Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Horseback Riding, Take 2

Okay, so back here on THIS post, I put up the pictures of Miss Sarah Lu and the horse she rode. At the time though, I couldn't put up the pictures of Chayah and still have not put those up.. until now, that is. Here (finally) are the pictures of the beautiful Miss Chayah Elizabeth riding her "pony" this summer! She was a little scared of it, but she still had a fun time!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I just love these outfits that we found- matching sets of girl clothes with baby outfits. Chayah loves her Bitty Baby "Gracie" and she loves getting to have matching outfits to her! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sarah and Faline

Faline is Sarah's deer. And Sarah absolutely adores her Faline! She's had Faline for quite a while, since she was three years old! She picked out Faline at the Disney store with Daddy. Sarah takes very good care of Faline, who will sometimes join us for dinner and is always tucked into bed with Sarah :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Sarah and Chayah's school had a project to fill boxes for Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse. Each class was assigned their own ages, so they were to get items that they would like themselves and then send them to other kids in the shoe boxes. This was part one of our shopping for items for the boxes. The girls loved getting to help get everything together to send! Sarah, again, said right away that she wanted to get BOY stuff for a little boy somewhere in the world. And Chayah went for a girl, of course. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chayah's Story

If you have not read Sarah's Story yet, you might want to read it first HERE. :)
This is Chayah's Story though, so follow along..
For years, we had wanted to adopt. Finally, in December 2006, we welcomed Sarah Evangeline LuHua home from the Langfang SWI in Hebei, China. We were ecstatic and all of us were so in awe of her. Whenever we would go anywhere, Sarah had five of us (my parents, two older sisters, and i) following her around- all wanting to hold her, help her with anything she needed help with, and of course, to take pictures of her! She was our baby girl. Little did we know that our family was not yet complete.

As soon as Sarah came home, she began telling us about her friends in China. My sister Chrissy and I would be on our computers, looking through pictures from the orphanage, and Sarah would come over, point at the screen and name each of the kids. We learned these kids names and they became a part of our lives too. Their pictures went up around our house and we would continually talk about each of them by name and pray for them.

There were three kids that she always talked about: "Di Di" (meaning little brother), "Tian Ai", and "Duo Duo". We fell in love with these kids and longed to see them be adopted as well. We would be driving in the van and Sarah would say "(insert friend's name) doesn't have a mommy or a daddy or jie jie's (big sisters) or gou gou's (dogs)!! (Insert friend's name) needs a mommy, daddy, jie jie's and gou gou's!" One day in particular, she went up to my dad, grabbed onto his arm, and very seriously said, "Daddy! Didi is crying for you!" We caught on to Sarah's passion and wanted each of these three little ones to have families of their own.

In April 2007, as Chrissy and I were searching through every waiting child list possible for China, we found Di Di's and Duo Duo's files listed on Rainbow Kids. We were so excited! We had only been home with Sarah for 4 months at the time though, and most agencies would not allow you to start another adoption until you had been home at least one year. We were thrilled to contact the agency anyway though and keep in touch with them. We told them how we knew these kids, had extra pictures and videos of them, and how our Sarah had been telling us how they needed to be adopted. They did have several families interested in Di Di and Duo Duo, but after three months on their list, still no one had committed to bringing either of them home.

In July 2007, their files were returned to the CCAA. We were devastated that they still did not have families. But the story doesn't end here because God always has a plan and that plan is always better than anything we ever could have imagined on our own.

Fast forward a few months, during which we continued to pray for these three kids and the families we knew they must have- just not yet. In late November 2007, as we approached our one-year anniversary of having Sarah home, we knew that we needed to adopt again. My mom began to contact a few agencies with waiting children, inquiring about a few little girls who had not yet found their families. The crazy thing is, each time my mom would inquire about a child who hadn't been placed, a family would step up for that child! This happened five times in a row.

The last time, we were looking at the agency CCAI. We noticed on their waiting child listing that they had several referrals from around Hebei province, but none from Langfang (Sarah's orphanage). My mom sent my email to the waiting child coordinator and asked if they ever received referrals from Langfang, specifically a 5 year old little girl named Dang Duo Duo. Immediately, the lady at CCAI wrote back. "Call me ASAP!!!!!!!!!" and her phone number was all the message said. Of course, my mom called right away. The lady at CCAI told my mom that she had Dang Duo Duo from Langfang's file out on her desk and that she had just been getting it ready to send it back to China for the second time as they had not had a family step up for her.

Out of all of the agencies for China adoption, it was the ONE we contacted. Out of all the kids in China, we were were matched with the ONE we knew. "Dang Duo Duo" is my Chayah Elizabeth! If you don't believe God still performs miracles today, I'd tell you to just look at Chayah- and then, you have seen a miracle!

It is amazing how God worked to bring Chayah into our family! Through my dad and sister Chrissy meeting her when she was 2 years old while on a missions trip, to being matched with Sarah and bringing her home from the same orphanage, to Sarah's passion for her friends to be adopted, and to the true miracle of finding Chayah's file- it is all just so amazing!!

I am so incredibly happy and blessed to have Chayah in my life! She is my little sister and she is the silliest little girl. She is now 8 years old and has been home for not quite two years. I love you, Chay Chay!"For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." ~1 Samuel 1:27

Here is Chayah's adoption video, which I think is a great video (but again, I may be a bit biased ;) ... Make sure you have your sound on to be able to hear the music and video clips:

*Also, if you were wondering about Sarah and Chayah's two other little friends, Di Di and Tian Ai.. Di Di was adopted, after the then 3 year old Sarah talked to the coordinator at a local adoption agency and that lady in turn was able to place him with a family who lives just less than an hour away from us! Tian Ai is still waiting in China, but not for much longer now! Good friends of ours have been matched with him and are now just waiting to travel! We are SO excited!!

Ni Hao Y'all

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baby Clothes

For the past few weeks at church, the kids have been taking offering for the local pregnancy center. They could bring money for their offering, or they were accepting gifts for the pregnancy center, like diapers, formula, or baby clothes. The girls thought it would be lots of fun to take baby clothes and I have to agree!
When we went shopping to pick out a few little outfits, we asked the girls if they would like to take boy or girl clothes for babies. Sarah immediately jumped up saying that she wanted to take "Baby BOY clothes", so Sarah was the bearer of some adorable little boy onesies which she thought were the cutest things ever (and again, I have to agree)!

Chayah wanted to take Baby GIRL clothes and so a sweet lamb and panda it was! Seriously, how adorable are these? I love them! Chayah thought they were so adorable too.. when she first saw them, many "ooo's" and "aww's" were heard. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Number 2

Tooth number 2 that is, for a certain Sarah Lu. She lost her second tooth on Saturday evening and was so excited about it! She was in the kitchen with mommy and was wiggling it back and forth. She had been wanting that loose tooth to come out for some time! Then, as she was wiggling it, it came right out! She was so excited! She then ran around the house to find me and daddy to tell us her big news too! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010


Snapped this picture quick before the girls went off the school. I mean, just look at them! How could I resist taking at least one picture of them? :) Don't you just love how "twin-ish" they are? The other evening they were talking to each other, first Sarah was saying how "wouldn't it have been fun if we were born as twins?" then the Chayah said back "yeah! wouldn't it be fun if we were connected twins?!" (like conjoined twins) and Sarah replied, "yeah! or we just like hold hands all the time.. like when we're awake and when we're sleeping!".. Silly girls!

And since we're on the topic of twins, do I have the cutest dogs ever or what? Such adorable little "twins" :)
Wesley on the left, Lilly on the right

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sarah's Story

Every adoption story is amazing. Each one is a miracle. Adoption is a miracle. It is completely amazing how God connects families despite nationality or race or anything else. Sarah is my little sister and I am so blessed to have her in my life. The story of how she came home is amazing. We didn't think it was possible, time and time again. But God made it possible for Sarah to come home. And He made it possible for this one little girl, out of all the world and all of China, to be the one that would be my little sister (and now two little sisters)! Her story is amazing and just thinking about it blows me away with all the little miracles and connections that happened in order for this one big miracle of Sarah finally being our baby girl happened! So, without further ado, here is my Sarah Lu's story....
The story really starts way before Sarah was ever born. Back in the mid-1990's actually. It was then that my mom first read an article about orphaned baby girls in China. From then on, she wanted to bring home her own baby girl(s) from China. Rachael, me, and Chrissy about the time my mom first wanted to adopt from China

Fast forward several years to about 1998. It was then that my older sister, Chrissy, caught on to this need in China. She drew pictures with the face of a Chinese baby girl with Bible verses about adoption and put them up around the house. I quickly decided that Chrissy was a genius in her efforts and I would then support every word she said. Still, nothing happened. The "campaigning" continued. For years. And years.
Fast forward again, this time to 2002. My sister, Chrissy, had been diagnosed with scoliosis. The curvature of her back was getting so severe that she needed to have a major spinal fusion and to have her back rodded. We went to Shriner's Hospitals for Children and there she had her operation completed. Before she went into the 9 hour surgery though, my dad asked her what she would like as a present to look forward to. He says he was thinking "a bike or something".. But Chrissy had something else in mind. She said she wanted our family to adopt a baby girl from China.
When she got out of surgery, a few days later while Chrissy was still in intensive care, the craziest thing happened. A tiny little girl in a wheelchair wheeled right into Chrissy's room and said, "Hi!". The crazy part? She was Chinese. And adopted! Her dad came in after her and as Chrissy talked to little four-year-old R., my mom talked to R's daddy. As it turns out, R. and her twin sister were adopted, as were the family's two older daughters. The family was also planning on moving to China just a short while after this! Needless to say, we were blown away!

We kept in touch with this family and got together every now and then before they left for China. On one meeting, they introduced us to other friend's of theirs. This family had twin little girls from China and were soon to be getting their third. We became very close to these two families and still are very close to them! We now had two families that we were close to who had adopted from China. All from one connection made in Chrissy's hospital room at Shriners. None of that was an accident, it was all part of God's amazing plan for our lives!!
Fast forward a few more years to 2005.. The first family we had met was now living in China and the second family was planning a trip to China to visit them. Chrissy desperately wanted to go along. So we all started fund raising to help Chrissy be able to go. My dad decided he needed to go along too "to keep Chrissy safe"- so in January 2005, we sent them both off to two weeks in China. Now, Chrissy and I, who were still very much campaigning for a little sister from China, thought this was all just turning out perfectly. Now, Dad was going to China too! "Perfect", we thought, "if anything is going to change his mind to move forward for adoption, this is it!!" So for the next two weeks, the rest of us waited at home and prayed, while Chrissy and my Dad traveled around to several orphanages throughout Beijing and Langfang in Hebei province. Then it happened. On February 8, 2005, they visited the Langfang City Social Welfare Institute. There they saw the kids that would change all of our lives. There was a tiny baby girl, just a few weeks old. She was bundled in blankets and laying in a crib. She had been abandoned the night before. She was beautiful, and that baby changed all of our lives. When my dad saw that baby, his heart was totally broken for the orphans and he knew needed to act. Chrissy and my dad also saw other kids there- a row of little toddlers, being fed a chopstick-full of food down the line, and a seven-month-old baby girl who had a prettiest eyes and definitely captured Chrissy's heart within the short time they were there. After their visit there, my dad told Chrissy he knew we needed to adopt. A few days later, the rest of us got to find out the news too!
Upon their arrival home, we looked into starting the process. Finally, we were adopting! Well, that is until a car accident, in which we were hit in the side by the driver's door by someone who ran a red light and our van was totaled.. I am convinced that the accident was something that tried to stop us from adopting. But, it didn't stop us. It just delayed us, which wasn't really a delay when you think about it.. we were perfectly on time for what God had planned for us!
After we got all that cleared up with our vehicle and we fully trusted God for the funds we needed, we started the process with American World. In January 2006, our home study was underway and we were starting to gather all the necessary documents and such. In June, we completed our dossier and sent it off to China. We were logged in on July 14, 2006 and then the wait began. We also filled out a form to be added to the "waiting child" program. On August 10, 2006, we received a call from our family coordinator. It wasn't just any call either-- It was THE CALL!!!! Through friends, we had learned that the little seven-month-old baby girl's paperwork had been completed and was waiting for a match. She had been born with a cleft lip and cleft gum line, so she would be placed on a waiting child list. Amazingly, our agency was able to get the file of the same little seven-month-old baby with the most beautiful eyes that Chrissy had fallen so desperately in love with, and we all followed her in that love for this little girl!"Dang Lu Hua" was then 26 months old and just as gorgeous as can be. We were amazed! We were in awe! And we were completely overjoyed that she was ours! And would soon be our "Sarah"!
The next few months while we waited, Sarah did too. Our friends, the ones we met at Shriner's hospital back when little R. rolled into Chrissy's room on her wheelchair and had then moved to China, worked with Sarah's orphanage. And since the orphanage now knew that Sarah LuHua was soon to be adopted, they wanted to place her in a foster home. The family that was given permission to foster her? Our good friends!! So from August until December, Sarah was able to live at their home, being fostered, until we got our travel approval to come get her!
On December 5th, 2006, my parents and I finally boarded a plane for China. All the paperwork had gone through and we were clear to bring Sarah home at last. On December 11, 2006 we went to Langfang orphanage and finally had Sarah in our arms!
Now, almost four years to that day, I am still completely in awe of how she was able to be placed in our arms. I am so amazed that we were able to bring home the same 7-month old baby that my sister had held in China. I am convinced that Sarah was meant to be our little girl and through amazing miracles, God placed her in our hearts and then in our arms. I love you Sarah Bear!

*And yet another miracle is this: the story is not over. Next week, I'll post Chayah's Story!! Believe me, the miracles just kept coming! You don't want to miss reading about Chayah's journey home next week and Sarah's part in that! ..check out Sarah's video below too!

I have just re-uploaded Sarah's adoption video, if you'd like to watch it. It's a little less than half an hour long (23.5 minutes to be exact), but I think it's definitely worth the time..I may be a bit biased though. Make sure you have your sound turned up and no other music playing. Here is "Sarah's Story":

Ni Hao Y'all