If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

My photo
I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Fun Parenting Tool and of course Some New Pics

So let me start by saying that all of my best parenting tricks were stolen from the minds of friends, good books, and those who have been doing this much longer than I have. I learned a couple new ones this summer that I thought I could share with you over the next little bit.

The Brag Jar
I don't know about your kids, but my boys have a habit of tattling on each other and reporting the other's faults. Well this summer we started a brag jar where each time one of my boys brags on the other, I add a coin to the jar. When the jar gets full, we will take the money and go do something as a family.

What I have learned through this is that my kids have a much harder time bragging on each other than I realized. We have had numerous sessions where we have sat at the table and taken turns saying something that your brother did nice today and each time I have had to help them remember. They are real quick to tell me what their brother has done wrong, but it is taking a conscious effort to remember what their brother has done good.

The process of looking for the good in someone is indeed a learned skill and what better place to learn it then in the family.



Doing a little therapy with stickers!


Seeing things from a different perspective.

Playing at my brother's t-ball game

Let's see- A book called Wheels with a match box car. Is it obvious I have brothers?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Great First Few Days

Okay so I think I have the sweetest baby girl ever. She is so good and so easy. She just walks around, smiles, and laughs all the time. Every time I go to get her out of her car seat, she greets me with this big open mouthed grin like she is so happy to see me. Here are a few pictures from her first few days at home.

Also- We had x-rays done Monday and they said that she has all of her bones and joints in her arms and hands. This is good news because that means that her restriction is all soft tissue related and treated most likely without surgery.




















Monday, July 27, 2009

It Took Me 2 Weeks but...

I finally got the Gotcha Day video made. Hope you like it. I plan to make a few more videos from our time in China later this week.

"Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart
but in it."
-Heylinger

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Celebration!


How cool are my neighbors for hanging this in my yard. I like it so much that I may leave it up until the home owners association sends me a letter.

Sunday night at 6:00 we are holding a celebration/dedication service for Ruthie at our church. It will be a time for us to worship God for who He is and recount what we have seen Him do through this process. It will also be a time for Trent and I to make vows to Ruthie as we not only legally bring her into our family, but spiritually bring her in as well. You are welcome to attend. There will be a little sip and see reception afterwards.

Friday, July 24, 2009

HOME!!!


It is so good to be a part of the church and to have so many wonderful friends. First of all, you guys were all awesome to comment on Ruthie's web page during our travel. Several of you said that you would look at it first thing in the morning. Well know that I was looking at it first thing in the morning too in order to read all of your kind comments. And the blessing has just continued... 4 of my friends came over to my house yesterday to clean it before I got home. I am sure that it took all 4 of them too. I am not sure if I should be relieved or concerned that I have no idea what it looked like when they got here. Thanks girls for blessing me in this way.

When Ruthie and I landed in Houston, we were met by 50 friends holding signs and balloons. It was so sweet to see everyone there. One of the things that has been most incredible about this process has been getting to see how much everyone else has grown to love this child too. Thank you for sharing life with us.

We got home after 4:30 to a sign hanging in our yard that said "welcome home Ruthie" (Thank you Ellis'), ate a spaghetti dinner (Thank you Kimberly W), and then headed to Jack and Sam's t-ball game. There are few things more American than baseball. Ruthie did great at the game and Jack walked around telling everyone that his new little sister was there and she is from China. He also told one lady that Ruthie has hundreds of friends at her orphanage but we don't have enough money to get all of them. It was cute.

Now I have 3 kids (yes 3- not 2) in bed, I am half unpacked, I have a clean house, someone else cooked my dinner- what more could a girl want. Oh yeah and I have a husband snoring beside me. I guess some things didn't change while I was gone.

I am hoping to put some video together in the next day or so. It just killed me in China that I didn't have the right cords. Better late than never.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support

OMG- I forgot to put this in the original posting earlier, but when I got home, my house had several framed pictures of Ruthie that my friend Kimberly Sink brought by. Thank you Kimberly for thinking of that. They have been fun to find.
Ginny

Party at the Airport

For all who might be following us via this blog, if you're in the Houston area and can shake free this afternoon, please join us at Hobby Airport at 2:30 to welcome home Ginny and Ruthie! We'll be upstairs by the security checkpoint, or just follow the crowd, posters, noise, and laughter. We'd love to have you out!

Trent, Jack and Sam

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Website and Ways to Pray

Blogger is down in China right now so I created another website to post our updates to. I shouldn't have trouble accessing this other site. Here is the web address. It's a little rough right now, but I have 20 hours on airplanes to try and pretty it up for you. :) Here is the link:


Here are some ways you can be praying:

1. Pray that our flights go well and that we don't sit near anyone who is sick and would cause us to be quarantined. Pray also that we aren't sick. Pray also for safe trips back home. Trent will be coming home a week earlier than me.

2. Pray for Jack and Sam. They have never been away from us for more than 3 days so this is going to be really hard for them. Pray Jack will be a good big brother and comfort Sam. Pray Sam will be able to express his insecurity in positive ways. Also, pray for good health for them while we are gone.

3. Pray for Papa and Grandi who are keeping Jack and Sam that God would renew their energy and patience each day.

4. Pray for our Gotcha day Monday. I have been told that Ruthie's age is one of the hardest to transition because they are old enough to know that things are really different, but not old enough to express themselves well. Pray God would prepare her little heart and that we would be overwhelmed by how well it goes.

5. Pray that we are able to go see her orphanage. This is usually possible but has been restricted lately due to swine flu. I would love to be able to go and take pictures of her orphanage for her to have someday. I also want to meet and talk to the nannies who have been taking care of her. Please pray that we get this opportunity.

6. Finally, please just pray for an overall smooth trip that is filled with God's presence and provision.

Thank you so much for caring enough to follow our journey and lift us up in prayer.
I will fly home with Ruthie on the afternoon of 7/24. Anyone who wants is welcome to meet us at the airport.

What God Did! If you Read any of these, READ THIS ONE!

It is 5 am and I can't sleep.  Too excited.  I feel like I should do a better job at letting everyone know what God did this week just so you can see how big and close our Father is.

Weeks ago I was in the book store and felt this incredible stirring to buy Beth Moore's Believing God.  I went in to buy another book specifically but walked out with that one.  This was during our abnormally long wait for our RA/LOA.  

We waited >150 days for our RA/LOA (i stopped counting) when the average wait is around 70.  This was very difficult for us as we "expected" to travel much sooner.  Imagine being 9 months pregnant and the only way you can deliver is if someone CALLS YOU and tell you that it is ok. Oh and by the way, they may randomly decide to take their sweet time by several months.  I digress. Sorry

We missed a major group of RA/LOAs in May that I was just sure ours was going to be in.  This was the first group out after the swine flu silence for a month (they didn't send anyone anything) and the people who were getting their paperwork were matched at least a month after us.  

Anyway, about the time we got our RA/LOA (Praise God!) I was wrapping up Beth's book and the last few chapters were on believing God for something big that He wants to do in your life.  This is not a "name it claim it" teaching but instead about looking at God's will and believing that He can bring it about.  We got an email that our projected travel was July 30th.  This was really sad for us because it was so much later than what we had hoped.  I remembered what I had read in Beth's book and ventured into asking what group left before that.   The travel coordinator said, "we are sending a group on July 9th but your TA would have to get here by the 3rd and that is not likely".  That was her very polite way of saying, "good luck but your are going the 30th".    

At that point, Trent and I decided to start praying for a "July 3rd TA miracle".  That is when we involved everyone here in praying for the same- not because we are entitled, but because God wants to do big things for those who love Him when it is consistent with His will. 

Can I say that this was SO HARD FOR ME!  I didn't want to get my hopes up to where the "no" would be harder.  I had been there and didn't want to go through that again.  I also didn't want to miss out on God's best because I was more interested in protecting my heart. 

Well, July 3rd came with NO TA and to my surprise, our agency was closed that day!  I really didn't have a peace about giving up yet.  I can't explain it.  On Monday,  WE GOT THE CALL! Of course, at that point we were one day late.  Now we had to petition China to make an exception for us.  This is HUGE.  Just the fact that our agency was willing to do this is HUGE!  You prayed.  We groaned.  And God said YES!!!!!  People don't travel in 2 days.  I have heard once of someone going in 3.  I know Stephen Curtis Chapman's wife went quickly to get their 2nd because of SARS, but she is Stephen Curtis Chapman's wife and I am sure the doors of wherever can open for her.  But the fact that God, creator of the universe, would look down on our family and this little girl to make this happen is nothing short of a miracle. 

I hope you look at Him differently today because of what you have seen him do here.  

Oh and the crazy part.... We are traveling with the group who got their RA/LOAs in MAY!!! You know, the group we missed that we should have been in after the swine flu hold that everyone was so shocked we weren't in.   I know something for sure today, GOD HAS A PLAN and IT IS PERFECT.  HE WILL BRING IT TO PASS and even when He seems late, HE IS RIGHT ON TIME.

Be Blessed
Ginny

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spinning

Oh my goodness we are spinning like crazy with last minute details. I am so glad that I did a lot this weekend or today really would have been nuts. Why I decided to work a 1/2 day today I don't know. Nuts I tell you!

We just got our itinerary and here it is. I feel like I am floating in a dream. "Floating" because all this hyperventilating is depriving me of oxygen and "dream" because up until now I have just dreamed about this day!

WOW THIS IS MY ITINERARY!!! PRAISE GOD

Adoption Itinerary
July 9th –July 23rd

v Thursday, July 9th Depart for Beijin

v Friday, July 10th Arrive in Beijing

v Saturday, July 11th Beijing Sight-Seeing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace

v Sunday, July 12th Beijing Sightseeing: Church Service, Great Wall

Gotcha Day!

v Monday, July 13th Morning-flight to Chongqing

Afternoon-meet Peng Wen Mei

v Tuesday, July 14th Civil Affairs Appointment

v July 15th -16th Paperwork, Sightseeing & Shopping

v Friday, July 17th Flight to Guangzhou (Trent goes home)

v Saturday, July 18th Medical Exam

v Sunday, July 19th Consulate Paperwork

v Monday, July 20th Sightseeing & Shopping

v Tuesday, July 21st Consulate Appointment

v Wednesday, July 22nd Pick up Child’s Visa

v Thursday, July 23rd Depart from Guangzhou Flight Home from Hong Kong

HE SAID YES!!!!

WE ARE GOING TO CHINA THIS THURSDAY!!
WE SERVE A GOD WHO LIKES TO DO BIG THINGS!
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT THANK HIM THAT HE STILL WORKS MIRACLES!

I have to get back to work, but will post more details this afternoon. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Filled with Hope

I am not sure I stressed enough earlier how thankful we are to God for working this miracle on our behalf.  We are so hopeful that He will complete this work and let us travel on Thursday.  It is 11:00 am in China right now so they have probably already decided our case.  I have been praying that they would think first about the best interest of this little girl. 

They are supposed to call us in the morning.  I have to work from 8-12 so Trent will probably get the call and then have to call me at work.  All that to say, I won't get this updated until I get home.  

Thank you to everyone who has been praying with us.  
Ginny

TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD DOES WORK MIRACLES FOR ME!!

I was just telling God this morning that I know He still works miracles, but I am just not sure He works them for me. Well, He PROVED ME WRONG! We got a call about 5 minutes ago that our TA arrived TODAY!!!!!

WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS NOW MORE THAN EVER!

We missed the window to travel this Thursday by ONE DAY. However, because our agency is sending a big group to Chongqing and we had the July 4th holiday jacking with things, they are requesting that Ruthie's province make an exception and let us come. They can obviously tell us "no" so I am praying like crazy or shall we say continuing to pray like crazy that they tell us "YES"! That would mean that we travel in 3 days! We will know something tomorrow morning. Please pray they say yes. The other piece is that we have to get a consulate appointment, but the travel coordinator did not feel this would be as big of a deal.

PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND OBVIOUSLY PRAISE GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS JUST DONE!!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Topic #1- Do Hard Things

So this weekend I will be planning like we are going to travel and preparing my heart in case we don't. I guess too it is a good time to talk about some other things that have been stirring in my brain, but have had to wait in line behind adoption timelines.

So here it is- Topic #1 Do Hard Things

I am starting a new book called Do Hard Things. Those of you familiar with the book may wonder why I am reading a book written by 2 teenagers for teenagers. The answer is two fold: 1. I have heard several parents, who I think the world of, rave about this book and the impact it had on their family. 2. The title hooked me.

The process of walking through this adoption has got me thinking a lot lately about the emotional and spiritual value in doing hard things. When we let our fear keep us from stepping out to do things outside of our comfort zone, we often miss God's best for us. This book was written about teenagers because the authors feel that we as parents expect too little of our kids these days and that their poor performance is directly connected to our low expectations of them to do more than keep their rooms clean and make good grades.

After starting the book and pondering life around me, I would argue that not only do we expect too little of our kids, but we also expect too little of ourselves. This short fall keeps us in our safe little worlds and robs us of the opportunity to model faith filled lives for our children.

Have you read the book? Any thoughts?

Not Looking Good

I just found out that our agency is closed today for the 4th. That shouldn't surprise me. Everyone else is off and these people work super hard and deserve the day, but I am not sure how that affects "it has to be here by the 3rd". The reason she said the 3rd is because you have to give the province a weeks notice and "gotcha day" is always the Monday after you travel. I am pretty sure that the group leaving on the 9th is probably the group of healthy referrals that came in from Ruthie's province in May. I have already sent an email to see if we could beg the province to let us give them less notice if it arrives on Monday since we are sending a group there anyway. It's another long shot but I am not giving up yet.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

MORE

ANOTHER family with our LOA/RA date got their TA today!!! That makes 2 now. This gives me so much hope and of course fear that I am going to have the "no call Friday disappointment break down" that became a regular occurrence when we were waiting for our RA. :) Those of you who have waited on an RA know exactly what I am talking about.

I had a dream last night that we got our TA call. It was crazy real. I answered the phone and heard in my left ear that our TA arrived. I then sat straight up in my bed with butterflies in my stomach, looked at the clock and read 5:30 am and realized I was not holding a phone. My dad said that maybe that means I am going to get the call today. My dreams have never worked that way for me before, so I doubt it was prophetic. :)

I asked Sam to pray with me today after I saw the post from the other families TA. He looked at me and said, "Can we pray for God to get us a light saber that lights?"

Praying for God to move mountains

Ginny

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quarantine thoughts...

I saw earlier that another adoptive family has been quarantined and this time it appears that they were split up. I am not sure of the details, but you can pray for them. God knows their needs.

The lady in charge of the China Adopt Talk website today (she calls herself Rumor Queen) said that it appears your chances of being quarantined are around 6%. That number seems pretty low if you ask me, but then I thought of it this way- If someone told you that you had a 6% chance of being captured and held hostage if you went to the mall today, would you go? Heck no, I wouldn't and I certainly wouldn't take my kids. Now, what if they told you that one of your children was already in the mall? Then what would you do?

The hostage scenario is really not that far off. Basically the people are being held in a strange location that is not of their choosing. Many of them are being forced to stay in one room. They can only eat what is delivered to them and they can't leave until the unidentified men in masks release them.

Jack and Sam's Papa and Grandi have agreed to come to Houston to keep the boys. I am growing more and more thankful for that.

Did I mention the quarantine picture I saw of the teenager trying to trap the rats with a bucket? I think that was the deal breaker for me.

STILL PRAYING LIKE CRAZY FOR A JULY 3rd TA MIRACLE!!!

A Few Updates

I stayed off the computer yesterday so I could just pray for Ruthie and our TA. When I got back on this morning, I saw that I missed a lot.

This is from a family who is in Chongqing right now. They received their match a while after us so I had sent her an email about how jealous I am that she is already there and asked if she would take pictures of Ruthie if she saw her. This is her reply:

4ruthie-I'm so sorry you have to wait. Unfortunately, we can't visit the orphanage as they are prohibiting it because of the Swine flu scare. I wish I could get a picture and some news for you. I have to say though that I have such confidence in the orphanage. They gave us a whole book and pages and pages of writing about our daughter's development. They also returned all of the items we sent to her via care packages Good Luck, and may you travel safely to your child. -turtles
http://waitingforjosephine.blogspot.com/

This is a little sad for me because not only was I hoping for more pictures, but now I am having to lay down yet ANOTHER motion picture. I was really looking forward to touring her orphanage and seeing where she slept. I had heard the part about the pictures and writing before. This is because Ruthie's orphanage is sponsored by a non-profit called Half The Sky. They are great!

ON ANOTHER NOTE....
Another family in adoption world, not ours, got their TA yesterday and they have the same LOA/RA date as us!!! What that means is that the "highly unlikely" is happening with some people and who knows their circumstances, but I know that MY GOD is bigger than their luck so I am praying fervently today for a TA by Friday. If it arrived by Friday, we could very likely travel on JULY 9th!!! This is very scary for me because I have tried to pray in faith without getting my hopes up or expect something from God that He has not promised me. Now I am really starting to get my hopes up. PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING!!

Ginny

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