The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Moments!

Well I have good news and bad news about the pics I have from Christmas. The good news is, I have pics from Christmas! The bad news is, we COULD NOT locate ONE camera in this house on Christmas Eve. So we had to take some photos with Matthew's Ipod touch. Can you imagine??? Well, I had my camera, but couldn't find the charger and the battery was dead and we couldn't find the other 2 cameras. Boo :( , Soooo some of these pics are low quality and Matthew was taking them which leads to the fact that I have only 1 pic with Matthew in it. Otherwise, we had a wonderful and blessed time!!

Hua Hua and Joshua, cute as buttons underneath the tree. Love those faces!

Just had to post this pic. Hua was NOT having this moment. She and Josh play together non stop, but sometimes he really is a rascal. He kept putting his hand on her shoulder and she did not want him to. Look at his face and at hers!

Christina joined them to make this moment so sweet! Just wish Matthew was there too and it would have been perfect!

Joshua and Hua Hua opening their first present addressed to both of them from Lolli and Pops.

It was a wooden Nativity! So cool and fun to play with!

Then a very special couple of presents. They each received a wooden growth chart to hang on their bedroom walls, handmade by Pops! Joshua's has dinosaurs on it! He loved it!

Hua Hua's had Minnie Mouse and the Gang on it! She LOVES Minnie Mouse!

Hua Hua opening a gift! She is asking me, what is it????

Joshua received a Kinex Double Shot Rollercoaster from Santa!! He was excited about that!!

Matthew with a new Lego Kit. The boys love to work on Lego kits.

Christina with a gift card! What better gift for a teenage girl?? Go Santa! She sure looks cute in the morning.

A Lego/Dinosaur creation by Joshua. Both people are being eaten.....

Hua Hua put on that adorable Tutu sent to her by Mimi and wore it all day! She loved pushing her new dolly in the new dolly stroller!

Have I mentioned how much she likes to eat??? She LIKES to eat! She is always the first one at a table even if you are just starting a meal, LOL! Here she is, as she saw me setting the Christmas table, she was ready to eat!!

I know this picture is terrible quality, but I just had to add it. Hua Hua just looks so cute in her Panda Bear hat and Tutu Leotard and Christmas Bib.... :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours! May God Bless You!

Be Joyful today! What blessed news it is to know that our Lord was brought into this world to bring Peace! PEACE! That is something to be Joyful about!

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do We Love Her Like Our Own?

Somebody recently said something to the effect that in light of Hua Hua's heart defect and the possibility that "if she does not pass this upcoming test", this test being this heart and lung catheterization that will determine whether or not she can move on to the life saving heart surgery she needs, that "at least she will have had precious time with us here, getting love that she would not have received at the orphanage in China".

It is clear that this person meant this with kindness and mercy in regard to our situation and please know that I do understand the sentiment they were attempting to convey! In fact for one split second, I almost agreed....almost....

I nodded, feeling somewhat defeated and downcast as we had just received this alarming report, and thanked this person as they walked away, however, something inside of me suddenly began to bubble forth with new power and silently bellowed:

"No, that is not right!"

And again, "No!" with growing indignation.

And then A LOT of indignation. Dare I admit it felt like the teenage boys who play basketball in our neighborhood might say, "awww h@ll no!"

Deep within me it was the "No!" of a parent whose child's life is on the line!

The "No!" of a mother bear protecting her cub!

The "No!" of a mother whose own FLESH AND BLOOD needs rescuing and that mom will fight to the end to see it happen!

When I peered deeply into the meaning of the sentiment the person attempting comfort conveyed, It felt as if it would apply to how you MIGHT expect a parent to feel about an ADOPTED child. As if just a few years, or ever 6 or 7 years, or even the more "hopeful" 14 or 15 years, with her would be enough because she was not our actual flesh and blood and at least she would have that much more than nothing. Well it is true it may be more than she would have had in the first place, but you see..... WE can't imagine NOT having her forever! For the FULL ride!! She MUST be here with us and the thought of her not being here is unimaginable!

Can you imagine losing any of your children? Your 3 year old? Your 8 year old? Your teen? I think not! We are as attached to her now as we are our very own little tummy grown munchkins who run around this house causing havoc, and we certainly will be just as attached if not more so in 3 years or in 10 years.

How is adopting our Katie Grace Hua Hua like having our own child? Well, let me share our birth story!........

Planning a child - After much prayer and discussion and research, we decided to adopt.

The road to Conception -1 and 1/2 years it took. It was a long and winding road through programs and agencies and waiting and waiting for a referral for a child.

We're Expecting a girl!! - We received a file and referral of a little girl, 2 1/2 years old, sweet and shy with a heart defect. Our joy was overwhelming!!!

"You have a "glow" about you!" - You go around planning every detail, clothing, room, toy, imagining your future together and all that goes with it, and you just glow with anticipation!

Gestation - Our "gestation" was another year and we worked so hard to accomplish every detail to get to that day. Finally, we traveled around the world to bring her home!

Labor and Delivery - Our first day together was full of tears and fears. It was joyful, intense and painful. She cried and cried off and on all day and I held her. We were afraid and ecstatic all at once.

Those first weeks home - Our first weeks home from the orphanage were exhausting with not enough sleep. Crying, clinging, insecure child. Learning to communicate and what to feed.

Those first weeks home were also wonderful as you study this new little person - We played and hugged and kissed and sang and danced and learned to know each other.

After a couple months you settle and are back to work - Back to work part time for me, missing my new little one, calling to check in frequently. Happy the siblings love to play together.

So here we are 4 months home with our new daughter! She is not 4 months old however, she is 3 years old. But we love her just like you love your 4 month old biological birth daughter after coming home and getting to know that precious face. She did not come out of my belly, but I birthed her in my heart and mind and she came to us through hard labor. We love her and will fight for her health and for her to be with us.

AND just a disclaimer, I hold NOTHING against the person who made the comment meant to comfort. That was meant in sincere kindness. This was all for ME! For me to build my strength for the fight and know God has a good plan, a plan to heal and strengthen!

I don't want to just imagine that she came home just to get a few years of love. I don't believe that is God's will. I refuse to believe it. I believe He wills for health and life and family and future and that is what I am standing on today for our daughter! I want her to live a full life just like any parent wants their child to live a full life!

Friday, December 16, 2011

UPDATE on Hua Hua's Heart and late coming Thanksgiving Pics!

So you may have noticed that the date for Katie Grace Hua Hua's Lung and Heart Catheterization Surgery was to be on Dec 14th which was to determine if she would be able to have the heart surgery she needs. We went into the Hospital on the 13th for her pre-surgery work up and the Cardio surgeon decided that we would postpone the catheterization for 3-4 weeks due to the fact that KG recently had a cough and cold. She had just gotten over it and was free from coughing but he said that if there was any remaining inflammation in the lungs due to the cough, that could cause complications. He wanted her to have at least 3-4 weeks free of a cold. We of course want to do what will be best but it is hard to wait to find out if she is going to have the life saving surgery she needs! Please pray that she will stay well for the next 3 weeks because these kids keep bringing home colds and it is really getting frustrating!

This Dr was not the same Dr we saw originally. This Dr is the director of the entire Cardio unit at AHP and specializes in Pediatric cardio care. He had more positive words and outlook for us and we felt encouraged by our visit. He felt she may indeed be a candidate for the surgery she needs, but of course we won't know for sure until the cath. God is so good though and has a good plan for her life!

One unfortunate part is that the Dr believes they detected yet a 3rd heart defect on her cardio echo sonogram. So for you "heart" parents, in addition to her VSD and PFO, he believe there may also be an ASD. The ASD though, can also be closed in surgery as well if she can have the surgery, so it is correctable, so that is a positive within the negative.

Sorry, I am so behind on blogging, but here are are a few fun pics from Thanksgiving!

Joshua and his classmates worked hard on studying American Indians and making costumes for their Thanksgiving presentation.

Joshua insisted, the night before the celebration, that I "dress as a Pilgrim", LOL! Well, I had no Pilgrim clothes so thankfully his teacher had a spare bonnet for me to borrow!

Hua Hua excited to share in the feast with the kids at school!

Just a cute pic of Hua Hua having a doughnut at church! So sweet is she!

Thanksgiving at Jacob's parents lake house is such a special time! The kids loved every minute!! Katie Grace loved her first bite of fried turkey (Pop"s style) and all of the fixins!

Friday, November 18, 2011

PSALMS 147:3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. - Our little girl's heart is in need of a miracle.

Those amazing words are written by the psalmist believed to be King David speaking of the Lord's ability to heal us body, mind and soul. I understand that the words, "He heals the broken hearted.." are meant to express the feelings of the abandoned, the forlorn, the outcast but in this case, I have taken hold of the this promise for our Katie Grace who literally needs a healing in her physical "broken heart".

Our sweet little Katie Grace has had her broken in her life on more than one occasion. Having been abandoned at 9 months, living in an institutional setting where longtime friends and caretakers may come and go, and then leaving the place she knew to come to a new family. These are huge life changes that cause a broken heart and I thank God for giving her a smiling face and a joyful disposition everyday!

We knew when we looked at Hua Hua's medical file (we still call her that at home, it's her Chinese nick name :) hwa hwa) that she had 2 "minor/correctable" defects. We had our Dr review her file an he said that 1 of the defects, a PFO is so common that many people have it and don't know it, it is most likely a non- issue, which we found to be true in her case. He said the other defect, a VSD may need correction at some point in her childhood, but is a very common correction for a cardiologist to perform successfully. This is true, but at her cardiologist appointment, there is a major problem. The VSD hole in her heart is very big. It has caused her heart to labor, which has caused her lungs to labor for too long. The heart needs the surgery soon, but the cardiologist believes her lungs have developed too much damage to be able to handle the correction of the heart.

On December 14th, Katie Grace will go into Arnold Palmer Hospital here in Orlando and they will catheterize her lungs to check the the capacity of her lungs and determine if she can have the life saving heart surgery she will need. If she does not, there is nothing they can do to improve the lung function, she will not be able to have the surgery ever. Please pray that she has that strength! We believe in hearts that she does. If you saw her, you would believe that she does. She did not have many of the signs on the checklist they asked about. She does not tire easily, she does not breath hard, she does not get blue lips or fingers or toes. She is active and healthy!

Her lung oxygen saturation levels were low, but she was also sick with a bad cough at the time and I know that can cause low levels, her cough is totally gone now.

Thanks for your prayers and I will keep better updates!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Hua Hua LOVES her Minnie Mouse! She takes her everywhere and sleeps with her too. So I thought, what better choice for a costume than Minnie?? She looked SO cute!

She was so excited to put on her Minnie dress and she loved her ponytails, ears and nose! She squealed for joy! She really smiles a lot, I promise, LOL! I just can't seem to get her to smile a real smile for a picture yet. This is her photo smile. :)

Joshua wanted to be Spider Man AGAIN this year. He insisted. So I thought, great, just re-use your old costume if that is what you want. Then the night before Halloween he cried because he decided he wanted to be Mario. Well, I said, "it's a little too late to make a change now". Then that day I was shopping and saw this Mario costume, the last one left, happened to be in his size, marked at 1/2 price. Well of course I knew I had to get it and boy was he excited!

I have no idea why they both posed at the same time looking away from me off into the distance, but it made me laugh! These two are two peas in a pod. Always together.

Here's all 4 of the kiddos. Christina decided if Katie Grace was Minnie, she would be too. So we just got her that tutu and she did the rest. That turned out adorable. Jacob did Matthew's horror make-up, finished his hair later, and bloodied the shirt. A bit gory for my taste, but oh well, boys just like to go the extra mile!

Early in the evening on Halloween, we have a tradition of going over to visit our long time babysitter Jean at her community club house and their celebration. She likes to show of the kids to all her old folks friends. They are really like grand kids to her.

What could be cuter than these two sisters???

There the kids are with Jean. She is dressed as a Japanese Lady. She always wins her clubhouse costume contest.

The first of many tastes of candy for that evening!

One sweet little Mario taking a break from his mustache to eat some candy. Giving me the "don't even think of taking my candy" look.

Time for the children's costume parade! They all had some really fun costumes!

Katie Grace is shy sometimes, but only for a moment. She loved the costume parade and won 2nd place! She lost to a cute chubby baby lion. :)

Back home and ready for Trick-Or-Treating. Joshua, our neighbor Amber and Hua Hua ready to go. Hua doesn't even know what she is in for with this candy collecting that is about to occur! All of the neighbors were so happy to see her and ooohed and ahhhhed!

Matthew always sticking close by to make sure she is safe and sound. He is a great big brother.

Matthew with his best buddies, Elijah and Hunter.

Monday, October 10, 2011


So I had this plan to post a whole bunch of awesome pics of all of our fall football activities, because if you have followed me for any length of time you will know that we are all about football around here! First of all, I will say War Eagle! We are Auburn fans! We watch college football every Saturday (well all weekend long really) and try to be festive and wear our Auburn Orange and Navy for the games, but that is after a long morning and afternoon of Pee Wee football supporting the Ridge Lightening, Matthew's team, and the night before that, the Ridge Community High School Bolts football team, where Christina marches in the marching band. So we are at practice ALL week for one child or another and at games ALL weekend ALL fall long.

The only problem is, I really don't have many awesome pics like I had planned. Every time I have everyone dressed up in their game day colors, it rains or I forget the camera, or the photos come out bad. So I just decided I will start posting what I have today and go from there!

Today is dedicated to Christina's and Marching Band. As you can see these are early season pics because they aren't even in full uniform yet. Also, a couple cute pics of her in her homecoming dress.

2 fun videos too. More fall football pics to come. :)

This first video is Christina's band in the stands during the game. Last year they had a band almost twice this size but with cut backs in the arts in schools, a lot of the seniors moved on and not as many young musicians came in from middle schools. They still have a great band and a great program though! They have so much fun. You can see Tina with her sax on the end near the middle.

I'm glad that when Jacob volunteers to help the band each week, he can really go the extra mile! He was formerly the Drum Major for Auburn University and so when the HS Drum Majors had to leave the other night, he was able to take over for a few minutes and lead the band!

Homecoming dress pics I found on her desktop :)

An unusual moment of the whole family together in one spot!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almost 7 weeks home!

Sorry I haven't been on much to post! We have been very busy here at home and I don't have any free time as yet to blog and visit blogs like I used to. I hope things will settle at some point so that I can do this more often and I miss visiting all of my friends blogs!!

Katie Grace XiHua is doing wonderfully!! She is so sweet and is adjusting SO well. She has a good disposition and is easy to care for on a daily basis. She is sweet and helpful and loving. She is still stuck to me like glue and has panic and that is still tiring, but we work it out. She loves her siblings and they love her. She loves her daddy too and actually lets him hold her now, but only when I am gone, LOL!

I finally have slept a "full" (my usual 6 hours) night and in my own bed for 3 random nights this week!! That is something to cheer about! Sleeping on her floor on a sleeping bag and waking up to crying many times a night is very draining, and uncomfortable so I am looking forward to more sleep!

"Hua Hua", as we still call her at home has learned many English words and understands almost everything I say to her. She is bright and quick to learn. She fits in so well in our family and we just love having her brighten our day!

She LOVES to dance! Here is the sweetest video I caught of her dancing the other day. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I want to give a big Happy Birthday shout out to my super 6 year old Joshua today!!!!! He is such a wonderful boy and makes my heart full of joy! He loves to read and talk about all kinds of facts. He loves science and skyscrapers and dinosaurs and legos. If you sit down together with a book on any of these subjects, you can have a long discussion about the facts and he will be so happy! Happy Birthday Joshua. I hope Kindergarten and your 6th year rock!

He has been saying how much he would like a "surprise party", LOL! So we gave him a surprise Birthday party this past Sunday! It was fun and here is a video of the surprise moment. Also some other pics from the party. I'm sad to say that the camera I was using had most of the pics come out blurry so I only ended up with a small bunch of good pics.

Surprise Face!!

mmmmm.... waiting for cake!!! Still room after pizza?? Of course!!

Good Friends :)

Worms in Dirt... ewwww!

Painting "pet rocks" was a hit!

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo