Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Amazing Year

Posing for Tony at her Fall Festival Party!
Pure Joy!
Ole blue eyes!

Preston, Parker  and Grant
Wow! Have we come a long way! Sleeping on Granny Champions front porch!

Mom and Dad took a much needed Cruise to celebrate our 15 years of marriage!
Parker teaching his cousin Kathleen how to drive the truck!

This is what a little Pre Op medicine will do to you! She is a little loopy!

Homemade gingerbread houses with our friend Rachael

Maw Maw and her baby girl!
Maw Maw and her big baby girl!

MOON/BEAR! (crazy boys, you have to see Bedtime Stories to get it :-)

Our first trip to Montgomery's Capitol at Christmas!

I Love this man!

Maggie Mae and her "piwow pet"

Tony's 9 point, WOOHOO!
All the guys ready for paint ball!

Parker has the honor of laying a wreath at the Vietnam Memorial in DC
Sweet Girls!

     We can't believe it has been a year since we arrived home with Maggie Mae.  So many wonderful memories this first year!  We want to recapture the year first by looking at how much her vocabulary has progressed.  We started out with parrot talk.  She repeated everything! In China it was " Happya", "bye bye" and this awful sound "hiyah" for most everything.  Then, when we got home, she began repeating just about everything we said.  She gave everyone a new name, Parker is BoBo, Camden is CoCo, Sarah-Gracen is Stister, and Tony was Taco at first but now she calls him Tony.  After about 4 months home, she was not only saying words, but she was applying them correctly.  Right now as I'm typing this she is telling BoBo "pwease stop, you need to change yur additude" :) Some other favorites of ours are "I need som mo food pwease", "Pwease a plain bagel wit cream cheese", "I love you so much",  and one of the funniest is when she told her daddy "I can't hold you all day daddy"!  She will also tell you to "back off" compliments of the Hufham boys :-)  Speaking of the Hufhams, Maggie Mae has a special bond with Jake, who absolutely loves her.  It is so sweet. Thank you Jake for an incredibly loving heart.  Anyway, I could spend all night writing down phrases. She basically can carry on a full conversation with you as an adult would:-) Hopefully, my friend Courtney Bass will help me upload a video so you can hear her for yourself.
     Well enough about her verbal skills.  Many of you have asked about her eyes.  One year ago, we were told she was blind, could not see much of anything, and there was no cure.  Well, our God has done exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask.  He is healing her eyesight and she is seeing things that the medical world says she should not be seeing.  We hope to bring her back to Birmingham in March to have her visual acuity test done.  For those of you who don't believe in miracles, we would love to introduce you to Maggie Mae!  God has been so faithful to us this past year.  Our family has grown closer together than ever.  Even though we have been extremely busy, we have spent more time together playing games, eating meals, having family devotions, and just enjoying every moment we have with each other.  As our family grows, we are learning ways to serve one another. The boys are learning the ways of Chivalry from Dad.  Sarah-Gracen and I are having to learn to wait for them to open doors and pull out chairs.  This has been fun but hard because we are so accustomed to just get the door ourselves and get out of the car quick.  In addition to chivalry, the guys are loving hunting.  In addition to the traditional deer hunting (Tony got a nice 9 point), they are trying to make black birds extinct :-)  The girls are learning how to do laundry and cook, and the guys are enjoying Sarah-Gracen's love for baking :-) There is something so sweet about the fragrance of home.  We are blessed to have the life we have.
     As we kick off this new year, we are seeking God on many things.  As we make our needs known to the Father, He is teaching us to thank Him for what He will do even when we have no idea what that will be.  TRUST, TRUST, TRUST, TRUST....  That word is around every corner.  Dexter and I are getting our GPS certification for Fostering/Adopting in Montgomery.  We have completed 3 of the 10 classes.   God is revealing the many needs right here in our own community.  We will be completing that course in March, followed by another home study, then we wait to see who the Lord wants to place in our home.  One thing a dear friend shared with me that I will never forget is this.  We, Christians, will form a line and hold hands to show our support for Pro Life. Yet, when these girls choose life/adoption, not many people are lining up to help take care of them.  We have an incredible opportunity in fostering to minister God's unconditional, unfailing, healing love to kids and their families. So here we go!
     There are so many people who have played a huge role in ministering to our family this year.  So many I wouldn't dare try to name you all.  If you have had anything to do with Maggie Mae this year, thank you! We have praised Him for you and your prayers and support. We started this out 2 years ago with the theme Community, and the Lord continues to illuminate his love and desire for his children to live in community with one another.  Be encouraged as you walk out His plan for you and your family.  He is faithful and will complete the good work He began in you.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Change in Seasons

It's Final!  She is ours FOREVER!!!!
Miss Priss on a mission
"I wonder if daddy is looking"
"Huuumm, what does this taste like"
Yes, it's dog poo:(
Yes she is double fisted!
1st day of school and raisin toast!
Puzzle time with daddy!

Every month we see changes in our lives, our hearts, and our sweet Maggie Mae.  Her personality is merging quickly, and she is definitely a funny, funny girl.  We just keep falling more and more in love with her, if that's possible!  She started playschool last week.  She goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Her class has an international flair, with China, Korea and India being represented.  Her low vision does not seem to be holding her back at all.  Yesterday her teachers were so impressed with her on the playground. She went up and down the slide on her own.  She loves play dough, puzzles, and the home living center.  Tuesday, I walked in and one of her teachers was showing her how to iron.   She can sing her ABCs and count to 10.  She is very smart and pays attention to everything.  Her brothers and sisters love getting her to say all kinds of things!  It's amazing what she learns in the car while mommy is in the grocery store:), like "wuz up", "ha ha ha ha, stayin alive, stayin alive", "that's the way uh huh uh huh", oh and the list goes on and on.  She definitely is entertaining to all.  She has been staying at home some with Tony while mom is at work, and he thinks she is the easiest "kid" to take care of.  What an incredible big brother she has, and yes she looooooves Tony.  I think he's pretty fond of her too!  She is the ultimate fan at baseball and football games.  She listens to everything the crowd is shouting and joins right in to cheer on Parker and Camden.  Bath time with Sissy is one of her favorite times of the day.  There is a lot of giggling going on in there.  She is learning to pray, and when you are praying too long she will quickly chime in an "Amen":)

I am continually in awe of all the Lord is doing in our lives.  So much of what I am learning now it to Trust Him and to Be Still.  For those of you that know me, I am a doer, so this is uncharted woods for me.  I think we sometimes mistake being still with doing nothing.  However, that is not the case with the Lord.  I am to be still so I can hear His voice as He guides me to the next step.  If I am so busy trying to do things FOR Him, I miss out on being WITH Him.  Sometimes, I miss that and start plowing through something, but I am learning that it is okay, He is not disappointed in me, and He gets me back on track.  Circumstances both good and bad, come and go in our lives, but one thing is always true, He is in the middle of it all.  We don't like being in the mire and clay or in the wilderness, but that is where He meets us and does foundational work in our hearts.  Walking in His Kingdom is beyond our understanding, but it is an incredible journey!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We had a great time this past week on vacation with Maw Maw and Paw Paw at Lake Martin.  It was so relaxing and the kids all had such a great time.  Maggie Mae really felt comfortable with Maw Maw, especially after that bag of suckers :):):)  I really think she could have had anything she wanted:):):)  She went to Maw Maw and stayed with her for a long time which was a great treat for Mommy.  She loved the "wake" and the boat.  She did great wearing her "wife jacket" too!  She recognized Aunt Cheyenne every time she talked to her.  We really saw her blossom around the family.  Late nights, short naps, and she was always happy.  Such fun memories.
In addition to last week, two weeks ago, she really fell in love with her daddy.  She asks for him all the time, goes to him when she's in my arms, and he loves when she says 'find my daddy".  So between loving her daddy and loving her Maw Maw, mommy feels like she has been on vacation for the past two weeks!
Well, now we are back to reality, Maw Maw is in south Alabama and daddy is in Memphis.  Needless to say, Maggie Mae is bored without so many people to entertain.  We went to the low vision specialist in Birmingham on Monday and were very encouraged.  We have said all along we felt like her vision was improving since we have been home.  The Dr. agreed, and she felt like Maggie Mae would be able to read large print one day.  We really thought she was going to need a lot of special assistance with school, mobility, and just life in general.  We are taking it one day at a time, but are so encouraged that so many people with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia lead fairly normal lives.  Not so sure driving will be in her future, but hey  I guess mommy will just have to buy that convertible to drive her around in:):):)  
Our plan at this point is to learn 4 shapes, and when she masters that, we go back to Birmingham to have her acuity measured.  Then we'll see what the next step is.  
In thinking about what God has been up to, I am focusing a lot lately on my perspective vs. His.  We prayed and believed that God could heal Maggie Mae.  When we picked her up and they told us she  couldn't see anything, I have to admit, I was discouraged.  However, 5 months later, I have seen so much improvement in her sight, that I must acknowledge His work in her life.  My expectation was instant healing, His is a process.  There is so much that Dexter and I are learning about walking through uncharted woods and laying down our expectations and walking in His unconditional love.  It's amazing how He is using this sweet little girl to teach us so much.  I have to admit, at times it has not been fun; however, after laying down my ability to push through things, and allowing His power to work through me, I have to say it is all worth it.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun in the Sun!

Summer is off to a busy start.  The girls went with Daddy to Perdido Beach Resort for the weekend then to Maw Maw and Paw Paw's house.  Then we loaded up and headed to the lake with the Portis family for the day and had a great time on the boat tubing.  Maggie Mae loved it.  She wanted her "wife jacket on" and to "go for ride boat".  A few weeks ago my brother Todd, his wife Wendy and my niece Kathleen came for their first visit.  Then we were off to the lake to pick up our "new" used boat.  Everyone had such a great time and are so excited about being able to go to the lake and river to fish and ski.  Finally, we just got home from Florence, AL for Parker's State Baseball Tournament.  They finished 4th!!!  Now we are into football practice, going to the pool, and taking the boat out.  Maggie Mae is adjusting well and loves to be on the go.  She stayed home for the first time with big brother Tony while I went to a baseball tournament in Auburn.  He took her yard saling and she did great.  She did however manage to get her not so clean diaper off in the crib and made a huge mess.  Thank goodness mommy was home to help out with that!  She loves her brothers and sister and yes, she loves her daddy.  A few weeks ago she started saying "can't find my mommy, can't find my mommy!", then she would find me and curl up in my arms and say "find mommy".  It was so sweet.  Well this past weekend while Daddy was on the field coaching, she went up to the fence where he was leaning and said "find my daddy".  That made his Father's Day perfect!  
The Lord has been doing a lot in our home, too much to even put into words.  I will say that the comment the Family Therapist said back in February about her knowing whose in control so she doesn't have to be, has come to life in my heart.  So much of my life has been wasted on trying to do everything right to get a perfect outcome.  The Lord awakened me a few weeks ago and gently said "I'm in control so you don't have to be".  A huge weight was lifted, but I feel like I'm learning to walk all over again. Hard to explain the depth of this one, but once again, God is using life with this precious little girl to teach me so much about Him. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

From Death to LIFE!

So much has happened in the 7 weeks since our last post.  Please forgive us for not posting sooner; however, the hard drive on my computer died and we just got it back.
GOOD NEWS!    Maggie Mae LOVES LOVES LOVES her daddy.  It was the week of Easter, March 29th to be exact, and we had a huge break through.  Dexter came home, and she went to him on her own and played for a while.  From that point on, things just improved daily.  She is now comfortable with both of us and there is a newness of joy in her heart.  You can see it in the smile on her face in her profile picture.
She is talking great and getting around without any difficulties.  We've been to Birmingham several times for doctor's visits and an MRI.  Her confirmed diagnosis is an Underdeveloped Optic Nerve. It is a birth defect.  Her MRI showed a clear brain scan, no tumors, cysts, or evidence of trauma.  We are so thankful for this report.  She did well under anesthesia and recovered without any problems.  She has been to the dentist and does need some dental work; however, we are going to wait a little while for that.
We are working with a vision specialist with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.  She is an early intervention specialist who will be making home visits to help her get on track developmentally.
She is expected to have 20/200 vision at best, but they do not expect it to get any worse.  Many have asked if there is any treatment.  At this time there is not because this is a nerve issue.  However, we feel the Lord has already shown His power in her life.  Her eyes are not dancing around as much, and she really is quite functional.  We are praising Him for the sight she does have and the plans to prosper her future.
She is very very funny, and she knows it.  She has won the hearts of everyone in our family.  She's quite the charmer with the boys, especially big brother Tony.  She always goes up to him and says "Hiiiiiiiiiiiii".  It's hilarious to hear that southern accent coming out of this tiny Asian child.  She loves to take "baffs" with Sissy, jump on the trampoline with "CoCo" (Camden), and any time "BoBo" (Parker) is around, she wants him to hold her and play with his ipod or cell phone.  Daddy time is always special, I think, because we waited so long for it to happen.  Mommy is able to go get groceries or run errands now while she stays at home and plays.  I can't tell you how much I've been blessed by Tony being home.  Although he is discouraged by not being able to find a job, I really believe this was God's perfect plan for these past few months.  He has been such a huge help to me, serving me in so many ways.  I have come home to clean floors, clean bathrooms, clean dishes,  the fields have been bush hogged, plants watered, and he loves playing with the other kids.  I have to say, having the oldest come home after finishing college has been a great thing for this Mom!
Well, I think I've given you most of the details for the last 7 weeks.  The Lord has been speaking, and his hand has been upon on us.  On Easter Sunday, as Amy and I were watching Maggie Mae run around in church, she said "It's like she has gone from death to Life".  Well what an appropriate week for that to happen.  One of my favorite passages in scripture is Ezekiel 37 and verse 5 says, "This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life."  This scripture written long ago is very real in our lives today!