Friday, August 26, 2011

Are the mountains starting to move?

God may have started moving our biggest mountain yesterday morning. A dear friend of mine, Dan Dubell, President of International Care, Inc. (I CARE) called me yesterday morning and offered to set up an adoption fund at I CARE where people can make tax-deductable donations to assist with Hannah and Sara’s adoptions. Dan specifically asked if I could get the word out that he was doing this. Since this is something that was initiated by Dan and not by me, I believe it is God working in the situation and as such I feel obligated to share the information.

If God leads you to send money to I CARE for Hannah and Sara’s adoption, your donation will remain anonymous to us unless you explicitly let I CARE know you would like for us to know where the love gift came from. You will need to identify in the memo field of the check or in a separate note that the love gift is for Hannah and Sara’s adoption fund. The address for I CARE is below.

International Care, Inc.
P.O. Box 1603
Bel Air, MD 21014

I wish I could share with you specifically what we need, but God still will not allow me to do that. Therefore, you will have to pray and ask God to show you what you need to know.

Blessings be to God!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ok--So We Really Have Been Doing School at Home!

I know.  I Know.  Another Mother of the Year Trophy for my mantle. 

I failed to capture our first day of school for Zach and Leighanne in pictures.

I could make all kinds of excuses . . .

The dog ate the camera!

We were so busy being perfect that--nope--no one would even believe that!

We were enjoying ourselves so much that time got away!

Really--it was such an insane day that I just didn't get to it.

But it really did happen--we began Georgia Cyber Academy on August 15th with Zach and Leighanne.

Zach began his 9th grade year and Leighanne began 4th.

We are still making adjustments, and no, it has not been perfect, but we are beginning to feel a little more at ease. 

Zach  has 5 teachers and attends classes online.  He loves the independence of working on his on. (We will see how that continues.)

I am having to tweak Leighanne's schooling.  The GCA program for her is not flexible enough for how I will need to meet the needs for all three girls when we return from China.

So we are making plans over the weekend to gear up for Round #2.  But hey--that's the beauty of home schooling-- You get to make the choices you need to make.

We took our first field trip for 1/2 day on Friday--Bowling at the StrikeZone with other GCA Families. 

Our days have been filled with schoolwork, but there is the blessing that when we are finished there is no homework.  Love that!

So--maybe there wasn't a 1st Day of School Picture--But who's to say the 7th Day of School isn't just as good?

Check them out . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God knows how to encourage us where we need it most.....

Here is the song that was playing as I was on the way to work this morning....


Monday, August 22, 2011

Not a Single Word!

Through this journey one of the things that I have learned is that we can convince ourselves that we hear what we want God to tell us – and it is really easy to do. We are expecting our TA (Travel Authorization) literally any day now and once we get TA things have to happen very fast…. and there are still mountains in the way of those things happening. I convinced myself that now was the time for us to share what those mountains are. Between Sunday School and Corporate Worship yesterday morning I prayed and asked God to show me clearly whether I was right. What I heard and what Julie heard in the sermon were two completely different things. The 3rd point of the sermon was all about taking action and from that I concluded that God was telling me it was time for me to take action (and therefore share our needs and do everything I could within my own power to meet them). However, one thing I have learned a long time ago is that unless we both agree on something that is important we don’t change direction and our last direction was to keep quiet and watch God work. As we went to bed, I was still uneasy about what we should do. We prayed together, asking God to show both of us clearly what specific action He wanted us to take. As I prayed, He answered my prayer….. I was praying an example of where God gave the Israelites specific instructions. I said, “God, you gave Israel specific instructions on how to take Jericho and we need specific instructions just like you gave them. You told the Israelites to march around the city and not ……..” I couldn’t finish my sentence because I was speechless in the presence of God. The verse actually says, "Do not shout; do not even talk," Joshua commanded. "Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout (emphasis mine). Then shout!" (Jos 6:10 NLT)

One day, when this is over and Sara and Hannah are safely in their new family we will get to shout to the world what God has done for us to make this possible. In the mean time, we are clay and we are in the Potter’s hands and sometimes being molded into what God wants us to be hurts, but I will take those pains any day in order to become what God wants me to be!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Quote and a Song for Today

"Don't give up hope. Whatever it is your praying about...whoever it is that your praying for...don't give up hope. Don't think your prayers aren't going to be answered. Your prayers can be answered. Your God hears your prayers and He can perform miracles and He still does today! I beg you, don't give up."
-Beth Moore

This was a quote my friend Angie posted this last week.  Angie has a new speaking ministry.  If you want to learn about this sweet lady of faith you may go to her blog hereShe has walked a tough road of faith.  I am proud to call her a friend.

THEN--- I came across this video.

All I can say is --get the tissue, I was crying a few.

Bring our girls home from China, Lord--Bring them Home!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Preparing for Our Trip to China

Well--it looks like it will be sooner than later that we will travel.  :)

Our Article 5 is being picked up tomorrow and then we will be waiting for our travel approval.  YAY!!!!!

So now I know why I have been feeling that urge to buy, wash and dry clothes for Sara and Hannah.

Here's a few things we have been doing to get ready . . .

Purchased Sara's clothes

5 pair of pants

3 polo type shirts

5 pajama pants and cami's (yes--I love pajama pants)

10 short sleeve shirts

3 long sleeve shirts and a sweater
 In addition to these items today I finished her list with a bathing suit, undies, and a couple of pair of shorts.  Buying for Sara was a big challenge for me.  I don't have any clue what she likes, and I am having to go on measurements to figure out sizes.  I'm sure some of my purchases will cause much humor in China, but we just might need a moment to laugh.  

Great story about the purchases.  I was in Walmart looking for a cami for me, when one of the workers says to me, "Do you need any shirts because I'm getting ready to mark this whole shelf down to $1.00.  YES!  I bought her 5 shirts for $5.00.  Can you believe it?
God IS in the details!  He cares about the LITTLE and the BIG . To the best of my knowledge  I spent around $125 so far for all of Sara's clothes.  God is all over this!

We've only have a few more things to do to complete Sara's room.
Then it'll be ready for her.

Her room is almost decorated.

Needs to be hung on the wall behind the bed

And Yes--the suitcases are ready to begin packing

Can you say Organized Chore Chart in Pictures?

Getting ready for Non-English speaking girlies. 
Pictures are going up around the house.

Who's turn to wash the dishes?--Check it out!

If anyone has any other ideas to help transition our girls --we would greatly appreciate ideas.

Thanks to Jackie in Tennessee--I have the Mp3 players ready to load with christian music for the trip.

Thanks to Joli in Georgia--Every child now has their own cup color.

Anymore ideas?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Watching and Waiting!

"For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:6

Waiting seems to be a norm for us right now.  But I am waiting in a "good" way right now--not anxious--but with GREAT ANTICIPATION! 

 I literally CAN. NOT. WAIT. to SEE. HOW. GOD is going to WORK in our girls lives.

I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to TELL them about an AWESOME GOD who created them, made plans for their lives, who orchestrated a series of events, in just the right time, and made a way for them to learn about HIM. 

I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to TELL them about this FAITH JOURNEY that brought them to our house.

I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to give them a hug and say, "Wo shi ni de ma ma."  (I am your mama.)

I CAN. NOT. WAIT.  and I say this with Much Joy and A Few Happy Tears!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Oh Happy Day--Another Surprise!

I just got  another beautiful blessing--Sara's updates and pictures!

She is so beautiful!

Here is a picture of our teenage daughter--Sara!

She says that she is excited to be adopted and hopes to be able to go home as soon as possible. (Me too sweetheart!  Mama's praying for a GOD-SIZED MIRACLE!!!)

Her favorite foods are watermelon, apples and scrambled eggs with tomatoes. (Sounds like a good southern girl already) :)


We're trusting in God who is able!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why Is It So Hard to Trust God?

The gospel is such a simple thing that we cannot really grasp it without the intervention of the Holy Spirit. The simplicity of the gospel is that we have to trust God and trust that He has a provided a way through Jesus Christ for us to spend an eternity with Him in heaven. We have to trust it so much that we don’t try any other ways to do it ourselves. We do good works because we love him and we have His heart and His Spirit lives in us, not because we are trying to earn our way to heaven. If you are not a Christian, the Bible says that this is all foolishness to you. Therefore, if think you are a Christian but you think this is foolish you should re-evaluate your relationship with Christ. The people that I know that call themselves Christian that have the spiritual fruit that matches their testimony completely get this.

So why is it that we can trust God with the most valuable thing to us (our soul for eternity), yet we find it so hard to trust Him in the small mundane things of this world? Through this adoption I have often pondered this question as Julie and I oscillate back and forth between total trust in God for these adoptions and thinking of ways to try to solve the problems on our own. God has clearly told us to ask people to pray, but not tell them specifically what to pray about – not even when they ask us. I don’t know all of the reasons that God has told us this, but every day it becomes clearer that one of the reasons is that we simply have not learned this simple truth yet – we CAN trust God for EVERYTHING.

I don’t know about you, but I think the reason there is a difference is that I know my eternal security is based solely on God and is not in any way dependent on anybody (including myself). However, in this world, God chooses to work through people and people often fail us even though God never does. As I think about how many times God has asked me to do something specific and I have absolutely refused or maybe intended to but never got around to it, I begin to wonder what if the people that God intends to use to overcome our obstacles are like me? What if they intend to pray for us but don’t? What if they pray, but have no intention of being used by God as the answer to those prayers? What if they pray and are used by God, but only participate in a token way instead of sacrificially? I ponder these questions in my spirit because I know how many times I have failed in these same ways.

Just last night we went through the remaining steps and what has to happen to complete the adoptions and I was totally overwhelmed as the obstacles were closer and bigger than I have ever seen them. My flesh immediately started brainstorming ways to overcome the obstacles and I began to get stressed out over it all. After some prayer, God calmed my spirit and reassured me AGAIN that He is in control and His timing is perfect. Yes, God works through people and people are not always obedient, but God has an infinite number of people He can work through and He will accomplish what He wants to accomplish and those who are not obedient to Him (like me so many times in my life) will simply miss out on the blessings God has for them. Julie and I both have found that we are praying more for God to help our unbelief (as Thomas prayed) than we are for God to solve our problems. God really is using this to mold and make us to be more like Him and that is ultimately what He wants for all of us.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guess What?

I've  Got a Picture . . .

Should I let you see it? Hmmm.......

Ok--I can't stand it!

Here's Miss Hannah.  This is our updated photo that we asked for.

They let us know that she knows she's getting adopted and she says that she is happy to get her own parents.

Her favorite foods are fruit jelly, bubble gum and chips. (You know that bubble gum food group sounds interesting.) :)

Anyways,  they also included her current measurements so we can start gathering clothes and getting her suitcase ready.

Hopefully, we will get updates on Sara soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Step Complete!

Woo hoo! We received our letter from the U.S. National Visa Center (NVC) today confirming that they have wired our file to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. With this piece of the puzzle, we now send off our last packet (is going out today!) to our adoption agency and they overnight it to China. We now await confirmation of something they call an "Article 5", which is the final official approval from our Consulate and confirmation that they have sent our paperwork back to the CCCWA for granting us Travel Authorization (TA).

Although we have a separate page that outlines the rest of the process, I am going to go ahead and give it again here because I know this is where people really want to know. According to all information we have seen and read, the Article 5 takes 3 weeks. Travel Authorization tends to take 2 to 9 weeks, but because we are adopting a child aging out, it seems reasonable to expect it to take closer to the 2 week side of the range. Most people travel 2 to 4 weeks after getting TA and with the Chinese Holidays in October that make travel difficult, I have to believe we will likely travel on the shorter end of that range. If you put all of this together, we COULD be on our way to China by the middle of September and on the way home with our two newest girls early October.


We praise God for how He is breaking down walls and making this happen in His time. As you know, we have been led by God to not share specific prayer requests, but rather to simply ask you to pray for what God would have you pray about and do. There are still a few major obstacles that only God can overcome working through those that don't know Him as well as working through His children. As soon as we reach TA, we are at a standstill until God does a work like we have never personally seen before. Please don't slack off on your prayers now just because things are going well -- now is the time to get even more serious about praying with and for us and the girls.

Thanks and God Bless!


Random Thoughts!

Be patient with me today.

I have many Random Thoughts going through my head this morning.

First, of all, Can I just say I love my church family?  I felt so loved yesterday, and encouraged on this journey.  And I feel so blessed to be walking this journey with a few amazing couples who are also in the process of adopting/fostering.  God is really at work in the hearts of our people.

Secondly, I was a witness last night to the reality that it only takes a second for life to literally be on the brink of passing away.  We met with some families who have adopted from China from Fernandina, FL.  We were at a subdivision pool and one of the little girls nearly drowned. 

It was so surreal.

 One minute I was talking to the little girl's mama and the next the lifeguard was yelling for someone to call 911.  Apparently, the little girl was under the water and another girl drug her to the pool side.  I ran with the mother to where the little girl was lying on her side.  The lifeguard handed me the phone and said for me to talk to 911.  At first, I don't think she was breathing, but in a manner of seconds she started throwing up.  They checked her airway, and she was breathing.  Then she started gasping for air and coughing.  It was so scary.  And all the while I'm talking to the operator, it was almost one of those out of body experiences.

The nearest ambulance was on another call, so the paramedics with the fire department arrived on the scene first.  Thankfully, by the time the ambulance arrived she was coherrent and able to hold her own oxygen mask on her face. 

What a reality check--one moment full of life, then next, in a fight for life.

But God gave this precious girl another day --it was not her moment to go home.

Thirdly,  we had the biggest blessing of getting to meet a Chinese couple at the gathering.  The wife is from Beijing and the husband is from Hunan--Leighanne and Hannah's province.  They so graciously have volunteered to help translate for us when we get our girls home.  They only live 20 minutes away.  Another piece of the puzzle for this adoption.

Finally, this is kind of silly--but 2 little ladybugs landed on my shirt at the poolside party.  Ladybugs are the goodluck symbol for Chinese adoptions.  I don't believe in "goodluck", but I thought it was a gentle reminder that as our 2 girls in China are waiting for their family, God is in the process of creating a MIRACLE for this to take place.

Thanks for being patient for these random thoughts.