China Express 2

"...And she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked for him from the Lord"

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Location: purcellville, VA, United States

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Year Ago Today

We finalized our adoption of Samuel FangZhou Mason in Chengdu 1 year ago today. It's been a wild ride.

Since we've been home Samuel has been to a Cardiologist, an ENT, Urologists, an occupational therapist. He had tube's placed in his ears, and had one surgery. And will need one more. He's also been seen by a geneticist and an orthopedist. He completed 6 months of kindergarten at the public school, and has seen 3 different speech therapists, He'll start first grade in a couple of weeks and will finally begin speech therapy at school.

But this is not what makes Samuel special, it's not his collection of physical needs but his strengths that are so amazing about our little boy. From the first day we met him he claimed us as his and never looked back. He seems to have no remorse or sense of loss. In fact since he's finally gained the ability to relate some of his memories of China he seems to really grasp that he has so much more with us.

Not to discount his time in China because he obviously had someone very loving to take care of him. He is quite affectionate and hasn't had any trouble attaching to us. His sister is his best friend and she'll have a hard time remembering he ever wasn't there. Though when they fight it can be vicious, they always make up with hugs and extending forgiveness.

The trouble attaching was more for me, the mom. It was difficult, to say the least, to accept this little boy who had a full blown personality with a few behavioral problems and couldn't speak English for months. But over time he has won my heart. We have great conversations now and he is so inquisitive it's a joy to watch him learn new things every day.

He has an amazing personality, he loves people and is so hospitable whenever someone walks in the house. He serves with a smile and loves to ask questions. He wants to know about people places and things. Imaginary play is one of his favorite things to do with his sister. He likes to play daddy. He also likes to build things. Good thing we already had a full supply of legos.

He is a typical boy almost fully americanized but with parts of his 6 year Chinese history that may always remain a mystery. For now that doesn't seem to bother him.

Not everyone understands what we've done. I think some people think we've adopted out of some contrived duty or obligation. But that's not it these children are ours, a gift from God, this is not some "project" I've taken on, some philanthropic endeavor to make the world a better place, we've adopted these children to be a part of our family they are not some anomaly to our family. They are a blessing.

It's not always easy but is anything worthwhile in life in easy? And while there are days I imagine life without them, please don't judge me for that, truly I could never live with out them

a year ago at the orphanage:

And this month with his family except for Ryan:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mason Family Update

The Eye... I was going to put this at the end of the post but decided it would make a great opener. This is Michael hiding in a corner after rearranging his room.

March, almost a quarter of the new year has passed. So much has happened. last December we decided to put Samuel in School. He started after Christmas break and is now attending Mountain View Elementary. We have not been involved in public school for 10 years, it is kind of culture shock for me. But the routine of having to get up and out of the house in the morning has been good. And the time to work with Anna one on one with her schooling has been a blessing as well.

Samuel attends ESL in the morning and Afternoon kindergarten. One of the reasons I put him in school was so that he could receive services for speech. This unfortunately is not happening as I would have liked. What I perceive as severe articulation difficulties the school perceives as lack of English proficiency. But they have agreed to evaluate him. I am having him independently evaluated as well.

Samuel is not our only child, though he seems to get the most attention in my conversations of late. The others have been busy as well. Since the new year Ryan has been busy with roadkill and totaled cars. One Saturday in January he hit a hawk it was stuck in the grill of his car. The following Saturday he hit a deer which affectively totaled his car. Thankfully he was able to borrow his grandmothers car for a week and we were able to find him a new one post-haste.

Here is a picture of poor old Grendel...

Michael has been busy with his school work and he also has entered the wonderful world of motor vehicles. He purchased an old VW bug. He is sure to gain a credit in auto mechanics with this one. Dad promises to help. This did prompt him to go get his learners permit as well which he accomplished after taking the test twice.

Michael also rearranged his room this week


Now maybe he'll clean his room. Actually it does look better and more open now though it's hard to tell in these pictures.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

looking back on 2007 and looking forward to 2008

I started this post in January of 2008 and here it is the middle of March!! well I'll finish it up then give an update of the past months.

Last January I wrote these words:

This year I hope to embrace the struggles and to count it pure joy whenever I face trials of various kinds as I know this will perfect my faith. I want to learn more of the cross, and the sufferings that Jesus suffered so I can walk with him. I want to take up my cross daily to follow Him. Noble words but when the trials come I will have to choose to either fall on my knees and go to the cross or rely on my spirituality, my ability to figure things out,my plans and ideas. I pray I need knee pads by the end of the year. I'm afraid choosing God's way will itself sometimes be a struggle, pride and self sufficiency rear their ugly head so often.

And I have had struggles like never before, most of which have been related to walking joyfully and faithfully in my appointed trials. I, unfortunately, have relied on my own ability and ideas. But God has been faithful! He has been with us through it all.

I should not discount the miracle of a changed heart and a peace about bringing a young special needs boy into our family. It is still a battle though, I must constantly put aside my desires to care for my family and I don't always succeed, I am impatient at best and angry at my worst. But I hope I am learning to repent, because I will never in this life be without sin though I'd like to think so.

So as I recount God's goodness to us in 2007 I can look forward to more of the same in 2008 though my sin gets in the way I can Trust God to never leave me or forsake me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Submission of Christ

We have started a series on Authority at our church. What an amazing message was given the first week explaining the relationship of the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was the gospel message in all it's glory. Christ fully submitted to the plan of the Father for our sake.

The one phrase that continues to stand out in my mind is that "Jesus laid aside His glory" so that he could save us. He became fully human while remaining fully God but came to earth without His glory. But you have to understand what His glory was to feel the impact of that statement and you have to understand what laying aside His glory meant to begin to know the cost Christ paid for our sake. You'll have to listen to the message to get the full exposition.

When He died upon that Cross He was completely separated from God the father. When He suffered for our sake He no longer had supernatural power to bear Him up, He no longer had the mercy of God to get Him through, He didn't possess some kind of protection from the physical pain and even worse, spiritually He bore the full fury of God's righteous wrath that we would not have to. He was completely separated from God the father. We may never completely comprehend what that means.

So this season remember what that baby in a manger represents, Christ coming in full humanity to grow to manhood and die for our sake, so that we could be spared from God's Holy Wrath and be brought into Christs presence as His bride.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jesse Tree

We are celebrating advent this year with the Jesse Tree; an everyday devotional to celebrate the coming of Christ. We printed up paper ornaments to hang on the branch of a tulip poplar that I cut and am displaying in an urn in the kitchen. Each day we'll have a bible reading that helps us remember how all of the bible points to the coming of Christ. Hopefully we too will remember what our true hope and joy is in, not the presents and the food and the party's and the shopping but, our salvation in Christ who became frail humanity for our sake.

Todays reading was from Isaiah 11
The Righteous Reign of the Branch

11:1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.