Jesus, the Sweetest Name I Know

I thought I’d take a minute to answer some questions we get frequently! We have been so thankful to have so many of you be so supportive and interested in our adoption, and I love answering your questions. We always pray that through our story, you will each continue to be inspired to care for orphans and some of you to adopt!! So, here are a few of the most common questions we get!
How is it going (really)?

It is going great! Really!! I am honestly shocked. I had heard really hard adoption stories. I read books that scared me to death. And I know we have only been home a week and a half. There are going to be hard moments, hard times. But right now, it is just FUN. She keeps us laughing and smiling all day long. She sleeps great. I mean GREAT. 12 hours at night, and a 2-3 hour nap every day! Sweet girl is so worn out from all of the changes and new stuff going on! She is a great eater too! She eats everything and is just so happy to have yummy food. She is still on bottles (yes, she is two, but it is common in China for them to be on bottles) and we are loving that time to bond with her. We will probably drop them in a month or two but not just yet! She only gets sad when we have to discipline her (like when she puts both hands in the toilet, or when she tries to eat the dog food!) but most of the time we can just tell her no or don’t do that and redirect her and she is back to her happy self. We are all adjusting well. I definitely have moments where I am overwhelmed, but I think that is just adjusting to having three children in our home and all of the stuff that comes with that.

How is her health?

Most adoptions from China now are marked “special needs”.  Ten years ago, if you want a completely healthy, young child from China, you would not have to wait at all. Over the last years, that has changed drastically. There are families that have their paperwork logged in the China system from 2007 that are still waiting on a healthy child. There are many reasons why the wait has increased- domestic adoption is increasing in China, the one child policy that is still in place has some (very little, but some) wiggle room, and I’m sure many other reasons. We knew we didn’t want to wait that long to adopt, so we decided to go through the special needs program. This meant our wait could have been anywhere from a few months to a couple of years at the most. Special needs in China is a huge range of needs, from very small, minor needs, to very major medical needs and everything in between. When we filled out our paperwork for this program, we had to fill out a form that marked all of the needs we felt like we would be able to provide for a child with those needs. That list was very hard to fill out. It was hard saying “yes” to some, because that meant we were saying “no” to so many children. Ugh. Talk about gut wrenching. We prayed and sought wisdom from our community group, and in the end, we turned it in with a peace that God had directed our steps in that process.

When we got Lila’s file, all it listed as her special needs was that she had multiple ear infections and that she was born premature. Her medical file was very thin, and we weren’t really sure if there was still anything going on with her ears, and when we asked for an update from the orphanage they said that she had not had any problems with her ears and was otherwise healthy. After meeting her and going to doctors both here and in China, we learned that she did have many ear infections in the past, but her hearing appears to be normal and she is a healthy two year old with no other special needs that we know of at this time. We were prepared to accept a file of a child with a range of special needs, but we are also very thankful for a clean bill of health for our girl.

How old is she?

This is a harder question than it seems. Our Lila turned two this summer, but she has been in an orphanage since July 2013. Research shows that for every 3 months spent in an orphanage, you can expect one month in delays. So, that would put her at about an 18 month level. We went to the Children’s International Adoption Clinic today for her first evaluation, and they confirmed that she is physically, emotionally, and cognitively at about an 18 month level. So, even though I say she is two, she is not your typical, born-in-America two year old. It is so fun having a “baby” around the house again, and we are so thankful we will get to experience so many of her “firsts”. The doctors, books, and other adoptive mamas have encouraged us too, that she will catch up quickly. We are hopeful for that, but we also know that God is in control and He knows her every need!

It is amazing to see how much she has learned already. She can play peek-a-boo, give high-fives, wave hi and bye, nod her head for “yes” and shake it for “no”, and babbles every sound you can imagine! She is getting steadier every day walking and is getting faster too! She tries to take off her clothes, put on her shoes, and loves it when we “go” somewhere! She is learning sign language- so far she can say more, all done, milk, and eat! And she has learned all of the above in just a little over THREE WEEKS! Y’all! She is incredible!! In her orphanage she was not interacted with very much, had very few toys to play with, and was not held often, so everything is just so new for her! Here she is watching Baby Signing Time. She loves it!!

Does she speak Mandarin?

She doesn’t really talk yet! Again, we don’t think there was much interaction in the orphanage. I am sure she heard her nannies talking Mandarin, and I’m sure they talked to her some, but they just don’t interact with the babies there like we would here in our homes. They have 16-17 kids and two adults, and I think the nannies lack education that interaction is so important for their development! In her file, it said she could say “mama” and “ayi” (which means nanny), but she has yet to say those words to us. The first days we had her, we would call her by her Chinese name, and she wouldn’t respond. I asked our guide about it, and she said that because her orphanage was known for not much interaction, that she probably didn’t know very many words in Mandarin and just to start over in English. So, that’s what we did! It only took a few days of us calling her Lila for her to begin to respond, and now she definitely knows that is her name! She occasionally says dada, but she really doesn’t say it to Trey directly, so we are still not sure if she knows that word.

She did come to us singing. Yes, singing!! We have her on video the day after we got her singing some sweet tune that sounded a lot like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Jesus Loves Me. We asked her nannies when we were at the orphanage what song they sing to her, and she said they didn’t really sing! So, my theory is that God put those songs in her heart to comfort her!!! You may think I’m crazy but I just believe God answered our prayers of Him taking care of her while she was in the orphanage. We started singing those two songs with her right away, and have sung them every day to her since the day we met her. Well, Friday night I was rocking her to sleep (she loves for us to cuddle and rock her now!) and she looked up at me, and as clear as day, she said the word JESUS. She wanted me to sing Jesus Loves Me! I couldn’t believe it, so I had her say it again, and she said it and just smiled so big! Now she will say it for Trey and the kids, and when she does, we all smile and laugh and so does she! She is so proud of herself for saying a word, and can you believe her first English word is Jesus????? It makes me tear up every time I think about that moment! Jesus, the sweetest word she will ever know. I pray that the words of this old hymn will be her heart’s melody forever!

There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low:
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
in all of life’s ebb and flow.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,
discord filled my heart with pain;
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
stirred the slumbering chords again.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

Though sometimes he leads through waters deep,
trials fall across the way,
though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
see his footprints all the way.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

Feasting on the riches of his grace,
resting neath his sheltering wing,
always looking on his smiling face,
that is why I shout and sing.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

Soon he’s coming back to welcome me
far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown;
I shall reign with him on high.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

I’m sure there are more questions, so feel free to leave a comment! I can’t want to compare this post to one in 6 months and see how much she has changed. But for now, we are soaking up every minute with our sweet baby girl!



  1. Jennifer Buckner

    What an amazing God we serve! Of course He was taking care of Lila in that orphanage and of course she knows His name! Truly amazing that The Creator of this world loves and cares for every single one of those precious children! Every post you write brings tears to my eyes and reminds me of how great God is! Thank you for taking time to share!

  2. Meagan

    Love hearing abt & keeping up with this beautiful & precious journey you guys are going thru with Lila!

  3. Jehu Hernandez

    No, you’re not crazy. I believe God placed those melodies in her heart as well. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Rebecca Peet

    Sherry- I was reading this just now as I was getting ready for the day and I had to reapply my makeup! Lol! So sweet! Precious Lila. What a gift! Prayers for your sweet family!

  5. Jimmye Pidgeon

    Oh Sherry,
    How precious and loving your heart sings when you speak of your new baby. All of us who are chosen on earth as well as from above weep when we read your love and excitement. That’s what adoption in the family of God is supposed I have always lLOVED the song that you posted – still sing it. Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list. It reminds me of my first memories. God’s blessings on your entire famy. Tell Angie and the.girls and miss them.

  6. Amber

    Wow! So beautiful! I saw your blog on NHBO and just caught myself up starting at Day 1 in China. What an incredible journey and so encouraging to me as we are about to start the process for a ~24 month old boy from China.

    Here’s a few questions and I understand if they are too personal and you can’t answer:
    1. Were you matched with Lila by referral after getting a LID?
    2. Did you specifically request a girl?
    3. What is Lila’s special need?

    1. Author

      Hi Amber! Thank you for reading! So excited for you as you begin this journey!! Here are answers to your questions!

      We applied to adopt and filled out our Medical Checklist with CCAI in August 2013. We requested a girl, 0-24 months, with a range of minor special needs. They told us then our wait would be 18-24 months for a match. We worked on our dossier in the meantime, and we were LID in August of 2014. At that time, CCAI told us our wait would at least be another year, if not more, and by December they said we still had a year to being matched. We were always very hopeful to travel in summer 2015, and we knew that would not be a reality if we stayed with CCAI. So, I started looking around and got on a few agencies wait lists- there are many agencies out there looking for LID families because they don’t have a long list of LID families like CCAI does. So, Great Wall China Adoption agency was one that I had called and put our name on their LID family list, and if they got a file that matched what we were looking for and didn’t have any families for the file, they would call us. They called February 16, 2015 with Lila’s file, and the rest is history! We switched agencies and locked in her file by the end of the week. On her file, her special need was listed as premature and chronic ear infections. Definitely minor needs, and so far, that is all that is going on with our sweet girl. She has some scar tissue from past ear infections, and she is developmentally behind, but we think that is from the orphanage delay and that she will catch up! I have more posts about how we were matched and how we changed agencies if you click on adoption at the top of the blog! I hope this helps some. Please keep me posted on your journey!

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