency our smaller agency works through was listed in this subject line. It only read... Noah with Small World, age 4. What makes sense to God is...I took a look.


You've seen this photo.



I began to advocate for him myself. Here is a post I submitted to an advocacy group.

Okay, ladies and gentleman---

Please take a look at Noah:'
http://www.swa.net/waiting-children-children.aspx

Small World has had his file for 6 weeks. They have about that long before it has to return to CCAA. I've looked at his file. While he has meningocele, his medical records state that he has no neuropathy...no nerve damage. (I know all medicals from China are not thorough.)

He is such a darling. I hate to think that he is not being considered just because of his diagnosis of meningocele.

Robbie

I shared his photo and information with others. A few people seemed interested, but no one followed up.

Then, God began speaking to my heart. I began to feel he may be our son!

And, that WAS crazy! We had just begun fundraising for Drew's adoption. We were totally unprepared financially for one adoption, certainly not TWO. Stan and I had not EVEN discussed the possibility of adopting two children.


So, if you read much of what I write....you may remember that I laid a fleece before the LORD. I told God I would mention it to Stan IF he provided twice what we needed for the first fee to be sent to our agency. I know that sounds strange, but that's where I started.

Only, I'm not good at keeping secrets.

And, so, before I had spent much time waiting on the LORD, I confessed to Stan. I told him about Qing Zhuang. I asked him just to listen. (He always knows I have something frightening to share when I begin that way.) But, he listened. And, he didn't say no. And, he didn't say yes.

But, later, as I was in my prayer and Bible study time, he came back into the bedroom. He laid down beside me in the bed. I knew his heart was stirring. He said one of the most moving things I have ever heard him say. He said, "Robbie, since we've talked about adopting Drew, I've not had a vision. I felt we were doing what God was telling us to do, but I never saw myself with him. But, tonight, since you've told me about Qing Zhuang, I can't stop thinking about him. And, everytime I close my eyes, I have a vision. I see TWO little boys. I see TWO little boys wrestling on the great room floor with their daddy."


Can you imagine how my heart leapt within me?


But, you know what?

I was scared, too!!!!! I wasn't ready for Stan to say Yes yet. Funny, isn't it? God had not answered ME yet, but he was giving me His answer through Stan.


But, still we prayed, and still we talked. We had not yet committed.

We had some criticims about our adoption of one child...and especially about our fundraising. I was beginning to get somewhat discouraged. Then, our homestudy packet came in the mail from our agency. Included in all of the paperwork was the first major fee we owed....$2,000. And, we had less than $500.


Stan was the one who had opened the mail. I am usually quiet with him when I am worried, but this day was different. Stan was quiet about what he had read. He later shared with me how we was beginning to worry about the $2,000. We went to church, and I could tell God was speaking to Stan, but I wasn't sure what was going on.


When we came back home, I saw Stan on the great room sofa, looking through his Bible. I didn't know what he was doing...and didn't ask. I was returning a phone call.

I hung up the phone trembling and went to talk to Stan. I had great news to share. "We have been given $2,500 tonight for our adoption." Stan looked up from the Bible for one second, then he put his head in his hands and began to cry. The first time he said anything, he said, "I have two sons in China."


Stan had been looking through his Bible, trying to decide a Biblical name for Qing Zhuang.... IF....we decided to adopt him. The moment when God provided what we needed that day for the adoption of Drew, he KNEW God was going to provide for both boys. He has chosen the name Ezekial from the Bible. Then, he called our pastor to share the news....and to tell him that his American middle name would be Gunter...our pastor's last name.

The most amazing part of our journey to Drew and Zeke is watching the faith of our family. As God provides, our faith continues to grow. As God speaks to the hearts of our friends and family who give, we draw closer to the body of Christ. We are reminded that he created the body to be His hands here on earth. And, we grow ever more grateful each day.


Now, in our Memorial Box will be the original email....from the post of Suzanne. Without that post, I would not have found our Zeke. From that post, God has done GREAT things.


(If you'd like to know more about Memorial Box Mondays, go here.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Weekend

Just a moment to say.....

I'm ready for this 3 day weekend with all 3 of my girls!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guess Who Came to Visit




It seems that Ellie went to the bathroom tonight, and Nanny McPhee came out. Yes, she thought of this herself, with her shirt over her head and some wrapping paper...that I have no idea where she found......which is her magic stick.

I was so tickled when she said, "I'm Nanny McPhee," that bedtime came a little later than it should have while Josie-Tatum made some moles, and we hunted up the Bubba teeth.

Here's what she had to say: (I'm sorry...turn your head.)

video



I hope the magic stick she took to bed with her helps her get to sleep!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Character Counts




As moms we're sort of proud when our children receive awards.






Well, yesterday was Shining Stars Day at our school, Midway Elementary. I never imagined both of my girls would get the same award!






Now, this little girl tells me she is a good girl at school.....hmmmmm...she is loved by all of her classmates.......hmmmmmm





It am still amazed at how that same spunky girl who loves to challenge her parents is the same sweet little girl who give the best hugs and kisses. She will tell a stranger she has pretty hair, or tell her mommy she is the best mommy in the world.




And, while both sad and sweet...here is a sweet moment for Ellie. She decided to get out of the bath tub when I wasn't in the bathroom. While that may not be an area of concern for some, having Ellie who falls regularly, walk across the bathroom floor with wet feet, IS reason for concern.




So, she fell.




And, she hit her head.




But, her sister ran, sort of, to get me. (She is still recovering from a broken arm, so she didn't want to hurry up the stairs too fast.)




When, I arrived in the bathroom, Ellie was sprawled out on the floor. I'm sorry, but I had to chuckle. She was wrapped in one towel, and her head was placed on another. Josie-Tatum had nursed her a moment before finding Mama. When she saw me, Ellie stopped cyring to say, "Josie's a nice sister."




How's that? Josie-Tatum will take care of her sister, and I pray she always will. And, Ellie will speak kind words about her for her efforts, and I pray she always will.

And, I have to tell you, tonight at prayer time Josie-Tatum tells Jesus, "Jesus, I wish it didn't cost so much to adopt, so maybe Daddy would let us adopt 100 kids."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good News!!!

Oh, how our Jesus knows when a mama needs some good news!

Today, Caleb received his orders.

He will be close to home!!!!

This mama is doing a happy dance!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When It Gets Hard--UPDATE

UPDATE!! I just have to take a minute this morning before I get busy teaching to say, "Thank you!" Your prayers have made an awsome, inconceivable from the human world, difference in the peace that I feel today. I am so blessed to be a part of the family of God.

A dear, dear friend reminded me that some days are hard. Hard. HARD.


Yesterdays' appointment with Ellie at neurology was like that.


I love NEMOUR'S. I especially love the neurology department and EVERY person there. They are kind and compassionate. They are thorough and truly serve the children AND their parents.


The first part of our day was good. Poor Ellie has to endure urodynamics yearly, which is not quite comfortable, but I get to spend about two hours talking with Mrs. Susan. AWESOME nurse! Loves the children. Loves their families.


So, I was able to share with Mrs. Susan all the LORD has done in our lives over the last few months. When this part of our day was over, Ellie was gifted with a talking puppy, portable home, and change of clothes for the puppy. Fluffy sat with us at lunch at my favorite fast food restaurant, Zaxby's. She had some FF and some chicken and a little Mr. Pibb.


Then, we went back to Nemour's for the ultrasound of Ellie's only kidney. If you read yesterday's post, you now that we were there when I received the phone call, "PA for Zeke!" The technician not only was interested in our news, she began to tear up when she listened to our story. Another medical professional who loves the children and families she serves.


Then it was time to see Dr. Earhard and go over the test results. First, though, it was photo time for Ellie with her gift, Mrs. Susan, and the dr. (I'm waiting on those photos Mrs. Susan.) Then Susan told me to share our news with Dr. Earhard. And, he kindly took the time to discuss what we need to do when they come home, his recommendations for diagnosing the extent of nerve involvement in their repaired meningoceles. Yes, both of the boys have the same "disability" as Ellie.


We talked for a while, but then I could tell by the way Dr. Earhard changed the direction of the conversation that his news would not be good. I know that this news could be FAR worse. I know that it may seem like "not much" to some of you...but I'm the MAMA. Stan's the Daddy. We have been a bit distressed.


I considered not sharing, but if I don't share, how will you know how to pray?


When I first pondered starting a blog, I wanted to make sure I could encourage others who might one day consider adopting a child with special needs, particulary one with spina bifida. So, why this post about the negative news.


BECAUSE, I have learned, that even when bad news comes, it is a privilege to be Ellie's mama. There is no child who I have seen bring more joy to others. If I had it to do all over again, would I adopt Ellie.


"YES!" Mother shouted emphatically!!!!


The difficult days are difficult days, but they do not make difficult lives.


I must admit, in my flesh, I ask God, "Does she have to go through one more thing?" He hasn't answered that question yet, but I believe He understands. But, through many of you, He has reminded me that He has GREAT things for her. He has promised a future with bright hopes in Jeremiah. She was created for His glory.


I reread this post from last summer: Passing Through Deep Waters. He is there to comfort me and He will be there to comfort her.


Now for the news:

The Good News: Ellie's one and only kidney remains healthy. That is really GREAT news, and I should FOCUS there. The medication she takes calms her bladder enough to protect the kidney.


The Other News: Her bladder is not holding enough urine, not large enough, not elastic enough, not unusal in a child with spina bifida. I had hoped changing meds would be an option, but it is not an option with the promise or much hope for different results.


My little girl desires to wear panties...but for now, there will not be panties in her future. For now, she will remain in pull ups. That doesn't sound like much, unless you're the mama of a little girl who wants to wear panties.


If she is to remain dry, she will need surgery to enlarge her bladder. That doesn't sound too bad either, unless you know personally a child who has had major complications following such surgery. We do.


The doctor was kind and patient and entertained my questions and listened compassionatly to my concerns. He did share that these complications are VERY rare, REALLY rare.


So, for now, what does all this mean.


To Ellie, today, it means nothing. She has had an Ellie day! Loud~ Laughter~ Messes~


She was in the local newspaper in our neighboring town. She said tonight, "I look so cute. Franklin looks cute too." She was so proud of herself.


The day of her surgery may be two years away or five. It will depend on her. It will depend on the time when being dry is so important to her, that she is ready for surgery. It will be a decision we make as a family, with Ellie, and with her awesome doctors. It will happen after much prayer, seeking wisdom from above.


And, you know what my job is?
To make sure she remains proud of herself. Teach her that she was fearfully and wonderfully made. To hold her hand when she is afraid. To be the wind beneath her wings.
And, that is my privilege.
So, keep praying for us. Join us in our journey to see how God is going to bless us beyond our imagnation.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We have PA for Number 2! Now with Photos!!!!

We have PA for our sweet Ezekial Gunter (Qing Zhuang) Mattox.


China has said YES! We can adopt two little boys. The joy that followed that phone call is almost indescribable.

I was with Ellie at an appointment in Nemours with urology. She was in the middle of a sonogram of her kidney. I politley asked the technician if she minded if I took the phone call coming in. When I heard we had PA, I said quite loudly, "Praise the LORD!"

Though she knew nothing of our story at the time, she said to Ellie, "I think your mama has some good news." BTW, she knows the story now! ;)

And, please say a prayer for Ellie and her mama. The enemy has certainly worked diligently to dampen my spirits...our well has tested positive for bacteria, so we've treated it, and the call came today...still positive for bacteria. There was an email from someone that made me less than happy. And, we received some news about Ellie's future that I am still processing. Please pray for her and me....I know the enemy wants my joy.......I'm holding it together, but I need a little more support in the spiritual world. I have that feeling it won't take much......

Now, back to Zeke. Thank you to those who sent information about changing PDF to JPEG. And a BIG thank you to Kim...who did it for me. Here's some older photos of our Zeke:



One of the things that will be really hard during this wait is the limited amount of information we will have on Zeke. He is in the Chanzhi SWI in Shanxi, and I have been able to find nothing about this SWI, not another parent who has adopted a child from there. I am hoping and praying I can get some more information soon. His file is complete, but I want to know more....like what his ayis call him, how big he is now, and what he looks like now. We are BEYOND excited...really!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From the Heart of a Child--The Greatest Gift

Sometimes, our Father wants us to learn much from a child.

He often blesses the gift of a child far beyond our imaginations.

I wonder how God will speak to you through this gift.

In this box, there is a gift, a gift from a child, a gift from the heart. This is one of my students, Gunnar. He overheard his mother and me talking about our adoption, and he understands that our family is fundraising to cover the costs.

So, over Christmas holidays he told his mother he had a plan. He and his dad had been saving aluminum cans, but they had not decided how they would spend the money. He told his family he wanted to give the money to us! Today was the first day back at school and he brought me one of the most PRECIOUS gifts we have been given thus far.

I can see the Father smiling. I can hear him telling his angels, "That's my child." I can hear Jesus saying, "Father, if only all the members of our family had such compassion. If only they would remember, in as much as they've done it unto the least of one of these, they've done it unto me."

I've been doing a lot of pondering lately, as we've been fundraising....I've been reminded that God can use even the smallest of gifts, and He is pleased. But, I've also been deeply moved, convicted actually. How often do I give until it costs me something? Of course, I've given, and over the years, some might would say I've given a lot. But, have I given up my own pleasures or comforts to give to others? Hardly.....

I'm certain Gunnar and his dad had talked about other ways they could spend this money. When you're a fourth grader, your eyes are bombarded with the things the world has to offer. I wonder what he had considered purchasing that he decided was less important to him than helping a child join his foverever family.

When you read this, I hope you will take some time to go to the Father in prayer. I'm not asking that you give to us. I'm asking that you give to Jesus. Consider where He would want you to invest in His kingdom. consider what you might be called to give up in order to give someone else life. If you have even a few minutes, visit the sites of some of these families. Consider how giving to the least of these is giving to Jesus Himself. Look for Him. See Him in the faces of the fatherless. Give from your heart, and you will be blessed.

Terry's family

Anita's family

Xiao Yong's family

Cathy's family

Monday, January 3, 2011

Memorial Box--Xiao Yong



When I consider where Stan and I are right now, and how the LORD orchestrated the events, I am utterly amazed.

As I've told you, we weren't planning to adopt again. I received an email from a foster home in China, asking me to pray and advocate for Xiao Yong. Our lives have changed dramatically since that email.

Stan, who has always said our house is full...decided he might enjoy having another son around...since our boys are grown now. It was the first time I had any inclination that he might be willing to adopt again.

As a family, we spent the weekend in prayer for Xiao Yong. We even considered adopting him ourselves. I had a photo of Xiao Yong in Ellie's life book. He had been in the same foster home with her, and he was the only child left behind from the time she lived there three years ago. Since that photo was over three years old, I searched for more up to date photos of him.

I joined the yahoo group Advocate for Waiting Children, only because I wanted to find more recent photos of Xiao Yong. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The people on this yahoo group are SERIOUS about finding homes for waiting children. Message after message concern children who are waiting for their forever families.

In the same folder as the photo of Xiao Yong, was the photo of the face you've begun to see quite often on this blog. I was instantly drawn to those chubby cheeks and that contagious smile.


But, we were considering the adoption of Xiao Yong.

Three days after that first email we learned Xiao Yong had found his family. This family had met him just one year earlier when adopting from the same foster home. You can read their awesome story here: Xiao Yong's Story.

And, then I couldn't stop thinking about the face of Zhuang Zhuang. I did some advocating for him, and some looked at his file...but no one was ready to make the committment to adopt him.

And, we had no money.

I do not believe it is coincidence that I saw the face of Zhuang Zhuang just one week before the Love the Least Conference. After hearing Gwen Oatsvall say she has little patience with people who say, "I would adopt only we don't have the money," I was challenged to think differently. Stan was challenged, too.

And, I heard this song from Josh Wilson, I Refuse. I heard, "I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself."

I asked Stan to read the first two pages of If You Want to Walk on the Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat. Well, as most good husbands do, he usually ignores my suggestions for reading. He's afraid I might be trying to change him. (And, sometimes I am. ;)

But, Stan did not read the first two pages of If You Want to Walk on the Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, he picked up Radical. He thought that was the book I suggested. He read the first two pages, and kept reading. He read the first 28 pages...and was challenged like never before. Then, he went ahead and read the first two pages of If You Want to Walk on the Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat.

And, much to my surprise, without any hesitation, he was ready to move forward with the adoption of Zhuang Zhuang, knowing we had no money. As the God ordained provider of the family, he was ready to trust God to provide.

God continued to amaze me in the choosing of an agency. I had contacted the agency we used with the girls' adoptions, and I did not have peace about using them. So, I contacted the agency who had sent a representative to the Love the Least Conference. When I called the China coordinator, she said, "I know who you are. I follow your blog. I have prayed for your Ellie." Another God moment.

And, now as we have chosen the agency, it just happens that our Ezekial Gunter is on this agency's waiting children list. If we had chosen to use our original agency, we would not have found our Zeke.



And, here I stand amazed. Take any of these God ordained moments of the story, and the story would NOT be the same.



It all started with this face:

So, now his photo will go in our Memorial Box. We will always remember how God used him to bring our sons Drew and Zeke to our family.
And, if you won't to know what a Memorial Box is all about, click on the photo at the top and visit Linny's blog. Your day will be blessed!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blackmail...Happy New Year...and Other News




>We had a beautiful New Year's Eve day yesterday. We spent the day from 12:00 to 8:00, closing time at Wild Adventures. We enjoyed time with Grandma and Grandpa Bennett, Aunt Bobbie, my nephew Joshua, my great-nephews Jack and Broadie, Robbie H. and his new baby, all my girls, and the entire Russell family. I can't ever remember a more blessed, peaceful, joy-filled New Year's Eve






















And, Robbie H's little baby did this ALL DAY.


Now for the blackmail you've been waiting for. I am apparently not very experienced at criminal behavior. I took a "less than lovely" photo of my favorite former pastor Bobby Russell. I promised that it wouldn't show up on Facebook is he gave me $100 for our adoption. He just laughed. So, now I'm selling it to the highest bidder. Be sure to let the lovely folks at Pineview, and pass the word on to the YCB family. The highest bidder can have it to post themselves. Hehehehehehe
Here's a snip just to see what it might look like.

And....just in time for the New Year! I received an email from 147 Million Orphans today. We will be able to order new shirts next week. I can start taking preorders today. Check out the fundraising tab if you're interested!
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Ellie Min Chun

Ellie Min Chun
Josie-Tatum's MeiMei