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

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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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mountains For Maggie: Part 5 November 19, 2013

I left off last time with us being Dossier to China.  You non-adoptive people are learning way more about this process than  you ever bargained for.  Anyway, we received confirmation that we were officially logged into China's database on November 13, 2013.  That meant whenever Maggie's paperwork arrived, we would be eligible.

A little back story- while I was in the orphanage, I connected with one of the employees.  I even gave her an American name and my email address if she wanted to keep in touch.  She is just one of those kinds of people that if I lived in China, I think we would be big buds.  Now fast forward.

On November 19, 2013 I woke to an email in Chinese.  It was from my friend and basically it said that Maggie was doing well, that her condition was stable, she was learning to walk, and to keep an eye out for her paperwork.  It also said they were taking good care of her until I could get there and not to worry.

I was over the top excited to receive that.  The peace of knowing she was doing well was such a gift but I had no idea what God was up to next.  Two hours later my phone rang.   It was my family coordinator and she was telling me that Maggie's paperwork had arrived!!! She warned me that it looked serious and wanted to know if I was still interested.  Of Course!!!!

Okay friends, on paper this child looks near dead.  So how good was God to give me that email 2 hours before her official medical report was in my inbox.  I know what the paperwork says is going on with her heart.  But I also know how she looked on November 18th.  She is stable and learning to walk!  The Lord gave me the assurance I needed so I could conquer that mountain of fear.

She is officially ours!

So you may be wondering what's next.  Here are our next mountains we need God to move.

1. We are praying to travel by Chinese New Year.  That is a giant mountain.
      *We need her LOA to come in the next week
      *We need immigration and China to process her TA expeditiously
      *We need favor for a quick consulate appointment

2.  We are praying for an amazing Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgeon.  Here is what I would like.
      *I want them to meet with me before I leave for China.
      *I want medications and possibly oxygen that I can take over with instructions on when to use  
      *I want access to them while I am in China in case I have questions or an emergency.
      *I want to land in Houston and then take her to see them the next day and possibly be admitted  
        for testing and a plan of care.

3.  I need God to hold my baby's heart in His hands.  I need him to oxygenate her blood and protect
      her little body until I can get her home.

Will you be praying with us for God to move our next mountains?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mountains for Maggie: Part 4 Our Dossier- That Mountain of Paperwork

A dossier is the stack of paperwork that you send to a foreign country to adopt a child.  When we adopted Ruthie, it took us close to 6 months to put together our dossier.  The process involves a lot of documents that have to be taken through several steps and some of them take a while to collect like your home study and immigration approval.   We knew if we were going to do this, it was imperative that we beat her paperwork arriving to the States and we had no idea when that was going to be.  Having seen God move, we trusted He would take care of that detail and we just needed to do our part.

I contacted my social worker from Ruthie's adoption and asked if she would be willing to do this home study.  When I told her our situation, her words were "As a social worker, I need to tell you that what you are pursuing is impossible.  As a fellow Christian, I am telling you all things are possible through Christ."   She expedited our home study and we did our part to have everything ready before it even arrived to us officially.  My fellow adoptive moms were amazing about forwarding paperwork  to me ahead of time so when I received emails from our agency, I immediately replied with the completed tasks.  I think they were a bit stunned and were quick to tell us that we were breaking records.

Then came immigration.  That step can take months and the government shut down was threatening to slow it even more.  We prayed.  Begged. Sent a few extra emails and made a few extra phone calls. We even showed up for fingerprints weeks before our appointment and received favor.   Finally, it was expedited and we received another completion faster than expected.

Trent's mom jumped in to help us with authentication steps by hand delivering materials.  Church members notarized documents again and again.  Friends prayed and sent their example forms.
All said and done, we completed in 2 1/2 months what should have taken us 6 months and we were dossier to China in record time and before her paperwork arrived.

Mountain of paperwork moved- Check.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mountains For Maggie: Part 3 Coming Home Mountains

I returned home on a Sunday and wondered how many days it would take for me to get this baby out of my mind but every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was her dimply cheeks smiling and those little fat legs kicking when I turned the corner and approached her.   I just couldn't shake it.

Trent and I decided we should present the possibility of pursuing her to our kids and see what they said.  Jack, my oldest, is pretty sure the world would have been perfect had he just been an only child.  To our surprise, Jack quickly said, "Let's go get her.  She needs a home and we have one.  What are we waiting on?"  That was coming home mountain #1- moved.

Her Chinese name has Mei in it like Ruthie's Chinese name did.  Trent and I felt like God gave us the name Maggie several years ago.  So Maggie Mei would be perfect.  She and Ruthie could share a Chinese heritage and a middle name that they had both been given while in China.  Ruthie Mei and Maggie Mei.  The thought of it was both exciting and a little encouraging to take the next step.

So I did it.  I emailed my old family coordinator at our agency with the "what's the chance" inquiry.  Her response was less than encouraging but completely understandable.  She basically said it was impossible.  There were people ahead of us open to a child with a heart defect and her paperwork was due any day.  Also, her paperwork would likely be "log in date only" and we weren't even in the China program so we wouldn't even qualify until we completed our dossier which would take about 6 months.  This is all even if her paperwork came to our agency.  While they have a partnership with this orphanage, not all kids go through them so they might not ever even see this file.

I was confused and disappointed.  I told Trent and then turned on the TV to the Hallmark Channel to clear my mind.  This is going to sound crazy weird but the show that was on was a movie about a girl named Maggie May.  I yelled for Trent to come in and all we could do was laugh.  God is that you telling us not to give up yet?   That night we completed our application for the waiting child program in faith.

Hmm should I stop here or tell you what happened next?

Okay so the next day she called me.  My old family coordinator is now the assistant director of our agency and she called me because she had been reviewing some initial paperwork our team leader brought home on the kids in the orphanage.  What she found was that Maggie's heart condition was more serious than she realized and they actually didn't have any families in the program willing to take her!  It occurred to me that I had never even inquired as to her diagnosis.  Honestly, I didn't care.  I just loved her so nothing else really mattered.   She warned me that nothing was guaranteed but encouraged me to start my paperwork if I was serious.  Little did she know, we had already done that.  :)

Coming home mountain #2- moved.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mountains For Maggie: Part 2 The Moment

First let me remind you, I did not go to China looking for a child.  We had been assigned a foster child 6 weeks before and we had our hands full.  I was headed to China in July to serve as part of a mission team in an orphanage there.  My assignment was to teach PT techniques to orphanage staff to help them work with their special needs kids there.

So it was my first day in the orphanage.  The other team members had scattered to their room assignments and I was spending time in the therapy room.  I wrapped up there and walked outside to check on my teammates.  There were several toddler rooms playing outside with their nannies.  One group was lined up in baby walkers all tied together.  I looked out over the group and a specific child caught my eye.  I remember thinking immediately about my friend who has had a dossier in China on hold for almost 2 years now.  The little girl smiled at me and my heart melted.  I stepped back inside and immediately texted my friend, "I just met your future daughter and I am not kidding."

Later that day I was making my way from room to room to evaluate the little ones and see how they  were doing developmentally.  That was when I spotted her again.  That time I walked over and picked her up.  She looked into my eyes and said, "Mama."  I kid you not!!!!  For those of you who don't speak Chinese, mama in Chinese sounds the same as in English.  Anyway, the nannies started squealing and my teammate buried her head in her hands.  This child didn't talk normally.  She was only 1-year old and she had a heart defect that made vocalization difficult because every breath was labored.  I went on about my business but just couldn't seem to shake my new little friend.

Throughout the rest of the week I found myself dropping by to see her first thing in the morning, before lunch, and at the end of the day.  I corresponded with my friend back home about how she had to re-enter the process and adopt this child.  She would respond, "I don't think she is my kid.  I think she is yours."  Oh no I don't even have a dossier in China!  She couldn't be mine!  I inquired about her paperwork and found out that she should have been in the set that had just arrived to the agency but there was a spelling error and it was sent back to the orphanage.  Hello God???

Then I told my husband about this precious child I had met who had called me "mama" 3 times by then.  His response floored me.  He suggested that I stay in China with her while he completed the paperwork and then just bring her home with me.  Did he not remember how long that took?  I am not sure if that was his excitement about my love for another foreign child or if it was a reflection of how much he was enjoying not having me around that week. :)

Okay so the nannies in her room are awesome and they could see my fondness for this little one.  They started keeping her up last for me to spend extra time with her at the end of the day.  I love her nannies and consider them friends today.   They would say to me, "She loves you. You should take her to America."     The seed was planted.

I wonder if God was having as much fun watching this all play out as I am having re-telling the story?
Oh how I can't wait to tell you what all He did next.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mountains for Maggie: Part 1 The Call

From the time we adopted Ruthie, I found myself continually following the stories of families who adopted children with severe heart defects.  I admired their willingness to say yes to something that absolutely terrified me.  As I followed these stories, I saw God move in their families in incredible ways.  My friend, Rebecca, and I would have long conversations about these children as we prayed and kept each other up to date on their progress.  Not to mention we would order every necklace, bracelet, and t-shirt that was sold to help bring them home.  But that was not enough.  Little did I know that God was planting the seeds of a future calling on my heart.

Something else struck me about these kiddos.  They were hard to place.  Most families are understandably hesitant to take in a child who might not survive and I totally get that.  But it stirred my heart even more to pray about being someone who would say yes to the unknown.

So fast forward a year or so and I finally felt like I had my junk together enough to add another person to our crew.  I will be honest though-  The wounds on my heart from the wait for Ruthie were still tender.  Trent would suggest international adoption and I would look at him like he had lost his ever loving mind.  I told him I was sure someone was going to walk into his office or call us and ask us to take their child now and here so I didn't have to go through that again.  But what about the heart baby?  Why could I not get that off my mind?

I decided foster care was the way to go and frankly had less expense and less risk.  Just keeping it real here folks.  Don't hate me.   At our home study, I even asked the social worker if they ever get children with heart defects and she looked at me like I was nuts.  The Lord didn't give us a child with a heart defect but he did place one in our home that I am still confident we were supposed to have for that time.  It was just part of the journey to the next step.

So here we are moving forward on the adoption of a baby with a severe heart defect.  I will save meeting Maggie for another post.

The lesson here-  The Lord is patient and He knows us so well.  He knows our wounds.  He knows our fears. He knows our passions and He knows it just might take 3 years to get us to where He wants us to be.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Maggie Mei Henderson

Maggie Mei Henderson is no longer a dream but now a reality who will Lord willing be in our home in just a few short months!!!!!!!

Thank you for your prayers and please keep praying as we prepare to bring our baby home!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Date With My Girl

Ruthie had her cast removed last week and we decided it was a good excuse for a girl date.   I took her to the Dallas Arboretum to see their pumpkin exhibit and have lunch.   We had a great time and I am thinking we need to do it again real soon.

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