Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day 1 - Seth and Nehemiah Risley

Yes and no, acceptance or rejection, those are really the only responses when Holy Spirit starts nudging our souls.  It's really not all that complicated.  Jon & I want to be the kind of followers whose hearts are quick to say "Yes, Jesus, we are willing."

Believe it or not Seth and Nehemiah's story starts before they were even born.  It begins in 2008.  The beginning is rather sloppy, skewed and just downright ugly.  We adopted 2 half sisters from Kazakhstan in what is known as a 'blind' adoption.  We were approved for non special needs girl 1-3 year old.  We were only shown these two girls, one with very obvious cerebral palsy and the other with not sure what, who were 4 & 5.  To be honest, I was sick at heart, feeling pressure from the orphanage director and certain this could not be God's plan. I said a very reluctant 'yes', and Elyse and Laura Ann became family.  The fall out from their adoption was in your face HARD!  You know what, it's still hard at times.  Many moments I wanted out, to quit, weeping and raging simultaneously to God "This is NOT what I signed on tricked me."  BUT God, who is slow to anger, gracious and kind was doing deep work softening and bringing about repentance in my heart...transforming it in his loving faithfulness.

It comes as no surprise that we were not interested in adopting ever, oops I mean again;) BUT God, has his creative ways of leading us, sometimes though our own children.  Our son, Matthew, who was 11 at the time, approached us with a genuine desire for a little brother or two.  Ahem?!?  Seriously!!!?

Bending our hearts in prayer, we tentatively put feelers out towards China. Only this time my heart was eager, attracted even, towards special needs kiddos.  ONLY God can do that kind of work! Our immigration paperwork approved us for two boys.  Without too much time passing, we were matched with Gabriel via our agency.  His special needs are distal arthrogryposis and club feet.

In the meantime, I discovered the blog world and chat groups advocating for waiting children. I 'met' men and women whose stories gripped my heart, who inspired me to sacrifice more, to give my life away in serving and loving the least of these. I found myself frequenting one blog in particular.  She is a fierce advocate for boys and especially those with CHD.  Yes, yes, Sonia Martin is responsible for introducing us.   One such post landed with the force of a sledgehammer.  Do you remember this?

Friday, February 24, 2012

1 heart baby.
1 family needed.


2 years old.
Diagnosis: CHD: Persistent truncus arteriosus (PTA Ⅱtype); Dextropositioned aorta; VSD

That sweet face has a terminal diagnosis.

Those eyes would not let go of me.  He filled my dreams.  The obstacles which filled the path to Seth were numerous and varied.  At times I thought it was impossible, BUT God would make a way.  That was our theme, and we watched God make crooked paths straight over and over again.  So many families said no to his file.  We waited our turn to say a resounding yes!

Seth means appointed, placed.  God ordained his advent into our family.  God is the Giver of Life and the Taker of Life.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  The cath results came back with shockingly high pulmonary hypertension.  His little lungs were already compromised, permanently damaged.  He has Eisenmengers Syndrome. Seth abounds with zest for people, for singing and performing at the top of his lungs (no pun intended).  He lives life full throttle.  He is not afraid.  It is a holy wonder to live life hand-in-hand with him for as many days given us.

Daily life was humming along fairly well, learning to do the toddler world again, training in 'thank yous and pleases', explaining how we treat each other in a family.  The word dreamy comes to mind to express how this adoption transition was going compared to our previous experience.  We were basking in the gracious goodness of our God allowing us to be a part of His redemptive story in their little lives.  What could be more satisfying?

Remember earlier how my rebel heart defiantly said this 'deliberate killing' of self certainly could not be God's plan.  I was so wrong!  God's plan is far MORE!!! 
more intricate,
more magnificent, 
more in keeping with his eternal perspective, 
more broken, 
more glorious, 
more tender, 
more mind boggling,
more messy,
more lavish love,
more risk,
more outrageous grace,
            just         flat            out                  MORE!

Our agency called us 3 months into our 'getting to know each other' stage and asked if we would be willing to look at a file of another CHD boy. (I have a serious soft spot for boys).  WOW!  Okay Lord, let's see if you want to do more. Really?!?  Now?!?

So Nehemiah, or little Mr. Wu, as we called him before we chose his name entered our little corner of the world. His diagnosis is complete atrioventricular canal defect. There was no instantaneous rush of warm fuzzies when we saw his picture and scoured his file.  He needed a mom and dad, a family to love and care for him.  This is what saying 'yes' looks like

I fell hard and fast in China when Nehemiah calmly walked into my arms.  He was chunky, sweet and such a little cuddle bug.  He gave me big ole slobbery kisses, held my face in his baby hands and just loved.  Smitten is the only word for it! He toddled into our hearts, and we are richer for it.

On Feb. 4th, we will choose to trust our good and gracious Father again as Dr. Baird opens up Nee's chest cavity and uses his highly skilled hands and mind to repair all that is malformed with his heart.  We don't say 'yes' to more' with the idea that if we get a good result, our faith paid off and God rewarded us. To borrow the apostle Paul...may it never be! We follow in faith knowing that God is with us.  He is our strong tower, our refuge, our shelter.

Courageous, fierce and brave heart mommas, (and papas too if you are reading this) please carry Nehemiah (God who comforts) to the throne and intercede on his behalf. 

We will be your debtors.

Follow our journey at


Drea said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Our family will keep you in our prayers as you enjoy each and every day with your precious children.

Post a Comment