Thursday, December 27, 2012

Updated Esther!

Tonight we got some updated photos of Esther.  Earlier this week we sent some some gifts and pictures to her through Ann at Red Thread China.  I can't say enough how wonderful she has been to work with.  She is always so timely and goes over and beyond what she needs to.  I was so impressed that she put our names and who we are in chinese characters on our images and that she sent this to me so I can see exactly the images she sent.

And then here are the images of Esther.  She looks SO much older!  We also got updated sizing on her - looks like she is a size 8/10 in girls and she wears a 1.5 - 2 sized shoe.  Can't wait to get shopping!

 Look - a smile!

We love you, Esther!  Can't wait to get over to you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Party on, Spring Festival. Without us.

I can't believe nearly a month has passed since my last post.  I knew this month would go fast and that made me happy because I thought we'd be traveling just a couple weeks into January but there have been some new things to consider.

Right now our paperwork is at the US embassy in China.  Someone is looking at the request for the girl's immigration into the United States and giving us the final go ahead.  Once they do sometime next week, our completed paperwork(yes, it's all finished!) will be sent to the Chinese government and they will issue us travel approval.  That takes about two weeks so that puts us at getting travel approval on the 11th of January or so.  And that's where things start getting tricky.

See, in China we will pick up one of our girls, stay in her province for a week, pick up the next girl and stay in her province a week.  After that we head to another city, Guangzhou, to complete their paperwork, medical exams and visas.  That entire process takes 3 weeks or more.

But here's the trick - this year's spring festival or Chinese New Year is February 10 with ALL government offices closed from February 9th - 15th.  That means we need to either get in there and get out before that time - which is pretty much impossible with when we'll get travel approval OR wait until it's all over and go in mid February.   As I type that I know that it just means that we won't go until February but I can't help but think "What if we bought our tickets before travel approval?..." and so on and so on.  Maybe we can!  But there are other things to consider as well.

Andrew is turning 8 on the 24th of January and in our faith that is when children are baptized.  I don't want his baptism to get kind of "lost" in the hustle and bustle of when we get back so it's better to do it before.  And then that weekend Elijah has some major winter camp-out that the scouts have been preparing for for months.  He was really bummed to think he would be missing it.  And then, Andrew is in a play where he is one of the main parts on the 29th, and the 31st is the pinewood derby.  It seems we were just not meant to be in China until February.   But it KILLS me!

In other news, we just sent Esther a book of our family pictures.  Since she is in foster care I couldn't find someone going to the orphanage and send it along like I could with Pearl.  I instead sent some cookies, tea, and a photo book with Ann at Red Thread China.  We also requested pictures at the same time so I am really hoping we will get a Christmas present of pictures of our sweet girl.  Really, nothing could be better than that.  For the book I took some new photos of the boys since the last ones weren't really that good.  I had the boys come and sit on the sofa next to a big window while my older son held a white pillow case to bounce some of the light back on the other side of their face.  And they turned out so authentic and sweet that I can't wait for Esther to see her brothers.  Here they are:
Asher - 3

Asher's crazy face.

Peter - 4

Peter is SO excited for his sisters to come home.

Andrew - almost 8!

Since his funny face went over so well with Pearl he couldn't help but try even harder for Esther.
Elijah - 11

Elijah wanted in on that action.
In the end, I need to trust the Lord.  I need to trust that He is in charge of this whole thing and that we are going exactly when he wanted us to go.  I need to remember that worrying only makes me feel bad and doesn't change one thing.  I will trust.  I'm just so SO anxious to hold my girl's little hands, to fix their hair, to look them in the eyes, and to hug them.  Soon enough, sweet girls.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

UP-dates and travel guesses.

This morning I called the Homeland Security office in Texas where they approve the immigration of my future daughters and spoke with an officer who informed me that we were approved and that she was sending our paperwork on the the National Visa Center.  Once there they will cable the embassy in China(I think) and make sure all of their immigration paperwork is on the up and up over there.  Once they say it is(1-2 weeks) we will then apply for travel approval from China.  I can't believe I am even typing that!!!  That should take about 2 weeks and then hopefully two to three weeks later WE WILL BE IN CHINA!!!!!!!!

I am so excited.  I don't know about yours but my holiday season is flying by faster any ever has and so before we know it it will be Christmas, then New Years, then CHINA!  I am so grateful for the miracles that carried us along on this journey.  Every single step was facilitated by friends and family, even strangers - how can we express enough gratitude for being such a vital role in bringing our daughters home?

This evening I found the website for the group that supports Esther in foster care and they informed me that they have reports and pictures about her and her foster family for every six months that she's been there since 2005.  I am SO grateful for amazing organizations and loving donors who have supported her so completely.  I am also so grateful to give her the gift of her history- at least as much as we can.  Knowing her story will be so important for her.   And they always need donors to help kids live with families and go to school  Go check it out if you feel the tug.

So, if we add that all up and everything goes perfectly and we're praying that it does- we will be in China on January 14th or 15th at the soonest.  Our prayer is that when our paperwork hits someone's desk they feel compelled to get it done quickly and send it on as soon as they finish.  And that all of our funding comes together perfectly so that we can buy the airline tickets without worry and that we will have plenty of money for our time in China.  We would love your prayers too.  We have seen what miracles your prayers bring. :)

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life that he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”     - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"I knew I was on a journey of faith, not on a journey in pursuit of money"

On October 23rd my agency told me that we probably had less than two weeks until our LOA or seeking confirmation would come back from China.  This was thrilling and blessed news.  BUT I have to slightly filled me with dread.

You see, when that comes back my agency will then ask for the orphanage fees of both of my girls as well as some other fees which total well over...well, a lot of money.  Like, A LOT.  And we didn't have it - we have a small portion but it isn't even a quarter of what we need.  So we had a choice, hit the panic button or hit the miracles ensue button.  The panic button was the natural response and believe me, there were many moments where my fingers hung dangerously over that button.  But instead we decided that the Lord had brought us so far, we didn't want to stop believing at this point.  So, we had no other choice than to ask, plead, and beg for the windows of heaven to open and manifest miracles on our behalf.  I felt as though I was on a game-show with a huge clock hanging over my head waiting for the miracle to show up...ticking away.  I knew we had no other option.  We needed a miracle and a miracle must come because we KNEW this was the Lord's will.  There were no other options.

A facebook message from a friend months before echoed in my mind.  It has been such a source of strength.  She was responding to an email I sent her asking her how they came up with the funds for their adoption.  I had no idea how beautiful her response would be and how much strength it would provide:

See, I don't see the adoption journey as a financial one. The Lord has, at His disposal, all funds and material things needed to accomplish His work. I figured that since He asked us to do this, He would prepare the way like He promised in 1 Nephi 3:7.Our funding was miraculous, really. After six straight weeks of literally working every waking hour, we had raised $20,000. We thought we needed $35,000 more, but with all the traveling it has been more than that. The Lord knew that we would need more and that I needed to be able to focus on my family...which I couldn't do with the amount of work I was doing trying to raise funds. Between homeschooling all six children, Chris' 9th grade year and first year of early morning seminary, a farm and a toddler among everyone, there was no way I could put in as much time as I had been for any longer than I had.But, I knew the whole time that the Lord wanted me to show Him that I meant business and would do whatever He asked me to and took EVERY opportunity He put in my path. I knew he could leave all the money on our doorstep if He wanted to, but I also knew He wanted me to work and sacrifice and show Him that I had faith in Him and would do my part. I had committed to do EVERYTHING I was offered...and some of it took more hours than I brought in in dollars. But I knew I was on a journey of faith, not on a journey in pursuit of money.   
So at our third yard sale, a woman came to me and said, "The Lord has told me that I need to pay for the adoption. He wants you to know that you have done enough." These people, who are younger than we are, have become dear friends and we have been blessed in more ways than one through that friendship. It was miraculous, but it was what it should be...He had moved people to bring about this miracle and she was touched and it was what we needed. I'm leaving out details, obviously, but the point is...He means what He says in 1 Nephi 3:7. 
The other thing we've learned through this is that Jacob 2:18-19 doesn't meant what we thought it did. We thought it meant that we would be blessed financially if we had our priorities in order. But, now we believe that it means that as we are trying to do His work, He will provide the riches with which to do it. Read it over again and you'll see what I mean!   
There have been other families we know of who have had a much harder time raising their funds...but if I could explain each individual situation, you'd be able to see how the Lord is working specifically for and with each family and their individual circumstances and needs.I don't believe the Lord does anything without an eternally important purpose. I DO believe that He is literally working in each detail of our lives, orchestrating each one for our own, individual eternal progression. There is something He wants you to learn in this process and it is your job to just work and pray and let Him guide you. He wants us to have faith in Him and to be stretched until it hurts...because only then do we grow.So, I guess I'm saying that it doesn't matter WHAT you do to raise funds, it matters THAT you do something to raise funds. What matters is pushing yourself to believe in Him, trust Him, follow EVERY prompting, don't give up or question and hang on for the ride of your life! What matters is drawing closer to Him and relying on Him to make this work, His work, possible. 
This is what we are commanded to do...gather Israel, succor the weak, take care of the are doing His work, keeping His commandments and He has already moved you by His spirit to do this. He has literally given you a personal commandment to do this and He will prepare the way for it to be accomplished.

This past Wednesday night an anonymous donor stepped forward and said they would like to pay those fees completely. And it was overwhelming. We asked and the Lord provided through some of his loving AMAZING servants.  I was so overwhelmed that couldn't fathom it until really the next day. And since then I have been crying and singing and smiling and beaming and telling everyone that I can.  At times like those "worship" comes naturally.

Miracles happen. Give everything you have to the Lord, ask for them, expect that they will come, and be grateful for such a loving Father in heaven.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pearl's Birthday Update

We got the images from Pearl's party this morning and as always, it was a blessing to see her again.  It looks like it's cooling down there since the kids are a little more bundled up.  I wonder what it will feel like when we get there!

I love her little prayer.  Or maybe she's making a wish.

And another one of Pearl feeding a "brother".  So cute that we have so many of these.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy birthday(almost), Pearl!

This week we ordered a birthday gift and cake to be sent to Pearl for her 6th birthday. I hate not being with her on her birthday and I was sure that we would have had her by now but finding Esther and other factors just didn't make that possible. I know Christmas will be much harder though because our chances of going there then are slim. Maybe it won't be so bad though because we might be really close and just excited to travel either way. Anyhow, back to her birthday. I ordered through Red Thread China and we got to send a letter to be translated, a gift, a cake, and a camera that the orphanage will take pictures with and Red Thread will develop and upload to me.  Here is the image of our stuff ready to send to the orphanage:

And here is the letter we sent.  It was harder than I thought to write.  I wanted to convey my love and explain some more about our life here.  So much to say:

To our beautiful daughter Dang Yi Lin,
  Happy birthday! We are glad that we can send you this cake and that you can have a little party.  We are working very hard so that we can come get you.  We are also excited that when we come to pick you up we are also going to be picking up a sister for you!  Her name is Esther and she is 9 years old and she lives in China right now too.    Both your mommy and daddy love you very much and think about you every day.  We pray for you, look at pictures of you, and tell everyone we know about how we found you and can't wait to bring you home and hug and kiss you.

At home it snows in the wintertime and your brothers can not wait to take you sledding on our hill and make a snowman with you.  In the summer we love to run around, go swimming, and sometimes go camping.  We have lots of family with over 30 cousins, 4 grandparents and many many friends.  Your oldest brother is Elijah and he is 11 years old.  He is smart, kind, and he loves to build things.  Your next oldest brother is Andrew and he is almost 8 years old.  Andrew is really funny and very loving.   He loves swinging and playing with friends.  You have two younger brothers.  One is Peter and he is 4 years old.  Peter loves to build with blocks and play with animals.  Asher is your youngest brother and he is 3 years old.  He loves playing outside and riding his bike.  All of your brothers love you very much and ask about you all of the time.

Sweetheart, we love you so much and when we think about you it makes our hearts feel like they are full of warm sunshine.   Soon enough you will be with us and we will be so happy.  Have a wonderful birthday and enjoy your cake, candies, and presents.  Tonight may you dream of your family and all of the happiness you will have.  Also, we would like to say thank all of the ladies that are taking such good care of you in China.  

Mommy and Daddy

Here are some images from Pearl attending various other parties for other children.  I am sure that this will be her first time sitting in front of that cake.  I wish it were so much more than that.

I really can't wait to send a letter to Esther. 

 In other news, this weekend is our race.  It hasn't nearly earned us all of the funds we need for the next step in the adoption(we're still waiting for our paperwork to get back but once it's done our next fees are due), but it has been successful.  We still don't know exactly how it's all going to play out but we know it will.   Prayers always appreciated. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pearl's Sweet Little Voice.

A couple weeks after we recived those beautiful images Juley and her family returned home and sent us the videos from seeing Pearl.  They are priceless, truly.  And here they are:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ponyo, Ponyo, Ponyo

I love ALL of the films of Hayao Miyazaki but I have a very special place in my heart for the movie Ponyo.  After it was released in the U.S. and my kids had watched it my now seven year old son started asking about "his sister".  He would mope around the house sighing and saying, "I wish I had a sister." or to the cat, "I guess you'll just have to be my sister."  And I know it sounds silly but the film made something stir in all of us.  The story is of a little princess who lives in the sea but wants to be human(just like "The Little Mermaid").  Unlike the little mermaid it isn't to become a wife but instead a sister and daughter.  I really do think the film awakened a memory of sorts inside of Andrew - bringing back to him the sister he knew he had somewhere.   And the more he talked about it - in the car, around the house, all of the time - the more my heart ached to find her too.  But I really had no idea of the blessings that finding her and her sister would bring.  I truly can not wait to bring them home.

With that being said - here's the trailer:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thanks to you, she sees us!!!

Last month we heard through the grapevine that somebody named Juley was going to pick up their little one from Pearl's orphanage and that they were willing to bring Pearl anything we wanted to send.  Last May when Jessica and Carson went the orphanage asked for pictures to show Pearl and since we knew they were open to it we jumped at the chance.  We sent a locket with our photos in it, a picture book with pictures of our whole family including grandparents, our animals, and our home.  We also included a Disney Fairy doll who had an Asian look to her ;}.  Juley said she would get photos, videos, and tell Pearl anything we wanted but we had no idea how lovingly she would do that for us.

Over the past few weeks I have played the moment she would see us in those photos for the first time over and over again in my mind.  I wasn't sure how she would react.  I thought she might be confused, quiet, a little scared, hopefully a little interested too.  I thought the images would look a lot like this first one:

But you cannot imagine my overwhelming joy and surprise when he next reaction to seeing our family picture was this:

There are so many things to say about these two images.  First, the woman she is with obviously loves her and seems even a little emotional about it.  And Pearl obviously loves her.  And look at the others cheering for her - they all want the best for her.  They want her to be happy with a family.  And then the next thing you might notice is the sweet children who are not seeing their families.  They're curious but it's a little sad too.  What dear children.  And I cannot wait to embrace those woman and thank them for loving these children as their own.  I will praise their names for ever more as I'm sure the angels of heaven do.

The images go on and on and all of them are so sweet that I wanted to share them all so I made a slideshow for the rest.  I also wanted to share them because we are only able to bring this sweet girl and her sister home because of your continuing help.  We are so grateful for the strong hands and loving hearts who have supported us and our girls in being united again as a family.  And though it is hard to need help, words cannot express my gratitude. Seems we're in this thing together.  :} 

Here are the pictures:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid.

Sometimes I think about the night Peter and the other apostles saw the Savior walking on the water1.  It was a terrifying thing to see but the Savior called out to them saying, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."  And Peter answered, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water."  Somehow they lowered Peter onto the water and he began to walk towards the Savior.  I don't know how far away he was but I am going to wager that it wasn't just a few feet.  And as Peter was walking he started to see the winds pick up which I imagine also made the water become very turbulent and he became afraid.  As soon as fear replaced the faith in his heart he began to sink but yet in that moment he still had enough faith to cry out to the Lord, saying, "Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

What a beautiful moment.   The scriptures have become alive to me through the adoption process.   I am sure that I am not alone and that we all have seas that we are asked to walk on.

I know that looking out onto the water and seeing the Lord there can be terrifying.  We did not want to adopt for a long time - we knew that financially speaking we were not in a place to do so but then the Lord called out, "Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid."  And so we were bid to come out to meet him.  We were asked to walk on water.  

Walking on water is impossible if you didn't know it.  Not one of us thinks that with enough practice we could figure it out.  And yet, he did it.  And sometimes I feel that way about as far as we have gotten in the adoption process because financially speaking - it is impossible.  And I'll bet when Peter first started walking on the water it was exhilarating.  But as the reality of what he was doing hit and he started to notice the winds and the waves it required more of his faith then leaping out of the boat.  Each step becoming a whole new leap of faith.

Perhaps when the winds picked up Peter saw how far he had to go.  Perhaps Peter wondered why he had volunteered himself for this.  The deep and murky cold water was underfoot and he was the only one crazy enough to get out of that warm steady boat.    But he must have known that he wasn't walking on that water by his own power, he was walking by grace.

I am ashamed to say that I am no Peter.  I haven't had just one moment where I am afraid and beginning to sink.  It happens all of the time.   But the Lord is there, catching me and chiding, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"   Or to borrow from another story with wind and waves,

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

And he[Jesus] was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"2

He is teaching me that He does care.  He is no fair weather friend.  He did not ask me to do this and then step out of the picture.  Many times the winds feel VERY boisterous and my faith is little and my fear is so so great but He always rebukes the seas when I call out to Him.  If I reach out to Him he always catches me.  He is in charge.  I am grateful for his patience as He helps my faith in Him grow.

1 - Matthew 14:25-31
2 - Mark 4:40

Friday, August 10, 2012

Auction starts TODAY

Our auction for the adoption starts TODAY at 4 PM PST. There are so many cool items from art to jewelry to bags to hair accessories. Go check it out and see if there isn't something you love.  Spread the news by sharing it on your facebook page or with friends if you'd like.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

If...and counting.

I got my passport today and sent off the dossier.  Finally and thank the Lord, literally.  If everything goes super fast we'll be leaving just days before Christmas... if it takes super long...we'll leave at the end of February.  I'm stoked either way.  

In other news, I am slowly adding items to our auction that will start this Friday afternoon - so far I've added about half of the stuff.  You can go check out some of the amazing things people have given me to help us bring the girls home HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Passport, come on down!!!

I now have EVERYTHING ready to send my dossier off to the assistant stork in Washington D.C. except for my passport.   I really hoped it would come today and I'm praying that it comes by tomorrow.   Once I send this off it will be two weeks before it's in China.  After that it will be around three months before I send in my i800.  Once I send that it I will get my travel approval three to five weeks after that. So, let's get this thing going.  I am so thrilled.

PRAY for that passport to come by tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me. -Moses 6:34

Today I went and added up the rest of the process for this adoption and added up how long we still have and I have to tell you it was a little disheartening.  I have been trying to be optimistic and tell everyone November but when I added it up today there pretty much is no chance we will see the girls that soon.

Here is a timeline I am basing things on:

If everything was processed at the fastest speed possible then we would be going to get the girls in early December.  If it took the longest estimates then we wouldn't be picking them up until March of next year.   Boy, I really want it to be the lightening fast speed but how likely is that?  Without a lot of prayer and fasting I'd say it is pretty much impossible.  So, I am opening that up to who ever feels so inclined that we would love to have your prayers in our and the girl's behalf.  I know of the power of prayer - I know it works.  So, pray that those processing times go quickly and that we are ready to travel before the end of the year.  Thanks, everyone.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pearl up close.

I am now blessed to have several videos of Pearl and thought I'd share my favorite one.  This is thanks to our dear friends, Jessica and Carson.   She is so sweet.  I only wish she would have said something.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The red thread of destiny.

Last fall after we had found Pearl and felt compelled that she was indeed our daughter we had many conversations about how this journey would work.  In particular one night we lay in bed and Michael said that he would love to bring her home but just didn't know how it would be possible because of the cost.  And I said to him, "If someone took Andrew and he were in China - there is no amount of money that we couldn't come up with to bring him home.  We'd sell our house and live in a van if we had to.  If the Lord has told us that this is our child, then someday we will love her just as much and will feel so grateful that we did what ever it took to bring her home."

I'm so grateful that we took the leap of faith that night.  When the spirit whispered to my heart that Esther was also our daughter the picture came into my mind of a very tall diving board in the pitch black.  I felt as though the Savior were telling me to jump even though it was too dark to even see if there was water down below.  And so we took the leap.  And almost every day we find ourselves up on that diving board jumping all over again.  I am grateful that the Lord's requiring of my faith is to bring more abundance and joy into my life.  I am grateful for my girls.  My bond with them grows stronger moment by moment.  I can feel the swelling deep ocean between us, the noise, the commotion but also the strong binding cords of eternity.

An ancient chinese proverb says that an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break. I feel that thread growing thicker and stronger and pulsing with life more and more each day.   It is holding us fast as the machine of adoption brings us closer and closer to one another.  I feel that they feel it too though they don't know it.   Oh, my sweet precious girls.  I'm coming.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

“Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.” -Joseph Smith

Today I woke up frustrated.  Frustrated that it has taken us so long to get to this point in the process.  Frustrated wondering if it's the Lord's timetable or if it's my failings.   If you could combine all of my weaknesses into once process - it might be the adoption process.  I am terrible at deadlines and getting things mailed - like dismally bad.  And I'm terrible at complicated details and the adoption process is full of ridiculously pointless details.   I'm also terrible at doing things that I don't have the money to do.  I'm great at pulling back and doing nothing when I can't afford something but I don't think I'm so great at being creative and getting things done without money.  I've tried to overcome those things but I keep finding that I missed something or that I did something wrong or I wonder if I couldn't have pushed our finances more.  So frustrating.

And there in China sit my two little girls.  Perhaps the Lord knew my weaknesses(He did) and planned it to take this long.  Perhaps he wanted me to learn something from that.  I'm not sure what yet though.  I feel as though I am on a treadmill eternally running "toward" a carrot just out of grasp.  It makes me have irrational fears like that they'll see that we're not good enough and give the girls to someone else.  That we'll hit some deadline and be dumped.  Or that we'll die before we get there.  Serious faith promoting stuff, folks.

Why must it be this way?  Why am I so terrible at this?  Why can't we be traveling to them right now?  Will we be good enough?  Will they love us?     

He loves us and he loves them - we will be together.  All is right.  Keep pushing, keep believing.  It will come to pass.

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him"
Psalm 37:3-7

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Donate to our auction!

At the end of July we will hosting an auction hoping to raise funds for the adoption. If you or someone you know would be willing to donate anything towards that auction let me know. It could be anything, big or small, or several things. IT doesn't have to be a Van Gogh - every little thing helps! If you are willing, either email me or leave a comment here with your email and I'll get back to you! If you don't have anything to donate but would like to BIG - Check back in a few weeks for the auction - I promise we'll have all sorts of really great stuff!

Thank you in advance!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Cox Family

I love this video.  What joy we can find in bringing these sweet children home.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why not you?

***All of the images in the post are children currently in need of a family.  If you would like more information about any of them - let me know!

I have been writing this post in my head for a long time.   We are adopting so obviously I am a supporter of it.  In fact, most people I meet support my decision and think it is a really good thing.  I'll bet YOU are a supporter of adoption.  But why are more people not adopting?  Why not you?

While I am not suggesting that the decision to adopt should be taken lightly, the decision NOT TO ADOPT shouldn't be either.  Let's talk about some truly heart wrenching statistics:

There are estimated to be between 143 million to 210 million orphans in the world.  To give you some perspective on that number the United States population is just over 300 million.  That number alone is staggering.   Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.   Every year 2,102,400 more children become orphans in Africa alone.

I think part of why people don't adopt is because they think if they don't - surely someone will.  While it may be that way for puppies at the shelter, it just doesn't work that way for orphans.  Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but every year 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and age out of the system.  That means that today 38,493 children aged out of the system and will not have a family - period.  If my math is correct, only 2% of orphans will ever be adopted.   And those are sweet faced, loving, innocent little children.  Children with cute voices and chubby cheeks and sweet hearts.  Each and every one of them is worthy of a loving family.

 What happens to the other 98%?  In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.   And 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution while 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.  Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves.  Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.  And even for the ones who escape these horrors - they will never have a home to visit during the holidays, a father to walk them down the aisle, a mother to call about parenting questions - their family tree will be empty.  Their dark nights will be very, very dark and alone.

I think there are other reasons we don't adopt.  First we might have a fear of a child so affected by the institutionalized life that the child will be unable to love and will destroy the health of the family.  This is not an invalid fear but there are many many children who are emotionally healthy and are able to transition relatively easy into a loving family.  Also, we understand so much more about the attachment process than we did just a few years ago and so families can be supported in learning how to help their children feel and give love.  I am trying to add more and more blogs about families who have adopted older children so that you can see these kids in real time - see that the families are thriving!

Another reason is finances.  We think that adoption - especially international adoption - is for the economically privileged.  It is most assuredly true that adoption is costly but most people who adopt do not have the money when they begin the process.  But it comes.   If God can part the Red Sea - which He did - literally - then He can give you the money to bring one of His precious children home.  There are grants and loans and fundraisers.  Both most especially - there are miracles - MANY of them.

Lastly, we may think that if we adopt we are claiming to have reached near perfection in our parenting.  It's not true.  These children aren't asking for a bread baking, always singing, beautiful mother.  Or an always jovial, baseball throwing, wealthy father.  They are asking for someone to root for them, someone to come to them when they are sick in the night, someone to teach them why the moon always seems to be following them.  Someone to love them.

So I am very boldly asking all of you, why not join us in bringing one or two of these beautiful gifts from our Father in Heaven into your family?  Why not bless your other children, if you have any, with the beauty of another culture or a child with special needs?  I know you will find that they aren't the lucky ones - that you are.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." -Helen Keller

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happier birthdays to come.

Today Esther turned 9.  I wish that we were far enough into the process so that we could send her a birthday gift and a cake but we're not.  I hope she wasn't expecting that she'd get something like that from us.   We are waiting for China to give us approval for her but the process is more complicated for the second child.  Soon enough though.  I hope that she had a happy birthday and felt loved and happy.  I'm sure she is feeling very vulnerable now that she knows she is available for adoption.

Sometimes when I look at her images I realize that I'm seeing the faces of her parents.  I wonder where they are - who they are.  Are they young or old?  Do they live in the same city as her?  Do they ever pass her on the street?  Do they look for their own faces in the faces of the 9 year old girls that walk by?  I am sure I am not the only woman in this world who is thinking of her with empty arms on her birthday.  We love you Esther.  I can't wait until you feel and know that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Heart-melting dimples.

Oh my goodness, what dolls my girls are.  Today I got the medical update for Pearl and it included some pictures and some new information about her.  No doubt she knows she's getting a family now.   Look at that dimple!

"She has good memory and can remember her little friends that had been adopted abroad. She said she missed them and hopes she can find a home that belongs to her." 

"Recently, we found out Pearl can play cube and she is able to make one side color in a short time. She is very good about it."  

"She loves to play outside and loves to be with young staff. Because there are not many same age kids, Pearl likes to stay in the room watching TV and hold dolls. She enjoys lining up dolls and putting a blanket on them, pretend to feed them."

"She is a bit picky eater, likes to eat snacks. She doesn’t like dried mushroom and wood ear fungus mushroom."  Oh, come on, Pearl!  Everyone loves the wood ear fungus mushrooms!

I am so grateful that it appears that both of my girls are sincerely loved and attended to.  I am also so humbled and thankful that the Lord is blessing us with both of them.  We have seen so many many blessings lately when it comes to saving the funds for the adoption.  What a miraculous journey we are on.