Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Updates and Angels.

A recent image from Pearl's school.  Pearl is on the left with the blocks in front of her face.  Her teachers look so nice, don't they?
**First off, I want to express my gratitude of those who are in a position to give to us.  It has helped already and I thought I owed you an update to what we have been doing with the money.   Because of your help we were able to get the home study process started and also pay some of the fees for getting our background check going.  Soon enough we will put what we have been given together with what we have saved towards her agency fee.  So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.**

I often play a game with myself where I imagine that Pearl is with me. It's one of my favorite things to do - it makes me so happy.  I'll be driving to the store and pretend that she is in the back seat - I'll glance back and in my mind's eye she really is there.  What an unfathomable blessing it is that some day she really will be with us - that she will follow me around the house asking questions just like my others do.  I know that looking back this time will seem to have passed quickly but right now it seems like she'll never get here.  The day when I get to pick her up - when she will probably be so scared and not at all interested in coming with us - can't come soon enough.  I love to imagine that moment too.  I hope that even though she is overwhelmed and confused that she will be able to see and feel the love we have for her.

Right now, she is on the other side of the planet not knowing that her mother is in American dreaming of touching her black hair and caressing her little cheek and feeling her crooked little spine.   I feel such an immensity of love and emotion for her, my prayers are so fervent at times, I can't help but wonder if the sun shines a little warmer for her.  I can't help but wonder if in some way she can feel the momentum of change in her life.  So much has changed for us in the last couple months that I can't help but wonder if some little imperceptible something has changed for her too.  One thing I am assured of is that the power of my and Michael's prayers, as well as those of our sweet boys, has sent more angels her way.  Angels to bring her comfort and keep her safe.  You have no idea what a comfort that is.

There are some images taken last year of her that make me particularly sad.  Last year(2010) she left foster care and came to live at the orphanage.  I don't know why she did - if the family could no longer care for her or what but I do know that that transition was very difficult for her and some photos seem to show it in her sad eyes.  She had been living with a foster family since she was found at three days old and then at age three was sent away.  The orphanage workers said that for a time she did not speak to anyone there.  How heart breaking.  My poor little girl was so alone and confused.  Peter is three years old and I cannot imagine how hard it would be for him to go through something like that.  I hope that when we bring Pearl home that the Lord will ease the burden of that so it won't be as painful as going to the orphanage.  I hope the love of her mother and father and her forever family will help heal those wounds.  

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.  
--The Ministry of Angels
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How we found our Pearl

Some of you have asked how we found Pearl and so I thought I'd share with you that path with all of it's tender mercies.

I really feel like this journey began in the summer of 2010 when the spirit whispered to both Michael and I that we were not going to be staying in Utah.  That may not sound like a big deal to you but at that time we were living in a cute house in a cul-de-sac NEXT DOOR to one of my best friends.  We loved it there and were happy to be staying put for a while.  I still love Utah, by the way.  Well, anyhow, one afternoon I was reading my scriptures and all of a sudden I just felt, "You are not going to live in Utah forever."  And it was such a strange experience because it wasn't something I was told - in that moment I knew it.  My whole heart shifted and suddenly I knew our home was somewhere else.  And around the same time Mike was on a business trip and he had the same thing come to him so when I called him and told him that he said he was thinking the same thing.

So we moved.  And in so doing I felt like the gates of hell were kicked open a little bit more because it was a REALLY hard move.  But a couple months after I moved here and things were so hard that same best friend, Callie, said, "There must be something really big coming up for you that Satan doesn't like."  And when she said it a huge weight was lifted from me because I suddenly realized why I had been so weighed down.  And so I waited and watched and wondered what the Lord had in store for us.

The McComas Family
The McComas's littlest ones on the first day of school.
The next big step, really HUGE step, was meeting and becoming friends with the McComas family.  We love them.  This past summer we had them over one evening for treats and as we talked they started telling us a little more about their experiences adopting two little girls from China.  And since Mike and I had already decided that some day we would do that we were ALL ears.  At least, I was!  Jessica directed me to some of the sites where I could begin looking through postings of waiting children from all over the world.  (Waiting children refers to children who are waiting to be adopted - opposed to newborns who have a waiting list to adopt them.)   And so I began looking.

Interestingly, I felt nothing.  Of course I felt compassion and sadness over these children but Jessica had said that when she found her daughters she knew they were hers when she saw them.  But I didn't feel anything.  So, I signed up for the email alerts to hear about new children and moved on.

Months passed and I almost started to wonder if adoption was some fanciful, romantic idea that was would never really happen for me.  And then in October during conference weekend something happened.  Suddenly I knew we were going to adopt and that we needed to start the process soon.  So the next Sunday Mike and I fasted and prayed about it.  We had no idea where we were supposed to adopt from or from whom.  There were so many options - LDS family services, international, foster care and we didn't know which one would lead us to our future child.  At the end of that fast Sunday I still didn't know so Mike and I started looking at the different web sites.  We knew LDSFS was the best fit because of the price - only 10% on your yearly income not to exceed $10,000.  So we started with their website.  And we didn't feel anything.  In fact, we kind of felt bothered as we looked at it - like it we couldn't wait to stop looking at it.  And then we went to the international site and everything was different - we started feeling a swelling of emotion inside - especially for the chinese adoptions.  And then we realized we had our answer!

And there is a whole other story on why we chose the age and gender we did but we felt that our child was a little girl around the age of 5 or 6.  So I set those parameters and started looking.  A few days later I emailed Jessica, my new cheerleader, about a specific child and told her what we were looking for.  She emailed back and said she felt like she should share someone with me.  She called her her "hidden angel" because she was in the background of a photo she had of her son.  When she saw this little girl in the background her heart was full and she felt strongly she needed to find out who she is.  Here is that photo:
Do you see that little sweetheart on the left?
So she searched and asked and posted about it until she found her.  But she didn't know why she needed to find out - she just knew she needed to.  And then when I came along and told her what we were looking for she passed her along.  And she sent more images she had found and when we saw them...we knew.  Mike and I both.  And it was such a wonderful feeling.

And that was October 16th.  Nearly two months ago.  And what a beautiful, intense, blessed, joyous, overwhelming two months it has been!!!

I wish I could share more images on here of our little Pearl but I signed something that said I wouldn't until some point in the process.  And I'm a stickler.  I felt like I could get away with this image since it's not really of her but of her friend, Henry.  And Henry and she are going to be friends for a long time since he is being adopted by the McComas family and he will live just a few minutes away.  If you really want to see a picture I am allowed to email one so email me and I'll send some along!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

With a little help from our friends...

This isn't an easy post for me to write.

We made the decision long ago to adopt. It was always something on the horizon for us but since we knew it was an expensive process we didn't consider doing it any time soon.  And then slightly out of the blue, in early October we felt this urgency to start the process.  We figured it would be a process we would start and that in the spring(with some savings under our belt) we would find a child and move forward.  But the Lord didn't see it that way.  A week after we fasted and prayed about where to look we found our little girl, Pearl.   

And what a joy and blessing that is.  How grateful we are that we have been entrusted with the job of bringing her home.  What a blessing it is to sacrifice and fast and plead on her behalf.  We know that she is as much a member of our eternal family as any of the boys are.

But that doesn't make it any less expensive.  So, we've begun to work harder than we ever have before, sell everything we can, eat beans and rice, and to literally save EVERY penny that we find or earn.  But most importantly we are relying on the Lord to multiply our efforts because we KNOW that without his help we would never make it.

And now, in our desire to bring her home as soon as possible, we are asking for your help.  And it's hard to ask for help but I am willing to do it to bring her home even one day sooner.  So, if you'd like to help us bring Pearl home you can click on the link on the right hand side of this blog.  

And I know you will be blessed as we have already been.  Since I have begun this process I have seen how much the Lord loves and cares about his orphaned children because he has given me VERY clear direction and answers to my prayers.   He has said:

Pure religion... is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction...  -James 1:27

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.   -Matthew 18:5

Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.    -Deuteronomy 26:13

So, thank you in advance to those of you who are in a position to help us financially.  And to those who aren't - we ask for your support and prayers.  Someday we will happily tell Pearl all about how many of our friends and family worked to bring her home.  For a little girl who was abandoned in the beginning, what a gift to know that there were many others who saw her worth and value in this world and who were waiting with open arms to love and cherish her.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Song of Thanksgiving.

I did not anticipate how quickly my mothering instinct for Pearl would set in.  I did not know how much my heart would ache to hold her, touch her hair, kiss her cheeks.  I feel the emptiness in my arms on a daily basis.  And yet, what a gift it is.  What a gift that so quickly a new room has opened up in my heart for another child.  And how bright the light shines in it - how it leads me to her, keeps me on my knees pleading for her, and fills me with love for the rest of my children. 

What gratitude fills my heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Loaves & Fishes

This last Friday we got our first set of paperwork turned in - the Pre-App and it feels so good!  Now we need to move on to the home-study where they make us answer a bunch of questions like, "What characteristics will make your spouse a good parent?"  Honestly, I love questions like that!  I am totally going to save that paperwork so that someday she can see it and read all of our answers.

After we complete the application a social worker will come to our home a few times and ask us a bunch of other questions, assess our home, and determine whether or not we are fit for adoption.  When we first heard about that process I kept having the scripture, "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting" run through my head.  Luckily my social worker informed me that of the hundreds she has done over that last 20 years only 2 or 3 haven't passed.  So that made me feel much better.

Otherwise,  our eyes are scanning over everything we own to see if we should sell it or not.  The adoption process is an expensive one - upwards of $25,000 when its all said and done!  But we know that as we put our trust in the Lord he will multiply our efforts and we will have the money necessary to bring Pearl home.  We are so grateful for stories from the scriptures like the one of the loaves and fishes being multiplied.  We know of the reality of the Savior's power and that as we turn to him we too will be able to partake and be filled.  Part of why we chose her name is because of the scripture in Matthew 13:

45 ¶Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

We truly have found our Pearl of great price and we are willing to sell everything to bring her home.  So grateful for that we did find her.  Here's to faith!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Every few days I find myself overwhelmed by emotion and I stop and cry a little.  Sometimes I'm crying because the road we must travel to get Pearl is a long and untraveled one.  Sometimes I cry because of the pain of her abandonment - knowing that someday she will have to deal with the anger and hurt of that.  Sometimes I cry because I cannot be there to hold her when she's sad or hurt or sick.  And I must hope that someone there is kissing her tears and sharing in her joys.  It's strange how when you open your heart to a child on literally the other side of the world, you feel immediately connected.  She is now our daughter as much as our other children are ours.  We speak about her, pray for her, worry over her, and get excited for the time we will get with her.

This past weekend Mike and I walked through the girl's clothing section in Target and looked at things she might wear.  Our hearts were full as we walked and talked about picking her up from the orphanage and spending two weeks in China with her.  We feel so much joy at having found her but it is coupled with fear - I often feel like I am standing on the shore of the Red Sea waiting for Moses to raise his hand and part it.   Sometimes we feel just as desperate as one of those escaping Israelites must have felt.  And we too feel we need a miracle just as assuredly.  And at those moments I fall to my knees - both literally and emotionally and plead for the Lord to multiply our efforts so that we can bring our precious Pearl home.