Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Journey Begins

As we have closed the last chapter of our adoption journey - I decided we needed a new blog to continue our "Life Journey"! It is not about adoption...but about our ongoing journey of life! So family and friends that are keeping up with us now: www.sharingoursteps.com

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our orphanage visit

One last reflection on our time in China a year ago...
Looking back at this picture of us standing just feet away from Mia's "finding spot"...seems surreal. Mia was found under the blue sign behind us on the day she was born...in front of the gate to this restaurant. Who knew that day would lead her into our arms and into our hearts. I thank God for planning her destiny.














These 7 cribs are where the 7 girls in our travel group spent their first 8 months of life. Mia McMath, Faith Rathjen, Kylee Oswald, Jessni , Annie Copeland, Jenna Holcomb, and Maddie Cardwell.













Here we are...the McMath's. Mia will never again see this orphanage unless we CHOOSE to visit here later in life. She is ours forever.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 9 One year ago - May 11th

Mia took a nap with me for the first time one year ago today. Just laying there looking at her...holding her little hand in mine....smelling her sweet skin....listening to her breathe....I was finally able to process some of my emotions. I'm not one to cry in the midst of an emotional moment - I have to process everything and integrate each aspect before it becomes "whole" for me. This was a special nap time for me!




I took this picture of my girls...on Mother's Day...in a hotel in China. My first Mother's Day with my 2 girls!

ONE really funny and sweet thing I remember was when they were rushing us up after our Gotcha Moment and back to the bus - Macy saw all of the families moving - and she looked up at me with the saddest voice and concerned eyes and asked, "Are we going to get to keep her?" ;) So sweet. I reassured her that Mia was ours forever now and that God had picked us to be her family.

I had told Macy that out of all of the little girls in the world that God had picked her to be Mia's big sister. And she said -"I know. All the kids were raising their hands saying....'Pick me, pick me'. And I asked her - "but who did God pick?"....to which she replied, "Me - Macy!" Soooo sweet.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 8 One year ago - May 10


One year ago today Mia had just had her first night of sleep in a crib with lush comforters and a pillow. I remembering worrying that I might have to strip the bed for her to sleep b/c all she was used to sleeping on was a board. But she rubbed her little hand on the soft pillow, laid her head down and was asleep in 30 seconds! I think she was thinking "Ahhhhh what is this comfort??? Calgon - take me away!" She slept until almost 6 AM. She woke up happy and ready to go.



Of course I had her in a hairbow within the hour. Still a blank expression about all of this. But a hint of a smile.

Friday, May 9, 2008

NEW VIDEO!

Wooooo hoooo! Finally it is here for you! Keep in mind there is NO MUSIC for the first 25 seconds. Our "dance" did not begin until we departed on our journey to Mia!
P.S. The text is a little fuzzy b/c it is a compressed file.

CLICK ON THE "JOURNEY TO MIA VIDEO" LINK TO YOUR RIGHT.
Or click this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SBdoBtUfTQ


We love you all so much. Share in our joy with us today!

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THE moment...

Before they came in with the first child it seemed as if all of the air had been sucked out of the room and we were all holding our breath...waiting...finally...for our child. I wasn't sure what to feel. Nervous energy. I had Macy to be aware of also... What would it be like to finally meet this child that I loved so much? How could I love someone so much that I had never met? I am sure that is a feeling that expecting parents have all of the time!

I will NEVER forget....never....the expression on the faces of our new friends...Josh & Teri, Russell & Lisa, Joel & Shauna... You see this was their first child. They had been unable to conceive. I feel the tears burning in my eyes as I write this right now... how awesome it was to see the barren womb filled with full arms that day. Even though we were about to experience a life-changing moment ourselves - the faces of these families in particular will be forever etched into my memories. Their tears, their love, their trembling, their smiles,...holding on to this little baby as if they will never, never, never let go.
It reminds me of the awesome verse from the Bible: Psalm 113:9 "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children."

It was honestly one of the most incredible moments that I have been honored to be a part of. I don't think my words can even possibly do it justice.

---
Then they called "McMath"...

I remember feeling like I was in a daze...could this really finally be happening? Or was I sleeping and dreaming about all of this? We couldn't see her immediately as we walked towards the front of the room....there were so many families crowded in with their new little ones...


But then I saw her. A little, tiny, thing. I immediately approached the nanny with open arms. I took her and just looked at her. And she looked at me. And she looked at Brad. Such a blank expression. You could tell she didn't really know what she thought. There was a vacancy I saw in her eyes that I can only now describe as a relational void. She didn't know how to connect with anyone. Life was just life. She was just existing. Not LIVING.


Our guides quickly motioned for us to return to our couch to make room for the next family to receive their child. We sat down quietly. I quickly whipped out 2 little plastic cups I had brought for this moment and she immediately began clicking them together and chewing on them! Victory! Brad and I just gently touched her as if she would break. But then comes Big Sister! Macy throws a little sheep on top of Mia's head and pulls it off quickly...and just as I am about to reprimand Macy for being too rough...out comes this most delightful sound I have ever heard. Mia giggles. She really laughs! I don't know how much she was played with up until this point - but her and Macy formed a bond that day that I will NEVER forget.

After about 15 minutes we are transported back to our hotel room where Mia shows us 2 extraordinary things about herself. I turn my back on her to answer the hotel room door - and she breaks down in tears...utterly heartbroken...almost as if she was afraid that this new "relationship" that she has discovered is going to go away. It was one of the most amazing things to experience. And for the rest of our time in China - she only wanted ME. Amazing. Our bond was God-given and an answer to prayer. But it was almost a fear thing - that if anyone else took her that she would not get me back. I, of course, lapped up every drop of it! :)

The second thing we learned is that she had been waiting patiently for 8 long months to EAT! I was eating a chicken leg that night in our room and everytime I opened my mouth and took a bite - she would open her mouth. And she has been opening it ever since! Everyone that knows Mia - knows this one thing- the girl LOVES to eat...ALL of the time!

Words can not describe what this day means to us. Macy and Mia both are incredible...really incredible gifts from God to us. I am just so thankful to God for His goodness.

Day 7 One year ago - May 9


GOTCHA DAY!!!


This is a copy of the paperwork we received the morning we were to receive Mia. It had an updated pic and footprint! Ahhhh !!!!! Her hair had grown back in (or so I thought) since my first picture of her !!



We were warned that usually the "receiving rooms" where they bring in the babies to the families is usually full of lots of drama and lots of chaos...babies scared....but the AWESOME thing is that out of the 9 families in our group - NONE of them cried! Except for maybe a tear or two...but no wailing!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 6 One year ago today - May 8

Abandoned at a Restaurant Gate...
Her story begins in the south of China.
In China, the most populous land on earth, the government allows couples to have but one child. Baby Zi Zhen (her orphanage name) was born female into a culture where sons are more highly valued than daughters.
Boys are raised to head households and provide for the family. Daughters are raised to marry young and care for their in-laws.

There, Mia was abandoned at a restaurant gate. The police were notified early that morning, August 21, 2006, and picked her up. They noted that she was only a few hours old. Whoever left her there, out of fear, or shame, or desperation, or panic, wanted Mia to live and gave her a chance at life. It is illegal to abandon babies in China, a punishable offense that is rarely enforced. Sometimes the abandoned babies show up in the most unlikely places, such as vegetable bins in outdoor markets.
More often, they are placed anonymously at not-so-secret drop spots, where caring individuals scoop them up and deliver them to orphanages.

This is Mia's "Finding Spot".

There is no way to know how hungry or distressed Mia was when she was discovered and taken to the orphanage. But this we know: She was tiny, resilient and well cared for by the time she was put up for adoption.
After more than two years of adoption paperwork and waiting, Brad & Glenda McMath received "the call" that Mia would be theirs. They had already decided to name her "Mia", which means "my girl".

God has chosen 2 girls, Macy- age 5, and Mia who is almost 2 now... to be daughters in this family. One by birth. One by adoption. Both completly chosen by God to be "McMaths".
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One year ago today we flew from Beijing to Guangzhou on a 3 hour flight. Mia's orphanage was in the Guangdong province in South China. Only one more day until we could hold our baby!
(adapted from an "Abandoned" timeline)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 5 - One year ago - May 7

RAZORBACK FANS SPOTTED AT THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA...


Or so my headline would read!

We climbed the Great Wall of China one year ago today. I remember it was amazingly cool (Hallelujah after every other sweltering moment)! It was neat to experience such a grand piece of history. I remember it was steep, the air seemed thinnner, and every Chinese person there wanted to take a picture with Macy!




This is the picture of all of the families who were in our travel group. We will forever be "tied together" with these people with love. All on a journey to our children...

Prayers answered - One year ago

Wow. I was looking back at blog entries from last year before we left for China and saw this one. It really struck a cord with me because of how AWESOMELY God answered EVERY PRAYER! If you have read our story - you know that this #1 prayer request that I had - was SO AWESOMELY answered!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Prayers Needed

As we approach this monumental day in the life of our family - we realize that the hurdles are not yet all crossed. We need for our friends and family to join us in asking the Lord for specific answers to these prayers:

1. That Mia will BOND quickly with us. She has been institutionalized for all of her 7 months - and many babies struggle with bonding and attachment disorder. We believe God can go ahead of us and prepare her for our family! WOW -SHE MAJORLY BONDED!

2. Pray for all 7 families that are adopting our babies from the same orphanage in Yang Xi. Pray that their daughters will bond and attach with their families quickly. The 7 baby girl's names are: Mia McMath (ours!), Kylee Oswald, Faith Rathjen, Jessica Morris, Jenna Holcomb, Maddie Cardwell, and Annie Copeland. Please call out the name of our girls to God asking for protection, health, & bonding. ALL OF OUR BABIES DID INCREDIBLE!

3. Pray that Macy will embrace her role as big sister and have an incredible God-given bond with her new baby sister!
MACY HAS BEEN AN AMAZING BIG SISTER!

4. Pray for Brad, Glenda, Macy, Dorinda, and baby Mia that we will all stay healthy during our stay in China. Many travelers struggle with illness and we need God's blessing of health while we are there! WE WERE ALL WELL.

5. Pray for the LONG flights! Pray that Macy and Mia will both be peaceful and happy while traveling! BOTH GIRLS DID ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

6. Pray for God's provision - He's gotten us this far- pray that He will provide for everything else down to the last penny! We are not sure yet how much our travel is costing - hoping we can stretch every dime to cover it all! With God all things are possible! GOD BLESSED US SO MUCH WE EVEN CAME HOME WITH A LITTLE CASH LEFT IN OUR POCKET! AMAZING! SOME EXPENSES WERE LESS THAN WE HAD ANTICIPATED!

7. Pray for God's favor in everything we do while there. We want to pray now for favor - in case we face any unforeseen circumstances while in China! WHEN BRAD FOUND THE GUY LEAVING WITH OUR LUGGAGE - THAT WAS NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day 4 One year ago - May 6

One year ago today we attended the Beijing International Church and then toured the Summer Palace. I remember a couple of things. They sang a song at the church.... "You lift me up....so I can walk on mountains...." and Brad being very emotional. To this day that song takes him back to that place in Beijing as he wrestled with all of this feelings. Now he says he should of had us just leave him there for a while to pray and get ahold of his emotions and the rest of the trip would have been so much better for him. Instead we rushed off to blazing hot hot hot touring. Exhausting.

My mom bought Mia her first Chinese Bible at the church that day.

This is one of my all time FAVORITE pictures and memories from China: when I had my mom "pose" over the squatty potty at McDonalds. :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day 3 - One year ago May 5

I discovered this picture on my online yahoo group after we came home from China last year. Another family had travelled to get their daughter in March 2007 (we were there in May) and they had taken pictures in the orphanage. They JUST happened to capture this photo of Mia and Jenna (another baby that was in our group). Wow. This is what they looked like then and what every day for them looked like one year ago.



A look a her over a year ago - before she was ever even in our arms.

And a look at her today.


ONE YEAR AGO today we had our first "touring day" in Beijing. It was the day we encountered the desperation of many people. The man bowing and groaning over his child on the sidewalk ( who was supposedly sick and unconcious), the little boy with rotting feet rolling around on his skateboard begging in the middle of Tianemen Square... And this is the day that the entire trip went "south" for Brad. He was so taken aback by these things....that he withdrew into a cocoon for the rest of the trip. He was having a hard time processing...just the oppression of people...the sadness of the beggars.... AND I WAS NO HELP for him b/c I was TOTALLY focused on getting Mia and could NOT understand how in the world he could be acting that way when we were about to get our daughter. So HUGE communication breakdown - but that is all history. God has worked thru it and even made us better people b/c of it.















I can't remember if I posted this last year or not - but this is actually the first page that was in our "Hotel Guests" book in each hotel room: Note #1.


LOL! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Most BLESSED woman on the planet

Absolutely. No doubt about it. Today is May 4th. 12 years ago today - I married the LOVE of my life. 6 Years ago today Macy was conceived. One year ago today we were in China awaiting patiently for May 9th to come so we could have Mia in our arms.

An amazing day for me. I was so bubbly and emotional while teaching my Sunday School class today. Sharing all of this. Verbalizing how I am the most luckiest, blessedest, happiest woman on the planet.

About then Macy rushes into our classroom and grabs Mia's hand saying, "Your teacher is here now, Mia....I will take you to your class"...to which Mia squeals and grabs Macy's hand and they race off down the hall giggling together.

Sniff....sniff. To which I said to my class in a blubbering excited emotional blurb..."One year ago today Mia had no idea that she had a big sister that loved her so much..." Sniff...sniff.....

Then I go on about how happy I am with huge grins and wiggles....only to be followed by the comment of one young gentleman in class... "You are nuts today!"

:) If being nuts means being this ecstatically joyful from God's goodness and blessings - then I will be nuts everyday! Pure joy was what I woke up with today. Wish I felt this way everyday! It is kinda like some great drug or something! :)

12 Years. Wow.

May 4 - One year ago

May 4 is our anniversary. Brad and I woke up in China for the first morning on our 11th anniversary! Needless to say - it wasn't really in the front of our minds. The first night in the hotel had been wretchedly HOT. We called the front desk several times in the night and finally a guy comes up with a sensor gun, points it at our air vent, smiles, rattles off something in Chinese, and disappears. No help there!

We were recovering from jet lag and a sweltering night in a hard hotel bed....we may have remembered to say Happy Anniversary?? Hmmmm....seems like Brad was wanting to go see the new Spiderman movie that came out that day.... :)

We ended up meeting another family in our travel group at breakfast and he (Tim) arranged for us to take cab rides to a popular restaurant across town. I guess the favorite thing about my 11th anniversary would be that cab ride! I love adventure - and it was WILD! If you have never ridden in a cab in Beijing - you have not lived! Beijing is home to 16 million people! People were walking all over the streets! It seemed as if we almost clipped or killed about 300 of them on the way to eat! Fun fun!! :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Still Day 1 - One year ago

May 2nd of 2007 never had a night! I am not really sure where we were on May 3, 2007. Somewhere between Chicago and Beijing on the 14 hour flight to get Mia. We flew out in the am on the 2nd and landed in the evening on the 3rd (technically like 32 hours later) yet only 14 hours had lasped. The whole time change thing REALLY threw us for a loop!

I remember one of the most memorable...umm....I mean traumatic things from the trip was our landing in Beijing. It had been storming and the plane experienced more turbulence than I knew was possible without crashing! People were throwing up in their little airplane bags all around me - so finally I succumbed to the peer pressure and joined them (even though I was looking at a fixed spot on the ceiling giving myself a pep talk of "you are going to be ok...you are not going to be sick...it's ok....it's ok...." and then suddenly I couldn't hold down that airplane ham sandwich even for a moment longer!

My equilibrium was messed up for several days after this. I felt dizzy and sick for about 3 days before I felt stable again. Weird.

I remember the row of red China flags as we left the airport. Flying boldly in the sky proclaiming to anyone who entered here that this is CHINA!

I just wanted to see and hold my baby. My heart had been longing for her for sooo long!

Friday, May 2, 2008

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY - MAY 2

What were we doing one year ago today? Oh my....about right now we were changing planes in Chicago. We were getting on that HUGE international plane headed for Beijing. I can still remember being up late the night before...packing. I had put tons of stuff into gallon size ziplock bags to keep our suitcase more manageable - and that turned out to be a great tip!

I remember being up at 4:30 AM one year ago today....clapping and talking to the video camera....saying - "We are coming to get you Baby Mia!"

Just as we were getting up to travel, a little girl was going to bed halfway around the world...with no idea of how her life was about to change.

All she had known up until now was a steel barred crib with a board in the bottom and one blanket. All she was familiar with was a room full of infants each in their own cribs. I really believe that the orphanage workers cared for the babies and did their best to take care of them, however Mia had never known what an intimate nurturing RELATIONSHIP was. Her life changed the moment they put her in our arms! All Brad, Macy, and I have done is pour out our love on her for the last year! We all adore her!

Not only has her life changed - but so has ours. We are so much fuller, happier, and complete since having Mia in our family. She is pure joy. I say all of the time that Macy and Mia are the 2 most delighful little girls on the planet...and I am SO BLESSED that God picked ME to be their Mommy. Wow.

One year ago today - our official "journey" began. Even though the journey had begun 2 years earlier with mounds of paperwork and lots of prayers - the real, tangible, touchable trip began this day, May 2, 2007.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

T-Ball

A friend of mine asked me last week, "Today is the last day to sign up for T-Ball - do you want to sign Macy up? " I had one hour to decide...so I said ...."Umm...sure...ok."

Now I am wondering what I have gotten us into. :)

It is soooo cute to watch though! Mia is wearing me out though! Walk, run, walk, run, wander. Repeat.

Macy and her friend Raegan got on the same team - and they are soooo funny! Last night after standing in the outfield they got really bored - and Macy put on some lip gloss, then tossed it to Raegan. Raegan took off her glove and she is lubing up - putting on lip gloss too! Then she tosses it back to Macy. LOL! We were dying laughing!

Mia and Raegan's little brother River managed to sit still for .03 seconds!



Sunday, April 27, 2008

4 Wheeler and Feeding the Ducks!

We have our friends 4-Wheeler for a few days again. It has been great!

And of course we had to feed the ducks again since the weather has been nice

 
 
 
 
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is that Hannah Montana?

Noni and Big Daddy brought "surprises" for the girls. Wigs.
Funny. Hilarious, funny girls.
Brad? Scary.



Big Daddy and Noni visit

My mom and dad were up for a few hours yesterday and the girls got to spend some time with them. Both girls had shining eyes and big smiles when they saw Noni and Big Daddy walk through the door! We miss them so much - living 5 hours apart seems like 25 hours sometimes!



Kids Fest


Wow. Biting cold winds. April 12. The day for Kids Fest at our church. But in spite of that - it turned out to be a great day! The kids that did the human video did a GREAT job! So proud!

Mia is getting a bracelet and candy from the booth that "Pa" is working!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Commentary for Pictures

I am trying something new today - and it is not wanting to work for me! I posted my pictures to the blog straight from Picasa - and they are there!!!! - but it won't let me comment beside the pictures now! So you will have to read...and scroll down!

FEEDING THE DUCKS First of all - we took Mia to feed the ducks at the park for the first time. She was soooo funny! I don't think she quite knew what to think. My favorites from the collage from that day are the top 2 center pictures. The top one Mia is running and screaming from a little tiny duck....the middle center picture shows Macy reaching out over the water to get one of the mean ol' geese to eat the bread out of her hand! It was quite the contrast!
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FIRST TRIP TO FUN CITY We took Mia to one of those fun pizza places (kinda like Chuck E Cheese). She is proving me wrong from the Feeding the Ducks Trip. She climbed up into this HUGE maze of tunnels...by herself.....and stayed up there running from one window to the next to look out. But then I lost her...I sent Macy after her....and Macy was trying to get her to come out....but then Macy lost her. I was starting to get a little sweaty and panicky....(I know she couldn't go anywhere else)... but I couldn't see or hear my baby! Finally she emerged from a slide about 10 minutes later - all smiles! Whew. I was fixing to climb myself up in there with all those kids if I had to. Thankfully - I didn't have to!
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SPRING DAY - I took pictures of the girls today after church in Mamaw & Pa's yard. Thank you God for green grass! Woooo hooo! I am so READY for the brown of winter to pass!
----- I also put Mia's hair up in pigtails last night. It has taken her hair soooo long to finally grow out. I think Mia may have been one of the only babies in our travel group who had her head shaved - so getting her hair long enough for pigtails is a BIG deal for us!

Spring Day at Mamaw & Pa's House



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First Trip to Fun City




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Feeding the Ducks (and Geese!)




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