Tuesday, December 7, 2010

GOTCHA day fun...

As we celebrated the one year anniversary today of Haddie's GOTCHA day, (see post below) I took Haddie to adopt a baby of her own. We have a darling place here that does baby adoptions and it exceeded my expectations! We had a wonderful day celebrating adoption. Haddie thoroughly enjoyed every moment, and honestly, so did I. I am hoping to get my doll for Christmas...really...this little Asian baby stole my heart. That shouldn't surprise anyone. Enjoy the pics!

Look at all these sweet babies who need a mommy!
Could our smiles be any bigger?

Haddie's choice...the absolute happiest baby in the nursery!

Mommies choice! Love that baby! Who can blame me?

Haddie likes hers better and I think she made the perfect choice for her!

New mommy!

Sweet friends!
It was Chloe's 10th birthday! She and Haddie share special days!
Happy Birthday Chloe!

She really wanted a baby that took a pacifier.
Happy mama! Happy baby!

Signing her name, stating that she would love and care for her baby.

Look at what a natural she is! Allie Hope Arnold

Learning about "tummy time"

New mama!
Congratulations, Haddie! She's beautiful just like you!

Allie's first outing to McDonald's...just like her mama on her adoption day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

one year ago...GOTCHA!

Dear Haddie Hope Jia,

One year ago today God delivered a great gift to my life, and that was you. It was a very cold day in Zhengzhou, Henan, P.R. China. I remember climbing the stairs to the Civil Affairs office where you were waiting to meet your new family. I was scared and excited all at the same time. I wondered what you would think of us. As soon as I walked though the door I saw you. You seemed happy, but a little shy at first. You were holding the book of family pictures I had made for you. You began pointing out each of us in your book and saying our names. Libi seemed to be the one you were most excited about. I was the one you were least excited about. Isn't it funny to think about that day? We didn't know each other yet.

We took you to lunch at McDonald's. You were very excited about that. When you saw the picture menu you wanted everything! And you know what?... you had about everything! You ate a lot and seemed to like it all. I wasn't sure though, because we didn't know each other yet.

After lunch we took you back to the hotel room and played with some balloons and stuff. You had just said goodbye to everything that you had ever known and now everything was new and strange. I wondered if you were scared inside. I wasn't sure if you would want to change out of the clothes you came in, because we didn't know each other yet,
BUT... when you saw the beautiful red princess nightgown I had brought for you to wear you were excited. As I began to take your clothes off we were laughing because you had a lot of clothes on! It was so cold that you had a lot of layers of clothing to keep you warm. In fact, you had 4 layers of clothes! We just kept peeling them off one by one and laughing. I was watching your face to see if you were getting scared or frustrated, because we didn't know each other yet.
After your bath, when you were all ready, you were so happy. You felt so pretty, and we kept telling you over and over in Chinese. (piao liang) You hugged everyone goodnight and we went to bed. You and I shared a bed and you looked into my eyes until you went to sleep. It seemed like maybe you were a little scared, but I wasn't sure; we didn't know each other yet.

Our time in China was crazy. We came home and it was still crazy. I was so happy to have you home for Christmas, but we didn't know each other yet.

So, sweet girl, here we are one year later and I am crazy about you! You are a joy, a true delight! You are so smart...you have learned so much this year. You have learned to understand, speak, read, and write English! You are such a beautiful girl, and you were created to be my daughter. You know how I know?

Because... NOW I KNOW YOU!

I love you!
Happy One Year Home!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Next update...Haddie Hope

Home 10 months...and she is ALL that!

When I express to you that she is "all that" I mean the "all that" which comes with a bag of chips. From the looks she gives to the swagger of her walk, this girl can exude some serious confidence. For that, I am thankful. Knowing it is God who has given her inner strength to persevere and survive the last seven years of her life. I don't believe that the last seven years were horrible years, but significant pieces were missing that would leave a void for any child.

Upon receiving her very first bag of Halloween goodies.
Her response was, "I don't like chocolate." The giver responded, "I'm sorry Haddie, if I would have known that I would have given you some different treats." Haddie says, "That's okay, thank you". Later we discussed a gracious response would have been a simple "thank you". Yet, she then came home and took her chocolate goodies and separated them into piles for her brothers.
Haddie is a very thoughtful little girl. Looking for ways she can help with such an eager spirit. I have to remind myself when she is always underfoot that she simply wants to help. She is often asking me, "Can I help you?"
Hard Working
Think about where Haddie was 10 months ago. She transitioned to a completely different culture with a totally new language into a strange family, who looks strange, acts strange, smell strange...you get the picture. I forget what a short time 10 months is because she has adapted so well. She understands most everything that is communicated. The vocabulary that she uses is really amazing. Some expressions you will catch her saying:
"What the world?" (What in the world)
"Are you kidding?"

"I so exciting" (I am so excited)

Her desire to learn is seen in how she watches people, and her desire to do her school work. Lately, she has expressed a strong desire to do things independently. She took her 2nd spelling test today on sight words and got them all right:

(tag was a bonus word and the "p" on play was a correction of her form)
She has begun reading, which has been so amazing for me as a mom. I have never had the privilege to teach any of my children to read. Seeing that light bulb go off and the sounds connect as they begin to read their first sentences and books makes me wonder if I am more excited about it than Haddie.

click here to view Haddie reading


Haddie's smile lights up the world. I don't know that I will ever meet a happier girl. Dancing and singing through grocery store aisle without a care in the world. Sometimes I have to stop and laugh, and she will say to me, "I so exciting." I believe joy like that only comes from God.


Haddie is not difficult, but there are days and moments that are. Learning can be difficult sometimes. Haddie can hit a wall and shut down if she doesn't know an answer. She can lock up for minutes or sometimes she is frozen for the entire day. Those times can be hard. We are learning to push through them together. I want her to know I am for her, and not against her, and I will stay with her until she gets it. Like yesterday when it took 20 minutes before she could remember when you add zero to a number the number stays the same. Today we have laughed about 18 + 0 = 18 many times, but yesterday when she and I both were almost in tears it was not funny.

But making it...

10 months! Life around here is not easy. Most days bring something that makes me run to my Savior and hold on for dear life, and that's okay because the One that I hold on to is Faithful and Strong.

Psalm 145
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, LORD;
your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
14 The LORD upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Believe in the Healer

Matthew 4:24
24News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.

As you may know, Libi has battled with seizures since she was 17 months old. Unfortunately that battle has only intensified over the last 2 years. By the end of May this year Libi was barely getting through a week without having a seizure. Her last couple of seizures were Grand Mal. No words can describe what it feels like to watch your child seize. It is the most helpless and scary feeling. No other time in life has me crying out to my Great God like I do in those moments.

June 5th, 18 weeks ago, was the last time Libi Love had a seizure! All GLORY to OUR GREAT GOD!

We have full confidence that Libi has been released from this hold of epilepsy. After Libi's last seizure I began to look at each scripture in the Word that spoke of healing. I was inspired to do a study on healing by the staff of New Day, Libi's foster home in China. They had done a similar study on healing and saw the Lord begin to do amazing acts of healing in their foster home. As God began to speak to me through His Word I saw and heard the God who HEALS...not the God who HEALED...but the God who HEALS! Before I began this study I read about God's amazing acts of healing and knew He worked this way in those times for His great glory, but I lacked the full belief that He still does today.

An overwhelming theme throughout these passages on healing is FAITH. FAITH, BELIEF, that God is who He says and that He can do anything! It struck me once again about Libi's middle name, Faith. She truly has been the biggest walk of FAITH I have ever been on yet I saw how much faith I lack. I realize my faith will not be complete until I am with Jesus, but I long for it to grow. I want to believe to the very depths of my soul in His healing power for Libi Faith.

Faith was not the only element that God revealed to me as I studied healing. Because God desires relationship with us, He wants us to communicate our heart to Him. God has given me a sweet example of this in our little Haddie. Haddie will long for something, be it food, or to join an activity, but she struggles to express that desire. As her mother, I long to see her secure enough in our relationship that she will express what she wants even if she anticipates me saying no to her request. Many times I will tell Haddie, "Just ask me..." I desire for her to ask because it deepens our relationship, builds trust, and proves she sees me as the one who can satisfy her longings. Our sweet Savior wants to be that One and Only that satisfies our longings and needs. He will not always answer in the way we desire, but He will answer with the full knowledge of what is best.

I will continue to ask the Lord to heal Libi and allow her the abitlity to walk. I pray that He will cause my heart's desire to be only for His glory in her healing. May He increase my faith in the process of expressing this desire.

So here I sit...amazed at this act of healing in Libi. I recall an appointment in June after her last seizure. Her neurologist felt that we would not be able to control her seizures with medication. Well, medication or not, we know who has control, and He I will praise Him not for control, but for HEALING!

. Matthew 17
14When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."
17"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Confessions of a bad blogger

Finding the time to blog is hard. Many times I have thoughts that I would love to share or updates on the family, but I simply struggle to find time. I often remind myself of the Creator of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I walk in step with the One who has created and ordered all time I can accomplish every task purposed for me. I am not about to say that I do this well, but sometimes, in order to breathe, I need to remind myself that what He requires from me in a given day can be done. If I find that I am overwhelmed and just can't get everything done then usually it is due to the fact that I have taken on more than He has asked of me, or walking in my own strength.

"Splendor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and joy in His dwelling place."

1 Chronicles 16:27

My goal is to "catch up" on our blog. To try to catch up in one post would, in fact, be overwhelming and boring...so I will strive to bring snippets of what our Mighty God has been up to in our lives. My purpose is to testify of God's work in our family with hope that He will be seen above all and hearts find encouragement to love Him more.
Stay tuned for the next post of the greatest work of our Mighty God in the last 4 months!!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Libi's Birthday pacakage arrives at her China home!

We received a wonderful gift this week. I mentioned in my last post that Libi celebrated her 4th birthday. Instead of gifts for Libi, her friends brought gifts to send to New Day. New Day was Libi's foster home in China. They do amazing things for the orphan. They have saved many lives, including Libi's. God used New Day to supply for Libi's need for her heart surgery. We will forever be thankful for New Day!! Take a journey to their blog and pray for them. http://newdayfosterhome.blogspot.com/ You will be so blessed!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I know, I know...it's been awhile

So why so long since the last post? Well, the short answer to that question would be 5 kids. Is life crazy busy? Yes, it is, but it is good and abundantly blessed! Each day I cannot quite take in the changes that are happening in the Arnold house. I see broken hearts mending, love growing, strength granted, healing given, joy discovered, peace found...God is at work and I cannot help but be overwhelmed at what I see.

Jacob just continues to grow into such a mature young man. Sometimes I look at him in awe. I only wish I could have had half the wisdom and discernment at his age. It was the gift of Him that God used in my life to "grow me up". Soon he will be driving and I will be crying. I just want him out on the sidewalk in his big wheel...can you picture that? He will be taking his first overseas mission trip in July. He will be traveling to the Dominican Republic. That is sure to be a mile marker in his relationship with His Savior!

Big changes have taken place in Joel and Jack since we made the decision to bring them home for their education. I feel so blessed to be able to sit down with my 13 and 12 year old boys and read with them. I feel like I really "know" them. I am waiting with great anticipation for our next year to begin in a week. Yes, I did say in a week. We will be jumping in and hitting the books again. (Shhh, not a word to the boys, it's a surprise! LOL!) Lately, Scrabble has become there passion. They do come up with some interesting words! Those boys really make me laugh!

Miss Haddie...No one on this earth is as happy as this girl. Really, she is just plain happy. We made her a little emotion chart so she could better identify her feelings. Not one time has she ever pointed to any face but the "very happy" face. How I love her! Sometimes she is a little too much sanguine for me to handle or it may be the choleric that drives me more crazy. I can't figure out if it is the zest for life, or her passion for telling me how to do everything. :) Seriously, she brings great joy and laughter to my days.

I would like to speak to the bonding/attaching process. I continue to go back to 1 John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." I am so thankful that God has proven to be greater than my heart over these last 6 months. Never in my life have I thought more about what love really is. God defines it in His Word as PATIENT, KIND, not JEALOUS, BOASTFUL, PROUD, or RUDE, it does not demand its own way, is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged, it does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1Corinthians 13) Do you see anything in there about "feelings" or "emotions"? It isn't there, because that's not what love is. Love is a choice. Love is work. Love is God pouring Himself through us to someone else. Real love is not something we can give apart from God. I pray that this love is what my little Haddie Hope know as reality in her life.

Haddie continues to battle with displaced attachment and indiscriminate friendliness. She craves love, affection, and attention. Her needs are so understandable, but how those needs get met requires intentional direction. It's funny how when she is in a crowd of people she is like a kid in a candy store. She is just looking to win someones affection or attention. She could get some random hugs and "I love yous" and fill up her needs without looking to her daddy and I to meet them. When she fills up elsewhere it is evident in her limp hugs, non puckered lips, and just plain distance. It is harder for her to vulnerable with myself or with Brad. It requires her to love and trust on a deeper level. She has come so far, but we still have a way to go. I can tell you that the spontaneous "I love yous" and random hugs and kisses are coming more often, and each one is a treasure.

Ari...yep, Ari. Been a while since that name has been on the blog. Ari was our foster daughter who lived with us for 18 months. The last time we heard from Ari was June 21st, 2008!! Two long years ago. She just celebrated her 5th birthday...somewhere. Geoffry the Giraffe called to sing happy birthday to her, but she wasn't here. A birthday card arrived in the mail for her, but she wasn't here. We had a Dora cake, but she wasn't here. Do I wish she was here? Oh YES, how I wish she was here! I wish she could know her sisters, and that they could know her. I wish that our arms would stop aching for her. I dream about her often, and she is always elementary school age with long straight black hair. I hold fast to my belief that she will one day be back. She will always be our daughter and we pray that she and her mama had a wonderful day celebrating her 5th year. Ariadna Joy, we love you! God thank you for her, for the memories and the hope that one day we will see her again.
Libi love has been seizure free for almost 3 weeks! We are rejoicing over that, and hope that the Lord brings her healing. She celebrated her 4th birthday since my last post. She had a music/dance party with her little friends. She had 17 little girl friends at the house, and only one of them was a biological child! It was the most beautiful room of girls you have ever seen. Each little life, so precious, so purposed. Then, there sat Libi amongst them. What a miracle! As she sat up, smiling, clapping...doing things that many never thought possible. God is healer! We continue to wait on Him to bring about her ability to walk...it is on the horizon.

We will be putting our house on the market in a few days. We have found a home that was custom built handicap accessible. It would be so wonderful for Libi to have the ability to experience her world more "upright". I cannot begin to imagine the amount of hours she spends on her back or tummy in our house. Also, she is growing, and it is getting more difficult for me to care for her, getting her up and down stairs, in and out of the tub...So we wait to see what God has, trusting fully that He determines the exact places that you will live.

I will not make any promises about when the next post will come....hope it will be sooner than this.

Early morning game of Scrabble

Happy Birthday Ari!

I love my sister!

Happy Birthday Jack!!!

My "messy" girls having some breakfast

Happy Birthday Libi!

Haddie wanted a Bible of her own so bad. I told her a couple of weeks before Easter that she would get one for her first Easter. The night before Easter I was trying to explain why we celebrate Easter and what Jesus did for us. She looked me with great excitement and said, "Mama, Bible?" It was so sweet! She was so excited to get her Bible. She loves to hear stories from God's Word. I cannot wait until she can read it all for herself!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

She is Fearfully and Wonderfully made

Today was another trip for us back to see Libi's Geneticist. It was a very educational visit. I felt like I was back in high school biology class with Mr. Perron! Some years of maturity with this particular lesson helped me to appreciate what I was learning.

Our bodies, designed by the Perfect Creator God, are so complex, and so amazing! I couldn't help but be in awe of the ability that God has given man to pinpoint such details in us. The chromosome...so small, but holds so much of what makes us who we are. As I shared before, Libi has some unique issues with her chromosomes. Number 4 chromosome is deficient, and number 11 is duplicated. Actually the part of 4 that is missing is quite minor and seems to affect more her physical make up; small hands, feet, head, her heart defect and also affects speech. It is found with a deficiency in chromosome 4 language function often lags behind cognitive ability. This makes so much sense to us. We always say that Libi "gets it".

Her chromosome 11 has duplicated part of itself and attached to chromosome 4. This makes life a bit more challenging for Libi. This is what brings about her developmental delay and seizures. It is a very unique finding. Libi has significant duplication of chromosome 11.

Medical terms:

Deletion 4q35.1
Monosomy 4q35
Terminal 4q deletion

Duplication 11q22.3
Trisomy 11q22 ter
Terminal duplication 11q22

(I understand that means nothing to most people, but wanted it out there for anyone who might search and come across Libi.)

What does it mean?

Brad and I first wanted to clarify the diagnosis mental retardation. For Libi she cannot officially carry that diagnosis, because her IQ level cannot be adequately assessed until about age 5. For now, she is diagnosed as developmentally delayed. Anyone who has an IQ below 70 is diagnosed as mentally retarded. It's such a funny term to us. I have discussed it before, but it seems to carry this stigma. I will once again quote Joel..."she doesn't seem mental."

The great thing is that we now have a definitive answer for her challenges. We know that she does not have a brain injury. That has been such a huge question mark for us since the day we brought her home. You just want to know what is wrong with your child. We have never had a real concrete diagnosis. The diagnosis’s that we have been given were incorrect. I want to encourage parents that you know your child best. You have to advocate. You have to follow the Holy Spirit's voice. I have had this nagging feeling that we were missing something with Libi. It's not that it really changes anything we are doing with her, but to us it means so much.

Our Amazing God, has revealed this marvelous mystery about Libi and we believe that He has revealed it to move us on toward healing! The doctor was very encouraging. He expressed how Libi has already made new connections and pathways in her brain to compensate. He explained to us how pliable her little brain is. She has not regressed, or hit a plateau in her development. The doctor did express that she will have delays and challenges. We will continue to press on with intervention and therapy and watch what the Lord will do in her.

As we drove home yesterday Brad shared how it struck him that this is how God formed her. The challenges she faces are not due to a brain trauma from any particular circumstance. She faces these challenges due to the exact way He molded her sweet little frame inside her mama's womb! How we praise Him...the Maker and Creator of our unique and wonderful little Libi love!!

Psalm 139
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped Libi first inside, then out;
you formed her in her mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, She is marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know her inside and out,
you know every bone in her body;
You know exactly how she was made, bit by bit,
how she was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched her grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of her life were spread out before you,
The days of her life all prepared
before she'd even lived one day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Revealer of Mysteries

"Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”
Daniel 2 :46-47
We have some new answers about Libi. We were expectant of our Mighty God and He never disappoints!! We received word from the geneticist today that Libi does in fact have some chromosomal issues. She has an extra part of chromosome 11 and is missing a part of chromosome 4. So what does that mean? Well, we don’t have a FULL answer to that question yet, but here is what we do know. The lack of chromosome 4 gives reason for her delays, seizures and hypotonia. It can also explain her heart defect. The extra part of chromosome 11 also gives reason for her heart defect as well as some unique physical features, such as small jaw. We have been encouraged to stay away from the internet, because information we would come across out there would not be specific to Libi. We will wait to learn more when we visit with the doctor next week. Thank you all for praying and believing with us that we would find out new information to help us on the journey to Libis' healing. We know that we cannot add or take away from chromosomes, but as one of my warrior friends said today…
God can!!

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

Mark 10:27

updates on bonding and more...

Nothing more attractive to me than "my man" reading to his girls!

Officially re-adopted in the State of Illinois!!!

Finally, an update on the happenings here.

Libi's doctor visit:

The visit with the doctor itself went well. One huge relief for me was that the doctor did not think I was crazy for having Libi there. He was surprised that in 2 years genetic testing has not been considered or recommended. He has 3 syndromes he wanted to specifically rule out to start with. Being totally uneducated in the area of genetic syndromes; we do feel that Libi seems to fit the symptoms of one syndrome pretty closely. We continue to expect the Lord to guide us through this doctor to a better understanding of our sweet Libi…and ultimately to her healing!

About her healing. I was discussing through email with a dear friend, Emily, about our prayers for healing over our children. (Emily and her family adopted their precious little guy, Abe, who faces many challenges like Libi.) I expressed to her that my desires for Libi to be healed are really desires for her to walk and talk. I don’t think of complete “normalcy” for her. I think that is because we SEE her as NORMAL. We are okay with her challenges. My desire for her to walk and talk center around me. I want to be able to communicate with my daughter. I also want her to be able to walk so that she can be independent enough that we can always care for her. My friend Emily said that if God is most glorified through our kiddos just the way they are, then praise Him! We are great with that! SO expressed what Brad and I feel…

Libi Kisses…Libi seemed to like the doctor, puckering her lips up for a kiss most of the time. She is in quite a phase of “kisses” right now, and we are ALL loving it! The first kiss good-bye at school was about a month ago and I cried my eyes out when I got to the van. Do you know how amazing that was? To get a good-bye kiss from my little girl? So much was spoken in that sweet kiss to this mama’s heart. A true first “good-bye”, a true first “I love you”…how it sends my heart just revisiting that moment with her! Thank you God!!

Re-Adoption…We went through the formality of re-adopting Libi in the state of Illinois last week in order to get a birth certificate for her. We saw it as another opportunity to celebrate the gift of her. It was a little intimidating being in the court room and put on the witness stand. I had never had that experience before. Libi won the hearts of everyone in the court room, which didn’t surprise us. Brad and I laugh at the looks of empathy we will receive from people. If they only knew what a blessing a little child like Libi is they would look at her “longingly”.

Big Girl Potty and Crawling…Libi continues to make progress in both of these areas. We are so thankful for both of these abilities that the Lord has miraculously accomplished in her. Ready for big girl panties…we are SO thankful! What a miraculous work in our little girl!!

Haddie and Bonding…What’s new here? Well, a lot. Did you know when you adopt a child that the Lord can stir up a lot of garbage in your own life? The Lord has definitely used the birth of Haddie in my life to heal some hurts that carried some deep roots. Before Haddie I was very unaware of some of my “issues”. The problem with the process of this refining work was my focus shifted from this precious wounded daughter I had been given to my own wounded heart. The shift of focus was so much that I allowed my eyes to be totally on myself. (Not the first time!) Long story short: It’s not about me! Will I ever live this out as truth???? I feel that Haddie and I have made huge strides in the last week. She has felt the freedom to be “naughty” and I think that is great. Yes, I said, “great”. Not that I am enjoying it, but I see her pushing boundaries and displaying behaviors that show she is comfortable and more importantly, secure. I do see her look at me with eyes that long for more. More affection, more attention, more love. It seems that she cannot get enough. This is a hole that has been dug by many losses and hurts for her over 7 long years. Once again I think about that number, 7…it is the number of completion. It is the year of Jubilee! The year that debts are forgiven and slaves set free! This, the 7th year for our daughter will be one of completion and freedom.

SO…that’s all for now. Thanks for being on the journey with the Arnold’s! Our life is so much richer because of all of you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Wanted to ask all of you to join us in expectant prayer.

The Lord has moved us to make an appointment with a geneticist for Libi. Tomorrow at 4:00 we will have our first appointment.

I want to share with you a little about why we made this appointment. Ever since we brought Libi home I have felt "unsettled" about where her diagnosis stands. When she first came home it was thought that she had Cerebral Palsy. That was ruled out early on and they diagnosed her as globally delayed with hypotonia. The doctor who provided this diagnosis was not too hopeful for Libi to continue to make progress. Well, here we are almost 2 years later and she has yet to hit a plateau.

I know because we lack so much vital history with Libi it leaves a lot of questions. There has always been this nagging feeling inside me that we are still missing something with her. I have wondered about genetic testing for a while, but never knew what direction to go.

Recently we took Haddie to a team of doctors. One of the doctors was a geneticist. After we settled that Haddie was not in need of the services of a geneticist, she then turned to Libi and asked some questions. After we explained to her that we had not yet pursued genetic testing for her she encouraged us to do so. She wasn't "general" about it either. She gave me the name and phone number of a specific group that was covered by our insurance. I called and set up and appointment right away.

With the appointment set it seemed that God began to move my heart more deeply about Libi's healing. There was a message at church about a man with leprosy that Jesus healed. John 5:

12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[c] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

At the end of the message the elders were available to pray over and anoint people with oil who were in need of healing. In obedience to James 5:14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

We took Libi up to have her prayed over and anointed. Of course it was emotional, but at the same time I felt more than hopeful. That message moved me deeply.

The following Saturday we went to see the amazing movie "Extraordinary Miracles". I cannot tell you how much I loved this movie. If you have not seen it you need to. It is a true story about a family where 2 of their 3 children suffer from a genetic syndrome that is extremely debilitating and confine the children affected by it to a wheelchair. It will eventually attack the muscles to such great intensity it will result in their death around age 9. It is a story that truly captures a parents passion and heart for their disabled child. This movie was such a huge confirmation to me. At the end of the movie was a clip of child (not an actor) affected by this syndrome having the ability to take her first steps...she was the same age as Libi...Brad and I were literally sobbing! All we could think of was our little Libi Love!!

The very next morning at church was the message about the friends who took their friend, who could not walk, to Jesus and lowered him through the roof for Jesus to heal. They set him right there in front of the Great Physician and believed that He would heal him. Jesus did heal and what did the friend who was healed do? WALK! He walked!

John 5:

17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."

So here we are, feeling that this is the next step. That the Revealer of all mysteries is about to lift the curtain on a big one. Will you join us in expectant prayer? Will you help us carry our girl on her mat and lay her at the feet of Jesus?

Thank you, friends...you bless us!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Easter Seal Fundraiser

It is nearing the Easter Seals telethon again, and the Arnold family wants to do their part in raising awareness and financial support for the organization that is making a huge investment in our daughter. We are so grateful for the work that they do, and are amazed at the progress that just keeps coming along for Libi. She has finally accomplished her goal of crawling in the last couple of months, and even appears a little prideful as she sits up on stools all by herself in the pictures below.

Would you consider partnering with us in helping Easter Seals continue their commitment to helping the challenged children of Central Illinois reach their potential. You can simply follow this link to Libi's fundraising page and click the "Make a Donation" button and your off to the races. Thank you all for your help.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The hard truth about bonding and attachment

Ephesians 6

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Well, some of you may not like this post, or may not agree. That's really okay. I have never been very good at "faking it" or pretending. I feel so compelled to be REAL about all that I have experienced since we have had the rich blessing of Haddie's arrival to our family.

Yes, it has been a rich blessing. Yes, she is a joy and adjusting well. YES, I DO love her. Do I "feel" all of the feelings that normally accompany those sentiments? No. Sadly, I do not. I know that I am not alone in this, and that what we are experiencing is normal. Though I did not know it before we left for China. I read books and knew there could be issues with bonding and attachment, but until it becomes your experience you can't understand it. I have never had this experience, nothing even close to it.

So you may wonder why I talk about it. I put it out there, because I feel that it may help someone else. I also know that it is just part of the story that God is writing. I also know that what stays in the darkness is the enemies playground and when brought to the light God will bring victory. It is very much a battle against the I think there are probably adoptions that are "disrupted" (people that don't finish the adoption, or finish it only to abandon the child a second time) or people that give up on bonding.

I will tell you that I have never struggled to have feelings in my heart toward any child ever. I know that seems like a pretty bold statement, but it is true. You know the rotten kids everyone has taught in Sunday School or tolerating for an afternoon playdate? I have never had one of those kids. I have always been able to feel love for a child and act out of that feeling in my heart. Here is where the post gets difficult. Yes, I can have the action with Haddie, but I don't always have the feeling. It is the most empty and strange experience that comes with an enormous load of guilt. I literally felt more in my heart when I would look at her pictures before she was in my arms. Is that because I romanticized or imagined something that is not my reality. For some, the answer to that question may be yes. For me, the answer is no. Haddie truly is more than we could have asked for or imagined. She is delightful! She is a perfect fit in our home. What, then, is the problem? The problem is simple, you cannot force your heart to bond. Sometimes it may happen in an instant, and other times it may take years. I don't have all the answers, but I know the horrible feelings of the process.

What do you feel when you don't have the "feelings"?








like your in a battle


Yes, I am hopeful. I KNOW the feelings will come. I see it happening little by little. I also know that God will finish this work that He has started. I have seen and heard testimony of those who walk on the other side of it. So, we are not there yet, but we will be!

Psalm 73

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

27 Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.