Saturday, December 7, 2013

GOTCHA!!! 4 honest account...

Today we celebrate 4 years since Haddie Hope Jie was born into our family! I can look back on that day today and laugh, but it was a long road to get to that point.

Let me take you back to that cold December day...
It was freezing, the bus pulled in front of the civil affairs office in Zhengzhou, Henan, China. As all 7 of us unloaded from the bus and headed up the steps of the building I was a bundle of nerves. I was about to meet my daughter that I had longed and pined after for the last 10 months. I wondered out loud if she would like me. My mother in law tried to reassure me. Little did I know that eventually she would, but my journey to bond with her would take a long time.

 We entered the building, and there she was! Of course, she was beaming!

 You can see it in her eyes, she's not too thrilled with me. Just after this photo below, she smacked me in the face.
 Daddy hung the moon from the start...
 Those beginning moments of rejection cut deep into places of my mama heart that I had no idea existed. The pain was almost too much to bear. As we all pushed through those 2 long weeks on China, I felt moments of despair. All I had dreamed and imagined was not the reality I was living.

For those who know me, I am an honest soul. Haddie and I have discussed her journey many times. Even through some of those difficult days when we were getting to know each other, and grow our love. I believe that my fight to grow our bond and love was a battle with the enemy, to hold this exuberant beauty in bondage to a lie that she was unloved and unwanted. There is little in this life I fought harder for.

 ALL GLORY TO GOD...we have fought a fight that has ended VICTORIOUSLY! The enemy is defeated and I love this precious happy soul with my whole heart! She brings new meaning to the word SUNSHINE! I have found few things in life that exude JOY that compares to her.

Her name Hadassah was Queen Esther's Hebrew name. The meaning of Hadassah is myrtle tree. I always thought that was odd, until a year ago. The girls and I were doing a project on the meanings of their names for school. In our research I came across this scripture in Isaiah 55:

“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Oh, how I am singing today that the Lord has done a marvelous work and I am blessed to call her MINE! I love you Haddie Hope!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Do you believe in MIRACLES???

I find myself overwhelmed by what my family has experienced this last weekend. I will do my best to explain the miraculous events of Jehovah Raphia, the God who heals, showing up in our presence.

Saturday evening, Brad and I were at our local gym wrapping up a time of swimming with the girls. Maggie was having an attack of fear. These attacks can be triggered when she experiences fear or pain. When it begins to sweep over her, my precious girl turns into a completely different child. She is panicked and unable to see, hear or receive truth. As I worked with her, in the locker room I felt compelled we should leave, getting her home to help her feel safe. Brad had taken Libi to the locker room with him to change her and our wonderful Haddie, was once again left in the aftermath of gathering up towels, goggles, shoes, and walker as her daddy and I took care of her sisters. 

Within a minute of arriving at the van with Haddie and Maggie, still trying to bring Maggie out of her panic, Brad came charging toward us with Libi. He told me she was seizing.

When Libi seizes fears grips my heart. I fear losing her. Fear of death, fear of losing a piece of her that we have gained over the last 5 years. This is an area that I fail to give complete trust to God. As I jumped into the front seat with my baby girl, this fear gripped me like no other time before.

Unfortunately, I had no medication on hand to stop the seizure. Being just a few blocks away from the hospital, we could drive there faster than attempting to call paramedics. I found myself in a place of complete desperation, and dependancy. I had only ONE lifeline, Jesus. 

Libi was in a severe grand maul, it was one of the most violent seizures I have seen her experience. I kept asking Jesus to help us, I heard my sweet Haddie asking the same. 

As we neared the hospital, I prayed fervently, claiming the Lord's power and authority over our little girl, that she needed only HIM to stop this seizure. Within seconds of these words being spoken the purple began to fade from her lips, and her eyes started to engage with me. I carried her into the ER, not quite sure if the seizure was over, and desperately asked for a room. 

I laid Libi on the bed, and she went CRAZY! She was crawling all over, grabbing at cords, we could hardly contain her. Yes, she was out of the seizure, but was not even postictal. (Postictal is the effect on a person after the body is released from seizeing, basically leaving them extremely lethargic) Typically, Libi will go into a deep sleep for hours after a seizure. 

Not only was Libi not experiencing postictal symptoms, but she had completely come out of her seizure without medication. This has never happened before, she had been seizing for 20 minutes. Her levels were all completely normal!

The seizure was so severe it left her with partial paralysis of her right arm. She kept face planting on the hospital bed as she was bouncing all over trying to support herself with that arm. We were all in amazement! The nurses, who know Libi quite well, said they had never seen her like this.


In the hospital bed, beginning to use her right arm again.

Signing "eat" as we wait for her hamburger in the Mc Donald's drive through.

As if that were not enough, Sunday morning Maggie was with us in church, and I just kept feeling God speak to my heart of His absolute healing power. An invitation was given at the end of our service to come forward and have an elder anoint you with oil and pray if you were in need of healing. 

James 5:14

English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

I asked Maggie if she wanted to be prayed for, and she eagerly responded, yes. We stepped forward and spent a precious time before the throne of grace claiming healing over Maggie's brokenness, both physically and spiritually. Maggie has been struggling to be on her feet, even since the casts have come off. Again, when she experiences pain it triggers fear, and this has paralyzed her with rehabilitating. Late yesterday afternoon this is what was happening with Maggie:

I believe God performs miracles to show Himself. To show His power, and increase faith. I know this has been accomplished in our home as a result, but I pray that God will allow the miraculous work of His hand to reach further than the walls of our home and accomplish an even greater work!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What's Going On???

Do you wonder what's been  going on?????

I LOVE this picture! It captures my girls' personalities oh so well! This was definitely a "desperate times call for desperate measures" moment!
This particular day we simply needed to get out of the house. So, I loaded up the back of the van with a couple wheelchairs and we headed to the local flower shop. Needless to say, I was sweating before we even backed out of the drive!! It was an adventure and we provided great entertainment for those who encountered us on our outing.

It has been a LONG four months. At times, our home feeling more like a medical ward. As we near the end of  this season of procedures and recovery, I will never say that it has been easy, but filled with God's provision for each day! God continues to reveal my ugly, selfish heart, and keeps the process going of molding me into His image. For that process, I am hopeful that on the other side of the physical change in my girls there will be spiritual, heart change in this mama.

We are feeling a bit lighter at the Arnold house this morning. Maggie had her casts removed yesterday after 45 days!!!  The whole family is so in awe of this brave little girl! We know that her challenges in this life have been great. How thankful we are that this challenge is not one that she will fight through without us!

As you can tell she was feeling footless, and free yesterday when those casts came off!!! Today has been a little rough as the reality of more work and pain sets in. Watching her experience pain is difficult, yet I am thankful that I can hold on to the hope of what this pain will produce for her body.

Libi had her 7th Birthday and got a new swing! It was such a joy to celebrate another year of greatness in our sweet Libi Love! We continue to pray for Libi to gain the ability to walk, and seek God's healing of her body!

Somehow my little man-child has grown into a BIG man-child! He will be graduating in just a couple of weeks and my heart does not know how to process this new chapter. Jacob is the child who delivered to me a lifelong dream, to become a mother. From the moment he entered my life he was teaching me about growing up and putting another person above myself. It does not surprise me that Jacob desires to live by the words of Luke 9:23-24:
and He said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
God has allowed many circumstances to enter Jacob's life that have required self denial. Days of an unwed mother and a foster sister entering our family, leaving him without a bedroom, or a bed, for 6 months. Being completely changed by the joy of a beautiful sister and, having to let her go. Embracing 3 more sisters with various medical needs, that leave little time or attention yet, he says he is a better person because of it.

I told him the other night that he has been an easy child to parent, outside of the horrific 18-36 months that I try to block out of my mind. The truth is, he has not just been easy, but he has been a DREAM COME TRUE!

                   Beyond what I could have ever asked or imagined!!! God writes a much better story than any we could ever plan or desire!!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I am pleading on this little girls' behalf. 
Her name is Holly, she will age out in China this November. 
The reality of what that means for her, simply put, hopeless. 
Are you her family? 
Do you know her family? 
Please prayerfully consider who may need to see this, if not you.
Read more about her below....

Read about Holly here...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beautiful Redemption

Having some pre-surgery fun.
The lobbies here at Gillette Children's Hospital are full of fun things to do!

Maggie is beginning her leg of the journey today. She is back for surgery and will be in process for the next 6 hours. The thankfulness I have for this hospital is almost beyond words. This facility cares for children better than anything I have ever experienced. When we entered the surgical prep room, the decor was relaxing and inviting. This was after walking down a hallway of interactive art on the walls. Stepping inside the room, there was a new fleece blanket on Maggie's bed, and a name plate, identifying this bed just for her. They told her they had been waiting for her.

Each medical professional spoke directly to Maggie, making sure she was comfortable, and understanding exactly what would be taking place. Her gown had a built in heater, no joke, it was hooked up to a blower that was blew warm heat on her body. To me, I was thinking hot flash trauma, but for my little wisp of a girl, who was freezing, it was perfect!

After all the wonderful prep work, I changed into my scrubs and walked back into the operating room with my girl. She became a bit uneasy, and some tears trickled down her cheek, yet I was right there by her precious face. I took her little oxygen mask, coated with red raspberry lip smacker, so it smelled awesome, held it over her mouth and had her take deep breaths. She was out before the second full breath! I kissed her little face and left her in the hands of a very capable team, but ultimately in the hands of my God, the greatest Physician.

As I sit here alone in this quiet waiting room, it is thoughts of Him that fill my mind. This day is so much more than a day of reconstructing bones in little Maggie. Today is the day I remember the greatest work ever done on the cross of my Savior. My Rebuilder. My Great Physician.
I recently read this passage and it spoke deeply to me. Take the time to read it and think about the breath of life He has breathed into your dry, dead bones.
Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the Lord was on me, and He brought me out by His Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. 3 Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I replied, “Lord God, only You know.”
4 He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.”
7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I looked, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,[a] prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me; the breath[b] entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look how they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy and say to them: This is what the Lord God says: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them, My people, and lead you into the land of Israel. 13 You will know that I am Yahweh, My people, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it.” This is the declaration of the Lord.
He has given us life through His death, and through His resurrection will resurrect us all!
Oh how He loves us!
Now, if His Spirit is in you...LIVE!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rejoicing and Recovering!

"Have faith in God." Jesus answered.
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours."
Mark 11:22-24

My Haddie girl has a bit more light in her countenance this morning, but lacks her usual sunshine. I do miss that, yet feel it will rise in her before the day is over. She will remain on a soft diet for the next 3 weeks. Praise the Lord it is not a syringe!!! Haddie and I neither one care to see a syringe or blender for a LONG time!

More than anything we rejoice in God, the giver of ALL good things! We praise Him ALONE for the miraculous covering of the fistulas in her palette!

Haddies' whiteboard yesterday morning before surgery
Sweet sisters! Maggie told Haddie if she wouldn't be nervous she would give her $5.00.
Maggie held true to her promise and rewarded Haddie with $5.00 this morning.
Isn't that too precious?
Trying hard to wake up... 
Sisters, Divinely appointed! 
Trying to enjoy some noodles as PF Changs, but couldn't quite lift her head off mommy.
Even though she couldn't eat it, Haddies' fortune cookie was VERY fitting for her!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thank The Lord, the sutures are coming out!

This really has been a long 3 weeks! And that's coming from the one who does not have her tongue sewn to the roof of her mouth and drinking through a syringe! I cannot imagine how good it will feel to Haddie when she can talk and eat again. Someone suggested we "ease" back in to talking, letting her just take a few hours to freely speak. if you know Haddie, that might be a good idea!

Thursday afternoon they will remove the remaining sutures from the tongue. We are trusting that God will allow enough tissue for closure on the openings in her palette. Please join us in our petition to the Great Physician.

Haddie will also undergo some minor reconstruction of her nose during the procedure. She of course is a bit nervous, but wanted Maggie to come along this time, so we feel that will help.

Thank you so much for prayers, notes, prizes, love and support for our sweet Haddie Hope! Will keep you posted...

The smiles haven't been as frequent on her face, but I am sure they will return!

I went into the girls' room the other day and saw this.

These are Haddie's little Minnie Mouse dolls. It struck a chord deep inside me, how she has that baby Minnie all wrapped in the mama Minnie's arms. Up until now Haddie has faced procedures, illnesses, hard things without a family, without a mother. Being an orphan typically leaves you to navigate those circumstances alone.

No one is with you in the hospital,
no one sleeps by your side as you recover.
No one.
No one.

Haddie no longer faces the hard things in life alone. This little girl who so fiercely rejected me in our early days together, had a deep need to be loved by a mama, and from the looks of things I think in her little heart it has been realized.

Glory to God!!!!!!! May He continue to set the lonely in families...