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Here we are on our second adoption and our fourth child rearing journey! Currently, we have three of the most lovely young ladies for our darling daughters, Presley (16), Avery Anne (9), and Finley (3).  However, after Finley’s arrival from China we were not content.  With all this love, all this laughter, all the struggles and all the silliness, we could not bare for them to never have the opportunity to share their beautiful lives with, and love a brother.  Brothers bring a different element to a family and we longed for that.  Hence, we now await our precious son Michael Tobias Ge Hua. 

His name is handsome and sacred, just like him! It warrants explaining as it’s a huge part of his life story to this point. He is named after his father Michael first and foremost.  He is also named after Tobias Jr. the biblical man who was guided by a young man on a very long treacherous journey.  He and his family were tested, protected, taught, and finally brought together and healed through the guidance and direction of a handsome young man who acted as Tobias’ guide.  After the journey and God’s mission was accomplished the guide revealed himself.  He was actually not a man at all, he was an archangel…the Archangel Raphael. (one of the seven Holy Angels who stands before the throne of God….remember two of his coworkers whose names we know… Michael and Gabriel! ) After Raphael revealed himself, the family fell to the ground and wanted to worship him.  However, Raphael quickly redirected their praise and worship to the One it rightfully goes to.  Angels, even the most brilliant like the archangels, are not the Source, they are simply His ministers and messengers.  Anyhow,  the family spent the next few days on their faces thanking God for all of His wonderful gifts and for sending an angel to see to God’s will, guide and protect them.  Well I didn’t know much about St. Raphael before we began this journey.  However, somehow through it all I realized that he was heavily interceding for our son and this adoption.  God gets all the glory, but Raphael gets a plug in thanksgiving for his prayers and intercessions on our behalf.  Tobias was the virtuous faithful son who went through many trials and tribulations, but never lost faith.  In the end he had the family he dreamed of and confirmation that God is listening, actively guiding him, and loves him.  So you can see how the great name of Tobias came from.  The Book of Tobit is a beautiful testimony of Gods love and strategy in our lives.  Michael’s Chinese name is also very important and could not be let go.  He is named Long Ge Hua.  Long is for the year of the dragon (the year of his birth…2000), it is considered his last name and very lucky.   Ge Hua is the name of the hero policeman who found him and brought him to safety at two months of age.  Michael Tobias Ge Hua is essentially named after three great men each of different walks of life! What a triple blessing.  We pray that he likes to write, spell and explain as his name may require a bit that!   What is in a name…sometimes…everything!

Are you wondering how we knew it was Raphael that was interceding?  Well if you were, major decisions and family events that affected the initiation and completion of this adoption all included the Feast Days of St. Raphael, the Feast Day of the Archangels, as well as the Feast Day of our Holy Guardian Angels…in addition every where we went the name Raphael was.  Just a few examples are: the city we had important meetings with the social worker (San Raphael), obtaining a new job included a significant person named Raphael. As we agonized over Michael’s middle name we were constantly bombarded by the name Raphael. We didn’t know much about him but were amazed by the persistence.  We considered the name amongst others.  During this time I variably would do the “God what do you want me to learn today?” Bible read, where you pray and flip it open and read. Annoyingly, I continually opened up to Tobit day after day.   I had never read Tobit and had no desire to read Tobit, I wanted something rich like Galatians, Corinthians or Luke.  Ugh it always landed on Tobit so finally I relented, pressed the seam back and read it.  Much to my surprise there was one of the most amazing stories I had ever read, and it was about a tumultuous physical and faith journey a family was on.  It told of God’s faithfulness and willingness even to send an angel to help out when necessary!!  In this story the angel’s name was…Raphael…St. Raphael the Archangel.   What struck me more were the parallels to Tobias’, Michael’s and our journeys.  I realized that during Michael’s adoption journey, Raphael has been there to help at every cross roads, at every near miss and difficulty.  Even this week after heartache and chaos we finally got our flights purchases etc.  I had to look at the calendar and sure enough it landed on the Feast Day of St. Raphael.  We honor Raphael for taking good care of our Michael Tobias Ge Hua.  We thank God for the blessing of bringing our son safely home, guiding and protecting us on our difficult journeys, providing just what was needed, and teaching us many important virtues….just as He did the original Tobias so long ago.   

To our son Michael Tobias Ge Hua Craven:

Adapted from
Servant Song
By Richard Gillard

Wont you let us be your servants,
let us be as Christ to you,
We are pilgrims on a journey,
we are travelers on the road,
We will hold the Christ-Light for you,
in the night time of your fear,
We will weep when you are weeping,
when you laugh we’ll laugh with you,
We will share your joy and sorrow,
till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in Heaven,
we shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together,
of Christ’s love and agony.
Won’t you let us be your servants,
let us be as Christ to you.
Grandma Carolyn, Grandpa Jim, Presley, Avery,and Finley
Grandma Linda, Grampa John, Presley, and Avery with cousins Maria and John
Our family on Finley's 3rd Birthday
Girls with Uncle Ture
Michael's Chinese bead rosary held by Mary
at the Vigil Rosary for Life
Updated photo of Michael - June 2008
Michael with some of his friends - June 2008
Michael with another friend - June 2008
Updated photo of Michael - August 2008