Monday, August 22, 2016

One, two....three? SURPRISE!

So much for keeping the blog updated.  Just jumping on here for a moment to show you the family picture from China!


Yes, there is Don, and Lou, and Snip...and Lucy and Peter.....and????  One, two,....three?

May I proudly introduce you to Jesse? 






video

So much to tell....and no time right now!!  I will get back here as soon as I can.

In the meantime, due to downloading failures in China, here is a video of a video of Lucy seeing Daddy for the first time EXACTLY a year after putting her on an airplane after hosting.  My heart is going to burst!

video

Monday, August 15, 2016

What a gift!

Here he is!!!  Peter and his Daddy.  Oh, bless my soul.  God is so good!



Saturday, August 13, 2016

They are off!!

Don and the girls are about halfway to Taipei this morning.....about 6 hours left.  They have a long layover in Taipei.  It is a very nice airport, but I don't know if there is enough to do on almost a 4 hour layover. :) 

Please pray with me that they can sleep on the plane....that their luggage continues on with them, even with a plane change, and just happy hearts in the adventure ahead.

I don't sleep well when they are gone - I just sleep very light and start praying for them the moment my brain engages enough to realize I am awake.  Plus, I tend to stay awake longer emailing with them and then get up early to email with them before they go to bed.  I know it is best for me to be at home - but how my heart longs to be there for the first hugs, the first hard moments, the first moments of belonging...

Keep my crowd in your prayers - I will keep the blog updated. :)


Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Countdown is on!

Don, Lou, and Snip will be leaving on Friday night.  Finally!  This has been a long, long journey - though it has just been a year.  We really thought we would be traveling in the late spring.  It was hard for the weeks to pass with delay after delay.  But again, it gave us the opportunity to host Nora.

Her country said yes to our first inquiry to adopt her, but we are still waiting on official PA (Pre Approval) for her.  We are being told there is not a problem, but we are starting to bite our nails a bit after 3 weeks.  I am praying that we get approval tomorrow.  We will then send a package to her orphanage.  We cannot tell her that we are pursuing her adoption yet, but we just want to tell her that we love her and she is still very much on our hearts.  It has only been a month, but it seems like a very, very long time ago.

I am still very torn in my thoughts about hosting.  It is hard on every one's hearts.  I can't imagine how hard it must be on the kids to come here and see and experience so MUCH....only to go back to so little.  I have heard stories from every perspective.  Some saying the kids are relieved to get back to "normal" life....others that end in very sad, sad ways.    We host because 1) we feel very strongly that God has led us to do so and 2) it opens the door for us to begin another adoption sooner than we otherwise could.  I fluctuate between the hurt of the goodbyes and heartbreaking stories and the reality of knowing that for most of these kids, this is their LAST chance.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if these 30 kids' pictures were posted for adoption - most likely none would be chosen.  But of the 30ish posted for hosting, I believe 27-28 were chosen.  This was about the same with Lucy's group last summer.  With Lucy's group, I believe all but 2 or 3 were adopted.  That is an amazing number - absolutely heartbreaking for those not chosen, but amazing for those that were.  I believe it was about the same statistics for the winter hosting.  This summer, two groups were brought in - one in the first part of summer, one in the second.  The numbers are not looking as promising this time.  There are a lot of faces - so very precious - that still need homes.  Here is a link to see some of these little ones - http://orphanhosting.com/orphan-hosting-programs/advocate-children/.  Please stop and pray for each one.  Each child is a unique, precious life.  They are not throw aways - they are precious children needing families.  Pray for God to move families on their behalf.

Would you pray for two in particular?

"The Colonel" is very dear to my heart.  He is 12, almost 13 and has DS.  This handsome man is so loving and kind.






Then there is also "Lottie" - another dolly with DS.  Please pray for families to race forward for these precious ones.



As we were enjoying Nora, we were also waiting for TA (Travel Approval)...it finally came in mid-July.  We were wanting to race out the door for Lucy and Peter!  But we realized pretty quickly that if we put it off for a week, we would save about $4500 in airfare.  Wow.  That was a lot for a one week difference.  So the crew is leaving very early (like 2 am) on Saturday morning.  They will hold Peter for the first time on August 15th and have Lucy again on the 22nd.   As always, I am thrilled but scared all at once.  It is hard to have my family climb on a plane to go far enough away that I could not get to them quickly, even in an emergency.  I know the emotional struggles of the time changes, the culture changes, and the child for whom everything is changing. EVERYTHING.  We are very interested to see what Lucy's reaction will be in particular.  Will it be easier for her because she knows us?  Will she think we will just send her back again?  I have only heard one story of the "after" hosting - it was positive - but it was only one out of many.  Will she need even more reassurance that we will never leave her again?  What of tiny Peter?  He has had so many changes in his little life.  I pray that God will strengthen him for the days ahead.

For Lucy's birthday in June, we sent her a cake through http://ladybugsnlove.com/.  We got back pictures of Lucy with the cake - but what do you notice first in the pictures?



I noticed immediately that only Lucy was smiling.  Look at all the other faces.  Oh, my heart.  They know that Lucy has a family....and they don't.  Just like the hosting - there is such heartbreak and joy all mixed together.  Don has decided to go to the orphanage with Lucy.  The way it works in Lucy's country is that Lucy is brought to Don on the first day, so the visit would be several days later.  Again, we have heard both good and bad on the orphanage trips.  Some say it is very good for the child to get to go back and say goodbye.  Others say it is traumatizing to those left behind.  Don had told Lucy that we would take her back so we could get pictures of her with her friends and so she could say goodbye.  But now it is leaving a hole in my stomach.  How to see those faces and not be broken?  Don wonders if we are supposed to meet someone there....another child to come home?  We just don't know.

They will fly into Henan from Taipei on Sunday.  They will have Peter Monday morning.  We have so little information on him (but still a lot more than we had for Jillian!), so he is a bit of a mystery.  I will be on pins and needles most of this trip again, just waiting to hear what is happening.  Our agency does offer a phone for a fee, so we may get to talk instead of just typing.  But that also might make me cry.  I will try to keep the blog updated for all those who are following along.

Please be praying for everything - plane rides, sleep, hearts, changes, wisdom....so much to raise before our Savior.  So much to trust Him for.  So much excitement, so much to try not to worry over.

Here we go.....!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hellooooooooo?

Yes, we are still here!  I cannot believe how busy we have been from the time the sun starts up in the morning (or earlier!) to long beyond when the sun goes down.  Coffee is still one of my best friends.  I saw this meme a few months ago:

  I laughed until tears were rolling down my face.  That is so me!  Every. Single. Morning.

We are still trying to get to that final step of TA (Travel Approval) and buying tickets.  This is so much later than we thought it would be.  There has been delay after delay after delay.  I know the Lord is Sovereign, so I am trying to rest in that.

We have already seen one reason why He delayed ....once we know that travel would be later than we thought, we understood how He could be pressing on us to host again.  (I know, crazy, right?)  The little girl He laid on our heart is here NOW.  She came on June 11th and will leave on July 10th.  Meet beautiful Nora:







We are loving this little peanut..  She is almost 10 years old and was blessed with an extra chromosome as well.  If we had already brought our other kiddos home, we wouldn't have been able to host again.  And as we know with Lucy, hosting gets your foot in the door to start another adoption..... :)  We will be approaching her country very soon for permission to make her ours.  Please pray for His favor to move the hearts of those making the decisions.

Nora is a very different kiddo than Lucy.  We didn't expect them to be the same by any means, but her time here has not been as easy as Lucy.  There are a lot of orphanage behaviors that we hare having to deal with.  It has honestly been pretty rough.  Don took 9 of the kids including Nora camping with my family last week and that helped a great deal.  Nora could be out and playing and Don could make sure she was WORN OUT by bedtime.  They came home on Monday and so we are working through the transition, again.  She is beautiful, precious, and worth every sacrifice but we are still human, so we are still tired at the end of the day. :)  God moves us from strength to strength so we are tired and joyful....but we can't cross out the tired part. ;-)

As always, we are trusting where He is leading us.  More and more we are opening our hands up and saying, "Whatever and wherever, Lord."  We are seeing that He WILL use us if we are willing.  The trust has to go deeper for all things - strength, finances, wisdom, time.  Stay tuned...there may be a few more surprises coming!

In the meantime, we got fingers for Jillian!  A thumb and two digits on each hand.  Each "digit" is actually two fingers that will eventually be separated as well.  Jillian in casts/splints was.....well....a nightmare.  I know they want to do the next surgery in the coming months, but I am honestly NOT ready for it.  We will talk again come spring!  We are still waiting to hear if she will need a front orbital advancement/adjustment (skull surgery in the front) like Serenity or not.  Serenity's fingers are healing well and she is up to 9 digits. :)

In another unexpected (by us) twist, we are going to be trying our local public school for classes/therapies for Serenity in the fall.  My heart is a mess over this, but the Lord seems to be leading that direction.  We are committed to the first 4 weeks and then we will decide from there.  She will be there for 2 1/2 hours, five days a week.  It will also involve speech therapy, occupational therapy, and P.E./music class with "typical" kiddos.  She may absolutely LOVE it or she may be completely overwhelmed....but I need to see what else we can do to help her grow and mature.

Right now, we are praying for travel around July 21st, returning three weeks later.  It will be Don, the Helper, and Snip going.  They will go to Peter's province first for 5 days and then move on the Guangzhou where Lucy and the US Embassy is for 12 days.  Add a few days of travel time in there and it will be nearly 3 full weeks.  That makes my heart hurt just thinking about it but they had a wonderful time last time so they are looking forward to it.

The busy summer is just beginning, but I have a major hill to climb first.  Brooke's birthday is on June 30th.  We had such huge plans for her first birthday home.  Now what do I do?  Do I just get through the day with lots of pent up tears?  Do I go to her grave site?  I haven't been there since the graveside service.  Do we have a cake?  I just don't know.  Everyone else has moved onward - as is always the case- but my heart is still frozen on Sept 28th....the day the Lord called her home.

Complicating this is the fact that Nora looks eerily like Brooke.  A 9 year old Brooke.  She even loves to sing and dance like Brooke.  She completely adores her daddy, like Brooke.  My heart is trying to deal with this as well.  She did not look like Brooke in her pictures at all, but when she is asleep or smiles a big smile....my heart just stops for a moment.  I don't know if it is a healing thing or a tearful thing....but the Lord knew even this when He called us to her.  How I miss my little Brooke.  My heart feels as raw as it did the days following her death.  But I know that she is dancing in Heaven with Christ....so I will be at peace.

Please continue to pray for the funds to come in for this adoption...before we launch into the next.  Pray for Nora's country to agree if this is God's perfect plan to add Nora.  Pray, as always, that God changes me into the wife, mother, and home manager that my family needs me to be.

As you are praying, do not forget this little man - Bryson.  My heart is just torn apart by his sad story.  I am begging the Lord to send a family to rescue him.  The Lord has carved his name on my heart.


Until He comes....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

No words....

This little guy is haunting my thoughts....there are just no words right now other than Please, Lord Jesus, please send someone to save him.....



From his file on Reece's Rainbow "Bryson is a year and a half old and has congenital Spina bifida with hydrocephalus. At the end of 2015 he underwent a surgery for treatment of the Spina Bifida due to it bursting. From information from the Center staff at the same time the shunt was also removed as the neurologists decided that the child does not need shunt. After these surgeries his condition has considerably worsened. Before the surgeries Bryson was smiling, turning to his name, he made limited movements with his head from lying position, he was moving his upper limbs and was holding tight for a short time objects with his hand. Now he cannot move his limbs, there is no eye contact, does not react to stimulus (toys, different sounds). He has wounds on his body due to sudden crack of capillary. From words of the staff, Bryson still reacts to his name, cries when he is hungry and reacts to pain. Until about a year ago Bryson was fed with tube but with common efforts now he eats by spoon. Bryson is sweet and fragile little boy. Although the bad prognosis of the doctors, he still breaths and fights for his life. Everybody in the Center talk about him with pain in their hearts and tears and their eyes, their innermost dream is good people to be found, who can give their love to Bryson."   http://reecesrainbow.org/104562/bryson

Oh, my sweet Savior, be near. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

I have a house full of amazing children - some now rightly bearing the title of "young men and women". Each is so amazing and unique. Each one has a story that takes my breath away. I am blessed beyond measure by each gift God has given me. In a few months, I will have even more little lives bringing amazing joy to my heart. I may hug each one of my kids a bit longer tonight as I have been dwelling on each one today. But even with such overwhelming joy, there is still one little pair of arms I wish were around my neck tonight. How I miss you, my sweet Brooke.


Some heartaches will never fade.