Sunday, August 29, 2010


Something very special has happened.
Maggie gets so excited when she is in the car and we are entering our neighborhood.  She starts laughing, squealing, and kicking her legs.  Cause she knows she is getting close to home.  Her home.
The wonderful, cozy, warm place where she knows she is loved .  When we open the door to the kitchen, she goes to the living room and starts running around with a big smile on her face. She knows...
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that she is home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twenty-Two Months.

Maggie is almost Twenty-two months old.  I can't believe our baby will be two soon !  Isn't she adorable in her pink bucket ? She loves to climb in buckets or storage totes and play.
Maggie's new BAHA hearing aid is doing wonderful.  First of all, it never slips off her hair -almost never.  She can even twirl,hang upside down and do front flips with it on ( which is very important to our little gymnast/dancer ).  She seems to be hearing very well with it on and doesn't mind the head band.  She really started babbling when we first put it on and then stopped a little.  Now, her cute baby babble is off and on throughout the day, but she REALLY babbles in her crib when she is all alone.  Patience.  I need patience.  It may be a while before Maggie starts talking or it could happen tomorrow or maybe she will never talk.  Either way, Maggie has her own way of communicating and letting us know what she wants and when she wants it.
She points,takes my hand and puts it on what she wants, says "uh uh" and yes she cries when she doesn't get her way.  Our little angel is still very much a velcro baby and does not like for  me to leave the room, cook dinner or fold clothes without her in my arms.   Really.  Thankfully, she loves to go to the church nursery and mother's day out and play.
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And, our little peanut is getting to be a chubby,little girl. Tonight, she ate a bowl full of chicken and rice and then pointed with enthusiasm  to Chuck's sandwich on the table.  Yep,she ate that too !  We even started ordering her a children's plate if we go out to eat.  Maggie eats any kind of food and a lot of it. ( the grandmother's will all be happy at that !)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


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Hi. We're still here, just busy.  A friend gave Maggie these necklaces and she has loved playing dress up with them.  She twirled and twirled with them one night.  Maggie has also started dancing ! She moves her head from side to side and shrugs her shoulders.  Her new hearing aid is wonderful and hopefully, I will post an update on how well she is doing  with her BAHA.  It is amazing to see the difference this hearing aid is making. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Confessions of a Worried Mom

Well, I must confess and repent.  I have been anxious and worried about Maggie

The Bible clearly teaches that Christians are not to worry. In Philippians 4:6, we are commanded, “Do not be anxious [do not worry] about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In this Scripture, we learn that we should bring all of our needs and concerns to God in prayer rather than worry about them. Jesus encourages us to avoid worrying about our physical needs like clothing and food. Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father will take care of all our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). Therefore, we have no need to worry about anything.

I even have proof, If you look back at my July 26th post entitled "Broken" I wrote "It has been like a hard jab in the stomach knowing her hearing aid is not fixable right now."  I'm starting today and I am going to stop seeing the bumps in the road as bad.  If you are reading this and are in any way involved in an adoption, you know the bumps I'm talking about.  The "This just isn't fair!" or "Why does it have to take so long!" moments.  God is sovereign.  He's running this show called life and I just realized, a little more, that he is a wonderful Director!

 See,we thought the "Broken" hearing aid was just another set back in poor Maggie's already delayed life.  Can you hear the music at our pity party?  Not many people showed up. Little did we know that the original hearing aid (HA) was broken and the engineers at Phonak really didn't know why.  So they tried to fix it, sent it back, and it was broke again.  Strike up the pity band we're having another party!  Until today I really thought this was a bad, unfair picture.  But, as I was leaving the Hear Center today something clicked.  It really started clicking late last week, let me explain.

  My husband and I work for a wonderful hospital.  They have been very supportive of our adoption and we are forever grateful.   Normally, hearing aids are not covered as a benefit with most employers.  Maggie's first HA cost about $800 and they paid the bill in full.  After getting the HA back and finding out it was still broken, we asked about changing to the much more expensive BAHA unit.  (We choose not to go with this unit at first because we were not sure if Maggie would be rough and fling it off her head.  She has done as good as we could have imagined.)  So we asked the makers of the first HA if they would refund us due to all the problems and they agreed.  Now how are we going to pay for this new, and I must say much better unit ?

So I made the call to the wonderful folks at the hospital and inquired about the new unit.  And wouldn't you know it... "We will take care of it". Nearly $4000... Paid in full.  Remember I said He is sovereign.  So it was ordered Monday and was supposed to take 10-14 days to come in....  We get a call this morning early, "can you be in Birmingham by 1:30?  Maggie's HA is in".  So off to the Hear Center we go.  As we were talking to Maggie's Audiologist she says, "I have never seen this HA covered by insurance before ".  I thought about the word "Never"...  You always hear people saying, "Never say never!"  Webster defines it: "not ever; at no time".  I think about our sweet Maggie,  although see was abandoned, God never left her, "at no time" did God not have a plan for her, and "at no time" did God not see her complete in our home in a far away place.

He is sovereign, and I am sinful.  Lord please forgive me for worrying about one of your precious children.  I know things aren't going to always be easy, but I am, starting now, going to see the things that come along in life as a blessing and not a curse.
He loves me, and He loves you!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Special Needs Post (Re-posting)

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I first posted this in March here and am reposting it again with some updates:

It's hard to even believe that this picture was taken on Dec.28, 2009, almost three months ago ! Maggie came to us as a quiet, floppy, shocked little girl. She had no idea what was happening and really neither did we.  We had no idea what a complete JOY and BLESSING Maggie is or how much we would love her immediately.  We also didn't know she was deaf.  Looking back at our China pictures now, I see how Maggie was so confused and detached.  She couldn't hear what was happening around her and she had to have been scared to death.  She did not respond to her Chinese name or to our voices, she did not take a bottle for three days, got very constipated, continually looked at her hands and laid her right ear down on tables or floors to hear the vibrations. (She preferred to lay down on the floor rather than sit up). Her little body went through so much as she grieved and tried to understand what was happening.  I think her way of dealing with all the changes was to just shut down.  How could she have known that we were going to love and care for her, that she would have a forever family and all the hugs and kisses she could stand.  She couldn't.  She didn't.  But, that is ok. We have taken it slow, and day by day we have watched her unfold like a beautiful flower.
Her special need was multiple: A heart condition called VSD (small) and microtia/atresia ( later we found out she has severe hearing loss a.k.a. deaf)  We were told she could say bababa, smile, stand on her own and that she was lively and liked musical toys.  All the pictures of her showed her to be a very healthy looking  little girl.  We had done all the research, read special needs blogs, attended a seminar on what to expect when you adopt internationally and prayed a lot for our daughter.

I remember when I first saw her through the curtain at the adoption center in Guangzhou.  Maggie looked a little like her pictures, but really she looked very different.  I saw her head was crooked to one side, her facial expression was out of sorts, she had what looked like bug bites on her face and  her head was oddly misshapen.  Chuck and I waited till it was our time to officially meet Maggie and she was first handed to me.  With a pink toy duck in one hand, I reached out to Maggie.  Finally, I was  holding my baby girl.  This was the moment I had dreamed about for so long.  There was a big smile on my face and my heart was beating so fast.  I took a good look at her.  I loved her so much already and it was evident Maggie had some things to overcome.  She was more like an infant than a 14 month old.  She would lean way back when I held her and she stared at her hands constantly.  At one moment, I stopped to pray and tearfully thank God for Maggie, I asked for wisdom to be her mother and I prayed that Maggie's pain would be washed away, that she would know she is accepted and not rejected.  It was a crazy Gotcha day and I was so overcome with emotions and questions.  Was she ever held ?  Did she ever have toys to play with ?  Just how neglected was she ?  I thought she was lively and talking ? What really went on in her orphanage ?  I had a feeling that Maggie was severely neglected.  I was right.  I also watched her intently and knew that she was very smart and she was a fighter, chosen by God to be my daughter, and destined to overcome her special needs.  I saw it.  I knew it.  My heart felt it.

Although we did a lot of research on what to expect and knew the self soothing and floppy, flat affect was "normal" for a child that was institutionalized in an orphanage in China, nothing can really prepare you for the reality of it.  You see, Maggie was just another baby in the orphanage.  She probably spent over twenty hours by herself in a lonely crib with no toys and no sounds.  She learned not to cry and to sooth herself by rocking back and forth and looking at her hands.  She was given a bottle with a big opening filled with formula and rice cereal.  It would have been propped up and too bad if it spilled.  Everything was on a tight schedule. She was bathed with cold water that was poured over her.  She learned to just survive. I was once told by a fellow adoptive mom that there is a difference in surviving and thriving .  She's so right.

Because now, we see Maggie thriving.  She laughs and smiles, plays and discovers, hugs and snuggles.  She is changing every day into this bright, sweet little girl that we knew was there somewhere.  Sure, we still have days where she looks lost and sad or she stares at her hands too long like she doesn't know what to do.  But then, she's back and laughing in her daddy's arms.  All Maggie needed was love, someone to give her a chance, to believe in her and tell her she matters.  Her special need was that she needed a family.  Everything else is minor compared to that need.  She has completely and totally captured our hearts and we are forever changed.  How could we not be ?

Would we adopt a special needs child again ?  Yes !!! A thousand times yes.  Was it worth all the unknowns, money and time ?  Yes ! Every child is precious and important - the whole and the broken, the sick and lame.  My heart breaks to know that there are 147 million little Maggie's around the world that need a family and someone to say to them " you matter, God loves you and so do I".  My prayer is that by sharing Maggie's story, more families will hear the cry of the orphans and say YES to adoption.  I pray also that James 1:27 will burn in the heart of Christians - " Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our father means that we must care for orphans".

Thankfully, Maggie's story does not end here.  She has caught up developmentally with her peers ( except for language).  She can do a front flip, play peek-a-boo, twirl and run.  We have had a hard time with her bone conduction hearing aid, and are waiting on her new fancy hearing aid to come in.  Maggie is still not talking and I am still having a hard time being patient.  God is teaching me so much though and I am learning that He is in control of Maggie's life ( not me or the doctors) :
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding:
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, August 9, 2010

Referral Anniversary.


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On August 14th, 2009, we saw our daughter's face for the first time.  You can read about it here and here.

The shared list had come out on Wed. August 5th and I just knew we would get a call from our agency saying they had a file for us to review.  I waited very anxiously that day, but no call.  Then,out of the blue an e mail from our agency came out.  It had some pictures of the children that were "left over" from the shared list.  Children that had not been matched and were still needing families.  My heart was beating so fast as I looked at Maggie's picture on my computer.  A long list of medical needs were listed under her picture and some how I just knew that the info was wrong on her.  I called my coordinator and she confirmed that yes, there must have been a mix up because the little girl I was interested in only had two special needs - microtia/atresia and VSD.  We proceeded to review her file and talk with doctors about her needs and pray ! The next morning we called our agency and said "yes" to Gao En Xiao, our daughter.

It is hard to explain how we instantly loved her and how we just knew.  But, we did. This beautiful, dark haired baby girl that lived on the other side of the world was our daughter, plain and simple.  Adoption is like that -  To love a child so much  that you have never held, talked to, and personally seen. And even harder to explain is how we loved her even before she was born... Her heart woven with ours, a beautiful tapestry designed by God.

Happy referral day Maggie !! We love you !

Thursday, August 5, 2010


We started school this week, so I have been a little busy lately.  Of course, I don't have pictures of the boys doing their school work, but I have some very random pictures of Maggie playing.

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This picture just cracks me up !  Maggie loves, loves to put on her brothers or her dads crocks and walk around in them.  Her preference is to just wear one crock though.  She also loves DVD cases.  
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3
We have a daughter !!!!!!
Maggie Caroline was born Oct. 29, 2008.
She is in the SWI of Gaozhou City,China.
Guangdong Province)