The Family

The Family

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just Some Pics

It's Amanda here...just going to update some pictures here for my mom.

Below: One big happy family

 Below: Daniel and Jaiden smiling for a picture on Easter!

 Below: Eric and Brandon on Easter!

 Below: The 2 cuties all smiles to try on some b-ball uniforms!

 Below: Trying to cool off...see how Eric's getting the hand of being a Hood?
 (aka learning the b-ball ways)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


In the Longview area, there is an annual writing competition for all Juniors. It is called Laws Of Life and is basically a free writing competition where the students write about some "Law" they have learned during their life. Josh chose to write about his buddy from the BMH China camp this summer. He was chosen as one of the top 2 from his school and then moved on to compete against all the other juniors from the other area schools. LeTourneau University and the Longview News Journal support this competition and had judges read all of the finalists from the many different schools. They had a big dinner to announce all of the winners and Josh Hood won second place over all!!! Everyone that heard his story and compared it to the first place winner thought he should have won 1st place, but we are very proud of him regardless. The prize was a $4000 scholarship. Following is his winning masterpiece:

Hope for the Hopeless

The dreaded moment has arrived. We knew from the start this day would creep up, but it all seems so short. The bus is here. Our hands are seemingly touching through glass, emotion flowing through streams of tears as our hearts break. We realize we may never see each other’s faces again, but yet a connection remains as his bus fades from sight. I then realize I am not alone. Seventeen others are going through the very same thing as I, yet my heart feels the sensation to scream. I am shattered, not out of anger but out of pain for the teenage orphan whom I befriended and loved for one week.

Rewind with me and imagine for a moment what life was like for Li Wei, this 15 year old Chinese orphan whom I befriended. He had a fairly normal childhood. Of course he had his ups and downs, trying to maintain good grades while meandering through the challenges of middle school. Completely oblivious to tragedy and strife, he felt safe and secure his whole life. Then the unimaginable happened as he was abruptly awoken in the middle of the night. His heart plummeted as he was told his parents were seriously injured in a mining accident. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind as he approached the hospital. Tears of dreadful anticipation were soon met with a blow as the doctor uttered the words, “Your parents have already passed.” Overcome by feelings, he cried alone, with no one to comfort him. He is eventually forced to leave behind all that he had ever known and go to a place of uncertainty, an orphanage. As the weeks turned into months, he began to feel somewhat accustomed to this new life, but he constantly longed to be loved. He slowly became reserved and shy, especially toward strangers. Soon after, he found himself arriving at a summer camp run by a group of seemingly crazy people with white faces. At first he found it peculiar to be paired up with another orphan, a foreigner, and a Chinese translator. As the week progressed, however, he surprisingly found himself beginning to change. He discovered enjoying simple activities like coloring, which brought back many long lost memories. Suddenly he found himself feeling very connected to this, now not-so-strange American. Love, something he had not experienced in a long time, was suddenly becoming familiar once again. A conflict resulted, however, for unbeknown to him, his heart was soon to break once again. For that bus, which brought him to this week full of love and hope, will soon take him back to what he tried to forget, the orphanage. Nevertheless, he felt transformed both inside and out, by bonding with a complete stranger.

After going through such a roller coaster of emotions with me, you are able to get a glimpse of the life of Li Wei, a Chinese orphan, with whom I was able to spend a week on a mission trip. We had an incredible time together singing songs, playing Uno, and just being there for each other. Some might have thought of the language barrier as an obstacle, but we used it as an opportunity to play many games of soccer and catch. One thing will always ring in my memory. He approached me one night before going to bed and said sincerely, “Wo ai ni” (I love you). In speaking those words, a complete stranger radically transformed my life forever. Throughout the length of just five days, a complete stranger had become like a brother to me.

In the summer of 2011, I got to experience firsthand what my orphan buddy, as well as countless others, had to endure and suffer through their entire lives. It was truly incredible to see the hange from shy and reserved, to happy and outgoing. Hearts were mended from years of the absence of love, lives were transformed through the power of God, and American foreigners were made to see the longing these Chinese orphans have to be loved. To fly across the globe was an experience in and of itself, but to be a part of this orphan’s life was simply priceless.

In reality, however, the pain is real. Those tears cried as the bus faded from sight are an almost haunting reminder of how delicate and significant life is. The future of my 15-year- old little buddy is not bright. He will have to live with the label “orphan” hovering over his head for the rest of his life. The grim reality is that most likely he will never get a job outside of the orphanage, and most likely he will never again experience the same kind of unconditional love.

There are literally millions of children who, like Li Wei, end up spending their entire lives without the love and support a family provides. Consequently, many of these hopeless will remain so, unless driven by compassion, we give them real hope through the power of adoption. My two youngest siblings were also once orphans in China. They were both abandoned at birth; one due to gender and one due to a minor disability. I thank God that my parents took the step of faith to adopt. They have greatly impacted and blessed my family in countless ways, and I pray that many others will consider the calling and blessing of adoption. To give hope to the hopeless, family to those without, and love to the unloved, is a challenge only for those willing to take a risk that will radically transform their life, as it did mine.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is our 6th day at home, and we're adjusting fairly well. Sorry it took us so long to get some family pix up. Most of us are close to sleeping through the night already. Brandon is the best sleeper...but Eric is still waking up quite early. I'm still a little brain dead evidently though, as I have been noticing things every day that would be good to post about, and right now I can't think of any of them. One of the biggest changes we are noticing as a family is how busy the bathroom is with 9 family members! That's why Josh wanted to post the funny pix of the bathroom sign. We actually took that pix in China, but it aptly applies to our own home!

Watch for a post of Josh's winning essay about his China mission trip last summer. Josh, our 17 year old son, connected with his 15 year old orphan buddy at camp and has quite a story to tell. We hope to post his complete essay very soon. Watch for that post and enjoy. We're so proud of him.

The Family

Saturday, March 17, 2012


We arrived home after a long trip and are glad to be home! We have a lot of adjusting to do and will post more later but wanted to let you know that we arrived fine. Thank you all for your prayers!
Sorry no pictures, too tired. We will do some later.

Thursday, March 15, 2012



Friday, March 16 marks the end of nearly 3 weeks in China. It has been an incredible trip in many ways. What started with Andrew, Amy and Mike leaving White Oak concludes with Andrew, Amy, Mike, Eric and Brandon returning to White Oak. Today we submitted Eric and Brandon’s paperwork for them to get their US Visa and their documentation to become US Citizens. They will become US Citizens when we arrive at the airport in San Francisco late Friday night. Our travel plans are as follows:

· leave Guangzhou at 10:20 pm Friday March 16 (9:20 am CST); Arrive in Hong Kong at 10:15 pm;
· leave Hong Kong at 1:00 am Saturday March 17; Arrive in San Francisco 10:00 pm Friday March 16;
· leave San Francisco 12:35 am Saturday March 17; Arrive in Dallas at 5:45 am.

As you think of us, please pray for our flights. Also pray that we would get a little sleep on the trip. Thank you to those of you that have said you have been praying. We look forward to seeing many of you in the coming days. Sorry no pictures today. Lord willing, the next pictures we post should have some of all 9 of us!

We want to thank Josh and Amanda for faithfully posting these posts and pictures every day since we cannot access blog sites from China. We would like to also thank both of our parents (Urban & Ardella Gathman and Harold and Pat Hood) for their help in watching the 4 Hoods that did not come with us – you were a valuable part of this trip.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pictures of "THE HIKE"

Above: taking a much needed break!
Above: enduring the LONG hike UP and UP and UP
Above: Mike and Amy on the hike
Above: Brandon and the Chinese squat
Above: The Three Musketeers