Happy Mother’s Day

I was asked to write an article for my aunt’s church bulletin for Mother’s Day featuring Naiya and some of our story— this year I feel so blessed to have 3 precious children to love. Keep reading to read the article…

“For the Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you. He delights over you with singing and quiets you with His love.”
Zephaniah 3:17

This is my daughter’s first Mother’s Day with a mom. The first 15 months of her life was spent in an orphanage in China. They project that she was a couple days old when she was abandoned by her birth mother (who I feel compelled to remember and mention, because I am grateful to her for giving our daughter life)- most likely because of her medical needs. Naiya was named for the verse Zephaniah 3:17. Before Naiya was even conceived, God had a plan for her- a family for her- and He was at work.

Our family felt God’s leading to adopt again in July of 2010 after sharing a dream that I had where I was frantically turning a city upside down looking for a crying little girl. After considering both domestic and international adoption, we believed that we were to adopt from China (a place and people near to my heart since I lived and worked there for three years).

Adopting from China was what we knew we were supposed to do, but what we didn’t know was how it would even be possible financially. In this area, God wanted to grow our faith and remind us that it is He that owns all things and we were to trust Him as we pursued funding by working extra jobs, cashing in 401K’s, and applying for grants. What we learned: What God calls you to, He will provide. We want to thank you, Church of Christ Athens, for giving sacrificially and lovingly to our family to help us to bring home our amazing gift! When I shared the story of the people of your church giving to our family for the purpose of adoption with my 13 year old son, he was amazed and I even saw his faith begin to grow. My aunt, Dana Chacon, told me about a little girl emptying her piggy bank to give- we were humbled. A family that had walked the road of adoption before- we were thankful. Your church, cheerful givers that made a true difference for a little girl that they had never met, had no picture of, and didn’t even know her name- This is the Body of Christ. Thank you! I look forward to being able to share God’s provision through your church with Naiya when she is older.

Our adoption process took about 15 months from beginning to end. I say process, because there was a ton of paperwork and lots of waiting. In January of this year, our family travelled to China to bring Naiya home. Once she was in my arms, all the paperwork and waiting was forgotten. I couldn’t believe that I get to be this precious one’s mom.

Naiya has been home for about 3 ½ months. She is the most beautiful, joyful, funny, and loving child (I’m sure I’m biased). When I watch her and interact with her, I learn from her. She is living life to the fullest at the age of 18 months! She waves and smiles to those passing by brightening their day. She runs to me when she sees me with her arms open wide with reckless abandon. She buries her head in my chest and squeals with delight when I tickle her. She has captured all of our hearts. She is curious and soaking up every new experience. She is not living in her past. She is thriving in her now. Her name, Naiya, in Chinese means “to endure with grace”. It fits her perfectly.

We don’t look alike. She wasn’t born of my flesh. She calls me “Mama”. I’m Naiya’s mom and this Mother’s Day my daughter has a mother to cradle her, kiss her, make her laugh, and hold her hand. There is amazing joy and honor in being Naiya’s mom.
This Mother’s Day we are celebrating…together!


We have not fallen off the face of the earth, but we have taken a journey around the world!

This is a LONG overdue blog post. In one month, so much has taken place and…Our journey has led us to our sweet Naiya!

On January 21st, our family of 4 (soon to be 5) loaded up our suitcases and headed to the airport. We were ready to go bring home our daughter/sister!


We spent about 5 days in Beijing, my old stomping grounds- exploring, tasting, and getting used to a new time zone and a completely different culture.




We took another plane and traveled to Zhengzhou–This is the capital city of Naiya’s province (state) of Henan. When we arrived at our hotel, there was already a crib in our room. This is REAL! We unpacked and made her crib ready for her. We layed out her clothes and were extremely excited that the next day, the crib would be full.


On January 28, John and I woke up VERY early. We couldn’t sleep. After 14 months of WAITING, TODAY we would receive our DAUGHTER! We found ourselves nervous, excited, and prayerful…How would this new little girl incorporate into our family? What is she like? How will the boys adjust to a new sibling? How will Naiya accept her new family? Can we really do this? So many questions, so we took all of our thoughts to the One who knows all!


We got the boys up and started to get ready. John gifted each of us with superhero socks to wear. Something so simple and yet so special to kick off this epic day in our family.


We all (there were 12 other families adopting in our group) got on the bus at about 9:30am and took a 20 minute trip to the Social Welfare building. This is where our children would be brought and we would meet them there for the first time. Our family sat toward the back of the bus and we were the last ones into the building. We completely expected to wait some time (maybe even hours) for Naiya to arrive…To our suprise, she was ALREADY there! When we walked in, there she was!!! One of the orphanage workers was holding her and another person was calling out: “Dang Ying Jia’s parents…” “That’s ME. That’s US.” I thought. THAT’S HER!!!! John and the boys quickly got their cameras ready and I walked straight for her. They handed her to me and my arms and heart were full! Complete. At peace. Naiya cried A LOT. I’m sure she was uncertain, scared, and wondering, “Who is this person? Where am I? What the heck is going on?” I wasn’t frazzled that she cried. I was in love, and ready to love her forever.

Here is the video of our Gotcha Day (This is what those adopting in China call the day that their child is placed in their arms for the first time and forever).


Thank you to SO many of you that have prayed, given, loved, encouraged, cheered, and walked along side our family as we journeyed to Naiya…WE are FOREVER grateful. And, guess what? The journey WITH Naiya is just beginning! Next post will have pictures of the rest of our time in China and our first days/weeks with Naiya…WHAT A BLESSING SHE IS!!! Every good and perfect gift comes from above!


Glimpse Into Her World

Tonight, this was in my inbox! An update of our Naiya. The update mentions her Chinese name – YingJia. YingJia will be Naiya’s middle name. A woman at the Chinese restaurant that we frequent said that her name is beautiful…It is the picture of a beautiful sunrise lighting up the morning sky.

The update was wonderful to read and it gives us just a glimpse into this soul that is our daughter. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Here it is:

“YingJia has 4 teeth now and she is a great eater, she has 3 bottle of milk every day plus 2 half bowl of noodles or congee or a steam bread, eggs etc. before she takes her naps, she will play for a while in her crib and then takes naps, she has learned many skills, she claps her hands for welcome and waves her hands for goodbye. She also can say ‘ ma ma’ and has started walking. After she learns walking, she is very busy and walks very where all the time. Sometimes, she walks to kitchen to grab snacks to eat. She is a very caring person, if she sees little kids crying, she will shake their cribs to comfort them or push their walkers around rooms. She is a good driver and knows where she can go while she is pushing a walker without hit anyone or anything around .”

Amazing to know that any blog now we will have pictures of Naiya YingJia in our arms! After reading this update, we are reminded of the blessing that she will be and already is to our family (and it sounds like even where she is now).

Would you be praying for her and for her transition to our family and new world she will be entering? And for all of us- the boys are gaining a sister. They will be amazing big brothers! Please pray that we are given the wisdom to parent this precious one and to know the best way to comfort, love, and meet her needs. What an honor!!!

It’s Go Time!

Last night, we received an email from our adoption agency telling us that our Travel Approval would be here any day and we should begin preparing to travel either next week (What? That’s NEXT week!) or the week after. That email really put us into high gear and we realized just how very close we are to holding Naiya!

Today, we received Travel Approval and we await the final date for our Consulate appointment (1-2 day wait). As soon as we get that appointment, we must buy airline tickets.

It’s sinking in…we are really heading to China (very soon- in the next 2 weeks) and our daughter is there waiting for us!

This is really happening!


Lovely Ladybugs

This evening, I cried. The wait is long and hard and worth it. Most days, I hold it all together quite well, but tonight a good cry was a good release. As the tears flowed and John (very sweetly and patiently) reminded me of how close we are to going to get Naiya, he said, “Hey, look, a ladybug”.

There was a ladybug on our dining room chandelier- right above where I was sitting.


Ladybugs are a special symbol in the China adoption community. When a ladybug shows up, it’s viewed as good luck and a reminder that great things are heading your way- like a precious child!

I am not superstitious, but I do believe in God’s perfect timing and reminding me that He sees and He knows and that our waiting is not in vain.

Thankful. Ready to go get her. Realize that God wants us to trust Him. And reminded that “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”.

Liking this ladybug today.

Can’t Sleep

Laying wide eyed staring at the ceiling. My mind is going a million miles a minute- thinking of Naiya (we are so close), China (a place I love and can’t wait to share with my husband and sons), my grandmother (complete restoration), getting our travel approval (any day now), grants (please, God) what to pack (it’s cold in Beijing – a chilly 17- we’re going to freeze!) and how good ice cream sounds right now!

After entertaining all of these thoughts, I found myself closing my eyes and silently laying each one at our Father’s feet- in His hands. There is rest there and…I’m sure the boys will agree that ice cream will taste great tomorrow!