Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Praying & Believing

Over 2 years ago, I sat on the beach and read about a clinical trial for Congenital Muscular Dystrophy.  The new drug, Omigapil, was described in the news release:  Nonclinical studies in a disease-relevant model showed that omigapil inhibits cell death and reduces body weight loss and skeletal deformation, while increasing locomotive activity and protecting from early mortality.

As I read, I was filled with hope. The only thing that mattered to me were the last 4 words PROTECTING FROM EARLY MORTALITY.   Please Lord, let it work and be available within my Lily's lifetime.  I sat on that beach and prayed and begged that Lily could be a part of this study.  I called several prayer warriors to begin praying that Lily would be chosen for this study.  Over a year ago, as we sat at lunch with several friends from Sunday School, I got THE call...Lily was a candidate for the study and we were asked to let her participate!!  Answered prayers!!

Over the past several months, Lily has been screened and we have completed several phone interviews.  She was placed in Cohort 2 of the drug trial and we have eagerly waited for her phase of the trial to begin.  The first group of patients have already received doses of Omigapil.  As I watched the girls play outside yesterday, I got an email.  Scheduling has started for Lily's cohort!

Beginning in February 2016, Trent and I will take turns flying with Lily to Maryland to spend 2 days every month at The National Institute of Health so that Lily can be assessed while she is taking the Omigapil.  We'll travel each month through July 2016.

We know that this drug is in the very beginning stages of study.  This is a dosing trial, so Lily will be receiving the actual treatment.  We have also been told that if she shows any improvement during the drug trial, we can petition the FDA for her to continue Omigapil after the study is completed.

I share this to ask for your prayers.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).  God has been so faithful to us over the years.  He has blessed us with so much more than we deserve.  We are praying daily for a miracle for our sweet Lily.  Please pray without ceasing with us, believing and claiming that God can do ANYTHING.

As I got Lily ready for bed, we sang this little song that I've sang to her since she first came home.  I picked her up and she struggled to wrap his tiny arms around my neck.  I whispered, "don't ever leave me, Lily".  She promised she'd stay with me until she was 60, but was quick to add that I would be way old :) 

Every great work of God first is impossible, then it is difficult, and then it is DONE!!  Thanks for praying with us as we gear up for the fight of our lives.  Can't wait to see how God will be glorified through this process!

For this Child I prayed, and the Lord granted me what I ask of Him!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

16 Years!!!

Way back in 1998, I had to try to put into words why I wanted to be a mother for our first adoption home study.  It was so hard to explain that I just didn't want those sweet baby moments.  I longed for every single moment...first step, first day of school, first boyfriend, first prom dress, first heart break, first job.  Everything!!!  16 years ago, I met my absolute dream come true, my Mary Ashtyn.

I will never forget climbing into the van with her as we left the orphanage.  Our driver honking the horn as the three sets of new parents cheered.  As she snuggled against me, my cheers turned to tears.  The hardest journey of our lives was over, we were parents.  Answered prayers, dreams come true.

Happy Gotcha Day, Mary Ashtyn!

So thankful for all the firsts we've shared over the last 16 years.  I'm amazed at what God has done in her life and how she allows Him to lead her each and every day. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

God Knew

This beach wheelchair in the making has me thinking about God's plans.  When I was in Junior High, I needed a date to a last minute cheerleader party.  I called my best friend in a panic (it's Junior High...this is MAJOR) because I had no date and it's the day of the party.  My friend's brother happens to know that his best friend would be more than willing to go to this party with me.  So, they call him and ta-da!!!  I have a date.

My date meets me at the cheerleader sponsor's house (neither of us is old enough to drive).  We watch the original Karate Kid...I'm not sure Will Smith is born at this point, much less his son who starred in the re-make several years ago.  Anyway, within a few weeks, I have an official boyfriend!!  We are really serious...talking on the phone (it was connected by a plug in the wall, we didn't have cordless yet and we had NEVER heard of cell phones) and writing letters, real letters with paper and pens!!  We even folded them in that special 80's way:

 Image result for folding notes in the 90s

As I looked at the beginnings of this beach wheelchair, it amazed me to think how God knew even wwwwaaaayyyy back in Junior High where my life would go. That boy who I took to the Jr. High Cheerleader party and wrote 10 page letters to everyday...he was Trent!!!

As we dated through high school and college and made plans for our life, God knew where we were headed.  He knew that when crazy college Trent insisted that we have a son named Reece, after Kyle Reese in The Terminator (I swear this is true), that little boy would wait for us across the world in Kazahkstan.  God knew that it would take years and years before our dreams came true and that a tiny little girl in Russia would finally make us parents.

He absolutely knew that the boy I asked to that party a million years ago was meant for me. God always intended for him to be the one to literally pick me up off the floor every month as we struggled through infertility.  Through the ups and downs of 20 years of marriage, God knew that we'd make it through the rough times.  He knew that as we raised Mary Ashtyn and Reece, His plans were nowhere near finished.  I think God probably laughed through the years as Trent and I said over and over that our family was finished.  As we marveled at parents raising children with special needs or adopting older children and agreed that we could never do that.  God knew!

Only God would know that a first date watching The Karate Kid in 1987 would lead to a beach wheelchair built for 2 in 2015.  As I watched Trent measure and cut and make trips to the store to get more supplies for Lily and Ava's chair, it reminded me how meticulous God's plans are.  I watch my first date plan and build this wheelchair and my heart is full.  I am so very thankful that God knew who I needed right beside me through all the stops and starts in our crazy adventure.

Now, I've got to wake up my lazy husband who is sleeping in the chair as I type!  We have four kids going in 4 different directions tomorrow...there could be some screaming going on before we make it through the day, but God knows that too!

God knows nobody else could put up with him!!!  LOL

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Remembering China

This time last year, we spent our last few days as BamFam5.  We spent the weekend in Hangzhou site seeing and waiting to meet Ava. 

Hangzhou Museum

So blessed we were able to take Lily back to China!


Authentic Chinese Buffet...we skipped the fish :)

The Mall

Weiss Lake

The hotel breakfast buffet is always a favorite!

It's hard to describe our feelings as we toured Hangzhou waiting to get Ava.  We really tried to enjoy every minute, but we were also hoping the days would go quickly.  We were so anxious to meet our new daughter and sister.  God moved lots of mountains to get us to China and add this sweet girl to our family.  It was almost time to meet her!! 

June 3, 2014...Gotcha Day!!!

The child that we fell in love with through pictures and videos was almost in our arms!! 

Tomorrow, we celebrate a year that Ava Frances Fang has been ours.  What a year it has been!  God has proven over and over that His plans are perfect.  It is amazing that this little girl who is so much a part of us has only been with us for a year.

Friday, May 29, 2015

One Year!!

One year ago, our family of five flew out of the Birmingham Airport on our way to China!  Five became six!!  It still amazes me a year later how God led us to Ava and completed her adoption.  Many of you who follow our blog prayed for us and donated to our adoption fund.  YOU were a part of God's plan and we are forever grateful.

May 29, 2014...Airport Memories

So ready for our adventure to Ava!!!

Excited sisters!!

As we took off, Reece grabbed my hand.  The unknown was scary!


There is no way to describe how it feels to finally be in the same country as the child you've waited almost a year to meet.  Sweet memories tonight of our journey to Ningbo, China.  Amazed to see how far God has brought us in just one year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Birthday Girl!!

Last year, we sent Ava a birthday cake and gift.  My heart ached when we got the pictures of her on her birthday.  Her little lips were chapped and she was serving the cake to her friends.  I wanted to put chapstick on those lips and cut her cake for her.  I wanted to so badly for her to be HOME.

What a difference a year makes!!  Six months of love and family.  It is such a blessing to watch Ava become just what God intended...a cherished daughter, His and ours!!

 Happy Birthday, sweet Ava!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Three Years

November 28, 2011...three years ago, the four of us sat in a hotel lobby in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia anxiously watching for our first glimpse of our little Lily.

The little girl that we had loved since that first video we saw in March was finally ours!!
If you've never read about Lily's Gotcha Day, CLICK HERE

God's plan for our family always included Lily.  Three years of loving her have been an absolute joy. Lily has taught us to savor every minute of life and take nothing for granted.  God used this tiny girl and her weak little muscles to change our lives in the most extraordinary ways.  Three years of learning to live with a progressive muscle disease,contractures, wheelchairs, surgeries and tears...three years of love, laughter, faith, hope, joy, and peace.  The only thing that I would change would be finding her sooner and loving her longer.  

Happy Gotcha Day, to the strongest little girl I will ever know...we are so glad that you are ours!!

Three years on November 28, 2011, as Lily joined our family, another sweet little girl turned 7 years old in an orphanage in Ningbo, China.  Three years ago, we had no idea that God would send us back to China to bring our Ava HOME.  Tomorrow, Ava will turn 10 years old and will have her first birthday celebration.  We'll spend the day celebrating our littles and praising God for making them ours.