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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Five Years Ago

Our life changed!!!

The mess maker at the bottom of the heap entered the room, and we have never regretted scooping her up and taking her home.

You all know Ellie:
Vivacious, tenacious, loving, caring, loud, and lovely. Full of compassion, full of energy, full of joy!

From the first moment I saw her face, I felt connected in some way. I could  never explain that feeling to anyone, except other adoptive parents. We trusted Jesus...that he was calling us to her. I didn't even know what a lipmeningocele was. We did NOT include spina bifida on our "checklist" of needs were willing to consider.
But JESUS knew~

We needed her to make our family all that He wanted it to be.

Happy Gotcha Day, Ellie!
I am so glad Jesus gave you to me!!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Even Ellie

Even Ellie gets discouraged.

Most of you see her like this.

And, praise the LORD, she is like this most of the time.

But, some days.....

Some days she's had enough. Enough wearing pull-ups. Enough wearing braces. Enough of her difficulties.

Our trips to Shriner's in the late summer brought on some down times for Ellie. She usually takes set-backs in stride, but not this time. She didn't like being fitted for her back brace. She began to realize that might not be very comfortable.

She cried when she saw her new shoes with the lift on them.

We had a tough few days, off and on. Extended family came over to visit at my mom's and they were all swimming. Ellie couldn't swim after her surgery. :( And, she was sad. :( Grandma, though, let her be queen of the inside, painting and playing on the computer.

Then, there was a birthday party to which she was invited. With her new braces, cathing, being certain she didn't put any pressure on her right leg during the healing process, I told her she couldn't go.

Oh, how she cried.

And, when the school nurse came to take her to restroom, she cried more.

She told. Mrs. Angela how unfair her life was. She told her she wanted to be able to swim and run on the playground like the other kids. She wasn't being loud our ugly, just mournful.

Angela came to me in tears. She said, "It would be different if she were like this all of the time, but she's not. She's right. It's not fair."

And, we made a plan. Ellie went to the party, and even stayed until almost midnight. She just didn't stay the night. And, she was happy.

But, we all need to remember those for whom life is challenging. They have down days, too. Pray for the children and pray for their parents. Pray for their caregivers. May we listen for the wisdom from above that helps us teach them they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

May Ellie experience grace as she grows older. May she know grace and be graceful. May she continue to encourage others as we continue to encourage her. May she know the LOVE of our Savior more deeply as she leans on Him. May she experience the abundant life He died for her to have.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fun Fall Day

We've had a weekend and three days for our Columbus Day/Fall Break holiday. It offered such much needed rest and fun. We spent the last two days driving to and from Tampa. Then, today, we did nothing...well, sort of.

I went for a 4 1/2 mile walk.....AWESOME!!

The kids had been playing outside, and then began to act as if they were bored. Until....Mom...

I suggested we go outside and build a house of pine straw. Some were excited, and some were reluctant. I was a little worried about the excited ones, thinking they might be disappointed. The reluctant 9-year-old finally decided she would join in.

We marked off the dimensions of the home and built the walls up.

Then the little builders constructed interior walls, so each one would have his/her own bedroom.

Every room included a lamp. (Doesn't that pine cone look like a lamp?)

Josie-Tatum and Ellie each included a television in their rooms. Ellie was busy watching tv while I took photos.
 JT's tv had a remote control.

Ellie told me the show she was watching was, "Awesome!"

And, perhaps you, like I will be most impressed with the bathroom, complete with sink.
(Please do not confuses the pine cone faucet for the pine cone lamp.)
  And, last, who could forget the toilet? Once again exercise caution when identifying the pine cone objects. The pine cone in this photo, as I was told, would be a turd in the toilet!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Dream Come True

Last fall, Josie-Tatum and I went together on a few hikes, mother/daughter dates, preparing for the day when Mom might be too busy for much one-on-one.

While hiking the trails of a nearby state park, we talked about what it might be like when the boys came home.

This weekend, we found out!

I wondered how Ellie and Drew would do, walking as much as we did. We took a shorter path than the route we took last year when it was just JT and me, and they surprised me! They loved it even more than I thought. While there is certainly a playground at this park, they were not in a hurry to get there.

Drew picked lots of little wild flowers here and there and loved every one he saw. All of my 3 youngest LOVE sticks, and there were many sticks fallen along the paths. They searched for the perfect sticks to use as walking sticks, play Power Rangers with, and twirl.

After the photo shoot at the creek, we found a spot where the water was flowing a little more quickly. Then it was time to throw small twigs in the creek to race and see whose twig passed the tree first.

Not only did we have fun, but something interesting happened on the path before we made it to the playground. We ran into my cousin from Florida! Josie-Tatum said she thought she had seen him earlier. We finished the trail along with him, his wife, and son.

Praise the LORD for the blessings of nature and even more for the blessing of watching my children enjoy it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beyond My Imagination--Memorial Box Monday

It has been FAR too long since I posted a Memorial Box Monday. But, there hangs in our house a trinket from China, which tells a story ONLY Jesus could have orchestrated.

We saw his photo first. (And, if you want to know more about that part of the story, read here.)

We saw his photo weeks later. (You could read how the LORD led us to him here.)

Our faith walk was challenged more than one time, multiple times and in multiple ways. There were truly moments when we thought we were supposed to halt the adoption process. Some of the darkest moments of my life occurred during the months we waited for our boys.

Just when I needed the most to KNOW that we were on God's path, He showed up in a MIRACULOUS way. You can read that here. When God sent that miracle, I was more convinced of a "feeling" I had earlier. I was more convinced that ever that God had a perfect plan for our boys, and that He had far more in store for us. I believed that the spiritual battle was more than a fight to stop our boys from coming home. I had no idea what God had in mind, but I knew it was BIG.

This story would not be the same if we had not committed to adopting TWO precious sons at one time. It would not have been the same if we had only adopted one, no matter which one it was. It could only have happened this way...because.

We were the only family in the room. Ordinarily the room is FULL of families. Because we were adopting two children on one trip to Chi*na, our schedule was different. Most adoptions occur on Tuesday. We were NOT in this room on a Tuesday because we were in another province. So, we had the room virtually to ourselves.

It was our fourth adoption in Chi*na. I was accustomed to the process. What happened afterwards had never happened before. I was asked why we would adopt so many special needs children.

And...the door was opened for me to share our faith. In that moment, I stood in that room, and I KNEW. This was part of the victory God had promised when He said, "Trust me. This is NOT about you." I was asked what it meant to be a Christian. Why would Christians adopt. I was given the opportunity to share the portrait of adoption that Christ paints when He invites us to join His family.

And, then I heard words that have forever changed me. "I have heard about this JESUS, but I have never heard about his love."

I walked on clouds, ever so amazed that God would use me to share His love in such a way.

And, then...the next day, another person asked me more about my faith. She, too, shared how touched she was by the love of Jesus flowing through us. Walking down the streets of Chi*na, with thousands of people passing by, I was able again to share what Jesus had done for us.

Then, something happened that had never happened to me before. This person gave me a gift.  As she gave it to me she said, "I have never seen such love as I have seen in your family."
So, while it is not in our Memorial Box, this trinket hangs in my bedroom. It is a precious reminder that God helped me survive the greatest storm in my life because He wanted me...his imperfect child...to be in THAT place at THAT time so TWO different people could hear about HIS love.

It was a Miracle of More moment!!!

(Read more about God's faithfulness on Linny's blog.)
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Ellie Min Chun

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Josie-Tatum's MeiMei