My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One Week later--answered prayers (1)

The last week has kind of been a whirlwind and it's hard to believe that tomorrow is that one week mark since Emma's surgery.

We prayed for so many things and God answered.

Day 1 we prayed:
Whatever happens, God's Name would be glorified and all GLORY AND HONOR AND PRAISE would go to HIM!  When amazing things happen--which they will--we must not ever forget, He had this in His plan from the beginning of Time!  None of this is surprising Him--

We saw Emma touch the lives of nurses and caretakers simply with her beautiful peaceful spirit.  And everytime someone said how amazing she was, we gave glory to God for what He was doing.  I guess I didn't expect to tell our entire family story as many times as I did.  But, everytime someone responds in awe, I am surprised.  It's just the path God has called us to, just like He calls other people to other things.  

And even though the results of the surgery were COMPLETELY different than anyone expected....none of it surprised God.  We rest assured He has a greater plan than we could ever ask or imagine.

Day 2 we prayed:
That every nerve, every cell, every tissue would be getting ready so that the doctors can see clearly how to help her, and healing can come in ways we do not expect.  

This is no exaggeration.  She had almost ZERO pain.  It was managed with meds the 1st 24 hours or so, but after that, she asked for Ibuprophen One time.  Her body recieved this invasion and healing came quickly.  After the initial 3 days laying flat--she was on her feet, and has been ever since.

Day 3 we prayed:
DR. TROUP SEES all he can possibly see to help Emma. That his hands are guided to places he may not expect. That he is given an extra measure of wisdom and perhaps tries something he has never tried before and it is wildly successful in an unexpected way. And mostly pray he sees it all as the POWER of GOD at work.  

I have to say, when he came out after surgery his face was surprised to say the least.  I'm not sure he really knew how to tell us she didn't have a tethered cord or that she may never have had a spina bifida closure.  There were no signs of it.  This leaves room for many unanswered questions and a future for Emma that could be riddled with other surprises.  We have a follow up with him next Thursday so we will see what he says then too.

Day 4 we prayed:
Emma's body would be getting prepared in every way possible for this surgery and be in the best shape possible to combat any threats to her immune system or healing process.  

She had no issues with pain.  She had no infections.  Her immune system and healing systems seemed to fire just fine.  For that we are so very thankful.

Day 5 we prayed:
1.  Pray OFF any spiritual baggage that came with Emma (and Joshua if you'd like to pray for him tonight too)--generational curses, spiritual baggage, ties that bind her to something that is not Truth.
2.  Pray the BLOOD OF JESUS to cover her inside and out.  
3.  Pray for her to come to Know Jesus personally and truly understand His LOVE for her
4.  Pray the Frankincense Oil will also aid her in being open to recieving what Jesus has for her. There is something about it that I cannot fully explain that takes me deeper spiritually--and in particular feelings about "Father".  May she know the LOVE of her earthly Father as well as her heavenly Father.

We saw Emma's faith visibly grow in this past week.  NOTHING can compare to that.  She found out right before surgery that people were praying for her and so she thought that meant everyone in the world apparently...=)  She asked an OR nurse to pray over her right as she went in to surgery--and she did.

We heard her ask us for prayers because she KNEW Jesus was with her.

I personally witnessed one of my most tender mommy moments with her on discharge day as she sat on a chair and just closed her eyes and raised her hands up to the air rattling off a prayer in CHINESE that included the NAME OF JESUS!.  I got the shivers.  She knows He is real and she is covered by Him.

She got to spend a few days with daddy alone and they connected in such sweet ways as well.  And she was open to it and loved it.  She asked her earthly daddy to pray to her heavenly Father several times. So precious.

I'm going to do the next several days in another post for length sake

Suffice it to say, a parent obviously would never wish their child would have to go through such a scary and hard/painful process.  But, we saw transformation almost daily in her.  Please hear my heart when I say we are so grateful that God is using this situation to bring Glory to Himself and to draw her and others closer to HIm.  We are thankful for this storm because He is Glorified.  (not because we desire pain for our child of course).  But, we see His purposes are not our purposes and sometimes we need to weather something challenging to get to the next level of growth.  She is definitely growing in her faith.

Thank you Jesus.

stay tuned for more answered prayers...

Friday, October 9, 2015

And she's done.....

We arrived at the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville last night risking the fact that they may not have a bed for Emma today.

We got a call last night at 5:30 pm stating we could reschedule surgery or "risk" coming in and being turned away this morning because the PICU was full.

We prayed, and called on prayer warriors and came in "expectant" this morning at 6 a.m.  When I checked her in it was as if that call had never been made.  Just breezed right through.

Blessing #1 --  the doctor later told us when he left last night there was no room, and even HE called this morning at 5:45 to make sure there was room in preparation for us arriving at 6.
God went ahead of us.
And there was room.
Thank you Jesus.

As we were getting settled and checked in and waiting, Emma's spirit was so sweet and happy and light.  She was completely calm and without worry.  So we were also calm and without worry.  Even up to the moment she was going into the O.R., she was happy.  (without  --I'm sure looking at us in this garb probably helped her mood...

One of the things she has loved is knowing how many people have been praying for her.  She seems so surprised that so many people care about her.  So when we wanted to pray before we left her, she asked the nurse to pray...=)
So...she did.
She prayed over Emma and then we left her.

Blessing #2---Emma has been happy and peaceful and without Fear or anxiousness.

The prep and surgery took about 2 1/2 hours.  
Dr. Troup came out and said he found a "surprise".  
We prayed for that right?
She did NOT have a tehered cord at all.  

Basically he isn't even sure what the first surgery was for in China when she was 11 months old.  There was no evidence of them closing the spinal column which would have been necessary if it was a traditional SB Meningocyle.  Typically, a tethered cord comes from the base of the nerve bundle in the spinal cord adhering to something like scar tissue and causing the spinal column to bend and not grow straight; and further damage to areas where those nerves affect the body. So that is what they thought was going on with her. Instead they found severe deformity of her bone structure in her lower back, but the nerves were not tethered. Instead, her spinal cord itself goes all the way down to her hip bones and the nerves that are normally long and loose are abnormally short.  This means they are still causing problems similar to thethering but they can't detach them without causing severe damage.
So it's not "simply" releasing them.  He basically, looked around and then closed her up.  He didn't really change anything.  But, we did get a "picture" of what's in there. Long story short--it's most likely congenital defects that have caused her problem which looks like Spina Bifida but may not have been and for now, there isn't much he can do.  Next steps may look like rods in her back at some point.

Blessing #3--we prayed for the unexpected and that the doctors would see things they never anticipated seeing. ya go.

I haven't quite landed on my reaction to this news yet.  I'm more focused on caring for her and getting her through healing first.  There is blessing in the fact that we don't have to worry about further damage from this procedure.  However, down the road this may mean she will need a surgery to place a rod in her spine so that her curve does not continue to get worse because these shortened nerves can continue to contribute to the curving of her spine.

It begs the question:  "did we put her through all of this for no reason?"
I don't think so.
He was able to see more clearly what was going on in there.
We need to process how we will move forward from here.

For now, the healing still remains the same in some ways....
She needs to lay flat for 3 days in PICU.  Her incision is a good 8"+ long so it's no small thing.  He did open up her spinal column.
Our hope is that she can return to school in about 10 days.  Prayers appreciated.

Blessing #4---no ventilator after surgery. And a happy girl without too much dicomfort.

Blessing #5--this man by my side and Emma's side all day today being an amazing Father.

this is the man I married 
an awesome father
who loves his children
I am blessed

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called Into Action --tomorrow's the day (NO ROOM AT THE HOSPITAL)

We just got a call from Greenville Memorial Hospital.

ALL THE BEDS ARE FULL in the hospital.

That means, we could drive all the way up there, get settled, and possibly not have a room for her tomorrow.

We could cancel and remake another date, except Peter is about to hit a really busy season with Medicare Open Enrollment next Wednesday.  This is the time of year where he make much of his income. We have been under some financial strain for several months because of the new laws about selling insurance.  Most people cannot buy insurance from February to November.  It's been tough.  So we planned this surgery so that he could be there and be part of it.  We really can't move it.




Pray there is room by tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. when her surgery is planned.

We can do this people.
We talked about watching and waiting for miracles to happen.

Well, now's the time.
Get on your knees and plead with the Lord for an open bed and for all to go smoothly.  I can't imagine trying to explain to Emma and Joshua that it was all changed and canceled and rearranged.

We are heading out in 2 hours.  Stepping out in FAITH that God will make a way.

God's Got This!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called Into Action - Day 15

If you want to know what we are praying about go HERE

We are coming down to our final days before surgery.  Tomorrow night we will be at the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, SC with Emma.  The boys will be with our precious friends Tammy R.  and Katherine F. and their families. We will all be apart.  But, we are so grateful for friends who can keep them for a few nights until Peter gets back on Saturday.  Details are coming together.

Tonight we prayed over the boys and over Emma as they went to sleep.  It is so amazing to have the privilege to do that with them.  If I think about where these kids were in the past, and where they are now, I have to set my frustrations with the small stuff aside and open my eyes to seeing God at Work.

Right now, this whole situation with Emma has caused me to pause and think about the larger picture in all of this.

God used Jacob to triggor the thought of adoption. (2004)
God used Lucas to lead us to Joshua. (2012)
God used Lucas's relationship with Joshua to bring us to Emma. (2013)

And Emma is probably the child we would have looked at years ago and said "no" to because of what her file looked like and how intimidating it was.  There was a lot.  And there was plenty to say "no" to.  In fact, back in 2012, we saw these two children in an email someone sent and we did say "no" to advocating for them and "no" to moving forward to anything with them because it was not "us" that needed to take that all on.

Are you laughing yet?

And now here we sit, with 2 more precious children.  And we sit with the privilige to pray particluarly for Emma who has the greatest "needs" of any of our children.  Oh what we would have missed.  And what YOU would have missed because now YOU are IN it too...=) (bwahahaha)

Today we come to God again with Confidence.  And we come with Expectation and Imagination for what God can do and will do for her but also for His Glory.

These verses are what we are praying tonight and I hope you can pray along with us:

Ephesians 3:12
12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 

Ephesians 3:20-21
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Thank you for all you are doing to support us and love on us and pray with us.  May Jesus Bless you All.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called Into Action (Day 13/14)

If you want to know what we are praying about go HERE

Yesterday we had our pre op appointment in Greenville.  It was pretty uneventful. But, I had a precious moment with Emma as we were walking down the hallway to the room.  She reached out and grabbed my hand.  I saw her do that in China with one of her nannies.  But, she has never done that with me.  Loved it even for just a moment in time.  More baby steps toward bonding and attachment.

Tonight as I was massaging Emma a few things came to mind:

Prayer request One...
The doctors would be surprised by some amazing findings with Emma's case and see some miraculous things in the process.  I pray they see Emma--not just another surgery or procedure or case to deal with.  Please pray for the anesthesiologist who we saw yesterday.. pray his heart is softened and he really sees our precious Emma--and sees Jesus in the midst of it all.  Pray the neurosurgeon is also in Awe for some reason and sees something only God can reveal to him.

Request Two..
God would "Seal up" whatever he has for Emma and the rest of us in this process.  As I put Frankincense on her as the last and final oil, I was reminded this is the oil representative of a gift from God and given to Jesus. Why Frankincense? Something about this oil is so amazing, beautiful, and powerful. I've read some things about it.  One of it's features is how it can also help "drive in" other oils.  So I put it on her last.

Of course we know, Jesus alone can "seal up" this entire deal.  He alone can bind it all together for His Glory.  But, the whole idea of binding or sealing everything up brought this well loved chapter from Isaiah back to mind:  (please pray it over Emma-).  Eventhough it comes from the Old Testament,  Jesus quoted sections from it.

1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lordis on me, 
because the Lordhas anointed me 
to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
to proclaim freedom for the captives 
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor 
and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
3and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. 
4They will rebuild the ancient ruins 
and restore the places long devastated; 
they will renew the ruined cities 
that have been devastated for generations. 
5Strangers will shepherd your flocks; 
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 
6And you will be called priests of the Lord
you will be named ministers of our God. 
You will feed on the wealth of nations, 
and in their riches you will boast. 
7Instead of your shame 
you will receive a double portion, 
and instead of disgrace 
you will rejoice in your inheritance. 
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, 
and everlasting joy will be yours. 
8“For I, the Lord, love justice; 
I hate robbery and wrongdoing. 
In my faithfulness I will reward my people 
and make an everlasting covenant with them. 
9Their descendants will be known among the nations 
and their offspring among the peoples. 
All who see them will acknowledge 
that they are a people the Lordhas blessed.” 
10I delight greatly in the Lord
my soul rejoices in my God. 
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation 
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, 
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, 
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 
11For as the soil makes the sprout come up 
and a garden causes seeds to grow, 
so the Sovereign Lordwill make righteousness 
and praise spring up before all nations.

Tonight I also felt led to pray Emma would NEVER feel abandoned again.  Today, tomorrow, surgery day, the days following or EVER again in her future.  This is a HUGE request since this is baggage that can be carried subconsciously without kids ever really knowing why or how they carry it.  So tonight pray Against Abandonment.

The days are getting closer.
We found out today we will be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville from Friday night on, but we still need to wait to see if we have someplace to stay on Thursday night before the surgery otherwise we have to leave the house at 4:00 a.m.  Just pray these details all get worked out.  We really don't want to pay for a hotel.

Thank you for continuing to pray.

May Jesus be Known and Seen --- it's All His Story!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called into Action (Day 11 and 12 together)

If you'd like to know what we are praying about go HERE.

Last night got late so I didn't post.

But, today was a crazy day.  I feel like it was filled with spiritual attacks which mostly came in the form of FeiFei.  He was crazy today.  I believe it was primarily a lack of sleep because one of our dogs woke him up at 5:30 am, which left him vulnerable to all sorts of crazy.  
Toward the end of the day, he sat at the dinner table and I finally thought "maybe, it's all the stuff going on with Emma and he is sad/worried, etc."  So I asked him and he said yes.  As we talked, Emma bowed her head on the table and began to weep.  She was too weepy to really explain why she was crying--translators only work when people speak clearly and can articulate.  We mostly speak English, but when it comes to complicated things like emotions, we still pull out the translators.  She never really clarified what her tears were about.  But, Joshua definitley had some feelings about the subject and is stressing out about her being there and him not being by her side the entire time.

This came out in his crazy actions today and jealousy of Lucas, getting mad at me several times and throwing things around the house--yelling like an infant, etc.  Peter was gone all day serving at church, so it was kind of a crazy day.

At the end of it, I realized these are all "attacks".

So Please pray the Full Armor of God (see below) over all of us here this week.  Peter and I leave on Thursday evening with Emma for surgery on Friday.  The boys will be in 2 different places and then together on Friday night.  Peter will return to them on Saturday and I will be with Emma in Greenville (2 hours away).  Just cover everyone this week. 

It must mean something big is on the horizon or Satan wouldn't be on the prowl like this. 
GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED! So Satan, You may want to just take a back seat now.

On another subject---I had a few strange moments with Emma today--in a good way I think. 
I started this whole essential oil massage thing 12 days ago. And she's getting some other supplements as well.  
But, here were a few of the unusual things that happened today:
1.  She asked me if she could use the restroom before her Cath alarm went off at church. ( ok that may not seem strange but it was as if she had some sensation--that would be weird since she is unable to control any of that supposedly)
2.  When we got home she smiled at me and pointed that she wasn't wearing a diaper after she cathed when we got home.  That is RISKY for her.  She has no leakage control between cathing and is typically not dry.  But, she was all smiles and walking around all proud.  WHAT?  Was she sensing sometthing?  (she eventually put one on again, but it was a while later)
3.  While I did her massage tonight she complained at one point and said "ouch" on the lower right section of her back as if it was really tender.  This is her "bum" side.  She supposedly has/had no feeling on that side.  Other than up a little higher being ticklish.  Also, very strange because I wasn't pushing any differently than any other spot on her back or any other time.  (it's all really very gentle anyway--I'm not a massage therapist) Is she gaining some sensation?

Keep praying for her as we are apparently already seeing some things that could be good signs for her future.

Here are the verses of the Armor of God from Ephesians 6...
Please pray boldly as we enter this week and put on the Full Armor of God to fend off attacks on her behalf and ours.
Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Thanks again for continuing to pray with us.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called Into Action -- Day 10 (part 2)

A Daddy's Prayer:

I’ve been struck over the past few days in particular, what a wonderful spirit Emma has. She is always cheerful and smiling (even if she doesn’t want to smile for pictures). She may not even recognize that she shines brightly with the Spirit of God in her, but I am certain that His Spirit is working mightily in her. My prayer tonight would be for that sprit to shine through to everyone at the hospital throughout her stay there. A couple of days ago she expressed to Heidi some concern about the surgery, mostly it seemed to be centered on pain; but she is clearly thinking about it. Even so, her spirit remains strong and positive. So I would further ask that her fears would be dissolved like the fog when the sun rises, so she can enter in with a positive perspective right from the start. Fear is not of God, so it has no claim on her. Despite the discomfort and strangeness of the situation to her, our desire would be that she would shine brightly to everyone; and what a tremendous witness she would be to the staff and other patients by letting His Light shine. 


Prayer Warriors Called Into Action - Day 10 (1 week from surgery)

If you want to know why we are praying look HERE

First, I have to tell you what Emma said as I sat next to her tonight on her bed getting ready to put the essential oils on her....

"Mom, Tomorrow, for you."

She wants to give ME a massage with oils tomorrow.
How precious is that?
Talk about God doing miracles and transforming lives. Wow!  I was blown away.
So, tomorrow I may be a big ole' marshmallow and unable to blog at all--stay tuned.

Today as I finally began, I was asking the Lord,
"What do you want me to pray for tonight?"
And almost in an audible voice I "heard",
"Tonight is Peter's night [to pray]"

He isn't in the room when I'm massaging her and therefore isn't praying in that moment because Emma is very modest and her back is exposed.  So, after I was finished, I told him and he said he would see how the Lord leads and we will make another post shortly (or tomorrow) as we hear how the Lord speaks through a daddy's heart for his girl and for the Glory of Jesus.
 I can't 'bout you?

He's my favorite...
Request to follow shortly.
Stay tuned.
 in the meantime pray for him since he will be home with the boys after the initial surgery is done, and I will be with Emma 2 hours away at Shriners.  He will need some prayers for sure.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Prayer Warriors Called Into Action -Day 9

If you want to know what we are praying about go HERE.

A few things came forward in our time together tonight:

First, when I lifted her shirt to do the massage I noticed an abrasion on her lower back about 2-3" long.  More or less like a pressure sore or rug burn.  It concerned me.  I asked about it and she said it doesn't hurt and that she fell at the playground tonight when her and Joshua were playing (I didn't see it happen apparently).
This did bring forward something to keep in prayer:
we need to make sure she has no wounds or abrasions or illnesses, etc before the surgery.  So if you could pray this heals quickly, we'd appreciate it.
Second, while I was coming to the close of the massage I closed my eyes to seek Jesus' guidance for what to pray tonight and there was a very subtle light that I could see when I closed my eyes.  It was a very peaceful all-encompassing light.  I'm not sure exactly what that means.  I'd love to know how God speaks to you about that.  The only thing I could piece together was being a light in a dark place. or God is an all consuming light to our lives.  Again, I'm not sure what that's all about quite yet.  
So pray as you feel led about the light.
(sorry that is vague, but perhaps you have insight to share)

Third, the word "expectant" kept coming up.  Be Expectant.  Expect great things.  Do not fear, but be Expectant.  "Let me show you how to be Expectant".  There's no room for doubt when you are expectant that God is in it.  Be bold.  Be strong. Be faithful.  Believe.  Be Confident. Be Expectant.
pray with Expectation with us.

Psalm 5:3
"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."
Fourth, this is the first time she completely passed out and didn't move when I left the room.  Total and complete silence, didn't even move.  Again, more signs of peace, comfort, release, attachment, contentment.
Thank You Jesus for all you are doing and offering Emma sweet precious peace-which in turn becomes our peace as well.

Sorry this was such a scattered and random post.  I don't know why it turned out that way.  But, God had a lot of "little" messages tonight that have potential for Greatness in this journey.
1.  pray against wounds/abrasions before surgery and the one she has will heal quickly
2.  pray as you feel led about how God is using the image of "light" in this journey.
3.  Pray Expectantly--unabashidly ---without hesitation --without fear
4.  Thank Jesus for peace. (we thank Him for you. =)