Monday, December 13, 2010

Amazing Husband!

Yes, I have an amazing husband! If I had any doubts about where my husband stood in all of this adoptions stuff (and I don't), they would be all erased after that last post Charlie wrote.

I was on my way to bed when Charlie came in from a walk and asked me how to get on my blog. I showed him and went to bed (I was SO TIRED). Later the next morning I found myself sitting in front of the computer reading his sweet prayer he blogged and crying tears of joy. Wow, has God done a work in his heart (our hearts) or what? I asked him later where this "All of the sudden" need to blog came from and he said, "While I was walking that night I just felt so burdened for her. I wanted to post my thoughts to record the moment and share with others the feelings I had just in case someone else felt called to pray."

The amazing thing (ok things) about that is that I had been feeling the same thing all week, but God knew I needed rest...and rest I did that night.:) God gave the burden to Charlie to carry for the night. How sweet of Him to work in such a way. :) The 2nd thing is that just around the same time I realized just how much I am falling in love with a little girl on the other side of the world whom I have never even met. It's amazing and weird all at the same time. Never in a million years did I believe that would happen without even seeing a photo or having something to go on...Just a calling. Then to read Charlie's post, made me realize God is growing his heart too. Oh, how blessed we are!

Yes, I have an AMAZING husband and outstanding Godly father to our children...All 3 of them!!!! Love you honey.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear Heavenly Father,
Lord, I praise you because you are the creator of the ends of the earth. You do not grow tired or weary and your understanding no one can fathom. You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Those who put their faith in you will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. Who has done what you have done, calling forth the generations from the beginning? You have made all things, you alone have stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth. How awesome you are, Lord Most High! You are the great King over all the earth!

Lord, please forgive me of my sins. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. I need you Lord. My family needs you. My daughter needs you.

Lord, she is likely alone tonight. In an orphanage or a foster home with multiple other orphans. It is 36 degrees in Beijing and she may be cold right now. She could be in pain from some medical issue that we don't even know about yet. Lord, you have chosen us to be her family; to love her; protect her; provide for her every need. But I can't do anything to help her right now. But Lord!!!! YOU defend the cause of the fatherless!!! Though our fathers and mothers forsake us, YOU will receive us!!! Lord, you already know our daughter. You created her inmost being; you knit her together in her mother's womb. I praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made. How precious to me are your thoughts of her, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Lord, even when she wakes in the morning, she is still with you. But she doesn't know you (yet!). Lord, please wrap your loving arms around her tonight. Lord, calm her emotions. Give her your peace. God, that you would take away her pains. Please give her sweet dreams. Provide her with extra blankets if she is cold; good food if she is hungry; medicine if she is sick. Lord I pray you would raise up a helper to look after her; to love her and hold her; to talk to her and sing to her; to tell her that everything will be ok. Lord, send your Holy Spirit to prepare her for us. I pray you would put a vision or dream in her mind to prepare her for the day we meet. Lord, continue to prepare us for her.

Lord, please continue to mold me into the husband and father you want me to be. Show me how to be a father to a little girl. Help me to love her mommy in a way that she will have a Godly vision of the type of man to seek out one day. And Lord, I pray for the day that she will truly know your son Jesus. I thank you for this special time that you and her can have alone together. I pray that because of this special time, her heart would one day be more tender toward you. And I pray in the name of Jesus, backed by the power of the cross and His shed blood, that my daughter will grow to be a healthy, vibrant, GODLY woman who will love you and serve you all the days of her life.

Lord, you are Holy. You alone are worthy. May you and your son Jesus be glorified through our journey.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Medical Need

Yes, we are choosing to adopt a child with a medical need. Crazy, but this was not the hardest decision we've made in this process. I think getting to the decision just to adopt was the hardest decision. When God called us to adopt, we very quickly began to feel this was part of His calling. At this point we don't know what that medical need will be, and we do hope and pray that whatever the need is it will be something we can eventually overcome through therapy or medical assistance. We have heard many stories on both ends of a medical mis-diagnosis; we pray we will end up on the right end of one of these, but we are also preparing ourselves to follow God no matter what. When and if the time is right I will one day blog about whatever medical need we are facing, but until God calls us to share that info we may be a little private about it to protect our child.

Just adopting an orphan from another country brings so many hurdles and obstacles to get over, and we can only prepare as much as we can before hand (we realize this is not going to be a piece of cake). We also know that God does not make mistakes, and He calls us to love and look after EVERY orphan.

Because our twins were almost 6 weeks early we needed a lot of help through physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The first 2 years of the boys' lives were hard and at times very challenging, but we got through it and now you wouldn't even know how hard we all struggled at times. The boys are growing and doing so well in school that we sometimes forget where we once were.

When we are reminded of those times with our boys, it makes us so sad to think how many people wanting to adopt would have passed them over just because they weren't the typical picture of a "perfect" child. When we found out how many children are placed on this medical list with some very minor or correctable needs (lazy eye, birthmark, premature birth, missing digits, need of braces for club foot, or a surgery they have already had, ect.) and their odds of ever being chosen because of being placed on this list, it was a no-brainer.

Let me say that we 100% know that this is what God led us to, and in no way believe this is for everyone wanting to adopt. There are SO MANY children in this world who need a forever home to call theirs, so if we all went this route then we would have thousands of healthy children waiting on some list. However, that being said, we have become huge advocates for the ones others might pass by without realizing the truth behind the list. In the end God calls all of us to help these children in some way (James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..), but it's between you and God which path is right for you and your family. For everyone it will look different.

A lot of people may think we are crazy for choosing this path; but that would mean we are crazy for obeying and following God. I think the hardest thing has been telling people (the few who have had to know this far, or trying it out on perfect strangers)and watching their faces light up when we tell them we are adopting, but then watching their face change when we tell them we are choosing a child off of the medical list.

The other hard thing to swallow is everyone has a story to tell; and good or bad (mostly bad), they are going to share their story whether we like it or not (oh, how UNencouraging this is). I know they are trying to help, or just don't know what to say. What they don't realize is that we have become very educated on the matter through adoption training, visiting with therapists, doctors, and friends who have already walked the path before us. Really all we want or need is support, prayers, and some encouragement to keep going.

We have learned that everyone's story is different and to just take their stories with a grain of salt; but sometimes too much salt can be unhealthy and taste very bitter. I cringe that one day people will say these things in front of our adopted child (yes, aparently it happens way more than I'd like to think). :( In the meantime we will try to extend a little grace, and get our key responses ready (just like we did when we had twins) and move forward through yet one more crazy part of this journey.

We begin telling family and friends soon, and we feel a little nervous about it. We do realize this decission does not just effect us, and we have also had a lot more time to process this...Bitter Sweet, but I think we are finally ready.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Dreaded Home Study :(

OK, so tonight was the 1st of 4 in home interviews. This is where a lady comes into our home to check us and our home out to make sure we are fit and sane enough to adopt a child. Oh, the fun we've had thinking up all kinds of fun ways to freak this women out just to make tonight a little more fun (like answering the door dressed in our Ike and Tina Turner costumes from Halloween; leaving a bunch of CRAZY things all over the house and telling her that's what we use to spank our kids with; answering every other question with a Chinese accent; letting the kids run around naked the whole time, etc.). But, then we may never receive this sweet blessing God has for us. :(  So, we'll just act our age tonight and try our best to fool the woman. ;~)

The crazy blessing in all of this is that I happen to know this women. We have had our children in the same Mother Day Out schools over the last couple of years (I am so amazed at all the little ways God keeps showing himself to us through this process). An agency out of Amarillo picked someone I knew! In all this time of casually talking with this lady I never knew she did this type of work. Now, here she is in my house doing our Home Study. Just Crazy!

Tonight went AMAZINGLY well!!! We got through our couple interview, and the kids had their interview (without us in the room). It feels so good to know that this lady is working for us and not against us (I've heard some crazy stories)...that reminded me I need to share my scripture of the week:

Romans 8:31 If God is for us, then who can be against us.

This was the scripture that has come across my mind so many times in this last week. I even began to wonder why it kept coming up. Then yesterday I found out something we would be asked (knowing our answer would not look good for us and knowing Charlie and I had not talked about it yet, nor would we be able to talk before tonight's interview due to his ridiculously late nights at the office this week). I began to panic a little. I finally called our sweet agent out of Georgia to ask her how to handle the situation only to have her quote this same scripture from Romans. Wow! God gave me this scripture before I needed it! Why am I surprised that He knew I was going to hit a wall this week, and there He was already preparing me for it? The moment I heard her say this, it hit me like a ton of bricks (I kind of even remember yelling at her,"That's it! That's it"). I realized at that moment that if God has called us to this adoption (and He clearly has), then no one can stand in our way (not even some bad note on our 10 plus page report she will send to China about us). So, tonight when the issue came up, she passed it off and it was never an issue at all. Wow, I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to know that we have God going before us, paving this CRAZY road all the way to China.

One, down. 3 more to go! The next 2 interviews will be our individual ones where she will ask us all about our families, our marriage, and our sex life (yes, I said sex life). I just think it's funny that you still have to have sex to have a child even through adoption (go figure). I probably should have prepared the sweet lady that I have NO problem talking about sex. This is one area I know we don't have anything to worry about. ;~) T.M.I.??? Naa.

Funny, but I don't dread the HS process anymore (I never thought I would say that).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How this journey began

Where to start??? Well, we had been married a couple of years when some friends of ours went to China to pick up their 1st child. I remember going to the airport to welcome them home (with a small bundle of pink balloons). Little did I know just how much this moment would impact my life. I remember seeing them walk off the plane (these were the good old days where you actually got to go into the airport to greet people)  and feeling an overwhelming burst of emotions the moment I saw my friend Angie walk out holding her new daughter. Now, let me tell you that I didn't really know these friends that well at the time, but there I stood holding my little bundle of pink balloons crying just as hard (if not harder) than their family (trust me, I was just as surprised and embarrassed by this as her family whom I had just meet). My friend later told me she saw a look in my face that day, and she had a feeling God had begun a new work in our lives. I also remember coming home later that night and while cooking dinner I turned around and asked Charlie, "What would you say if I said let's go to China and get a child" (I remember this like it was yesterday). He looked at me with a little shock on his face and said,"I say we wait, let's try to have children of our own 1st" (which we had no plans on doing for a long while still). I knew in my heart he was right about waiting; I too wasn't ready to start a family. After that moment the feeling died away for a long time. When it came time to start our family that desire was gone. I would think about it from time to time, but that same drive was nothing more than a thought of maybe "one day".

So, most of you know that after being married 7 years God chose to bless us with the most amazing twin boys.  Who would have thought that during the HARDEST time of my life that God would then begin to water the seed he had planted long ago? The crazy part is that we both knew we didn't have a desire to have more of our own children, and for that matter we didn't want another baby (love other people's, just didn't want our own). Maybe this had something to do with fear of getting pregnant with twins again (I've met a few women this has happened to, but more than likely it was God shaping our hearts to align with His) . The sweet part is that I was starting to see that God was planting a seed inside Charlie's heart at the same time. God also began to give both of us visions of a larger family "one day", and when I say one day, I mean these visions were of older kids. So, in the throws of raising twin toddler boys we began to pray about how and when this bigger family would "one day" come to be (because it was most certainly NOT coming through me).  

One of the 1st things people want to know is...Why China? Short answer is, "This is where God is leading us". Funny, but China was not at all where we started. I feel like we have been all around the world, just no souvenirs to prove it. With each path God has taken us down we have learned so much about ourselves, our marriage, our family, our kids, and most importantly, His will. I visited an orphan camp a couple of years ago with our young married minister's wife from church (who was planning to adopt one of the kids there). We attended CPS classes last summer thinking maybe He wants us to foster  (what man attends those horrible foster care classes alone without his wife some nights if he's not really hearing God's call). We even had an 11 year old girl from Ukraine in our home last November, only for God to close that door too. We spent some time talking with others and looking into other countries (none of which were China) only to have more doors close. Now, we are emotionally exhausted!!! I think we began to wonder if adoption was really for us. Are we really even hearing God at all? The only reason we kept searching is because "If" God was calling us to adopt, neither of us wanted to be out of God's will (the fear of the Lord kind-of thing). We finally left it at maybe "one day" when the kids are much older we are supposed to have foreign exchange students in our home...maybe that's the vision we continue to have, maybe these kids don't belong to us at all. Foreign exchange students? Way down the road? Sounds good to me!!! We began to rest in knowing God would "one day" lead us to whatever, wherever. For now we rest! 
Matt. 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you, REST.

Little did we know that only 6 months later God would come knocking on our hearts again. Through just a short email I received one day, I began to ask myself, "God is it China?" I quickly remembered Charlie's answer all those years ago, and assumed there would be no way he would be on board (oh, how we were enjoying the rest). When I finally did mention China to him he very quickly answered, "Check into it"...WHAT???
Now I'm the one who is struggling with the idea! Yep, me! You might even say fighting with God a little. You see, yes God did give me the insight that another child was coming "one day", but His timing was WAY OFF (so I thought, "Remember the nice plan of the foreign exchange students much later down the road Lord?"). One of the hardest things I was fighting Him over is the fact that we are JUST NOW to a place with the twins where life isn't so hard and I can enjoy life with them so much more. I finally feel like a mom with 2 children vs. twins. Life up until now has been soooo hard and full of work. I mean kindergarten starts in a few weeks and I will finally get some alone time, in my own house. Then God reminded me (while in the middle of one of my many pity parties) that He never promised life would be easy. As a matter of fact the Bible tells us there WILL be trials. He also reminded me just how hard life was for Him, and He did that so that I might be adopted and have my forever family and home in Heaven. Yes, I too am adopted, by my Heavenly Father. No matter how hard this road has already been (or will continue to be) it doesn't compare to the cost, or physical sacrifice He made for me. After much time on my knees crying out and praying for God to please take this cup from me, I finally surrendered...Not my will, but yours.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

"One Day" was July 30 we began to follow God to China. The moment we agreed to do this God began to lift my burdens and give me what I longed for for some time now...JOY! One of the things I have been dreading is that darn home study every family has to go through (Oh, the never ending sea of paperwork). Charlie came home on that Friday with every bit of that initial application TYPED out (except for the parts only I could do). 1 down and how many more to go??? Wow, what a blessing that was for so many reasons. It feels so good to now know we are in this together!!!  We still have so much ahead of us, but we continue to walk with our sweet Lord on this journey one step at a time.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.