Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moments from God

Daddy and Talia's Journey to Charlotte-3 flights, 2 layovers, 30 hrs.

Hmm...everything sounds and looks so different!
Hello America!

Mommy and Harper's journey to the airport: Up all night with anticipation, a 45 min. car ride (that felt like 30 hrs.) and a one hour wait at the airport!

The first book I get to read to my daughter!

Harper trying out her bed to make sure it feels "okay" for Talia!

We are ready for you, Talia!

Okay Mama is completely ready 4 hrs. ahead of time...Let's bring this baby home!

 A full year leading up to this very moment orchestrated by God, Our Father.

This picture was taken by a wonderful friend who is also a photographer, Emily Lapish.  I will upload them in the coming weeks!
But here was her sneak peak and the wording she chose to caption it: "I witnessed a miracle tonight. There are no words. This is the look on the face of the mother, as the wait is over and she sees her child for the first time. I wish you could have heard her cry of joy."

Quite honestly I do not have any other words then to say "Thank you"! Thank you to God for His provision, thank you to each person reading this-your support brought Talia home  and Thank you to the Holy Spirit for prompting us to say "Yes" to Talia! My cries of Joy was seeing this little girl, our daughter, finally home where she belongs. In that moment and every moment since she has been in my arms I feel like the most blessed Mama in the world! I am so thankful for listening and obeying God's calling for us. If we had not we would have missed out on a wonderful miracle in our lives and hers. This journey from start to finish was nothing short of a miracle!

As for the exact moment I saw her it was love at first sight! I don't remember much but seeing her face look a little scared when she came down the escalator so I backed off and let Harper hug her first then I went in for some love! There were a lot of family huddles!

For all my Facebook friends, entire adoption community and friends that could not make it to the airport I felt you all there with me as I stood and waited to see my daughter for the first time!
Talia finally in her Mommy's arms-3 years and one month!

Thankful to our Lord-for eternity!

(Put my music player on pause and grab some tissues!)

"And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world"

John 11:52

Monday, June 25, 2012

Miracle of Miracles

    Throughout my blog you can read the tiny miracles surrounding Talia's file, the dates on her file and how they were meaningful in our lives, how we received her file, how quickly we said "Yes" when everything was against us to be doing a 2nd adoption so soon, how we raised $20,000 in 6 months, how another $15,000 just came to us in order to complete the adoption, how she survived a heart attack at age 1 in an orphanage, how she lived past the first few days of life with the umbilical cord still attached on a factory doorstep. Everything pointed to this child being a miracle! Moreover, everything pointed to a higher authority watching over her every second. The Lord was clearly working through us for His almighty purpose and all the glory goes to Him. We jumped out in faith and took her file clearly knowing that she may not live a long healthy life. We jumped out in faith knowing we might only have her in our arms for a few years. We jumped out in faith not knowing how we would come up with $35,000. We jumped out in faith to honor and obey and this is what He did for us for being faithful. 

   Talia's heart is completely healed!!! She apparently was born with a very large VSD (8 mm), a hole in the lower chambers of her heart. She was blue, had breathing difficulties, was limp in a hospital but she survived. They revived her on the table and she survived! She still lived with the symptoms of a large VSD and since her file sounded really scary she waited and waited on the China children waiting lists. 

Are you ready for this????? Do you want to see how awesome our God is? Do you want to see what He can do? How powerful He is? 

We received Talia's file last June with no heart updates for the past year other then the information we received which said a tumor or mass in her heart.  I did not even ask the question but the the doctor at the end of the visit today said "If I had to guess when the hole closed and the tissue covered her hole.... I would say 12 months ago"! I nearly fell on the floor! 

We leaped.....

and He healed her on the spot! 

Amazing, right? 

Now we have been on the other side. When Harper first came home she was on the severe side with some surprise medical needs but Harper is our miracle girl too! She will have open heart surgery next summer to heal her ASD and her scoliosis is being corrected via her pretty pink brace. But we learned through Harper what life is really about and nothing in life is perfect. It is not suppose to be! Instead it is about relinquishing our control and relishing in the moments that have been created by God. He knows what is best for us! We need to let go and believe...believe that miracles happen everyday. 

Just in case you missed it here was my first post! It is incredible how it all worked out! Talk about the power of prayer. You made this all possible! God worked through every one of you reading this is some way or another to bring home our girl and now she gets to live a long and healthy life with her Mama, Baba and Jei Jei! May the Lord bless you for your kindness!

Our Heart Baby

Say a prayer for my doll baby! Many of you may remember we accepted her file without a heart echo and her referral information said she suffered from Myocardial damage due to a heart attack at age one. When we asked for more information the translation came back to us saying she had a mass or tumor in her heart. We know God has great plans for her and today we find out what is going on in that little heart of hers. It is either really good news or unsettling news. With the way this journey has been it would not surprise me one bit if her heart has miraculously healed itself.

On a side note-Pictures and video of our homecoming will be up soon!

Can you tell she likes the attention and loves to pose?!

She has captured our hearts! Such a little doll baby!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Todd's Final Thoughts on his Journey

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

It also takes a village to lead a Dad through China to get his daughter. When we realized only one of us could travel to China for Talia (the main reason being Harper's cardiologist barring her from getting on a plane and the other main reason being the cost -- plus the fact that Harper wouldn't do so well being away from Mommy that long), I quickly knew I had to step up to the plate and finish this journey for our family. As much as I wish both Harper and Mary Jane could have experienced this trip, I knew she was coming home no matter what -- and nothing was going to stop us.

While in China, I felt like the child in the village. I've done this before with Mary Jane, but never by myself. I have to admit, I was nervous. But somehow I was relaxed at the same time -- a strange feeling before embarking on a trek half-way across the world to meet my second daughter and keep her safe for two weeks! Well, that's where the village comes in. Everyone during my trip pitched in and gently nudged me and Talia back onto the path closer to home.

  • From the stewardesses on the plane ride out to Hong Kong that made sure I was well fed and hydrated to the hotel staff that made sure I got on the right shuttle to the airport(and not Disneyland in Hong Kong!)
  • Then there was my incredible guide in Nanning who taught me how to communicate to my daughter; helped feed, bathe, toilet train, and clothe her in the midst of my foggy jet lag (and my handicap of having only two hands instead of four)! The same guide, David, who reminded me of my backpack I left in the Notary's office, lent me money when I didn't exchange any from American dollars to Chinese yuan and ordered our food when the restaurants didn't speak English. And finally when David watched over me in the airport and shouted out my gate number while I was in line for security to make sure I was headed to Guangzhou.
  • Then there was the nice Chinese man at the airport gate who offered his seat to me when he noticed me and Talia standing with our backpacks. His friend did the same so we could both have place to rest before the flight.
  • Once on the plane, there were the two teenage girls who played with Talia when her Daddy was running out of tricks -- thank goodness those girls came to the rescue!
  • To the Guangzhou airport staff who corrected me to the other hallway and not the immigration line!
  • Then there was my other incredible guide, Richard, who picked up where my previous guide in Nanning left off. He too lent me money when I forgot to exchange more American dollars. He helped me continue my Mandarin/Cantonese lessons for Talia, wrote a small disclosure in Chinese about Talia's inability to ingest soy because of her blood disorder (I used this when I wasn't sure of the ingredients at some restaurants). He kept us safe from the hustle and bustle of the old Guangzhou streets -- telling us who to stay away from, ignore or approach. He always made sure Talia was safe when Daddy was digging through his backpack. Richard is the only guide I will use in Guangzhou – he is simply amazing.
  • There were the families that I met in both Nanning and Guangzhou who gave Talia books to play with while we ate, got my attention when my name was being called at the US Consulate appointment and the countless tips I received from their past experiences in the area surrounding the hotel.
  • There were the restaurant managers at both hotels who knew Talia's diet restrictions and automatically brought Talia's breakfast to the table without me asking each morning. That was a huge help! It saved me an extra trip through the buffet line!
  • There was the pool staff that brought Talia some ice when she bumped herself by accident and talked to her in Chinese to make sure she was alright.
  • Then there were all the bell boys who held the door and kept Talia off the curb while Daddy wrestled his backpack and other items out of the car.
  • On the way home, there was the incredible flight staff on our plane. They helped me with Talia’s diet restrictions by letting me fix special meals I brought on board and gave me hot water when I needed to feed Talia her milk.
  • There was the nice lady on the other side of Talia who was traveling from the Philippines to Chicago to see her grandchildren. She watched Talia for me while Daddy stepped away from his seat to fix Talia her special meals and helped keep her feet and legs warm when Talia felt the need to stretch out on the plane while she was sleeping.
  • There was our weekly Wee Connect Bible class at Harper's school who supported our mission and prayed around us before we embarked on our journey (we still feel those prayers to this day!)
  •  My great friends in Charlotte who took time out to help rearrange the girls’ beds while I was in China so Talia could have a  place to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room while she made the transition in her new home.
Finally, we couldn't have started this journey without our incredible family. My wife Mary Jane, my beautiful bride, who is the heart and soul of our clan. She is my guiding light and my best friend who I can always count on to help me weather any storm and be there during the good times and the bad. Her qualities are too many to list and her heart is bigger than any person I know -- that's why I married her! She started this dream and I couldn't imagine building our family any other way.

My little Miss Harper -- love bug of a daughter (and what we consider the lost Empress of China!) -- that we found two years ago that started it all. During the trip, she kept Talia's attention while we
‘Skyped” and helped start the bonding process with her little sister. Her fondness of the mentoring role will help Talia (and hopefully Mom and Dad) with life in our crazy circle! And she'll be the best big sister any girl could wish for.

There were Mary Jane’s parents whose selfless generosity exceeds most people's kind gestures throughout their entire lifetime. To her mother for staying a whole month with her daughter to help while I was away to Mary Jane’s father who made multiple trips back and forth from Philadelphia to Charlotte to make sure things on the home front were ready for two little ones!

To the rest of our family who helped support us through this previous year to bring home Talia. To our friends (both who we know and don't know), who opened their hearts to Talia’s story on our blog and whose contributions have been simply overwhelming. We witnessed enough miracles through this entire adoption process by all the acts of kindness and generosity from you all and individual organizations to fill a book (Mary Jane – if you’re reading this, hint, hint!)

I felt all your love and prayers half-way across the world while I made my way through China and back to Charlotte.


These amazing people in all the chapters of this journey kept us both safe and were there to shepherd me and Talia home without harm. I feel as if I've grown through this experience. I certainly will never forget it and hopefully with all the pictures we took and keepsakes we collected along the way, Talia won't forget it either. Looking back, it sure did take a lot of people to get us through this trip -- enough to fill a village.

Of course the gold lining in my village is God and I am so grateful for his guidance in forming our family and creating our girls. My faith has grown in leaps and bounds this past year and I am so thankful for the people He has put in our path.

I think this picture best represents God's love for me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Todd's Last Day in China via Pics

We spent the day packing, walking around the hotel's beautiful gardens and did some last minute shopping. I am so excited to be leaving China and can't wait to see Mary Jane & Harper at the airport. I am use to my little sidekick Talia and have enjoyed every moment here with her. She catches on quick and I know she will adjust great to her new life in America. Home sweet home can't come soon enough now!

Last breakfast with daddy in China

Walking through the gardens

She loves to reach her hand out to the fish

More statues to pose with!

No mountain is too high for this girl!

Me and my daddy

All Smiles!

I knew Mary Jane would enjoy this view!

What do you mean we have to leave this hotel?

One more shopping trip

Last day here in China!

A surprise gift for Mama!

Back to the Pearl Market

Bye Bye "China Sisters"

Time to get packing Daddy!