one month with Clementine

One month ago we met Clementine. And, to be completely honest, those first moments – after months of waiting, mounds of paperwork and countless prayers – were far from storybook.

Before we even realized what was happening, she was rushed passed us in the police station, being carried flat on her back by what seemed like an army of somber-faced Chinese women, and bundled in layer after layer topped off with a hooded yellow snowsuit.

All we could hear was the rattling of her labored breathing.

And all we could see was the shell of a very frightened, very sick little girl.

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So very grateful that Chris and I had, to each other and to the Lord, committed to this child no matter what long before then. Because this mama was scared.

As I was trying to gain my composure, the orphanage official clamored out of the tiny photo room and into the waiting area, Clementine facing out, and walked up to me. I thought she was giving me an opportunity to take a photo but instead, without a word, she deposited our new daughter in my arms.

It felt far from storybook.

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But God’s plans are never storybook. He designs His stories with each of His children specifically in mind. And He uses every bit of the brokenness in this world, and the brokenness in our own hearts, to teach us. Change us.

To separate the wheat from the chaff.

I am a different person than the one that walked into that police station. I needed sifting. Still do, but some chaff has been blown away. All by His grace.

And, all by His grace, I have fallen head over heels with this tiny little slip of a child. She is magnificent.

I couldn’t see past the shell in those first difficult moments. But He could.

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And Clementine is a different person than the one I met in that police station.

She needed to be loved. Protected. Cherished.

And He knew that, by His grace, we would.

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My prayer for her is that she one day come to know and love the true Hero in my life and hers.

The One that, even more than we ever could, treasures her. Fights for her. And calls her by name.

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After all, He is the only real storybook ending.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
– Isaiah 43:1-2

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Christmas cookies

This Christmas we are paring down.

1. because we want to
2. because we have to

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Last year we pared down a lot. And it was good.

But the Lord has continued to open our eyes to the all ways He has gone before us. And continues to walk alongside us. There is nothing that we need that we don’t already have.

Really, what could a box contain that could compare to having Him?

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Beyond spending less, this year we are going out less. Like not. at. all.

None of the usual Christmas festivities or outings, all in an effort to keep our littlest peanut as healthy as possible.

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But – despite limited means and limited mobility – we are still finding ways to celebrate this most special season.

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It just looks a whole lot simpler.

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We have been turning all screens off between 5PM and 10PM.

Or 5PM and bedtime, whichever comes first.

*ahem*

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We have been snuggling on the rug in front of the fireplace to read about Jesus in our Advent for Everyone book.

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We have been rolling out sleeping bags around the Christmas tree and breaking our *no-screens* rule to watch Christmas specials on TV.

(Gotta have grace, baby.)

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And we have been baking Christmas cookies.

Even better than baking them, we have been eating Christmas cookies. Lots of them.

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It might be just a simple thing.

But I am finding more and more that simple sure can be sweet.

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I’m not going to lie, I have found myself squirming a few times over not being able to buy as much as I might want to for my kids this year.

My knee-jerk response to having to spend less is that somehow our kids will be disappointed. That they’ll feel like they missed out, somehow.

I mean, what mama doesn’t want to give their kid every gift on their Christmas list?

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But then I look around. And He reminds me.

And I need to be reminded. Day by day. Minute by minute. The allure of this world is strong stuff and without Him I am without hope.

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My prayer for my family this Christmas is that the Lord will be gracious to continuously open our eyes to see Him. All around us.

And that, in our heart of hearts, we would treasure Him above all.

“You make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
— Psalm 16:11

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So Loved. And Found.

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What does one do when one should be prepping for Christmas? Decorating, baking, going to the mall? Well, evidently, this one organizes her closets. Maybe it’s because we don’t go further than the doctor’s office right now. Maybe it’s because we’ve grown by one and we need more room for that little one and her […]

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Oh, Clementine

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I am so happy you are home. We are all so happy you are home. You are getting stronger every day and can sit up so well now. In fact, you love to sit on the rug with your siblings, with your toys spread out in front of you. You are most definitely the center […]

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since then

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Wow – a week since we got home. Feels like no time. And it feels like forever. In an effort to chronicle Clementine’s journey accurately, I wanted to share the few pictures I took between then and now. On our last night in China we walked out for dinner with some sweet friends we made […]

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to China for Clementine: the silks

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Years ago, it became the tradition to buy your new child a set of silks, and take a picture of them on the “red couch” at the White Swan Hotel (the hotel where almost all the new adoptive families stayed) on your last day in China. Poppy was the last of our kiddos to follow […]

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to China for Clementine: a day to rest

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Yesterday was our consulate appointment. Before we could do that, we had to run upstairs to revisit the medical doctors who had seen Clementine on Saturday. Thankfully we got the all clear and we were given her medical paperwork to submit with our visa paperwork. One hand-raising oath, some passport checking and a few fingerprints […]

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to China for Clementine: sisters

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Today was a shopping day. Something I’m usually pretty good at. Sophie, too. We looked at pearls and jade. Silk purses and chopsticks. But we wanted to be sure we didn’t overdo it. And with Clementine in tow, we were all a little distracted. In a very good way. So we opted out of the […]

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to China for Clementine: the medical

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Yesterday, I posted as we were leaving Changsha. Things were good. We were ready to go. Bags check. Passport for Clementine check. Tickets check. Food/toys/bib/blanket/bottle/medicine/carrier check.

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to China for Clementine: to Guangzhou

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Today we head to Guangzhou. Which means that, other than the necessary traveling we will do, we are staying put in the hotel until it’s go time. Clementine is still rattly, but seems to be making improvements daily. So, since it’s a quiet day for us, I thought I’d take the chance to write down […]

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