Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Year Ago Today......

It was one year ago today that we met a very frail, very scared, very withdrawn and very angry little girl. We signed papers swearing to love her forever and raise her as she was a child born unto us. We knew then that there were things just not right with this little one who was obviously neglected and so severely malnourished that I could not look directly at her when I undressed her. We knew there was a health issue(turned out to be untreated Giardia) but also knew there was much more going on and a strong possibility that she might be autistic. We had no idea what the future held for her, but I clung onto my faith in knowing that this child was hand picked by God to be part of our family....and no matter what...THAT she would be. She was ours. It is His plan, not ours.



"I don't think I am going to like this"

And so the struggle began.....


She fought.......



and squirmed.......(see my hands locked together trying to keep a hold of her)



"I can't seeee you"




It's okay....she's not that bad, REALLY she's not!


see how rigid she is while I am holding her.....

I added this photo so you could see what I was referring to with her malnourishment.....her shirt is lifted slightly. It is actually much worse in the diaper area. : (


Oh, how this sad face tells a story....one that we would learn more of in the year that followed






It has been a long and hard road this past year. I have struggled more than I ever have.....felt like the walls were closing in on me on many occasions. God knew what this year would hold for us and He never gives something to us without giving us whatever we may need to get us through it. For this past year, he made sure that I was surrounded by friends who held me up and who prayed/pray without ceasing for Sophie's healing. They are angels sent straight through Him.


One of our Pastors has always preached that one of our first prayer requests upon waking in the morning, should be asking God to help us draw nearer to him. That has been what I have always prayed for. Now, without trials and without storms....where would we be in our Faith walk? I believe we would be quite stationery.
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I want all of my prayer warriors to know that Dave and I have both seen some very positive changes in these past 2 weeks with Sophie. He is hearing us and He is faithful! My angels....my friends....my support....you will be getting an e-mail very soon from me more in detail about this.
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I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted from my back and I feel so hopeful. We still have a looong road ahead of us, but that is okay. He got us through this year and He will get us through the next. Faith, love, perseverance and hope. This child will surely help me grow in ways I never would have thought possible.
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Dear, sweet Sophie....we have made it!! And you are finally starting to see that she(Mama) is really not that bad! : )

We were at the pool today and it is a beautiful day here. Bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds, sun is shining. I was sitting there and thinking about what I have just shared with you. I look up in the sky and I see a rainbow in between 2 fluffy white clouds! I could not believe my eyes! There was NO logical reason for a rainbow to be in the sky in this type of weather. I kept staring at it and it was only there long enough for me to call Ella over to see it. I was stunned until I realized that it was too much of a coincidence for this to happen while I was thinking about this past year with Sophie. A rainbow is God's promise to us and whether the conditions were right for a rainbow to be in the sky or not....He placed it there for me....at that exact moment!!! Amen, Amen and Amen!!!



My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)

 

46 comments:

Carmen said...

Oh Michelle,

I have tears of joy running down my face. To think that little Sophie may trust again and that God has given you such a beautiful sign that this storm might be over.

She looks so much more relaxed in these pictures and how healthy she looks compared to the gotcha photos.

Congrats on your gotcha day and your perseverance my friend

JShannon said...

Wow, So happy to hear that things have taken a turn for the better. I cant wait to hear about it. You sound as if a weight has been lifted.

Finally a Family of Four said...

I love this post, it brough tears to my eyes. I am so glad to see that things are starting to look up for Sophie, you and your beautiful family.
May God continue to Bless you!
Renee
ps. I found your blog awhile ago and I love your genuine honesty and your inspiration.

Grace said...

Michelle...

I am so, so blessed to hear that things are starting to get much better. What a change! I know its been hellish this first year, but take some time to be proud of yourself! I know the Lord has given you all that you need to care for one of His children. She looks so much happier! May all the Glory go to Him! Amen!!

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Okay.. I have tears of JOY for you my friend...
I am soooo proud of YOU..
YOU are truly amazing..
You are the reason that Sophie is doing sooo well..
You have stuck by her and have loved her through the hardest times...
I am always here for you..
Love ya girly..
Keep strong..
HUGS
Sophie is beautiful....

nikki said...

God is so good to have placed sweet Sophie in a family where she would experience the beauty of unconditional love.
I remember when I first found out I wouldn't BEAR children - I clung to Jeremiah 29:11 and thought "what about those good plans you have for me God?" And then He showed me that He also had plans to give hope and a future to a sweet orphan girl in China. He certainly works in mysterious ways, but His plans are always better.
So happy to hear that Sophie is starting to KNOW that she is safe and loved...can't wait to hear more.
XO

Michelle said...

Michelle,

Like the others, I am sitting here crying my eyes out! Sophie is precious. It makes sense, really, when you think about what she was going through on gotcha day. She had no idea who you were or what you might do. Poor baby. For her to begin to trust and heal is huge. I will continue to pray for her and your family!!

Waiting for Mia Hope! said...

Oh Michelle...our prayers are being answered!!! Amen my friend!!! I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face like I have so many times as I've prayed with all my heart that God would heal sweet Sophie's broken heart. God bless you for hanging in there and keeping the "faith"!!! God is faithful to His followers and He will not abandon us. You are such a testimony to such great faith and perseverance. You are truly an amazing mother and I am so proud to know you!!! I look forward to hearing your story! Thank you Lord Jesus...thank you!!!

Jewels of My Heart said...

I'm sobbing...........
Oh, Michelle, I just don't know what to say..... I am sooooooo thankful... thank You Jesus! I am so thankful that He is healing precious Sophie's heart... I pray He will set her free... I am so thankful that He chose Sophie's family perfectly....
How precious little Ella is comforting her sister....
I will email you... thank you for sharing this happy news and this beautiful sign from God of His promise.

Anonymous said...

Oh Michelle,

How wonderful! May this ray of light continue for Sophie and your family. You are in my thoughts.
- Sheri

missy said...

I can barely see the screen through my tears. Michelle, I know it has been a long, hard road and you still have obstacles to overcome, but you will because God is THAT good!

He knew that Sophie needed you. She is so blessed to have a family that loves her and aren't giving up on her.

The last few pics you posted of her BEAUTIFUL, radiant smile let me know that God is healing her a little more everyday.

Friend, I will continue to pray for you all.

Happy Forever Family Day Sweet Sophia!!!
HUGS!

Suzy said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. Thank you for your faith in bringing Sophie home. May God continue to heal her, to hold you up, guide you and comfort you and most of all bless you. You've been a blessing to me.

Walker said...

"sniff" "sniff" How precious!!! Happy Gotcha Day!! Thank you Lord for your blessings each day!
Love the verse!!
Keisha

mommy24treasures said...

oh Michelle I am just praising GOd and so so thankful for the positives that have gone on the past couple of weeks... I pray they become more and more frequent...I thank God for the miraculous work He is doing, it is marvelous before our eyes and I give Him much praise and thanksgiving with you.
That pic of Sophie smiling is such a treasure. It seems to show a difference in her eyes in her soul...

Bella's momma said...

Oh girlfriend, I should not have read this post at work~ I am fighting back the tears. Tears of hope, tears of joy, tears that God is still in the healing business.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this wonderful heart felt post! And thank you for sharing the photos. Expecially the last couple ~ it is a pleasure to see joy and life in her eyes!

Have a beautiful weekend,

Krista

Beverly said...

Happy Family Day Anniversary. I know it is hard to look at those first in-China pics. But the smiling ones do help to remind one that something or Someone is working.

Michelle said...

Oh Michelle,
What a beautiful post. I am so thankful to hear that the past two weeks have brought even more progress. I am just amazed at how much of a difference between the first photos to recent ones of Sophie. She is smiling from within in those last few photos. What a sight to see!! Just like the beautiful sign God placed in the sky for you to see.

Sherri said...

Michelle

What a wonderful testimony. I am so glad you are seeing a breakthrough.

That rigidity when you were holding her. I HAD THAT WITH MIA!!!! I didn't know at first if she just wasn't used to being held, or if she just hated me.

I love Sophie's beautiful smile. May you continue to be blessed for your obedience and commitment.

Sherri

Shawnstribe said...

Michelle
what an awesome difference and change.
ou are one amazing Mama to turn all these experiences for good.
Congratulation on your 1 year aniversary!!!!
i hope our lil X X looks as happy as your miss Sophie : )
thank you for sharing , it gives me hope
xxx
s

redmaryjanes said...

You are amazing. I have so much respect for you. I would love the opportunity to meet you. I just cannot say enough by how touched I am with how you are handling all of this. God Bless all of you. Your faith is inspiring and you are one of the best mothers I have ever seen.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Michelle -

This post touched me so deeply, as we traveled very similar paths. Your daughter Sophie is absolutely gorgeous and truly looks to be blossoming under your care.

You can't tell from my recent posts, as we've been home over three years, but we, too, heard the word autism quite a few times our first six months home. And our daughter was only 13 pounds at a year. E-mail me if you'd like to learn more.

Happy forever family day!!!! I know (I really do) how precious a day that is for your family. The greatest challenges bring the greatest blessings!

Smiling through tears ~ Tonggu Momma

Andrea Nielsen said...

Michelle,
Sophia has a beautiful smile and I am sure you do too! I am so glad to hear that she is doing so well and pray that it continues to just get better and better. I think of you all often and pray that time will continue to heal Sophia's beautiful soul. You have done amazing things with faith, patience and stability.
Blessings to you all. Andrea

April said...

It is a good thing those dresses are on their way to you because instead of prayers being sewn into them, there would be tears. Praise Jesus that our prayers are being answered day by day. What a difference you can see by the pictures. I love seeing the Lord work. I will continue to pray the fruit of the Spirit for your girls and for you my friend.

Kowalczyk said...

Happy Gotcha Day! You look like you have come SO FAR! Hope you have fun with your Gotcha Day celebrations! Love Nancy

~~ said...

OOOOh, How beautiful! What an amazing transformation! it will keep getting better. Just you wait!
Patricia

Tiffany said...

Happy Anniversary....
I am also sitting here in tears! The Gotcha photos, the rainbow, the beautiful smile on Sophie's face, and all of it is just so moving.
You and your family have been and will continue to stay in our prayers.
God Bless you all!!!!!!!!

Kristin said...

Michelle,
I think of you and Sophie nearly every day. I was so excited to read your post. It brought tears to my eyes. What a difference a year makes.
Kristin

Mom To Six said...

Michelle,

AMEN my friend!! What a journey you have been placed to take and how faithful you have stood by our Lord's word. He DOES keep His promises and that beautiful rainbow is a reminder. Sophie's last 2 weeks is a reminder. Your pictures of the changes in her is a reminder.

My prayers continue.

I have to backtrack a bit since I've been out of the loop, but so glad to come home to such an uplifting post from you.

Happy belated Family Day, Sophie!

Hugs,

Ohilda

holly m. said...

Oh Michelle!

This makes me so happy and the tears are flowing, too!! Funny how the "water works" happen even tho we feel happy!

Sophia looks good, really good. You must be so relieved to see Sophia's progress.

I'm still praying.

You are a WONDERFUL Momma!!:)

Donna Geer said...

PTL Michelle & Dave. We have been praying with out ceasing. My heart sings with joy knowing she is making progress. You are the most awesome parents to do the hard work it takes to help this precious one heal. Yippeee!! :)

Love you in Colorado.
Donna & Charlie

Mr.Brian said...

What a heart warming story.Gives me goose bumps to read about the rainbow.Yes Our God is a great and mighty God.
It is so easy to become discouraged when things do not go as planned,however the wait is all worth it.
Thanks so much for opening your life to us.It touches my heart and encourages me to always,always keep the faith.What an isperation you story has been. I have read these post with tears in my eyes as I do not think anyone of us could ever imagine the trials you have been through this past year.Praise God for the progress this darling child has made.
With warm wishes for continued improvements.

Steffie B. said...

OMW....I am sobbing....I am so happy to hear that there have been some positive things happening with Sophie.

The rainbow is the sky was surely a sign from god....just for you sweet friend....for being a good and faithful servant and loving this child through all the difficulties....He is saying "well done".....Amen to you sweet girl....AMEN!!!

Denise C said...

OH sweet Michelle...I am sitting here with tearing running down my face! I am praising God for your breakthrough with Sophie....and for the beautiful smiles I see in those last two pictures! They are beautiful!!
You truly live your faith Michelle...and HE will always show you "your" rainbow! Wow..what a gift that was for you!!!
God always shows up in HIS perfect time!
So so happy for all of you my dear friend!
Please email me!!!
Love you!
Denise

Tamara said...

Michelle,
Your posts are always wonderful to read! I am glad to hear that Sophie is doing better and I hope she continues to improve.
The pictures of her at the end of the post are great- she has a beautiful smile!
Tamara

OH MY #6 said...

what a beautiful, touching, post.

Lea
xo

The Byrd Family said...

Oh Michelle, I pray I am on that e-mail list! I have tears streaming down my face. Her beautiful smile in the last couple of pictures is a gift from Heaven.

God is all powerful and can even move Sophie's mountain!

Anna Grace`s Jie Jie said...

Congrats on 1 year! Isn't it amazing how time flies?!?!?!??!

Retta said...

Michelle, this is wonderful news!! We finally got our computer working, and I had this beautiful post waiting for me :) Sophie looks so lovely, and I'm so happy that God is answering all of our prayers. I will continue to pray for you, your family, and Sophie.
(ps. Jonah is doing well...just has a major scar down the side of his face, but it's not too noticable because it's partly in his hair and runs down his sideburn. Thanks for asking...we're getting quite familiar with the field of plastic surgery :)

AZMom said...

Oh Michelle! What a beautiful tribute to Sophie!!

We are getting help for Busy Boy too. It is a year for changes, positive ones, for both of us!

I'd love to be on your email list. I'll send a seperate post with my email addy.

big hugs!!!

Paula said...

Oh , the rainbow. God's sign to you. This next year will be better.
i love what your pastor said about praying to draw nearer to God. That is so true.

Crazy Mama said...

I remember that turning point with my son. One that I wasn't sure would ever happen. To look at him now, no one would ever know how far he has come. I even have to remind myself of the very diffucult first year with him.
God is so good. I am happy for you and your beautiful family. Hang on and keep trusting Him.
Thank you for sharing.

Sharon said...

Okay, now I am in tears!!! Thank you for sharing such an awesome post! I really need to email you, I just never get to it. You are such an inspiration!!!! I mean it,.

Somewhere In The Sun said...

Michelle, your pictures tell so much! You probably don't even realize how very strong you have become over this past year. God is truly using you on many levels!

~Lynn

Denna said...

Sweet Post. She looks much happier today. May God continue to bless you and your family.

rachel said...

Her little face looks soo joyful in those last pictures. I have a feeling things will continue to get better and better. I have enjoyed reading about your family. I've got my hands full with a rowdy bunch, including some mild RAD. Life is hard, but sweet.

Norah said...

Beautiful post!

Welcome to our blog! We are happy for you to be a part of our "Day by Day" and to share how God is working in our lives. To read earlier posts, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and you can click on 'older posts'. Remember...we love to hear from YOU as well!