Friday, June 13, 2014

Family Update

I realize I haven't given an update on the kiddos in a while. With four kids and four dogs life is cray, cray CRAZY! 

Summer graduated high school with honors and will be attending Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in the fall to study special education.

Wyatt is nearly six feet tall and just finished his freshman year of high school! He hopes to volunteer with our local food pantry this summer, is volunteering with VBS and is chief babysitter since Summer has a full time job as a nanny.

Ellie turned four in April and has grown and thrived in the two years she has been a part of our family. She will start pre-school in the fall. Ellie's imagination is as big as her personality!

Isaac has overcome many challenges since coming home. He exceeded all the goals set for him last year with the Early Intervention program. Isaac is receiving speech, occupational, physical and vision therapies. He is walking!!! Understanding more and more and eats like a champ. His head is noticeably improved although still appears a bit flat.

Chris and I planted an orphan and foster ministry and it is thriving in the foster area. We have begun getting donations to help local foster families in need. The response has been overwhelming. From a tiny seed God planted in our hearts once we returned from China, to now a small team of people working to support local adoptive and foster families.To Him be ALL the glory! We are humbled to be a part of His kingdom!
Written below is an update from Chris about Isaac's first days and a beautiful message about my upcoming mission trip. I have raised approximately a quarter of the funds needed.  This trip will be relational discipleship lived out with those we serve on our trip.

This past week we celebrated one year as a family with my youngest son Isaac. Reflecting back a year ago to that day in Nanjing, as I sat in a civil affairs office with my oldest daughter Summer awaiting a son and a brother to arrive. As Isaac was carried into the office and I caught my first glimpse of my son, I was shocked! I had seen pictures of Isaac when he was just weeks old, he appeared vibrant, his head was well rounded, other than his albinism, he appeared perfectly healthy. But now, Isaac was almost a year old, he appeared listless, the back of his head was flat. Not just flat, his head appeared deformed. The ladies from the orphanage told me he could stand and was eating solid foods. Isaac was unable to sit without being propped by pillows and could only drink formula. I remember wondering that first night what had happened to my son. I called Julie and asked her to warn family and friends about his appearance. After 24 hours, we returned to the civil affairs office to complete the paperwork and declare we were keeping Isaac. This past year, Isaac has learned to walk, clap his hands, feed himself and is starting to verbalize. Other than being visually impaired and having albinism he will eventually catch up to his peers. So the question is why? Why was Isaac so delayed? Why did a baby with a normal looking head arrive to me with a deformed flat head? The answer? There was no one in the orphanage to hold him! No one to hold him while he drank his bottle! No one to comfort him when he cried! No one to rock him to sleep! No one to do any of those things because there was just too many babies and not enough caregivers. Isaac laid on his back for so many hours of the day his head flattened. Isaac didn't develop because there was no stimulation. He laid on his back and scratched his sheets with his fingers to make noise to stimulate himself, a habit he still has. If you're still reading this you must be wondering why I share this with you. I'm asking you to support Julie as she returns to China to spend a week at an orphanage. A week to hold babies, to rock them, to comfort them, to provide human contact with babies who do not have a home or a family. Your support could be as simple as praying for a safe trip or donating to help with travel expenses. I shared my story about Isaac so you could put a face to the crisis, 34 million children without homes, without families, without someone who cares.