Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For Emme

(Written by Emme's biggest, big sister- Melissa)

 Just typing that precious, beautiful name brings me straight to tears. Two days ago we found out that our sweet Emelia Rose Ai Ni (Emme) went home. Really home. Not to our family’s home where we imagined we would get to see her grow up and know what it’s like to have a mom and a dad and six siblings who love her more than words can say. She skipped right over our home and went straight to be with Jesus. She went straight to her eternal heavenly home, where her broken little body is now perfect in every way. She now knows just how loved she is… By us, and most of all by Jesus.

When we were first hit with the news that Emme had gone to be with Jesus, I was completely heartbroken, overcome with grief, and to be honest, I was angry. I didn’t want to be angry, but I was. The entire night questions were racing through my mind…Why would God do something like this? What if  Emme had never had surgery in China… would things be different, and would she still be here? Why wouldn’t God let Emme come home to us? What if the orphanage had let us come to get Emme sooner? Why would God put this little girl in our lives, If He planned to take her away from us like this before we were even able to go to China and get her?? Truth is that we could ask all the “whys” and “what ifs”  that we want to- they don’t change what happened. . . And as I’ve had the last couple days to reflect and really process this situation, I’m finally beginning to see what God did through Emme’s life, And why He did what He did.

Through Emme, God showed us what it means to love dangerously. Loving Emme was not safe. At all. Her heart was very sick, and we knew from the very moment that we were matched with her, that we could lose her at anytime. But we chose to love her with all of our hearts anyway. Because she deserved to be loved that much.

God also showed us how to really obey and trust Him throughout Emme’s adoption. As soon as we saw the picture of an adorable little girl sitting on a plastic green seahorse, with bumble bees on her tiny toes looking back at us from the computer screen, we knew deep in our hearts that she was the one God wanted us to make a part of our family. And even though the severity of Emme’s very complex heart condition made us fearful, we trusted God with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6), and kept in mind His promise- that He will never give us more than we can handle. So we obeyed what God told us to do, and I believe that in many ways The Lord confirmed to us that we were on the right path all throughout this journey. Even though Emme is in Heaven now, and we never got to hold her in our arms, I will never question our decision to work and fight towards being Emme’s family. I know with every part of me that God put Emme in our lives for a reason… wanting her and loving her was not a mistake. We obeyed and trusted God, and our reward was being able to love Emme during her short little life here on earth. Loving Emme was a beautiful gift… and after all “there is no greater gift than Love.”

I could go on and on about my youngest little sister… She had the most beautiful, big brown eyes I have ever seen before in my life. The quote “The eyes are the window to the soul” is very true. Emme’s eyes were the window to her soul. Through those big brown eyes I could tell she was sad, lonely, scared, longing to be loved, and strong. Although I never got to meet her, I know she was a very strong little girl. She had to be. She experienced so much sadness and pain in her little life then any child should ever have to face. Our sweet girl had a smile that melted our hearts. She was so precious, and so loved.

Although my heart hurts so much over the loss of our Emme, I’m finding comfort in knowing that she’s not in pain anymore. She’s not lying in a cold metal crib for hours upon hours, or in a hospital hooked up to machines. She’s not suffering anymore... She’s perfect now! And her broken little body has been made new. She knows how much we love her. Emme is with Jesus for eternity, and there is so much peace in knowing that one day we will get to be there too… With her, and with our Savior.

Sweet Emme Rose, We love you so very much! We will hold you in our hearts forever.    

Friday, December 27, 2013

Angel wings

I've tried to write this in my head many times and to say it is hard...isn't near enough.  Our sweet Emme has earned her angel wings. She has passed away.  We got the call late Monday night. We are heartbroken. 

Now she finally knows how very much she was loved by us and that she had a family, with a brother and sisters who prayed for her every day. For seven months, almost to the day, we had so much hope for her. For all the friends and family that prayed along with us for most of this past year, our prayers did not go unanswered. We prayed for God to hold her and to make her little heart new. We prayed for a miracle when our travel was delayed last month. This wasn't how we thought He would answer, but now she is being held by perfect hands and resting in perfect arms with her little heart made new. Her Heavenly Father loves her so much. 

I wish I could tell you all what happened. But all I know is that she was very ill and once she was finally taken to the hospital, she wasn't able to be helped there any more. It's tragic and very sad. Circumstances, a fallen world, pain. We fought for her every step of the way through medical expedites, and trying to get her outside help. But ultimately, we had no control over anything. He had plans far greater than ours and now her little heart is made new. 

Sweet Emme,

We love you so much. We will never hold you this side of Heaven, kiss your sweet head, or rock you to sleep. You will never sleep in the pink crib we had ready for you or be wrapped in your special Mama-made blanket. And we ache knowing this. So we hold tight to the knowledge that you will forever be in our hearts. Right where you grew. You will always be our Sweet Emelia Rose Aini - our precious daughter. 

And we will find comfort that His plan is a good plan, and we will trust Him, even when we feel lost. We know he brought you into our hearts for a purpose, sweet girl. We were honored to be considered your family. 

I can't begin to say how much you changed us - from the inside out - the changes we have made as a family will forever be made. Because of you. We are so glad we were given the chance to love you, fight for you, pray for you and hope for you. 

May you sleep now, forever in Heavenly Peace, perfectly healed in your eternal Father's arms. 

Loving you always,

Your Mama, Daddy, Sisters and Brother

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."  James 1:17

Thursday, December 12, 2013


So what do you do when your travel is delayed, you're trusting God to fight your battles and you're being as patient as possible?

Pretty up the gift bags that are a required part of the adoption trip. The gifts are for the guides, drivers, officials, orphanage director and nannies. We're taking things like postcards from Texas, pecan candies, lotions, post it notes, bookmarks and for the men - Texas flag koozies! We will make little gift bags up of these goodies once in China. By the way, when you're trying to find something made in the USA to take to China - it's pretty funny when everything you pick up is from China. 

What else do you do when you're waiting? How about see the movie Frozen...twice!! My kids loved this movie so much the first time, we went again. And for everyone that knows me, knows I never go to the movies let alone twice to the same movie. Last time I saw so many  movies, I was waiting for Brett to be born.  It's a very similar kind of waiting this adoption thing. 

Then there's retail therapy. Proven to be an expensive way to spend the time, but also know to produce stress relaxant hormones in any waiting mother. Plus, Emme needed some on sale dresses! Thank you day after Thanksgiving sales and Black Friday.  She will be well dressed once she finally gets home! 

Praying for her every moment of the day and trusting in His plan. 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding the Gift

Two weeks ago our Travel Approval arrived.  Last Friday I should have been on a plane to bring our daughter home to us.  Those were my plans... my plans. God is always trying to teach me this and goodness I should have learned it by now.  MY plans, they mean nothing.  HIS plans, they mean everything.

We have to wait some more.  But I'm just now seeing the gift.  See, I could cry and stomp my feet in true childlike fashion (ok...maybe I kind of did a little...) and ask all the whys in the world and beg God to change this thing we are in the midst of.  I have, because I'm human.  And my mama's heart, it's breaking not being able to get to my girl.  My arms ache and my heart weeps, but my soul is good.  It's good because I can cry and beg and ask those whys, and He listens.  God listens to our troubles and knows in the good fatherly way he has, that all will be okay because he has a plan.  Sometimes we don't know what he is doing and question those plans, and that's where we decide to trust or not.  I'm trusting.  Trusting in His perfect plan for our daughter and trusting Him to hold her tight, fight any battles and protect her.  I'll do this when we eventually get to bring her home too as I do with all my children.  So this gift, the gift of waiting, being thankful in the time we have been given, is a present to us this Christmas.

I'm seeing the gift as a time to slow down - before we were all go, go, go, getting ready for our trip to China.  I'm seeing the gift of time to just relish in our family before adding another member and we transition from a family of 8 to one of 9.  I'm seeing the gift of Christmas.  This Christmas we are turning things around a little by putting all our focus on Christ.  There will still be presents and goodies, but there will be more of Him here in our home.  The kids know that Santa is a fun story, and we giggle through the many Christmas books of baking cookies and filling the sleigh.  But most importantly, they know who Christmas is really about - Jesus - and that he came for us and will come again one day.  In these days of waiting (again), we are treasuring the time we have to prepare for Christ's coming and learning (always learning) to trust in His plans for our lives.  What a gift we've all been given!

I haven't shared these pictures here yet, but they are also my gift right now.  We waited so long to see a new picture of our little girl (6 months) and I look at them daily, wondering when our first meeting will be and what it will be like.   It's looking like it won't be until after the first of the year - January.  Just writing that makes me take a breath.  This is the hard part.  The waiting.  She waits and we wait.  Yet we have hope in the New Year and new beginnings.  So much hope for what is to come.

Sweet Emme Rose, we just can't wait to meet you.  It's hard to understand why we have to wait some more, but we know this time is a gift for you to heal and for us to prepare.  Wo ai ni - I love you little one.

Little bit, is truly little - a petite little 21 month old girl with a very strong will to live.  She had her first heart surgeries in August and October in China.  She was released back to the orphanage in November and now we wait for the doctors there to give us clearance to travel.  Let's all pray it comes very soon! 

Seeing gift in the wait and hope in our future.