Archive for the ‘Club Feet’ Category

I love this song–the words are so powerful!

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AHG 2011-2012 Trailblazer Planning

The girls and I have already begun our American Heritage Girls year, and I think we have a pretty good course planned for this school year.  Kara and Cosette are both in the 2nd year (out of 3) of their respective levels, so I really would like to make headway on completing the requirements for their level awards. Towards that end, we are going to focus on completing merit badges from the various frontiers that we have not yet completed.  Once we have a badge from each frontier, we will continue to pick badges that we are interested in.  Neither girl is going to have a problem getting the required service hours, and we definitely have plenty of special events! 🙂

So, right now the girls are working on the Stickshifts and Safety Belts badge from the Family Living Frontier and the Computer Fun badge from the Science and Technology Frontier.  We had started the Textile Arts badge from the Arts Frontier last spring, and once they each complete their latchhooking projects, that one will be mostly finished.  I must admit that the Stickshifts and Safety Belts badge seems like an odd choice, but it actually fits our family just perfectly right now!  We bought our Sienna van this past summer, and going through that process really sparked interest among our kids about different aspects of vehicles, so this project makes sense right now.

In addition to our regular badges, the girls want to complete the requirements for the Bowling Sports Pin and each of the girls would like to get a religious emblem by working on their respective levels of the PRAY Program.

Once those goals are met, we have other badges that we are considering including Living in the USA, Cooking, Home Care and Repair, Music Performance, Photography, My Style, and Fishing.  There’s one thing for sure:  we won’t run out of things to do!

I also have goals for myself in regards to my position as the Trailblazer Support Coordinator.  Of course, I want to be timely and thorough addressing issues and answering questions as they arise, but I also want to go beyond that.  I want to focus on promoting AHG and the Trailblazer program specifically. Towards that end, I have already begun spreading the word about Trailblazers through a variety of means, and I am networking with troops in various areas to try to get Trailblazers involved in regional activities.  Another area that I would like to focus on is Trailblazer interaction.  There is already an existing Yahoo group, but it is definitely not used up to its potential.  I would love to see it be a place where families can share ideas and information about Trailblazing.  I can even picture it being almost like an online “troop” in a way.  Several years ago, I established the clubfootadoption Yahoo group, and it has really become a neat place for families to learn about adopting and treating kids with that condition. That’s what I would like to see with the Trailblazer Yahoo group as well.

Trailblazing is definitely an adventure!  In many ways it is what it says it is: trailblazing.  This is a relatively new concept for AHG that is rapidly expanding, and it’s neat seeing how God is continuing to open doors!  It is truly a blessing!

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As I wrote in my last entry, while Kara was in surgery last week, I stayed in her hospital room to wait.  While there, I noticed the little bear that our church gave to Kara sitting on her bed with her glasses.  The message on the bear’s tummy said “Miracles Happen.”  I sat there and thought about that, and was reminded what a miracle Kara is.  God truly has done miraculous things in that girl’s life to bring her home and heal her body and spirit.  I thought about how far she has come and was moved with thanksgiving to the Great Physician for His healing power.  Today I put together this brief slideshow as a reminder of what a Great Savior we have.  I just can’t wait to see all that God has in store for my dear daughter!

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Kara has always enjoyed the marble sculpture at The Children’s Hospital in Denver. It was a highlight in their old facility, and now we know where it is in the new facility. Cosette asked me to take a video of it so she could see how neat it is, so I thought I’d post those videos here for everyone to enjoy! There are two parts to the video so I could show the different parts of the sculpture.

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Last Thursday was Kara’s surgery in Denver to remove the surgical staple from her foot.  It was a long, long, LONG day, but it all went well, and she is doing fine.

Kara’s surgery was scheduled later in the day than we usually prefer because that is what they had available.  We wanted to take a time that was as soon as possible to avoid the potential of driving in Colorado winter storms, and this is what they had.  So, she was originally scheduled at 4:30 our time, and we knew that would make a late night getting home at best.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of traumas that came in, so we were given the option of rescheduling or waiting it out.  We thought it would be ridiculous to have to travel back another day and agreed that waiting it out was the best option.  They thought she’d be able to go into surgery around 6:30, so we saw our time getting home getting later and later. Their estimate proved accurate.  She did go in around 6:30 and was finished around 7:15.  It took her awhile to wake up from the anesthesia, but once she did, she was her normal tough self, and they were ready to discharge her around 9:00.

We made pretty good progress getting home until around midnight when our driver’s side rear tire blew as we drove down the interstate at full speed! Thank God that there was no traffic around us and that Dan was able to get the van pulled over and stopped safely!  It took a little bit to gather our thoughts on how to proceed.  We were way too close to the interstate in the dark for Dan to get that tire changed safely, so our first thought was to call the police so there could be flashing lights to warn passers by to get over.  Well, it took the police forever to come, and while we waited Dan decided that maybe trying to change the tire wasn’t such a great idea anyway since we couldn’t tell how much damage had been done to the rim trying to get stopped anyway.  So we called my Dad who gave us the phone number for a towing service.  He also volunteered to come give us a ride the rest of the way home.

Try to picture us in the middle of the night with a girl who just had foot surgery tromping through the weeds in the ditch!  I’m sure we were quite a sight as we struggled around!  😉  Our bad luck even passed on to the tow truck driver!  He must have dropped his reading glasses in the ditch while he was working on our van because when we did finally make it to a service station, he couldn’t find them–and he couldn’t see well enough to fill out our bill!  So, I filled out our bill for him–what a day!

We finally made it home around 2:00 a.m.  Kara had just got into bed when she called me in to her room.  The surgical bandaging, including the surgi-strips, had all come off.  So, we all got back up, re-bandaged everything, and went back to bed around 2:30.  I certainly am glad that not every day was like that one!

I will say this, though:  God is good, all of the time.  Things don’t always go just like we plan or desire, but nothing is out of His plans. We just look back on the whole thing and kind of laugh–after all was said and done, the surgery was successful.  The staple is out, Kara is fine, we are fine, the van is fine, etc. Things could’ve been a lot worse, and we are thankful that they weren’t.  Kara has been running around and seems to be feeling fine.  It’ll take a few weeks to completely heal, but we are definitely heading in that direction!  So, we praise God for His healing, guiding touch.  He is always faithful.  Always good.

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Today was Kara’s annual checkup with Dr. G. for her clubbed foot.  Overall, things are looking pretty good.  She does turn her foot in, and that is not improving at all.  Dr. G. said that there are two things that are contributing to that, and that really it’s something that she has to live with.  The first cause his still her hip issue.  That whole leg (and even her “normal” leg) turn in from the hips.  Last year Dr. G. thought she might outgrow that, but now she doesn’t think that she will.  Another contributing factor is from all of her surgeries.  Her remaining muscles, tendons, etc.  are just not strong enough to keep the foot straight.  But, this doesn’t effect her mobility at all, so it’s really not much to worry about.

Kara will, however, have a minor surgery next week in Denver.  Believe it or not, it is to remove a troublesome staple that is still in her foot from China!  That silly staple has been a problem ever since we adopted her.  In fact, the week that we brought her home, that area of her foot became seriously infected, and we just about ended up with an emergency trip to Denver then.  After several rounds of antibiotics, she did eventually recover, and you could feel that staple right under the skin.  When Dr. G. operated on her foot in 2007, she decided not to remove the staple.  I am not completely 100% sure, but I seem to remember that she decided to leave it alone because it would have required an additional incision to remove, and Kara already had such large areas to heal that Dr. G. thought it wasn’t worth the trouble.  She also didn’t think it would cause any problems.  Well, fast forward to this year.  There has been a lump developing over that stupid staple.  Sometimes Kara complains that it hurts, and it has made wearing dress shoes nearly impossible.  Dr. G. agreed that it is time to take care of that, so next week we will take Kara back to Denver Children’s where she’ll have it surgically removed once and for all.

Other than that staple, Dr. G. thinks Kara is looking great and says that unless we have problems arise, we’ll go back in another year to check on it at that time.  God is good–all of the time!

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Yes, I know:  this picture really doesn’t fit the title of this entry!  Oh well, I just love this picture and wanted to use it anyway!  😉

We started school last Wednesday, and things have been absolutely CRAZY since then! You’d think our calendar exploded or something!  Actually, we’re off to a very good start, and I think the kids are already enjoying their new classes and teachers.

God is always so good and faithful–even in the little details of life.  My Mom has always said that if you are following His plan, He’ll provide the way.  That is just so true!  Every year brings new obstacles to overcome, but I have learned not to worry because God gives the wisdom when I need it.  This year is our first year with all five of the kids being full-time students (no preschool or kindergarten) which presented a logistical issue with our physical setting.  While I still had preschoolers/kindergarteners, I could have kids share a school station with one TV/DVD player.  I knew that it would never work when all of the kids were full-time, but I never was sure how we’d fit five stations in our school area.  Well, as usual, God is faithful and has given me the answer. I moved Brock into the adjoining room with John, and kept the three younger kids in the main room.  This is working out great, and I must say that it’s nice having each one on his/her own schedule instead of trying to work around sharing systems!

He has also provided the technology solutions we need when we need them.  Trying to manage all of those systems, cords, remotes, etc. is not always easy!  I have learned how to hook up headphones in every way imaginable, and this year has been no exception.  Brock’s new station has a new flat-screen TV that came with a headphone jack (thank you, Lord!), and I was able to figure out how to get Kara’s headphones connected directly to her DVD player with various adapters.  I was a little worried that her headphone cords might be a tripping hazard, but God led me to just the right solution for that as well:  a welcome mat keeps the cord neatly tucked away.  There is a picture of that in this entry’s slideshow.  We found a new desk for Cosette–and the day we bought it, it was on clearance sale with FREE shipping.  No coincidence when my great Father is taking care of things!

Last Friday was kind of crazy.  The roofing company came to replace our roof without any notice.  Oh, surprise!  It worked out all right, but it sure made for a noisy school day!  Fortunately, they finished it in one day, and it does look nice.  That same day we had a special guest in our house as well.  A friend of mine is expecting a baby in a few weeks, and she has developed health issues that has required her to be on bed-rest.  She has a three-year-old to take care of as well, so that makes bed rest a little complicated.  We decided to keep her toddler for the day to give her a break, and that was fun!  She is a neat kid, and a blessing to have around.  I have offered to keep her as often as needed, so she may be back!

So, we’re off to a busy start, and things aren’t going to slow down next week.  Kara’s annual appointment to check her clubbed foot in Denver is next Monday, we have three dental appointments on Tuesday, and now it sounds like John and Brock may be helping with a community dinner as part of a scout activity next Wednesday.  Such is life at the Prairie Family House!

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UPDATE:  The shoes have been spoken for by a family who can use them! Praise God!  I will post more shoes on this blog at a later time when we accumulate more pairs of the mismatched sizes.  So if you are in need of some (large left, small right) don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll see what I have.

As most of my readers already know, our daughter Kara has a corrected clubbed foot.  Although the foot is straight, it will always be smaller than her “normal” foot, and this is quite a common result of unilateral clubbed foot.  In her case, there is a large size differential, and we have to buy her two pairs of shoes every time she needs new shoes:  a larger size for her “normal” foot and a smaller size for her clubbed foot.  We don’t mind doing this–it’s really not that big of a deal.  There is only one problem, though.  We end up with these left-over shoes that are the opposite of what she needs.  I would absolutely LOVE to find someone who could use these shoes.  In fact, I would happily send them to anyone that needs them for the shipping charge only.  They are all brand new.  Here are the pairs and sizes that I currently have:

Pair 1

Pair #1 are blue and white Danskin Athletic Shoes. The left shoe is size 12, and the right shoe is size 10. These shoes were originally $11, and I got them on clearance sale for $7.

Pair 2

Pair #2 are pink and white Strawberry Shortcake Girl’s Athletic Shoes. The left shoe is size 11, and the right shoe is size 8. There are some tags attached, but they don’t tell what the price for the shoes was.

Pair 3

Pair #3 are a really cute pair of Garanimals pink, purple, and white Velcro Athletic Shoes. They have a sweet heart pattern on the sides. The left shoe is size 11, and the right shoe is size 9. There are tags attached, but no original price is listed on them.

Pair 4

Pair #4 are Faded Glory Athletic Shoes that are multi-colored and sparkly. There are cherries and stars on them. The left shoe is size 11, and the right shoe is size 9.

Again, these are brand new shoes that I will gladly give to anyone that needs them for the cost only of shipping. We used the other shoes from the two pairs to fit Kara. If anyone can use them or knows of a charity that can use them, please let me know by leaving a comment to this post. It seems such a waste to just throw them away.

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After Kara’s adoption was complete, we were finally ready to settle in for “normal” life. I found peace that our family was complete and did not have that empty feeling wondering who was missing from our table. My heart is still burdened for orphans/adoption, but my role has become one of assisting and encouraging others along the way. My main resources for doing this are this blog and an online discussion group that I started to help families who have or are adopting children with clubbed feet.  The group currently consists of 180 members in all stages of the process with children from all over the world.  It has been a blessing to watch God bring so many of these wonderful kids into loving families where their feet are treated and where they go on to live happy, normal lives.  I don’t know if God has more plans for me in the orphan/adoption arena in the future, but I am open to His leading.

Our lives are very full raising our five children.  It’s easy to be consumed just doing what we have to do:  laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc., but God has called me to a much higher purpose than that.  He impressed on me when the kids were just babies that these are HIS children.  He has placed them in my care to raise them knowing Him–not ABOUT Him, but actually knowing HIM.  That’s where I went astray as a child/young adult, and it is my passion to not have my own children repeat my mistakes.  There is a great difference in having a lot of spiritual, and even Biblical, knowledge and actually having a personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  The latter is our goal.  How do we even begin to do that?  The answer is given in Deuteronomy 6.  First and foremost, I must love God with all of my heart, soul, and strength.  Boy, do I fall short of that, but that is what is required.  His commands are to be in my own heart before I can pass them on to my kids.  Then I am to diligently teach them to my children as we go throughout all of our days.  His principles are to be constantly before us, incorporated into every detail of our conversations and experiences.

Children today live in such a  difficult world.  They are the targets of every kind of worldview.  The opposition is keenly aware that the kids literally hold the future, and fight for every one they can get.  It is the children of today that will be the leaders in the not-to-distant future, and it is the responsibility of every generation to train the next to follow the Creator and His ways.  It is my desire to give my children such a strong foundation that nothing will shake them when God calls them to whatever He has for them.  That requires focused diligence every day as we deal with issue by issue.

Homeschooling, of course, plays a major part in the training of our children, and I am thankful that God has provided a way for us to do that.  My Mom often reminds me that “when God wants you to do something, He always provides the way.”  Oh, that is so true.  Every year there are new obstacles to overcome, but I have learned not to worry about the details.  When I need an answer, it is always there at just the right time.  From scheduling, to physical arrangements, to guiding the kids, etc. , God is always faithful in giving the direction that I need to serve Him.

So, that is my passion.  I believe that is God’s calling on my life.  It’s not very “exciting” or glamorous, but the rewards are eternal.  When I see my kids clinging to Christ it is all worth it.  And it’s not just MY kids–He has placed a burning passion in my soul to reach other kids along the way.  Whether it is through teaching Sunday School, helping with scouts, going to baseball games, or even just writing entries in this blog, He has called me to be a witness to the next generation:  a witness of His amazing, saving grace that has transformed my life from darkness to light.

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“We are in China.”  Those were the words that my sister-in-law Kyleen whispered to me as our plane landed in Shanghai.  I can’t begin to explain the feelings I had at that time.  Excitement, nervousness, fear all mixed together.   We were on the doorstep of an adventure of a lifetime, and I had the perfect travel partner.  Dan had decided to stay home with our other children, so Kyleen volunteered to help me through the process.  God knew she was the one that I needed for those days.

We met up with our travel group the next day in Hefei, which is the capital city of Anhui Province where we were to meet Shayanne and complete her adoption.  There were several families in our travel group, all of whom became very dear to us in a very short time.  Our guide’s name was Rui (pronounced Ray).  She also proved to be just the person at just the right time and place for the days to come.

We had a day to spend in Hefei getting all of the paperwork, money, etc. organized before meeting Shayanne.  We knew that it would be a very emotional experience, so Kyleen wisely suggested that we should write down a list of questions for the nannies so we could get as much information about her as possible.  One of these questions was “is there anything else about Shayanne that we need to know?”

You can imagine the anticipation that filled the bus as we traveled to the Civil Affairs office to meet our children.  Shayanne was the only child being adopted from her orphanage that day, and her city was several hours away from Hefei.  So, she was the last child to arrive.  The people who accompanied her were in quite a hurry to begin the trip back to their city, so they wanted to get through the process as quickly as possible.

When I saw Shayanne, I was completely unprepared for what I would experience.  She was so very tiny–nothing  like the other toddlers in our group.  She was very much an infant even though she was the oldest child there that day.  Kyleen and I both immediately felt uneasy, and to be honest, I knew right away that this was not my child.  Things just didn’t seem right, that’s the only way I can explain it.  We were rushed around into a room to sign temporary custody papers–we had to request that they at least wait for our guide to come explain what we were signing before they would leave.  Kyleen had the presence of mind to get out our list of questions, and they said they would only answer three.  She immediately pointed to the question, “is there anything else about Shayanne that we need to know?”  Quick, awkward glances were exchanged among the people in the room, and our guide talked with them back and forth in Chinese.  She informed us that there was something else, but that she did not know exactly how to translate it.  She said that she would work on it and let us know later in the day.

We took Shayanne back to the hotel, and began the process of trying to figure out what her exact issues were.  Her hearing loss did not explain the child left in our care.  For the sake of Shayanne’s privacy, I will not go into what our experiences were, but let’s just suffice it to say that she was in extremely poor physical condition.  When Rui returned to our room with the translation of what the nannies had told her, it all began to make sense.  This child had severe neurological issues that had never been explained to us.

My heart was torn in two!  I did not know what we were going to do!  I had never dreamed that our journey would lead us to this.  I did know that there were no resources available to help a child in Shayanne’s condition anywhere near our home that is “on the prairie.”  Dan was back in the USA, but I had to contact him with the details.  He wanted us to send pictures and information to our local doctor while we had her examined in China to try to determine what decisions we should make.  All of the advice pointed in the same direction:  that this child was not in strong enough condition to be adopted or to travel back to the United States.  All parties involved were in agreement, although we were told to expect to travel home with no child if we did not continue Shayanne’s adoption.

This was such a difficult moment.  It seemed hard to understand why God would have brought us to this point only to go home with no child.  But, God…  BUT GOD!  He spoke in my heart to trust Him.  Even if we were to go home with no child, I was to trust Him, and show nothing but praise for His goodness, sovereignty, and power.  Kyleen agreed that even if it never made any sense, we were in China at that time in that situation as part of God’s perfect plan.

So, dear, dear Rui guided us step-by-step of interrupting the adoption process.  She was a tower of strength as she spent hours communicating with our adoption agency’s office in Beijing.  She truly took up our situation as her own.  She explained our complex situation to the Chinese officials, and helped them to understand that this child was simply not adoptable at this time.  She pled for their mercy, while we pled with God for guidance, and that mercy was granted.  We were told not to get our hopes up, but that we should begin thinking about what special needs we would be open to if another child could be found for us.  We had a only a few days to work with because a week-long holiday was quickly approaching in China during which no offices would be open for business.

So, a light began to emerge out of the darkness, but we still had the difficult task of letting go of Shayanne.  The people from her orphanage came to pick her up, but only after I had time to say good-bye.  I’m telling you, it was like a death.  It was a death in many ways–death of the child that had never been.  The Shayanne that we had held in our hearts during those months of waiting and preparation simply did not exist, and that was heart-wrenching to say the least.  We dressed her up in the one pretty outfit that we had that fit her–the one 12-month outfit that I had packed, fixed up her hair, and gave her back with many, many tears.  It’s difficult to explain that there was peace amidst the tears.  We knew that God had led to this decision and that this was part of His perfect plan whether we would ever understand it or not.

Our travel group gave us nothing but support during those days of uncertainty.  They shared their hearts, their beautiful new children, and their love.

After Shayanne left, we had to turn our attention to the paperwork involved with requesting a new referral.  Rui told us to write a description of what had happen with Shayanne and to respectfully ask for another child.  She said to include the age range, sex, and special needs we would accept.  I wrote that we would prefer a child of either gender, any age (preferably younger than our youngest son, but not required), with any special need related to orthopedic issues, hearing loss, blindness, etc.  Kyleen and I really felt that this was a holy time–a time that God was truly at work to bring us the child He had planned.  It was exciting to see.

We were originally told to expect a wait of several days while the officials searched for a child.  We were surprised when our guide came to our room a few hours later with not one, but two children that had been identified as possible candidates.  There were no pictures, or even names.  All we had was gender, age, and general description of the special needs.  Both were girls.  One was approximately 12 months old, and the other was almost three.  The younger girl was described as having one leg fatter than the other, and the older was described as being “pigeon-toed” with a possibility of some problem with her fingers on one hand.  Exciting telephone calls back to the United States were made to confer with Dan, and he, Kyleen, and I all felt led by God that the older of the two girls was the one.  We had nothing concrete to base that decision on, but God had led us all to that child, so we proceeded with faith.

So, we informed our guide of our decision, and she called the adoption officials with our decision to adopt Huang Min Cui from Huangshan.  She wondered if we wanted to wait until we could get more information about the girl, but we said no.  I told Rui that I knew God’s hand was at work, and that I knew I could trust Him.  Our time frame was very tight because of the impending Chinese holiday and our already scheduled Consulate appointment in Guangzhou.  Rui said she’d need an English name to begin the paperwork, and after more phone calls and discussions, Kara Joy was chosen.  “Kara” means pure, so her name means “pure joy.”  We knew that God was turning our sorrow into unbelievable joy.

So, our course had taken a serious turn from our original plan.  God kept impressing upon me that this was not a surprise to Him, and that I needed to show complete confidence in His loving care.  Rui was concerned that we might not have appropriate clothing for this child who was older than we had been planning for.  She recommended that we should shop for bigger clothes, but I told her how God had given me peace about the clothing as I packed, and that I felt certain that He knew all about what Kara’s needs would be.  Rui thought I was crazy, but I told her that I fully expected the clothes that we had to fit this child.

Rui also wanted to prepare us that this child would very likely be extremely frightened.  She had come from an orphanage that did not participate in international adoption, so she had not been prepared.  Again, God gave me the words to say to Rui.  I told her that I had complete confidence that God had prepared this child and that she would know that I was her momma.

A few days passed while Kara’s paperwork was hurriedly processed, and finally we were ready to meet the child that God had hand-picked for us–the child that had been in His mind all along.  I could not wait!  Her orphanage was very far from Hefei although it was still in Anhui province.  So, Kara was accompanied by two nannies on her first airplane ride to Hefei.  She arrived in the middle of the night, and was soundly asleep when they got to our hotel.

She was absolutely stunning sleeping on the nanny’s lap.  My heart overflowed with love knowing that this was my child.  I knew right away that she was not “pigeon-toed.”  Her foot was clearly clubbed.  In fact, she had just had a cast removed that morning from her most recent surgery, and her foot was still swollen (and still crooked).  I saw her hands.  Several fingers missing, the rest all deformed. But none of that mattered.  Huang Min Cui was my girl, and I knew all would be well.

The nannies could not get little Cui Cui to wake up that evening, but they had a story they really wanted to share with us.  They told us through our interpreter Rui that she had been a favorite in their facility and that they had all been really stirred to learn that she was going home to a family.  They said it was with mixed emotions that they would give her to us.  They said that everyone was crying when Cui Cui was ready to leave, but that that sweet little child had reached up with her stubby thumb to wipe away the tears and had said, “Don’t cry.  I am just going to find my Momma.”  That came from a girl who “had not been prepared for adoption.”  Rui looked at me with astonishment.  Yes, this girl knew she was going to her Momma just like I had said.  Truly, God was at work.

The next day we completed all of the final adoption papers, and Huang Min Cui officially became Kara Joy Mincui O’Brien.  She was naturally a little shy at first, but it did not take long for that “shy, introverted” child to transform into a happy, loving, beautiful Kara Joy.  The clothes?  Guess what–every item I packed fit Kara Joy perfectly except for the shoes.  But she didn’t need the shoes because she had just had surgery and was instructed not to walk on her foot anyway.  Yes, God had provided for her needs before I ever knew that she existed.

We spent the rest of our time in China getting acquainted with the special girl that God had given us.  We spent a lot of time taking her on walks in the stroller so she could be out in God’s beautiful sunshine.  We shopped, we played, and worked on being able to understand each other (which was no easy task since she spoke fluent Chinese!!)  We kept all of our original appointments in Guangzhou before flying home on the same flight that had been originally planned.

To make a long story short, Kara fit into our family right away.  The other kids all loved her, and she loved them.  There were challenges, of course, adjusting to life with a family after knowing only life in an orphanage, and it took time for Kara to learn how to accept unconditional love.  There were many challenges ahead, but we knew God was faithful, and that He placed Kara in our home and would guide us all through each step of the way.

We had a crash course in clubbed foot treatment because Kara’s surgical incision became infected shortly after we arrived home, but even that proved to be our Lord’s guiding hand.  He used that to lead us to the orthopedic surgeon who would ultimately be used to bring God’s healing touch to Kara’s foot.  He truly healed Huang Min Cui through and through.  He took that shy, broken child and transformed her into the confident, happy girl that she is today.  Her heart as well as her body are whole.

What a picture of what God did for me!  He took a broken, miserably lost soul and paid the eternal price to adopt me when I was completely unaware of His presence.  He took me in, cleaned me up, washed my heart and is in the on-going process of transforming my life.  My story, as well as Kara’s, are all for His glory.  He is the one to be praised for His mighty goodness and power.

In the final installment of My Story, I plan to explain where God has me today.  It is not nearly as dramatic as where I have been, but it is just as important in His purposes.

I will put three slideshows onto this entry.  The first will be pictures from the day that Huang Min Cui became Kara Joy.  The second will be more pictures from my trip to China for those who may be interested.  The last slideshow shows the dramatic healing that God gave to Kara’s foot.  My He be praised!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Meeting Kara Joy Mincui
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Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: More Pictures from China
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Click to play Kara's Miracle
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