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

Friday, March 22, 2013

South Africa Update

Oh, what a marvelous time we had tonight! Ellie was such a blessing as she sang for the glory of the LORD! I've received several emails and messages from friends who couldn't make it tonight asking how to make a contribution to the mission fund. I've simplified things by placing the PayPal link here:

You may also donate by sending money to The Servant's House Minsitries, P.O. Box 365, Blackshear, GA  31516. Include a note stating the money is to be deposited into the account of Josie-Tatum.

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray! Join us as we watch Him do great and might things!
Thank you to all who came tonight and gave so generously. Thank you, again, Rachel and Mr. Carl for your dedication to the LORD as you use your gifts for Him.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day, Drew!

One year ago today, Drew joined our family forever! A lot has changed in a year.

Enjoy this post from 365 days ago:

And, if that doesn't make sense to you, I will explain.

I expected tears and tantrums from Zeke. He is older. He has been less prepared for our arrival. We have yet to see any of those things, and that worries me some. I wonder if he had a "healthy" attachment to anyone at his orphanage.

Today, Drew joined his Forever Family.

When we arrived at the civil affairs office, he was standing at the glass door waiting on us, so I don't have an offical photograph of that "first" moment.

He seemed glad to see us, insisted on giving us each a piece of candy: one to me, Stan, Ellie, Josie-Tatum, and QingZhuang.

It wasn't longing and he was playing. Then the polished tile floors and marble walls began to echo with the shouts and laughter of four Mattox children. It was musical.

When Zhuang Zhuang (Drew) said he had to niao niao, Baba took him to the toilet. His nanny Tina Ayi shouted good-bye to him and made a quick, uneventful get-away.

All was well until Zhuang Zhuang came out of the restroom and Tina Ayi was not there. That's when the tears began. While I was completing paper work and signing offical legal documents, Baba was in the midst of emotional breakdown--both his and Zhuang Zhuangs. He had to chase him as he ran to the door and tried to run outside, looking for his ayi.

He finally resigned himself to quietly sobbing in Baba's lap.

We left the Civil Affairs office and headed to Wal-Mart (more on that in another post.) The three in the back seat were happy campers.

And the little one with Mama and Baba mourned until he fell asleep.

His spirits improved when he was allowed to choose his own snacks at the ever-beloved department store--the place we all love and despise.

Once back at the hotel, he gradually began to enjoy himself.

Until all of the children grew sleepy. They all surpised me by taking naps...without being asked. When Josie-Tatum feel asleep, Zeke crawled into bed with her.

Except Zhuang Zhuang. He didn't take a nap. He cried. He continued to cry. We went to supper. He was happy--to put on his jacket. He put his backpack on. We were pretty certain he thought he was going home.

At dinner, he sat somberly..until the food arrived.

Btu, when he finished eating, he was back to mourning. He sadly repeated the same phrase over and over again, with two words in particular. It sounded somthing like hui jiao. And, I had no idea what that was. We finally asked one of the waiters who spoke some English to help us. That's when we learned that over and over again he was telling us, "I want to go home." Once I heard him use the word for China.

We left the restaurant, and he seemed to feel a little better...until we stepped off the elevator and he realized we were back where we began. That's when the screaming began.

Stan decided to keep him in their hotel room, while I brought Qing Zhuang and the girls to our room. So...I don't really know how things are going now. I had Josie-Tatum step to the door, and she know longer heard the crying, just the television.

So, today, please pray for our youngest son. His heart is so heavy. He has no idea what lies ahead. He only knows he was loved, happy, and secure in his foster home.

Pray for Mama, and especially for Baba as he tries to comfort him.

But, for now, I must go referee an argument between three Chinese children....loud as ever, hoping the management doesn't come tell us to hush!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

48 Hours of Prayer

Prayer Warriors:

As we prepare for Ellie-Live in Concert on Friday night, I am hearing God call me to slow down and pray-inviting me to seek His face. I confess that I have NOT spent as much time in prayer over this event as I should have. I would be honored if you joined me.

Most of you receiving this email already know about the concert, but a few of you who don't live nearby may not. If you'd like to learn the details, see this post on Facebook:

If you have time to read on....I want to share my heart, the words I have been hearing from the LORD, and my specific prayer requests with you:

Through the past several years, since committing to Ellie's adoption, I have prayed that God's glory shine in our family. Adopting a child with spina bifida was a great leap of faith for us, but, oh how He has amazed us. She has blessed us far more than we could ever have imagined.

As we prepared for her major hip surgery, this song, "Cover Us" played through my mind, in my heart, and on CD player. Cover us with your glory. Cover us. Like a flood. 

As much as I have seen His glory, I desire to see it more and more. Even Moses, who had been privileged to be a part of miracle after miracle- the plagues, the parting of the RED Sea, manna from heaven- petitioned God, "Show me your glory." 

My first request is that He cover us with His glory on Friday night.

Looking for scriptures about the glory of God, I revisited John 2:11...at the wedding in Cana, Jesus manifested His glory, and his disciples believed."

My second request is that He manifest His glory, so that those who are there Friday night will see and believe. 
And, once again, I ask for you to join me in praying for my third request--an Ephesians 3:20 miracle---where God-who has all power-- will do more than we ask or imagine. So at the end of the night, we can like Paul stated in Ephesians 3:21--to Him be glory!

And, my fourth request--from Isaiah 43:7, I want Ellie to know that God created her for His glory.
I wrote about this desire for her a couple of years ago:

May I decrease so that He may increase,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One Year Ago Today--Still In Love

When I think of the changes of the past year, I am still amazed most at the changes in Zeke. He who knew no sense of family who now has a family. The little boy who hoarded food, who now knows he will always have enough. The little boy who said he didn't get hugs and kisses in China who now sneaks in my bed early in the morning to snuggle.

One year ago, I knew I was in love.

One year later, the love has grown.

Enjoy this post from one year ago:

He has the sweetest little voice, a little raspy, and a charming smile. Look out ladies!

(He and the driver were a little late, due to the snow. And, the poor fellow was car sick and threw up two times on the way from the orphanage. He wasn't happy when he found out he would have to ride in a car again when we left.)

He quietly entered the room where we were sitting and followed the director, barely looking our way.

When we spoke to him, he came over. He let each of us hold him--well, he tried to hold Ellie. And, he let us kiss him. He didn't say a word.

Stan gave him cars and he opened them. Instead of playing with them, though, he put them in his pockets. He had to be coaxed to play with them. While the others in the room worked on papers, we just played, kissed, hugged. Qing Zhuang said almost nothing.

He was asked by one of the civil affairs officers, "Mama, Baba, hao bu hao?" (Are Mama and Daddy good or not good.) He said, "Hao," one of the first words we heard. The word was, "Good," and we are glad.

We are back in the hotel room, and he is beginning to talk and play. His voice is raspy. I think he and daddy are going to be best buddies!!! I love it. Everything daddy says, Qing Zhuang says. Everywhere Baba goes, Qing Zhuang follows.

He is beginning to talk a lot, just 3 hours after we met him. We have no clue what he is saying, and for now, he is okay with that. He occasionally shouts, "Mama!" to get my attention. I love it.

Josie-Tatum keeps saying things like, "I can't believe we have a brother." And, "Zeke is so adorable."

Ellie was having a good time until we asked her to let Zeke hold her camera. She is now sadly lying on the bed. I think she is overly tired. I asked her if I could lie down with her and she shook her head no. I must seek God's wisdom to make her feel special this week, too.

I leave you with this one video clip. He was practicing everybody's name, not very good at saying Ellie or Josie-Tatum (JT) but he has decided he likes calling Baba...Mama instead. He loves his own joke.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One Year Later---Still Smitten

Life in our home has changed dramatically in the last year. There have been some positive differences and some life-altering stressors. I have spent the last hour, however, revisiting posts from the past couple of years. What a reminder of all that the LORD has done!

One year ago, today, we were in China, and we were meeting our Drew in person for the first time. How sweet to hear his voice each night at prayers now. He almost always says, "Thank you, Jesus, that Mama is the best EVER."

I say, "Thank you, Jesus. You have blessed me with the best kids EVER."

Enjoy this post from one year ago.

The weather is cold, but my heart is warm.

The sky was dreary today with clouds and smog, heavily polluted, but my soul has been singing.

Amidst all of the chaos of Beijing, I have been at peace throughout this day. As we drove in a taxi this morning, walked the streets of Beijing, were being picked up by our driver to go to the foster home, I felt peace like I've not known for weeks, even months.

This morning before we left for the Temple of Heaven, I read again one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, Isaiah 43. Oh, how I love to be reminded of God's promises to be with us, through the water and through the fire, in the desert and in the wilderness.

I'm sure most of you are ready to read about our visit with Drew at Amazing Hands, but I'll make you wait a minute with details of our morning. If you read all of this post you are one of 3 things...

1--an adoptive parent looking forward to your own travel soon.

2--a member of our family.

3--really bored....

God really has shown us how small our world is. At this very hotel is a group of teachers from GA! Following breakfast, we spent nearly an hour talking with them---how sweet to hear a southern drawl.

Charlotte met us at 11:00 to begin our tour of the Temple of Heaven. My honey ventured out of his comfort zone, taking a cab with Ellie, leaving Josie-Tatum and me to take the second cab with Charlotte.

We were freezing, but enjoyed our visit.

My decision to at least visit one historic site was affirmed when Josie-Tatum, totally unprompted said, "I love Chinese architecture."

Stan was a brave boy and agreed to let us have some authentic Chinese cuisine for lunch. He was more polite than Ellie, as you can see by her face, but he didn't each much more than she did. Stan and Josie-Tatum ate with spoons. Ellie and I ate with chopsticks, and I must say I impressed myself with my mean stick skills.

Sitting beside us at lunch today were two high school students who are taking art lessons at school. We watched them sketching random people who came in the restaurant, so we asked them so sketch the girls, and they did.

After lunch, we began the drive to Amazing Hands. We experienced a little dejavu--you can look up the spelling for me--as the driver and Charlotte had a difficult time finding it. This part of the city is old, with streets that barely have room for cars, few street signs, and even fewer numbers on building.

After a few u-turns, stopping to ask for directions, following another set of directions, and making a couple of phone calls, we stopped at yet another home. While Charlotte talked to the lady behind the door, a young man walked up to us and said, "Follow me. I will take you there. I am from the church and I'm going there."

In a city of 19 million people, we began to follow a young man just because he told us he knew where we were going. Good thing....he really did.

He found the home for us....and we went through the first door--sort of like a gate.

When we walked through the courtyard, Zhuang Zhuang was standing just behind the door waiting on us!!!!

We were cautious about overwhelming him with affection, but our anxieties were soon gone. When we walked through the door, I extended my hand to him, and he took my hand. He let me give him a kiss,

and then he held out both arms for me to pick him up!

He enjoyed hugs from Mama while she kissed him under his chin, and wrestling with Daddy. He enjoyed hitting daddy on the head with a bowling pin --albeit a plastic one--and driving a car on his bald head. He asked, "Why does Baba have no hair on his head, but he has lots of hair on his arm?"

After he warmed up to all of us well, he began playing with Ellie. He would chase and chase, then get up close and pinch her cheeks, while looking eyeball to eyeball. He really began playing too rough with her.

Tina Ayi talked to him and told him he couldn't play so rough with Ellie. She explained that he was a boy and she was a girl...so

He decided it was time to tackle Ellie.....

So I can kiss her.....

Oh, my how he enjoyed chasing her around and around and around to get kisses, not one or two or three, but many. Then, he gave Baba a kiss and Mama a kiss and Da Jie Jie (Big Older sister) a kiss.

Our baby boy has a bit of a cold. His ayis said he had a fever yesterday. When our visit was getting close to an end, he seemed to be very tired. He just came over and sat in my lap. Heaven.....only I wished he felt better.

When we left, do you want to know who had the hardest time saying "Goodbye?" I'll let you guess.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ellie-Live Preview

Ellie has been practicing diligently for her concert...well dilgently when her mother reminds her that having a concert takes lots of work. Josie-Tatum is her voice coach. That makes for some interesting sibling arguments discussions. Josie-Tatum hates to be in the limelight. I would love to show you a video clip of her drama as she helps Ellie with her "stage presence.." Alas, JT would never forgive me.

The concert will take place next Friday night, March 22nd at Youmans Chapel in Blackshear, GA.

I am hoping and praying for a huge turnout...to encourage Ellie as she strives to please the LORD, to encourage Josie-Tatum, Whitney, and Josh as they prepare to go to South Africa, and to glorify our LORD JESUS who delights in singing over us!

Here is a clip of one of the songs of the night. Ellie had grown tired and was sitting down for a while. I hope you enjoy it!

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