Saturday, December 24, 2011

Adoption. . . a beautiful reflection of God's love for us.

This is one of the most powerful Christmases we have ever had. And, the reason for that is not some crazy, awesome gift in fancy paper under a twinkly tree. It has to do with something God has opened our hearts and minds to. . . and now we understand some things that we never fully understood before. And, he has used a 4 year old little girl as His instrument to teach us.

When we began our journey to adopt Mei Li, we "were" acting in faith on that still small voice inside that was telling us to step out, act boldly on what we were being called to do and believe. But, we still didn't see the whole picture. However, over the four years of our roller coaster ride to Mei Li; and in the time that she has been with us. . . an amazing picture has emerged and shown us a truth with great clarity. That picture was painted for us just last night when our little Mei Li was in her Daddy's arms at the mailbox looking back up at our house on the hill with all of it's Christmas lights twinkling against the night. She stood back, in her Dad's arms, looked up at her home and said, "Daddy, Mei Li's home." When she was in that orphanage in China for all of her years, she had no idea the wonderful future that awaited her in America. She truly couldn't conceive of the treasures that were in store for her, the bedroom that had been prepared "just" for her, and the unconditional love that was waiting to embrace her. Mei Li did not "initiate" the adoption. We did. Her parents "chose" her and invited her in to be a daughter and an heir. It is a permanent offer. . . not temporary. . . not conditional.

The Lord has shown Geoff and me through our journey that "adoption" on this earth mirrors God's adoption of us as His children through the gift of His Son, Jesus. And, I can't think of a better time to share this truth that has been made clear to us than on Christmas Eve. . . Our heavenly Father authored "adoption" when He sent the gift of His only Son to us on Christmas over 2 thousand years ago. As a result, we are invited to be heirs in His heavenly kingdom. . . a permanent home on high.

I am also reminded, often, of the verse in the Bible where Jesus says, (Whatever you do for the least of these, you do to me.) And, that is paraphrased. Every time I look into Mei Li's sweet little face, I remember Jesus saying that. And, I realize that I may be looking right into the face of Jesus.

So, as we prepare for all of the celebration of Christmas morn, I remember the "gift" of Jesus who is the foundation of it all. And, I think of the love and hope that gift brought the world. And, I will enjoy both of my precious gifts of Anna Grace and Mei Li as they experience the wonder of Christmas. But, as I look into the beautiful brown eyes of my sweet daughter, Mei Li, I will remember that I, too, am adopted. . . by my heavenly Father. And, having learned from His demonstration of love for me, Geoff and I share the same gift given to us with her. And, the result? Our hearts feel as if they might burst with love and joy over the incredible "gift" Mei Li is to our family this Christmas, and from now onward.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Magical Moments with our Mei Li. . . just in time for Christmas

Today, we had two magical moments with our Mei Li. I'll start by sharing the funny one. Tonight, Anna Grace wanted to help wrap some of Mei Li's presents. So, I went downstairs with her to help. I told Mei Li she needed to stay with Daddy upstairs, and that I would be right back. She had a bit of a meltdown that Mommy was leaving, so I explained that we were wrapping some of her Christmas presents. I told her that she couldn't see because they were surprises for her. That worked!! She was happy and I headed downstairs. After AG and I finished wrapping her gifts, AG brought them up and placed them under the tree. Before we knew it, Mei Li was under the tree and grabbed the biggest of her presents. In one swift rip, she had half of the wrap off. We all screamed, "Noooooooooooooo!!!!!" And, Mei Li looked up confused. We told her that the presents were to be opened on Christmas, not today. She grinned really big and said, "Mama, I see it!!! I see it!! I see it!!!!" And, I said, "Baby, you can't have the present tonight. You will get to open it on Christmas". She grunted in frustration and repeated, "I see it!! I see it!!" I picked her up and asked her, "Mei Li, what did you see?" She said, "Toe-fah" (which means hair in Mandarin) "I see it!!! Toe-fah!!! Looooong toe-fah!!! Pretty!!!!!" Then, I asked her, "What do you think it is?" And, she stated, matter-of-a-factly, "Wah wah" (which means doll in Mandarin). And, she hmphed in frustration that she couldn't open it. Then, she said, "Mama, presents. . . Mei Li... happy".

OH BOY. . . I am giddy with excitement. Mommy can't wait until Christmas morning, this year!!!

The second magical moment went like this. . . Daddy was heading down to the mailbox this evening to check the mail. Mei Li ran to the door exclaiming that she wanted to go with Daddy. He went and grabbed her jacket and carried her down the hill to the mailbox. As they got to the curb, Mei Li looked up at the house and said, "Daddy, Mei Li da home" (that means Mei Li's home). Geoff said, "Yes, Mei Li, this is your home." Then, she said, "Faygeelah!!! Hen dah, hen dah faygeelah!!!" (which means airplane. Very big, very big airplane). And, Geoff said, "Yes, Mei Li, you rode on a big airplane from China to come to your home in America. Then, Geoff asked her, "Mei Li, do you miss China?" Mei Li quickly and firmly responded, "No! Mei Li boo yaw China. Wo yaw home." ( Mei Li doesn't want China. I want home.)

Mei Li warms our hearts every day and fills us with such incredible joy. Geoff and I aren't exchanging gifts this year. We would rather make sure the girls have a special Christmas. And, we both agree. We already have our Christmas present. A little angel on Earth, named Mei Li, is our most precious Christmas gift, this year. . . and for every Christmas from now on. Geoff and I are incredibly thankful for our two most precious Christmas gifts. . . our Anna Grace and Mei Li.

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mei Li has her MRI!

Heading out at 7:15 a.m. for her MRI of her spine. Got her Santa hat and her ever-ready smile!

Mei Li was THRILLED when Santa paid her a visit in the MRI waiting room!! She flew off of my lap, sprinted to get her Santa hat out of the wagon and nearly tackled Santa as she ran to him waving her Santa hat! Then she gave him one of her famous Mei Li hugs! :) Children's Hospital does an AMAZING job making their children feel special and happy. So glad Mei Li can get her medical needs met at a wonderful hospital like Children's!

Mei Li's favorite treat is a good sucker! She is a sucker for suckers!! She also has taken a BIG shine to Santa. So, when we found this Santa sucker in the gift shop, we knew it had to be her treat for being such a trooper. She LOVED it! :)

Still groggy from the anesthesia, Mei Li got to get her picture taken with Santa before we left.

Resting her sleepy head on Daddy's shoulder. . . our Christmas angel. . . She truly is a Christmas miracle. She is our gift this Christmas.

Today was a big day for Mei Li, and it went smoother than I ever could have hoped. We felt the prayers of family and friends with us today! Mei Li had her MRI on her spine. They had to put her to sleep for this procedure. The last surgery, when they put her to sleep, she was sick the entire rest of the day. Thankfully, they only used gas for this test, and she suffered "no" sickness!! :)
Today's test will give Dr. Blount the information he needs to make a game plan for Mei Li's spinal surgery. They took images of the fatty tumor in her lower back to see how and where it attaches to her spinal cord. We have no news on the test yet, but we hope to learn something tomorrow.
On the 28th, Mei Li will have a test to measure the functionality of her bladder. Dr. Blount ordered both of these tests to be done before he operates on Mei Li's spine.

Mei Li was very brave today, as always. The hardest part for her was "not eating". She ate around 8:00 Sunday night, and she was not allowed to eat again until after the test, which was noon on Monday. She could not drink anything either. But, like everything in her life, she took it all in stride. And, most of the time, she had a smile that would make everyone who passed by her do a double-take and turn around to talk with her. Her bravery and hope and determination and overcoming spirit inspires me every day. . . and challenges me to take notes from a little 4 year old girl and strive to do half as well :).
Once she got to Children's, she was in for some exciting surprises. Santa came to visit her right before she went back for her test!! That was an exciting moment for Mei Li, for sure!!
The testing and her recovery took just about 1 hour. And, we greeted her when she awoke with a big green Santa sucker! Her eyes lit up immediately. That was all it took. . . seeing Mama and Daddy and a big green Santa sucker. . . to bring her out of the fog of anesthesia!! Haha!! She said she was hungry, so we took her to Surin (a wonderful Thai restaurant. . . and Mama's favorite!!) and ordered her Coconut soup and dumplings. She ate every bite!! For her, it was a taste of home and good ol' comfort food.
She is down for the night, and has been her sweet, mischievous happy little self all afternoon! :) We pray for a good report from Dr. Blount tomorrow.
Good night! And, I'll update again as soon as we know something more.

Thanks for following!! And, thank you for your prayers for our little Mei Li!