Standing On This Mountaintop

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

This song. This song is my story. Our story. At 1:00 a.m., just hours before we board a plane to China, I am standing on a mountaintop, looking at how far God has brought us the past 3 years. What started as 8 simple words, "This is what I'm asking you to do," has taken us on the richest, most beautiful, faith-growing experience of my life. Obedience to a calling that God placed before our family has resulted in more joy, satisfaction, triumph, focus, love, forgiveness, and grace that I have ever experienced. To see the redemption of Tucker's life has brought me a deeper understanding of my own redemption, of my own adoption into the arms of Christ. I feel Him all around me, in all moments, as we prepare to bring our precious Tyson home. Oh how I long for you to experience the depth of his love and presence as I have the past 3 years if you haven't yet in this life! 

Scars and struggles on the way. Absolutely. The rejection, heartache, and so much loss defeated by the power of God's love, His ability to make beauty from ashes. Battle wounds left me feeling empty and alone, but He has filled those spaces with forgiveness, grace, and love. My scars will always guide me not to the source of my pain but the One who healed me. That is my story. 

We began our journey back to China for a son. The promise read: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...." (Isaiah 9:6). On January 9th God revealed who He had chosen for our family. Tyson you are precious and will be cherished all the days of your life.

We have lived every single minute of the last couple of weeks pouring into our children, and you know what I realized? It honestly didn't take much more effort, and I had so much fun with our boys! Here are pictures from some of our recent memories made. 

We had a blast watching Liam play baseball!

I cheered my heart out as Noah had his first BIG pop fly to the outfield!

I soaked up every opportunity to snuggle Tucker and reassure him that we are coming back home to him.

The little boys earned all their stickers and got to push their beds together for a sleep over!

Lunch date with Mommy today! Liam having his favorite: Peek-a-butter and Jelly

Lunch date with Mommy today! Tucker loves Macaroni and Cheese.

I decided that snuggles on the couch were more valuable than nap time today...

...and yesterday, too. #soakingupeverysecond

When the boys were sleeping, I used every minute possible to pack our bags and prepare everything for Liam and Tucker while we are away. I wrote a post for No Hands But Ours about Staying Present and Connected while Across the Ocean and took much of my own advice! 

Gifts to open each day while we are gone (action figures, sticker books, bubbles, etc.) 
The first gift they get to open tomorrow is a personal paperback photo book. Liam's book is filled with photos of him with Ryan or me doing everyday things like snuggling on the couch or eating dinner. Tucker's book has similar kinds of pictures, and we also used a lot of reassuring language like, "My daddy always keeps me safe," "My mommy always makes me delicious food," and "This is my family forever." I hope they love them and refer back to them as often as needed while we are in China.

I did not take a picture, but Liam and Tucker each have their own paper chains to count down the days until we are home again. I wrote something inside each link like, "Liam, you make me laugh every single day" or "Tucker, you have the most beautiful smile." Ryan and I recorded hilarious videos for the kids to watch each day while we are gone, and what do you know, it was at 1:00 a.m. then, too. I guess this is my most productive hour lately. I also recorded myself reading a book to each of the boys that they can watch as many times as they would like while we are away. 

So, I want to brag on Ryan for a second. You guys, he recorded videos of himself playing the guitar and singing songs to each of the boys about their favorite stuffed animals! He made up the lyrics on the fly and totally succeeded! They are hilarious and SO SO good! I am dying to share one, but I am pretty sure I'd get the silent treatment to China. That is a long plane ride, y'all! He also sang the Ninjago theme song to them while playing his guitar. Seriously. The best daddy bear ever. 

Noah made one video for the both boys, as well as a video for each of them. He used this really soft, sweet voice to talk to them. I know he is really going to miss them the longer we are away. We spent our last evening home celebrating Ryan's birthday early. He actually "loses" his birthday in a way this year, as we leave tomorrow morning and arrive in the evening of May 22nd, Hong Kong time. I mean, who doesn't want to celebrate their birthday on an international flight in the twilight zone different time zones. 
Guess who loves their daddy?

Texas Roadhouse - Ryan's favorite.
We put the kids to bed early tonight, as two days of snuggles and no naps made for very tired boys. I know tomorrow morning will bring difficult goodbyes, and I beg for your prayers, especially for Tucker who has lost so much in his short life. He was very sad tonight...I'm not sure a head can hang any lower. Liam, on the other hand, says that he feels "GREAT!" about us going to China. I can't believe this is the last time I will see only 3 faces in my van...

...because soon, I will have four sons living together under one roof. It's going to be a wild journey and a crazy transition, but my faith is strong, and God is good. Never once will I ever walk alone. Never once will He leave me on my own. God is faithful!! Our next chapter is just beginning.

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