Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Little Monkey

The following is a picture of Sonya taken just a few short days ago, 
sound asleep on the couch and trying to get over the stomach flu.  
Once Sonya got well, we quickly started on our next project - painting the girls' room. 
Yes, they will share a room.  Otherwise, how will they ever learn to share? 
Not only their toys
 but their thoughts and their dreams...
 Sonya's cat, Bibi, seems to know this is Sonya's (and Cassie's)
 new room now.  She sat like that in the corner of the bedroom
for a good long while.
Between being stuck in bed for a couple of days,
closely followed by helping to paint the bedroom,  
Sonya just can't take it anymore! 
 She is now climbing the walls! 
 Do you think she just might need
a little fresh air and sunshine?!
When we were in China, the parents of the other little baby girls being adopted from our group lovingly called  Sonya a "little monkey".  Sonya's little sister is born in the year of the monkey.  Do you think we just might end up with two little monkeys on our hands?! 
Well, I sure hope so!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Every Adopted Child Means One Less Aborted Child

When I was a youth, I learned that abortion kills. I learned that abortion is murder. When I was a youth, I decided I would much rather be a part of adopting children than ever be a part of aborting them.

For those of you who have watched this video and are reading my words now, if you have ever taken part in an abortion, know that there is room for you now at the foot of the cross.   Jesus loves.  Jesus saves.  Turn away from your past, repent of it and ask for forgiveness.  Then ask Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.  And a miracle will take place.   A weight that you've carried on your shoulders for so long will be removed in an instant.  Jesus heals when you belong to Him.

Thank you for watching.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for heeding.
I love you all!  Cheryl 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sonya's Travel Earnings

Sonya has made approximately $300.00 to put toward her travel expenses to China thanks to all of you!  Please spread the word that Sonya is selling her beautiful art work so she can pay her own way to help bring her little sister home!  Remember to view the side bar to see the selection and then email me at to place your order.  Thank you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God's Good and Perfect Timing

Last night, when I went to bed somewhere past two in the morning, I asked the Lord to have the doctor's office call us as soon as they got in this morning instead of making Randy or me call them to check on things.  I also asked the Lord that He direct the doctor's hand to write a favorable letter on Randy's behalf in order that any concerns China has regarding Randy's health and his ability to parent be relieved.

So at 8 am this morning, one hour before the doctor's office even opened, I received a call from the nurse letting me know the letter was ready to pick up.  When Sonya and I made a trip to the doctor's office later in the morning I reviewed the letter before leaving their office and found the letter to be short and to the point, casting a positive light on Randy's health status.  Praise the Lord!  Thank you, Jesus!

So now as far as I know China has the letter which would have been scanned and emailed to them by the adoption agency today, and that is the very last piece of information they need in order to give their official approval which I guess in adoption language is called LOA (letter of approval).  After LOA comes TA (travel approval).  Then CA (consulate appointment) follows TA.  We are getting close.  I will keep you posted.  But LOA is what I've been waiting for forever so that I can post Mei Mei's pictures on the blog and also share with you her real name and where she is from in China. 

The other benefit to LOA is that the orphanage will be given a green light to tell Sonya's little sister that she has a family.  And once that happens we will arrange for a care package to be delivered to her from us to let her know we are thinking of her and that we love her so much and that we can't wait to come and get her and bring her home with us for good. 

Folks, it's been a hard ride emotionally and, I would add, even mentally.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support for our journey to Mei Mei.  Your love and kindness have made all the difference!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Your Prayers Are Greatly Appreciated ASAP!

I'm not going to lie, I am in the struggle of my life right now.  Ever since Monday night when I checked my emails for the first time that day (I had an extraordinarily long day at work) and discovered an email from our adoption agency requesting a letter from Randy's doctor explaining some medical information, I have literally been reduced to a puddle of tears.  What started out as mere frustration that I didn't get the email in time on Monday to move on it that day has now escalated into a lie planted in my mind by the adversary telling me man, a particular man even, is in control of this adoption.  When Randy called the doctor on Tuesday requesting this most essential letter be written a.s.a.p. to keep the adoption moving on schedule, I found out today (the doctor's day off) that our request is still sitting on his desk untouched!

In explaining to the nurse the urgency of the matter at hand I caused myself further frustration, angst and emotional trauma in realizing that this doctor has no idea that a child's life literally hangs in the balance, and that it is seemingly up to him alone to make a way for our dear little Mei Mei to make it home in a timely manner.  I explained further to the nurse that I would need to get the letter from them by tomorrow and hand-deliver it to the adoption agency in Albion, Indiana immediately.  Because China is 13 hours ahead of us it is imperative we get the information to China by Thursday because our Thursday is their Friday, and the info needs to be in their hands before the weekend.  Can you see why it is easy for my brain to jump to the conclusion that a man is deciding our little girl's fate? 

Even though I know in my heart man decides NOTHING in God's business.  And adopting the orphan, caring for the orphan, making a family for the orphan IS GOD'S BUSINESS.  But Friends...I am having a very difficult time feeling what's in my heart right now. 

And to make matters ten times worse, Sonya witnessed today her Mommy coming unglued over the whole matter, and it scared her and rocked her feeling of security and of being loved which is something I would never want to do to her.  I mean, think about it - she is our first child, our first adoption, our first China adoption - why on earth would I ever want this precious little girl to feel first-hand the sting of mommy's heartache, especially over another child who is yet to join our family?  Not that Mei Mei's physical absence from our family right now makes her any less Sonya's sister or my daughter and in need of care and concern.  But to Sonya, Randy and I are all she has physically in her life, and I want to guard her little heart from what I might refer to as "adoption trauma" brought on by her mother's extreme fear. 

I have been reading on various blogs just how adoption and the waiting can become all-consuming and even anxiety-producing .  I can handle the wait better, though, when I am not being asked to produce something on our end to keep the process moving ahead.  No, let me re-phrase that: I can handle the wait when I'm being asked to produce something that is in my control to produce.  Please pray for me that God reveals Himself to my heart and my mind and my emotions so that I know He is the one orchestrating even this!  

I wrote something today for the China Center of Adoption Affairs involving our first adoption, sharing about how Sonya is developing and thriving since the three of us became a family.  My writing was inspired by a request from them to adoption agencies and adoptive families:

On the occasion of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the founding of China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), we will hold a series of activities in the theme of “Adoption Month”, during which we will edit books, hold photo exhibitions, make publication videos, etc. to showcase the happy life of our children adopted by foreign families and introduce inter-country adoption to more people, helping them understand that being in a family is in the best interests of the orphaned and disabled children.

The following is what I penned in part regarding little Miss Sonya and what a blessing she has been in our lives.  And really, as hard as it was for me to focus myself initially (under the circumstances), once I started writing, my love for Sonya flowed out of my fingers so effortlessly!  

Luo Yi Er, born May 23, 2003, at one time residing at the Foshan Welfare Institute in the Guangdong Province; now Sonya Yi Hoium, now residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana – the daughter of proud parents, Randy and Cheryl Hoium - brought to America from China at only seven months of age.

How can I convey to you in simple mortal words the love we have for our little girl, now eight years of age, filled with goodness, love, generosity, kindness, mercy and compassion with a zest and enthusiasm for life who wears a constant smile? Our daughter, inquisitive, brilliant, beautiful and extraordinary, is “daddy’s little girl” and my “little helper”. How does a mother even begin to express her deep level of gratitude for a country and a people who showed us such great kindness and generosity when giving my husband and me this treasure, a little girl with such sparkle and vibrancy that anyone who meets her falls in love with her in an instant?

On January 15 of this year, Randy wrote an article for our adoption blog at entitled “Nothing Better Than Kids” describing his journey into fatherhood and more specifically his fathering of our sweet Sonya. His words regarding his decision to adopt:

“To my surprise, what I thought to be an act of sacrificial love really turned out to be a beautiful gift to myself. Oh sure, the apprehension would return sometimes during our two year wait, along with moments of shear angst when learning what is required in an international adoption. But do you want to know something? Adopting Sonya is the very best thing I have ever done! My daughter is the "apple of my eye". I have come to realize what a precious gift a child is. I cannot imagine loving a biological daughter any more than I love Sonya. I am sure all the parents out there know what I am saying. For those of you contemplating this decision, I cannot say enough good about becoming a parent.”

Sonya, with an insatiable love for the outdoors, who would rather be dribbling a basketball or shooting her bow and arrow over playing with dolls any day loves to sing and whistle and build interesting things with cardboard boxes. She especially loves to do artwork. She attends a professional art studio called Garden of Arts where she is so inclined to bring to life on paper her natural, God-given abilities as a little artist.

I then go on to share Sonya's desire to pay her own way to China and how she is selling her very own art work to accomplish this goal, and I end with these words: 

Sonya is looking forward to being united with a sister who shares a common heritage. When Sonya realized she would definitely be given the opportunity to travel to China with her father and me, she exclaimed with such fervor, “Yes! I get to go back to my country!” 

Sonya's country, China, which I believe, as her mother, the Lord is calling her back to - to some day tell them about Jesus and His great and undying love for them

Lord God of All Creation, please help me as Sonya's mother to hide and preserve Your Truth in Her heart throughout her growing up years and beyond so that I may serve as a catalyst for her to live and move and breathe in a godly manner, living in a manner which is pleasing and acceptable to you always.  Lord God of all Creation, keep Your watch-care over our second-born as she goes about her activities and mealtimes today in the orphanage.  Please, Lord, remove the obstacles that are slowing down our adoption so that we can bring Mei Mei home to us and provide her the proper medical attention.  Bless her walk, Lord, and bless those who are taking care of her, giving them an extra dose of kindness today and every day to bestow upon all the children in their care.  In the Precious Name of Jesus, I pray! Amen!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


CORNBREAD AND CHOPSTICKS: Honour's Story: "This is Honour’s Testimony - please read and have your heart changed forever! When I was 4 years old I was left in a train station. I had ..."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sonya's Heart

Sonya shared with me almost from the very beginning of our adoption journey that she would like to pay her own way to China.  It turns out, Sonya's round trip airline ticket including all meals for her two week stay in China comes to roughly $500.00.

As some of you know, Sonya attends a professional art studio called Garden of Arts, a Christian-run art studio intent on upholding and maintaining a biblical worldview.  I have listed on the side bar of our adoption blog some of Sonya's finest work through Garden of Arts thus far.  In order to help Sonya accomplish her goal of providing her own financial means to China, I will give our readership an opportunity to view some of her prints and then contact me via email to make known your selection for purchase.  Please everyone, spread the word for Sonya's sake. 

All prints will list a minimum donation which includes the cost of the print (with a marginal
mark-up) plus packaging and postage.  The following is Sonya's  work listed in the order found on the side bar (including dimensions) with a minimum donation.
"Cattails"- 10 3/4 x 15- min. $5 donation

"Basket of Flowers" - 10 3/4 x 15 - min. $5 donation

"Cactus in a Clay Pot" - 8.5 x 11 - min. $4 donation

"Happy Flowers in a Bowl" - 8.5 x 11 - min. $4 donation

"Water Lilies" - 8.5 x 11 - min. $4 donation 

"Flowers in Vase" - 8.5 x 11 - min. $4 donation

"Basket Full of Apples" - 8.5 x 11 - min. $4 donation 

Please contact me at to place your order.  All proceeds will go toward paying Sonya's way to China and back.  This child is serious about wanting to do it all by herself. 

Will you please support Sonya's heart in this most precious matter? 

The Experience of What Art Really Is and What It Can Do -
 From a Mother’s Point of View
Written by Cheryl Hoium

I have liked Sharon Kuhn from the very beginning. From our very first telephone conversation regarding the potential placement of my daughter in her art school until the present day, who she says she is, what she says she does, and what she says she believes in have not changed.
Sharon is solid. Sharon is stable. Sharon is safe.

I like Sharon’s simplicity of purpose - to maintain her biblical worldview while elevating her students to recognize their God-given potentials and then exercise them. I like her honesty and integrity, where she honestly sees talent and potential in each and every student she meets and then exercises her integrity in lifting each student up to shine above her.

I like that it is important to Sharon that she provide my daughter and her other students with a safe and loving learning environment, where they are safe to be themselves and make mistakes and then succeed. I like that she begins each art lesson in prayer, lifting up to our Father praise and thanksgiving for every good gift that flows out of them into their creations. I like that Sharon’s love for Jesus translates as an innate ability to sense the needs of each of her students and meet them in that place, providing a collaborative mechanism between teacher and student in order that
 inner excellence can flourish and prevail.

I have learned through listening to and observing Sharon with her students that art is not just something we do with sidewalk chalk. Art, or the experience of real art, is something that will change who we are on a neurological and practical level. Real art, awe-inspiring and life-sustaining, is capable of stimulating and building higher reasoning in each person whom it touches. In essence, real art emanates from the spirit, exuding a spiritual substance our Creator has imbued with an unbridled joy! Sharon, because of her spirit-filled joy, is highly successful at teaching these children how to draw from their own reservoirs. It is in this joyful place where true, living art is birthed, the children are celebrated and their competence and a sense of belonging recognized.

As parents, we can see that Sharon knows how to intuitively and actively build bridges to her pupils, these young hearts and minds we have entrusted to her care, perceiving as parents that the youth whom we send through her art school doors will be changed forever for the better with each and every encounter. At Garden of Arts, we can witness that through humility and grace the pupils can be emboldened to step out of their self-confined shells of uncertainty and embrace a new world of possibility just because they’ve been given a chance to be. To Sharon, it is not about the outcome of the artwork. It is instead about celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of each person who walks through her art school doors looking for help to set free their innate and God-given creative genius.

As Sharon reinforces that she loves the “Sonya way” or the “Samuel way” or the “Melissa way”, and on and on, she is literally reinforcing in these young minds and hearts their ability to achieve, to problem-solve, to meet life head-on in any given situation. Truly, the sense of belonging and being liked by Miss Sharon causes the brains of these children to map success, victory, love and attachment, and in this manner our children are being given a hand-up into a future of endless possibilities and opportunities to cope and flourish, leading to
the conquering of hidden fears and traumas.

Finally, I can say with all assuredness that my daughter experiences healthy attachment with Miss Sharon; thus, she can trust Miss Sharon when she tells Sonya she can do something new and different. Sonya listens to, believes in and respects Miss Sharon’s authority. Because of all of this, Sonya has been able to create such beautiful art for her young age, and I know this beauty which is conceived in her mind and flows through her little fingers is an extension of her worth in God’s eyes, and as a mother and a human being, I marvel at the creation of the created. My daughter’s experience with Garden of Arts and her profound love and liking for Miss Sharon
bear witness to this mother's testimony.

For more information about enrolling your children or grandchildren in Garden of Arts, please contact Sharon Kuhn at 260-492-5602. 
 I highly recommend her!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sonya's Fund Raiser

Notice the beautiful art work on the side bar.  Stay tuned for further details to find out how YOU can support Sonya in raising the money she needs to go to China to bring her little sister home safe and sound.

The Aftermath

Witness with your very own eyes the ill effects of a garage-sale ravaged home!

Randy and I, with the Lord's help, have managed to survive two humongous fundraising sales.  Now comes the clean-up and return to some semblance of order, God willing!  Even our carpets need cleaned!  Ugh! 

Okay....can we have a drumroll, please?  This weekend we made $1,200.00 profit towards our little one's ransom!  Praise the Lord!  Folks, without Him, we wouldn't be doing this!  Without Him, we wouldn't have the COURAGE it takes to do this!

Just yesterday as Randy and I were on the final leg of the day, we were convinced that we were all garage-saled out, until today that is when we realized we have a couple more families stepping forward with a willingness to donate toward our next one....  So... maybe...another one in August?  Lord, help us!!!  But, we will do another one again if the Lord calls us to.

Btw, some of the money raised this weekend came from a couple private donors dropping by the sale specifically to make a monetary donation toward our adoption expenses.   And I am confident in both circumstances that these families were responding to the call placed on them by the Lord Himself.  "Thank you, families, for obeying the Lord!"

Between our church family , homeschool families, friends and neighbors we have been blessed with countless prayers, emotional support and donations of various kinds.  I really cannot imagine doing all of this without being able to lean on brothers and sisters in Christ at such a time as this.  "Thank you, Father, for bringing to the forefront of our lives so many people who have been Jesus to us with skin on."  

On a different note, I would like to mention that Sonya now knows how to whistle.  She started practicing yesterday evening, and whistled the entire time we were breaking down the garage sale (which took roughly two hours)!  No kidding, two hours non-stop.  Once in  a while, she might stop to ask, "How am I doing?  Do you think I'm getting any better?"  Then, as soon as we'd reinforce that we could hear an improvement, she'd go right on back to whistling.

Then today, the only break she took from practicing was at Sunday school and children's church.  But as soon as she was released...she went back to whistling!  Non-stop.
You gotta love that kid!

One more thing worth mentioning.  Late yesterday, as Randy and I worked together on breaking down the sale, with Sonya's help that is, we could hear the distant thunder and dark clouds looming overhead.  Just as we were finishing the clean-up, Randy made the comment that it would probably start raining now that we were through as he held out his hand and a drop of rain landed on it.  That is soooo God to do that! 

"Thank you, God, for caring about us so much that You would hold off the rain long enough to keep it a picture-perfect memory for us!  Thank you for helping us through all of this!  Even though we grow weary and discouraged when plans don't always go as we anticipate, we are still soooo grateful  for the opportunity to get to know Your ways through this journey You have taken us on!  Father, it hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it!  We want to continue to be faithful to You, and to give You all the credit for all of the good that is coming from this and all of the lives that are being touched and forever changed because of what You are doing in our lives!  Amen!"

And for all of you who are following our journey to Mei Mei, thank you for caring, and thank you for not making us walk alone!