Friday, June 24, 2016

Adoption #2 -- It's all coming together

It's been ages since I've updated this blog.  Who has the time?  Life has been full with our little sunshine girl, and sitting down means missing out on the life that is going on with her.  Plus, she really likes the computer and I wouldn't get anything done if I tried to write!  I use to write at night when we were going through her adoption process...but that is cherished time now!  ZZZzzzz......

So, why write today?

Mainly, because I felt the Lord really moving today.

We are in the process of adopting our second child from China.  Jesse is from the same region as our daughter.  We have completed the home study phase and now we are working through the final stages with our dossier now in China.  We started the process in October of 2015 and if prayers are answered...we might could travel as early as October of this year.  Maybe.  If you know the adoption process, time frames mean nothing!

We knew, from the moment we saw the picture of Jesse, that he was our son.  Same thing happened with our Sue Ling...God just seems to speak to your heart and you just "know".  We had been considering an older child at the time.  But peace just wasn't there.  Unexpectedly, God would direct us to a little boy that was turning a year old at the time.  When we asked to see his file, we would learn that he was from a neighboring city from where our Sue Ling was from.  If we could adopt him, our children would share the same area of birthplace and culture.  Amazing!  When we asked to put his file on hold, we learned that another family had already done the same thing and were considering him.  We waited a LONG week hoping, and trusting, that we would have a chance to his file.  I just knew the family would choose him as their son...but at the same time, I had the Lord whispering in my ear to "trust Me".   I just knew he was our son.  And, hot dog, wouldn't you know they did not choose to go forward with adopting Jesse!!!  We did!

So, time has gone by and here we are getting closer to travel!  We have been able to talk with people that have met Jesse and have sent us pictures.  This was a huge blessing for us with Sue Ling, and has again proven to be a confirmation for us with Jesse.  Not everyone gets that blessing...we are so grateful.

All along I have been looking at his pictures and file and have struggled to feel "connected".  I know he is ours.  The Lord has confirmed it in my heart....but I don't know.  It just feels different from last time.  I would day dream about Sue Ling and the life we would have with her.  With Jesse, it's been a struggle to do that.

Lord, when will I feel like his Mama?  Will I ever feel like his Mama?  Lord help!

And so, it happened today.  6.24.2016.

We have been getting pictures lately...but today the Lord pricked my heart and the flood gates opened.  Jesse is blessed to be in a small foster home that houses several children in their care.  It is a ministry out of California that cares for orphans.  We have the ability to talk with families that are connected with this home.  We get glimpses of Jesse from time to time when pictures are posted.

This morning I woke to find some new pictures posted.  As I scrolled the pictures, I began to recognize a person in the photos!  When we traveled to adopt Sue Ling, we traveled with a family...the mother's name was Audra.  I knew they were adopting again and that she was traveling to China...but there she was standing in the same room with Jesse!!  (Mouth hit the floor!)  I was so excited that I immediately went to facebook hoping to send her a message...and pray she would be able to access it from China!

A little time passed and I was running around town doing errands.  I was parked, checking facebook, when I saw a response back from her husband, Joe.

Please tell Amy I will message her more with info when u have time and can get the VPN to work. Tell her- her Jesse is adorable and I loved on him and gave him a kiss for his Momma and told him his Momma loves him!!

 I don't know the mysteries of God.  But in that moment, my heart was opened wide to this little boy.  I have loved him, but at times it has felt that I have loved him as a stranger.  A distant child that God was claiming as mine.  A child that has a sad beginning, but that God continues to confirm...He will not have a sad ending.

As I read Joe's messages, I began to weep.  I knew in my heart that I really was Jesse's Mama and Audra's words were true.  I did love him and wanted him to know that!  I was so grateful that she was there and was loving on my child for me.  As I cried, I heard the song on the radio:

Before I call
Before I ever cry
You answer me
From where the thunder hides
I can't outrun
This heart I'm tethered to
When every step
I collide with You

Like a tidal wave
Crashing over me
Rushing in to meet me here
Your love is fierce
Like a hurricane
That I can't escape
Tearing through the atmosphere
Your love is fierce

You cannot fail
The only thing I've found
Is through it all
You never let me down
You don't hold back
Relentless in pursuit
At every turn
I come face to face with You

You chase me down
You seek me out
How could I be lost when
You have called me found

"Fierce" by Jesus Culture, ping, ping, ping......
Riding down the road, my phone pings with each photo Joe sends me.  Then comes floods of videos for me to fall in love with.  Like a tidal wave...God was showing me His fierce love.  We praise you God!

Then when I came was the message on the flip pad:

God, you have chosen the children for us.  I know that your decisions are right.  Your promises are always faithful.  Thank you for holding me tight! 

How can Jesse be lost when You have called him found!

This I want to treasure in my heart.

Friday, July 31, 2015

There have been so many things going on in our lives....but not enough time to sit down and write!  Eventually I will find time to do some updating.  But until then, here are a few things that we have been doing:

We took pictures with Jennifer Rutledge this month.  Check out her gift of photography at  Sue Ling is the cover picture for her new Sessions of Hope.  Jennifer captured some wonderful pictures of our girl!

We were also given the pleasure of sharing some of our story on a web magazine called  Our friend Shelley Powers is using her gifts to put a little positive on the web.  The response we received from the article was overwhelming!  (At last count, our story has been shared 6,000 times on facebook).  We have been able to get in contact with people that have met Sue Ling.  People that share the same rare syndrome.  And families that have been touched by disabilities.  Sue Ling is making an imprint on many people, near and far.  Here is the article that, I hope, will encourage you to remember that "Kindness Matters".  Make a difference in your world.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunshine has come

Sunshine has arrived at the Hillman house!  Sue Ling's presence brings nothing but joy every day we have been together.  It's hard to believe that we have been a family for almost two months now.  It feels like this child has been ours for a lifetime...and I would believe Sue Ling would say the same about us.  We have been just waiting for God to put us together. 

My first initiation into motherhood was within four minutes of meeting Sue Ling.  I had to take her to the restroom!  I was actually excited about this experience because I knew that I was now "officially" a Mama.  I cried on the way to the bathroom.  Since that moment, when we met for the first time, I have been filled with unbelievable joy.  I have experienced happiness in my life, but I don't know if I have experienced this kind of joy.  The Lord has blessed us beyond measure.  All the personal struggles, the past, the disappointments, the hurts...He has taken those things away and has replaced everything with so much love.  So much happiness.  So much.  I constantly sit in awe that He would allow us, two broken people, the privilege of be parents to this amazing girl.  Wilson has said it before, and I agree with him, that kisses and hugs from Sue Ling is like being loved on in person by God.  Her love is like a smidgen of what heaven will be like.  A speck of the depth and width of His love for us.  My life has been forever changed by adoption.  I see and experience my relationship with the Lord in a different way now....He has taught me so much about Himself through this process.  His ways and His plans are perfect. 

The sermon today at church was an emotional one to sit through for me.  Mother's Day.  Although I feel like, and know, that this child is completely mine, I couldn't help but think of her biological mother as I got ready for church today.  Sue Ling is my child.  Yes, she came to us through the way of adoption, but the moment that sunshine walked through the doors of the hotel...she was instantly ours.  The pain of waiting for her was like pregnancy and birth pains.  The moment we saw each other, face-to-face, was the moment I touched and felt my baby for the first time.  I can't explain into words what that feels like, but I know other adoptive mothers understand.  That child was birthed out of our hearts just as much as a baby that comes from a womb.  But on this first Mother's Day, I couldn't help but say a little prayer for the woman that has given me the opportunity to be the Mama to this little sunshine, my daughter Sue Ling.  The sermon was on Exodus 2 and the mother of Moses.  When she could care for him no longer, she ultimately allowed God to take her baby on a journey into the unknown.  She showed such courage and faith.  God had a plan for Moses, and He cared for Moses even when he was abandoned in the basket on the riverbank of the Nile. 

Sue Ling was abandoned, but also not unseen by our Mighty God.  Her biological family allowed her to be placed in an area where she would be found...they gave her a chance of hope.  But the God of Hope knew the story all along...just as He knew Moses'.  He had a plan and purpose for Moses...and I know He has one for our sunshine girl. 

So, as this Mother's Day came to a close...I found myself assisting Sue Ling in the bathroom this afternoon.  A wave of emotion flooded over me as she smiled with those dimples and gave me kisses.  The ugly cry came out.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness to my God for giving me a beautiful child.  I was honored to be apart of the many mother's being loved on today.  I was saddened to know that Sue Ling's biological mother will never know how much joy this girl brings to this world.  And I was overwhelmed that God would allow me to be her mother, and the recipient of such joy and love.

I know Wilson had to be confused to why I was breaking down in the bathroom when he came to see what was going on.  He just held me while Sue Ling rubbed my arm and asked me if I was okay.  I loved that moment.  Being able to reassure her that Mama was fine, and that I was just so stinking happy....and that Sue Ling would always be my daughter and I will love her forever.  Forever. 

Lord, on this Mother's Day, I pray that you will allow me as many years as possible to enjoy this "Sunshine" in my life.  I praise you for your love, care and perfect plan.  I pray for mothers that have made painful sacrifices, and for those that have been blessed from those sacrifices.  I pray for those women that would love to be mothers...give them the comfort only you can give.  And last, thank you for giving us mothers that have poured their lives into ours. 

Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Let us go into the house of the Lord and worship

Today was a special day.  It was the last the last time that we would enter our church as two.  The next time we see the sweet faces of our church, we will have become three.  What a strange feeling.  My heart was full and I fought back tears all day.  Our pregnancy is finally over...the due date is in sight.  These are the reflections of this special day:

But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Psalm 5:7

"O Worship the King"  --  Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail:  Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
"Because He Lives" --  How to sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride, and joy He gives; But greater still the calm assurance, This child can face uncertain days because He lives.  Because He lives I can face tomorrow; Because He lives all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.
"Give Me Jesus" -- Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus; You can have all this world, but give me Jesus.
"Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone" -- My chains are gone, I've been set free.  My God, my Savior has ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy rains, Unending love, Amazing grace.  The Lord has promised good to me His word my hope secures.  He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
"I Surrender All" -- All to The, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
"Doxology" --  Praise God, from whom all blessing flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son , and Holy Ghost. Amen
Dr. Eldridge brought the message from Matthew 6:19-24.  Reminding us that our goal is not to store up treasures for ourselves on this earth.  Rest assure we will be disappointed when it is destroyed or stolen, and we realize our hope was in things that are fleeting.  But our hearts should be striving to store up things in Heaven, eternal treasures.  Realizing that our hope is in the Lord, and that is something that can never be destroyed nor taken away.  Dr. Eldridge also pointed out that so many that have gone before us (and many now) have given sacrificially to store up treasures of eternal value.  They have invested in peoples lives, the church, and in ways they won't even realize on this side of heaven.  I couldn't help but think about the treasures that have been given to us, and to Sue Ling, by so many fellow members of the body.  You have all stored up eternal treasures by giving us the ability to bring home Sue Ling.  A week from now, she will walk out of a gate of an orphanage and be given the opportunity of life.  To hear the Gospel.  To know our great God!  There will no longer be the chains of a broken past that will keep her bound.  She will be given a new life with a family, and a new hope for a future with the Lord.  He has shown us great love and mercy through this experience.  We know He has tremendous plans for her life.  And if I haven't said it a million times...we are so blessed to be given the privilege to be apart of it.  We are so unworthy.
After church, I came home and watched "Amazing Grace" for the first time.  The story of William Wilberforce.  He spent his life agonizing and fighting for the abolishment of slave trading.  And what is amazing...he saw victory over slave trading come to pass.  What a powerful story.  I turn my gaze to the heavens and hope for the day when there will no longer be any orphans.  I know this will not happen on this side of heaven.  But if I could dream, it would be to see families raise up and fight for a child that has come from brokenness.  To love them with a love that Christ has shown to us.  To establish family, security, and hope into the hearts of every child.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  Victory will come one day, and He will be riding on a white horse.  He will fight for us today, and He will bring victory over brokenness in the future.  We wait for that day. 
"For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”  Deuteronomy 20:4
"How Deep the Father's Love" -- 
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
"Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success." -- William Wilberforce

She is coming home!

We are so excited to announce that Sue Ling will be coming home by the end of March!  We will meet her on March 16th.  We can't wait!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Celebrating love!

This Valentine's Day was a special one.  Nothing fancy!  Wilson did remember to get me something...picked up some chocolates to thank me for not deciding to be friends 11 years ago.  :) 
And a card unsigned (his signature move).  We also visited with his grandmother, which was long overdue.  We enjoyed ourselves and needed that time together.  Even if it was driving in a car and stopping at McDonald's on the way home.  Valentine's Day to me is more about the little things than fighting the crowds to eat at an overcrowded restaurant.  It's more than flowers that will fade in a few days and are overpriced.  It's special to spend time with my hubby and have memories that will last a lifetime.  Enjoying his presence. 

(My present to Wilson was a "Wilson" brand football.  A children's size, in the shade of pink rather than brown.  She will be the first female punter in the NFL.)

One of the things that I anticipate the most about the adoption is seeing Wilson as a Baba (Daddy).  He's going to be an excellent one!  Sue Ling has already made him a big mushy mess.  He talks to her in the house on a regular basis (no she is not here yet)!  He tells her to get ready for bed, calls her to the dinner table, and has a conversation with her in the back seat of the car (the empty car seat).  Many times, Sue Ling is the first thing he speaks about when his eyes open in the morning.  He talks about her before he even gets out of the bed.  When he kisses me goodbye, he also kisses Sue Ling (which he imagines will be laying in the bed next to me in the morning).  He talks constantly about picking her up and carrying her around EVERYWHERE.  One time we were leaving a restaurant and he was calling Sue Ling to walk over to see something in the parking lot....then realized there were people eating outside wondering what this man was doing! Made me chuckle.  He was holding her hand (the air) while talking to her.  CAN I SAY, THIS MAN HAS IT BAD!!!

I love that he gets teary eyed when he talks about her.  I love that his heart is so big and full of love.  I love that he tells me daily that he will always take care of matter what it takes.  I love that he buys the kids meal at lunch sometimes, just because he can't wait to buy one for her in the future.  I ask him if he will love her more than me...I know the truth.  He's going to love us both, with all that is in him. 
He's going to be one great Baba.  She is going to be one lucky girl...and spoiled.
Can't wait. 
She deserves it. 

I always feel like I don't deserve such love and devotion.  Thanking the Lord for His gift to me...Wilson.  I'm a blessed woman.

We received an update on Sue Ling Friday:
I can't tell you what this picture did to me.  I just want, so badly, to love on this daughter of mine.  My heart hurts for her! 
As I looked at this picture, I began seeing myself in her.  Is that weird?  I feel like there are moments when I see a picture, or video, and think that she has our personality already.  Like she oozes me even though I didn't birth her.  When I looked at this picture, for the first time I saw a reflection of me in her face. 
A little mini me. 
It was almost like I could feel her presence next to me...helping me with things around the house.  Helping me load the dryer, set the table, making the bed.
Oh, I can't wait to feel her presence!
Please pray that the Lord will open up the door so that we can travel to get her in March.  Momma is not doing well with the wait!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Anticipation continues to grow as we get closer to our departure.  So many thoughts, feelings, emotions are stirring that I can't even process or verbalize them.  We have waited for so long for this moment to come...but even in the 11 years of waiting, everything seems to be rushing in so fast that I can't get a grasp on it.  As we grow closer, a feeling of finding quietness and rest continues to lay on my mind.  But my mind and emotions seem to be going in a million directions!!  So over the next few weeks, I'll be laying low and trying to find some quietude.  Focusing on resting in the Lord and seeking His guidance in the journey ahead.  A sabbatical of sorts.  I desperately need to surrender everything to Him...who is, and has been, the author of this whole journey.  Soaking in His presence.  Focusing on the task He has before us...focused on a special little girl.  Her needs, her emotions, her heart, her best interest.  And trying to savor the journey so that we can treasure the memories in our hearts.  Not worrying about logistics...not worrying about everything I need to pack...not worrying how we can take pictures to capture moments...not worrying about staying in touch with the world via internet...

Quieting my spirit and removing "me" from the picture.  Focusing on a precious girl that has come from a broken past.  She doesn't have any clue that there is One that can take those broken pieces, and can will rework them into a beautiful mosaic.  Just as He continues to work in the brokenness of her Baba and Mama.  What a relief to know that we can all be broken together.  He is able to help us day-by-day.

So, we anticipate the addition to this family....and I think the addition is anticipating us!!

Just days ago, one of Sue Ling's little friends, was able to leave the orphanage with his forever family.  This child has been in many pictures and videos that we have...we were so very excited for them!  This mom shared some moments she captured that day.  They had come to the orphanage to visit and allow the little one to say goodbye to friends and nannies.  (Hard day).  She captured the moment that they arrived and Sue Ling was there to say hello!

Her friend had been missing for a few days...I think she missed him!  My heart jumped for joy thinking about the little guy getting to go home!  My heart swelled with the thought that Sue Ling will soon be in his shoes!  My heart broke for my little girl.  She has already started saying goodbye to the only world she has known...and it will get harder.  Lord, soothe her little heart!

Now, back up a few weeks....we have been able to make a special friendship with a family that volunteer at the orphanage.  Our friend has been helping with preparing Sue Ling for our arrival.  (Sue Ling also has a photo album of her Mama and Baba that the orphanage is using to prepare her). 

Our friend told us this a few weeks ago:

"Hi! Saw your girl today. She was sitting in one of the preschool rooms drawing on a Magna Doodle. She seemed to be having fun with that. Every time she sees me now, she smiles and shouts "Baba he Mama" which means "Daddy and Mommy". And then I always tell her in Chinese, "Yes, Sue, your mom and dad are my friends!""

The same day, when this picture was taken above, we received this message:

"Hi, You guys have been on my heart this week. One of Sue's friends/roommates got to go home this week and I kept thinking, "Sue is next!!!" She continues to yell out "MAMA and BABA!!!" in the cutest, most enthusiastic voice ever. She does this to other foreigners now too...This girl is so special to so many, we just can hardly wait for you to have her."

What Mama could ask for more than that?  This confirmed to me that our Sue Ling is beginning to anticipate us!!  She's made a connection.  She may not totally understand what all this means, but she knows she has a Mama and Baba out there somewhere.  One day soon we will be able to say "Yes, Sue Ling, we are your Mama and Baba!!!"  Can't wait!