Thursday, February 27, 2014

Orphanage visits, Chinese New Year and Celebrating One Year!

Winter is always the most action-packed time of the year for our family.  We do almost all of our traveling away from home, fun family activities, and meals with friends in the winter when Kris' work hours usually end at dinner time.  This winter has been no exception!  Kris and Micah spent 9 days away in December on a missions trip to Taiwan, and I was away with Josiah to Honduras from February 10-21.  Anna Faith did really well being separated from us, although she did have a harder time sleeping through the night while I was away.  Both Kris and I were able to spend part of our time abroad with our two older boys loving on orphans in local orphanages.  Every baby and toddler we held and hugged on melted our hearts.  I couldn't help but think about how before getting our daughter I prayed every day for someone to show her love that day, and how I could have been the answer to a parent's prayer every minute I spent with those precious children.  They are the "least of these" that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25:40.  Let us never forget these children while the bureaucracy of governments too selfish to have compassion on the fatherless in their country restricts them from being adopted into loving families.  I only posted Taiwanese photos because of the privacy restrictions of the Honduran orphanage I visited.
Babies at a Taiwanese orphanage

The way the system works in Taiwan, all the kids in this orphanage will never be adopted

Precious Taiwanese babies

Anna Faith got to celebrate her first Chinese New Year as a part of our family this year, and we also had the added blessing of celebrating with our Chinese Adoptive Community in our region.  We are the newest family to join by about 4 years, so the families of older children were thrilled to meet a "little" Chinese girl again.  She felt so comfortable around everyone to the point that she ran off to play with the older girls and her brothers and wasn't seen for long periods of time during the evening. We are blessed to have a group to support us, share common stories of God's blessing with, and have living nearby for Anna Faith to grow up with.
Our Chinese New Year Celebration with our new Chinese family friends
Celebrating the New Year with our family

The adoptive kids who made it to this year's celebration

Anna Faith with new friends

A very special day was celebrated this week:  Anna Faith's "Gotcha" anniversary!  Since everyone is familiar with the term "Gotcha Day" we are using it, but we like "Family Day" as well.  Since she had a big celebration on her 2nd Birthday last August, we kept this year's anniversary low-key.  I made a red velvet cake and sketched a map of China, highlighting Nanping city, where she spent her first 18 months of life in an orphanage.  We are not sure she was born in Nanping, but it is very likely she was born in the city or in a rural surrounding area.  She loved her cake, but even more so, the attention and flashing camera!  I made four heart cakes, one for each child, for them to enjoy to also feel special.  We don't want to make our boys feel any less special because they only have one party a year for their birthdays, so will always try to incorporate our entire family every February 24th.
It's hard to believe a year has passed.  It often seems like she's been in our family all along, yet other times I still look at her and can't believe she's here.
Anna Faith's 1 year cake!

Proud as can be of her cake!   We sang to her too.

First time wearing this Chinese outfit we bought in China for her

yummy cake!

In five days we return to Centennial Women and Children's Hospital for her third surgery.  It never gets easier emotionally, but at least we know what to expect after two rounds of nevus removal.  This time she will have the remaining nevi on her scalp removed and Dr. Chester will begin work on the patches on the back of her neck.  She is unsure that she can remove everything behind the neck in one surgery, so we may be looking at a total of 5 surgeries after all.  We will know after this surgery is finished.  This will be the last time she will have to wear a turban on her head for a couple days, and the last time I have to deal with catching stitches in a comb!  I am the most excited about finally getting to run a brush though her hair without obstacles.  It is a simple act we all do with our children after they bathe and get ready each morning, but with Anna Faith the last year has been a small challenge every day.  To be able to finally put her hair in pigtails, a pony tail, and even easily comb up her trademark "Pebbles" tuft on top of her head has been something I've been patiently waiting on for over a year now.  She has also had a lot of dryness in those spots this winter and I know it will be more comfortable to no longer deal with cracking, itchy spots when they are removed.

Thanks again for your prayers.  I feel like a broken record every time I end posts with this statement, but you have no idea what a difference your prayers make.  The peace we feel each time we let go of her little hand and kiss her cheek for the last time before she is carried in to the Operating Room is a result of your intercession for our family.  She is entrusted to the human hands that cut and stitch her body, but even more so she is entrusted into the sovereign hands of her Creator who gave her to us.
Surgery will begin around 12:30 p.m. (or likely later than scheduled) so updates will come in the afternoon next Wednesday (March 5th).

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