Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yesterday was Genna's 12th birthday! Genna is one of Sonya's dear friends from church.   A couple families got together today following church service and gave Genna a little birthday party to celebrate her and to show her how much we love and appreciate her in our lives...

Genna is a dear girl.  From the time Sonya first started attending Waynedale Baptist Church Genna has been there for Sonya.  And Genna, being a little older, has elected to take Sonya under her wing.

So this post is dedicated to dear Genna!  It is obvious to all who meet her that the Lord loves her dearly, and He has His hand on her.  She belongs to Him.    

Genna is funny, quirky, pretty, brainy, kind, generous, happy, energetic, joyful, sweet and huggable!  Need i say more?! 

While looking at the following pictures from Genna's special little party, would you please take a moment to pray a special prayer for Genna and ask the Lord to guard, guide and protect Genna and keep her well always, and healthy and flourishing and thriving, in the Precious Name of Jesus! thank you!

Genna walking in with her mom, Cindy, behind her 

Genna LOVES turtles!  Compliments of Cherish

Thank you, everyone, for sharing in this VERY SPECIAL day with us!  "We love you, Genna!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Forever Family - A Waiting Child Adoption (Special Needs Older Child Adoption From China)

Dear readership,
Please take a minute and read this blog post from a dear family living in Canada who is adopting a sweet little boy in China. Their son's name is Lukai. This couple's first adopted child used to live with our daughter Feng Mei at Zhongshan Children's Social Welfare Institute. In the past few months, I've had the privilege of getting to know this family better via the Zhongshan yahoo group as well a couple of conference calls us mommas scheduled to pray for all of our children at Zhongshan, those at home and those whom we've yet to bring home. One thing I want you to know about this family - they love the Lord, and they are raising all five of their children to know and love the Lord as well.

Please read their post, and start praying. I will let Lukai's father explain everything as he can do it far better than I. Thank you for your prayers as I know many of you reading this right now know the wonderful, miraculous and healing power of prayer. Now, please, let us pray together and lift our prayers up to the Throne Room of God Almighty. Our Father answers prayers, and He keeps his promises. Always.

Forever Family - A Waiting Child Adoption (Special Needs Older Child Adoption From China)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Husband and My Best Friend

This post is dedicated to my husband who has always been my best friend and greatest ally - only I didn't always know it.

Ours is not a storybook romance where we met in our youth with a pure and naive outlook on life and love and commitment, ending in a marriage union resembling something more like an extended courtship.  Instead, we married later in life, i almost thirty-four and Randy forty eight.  We were both "set in our ways", and suffice it to say our first year of marriage was, shall we say, quite "interesting".... I will leave the rest to your imagination.  Alright, I will give you one clue - i was what one might refer to as a "handful". :-)

From the moment I first met Randy, though, over twenty years ago, I have loved him. Yet even as his wife of close to twelve years now, I haven't always known how to love him.  For much of my marriage, up until very recently as a matter of fact, I thought that by looking back at my past, way on back into my childhood, and seeking ways and means by which Randy could provide me with the security, protection and attachment I did not receive from my parents that somehow the "healing" I thought his behavior could secure me would give me some sense of how to be a "good" wife to him now. 

You see, I deduced, however erroneously, that since my parents were incapable of providing their twelve children a safe and godly upbringing free from great fear and sorrow, in order for me to truly know how to do a marriage "right", Randy was going to have to do some serious fixin' of what had been broken as a result of my parents' failure (and their parents' failure and their parents' parents' failure and on and on).  I ventured to believe that unless i got healed from all that pain, i would always be broken and struggle to know how to love my husband and parent my little Sonya well since no one had ever shown me how to do either.  Due to my impaired thinking, i have long sought to be understood by Randy so that he could "get" me.  If only Randy could get me, you see.....

then everything would be better....

then I could be the wife and parent I have always dreamed of being..... You get the picture.  It was all up to Randy.  Until...

the very beginning stages of our adoption process for Cassie, when stress levels in our marriage and family were probably at their all-time highest, you know - no money, no plan, no money -  I was getting seriously exasberated with the Father over the fact that he started me off in life by plopping me down into a dismal excuse for a childhood that never taught me anything about weathering the current "storm".  And i'm like, "God, seriously?  How am I supposed to do this?!  No one ever showed me how to be married.  No one ever showed me how to parent.  No one ever showed me how to do a family. No one ever showed me how to walk in faith...."

And the Lord responded, "I am showing you now." 

When I first heard these words, it was my very first clue that maybe, just maybe, looking back at my past for the answers was not only unnecessary, it was never going to get me where i wanted to go.  Reading these words in front of me, it seems like a no-brainer to me now, but back then, I still had some more growing to do in order to finally "get" what He was telling me. 

Digressing, in the adoption world, a child who is adopted at an older age is referred to as coming from a "hard place". Our little Cassie comes from a "hard place"; abandoned, rejected, alone, raised in an institution, left behind by all her friends who have been adopted before her, on and on....

Parenting such a child poses a challenge to even those who started off life on solid footing with parents who doted over them and met every one of their needs.  How then could i be expected by God to ever hope to reach my little Cassie and offer her any semblance of healing in her fractured little life if i didn't even have the assurance of stable childhood memories to cling to? 

And the Lord said, "The past holds nothing for you.  Turn to me now for help."

And then i got it!  Even though some people have found certain strength and buoyancy to face hard times in life by drawing on a life filled with love and attachment from the very beginning, that scenario will never be mine, no matter how many times i try to go back and redo it, undo it or fix it.  Rather, i must be willing to be completely delivered from my brokenenss by none other than God Himself.  No one no where can fix my brokenness.  No one no where can love me out of it. No one no where can ever "attach" to me enough to cure me, heal me, "get" me, etc.  Only God. Only God. Only God.

And God has... He has delivered me from the mire and entanglement of a worn-out, broken down , used up, sorry excuse for a past only because I was finally willing to let it go.  I have been delivered by God Almighty!  I have been given new tools to parent my daughters and love my husband.  I need only to turn to the Lord and ask for direction daily.   And let me just tell ya, God's way works a lot better than my way ever did.  Surprise, surprise, right?

It was suggested to me once that when I pray to the Lord regarding my husband that I ask the Lord to help me love Randy the way He wants me to love him and to help Randy love me the way He wants him to love me.   I can see the wisdom in this prayer now that I have been freed from placing Randy in a role to live out for my benefit.  God's ways are not our ways.  God's thoughts are not our thoughts.  They are BETTER.  God's plans for my marriage are far better than anything Randy or I could ever conjure up.  

God is doing a good work in our family and in our marriage right now.  This good work is a direct result of our desire to obey Him, and this good work is a part of the blessing.  I told Preacher the other day that we are obeying God not to receive  the blessings, but because we love Him. 

I LOVE GOD!  I LOVE JESUS!  "I LOVE YOU, JESUS!"  i haven't always.  I used to be pretty mad at Him.  I am not mad at Him anymore.  i am grateful to Him, and I am grateful He gave me Randy for a husband.  He is the perfect husband for me!   PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

If you are reading this right now, and you don't believe God exists or you don't believe that God loves you, please oh please, call out to Him and ask Him to show you that He is REAL.  He will give you a sign, and then He will ask you to confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, admit that you are a sinner and are in need of Jesus in your life.  Then, ask for forgiveness and repent of your sins.  I'm telling you right now, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!   FOR THE BETTER!!!!!

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."  Ezekiel 36:26


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Good News, PTL!!!

Dear family and friends,
I would like to share with you some very exciting news regarding the adoption of Cassie Mei and a further reminder to my family how God truly does care for and love the "least of these" by caring for and providing for every conceivable need adoptive families have, who love Him, to get their children home safely from foreign lands.  In the mail yesterday, we received a letter from God's Grace Adoption Ministry informing us that we have been approved for a $2,500.00 matching grant!!!!! 

What this means essentially is that monetary donations made out and sent to God's Grace Adoption Ministry on behalf of the Hoium family adoption will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2,500.00 by the same God's Grace Adoption Ministry.   

Potentially, with your help, we will receive a check from God's Grace Ministry in the amount of $5,000.00 once we have returned from China carrying in our arms our precious, little Cassie Mei.  Of course, in order for us to receive the full amount, $5,000.00, GGAM must receive $2,500.00 in donations on our behalf

It does not appear that GGAM has given us any specific deadline in writing for this "fundraiser", although i would surmise it best they receive your monetary gifts by the time we leave for China to bring our littlest home for good.  We are hoping and praying that we will travel in December.  Please continue to pray for us in this most crucial and delicate matter.

As always, please give only if the Spirit moves you to give.   We have been given so much support through prayer by so many people already who simply do not have one more dollar to spare outside of meeting their own family's basic needs.  Believe me when I tell you, we feel your prayers and your support and your love, and we are so deeply moved by your empathy and compassion for our situation and for our precious baby girl.  This precious child who has waited her whole life for a forever family and who really has no way of understanding just how much she is LOVED by so many individuals and families who have never even met her!   

Quoting from a letter God's Grace Adoption Ministry wrote on my family's behalf:

"The number of orphaned children in our world is staggering and yet for most, an adoptive family is a far away dream they will never realize.  GGAM believes that God himself has authored adoption as a very physical model of what He does for us spiritually when we place our faith in His Son, Jesus.  We become His children and are no longer spiritually orphaned!  We believe that the adoption of an orphaned child by a Christian family helps nurture them into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Many times the biggest obstacle between an orphaned child and an adoptive family is finances.   An adoption can cost between 20 and 30 thousand dollars!  While the Bible calls all believers in James 1:27 to 'visit the fatherless', not all families are called to adopt.  Many support in other ways, including financially and in prayer.  Randy and Cheryl have answered God's call to adopt and need our support. 

GGAM has committed to match your financial donations towards the Hoium's adoption "dollar for dollar" up to $2,500.  Donations are tax deductible (as allowed by law), and are paid to the adoptive family after placement of their child....

Will you please prayerfully consider partnering with us to help Randy and Cheryl finance this adoption?  To be eligible for the matching grant, donations must be sent to God's Grace Adoption Ministry with a reference to this family's adoption. 

For more information about God's Grace Adoption Ministry, please visit our web site at or email is at

Blessings in Christ,
Daring Denlinger
President, GGAM

GGAM address is as follows:
P.O. Box 4
Modesto, CA

The phone number for GGAM is (209) 572-4539; Tax ID# 77-0488466. 

Friends and family, thank you for taking part in this adoption in one way or another!  As always, we appreciate all that you've done for our family, and we appreciate that you are willing to open your hearts and your minds to a little orphan child half a world away who longs for love with a deep yearning to belong.  God has His hand on her, and He hears her cries.  Thank you for hearing her cries as well as surely you must know she is the face of the countless faces of orphaned children everywhere who have no one to call their own. 

Father in Heaven, All Praise, Honor and Glory be to You Through our Lord Jesus Christ!  I who was once an orphan child myself but now fully restored am eternally grateful to You in every single way!   How can i ever repay You for the countless blessings you have showered upon my family just in the past ten months?! You have changed who we are You have changed how we see things You have set our feet on solid ground You have shown us through our deep love for a child whom we do not even know what really matters in life!  Dear Father, please help Randy and me to continue to submit to Your Will and Your Way in faithful obedience to the path You have called us to and always, always, always give You the Full Glory.  May we never take a shred of credit for the miraculous  way You are working out every single financial detail in this adoption.  Truly without You, not only would we not have the vision to see the need, but we would not have the fortitude or wherewithal to make the vision come to pass.  In the Name of Jesus, i humbly beseech you this very day!  Amen and Amen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Greater Joy Mom: let's help a family!

Hi Everyone!

I feel motivated to share this blog post with you because in it you get to learn of many families who are adopting children all over the world and who need help to do it. Recently, some friends  who are also adopting shared with me that on occasion people will actually approach them and either imply or actually come right out and ask  them something like, "Why are you spending so much money on just one child? Do you really feel you are making a difference?"

Wow! I am soooo glad Jesus did not have the attitude that one life isn't worth it! He died for me. He died for you. He died for our neighbor, sister, brother and even for those who hate us. Each of us individually He died for. It's not a "group thing" with Jesus.

I also would like to add that often times, adoptive families go through much scrutiny by family, friends and the public for their decision to adopt, or i should say their decision to obey the call of the Lord and adopt. But these same people who find fault would never ever consider going up to their neighbor, friend or stranger on the street and imply or say something like, "Wow! I can't believe you just spent $40,000.00 on that car! It's only one car! And it's a gas guzzler on top of it!"

I want to convey to all of you right now just how appreciative I am that none of you have ever questioned my family in such an insensitive way. Instead, we've received an outpouring of love, compassion and empathy from you, and for that we are forever grateful! So, thank you for just being you, and understanding that when Jesus calls us to something, not only should we obey the call, but we should applaud and support one another in it.

No Greater Joy Mom: let's help a family!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanks for Asking!

Thank you for asking how Sonya's FUNdraising efforts are going to raise enough money to pay for her little sister's airline ticket home from China!  Before Sonya's FUNdraiser she had already raised $155.00 toward her little sister's one-way ticket to America.  She did this solely by selling her art work.  Then, with a lot of help from her friends, Sonya raised another $285.00 at her FUNdraiser Extravaganza back on September 17th!

So far, Sonya has raised $440.00 of the one thousand dollar goal.  $1,000.00, btw,  is the amount quoted to us for a child's one way ticket to America. 

Sonya is still selling art work if you are interested.  I have added two more prints to the home page.  Here is a preview!

Still Waters

The Beach

In a very short span of time, from March to September, the Lord has gathered for the cause of freeing Zhong Feng Mei $32,285.00!!!!!! 

We are looking at increased airline and hotel costs as we approach the end of the year, however (because it's drawing closer to the Chinese New Year, or at least that's the reason I've been told).  Additionally, because China changed some of their rules and regulations regarding post-placement adoption visits, our adoption agency had no choice but to raise their fees another $1,800.00 to cover their added workload.  Suffice it to say, we are still a little bit short of paying for the adoption in full.  My guesstimate?  Due to delay in travel and increase in adoption fees we are approximately $4,000.00-$5,000.00 short. 

The good news is we are still waiting to hear back from two adoption grant agencies, and we are hopeful it will be very soon!  And we are hopeful it will be good news!  Whatever the case, God keeps showing us He will cover it, and the best part of all, my family is not unique.  I've read on innumerable international adoption blogs about how the Lord will show up and cover the adoption costs down to the last penny and even sometimes at the eleventh hour.   

My hope and prayer has always been that God would use our experience to show families with a heart for adoption that it is possible to adopt a child or children without a reserve in the bank when the Lord is behind it. 

I am not entirely comfortable divulging what feels to be under "normal" circumstances highly private information surrounding the cost of this adoption.  However, I don't see how i can be anything but completely transparent with all of you when it is obvious to me and
Randy that all of this is the Lord's doing.  We can't even take credit for the idea of Cassie.  Yes, this is all the Lord's deal, and we want to make sure He receives the FULL GLORY for everything that unfolds since the beginning of our journey and from here on out. 

The Lord has always known the high cost of international adoption.  He knew before all was said and done this adoption would cost even more  than we originally anticipated in order to bring our little Cassie Mei home.   How merciful is our Father that he doesn't reveal too much too soon of His plans for us before He has prepared a way for us to succeed!  

I want to thank all of you for your prayers, your kind words, your emails and even your cut-out magazine articles on adoption that some of you have painstakingly carried on you until the time presented itself to give to me in person - just to let me know you're thinking of me and that you care!   

I have written a lot about our church, Waynedale Baptist, and how they have chosen to step up and walk right along beside us in this most difficult and at times JOYFUL journey to our littlest.  But now, I want to put the spotlight on Sonya's homeschool gym class.  Countless families have gone out of their way to share with me how our journey and its chronicling is touching them, changing and inspiring them!  Renewing a sense of hope in their hearts and minds that God is in the details, He does answer prayers, and He does have a Plan for each of us who are called according to His Purpose. 

Yes, God is in the details, and He knew what He was doing when He placed Sonya and me in the path of all these wonderful home school families who have not made us walk alone! 

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  I love you and i am grateful for you!   For All of you!  Your kindness AMAZES me!  It INSPIRES me!  YOUR kindness raises me up out of my human frailty and weakness and sets my eyes upon the possibilities of what God is calling me to in this hour and for this cause so that i may have something of value to give to you in return.  And through this the fellowship of the Body, May our Father in Heaven be glorified and exalted!

Friday, October 7, 2011

No Greater Joy Mom: just a mom

Oh, you really must read this post! It will inspire you, encourage you and give you peace and hope for being called "Mom" and fulfilling a place in your children's lives that no other shoes can fill. I love you all! Thank you for all the support and encouraging words you've shown my family. I really am SO GRATEFUL!!!

No Greater Joy Mom: just a mom

Monday, October 3, 2011

Last Year At This Time

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct they paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Last fall at this time, Sonya played soccer at Waynedale Baptist Church.  

At one of Sonya's games, September 18th to be exact, a tiny, little girl ran into my arms as i knelt near the ground and visited with her mother.  As i scooped this little one up and held her close to me, my heart registered a distant memory - oh, but to have another little girl to hold in my arms!  Who could have known back then that in that very moment, my life would change forever?  God knew, and He had planned it that way....

Who could have known that on September 19th, 2010, the very next day following Sonya's soccer game, for the very first time in this young girl's life, Zhong Feng Mei's records would be released for adoption?  And who could have known that on September 21st, 2010, only two days following the release of her files that when the Holy Spirit came to me as a great gust of wind, knocking me back on my heels, whispering, You have another daughter, He was speaking of beautiful Feng Mei, a little girl I had no earthly idea even existed?   

Because of my humanity, it didn't take me long to forget the Holy Spirit's words to me on September 21st, even though upon hearing them I immediately picked up the phone and called Randy at work to share the message.  I asked Randy, What do you think it means?  Honestly, we. did. not. have. a clue.

Until October came, and the Holy Spirit drew close to me and whispered very clearly
 the very same message yet with greater force and urgency,
You have another daughter! 

Once again, i immediately called Randy to share the very same message, but this time I had a thought.  Does this have anything to do with that little girl at the soccer game, Lord?  Because you see, I could not get her out of my mind.   Every day, i thought about her and i prayed for her.   I shared with Randy for the very first time some circumstances involving her situation which lead me to feel this precious little girl could very possibly need a family to take her in...

And then what happened? As before, i forgot all about it...Until

November rolled around, and one last time the Holy Spirit visited me while at work and whispered yet again passionately and forcefully, You have another daughter!

This time when I called Randy i asked him if we were to find out this little girl needed a home, would he be willing to give her one.  And without much thought he answered, "Yes".  Friends, this is why I love him so!

The following weekend, without revealing too much, let me just tell you I found out the parents of this little one were looking for help with their children, and I called them... I did not get them on the line that night, but i left a message asking them to call me.   I never heard back from them, and it felt wrong in my spirit for me to pursue it.  I was more than a little perplexed to say the least.  I did not understand.  Why, God, can I not get her out of my mind if I'm not supposed to help her?!

Until the following month, on December 6th, 2010, when I looked at the BEAUTIFUL, DELIGHTFUL, JOYFUL face of Feng Mei for the first time ever, and finally - knew that I knew that I knew - this is my daughter! 

And now for the very first time ever it all makes sense to me.   When the Holy Spirit visited me three times at the close of last year, approximately 30 days between each visit,  He was interceeding for Feng Mei, whom I have only recently discovered was never ever available for adoption until her file was released on September 19th, 2010, the day after i held that sweet little girl at the soccer field in my arms and recalled
 a distant longing.

 I do not even know her name, that sweet little girl I held in my arms and instantly fell in love with, but I know that God did not use her only for my family's benefit but for hers as well because even though I never learned her name, I pray for her still.  Friends, would you consider praying for her and her family too?

Incidentally, from the very start I learned that Feng means "wind" in my
daughter's native tongue.  God is in the details.  Please, let us remember that.

Picture taken of Sonya September 24, 2011 at her soccer game
When I was taking this picture of Sonya, I thought back to last year at this time, and marveled at the difference a year can make when we choose to obey the calling of the Lord.  Sonya has a little sister on the way, perhaps someone who will join her on the soccer field someday, but if not that's okay too. 
As the year 2011 draws on, please continue to pray for us.  I hope and pray to have Feng Mei home before Christmas as I know spending another Christmas without her would be quite painful.  To say Randy and I know for certain God's plans for when we will travel would be inaccurate.  We do not know.  We can only hope.  Please hope with us. 
 Please pray with us. 
Most recently, I was having one of those days when I couldn't figure out why it can't just "happen" so we can travel soon, until the Lord reminded me that Feng Mei doesn't belong to me.  She belongs to Him, and that she is on loan to Randy and me so that we can teach her how to trust Him fully, so we must trust in Him fully in the matter of this adoption, otherwise we really have nothing of value to teach her at all. 
A. hard. lesson. to. swallow.
So we are waiting again, For God's Purposeful Timing in the matter of rescuing Feng Mei from a life where she knows not love personally and up close.
Yet...we do love her so, and we are prepared as a family to embrace her into our world and shepherd her and be like Jesus to her, and some day, we get to share with our little girl how God perfectly orchestrated every. single. detail on her behalf because He loves her,
and she belongs to Him! 
Thank you, Father, for entrusting us with Sonya Yi and Feng Mei, two beautiful daughters to love and to raise up to know You and to teach how to follow You in perfect obedience even when the steps in front of us are unknown.  It is there when we are powerless and helpless that You. will. be. GLORIFIED!  Amen!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

No Greater Joy Mom: safely in the arms of Jesus

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for Zac's parents that God will bind and heal the wound in their hearts for the loss of their precious baby boy.

No Greater Joy Mom: safely in the arms of Jesus