gotcha day - judah fuxue!

Hard to believe we celebrated Judah's 1-year Gotch Day this week!! 
What a year!  Boy, has God blessed this little boy!

Gotcha Day (actually, night) - December 2010

Lip Surgery - March 2011

Judah's Dedication - May 2011 (courtesy Ben Vanoy)

Summer - June 2011

Palate Surgery - June 2011

Fall - September 2011

I'm TWO - October 2011

London, Millenium Bridge...where we received Judah's referral call July 2010 -
October 2011


a chinese legend

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Rom 1: 19-20

Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day was the Master of the Garden wont to walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was a gracious and noble bamboo. Year after year, Bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master's love and watchful delight, but modest, and gentle withal. And often, when Wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the Garden which most delighted the Master's heart.

Now upon a day, the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy. And Bamboo, in a passion of adoration, bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke:

"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use thee."

Bamboo flung his head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which he had been made, the day to which he had been growing hour by hour, the day in which he would find his completion and his destiny. His voice came low:

"Master, I am ready. Use me as thou wilt."

"Bamboo" — the Master 's voice was grave — "l would fain take thee and — cut thee down."

A trembling of a great horror shook Bamboo. "Cut . . . me . . . down! Me . . . whom thou, Master, hast made the most beautiful in all thy garden . . . to cut me down! Ah, not that, not that. Use me for thy joy, O Master, but cut me not down."

"Beloved Bamboo" — the Master's voice grew graver still — "if I cut thee not down, I cannot use thee."

The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There came a whisper:

"Master, if thou canst not use me but thou cut me down . . . then . . . do thy will and cut."

"Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would . . . cut thy leaves and branches from thee also."

"Master, Master, spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust; but wouldst thou take from me my leaves and branches also?"

"Bamboo, alas, if I cut them not away, I cannot use thee." The sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away.

And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low.

"Master, cut away."

"Bamboo, Bamboo, I would yet . . . cleave thee in twain and cut out thine heart, for if I cut not so, I cannot use thee."

Then was Bamboo bowed to the ground.

"Master, Master . . . then cut and cleave."

So did the Master of the Garden take Bamboo and cut him down and hack off his branches and strip off his leaves and cleave him in twin and cut out his heart. And lifting him gently, carried him to where was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then pulling one end of broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the water channel in his field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo. And the spring sang welcome and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo's torn body into the wailing fields. Then the rice was planted, and the days went by, and the shoots grew and the harvest came.

In that day was Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant, but in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master's world.

—Author Unknown (shared via an AWAA family)

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
Psalm 19:1-4


london recap 1

Our family just returned from an 8-day trip to London -- we traveled with a group of dear friends from our church family -- and I'm hoping over the next few days to share a little about out trip.

And, yes, we did take the boys.  And , no, we are not crazy.

Vince and I took our first trip to London last summer, and we took Micah with us.  And I think people thought we were crazy then, as well.

So why do we take our two toddlers trekking around the world??  I thought I'd go ahead and settle that question before sharing about the trip itself.  (Ha! Then you can decide for yourself, whether we're crazy...or not.)

God's Word says...Deut 11:16-21
Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

More and more Vince and I encounter parents whose children have turned away from the Lord.  And these moms and dads seems to be well-meaning and God-fearing, yet their children are disinterested in following Christ for themselves.  (And I'm not talking about casual church attendance--these teens/young adults attend church--but only in body, not in spirit.)  And everyone, from parents to church leadership, is wondering why the disconnect??  I could speculate, but I honestly don't have an holistic answer.  But I can assume that one disconnect has lead to another disconnect.

God's Word also says...Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

It seems that more and more people are in agreement that parents cannot wait until their children enter their teens before beginning discipleship.  Nor should families rely on the church for their children's spiritual training.  One to two hours of Bible teaching per week just isn't enough.  Not for our children, and not for us as parents.

We don't want to miss the "window" with our boys.  We want them to look back over their lives, and say, "You know, I can't remember a time when our family wasn't worshipping or serving the Lord together." 

Jesus said...Matt 12:43-45:
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

And we especially don't want to our children to flounder...to be worse off...as they get older because mom and dad haven't been disciplined in preaching and teaching the Gospel to them...in season and out of season...which, taking two toddlers to London may appear to be out of season.

There's just too much at stake. Satan is crouching outside our doors, waiting to destroy our children.  And we're kidding ourselves if we think education, technology and SEC football are reliable guardians.  There is no guardian for the souls of our children, other than the full counsel of the Word of God.

Jesus said...Matt 28:18-20:
{btw- I hate when people leave verse 18 out the Great Commission}
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So, before you say that we're crazy, I hope you hear our hearts.

God's Word has been fixed upon our hearts, and we are attempting (by God's grace) to teach and train our children...even as we go along the road...that all authority has been given to Jesus for salvation...shutting out false teaching, and worthless idols...and that he has called us to obey all that he has commanded.  To the glory of God.


love orphans? plant churches.

Well.  I intended to be back before now.  But life has been consumed with raising children and soul searching.  A healthy break, and a poignant reminder that my thoughts are essential to no one.

Paul, in his letter to the Ephesian church:
3:8To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Our church will be observing Orphan Sunday on Nov. 6 (hope yours will be as well).  I play a very limited part in what the observation will look like, but it's caused we to wonder (again) nonetheless...exactly what does it mean to care for orphans??  Now that Vince and I have completed two adoptions I ask myself this question even more deeply.  So many people are doing so many wonderful things for the cause of the orphan, yet still in my own heart I had not landed upon what it should look like--until recently.

I won't take you on that journey, but here's the conclusion that God has settled in my heart: plant churches.  New Testament, Gospel-driven, God-glorifying churches.  And plant them in communities where sin is robbing children of their families.  This is enduring, life-giving care to the orphan.  As a matter of fact, plant them everywhere!  Sin is claiming more than families. There possibly are organizations (and more hopefully, churches) that are doing this--I've not researched enough to know.

Paul also said:
1 Cor 15:3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures...

...of first importance... is not that orphans are cared for--but that Christ is preached.  And it is through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known...when God's wisdom is received and embraced, orphans will be cared for.  And even greater than that, more children will remain with their birth families.  I know that God is sovereign and allows all kinds of things for all sorts of reasons (ultimately for His glory)--but that doesn't mean that we just accept man's depravity, which destroys families.

Rom 6: 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

We either live in approval of sin, or, oppose it in power with the truth of the Gospel.

And as I think about planting churches, my heart fills with sadness because so many are willing to go...and have been called to go...but there aren't enough senders.  This is because we're not willing to embrace, as John Piper calls it, a war-time lifestyle.  God has promised to supply the resources to accomplish His work, so it's not for lack of resources that orphans aren't cared for and that sin is reigning.  The only explanation is that we are disobedient...or disbelieving.  Am I crazy?  (which is quite possible)

Rom 10:11For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

So. This is where I am.  Taking baby-steps to embrace my war-time lifestyle...because I believe that the darkness is fading and sin is losing its power to put to shame -- and, by the grace of God, may our family proclaim the Lord of all (bestowing his riches on all who call on him).

2 Cor 10:3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ...



oh, summer...where have you gone???

Seriously!  This summer has blown by -- I suppose because our family was so focused on Judah's palate repair/recovery.  We are now almost 8-weeks post Judah's palate surgery, and his healing thus far has been remarkable!  At Judah's post-op visit several weeks ago, Dr Grant told me to let him run with scissors.  Ha!  Obviously he was being facetious, but I guess it was his way of assuring me that Judah was officially post-recovery!  Judah's palate looks beautiful -- better than I could have imagined!  Thank you, God!!  You would never know that his palate had been cleft!!  And widely cleft at that!  Although, at some point his uvula did fall off--not sure when because obviously Judah swallowed it.  I know...gross!  But I've been told it's not a critical appendage so we're not sweating it.

Although Judah's palate is beautiful, his teeth, well, are a bit crazy!  The two teeth on either side of his front teeth (incisors, canines??) are growing in through his palate--kind of behind his front teeth.  Not sure how that will pan out, but we'll see his dentist in the next few weeks for some insight.  I'm expecting that the misplacement of these teeth will affect Judah's speech development to some degree, but I praying not by much.

And speech...Judah is starting to make a lot of different sounds, as well attempting many new words.  Although his words are hard to understand because he talks like a ventrilaquist.  Not much mouth movements.  I'm sure it's probably sensory due to all the changes his mouth (inside and out) has undergone, but I feel like he'll over-come all that in short order!

Judah is also on a pretty normal diet.  He technically is allowed to eat anything, but we're taking it slow with crunchier foods.  Because he was on soft foods for the first 22 months of his life, he never really had to chew -- so he tends to gag on crunchier/tougher things like crackers and meat.  Even still, he is progressing in this area too!

And, he took his first steps this week-end!!  He has totally mastered crawling, cruising and even climbing, but he's now decided he's ready to walk.  And, oh, is that his personality!  He will decide when it's time for a new milestone...period!  He will not be rushed, when other skills are not yet mastered!!  Such a funny little fella!

And our sweet Micah is doing great!  Growing so fast!  Vince is convinced that Micah's feet will be a big as his in the next few years!  We also celebrated his 3rd birthday a few weeks ago!  And he was all about his birthday this year - so it turned into a week-long celebration!!  He still is consumed with all-things-music, but we have enrolled him in soccer this fall.  We'll see how that goes!  I think he'll enjoy it!  We've been practicing making goals in the back yard, and he's very excited about the concept of playing on a team!  Oh, and how could I forget...he's about 90% potty-trained.  Whoot!!

We'll...I'm sure I'm leaving a ton out, but I plan to be a little more regular with our blog...so I hope you'll visit again soon!!


update: post-palate surgery

Most of you know that Judah had his palate surgery this past Wednesday.  After a few long days in the hospital, we came home Friday afternoon.  Recovery has gone slow -- poor Judah is absolutely miserable!  His surgeon told us that Judah's repair was pretty extensive (more than most), but that's because his cleft was bilateral and very wide!  (BTW- we love Judah's surgeon, Dr. John Grant, and the cleft team at Children's Hospital of AL!)  We'll see Dr. Grant in about three weeks, and at that point he should see good indication of Judah's healing, or foreseeable complications.  Of course, you know what we're praying for!  For now, it's a soft food diet and arm restraints.

Judah's nasal cavity, palate and top of his throat were all reworked (for lack of a better term), which I'm sure is extremely painful -- but he also has a low-grade fever and what appears to be a sinus infection.  Not only is he learning to breathe with a reduced air-way, his air-way is full of snot!  I think the most difficult part for him is sleep, simply because he cannot breathe and therefore constantly wakes himself up.

I've also wasted more juice, milk, pediasure, pedialyte, sorbet....he just is not in the mood to eat or drink...nothing feels right in his mouth.

All that said, he's been a trooper!  I really am proud of him!  He sure has been through a lot in the first 20-months of his life!  Gracious thanks to you who have been praying for him -- you're prayers are felt every day!!

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