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.