Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is a Test!

I sent my good friend Angie Iden a blog today along with a couple of photos so she can learn to post for me while I'm in China in case I myself cannot access blogger from there.
Here are Cassie's newest photos in case you didn't get a chance to see them the other day. Signing off!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's All Starting to Come Together

I had the opportunity to book our flights today.  The final cost for air line tickets, including taxes, ended up being $1,100.00 more than my absolutely highest projection.  Sonya's was $800.00 more than anticipated and Cassie's $300.00 more. 

And I will be booking a hotel tomorrow.   Say a prayer for me, will ya?  We would really love to stay on Shamian Island at the new Victory Hotel.  It's supposed to be very nice yet affordable. I am not booking a room on my own but going through a travel agency (the same one we used for our flights) whom Hand in Hand recommends.  It's a little more expensive this way, but if we were to go it alone, we'd also have to make all of our own in-country travel arrangements on our own as well, and having a guide come and pick us up every single day and take us wherever we need to go during our two week stay in China while spending time with our two little girls together and getting to know eachother as a family will be money well spent. 

Two things to keep in mind, we are still selling Sonya's art treasures if you are interested and we now actually have until December 9th to raise the rest of the money for the $5,000.00 matching grant through God's Grace Adoption Ministry!  Details concerning our  matching grant can be found at the top of our side bar underneathe the picture of Cassie Mei holding her panda bear we sent her for her birthday. 

I received an email today from a woman whom I've never met.  She heard about our blog through a friend, has taken an interest in our journey to Mei Mei and is now donating some money for four of Sonya's art prints, and because she lives in town, we can deliver them to her home directly.  Praise the Lord for the angels He sends our way!

So many of you have been a constant source of support throughout this seemingly looong process, and i am grateful to all of you beyond words.  Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.  I thank you!  My family thanks you, and some day Cassie will be given an opportunity to thank many of you in person!

One last thing, the latest figures for Sonya's fundraisers are as follows: $500.00 towards her own airline ticket and $740.00 towards her sisters!  Initially Sonya's airline ticket was supposed to cost only $500.00, but it actually ended up costing $1,300.00.  So the girls' two tickets together ended up at $2,600.00, and Sonya has managed to raise $1,240.00 of it!  "Good job, Sonya!  You rock!"  And of course, we didn't do any of it without Jesus!

CA Set for December 21st!

Which means we will leave on December 9th and make it home just before Christmas!  Praise the Lord!  thank you for all of your prayers, support, concern and love for our family!  Without all of you, this road we've been traveling to get to Mei Mei would have been almost unbearable I think.  I know the Lord wants us to rely on Him and believe in Him and count on Him for everything, but He also is a merciful God and He doesn't expect any of us to walk it alone.  We are the Body, Christ is the Head, Amen!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Updates on Beautiful Feng Mei (aka Cassandra Mei)!

Well, the orphange was kind enough to send updated photos and measurements of Feng Mei.  YAY!  And our TA did arrive at the adoption agency today, so at least we now can request a CA (consulate appointment) and our agency is shooting for Friday, December 9th because the CAs which would cause us to leave on December 2nd are all taken.   I am praying for no later than December 9th because that would probably put us at getting home Christmas Eve, but at least the girls would be home for Christmas to open their gift and stocking.

Yes, you heard me right - one gift each.  Sonya has always received one gift from us at Christmas and a stocking to go with it, and I bet you ten dollars she can tell you exactly what she got every year for the past three at least.  And when she opens her gift, she is always very grateful.   Sonya still rides her red scooter around the house that we gave her last Christmas!

We tell Sonya that the one gift represents the gift freely given by Jesus Christ when He came to earth, born of a virgin, destined to die on the cross at Calvary for our sins, and through His atoning blood alone shed for us alone, we can experience eternal salvation.  Randy and I are now looking forward to sharing this simple yet meaningful tradition with our second child and baby girl.

You see, in my cleaning business, I've seen so many children through the years go from wanting very little in the way of material possessions, rather desiring the simple love and time spent with family, only to grow into constant consumers wanting more and more, seeking new and better ways to have "fun" and fit in, never being satsified with what they've been given.  Time and time again, I've seen these same children grow into teenagers who feel it their rightful place to berate their parents for not measuring up to so and so's parents when it comes to gift-giving at Christmas time or any other time of the year for that matter. 

You know, if you've ever spent any time with me, you'll see I'm not perfect and I have my many flaws.  But hopefully, in this area, Randy and I are doing things right by keeping our children from seeking after the ways of the world when it comes to having everything the world says is important to have in order to be truly happy.     

So with no further delay, here are the three pictures we just received this morning of Cassie!

According to their measurements, Cassie is 44.9 inches tall; Sonya is 46.5 inches tall.  Cassie weighs 44 pounds; Sonya weighs about that much.  And Cassie's feet measure 6.7 inches; Sonya's are 7 inches. That means perhaps Cassie wears a size 10 shoe, while Sonya wears a size 11.  If these measurements are accurate, Cassie is the size we imagined her to be.  Oh, how I cannot wait to wrap my arms around that little girl and find out for myself! 

Oh and how could I forget?  This is what the Z orphanage had to say about our little girl!
 "She is very smart. She talks well. She gets along well with other kids."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sonya's Fundraiser Update

Just a quick note to let you know Sonya has raised $650.00 toward her $1,000.00 goal to pay her sister's air line ticket home!  I just this morning received another order via email by a family we have never even met!  Friends, this happens quite a bit, and not only do these "strangers" report how much they love Sonya's art work, they share about how much they appreciate her heart as well. 

Once Sonya has reached her goal on her sister's behalf, she has big plans to create other various art forms to continue to raise money to help orphans around the world to make it home to their forever families.  As Sonya's mother, it is obvious to me that Sonya has a heart for orphans as she goes about her Father's business.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dolls for Sale!

Hi everyone!  I have a friend Judy whose husband and she are adopting two precious little girls from China, both from Cassie's orphanage.  If you or someone you know love dolls, then check out Judy's adoption fundraiser.  These dolls would make great Christmas or birthday gifts!  Aren't they just absolutely A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.!!!

 I will let Judy take it from here! 

Whats up: A BIG fundraiser….well a fundraiser with big hopes.Calico Pie (, a tiny shop on Etsy with a big heart, is donating 50% of it’s sales to help with an adoption journey. Calico Pie makes hand sewn soft cloth dolls that are baby safe and mama friendly (that means 100% washable).

When: On the Monday after Thanksgiving. This is the equivalent of Black Friday to the online businesses.

Who: Troy and Judy Deaton from Kansas are adopting 2 girls from China, 4 yr old Wren Da Yu, who is deaf; and 4 yr old Iley XiaoKui, who has a heart condition & needs surgery.

Why: There are 147 million Orphans in the world that need families. The biggest obstacle between the orphan and their forever family is expense. It costs between $20,000 and $40,000 for each adoption. Please help us raise the ransom for these two little girls to come home.

What you can do: Spread the word to all your friends to help us bring business to Calico Pie.

OR: You can make a tax-deductible donation directly to:
Brethren Charity Fund (BCF)
PO Box 365
Brookville, OH 45309

Please note: ** "Troy & Judy-adoption" on check memo line**

Troy and Judy are using GWCA as their agency. They have a private blog. If you are interested in visiting their blog, email Judy at and introduce yourself. She will send you an invitation.

If you have any questions you can email Judy at or Shauna Horneman at and they will be happy to answer your questions!

Thank you so much for your care and support of the orphans of the world by shopping with purpose this Christmas season!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Update On Our Family's Fundraising Endeavors

Don't forget to scroll down our side bar until you come to Sonya's art "treasures".  Or you can go to   Her prints are for sale and are inexpensive at that, and as one art enthusiast put it yesterday while viewing Sonya's art work live, "These are so much more beautiful in person!"

And if you would like a chance to win three of Sonya's art pieces please visit my friend Kelly's blog at  So go visit Kelly, and she will share with you the details! 

Remember to email me with your order for prints at They make beautiful birthday and Christmas gifts!!

Also, I just now learned that God's Grace Adoption Ministry will be accepting donations for the matching $5,000.00 grant only until the day we travel, which is Friday, December 2nd, 2011. 

If you are considering making a donation toward our adoption costs through God's Grace Adoption Ministry so that your tax-deductible donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2,500.00, please consider doing it now.  If you check out our side bar at the very top, you will see that we are only $1,500.00 short of our goal amount of $2,500.00.  

You will want to make your check out to God's Grace Adoption Ministry and verify in the memo section that your donation is to be put toward the Hoium Adoption. 
Please mail your donation to:
God's Grace Adoption Ministry
P.O. Box 4
Modesto, CA

If you have any questions for GGAM, you can contact them at or by telephone at (209) 572-4539. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So Much to Catch Up On!

Before i tell you all about it, I want to share with you what's happening for Sonya.  A very sweet and incredible woman by the name of Kelly Raudenbush is showcasing news of Sonya's work and heart on her blog this weekend, not only to help Sonya raise money for her little sister's airline ticket, but to give her readership an opportunity to spend their hard-earned money wisely and purposefully this holiday season.  So please, stop on over to Kelly's blog at and check out all of the families she is showcasing this holiday season, and check out what she has to say about Sonya while you're at it.  

And just as a reminder to you all, we are still busily selling Sonya's art work.  If you want to take a peak and perhaps even purchase a print or  two, take a look and then email me at with your order along with your name and address so i can get your prints to you in the mail without delay.  Simply scroll down the side bar until you come to Sonya's beautiful work.  As i've said before, you're gonna LOVE it hanging in your home, and more importantly I think you can feel good about what is motivating her to sell it.  Simply put, my Sonya wants to play an integral part in bringing her little sister home.  

Okay, now on to the story i promised you.  It's a story of the incredible unfolding and working out of God's intimate detail within the very core of a Plan He breathed life into out of His infinite GRACE and MERCY.  He is willing and able to extend to His children whom he loves and whom He delights miracles beyond our human frailty and narrow comprehension of the fullness of His TRUTH.  We get but a glimpse of it, friends, and when we do, it knocks us off our feet and down on our knees, trembling and crying and thanking Him for His goodness and His deep love which we are sure we do not deserve.  Who but God would ever do this for us?!  

As you might know, Randy and I believe God is still in the miracle-working, mountain-moving business.  We believe with every fiber in our being that God plans on healing our baby fully, and He has already begun the process as evidenced within the supernatural occurrence in a heavenly realm just beyond our mortal reasoning which took place at Waynedale Baptist Church back on Sunday, August 14, 2011 when God's Holy Angels swooped down and carried on their wings our Church prayer directly to the Throne Room of God Almighty, and within less than a split second the Holy Spirit visited our daughter just where she sat at the orphanage in China and He touched her on her heart.  And this mama knows it's true, because this mama felt it and saw it. 

Truthfully, it took me a few days to even grasp what had happened that night let alone put words to it.  And still, even when i try to wrap mortal words around what took place that night within the Body of Believers who prayed in Faith for the complete healing of a precious little girl whom we've never even met, my words cannot touch the beauty or substance of God's astounding works! 

Even with our belief in our Father and in His ultimate plan for this little girl, my little girl, Sonya's little sister, Randy's beautiful baby daughter, when i saw her blue lips in the pictures which had just been taken last week by a dear mother visiting Cassie's orphanage, my heart in all honesty sunk.  That next morning, that would be Friday morning,  I emailed the adoption agency to see if we could expedite Cassie's adoption because at that point all I could think about was getting her in to see a specialist.  It wasn't until Monday when i heard back from the agency.  Suffice it to say, the weekend was difficult as it gave the adversary time to plant seeds of doubt within me that I ever heard God correctly to begin with. 

By Monday morning, i emailed the agency again and this time asked them if I could get a letter from a pediatric cardioligist confirming Cassie's need to get home soon, might this help to expedite her adoption?  I have been aware that as we approach the U.S. holidays and Chinese New Year it was becoming increasingly possible that we would not be given travel permission until the beginning of January, 2012.   I did hear back from the agency on Monday afternoon, and it was agreed upon that if i could have my doctor draft a letter stating the need to expedite the adoption, it would then be immediately sent on to the CCWAA through Hand in Hand's contacts in China.    

At that point, there was only one problem - we didn't have a doctor for Cassie yet.  We've never even shown her medical records to a specialist ever.  I had planned on waiting for TA before contacting a doctor but really had no clue where to even start.  I knew there was one pediatric cardioligist in Fort Wayne and wondered if i were to call him would he be open to viewing Cassie's records for free and then fashion a letter on her behalf to get her home quickly?  I called and left a message, but really i couldn't just sit around and wait for that phone to ring.  I had to do something.  I called a friend who has had experience with some heart doctors to get her advice.  I remembered she dealt with some doctors in Indianapolis recently.  Now, normally, this friend seems prone to have her address book at her fingertips, but such was not the case that day.  At best, she could throw out a couple of names, but that was about the extent of it.  Later, i would recognize God did not want her to have an answer for me.

Still waiting to hear back from the Fort Wayne doc, I called a doctor's office here in Fort Wayne who specializes in child and infant care and asked if they had any suggestions for a pediatric cardioligist. The nice woman who answered the phone gave me the number to the doc I had already left a message for, so i inquired if she knew of any doctors in Indianapolis.  She did give me a phone number, but when i called it, it was no longer in service.  So I wasted no time in hitting the internet in search of a doctor who would be willing to look at Cassie's records A.S.A.P.  By this time, it was well passed two in the afternoon, and I was feeling the pressure. 

As some of you may know, I belong to a yahoo group for the families who have or are adopting from the Zhongshan Children's Welfare Institute in Zhongshan City, China.  Rather than recount everything from here on out twice I will share with you what I told them:

I have great news everyone! Because of Feng Mei's blue lips, i got in contact with a doctor who is going to write a letter asking that the CCWAA expedite our adoption so that she can receive further treatment in America as in right now. So the good news is he says her prognosis, judging by her records and how healthy she looks, despite the blue lips, is very positive.

He and his wife have adopted twice from China, and his wife just landed in Beijing. She is going to be there for a month training doctors. He also said he will give me the contact information of a couple of cardiologists in Guangzhou in case we need to call about any concerns for Cassie, but he feels we will not have any problems.

The other good news is that he is a man of faith, and I told him that the Lord plans on healing Feng Mei whether through an all-out miracle or through a surgeon's hands. He was in total agreement, and he told me about five times how beautiful Cassie is so of course, i love this guy!

The last part that is so amazing was that my faith in myself was waivering today. I didn't lose faith in God, but i lost faith in my ability to hear God correctly. The devil had me by the throat it felt like.

I called Randy, and he said a most beautiful prayer, and he told the Lord he has complete faith and it is the only thing that makes sense to him. We talked later, and I asked him how was his faith, this is before the doctor called, and he said he was feeling completely at peace with everything and he knew it was all going to work out and that Cassie is going to be completely well...

So PTL for husbands and doctors who believe in the miracle-working power of our Lord Jesus Christ even when us ladies, I'm speaking for myself here, are getting our behinds kicked in by the adversary!
Thanks for listening and for rejoicing with me! We will have the letter tomorrow and then as soon as I email it to the adoption agency they will email it to the CCWAA. Now let's see what God has in store. Cheryl

Later i shared with the Z group:
I told Randy tonight the highlight of my day is when he stood in faith unwaiveringly, never doubting for a minute that God intends on healing our baby. And yes, that God is working even when I'm in a funk.... Only God could have arranged it for me to call a practice and get a doctor on the line who was not only willing to look at Cassie's records for free but who has adopted twice from the same country and who has such a positive outlook on her condition and who has faith and gives credit to God for healing and doesn't take it for himself and who just happens to have connections for us in Guangzhou of doctors who would be willing to help if we had trouble, which I had just been praying to God about all this past week to find us a doctor in Guangzhou because I didn't have a clue about where to start... I could go on, but you get the picture. Only God. Love, Cheryl

Once I knew the letter was emailed to China I called various friends to share the good news and to ask for prayer.  I also shared my initial consternation at not thinking of involving a doctor in this sooner in order to get Feng Mei home sooner, but the truth of the matter is, I wasn't ready before now to call a doctor and be willing to hear what he had to say about Feng Mei's condition.   Until that point, until I saw her blue lips, I wasn't willing and I wasn't able.  And the reason the devil had a shot at me the day i was waiting to hear back from this wonderful doctor in Indianapolis was because I feared a doctor would tell me she was inoperable.  I cried hysterically before I thought to call Randy that day and ask him to pray for me, and it was he who believed.   It was Rrandy who had the faith.  It was Randy who walked in the faith that day, not me. 

And soon following, the first thing that doctor said to me when he got me on the phone after five o:clock early evening Monday, "She really looks healthy.  She's beautiful." 

Whew! What relief!  What JOY!  And yes, even in my funk, even in my desperation, God was still behind the scenes working out His Plan.

I hope this Z mama won't mind if i share something she wrote today involving this whole situation and the resultant speeding up of getting Feng Mei home because of it.  I think what she has to say sums it up quite succinctly:   

CHERYL.... I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, but that's not true... I DO BELIEVE it! It is so evident that God planned it was time for Cassie to be home and for you to be the one fighting for your babe! Such a blessing that HE gave you the glimpse you needed to turn up the fire and speed it on! What an amazing testimony of His moving mountains all of a sudden....Thank you.

Thank you all, once again, for allowing me to share with you my heart unobscured.  As one of my nieces used to love saying while growing up, "You're the best!"  

TA TA TA TA TA!!!!!!!!

It's looking like we'll be flying out December 2nd which means we will be home with both our daughters for Christmas!!!  "Thank you, Lord, for prayers answered!"

I promise, I will share more later. But for now I need to start getting organized for travel.  I've been packing our carry-ons, but it's now FINALLY time to pull our BIG suitcase out of the closet!  "Thank you, Jesus!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Update on Cassie's Condition

As of Tuesday our time and Wednesday China time, a letter was or will be either emailed or hand-delivered to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) by a representative of Hand in Hand International Adoption Agency.  This letter is written by a pediatric cardioligist on behalf of our daughter, Cassandra Mei, dated November 15, 2011 recommending that Cassie's adoption be expedited:

RE: Adoption of Zhong Feng Mei by Hoium Family

To whom it my concern,

Mr. and Mrs. Hoium of Ft Wayne, Indiana are in the process of adopting Zhong Feng Mei (DOB September 24, 2004) who is currently residing in the Children’s Welfare Institute of Zhongshan City, Guangdong, China.

I have personally reviewed Zhong Feng Mei’s medical records. Feng Mei was born with complex congenital heart disease. This heart disease is still present and appears to cause cyanosis (lower than normal oxygen saturation). In addition Feng Mei seems to have occasional episodes of fast heart rhythm.

It is my medical expert opinion that Feng Mei would greatly benefit from evaluation and treatment of her heart disease in the United States as soon as possible. Due to the seriousness of her condition I would kindly ask to expedite the adoption.

As Cassandra's mother, this is very good news indeed.  Additionally, I would like to add that this particular doctor also considers Cassandra's condition very treatable, and he commented several times on how healthy she looks in her pictures in spite of her blue lips! 

There is a story behind this "chance" encounter with this particular doctor where once again God showed up in the minutest of details. I will need to share with you at a later date as it is way passed my bedtime, and I must get some sleep, but I will share soon.  

Please continue to pray for Cassandra.  Pray we will be traveling well before the end of 2011 to bring her home so that as her parents, Randy and I  can obtain the medical intervention she needs.  And always remember God is in this.  He is up to His neck in this, and He is going to see us through to the very end.  Thank you again for your continued prayers and support. 

Also, Sonya has raised another $115.00 towards her little sister's airline ticket home!  YAY!  She is needing another $450.00 to reach her $1,000.00 goal.  Thank you to all who have thus far contributed to this endeavor.  And might i mention that as Sonya's mother, you will love her art work.  You will love it in your home, and probably more importantly you will love the story behind why she is selling it. So don't forget to visit our side bar and scroll down until you come to Sonya's prized art collection, prints for sale. 

BTW, name one thing these two sisters have in common.  I will give you one guess....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pray in Faith!

Hello everyone!  Actually, I was planning on giving you an update on the progress Sonya is making on selling her art work for sissy's plane ticket home, but right now i feel there is more of a pressing need to ask for prayer for our sweet, gentle little Cassie Mei.  A Zhongshan mom visited Zhongshan orphanage this week and sent pictures of Cassie Mei last night.  Even though Cassie was full of smiles and very active, even balancing herself up on the bed rail to get to the next crib, nonetheless her lips were very blue.  It is very obvious that they are blue, yet the last two times we've received pictures of her, she has looked fine. 

We, Randy and i, are asking for your prayers this very moment.  We, Randy and I, believe God when He spoke He will heal her.  We do not pretend to know in what fashion our Father will do this.  Whether through an all-out miracle or through guiding the surgeon's hands, He will heal our baby, but right now, we are asking for your prayers in this matter.  Please pray in faith.  The Lord is listening with a willing ear.  Please especially pray for this mother's heart who is being asked to wait a while to be with her youngest. 

And in all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  Matthew 21:22

That's my girl! Just like her big sister. Like Angela, the Z mom, said "Cheryl, you have a climber on your hands!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As We Approach Our Final Leg of the Journey to Cassandra...

Hello!  As you might recall, Sonya is all about raising her own money to pay her sister's way home from China.  She wants to be a part of it, ALL of it.  She loves her baby sister so!  Now, how can a mother say no to that?! 

So without further delay, here is Sonya's art work she is selling for the cause of Zhong Feng Mei.  The originals are in acrylics or pastels, but we are selling prints only copied on quality photo paper.  Please enjoy, and if you feel so inclined, email me at with your order, and I will be sure to put your prints in the mail for you the very same week.  All proceeds will go directly toward Feng Mei's airline ticket.  Sonya has raised $440.00 thus far, so she only has $560.00 to go!  YAY!!!!
"Flowers in a Basket" $7.00 minimum donation

"Flowers in a Vase" $5.00 minimum donation

"Basket Full of Apples" $5.00 minimum donation

"Cactus in a Pot" $5.00 minimum donation

"Water Lilies" $5.00 minimum donation

"Happy Flowers in a Bowl" $5.00 minimum donation

"The Beach" $5.00 minimum donation

"Still Waters" $5.00 minimum donation

"Cattails" $7.00 minimum donation

Our second fundraiser involves a matching grant from God's Grace Adoption Ministry.  GGAM is willing to match us dollar for dollar up to $2,500.00!  On our side-bar, we have a thermometer showing the amount of donations sent in so far to GGAM on behalf of the Hoium family adoption.  All donations are tax-deductible.  

If you feel so inspired, please send your tax deductible donation to:

 God's Grace Adoption Ministry
 P.O Box 4
 Modesto, California

When sending in your check made out to GGAM make sure to write in the memo a reference to the Hoium family adoption.

If you have any questions for GGAM, you can email them at

Now, here's the crazy, beautiful, awe-inspiring part of our story which, btw, only began on December 5, 2010.  God raised for the cause of beautiful Feng Mei over $32,000.00 initially.  Due to delayed travel and increases in our adoption agency and China fees, we have $5,000.00 to go.  If we match this grant dollar for dollar, our adoption expenses will be met.  So whether you feel inspired to purchase some of Sonya's art work to off-set her little sister's airline ticket or you support the matching grant, God is going to cover it one way or another, and not a dime too much or too little.  I BELIEVE this!

Please help us bring our littlest home!  And please pray for December travel. 

Thank you as always!  i know many reading this may not feel you can support us financially, and that's okay.  Perhaps money is tight or you feel lead to support another adoption.  In any event, we truly covet your continued prayers in the matter of bringing our Cassie Mei home safely and soundly for keeps!  Love, Cheryl

The following picture was taken over the summer with Cassie Mei seated to the far left.