our mongolian miracle

i am incredibly sorry for not updating sooner. so many of you are fully engaged in this journey with us and i have not kept you up to speed these past couple of weeks. so here goes!

we DID receive some new measurements for our sweet girl. her head (the problem area, if you remember) did follow the growth curve, albeit way below the growth curve. that is good news. we'll take tiny but growing.

she is tiny. really small. 20 months old and about the size of an average 10 month old. it is pretty much guaranteed that she isn't getting enough nutrition. that is the biggest thing on my heart right now. i am pleading with God to somehow allow her to get some good food. noodles and milk just don't cut it for a baby.

she is in an orphanage, as opposed to foster care which lydia was blessed to be in. i did find a website for her orphanage although i don't put too much stock in it. china is famous for being great at outward appearances. but no doubt she is getting orphanage care - which can be loving at best and horrendous at worst.

we are now waiting for china to officially approve us to be her parents and then grant us travel approval. the time line we have been given to travel is december - february.

items for prayer...
nutrition. please pray for the orphanage to have an abundant supply of protein and for sarahjoy to eat a whole bunch! she is from the inner mongolian portion of china so i can't imagine a whole lot grows up there during the winter. maybe some yak or something yummy like that!

love. please pray for sarahjoy to receive affection and love from her caregivers. that she would be attached to someone special. her attachment now is what makes for a healthy attachment later so the care she is receiving during these months is incredibly crucial.

speed. we want our little girl. please pray for a super quick approval from china. what if we could even bring her home for christmas? would that be a cherry on top of our sarahjoy miracle or what?

money. our friends and family are clearly being the hands and feet of jesus. we are overwhelmed (as evidenced by my serious lack of up-to-date thank you notes!) please pray that God would provide 100% for sarahjoy's homecoming.

praises to jesus!...

sarahjoy. she is so precious and we can't wait to get our hands on her. lydia is SO EXCITED she can hardly stand it.

money. we are so thankful. wow. God is showing himself through some of the most unlikely of sources. one practical thing that is almost guaranteed - not many people are flying to inner mongolia in the winter. go figure! so it looks like we will have a substantial reduction from the estimated cost of our plane tickets! then again, we may have to pay for hypothermia and frostbite treatment.

thank you guys so much for your support. we could not do this journey without you. well, we could. but we would be a mess. so thanks. we can't wait to introduce you to our sweet mongolian miracle!


**i have had several people ask me about the info to donate. so here it is.
lifesong for orphans
po box 40 / 202 n. ford street
gridley, il 61744

make checks payable to 'lifesong for orphans' and write 'sanzone #1284' in the memo line.


we want her!

so, we have officially accepted sarahjoy as our new daughter!!!!!

the synopsis...the hole in her heart is "not a big deal. we know how to fix that," as stated by the international adoption pediatrician. now obviously it has to do with the heart and so i don't want to minimize that. but her congenital defect is very, very common and there are routine procedures to fix it, if it evens needs to be fixed. many children simply grow out of the condition. the rest of her heart looks very healthy.

so the question becomes is there anything else going on, which is where the smaller head circumference comes into play. we asked about getting additional measurements but we are not able to until we step thorough another hoop which will be in a few months. so that idea is null and void. which left us looking at all of the circumstantial evidence, so to speak. she looks healthy (the pediatrician did not see any facial features that would alert us to a certain syndrome or disorder), according to her records she is developmentally on target, and overall she is small (5th percentile). which is a much better scenario than being an average or larger child with the smaller head circumference.

to be clear, if we were to receive additional medical evidence later on in the wait that would alert us to something else going on besides the hole in her heart, we could change course. obviously, we don't foresee that happening and don't want it to happen. but essentially, we are accepting a child whose special need has been identified as CHD (congenital heart defect), not anything else. so if there is evidence of something else, china would allow us break our commitment.

what brought us to this point more than anything was our reciting of all of the miraculous ways God has been with us on this journey. the finances are the foremost that everyone sees. but in our 'secret' prayers (that i wish we hadn't kept so secret so everyone could see God's hand), we asked God for a 2 year old (she will be 2 on november 15), with a minor heart defect (hello!), who would come quickly (we just logged in last monday!) voila! both of us feel like God has answered our prayers and plopped her down in our lap and she is ours to love. i fully believe that the head circumference issue is not going to be given a second thought as soon as we get additional measurements.

what's next? lots of paper trails...and then we should be in china in 5-7 months which means decemberish-februaryish. good thing she is from the north, which has an average high of 22 degrees and low of 2 degrees in january and good thing i LOVE cold weather!!! : ) (for those who don't know, i am SERIOUSLY grumpy with anything under 55 degrees!!!)

we can't wait to get there!!!!! by the time she comes, i know God will have provided 100% of the expenses, have given us additional peace about her health, and provided northern china with a massive heat wave.


holy batman!

wow!!!! we received the file of a little girl this morning! we had no idea that it was coming so needless to say, we have been in shock all day! we have 72 hours to decide so i am writing to request your prayers!

she is a 20 month old little girl who has a congenital heart defect, the commonly heard of 'hole in your heart'. it very often closes itself as the child grows and if not, then there is a 'minor' heart procedure to be done. bottom line, not a big deal for american doctors.

the more concerning thing is her small head circumference. this could be nothing, or it could be indicative of something major. ironically, this is the same issue we had with lydia. and here's where international adoption gets fun. we have one measurement. it is from december 2009. so there is no point of reference. has her head always been small, but is growing steadily? or is it getting smaller? or has it leveled out and not growing at all? huge questions and not so many answers right now. there is nothing else to indicate that she has any sort of abnormality or syndrome but it's one of those things where you just don't know 100%.

we have spoken with an international adoption pediatrician in michigan (which is where i got the above info), we have an appt at the children's hospital tomorrow, and i have sent the file to my uncle who is a cardiologist. and i have also requested updated measurements from our agency. whether we get them or not, we will have to wait and see. we were able to get that with lydia and it made our decision much easier, but it is up to the orphanage and so we just don't know. we have to make the decision in the next 72 hours.

please pray with us for wisdom. specifically pray that we could receive one or more additional measurements so we could have a better idea about this head thing. and of course, if there is more to the heart issue, pray that the multiple sets of eyes looking at her files would be able to see that.

thanks so much for walking this journey with us! i will let you know more as soon as we know!


the arms that hold the universe

i know it seems like this could be
the darkest day you've known
but believe you me
the God of strength will never let you go
he will overcome, i know

and the arms that hold the universe
are holding you tonight
you can rest inside, it's gonna be alright
and the voice that calmed the raging sea
is calling you his child
so be still and know he's in control
he will never let you go

through many dangers, toils and snares
you have already come
his grace has brought you safe this far
his grace will lead you home
you can hope, you can rise, you can stand
he has still got the whole world in his hands


i heard this song for the zillioneth time the other day. and yet, in that moment my heart was instantly transported - to a faraway place, across the ocean. a mom, a dad. having given their baby girl away. to whom, they do not know. they have simply left her on a busy street corner and walked away, forced by their government to secretly abandon their own blood, the child of their womb. they can only hope that her life will be of some worth. they grieve for a little girl that remains only in their dreams. they wake up to heartache day after day, imagining the worst, praying for the best. pressing on under a government regime that has caused them the greatest heartache one could ever imagine. a wound that will never heal, that will be ripped open every time they see pigtails and wedding dresses. one of the greatest unrecognized tragedies of the modern world.

on this side of the ocean i pray. i listen to that song and pray. that somehow they will know God. that they will know his strength. that his arms hold the universe and he will never let them go. at the same time that we anticipate meeting our little girl (at least on paper) in just a few short weeks, i am keenly aware of the heartache that follows her. sometimes it almost overshadows my joy. the thought of walking in those shoes is gut-wrenching to me. almost nauseating.

and the arms that hold the universe
are holding you tonight
you can rest inside, it's gonna be alright
and the voice that calmed the raging sea
is calling you his child
so be still and know he's in control
he will never let you go

sweet sarahjoy. God is moving to bring her home. we have $8220.99 to go to reach our goal of $30,000. incredible. the generosity of those around us is astounding - even more so if you could know the stories of those who are sacrificing to bring sarahjoy home.

a new list is expected to be released towards the end of this month. we are ready and waiting and certainly anticipating being matched with our little girl. it is by no means guaranteed, but i would be lying if i said we weren't expecting to be. and after matching, there is a 4-6 month wait before travel. so we're looking at wintertime...if we get matched...

to those of you who have given so generously, thank you. your financial gifts mean more to us than you can know. they speak volumes.

to those who are praying, please pray for favor with this next list. we would obviously love to be matched. but if we are really honest, we would love to be matched with a little girl with very minor special needs and who 'fits' in our family. you know, how lydia just fits. we hear it all the time, "i know this sounds weird, but she just looks like she goes with your family. she's just a chinese version of the sanzones!" it does sound weird, until you see it for yourself. and then it's sort of, well, a bit uncanny.

and pray for God's provision. we have $8220.99 more to go. maybe God will provide with additional donations. maybe a grant from Show Hope (which we are waiting to hear from in august). maybe in lower airfare than we are expecting. maybe in some crazy way we can't even imagine. who knows, but we are praying for 100% provision.

sweet sarahjoy - your mommy and daddy are coming. eat your veggies, smile for your pictures, and get lots of lovin's from your orphanage nannies. we can't wait to hold you. and there are 4 little people here who are already plotting the menagerie of stuffed animals that you need to fill up your bed. so don't grow too big. someday soon, we will be in each other's arms.