China Journey 2018 Video

The long awaited moment is here!! My 2018 China Journey video. It was so hard to put 6 months into just 13 mins and 33 seconds but when it was done, I just knew. Thank you to so many for having an interest in it! I successfully made half a room of people cry on Sunday, so have tissues handy.
Wow I love love love these kids. 


3 Weeks Home in the USA

Today I ran into a dear friend that I grew up with and after hugging her 10x’s, I turned to her with tear filled eyes and said “Do you want to adopt Baby Zach?” Just saying it felt like death *breathe* to life, to agony, to life again and simultaneously felt like the BEST gift I could imagine for Shi Wenli. She’s one of the best champion Mamas I know.

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve been home and goodness, I thought I’d be better at this than I am. Every day for half a year, children would scream in joy and throw themselves into my arms and suddenly I’m so extremely far away from them in a very American world and I can’t hold any of them. It feels agonizing and steals my breath away.

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My family is dear and full of love and my friends are so kind and full of hugs, but every time someone asks me “How are you?” or “How was China?” or “Are you glad to be home?” …. Wowwwwww, I don’t know and wowww I need a debrief (and probably counseling (DON’T WE ALL HAHA) and wowww, wait did I answer the question yet?

Should I share the shocking hard? Should I share a simple good story? Should I joke for the hundredth time about eating donkey? Do I explain for the 50th time about the new policy? Did I mention everything feels like panic?

Who am I. Why is the sky blue. The rain isn’t acid. You don’t need your passport, you aren’t going into Beijing. Do I take pictures today? Why is it so quiet in the night? Where are my people? Why isn’t anything in Chinese? You’re in America now. <— a short list of things I repeat to myself hundreds of times per day to orient myself.

Maybe I didn’t prepare enough to leave, but how could I? You’re supposed to know how to be home. It isn’t supposed to feel foreign and confusing. If home is where your people are, then I’m split into 60 pieces across the world, and don’t have a clue where to land or whether to be China JMF or American Jean Marie.

I forgot…how much leaving China…feels so much like grief. 

Jesus, be our Home, and be our safety no matter where we go, and bring our sweet little kids their own families and forever homes.


Week 13-20: This one brief holy moment.

It was May 19th. Moody Bible Men’s Choir was visiting China and stopped by for a few days to visit SFCV and gave a short concert on a Saturday morning for the kids.

Isaac ran over and clambered up into my lap, and I hugged him tightly, unwilling to let him go. Tomorrow he would meet his new family and I longed to get every bit of love into him that I could. I pulled Leonard {Ling Daiwei} up next to me in his chair, so excited for him to hear some real live music since the kid loves good music. I amped them up “Time for the concert! This is so exciting! Yay!”.

I watched Daiwei’s face closely to see how he’d react to an all men’s acapella choir singing….his face looked like a thundercloud for the first song. I think it was too much? Then the second song started, and his face burst into sunbeams. Tears filled my eyes.

He understood.

The three of us sat there, our own little joyful club. Isaac entwined in my arms, Daiwei with his ever changing expressions on his face, and me watching and listening to it all.

It was in the middle of a rousing rendition of “He’s Never Failed Me Yet”….
“I know God is able, to deliver in time of storm.
I know that He’ll keep you, safe from all earthly harm.

Trust and never doubt, Jesus will surely bring you out, 
He’s never failed me yet, He’s never failed me yet.” 

… that I looked down. Daiwei had been waving his arms triumphantly with the music, and was now resting one arm over the side of his wheelchair, and Isaac was holding his hand. Isaac saw his hand was empty and slid his own in to be a friend. 

I gasped.


I put my head down between the two of them and sobbed.
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They held hands for 10 minutes while I absolutely lost it. 

all I could think is……this one brief holy moment.

The video I took in those seconds, you can see it all over my face, the “whole world in my eyes”, the moment it all made sense and meant so much that it did. Suddenly all the months of hard work fostering 55 kids and hugs and goodbyes and hurts and prayers worries and heart wrenching stories and a million other things melted down into this one brief holy moment when I saw “strangers” be brothers and friends.

“He’s never failed me yet….”, nor does He ever have any intention or promise to.
He will always be Himself. He will always be unchanging Love, always be kind King, always be merciful and good, always be steadfast in every season, always be our Savior.
The God Who became little and small to be our Brother, the Brother who bought us one dark day with nail scarred hands, the second Adam who walked out of the grave, and the Father to the Fatherless to the millions of orphans worldwide.

To bring together orphans into families and boys into brothers and us to Himself.

Brothers: Leonard {Ling Daiwei} and Isaac {Dang Mengyang}. All my heart. 
Leonard Ling Daiwei 灵带伟 18.6.13-5

No, He hasn’t failed me and He never will. 

These words have been coming back to me over the months since May 19th. They were with me the day after when I sobbed behind my camera bittersweet tears of Isaac meeting his family and leaving. They have been with me every time since that I have seen Daiwei and seen his face light up with a million smiles.

I was reminded of how quickly it all can change and how months together can become your “brief holy moment” when a child is transferred back to their home orphanage. I was in Australia when I got a text that made my knees buckle and tears stream down my face. Maya was recalled back to her home orphanage. I was heartbroken and crushed. I would not be back in time to say goodbye to sweet Maya. Others cried over her at her going away party for me.

Maya, who taught me more about the Gospel than anyone I’ve ever met. 
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Suddenly all the pictures and videos and long back-aching moments bent over her seemed even MORE worth it….they became holy moments spent serving one of the sweetest, bravest and most tender among us.

She is receiving such good care back at her orphanage and several of our eating therapists have been able to visit her caretakers to teach them how to specially care for Maya. I was surprised and incredibly thankful, and then I thought of how just like our God and Father that is. How tenderly He cares for the littlest and least of these.

I know that He’ll keep you, safe from all earthly harm….”

oh, how He loves us.

The weeks have rushed by so swiftly and now I have just 5 weeks left. It has been awfully rough being in China due to being so sick, and yet it shatters my heart to leave these precious and vivacious kids who I so long to see grow up and have families.

This whole season in China has been so incredibly worth it, filled with victories and joy, hugs and tears, friendships and laughter, jokes and memories. I’ve been blessed to serve.

It has meant something in these orphans lives as I’ve captured their lives in photos and built their files, memories of a past and hope for a future. It has meant something for Jesus and His Kingdom. It has meant something: a million somethings to my heart.

It has seemed like so little and it has been beyond what I could handle. It has been agonizing and good. It has been brief. It has been long. It has been quiet and faithful.
It has been full of doing many “small things with great love” {Mother Teresa}. Many unseen moments of ministry. Many moments too deep for words or pictures.

It has been one brief holy moment in China.

and I’m so thankful to have been here through it all.