Dec 14, 2009

Cora and Christmas

She's going into the operating room right now.

And I admit that I can feel fear balling up in my stomach.

I don't want to fear. I want to trust. But the doctors used the word "slim chance," and they're talking about a little girl I've grown to love.

I confess I'm prone to listen to doctors more than God.

They've said that little Cora's lungs haven't improved in 2 months... they don't like operating under these conditions -- and almost didn't -- but they said that since they haven't improved, they won't improve without this much needed heart-surgery. In other words, she may not have much of a chance making it through the surgery/post-op, but she has zero chance if they don't at least try.

Wonderful odds, right? So I'm sitting here this morning, reminding myself that God loves her more than I do and that He will be there in the operating room this morning.

If only I could really live out what I posted the other day... an unwavering faith in God's presence with us, and trust in the absolute goodness and mercy and love and protection of God.

Will you pray with me?  It's 8:41 am Beijing time, 6:41 pm on Monday night central time in the USA, and she went into the operating room about 5 minutes ago.

And on to a totally different subject.... Christmas.

For the first time since moving to China two years ago, I put up a Christmas tree.  And I'm so glad I did.  The warm glow from the lights really make it feel like home.  It's funny how this little apartment has become our haven and restoration spot.  I never imagined it could when we first moved in two years ago... but it has become a place of warmth and comfort.  I'm thankful for it.

For the tree, I made some of my ornaments.  I learned to make origami cranes, and folded a whole bunch of red and green ones for the tree.  And, I used Tibetan scarves to put around the base of the tree.  I like it; it feels like my tree.  I borrowed the tree from another foreign family who didn't want it this year, and I spent less than $10 on the rest of the ornaments!  So we get "warm holiday fuzzy feelings" without much of a pricetag.  Jacob suggested putting the tree in the window so that people outside could see it... it's one of the only Christmas trees in town, so it might seem like an odd novelty to some of our neighbors, but a few have commented on it!  They like it... and it makes me happy that they're happy.  Ahh... the warm fuzzies abound.

And last night I had a craving for sugar cookies.  (Can you tell I have the Christmas spirit?)  I whipped up a batch and ate dinner while the dough was chilling.  Then, I ran across the hall to get my next door neighbor/foster home resident Catherine.  She's 9 years old, and as you might be able to tell from her coloring, waiting for a much-needed heart surgery.  She might be going into the hospital this week, so I thought this would be a fun treat. (Click on the pics to see them enlarged.)

It was her first time to make sugar cookies, but she caught on so quick!  Before long she was rolling out the dough and cutting them all by herself.  And her smile!  It was priceless!  The best part was the first time she pushed the cutter through the dough and lifted it up.  When she pulled up a perfectly-shaped Christmas tree, she let out an audible gasp.  Adorable!  I think one of her favorite parts was giving Jacob cookies. He did a great job of making a big deal about what a wonderful cook she was, and she was beaming! (And kept wanting him to eat more.  Not that he minded indulging.)

She's a weak little girl.  Making sugar cookies wore her out.  Seriously.  We contrived a special seat in our kitchen with a chair and a pot and a pillow so that she could sit and make them at the same time.  That helped a little, but the exertion of rolling dough and cutting the cookies left her breathless.  She's a bit like Cora -- her heart condition is critical, and surgery is dangerous... but without it, well that future isn't bright either.

I realize this post is all over the place.  But to be honest, that's how our lives are.  There are sugar-cookie-baking highs and scary surgery lows.  Up - down - up - down.  On we go.

Oh, and just because I can't resist.  We are half-way through Mr. December's 31 days in the spotlight!  Jacob's been told more than once this month that his picture is hanging in someones house!  I think it is great fun.  And why let a 3-year-old joke die now?  I get at least one more month of mileage out of it.


Tara Anderson said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who is a basketcase right now. I've been on the verge of some kind of attack ever since I got Karen's email. Andrew's been making me listen to John Piper sermons about God's sovereignty. I'll read the rest of the stuff about Christmas later...right now my mind and heart are totally obsessed with Cora, and I just couldn't make it any further than the part about her.

The Whitledge Family said...

I have also followed New Day and am new to all of this adoption arena. I am currently doing my homestudy and have just fallen in love with the kids at New Day. I too couldn't make it past the post of Cora as I have looked at her time and time again. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with her. I am also new to sponsoring Elaina. I'm very excited....this is the first kid ever I have sponsored. Oh how this whole thing has changed my life!! Thoughts and prayers!!!

TanyaLea said...

Oh Carrie~
I am so glad that you are posting about Cora on here...she needs all the prayers she can get...and so does Tara. I knew her heart was going to be in her throat when I read Karen's email. And it's no secret how much Tara loves that little girl! We've all grown to love her, too...and we've never even met her in person like you have, so I can only imagine how consuming it is when you are there. We are absolutely praying and trusting God for another miracle. I want to encourage both you and Tara that fear is not from God...though I know we're only human. But to truly lay this at His feet and trust that He IS a God of Love and He IS in the miracle working business! No one knows how to fix what is wrong more that He does! Khloe and so many others, are a living example and testimony of that truth. God is good and we will not let Cora go through this alone... I know that at this very moment, MANY are praying her through! Praying and trusting that the surgeons are simply a vessel that God is working through, to deliver Cora her miracle. You see, He could just do it without them...but think of all the seeds that are being planted in the hearts of those doctors every time a NewDay child experiences a miracle! ALL glory goes to Him! <><

On another note, I love the Christmas charm you have brought into your apartment and I'm so happy to see that you are able to have some of that warmth in your home! And I also love the way you and Jacob always seem to have the little girls over for those special treat times... now Catherine is the one being blessed by your love, and I'm so glad to see her smile like that! We will be praying for her, too!! Hang in there dear friend(s)...(you, too, Tara!!) We're praying for ALL of you!

Love and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Lexilooo said...

sending happy thoughts and prayers to Cora!

Holly said...

I am pleading for Cora's life. Thank you for sharing and letting us in. I truly can't really imagine leaving all the comforts of what I call home behind for such a vastly different one...and yet the blessings you would have missed had you clung to comfort.
Such a huge lesson we all need to learn. And oh to have the unwavering faith always...and yet that's just part of being human in this broken world. We do have faith, but having faith doesn't mean lacking feelings...and yes, sometimes facing fear and telling it to back on up! I think faith is continuing to move forward despite the temptation to fear knowing that regardless of the turns in the road...we can trust in the ONE Who gave all to make a way for us...back to Him.
I am so thankful for you Carrie.

The Ferrill's said...

We are bringing Cora to the throne tonight, we all prayed for her during our family time. I don't have many words to say, because this hits close to home for us. Will Kevin be enduring the same type thing in a few months? Only God knows. And like Tanya said, "Fear is not from God".
The Spirit groans within me with words I cannot express...for Cora, for Kevin, for Catherine, for the orphans.

Aaron and Erica said...

I'm praying for sweet Cora...and all of the other precious little one's in your care.

Tara Anderson said...

Your Christmas tree is adorable, and I'm totally jealous of your origami skills! It's so sweet to be able to see you bring the Christmas season into China this year, and I especially liked the pictures of you guys baking cookies with Catherine. My favorite picture is the one of her and Jacob enjoying their cookies. :)


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