Thursday, September 29, 2011

How you can pray for us

We are so blessed to have so many people who care about us, and have offered to help in so many ways: from meals (once we are home) to clothes and furniture for her...really SO blessed! We are so thankful for each offer to help us out.

We have chosen to not have a baby shower for many reasons: 1) because this will be our 3rd child; 2) She is not a baby, so it would feel like registering for a birthday party vs. a baby shower; and 3) Because we do not know her sizes, personality, or interests I don't know what to ask for. In spite of all that, God has blessed us with little mini showers from so many of you showing up with clothes and gifts, and it's been such a sweet blessing and fun surprise.

The one thing we always tell people we need is prayer...and a lot of it. So I'm going to list out all the ways you can pray for us during the next few weeks as God brings us to mind (and I'm praying that will be a lot).

1) Pray for Hannah's transition from her foster family to the orphanage. We are not sure when this will happen; it could be any time during her last 2 weeks before we get her.

2) Pray for Hannah's health and the hole in her heart. The last info we had on her medical status was from last December. Pray with us that the hole has continued to close, and that she will not need the heart surgery. Her first doctor appointment is scheduled for November 8 at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

3) Pray for Hannah's transition to us from the orphanage. Hannah's "Gotcha Day" will be on Monday October 10th (that's Sunday night for all our American peeps). Our greatest day, and her saddest day. We are all very nervous about this time for her.

4) Pray for us as Hannah's new family to be able to provide and quickly understand her needs...y'all she's almost two and speaking another language. We are going to need all the help we can get.

5) Pray for Charles who was diagnosed over a year ago with a skin disease called Granuloma Annulare which we were told there is no known cure for. He was also diagnosed with several food allergies (egg, dairy, wheat, corn, beef, etc.). These allergies can also affect his skin (we really think this is what is causing the skin disease). When he is on a strict diet his skin clears up, and we need clear skin so we do not face another staph infection while in China (it was scary enough when that happened in America). His Doctor has given us permission to do what we can while in China, but to also eat what we have to eat as well (i.e. McDonald's and Pizza Hut). So please pray we are able to keep his skin under control, and find enough foods for him to eat while away.

6) All the last minute details of packing and getting our family ready to be gone for 2 1/2 weeks. Please pray we have everything we need (medicine, food, proper clothing, and all paperwork that will be needed).

7) Pray for planes to not have any delays, and for all of our luggage to get to China...and back.

8) Pray for our boys to enjoy (quietly) their 1st plane ride 1/2 way around the world...Oh, and their 1st plane ride ever. :o) If you are a parent of young children (or ever have been) then I will just let your knowledge of things to pray for on that take over. One of the three planes we will be taking that 1st day will be 13 1/2 hrs. :(

9) Pray for PATIENCE for Charlie and I with our children, and each other while we are dealing with so much, sleep deprived, jet lagged, on a new time zone, in a foreign country, and our whole family is living together in one small hotel room...Maybe that should have been #1 on the prayer list...LOL!

10) Pray for our 6 year old boys to be able to handle all the changes once Hannah comes into our family. We have talked a lot about her possibly crying a lot in those 1st few days and needing A LOT of attention from us as parents, but until you are in the moment you really don't know how one will handle that. Pray they will somehow see their new roll in this, and be a source of comfort to her.

11) Pray for all the in-country travel we will be doing. We will be in 3 different cities from top to bottom on the east coast while in China (this also means 3 different hotel rooms, and having to pack and unpack all of us up over and over. :-/

12) Pray for all paperwork, interview, and swearing in to go smoothly. After everything we've been through with paperwork, I'm starting to feel nervous about this.

13) Please pray for our travel back to the States. We leave China on October 20th (coming home with 3 children). Pray Hannah can sleep most of the trip back, and that she will quickly learn to trust us (whether she likes us yet or not) to be able to keep her calm during that long flight.

14) Pray for ALL the changes Hannah will be faced with once she is in her new home on Friday October 21st (different sights, smells, sounds, language, foods, home, bed, people, and time zone). This is when we will finally begin to feel a sense of normalcy, but for her it will be a VERY SCARY time. Please continue the prayers for her once we are home...she is going to need it for awhile.

15) Last and certainly not least...Please pray for our sweet friends Amanda and Kevin Dearing who have taken 2 1/2 weeks out of their own lives to travel to the other side of the earth to help us out in any way we may need. They both have already been SO UNBELIEVABLY patient and understanding with all the changes in just getting to this place in the adoption. We are so thankful God placed them in our lives when He did. This will not be an easy trip for them either. Pray that we always make them feel welcome and part of our crazy family. We are excited about all the fun they will bring in those crazy upside-down moments (these people are CrAzY y'all) but feel even more blessed to have such a Godly couple who love the Lord with all their hearts to walk this journey with us.

Ok, so I know I have given you a long list, but really there is one more I've been debating putting on my list because it's kinda personal...but here I go, cause it really is a fear that is going to need some prayer.

16) Pray for the potty situation in China...Yes, I said potty! In most public areas (even airports) we have heard they have just a whole in the ground...and sometimes NO TOILET PAPER. :( I'm sorry, but for a girl who CANNOT cop a squat, this is not going to be easy. I have been known to pass out at dirty hospitals, so a dirty (hole in the ground) bathroom freaks me out. I know with everything else, and the bigger issues in my life at that time this should seem really small, but it just wont shrink. :-/

So, there you have it. We really do appreciate any and all prayers. It truly is the best gift!!!!

Philippians 1:19 For I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened (or will happen while in China) to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thank you Claire!

Just wanted to give a little shout out to one of the best babysitters in the world, amazing friend, Godly young lady who loves the Lord more every day (who is also very much available gentleman), soon to be the sweetest nurse in Texas, and now a fantastic blog designer...Claire Asbell.

Thank you Claire for making my blog so cute, and helping it come to life with music (if you've been reading my blog with your sound off, you are missing out...Ok, except for Reba talking). You will never know how big of a blessing you are to me and my family. We are so thankful God placed you in our lives 6 years ago. You are truly one very amazing lady, and we're proud to call you our friend.

Love You,
Denise, Charlie, Mark, and Charles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Things we know about our daughter

We were given a mini update on Hannah last night, and when you add it all up this is what we know about her...WARNING, it's not much. :(  This update may have also come due to the fact that she was just placed back in the orphanage. :(  Hey, the bright side is that 1 week from today we will be heading half way around the world to finally get her! That makes me very happy, and very excited!!! :)

-She is 22 lbs.
-32.3 inches tall
-Walking...even running
-Talking (keep in mind all Chinese words)
-Still on a bottle 3 times a day...bitter sweet
-Very attached to her foster mother
-Very scared of strangers...Us
-Has never seen a foreigner...Us (that she may remember)
-Has had 2 foster sisters her age, and 1 foster brother (who they do not think will be adopted because he has downs...Any takers???) in her home during her stay with foster family.
-There has been NO update on the hole in her heart since last December (almost 1 year ago). We are still praying and believing that this is still trying to close on its own, but you can imagine how anxious we are to have American doctors look at it. Her continued growth leads us to think it has at least closed some.

...and that's about it! Less than 2 weeks and I'll have lots more details, and pictures with her new family...Us. :o)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We have a travel date!

Well after another crazy ride, we finally have a travel date! YEE HAA!!!! We got word last Thursday, but before I could get all excited our agent began to take the wind out of my sail by telling me we may have to travel in a few days vs. weeks...yep, I'm suppose to have all 5 of us packed for a 2 week trip to another country in a matter of days. All of this was due to upcoming Chinese holidays, and the consulate shutting down for the 1st week in October. If we did not get the early date, then we would have to wait several weeks and travel during the big trade fair that goes on for over a month and causes the travel rates to sky rocket (by that I mean: what was $150 per night per room becomes $750 per night per room...and we need 2 rooms!). So, instead of jumping for joy and feeling all excited, my heart sunk and I felt a little overwhelmed. :(

Once I recovered from my shock we decided it didn't matter if we only had a few hours to pack, we would make it happen to get to our daughter. We were told to expect a call on Tuesday that would tell the date of our consulate appointment and confirm if we would travel within 36 hours or less. So we pulled up our bootstraps and worked hard over the weekend to get ready for that possibility...crazy times people!

Finally at around 5pm tonight we got the email we would NOT travel this week, but we would have to wait until October...UGH!!!!!! Yes, this is still during the trade fair and the high prices on hotels, but we are assured we will not have to pay $750 per night rooms (agency is still working on that one). The worst part is really that our sweet little girl will have to wait several more weeks to have a family (and we have to wait to get our daughter)...that really stinks. We are SO READY emotionally and physically (really, we were ready to go). I know God has a better plan for us and her, so I choose His plan...but my heart is still sad. Please pray for Hannah as she spends her last few weeks in her home country (as the boys prayed this morning, "Send someone to love her"), and for our patience as we wait to travel over to get her.

Tomorrow we will begin to make plans, book our flights, and we will be one day closer to our date (yes, a real date) and I know the joy will come with all of that. We could use a little joy tonight. It will be nice (now that everything is done) to spend these weeks with our little family of 4, and to make sure our boys' hearts are full and ready for all the changes coming our way. This is going to be a hard trip on all of us. I kind of feel like this is our calm before the storm, and I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. That was the scripture of the day that God gave to me today. It was written on the back of a car window that pulled out in front of me this afternoon....I think God is trying to tell me something. :)

Let the count down begin! :o)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hearts are changing!

With each day that passes, we can understand how our hearts continue to grow to love Hannah more every day (even though we have never met her), but when God started changing the boy's hearts in such big ways it really shocked a good way.

The week before the boys started 1st grade (sniff, sniff) one of them said, "Mommy, I can't wait until school starts!" When I asked him why, I totally expected them to say it was because they were getting excited about seeing all their friends...but I was wrong. Charles said (with pure excitement), "Because after school starts then it will almost be time to go to China!" Then I asked what part of going to China they were most excited about, now totally expecting to hear: 1) Flying on a plane (which they have NEVER done); 2) Staying in a hotel for 2 1/2 weeks; or 3) Daddy not having to go to work (This is definitely on the top of my list). When the answer came out I was shocked; they both answered (in a DAH tone), "Because we get to get our sister!" Oh what sweet words those were to my ears. Just another sweet blessing in all of this. :o)

As the next few days passed God continued to show us how he is working on their hearts. The boys had gift cards to spend at the book store, so the day before school started I took them shopping. They each had enough for 2 books, but as they made their selection and we made our way to the checkout Charles had a change of heart. He passed a jewelry section were he found a little panda bear box with a little panda bear necklace, and he HAD to have it. I tried to talk him out of it, but then he said (looking up at me with tears in his eyes), "But Mommy, I want to give this to her to help remind her of where she came from...I'll put one book back." Well, I had to let him. So with his own money he bought his little sister this sweet gift.

The other change we've seen is how they play. Always walking around with their swords and bow and arrows (ok that's no different than any other day), but now they pretend they are "Hannah's Protectors".

Now if that doesn't make your heart melt then you need to see a cardiologist!

OK, this one is just because it's funny...y'all pray she likes silly boys! :o)