Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our dossier is approved!!!

We heard today that our dossier was approved!  Which means there is nothing standing between us and a travel date.  We *should* get a travel date next week, hopefully Monday.  Praying it is so...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It has been an honor to pray

Thank you so much everyone for sending me prayer requests and encouragement!!!  As I read message after message of the needs out there I was humbled and honored for the opportunity to get outside my own little life and start interceding in others.  Does the soul some good!!!  I hope I am not sounding like we never pray for others.  We do, we try to always be mindful of the people hurting around us, missionaries, pastors, persecuted Christians, women thinking about abortion, abortionists, orphans, etc.  But never have I had such an opportunity to pray for so many 'strangers' by name at one time.  It doesn't feel like we are strangers when we have joined together in prayer does it?!?!


My husband and I take part in the Billy Graham telephone ministry (during airings of Billy Graham's classic crusade tapes people can call an 800 number to receive Christ and we answer the phones-sometimes people accept Christ and sometimes they just need prayer).  We used to go together but now with more kiddos my hubby goes and I stay with the kids.  I did not realize how much I missed it until your prayer requests started pouring in.  I miss that time speaking with people I probably will never meet in this life about their needs and praying together.  A quick way to learn how small and silly your "problems" are is to invite people to share theirs with you.


And boy are there some deep needs out there...kids who are very ill, some deep hurts, and the MANY families stuck in the waiting to adopt.  I could not believe the amount of people who like us are waiting on governments to finally go get their children.


I cannot thank you enough, this has really changed me.  I am returning to a habit of prayer...lots of prayer.  My kids are seeing me pray more and their prayers are become more thoughtful.  And to think, all of this would not have happened if we had received a travel date :)


Keep the prayer requests coming, I will not post them but I will add them to my prayer list.  Honestly.  If I have to spend hours going through them and praying I will enjoy every minute of it!  As much as all of you have done for us and for Valentin, I am thrilled to be able give back, even a little.  It has been an absolute pleasure and a huge blessing!  

Monday, March 26, 2012

We interrupt this adoption

So this blog is mostly about our adoption of Valentin but the most amazing thing just happened and I have to tell somebody...everybody.

A little back story; we adopted our daughter from China in October. She is 2.5 years old. She was listed as having Cerebral Palsy but so far we cannot confirm that because she shows no physical signs of CP, just severe cognitive delays. We suspect she is just significantly developmentally delayed. Not sure why. Anyway, we had her evaluated and developmentally she ranges about 9-12 months old across the board. She struggles with fine and gross motor skills, etc. but mostly with social skills and language. She only says "mama" "dada" and "papa" but always prefers not to speak at all. We have been mostly concerned about the social stuff, she will go to anyone and seek to be held. She really has shown no partiality to us and that has us concerned about bonding. Also she loves to be held but never instigates affection.

Anyway, all that to tell you this...

I just got my first spontaneous hug from her!!!!! I cannot tell you how amazing this is!!!! I was sitting on the ground playing with the boys and she walked up, put her arm around me, smiled, and laid her head on my shoulder. This is huge!!!!

And, as I was sitting here typing she did it again!!!! Bonding and attachment are long hard roads but so incredibly worth it!

And still no date

Every day we wake up hoping to hear an early morning phone call telling us we have received a travel invitation from Valentin's country and that we will be meeting him soon. There was a good chance that call was going to happen this morning but as you can tell from the title it didn't happen. We received word that our dossier has not even been reviewed yet and that we would not hear anything until at least next Monday, and maybe not even then.

It's easy to have faith when everything is going good isn't it? To say we are disappointed is an understatement. My heart hurts as another week goes by and Valentin lays in a crib. The conditions he is forced to live in every day sicken me and my mother's instinct wants to do everything I can to help him. I am learning a very good lesson about faith right now.

Do I believe God is indeed sovereign? Is His plan and His will indeed for good? Does He truly have all this under control? Are His ways higher then my ways? The quick and absolute answer is yes, but do I truly believe that when I struggle to accept the waiting?

I wanted to be upset this morning and wallow in self-pity, but praise God for His Holy Spirit. Just when I wanted to feel sorry for myself, the Spirit within me reminded me that yes, He is sovereign, good, in control, and has ways and reasons and plans that I know nothing about. This morning I am evermore grateful for His presence, I needed a kick to stop feeling sorry for myself and get over myself. I needed to be brought back down to my knees in humility. And I am so grateful He humbled me.

This morning I am choosing faith. God is so good...ALL the time!

Valentin will be rescued...in God's timing, not mine.

I feel very strongly that this needs to be a week of prayer and fasting. So, I will be spending less time on the computer. I am taking a week fast from Facebook. I am going to enjoy my family. And I am going to focus on fervent prayer.

So, my friends, how can I pray for you??? I moderate my comments and absolutely will not post any prayer requests you do not want to share but please message me with your prayer requests.

Praising God in the waiting.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kyle

I had been praying about how to advocate for orphans and whether I should try to do something on this blog. Then I received the most heart felt message from another adoptive mom. It broke my heart and I knew it was time.

“I made a New Years Resolution to donate to Valentin every month until he came home... and I did until you were fully funded. But since Valentin found a family, I decided to choose another child to also donate to until he came home. That child was Kyle. I was drawn to Kyle like no other child.”

This mom, who with her husband have adopted two children, would love to bring Kyle home. Something that is completely out of her control prevents her from adopting Kyle herself.

“I have decided if I cannot bring him home, I HAVE TO find a family for him.”

I cannot imagine the heartache of wanting to provide a home to a child and not being able to. I am so broken-hearted for her and yet so inspired by her strength and resolve to find him a family.

So meet Kyle…

I know, right?! What a cutie pie!

He was born two days before Christmas, 2005.

An adoptive mom was able to meet Kyle in November 2010. She said he was able to dress himself, feed himself, walked relatively well with no assistance. His CP only affects his legs. He didn't speak to her so she wondered if he was nonverbal. He walked right up to her, held her hand for a long time and sat for her for a while, while she talked to him. He offered to share his apple that she brought for all the children. She would pick up the leaves and throw them in the air, and he would laugh and copy her.

The director has said he is only mildly cognitively delayed. But, that was over a year ago. He's been who knows where, getting who knows what kind of treatment since then.

He was transferred either to a mental institution or to an orphanage for older children some time between November 2010 and Spring 2011 because another person went to his orphanage Spring 2011 and Kyle wasn't there anymore. Reece’s Rainbow is trying to find out where he was transferred and whether or not the facilitators can confirm he is nonverbal. You remember the posts about conditions in a mental institution right?

So, do you think we can find him a family? I believe we can. What a precious boy to offer to share his apple…in an orphanage…where no doubt food is typically hoarded, not shared. That is a gentle and kind heart!

Please share his picture and share his story, donate if you can to his fund, and above all please pray that God would move a family to adopt him and would provide the means to do that.

Kyle is sitting either in a mental institution or an orphanage with no family. No attention or any meaningful affection. No one to teach him how to fly paper airplanes. No one to teach him about sports. No one to play catch with him. No one to teach him about God or how to grow as a compassionate and strong Christian man. No one to take extra care of him when he is sick. And sadly, no one telling him he is loved and cherished.

But he IS loved and cherished…by God and by those praying for him. Let’s find someone to bring him home. Please Father, let it be so.

Monday, March 12, 2012

To our son, with love

To our beloved son,

What we would give to be sitting face to face with you, pouring out our hearts to you in person rather then here. If we could go tomorrow, we would. But, we wait. And you wait. And we dream of the day our wishing becomes reality.

I wonder when our love for you began. It was very clear the moment we heard about you and saw your picture. There was no doubt you were our son and instantly our hearts ached to meet you, hold you, and welcome you home. But I think we loved you before that because we love the One who created you. And He, sweet one, has always loved you!

We know life for you has not been easy (to say the least) and we know it is going to take you a lot of time to learn to trust us and to love us. That's okay. We aren't going anywhere.

We pray that you are safe and well treated. We pray that God has begun and will continue to heal your body and your mind of the last 6 years. We pray that God is preparing your heart for what is about to happen. And above all else we pray that you KNOW that you are loved. Because you are SO. INCREDIBLY. LOVED.


video

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nothing new

I really have nothing to write about but I didn't want to leave everyone wondering what was going on. We are still waiting to hear something from Valentin's country about when we can travel. According to past timelines we *should* hear something this week. But families who submitted their dossiers weeks before ours are still waiting and have not received travel dates. We are praying to hear something this week but we aren't holding our breath. When we know, trust me you will know! I will be screaming about it!

Please join us in praying another mountain gets moved and we receive travel dates this week. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's in a name

We have decided on a name for Valentin!!!! And no, I am not going to tell you what it is. That’s just mean isn’t it!

Valentin is the alias that Reece’s Rainbow gave our boy to protect his identity. His real name is his countries version of a biblical name that we love.

We have gone back and forth about whether or not to keep his ‘real’ first name. We have heard that many children hate that their parents kept their name because it reminds them of bad memories. I can see how that can happen. Some kids love that their parents kept their name because it lets them keep some of their heritage. I can see how that can happen.

So, what to do?

After a lot of thought and prayer we have decided to keep his given first name legally the same. However we will call him the English version of that name. And no I cannot tell you what it is because anyone could easily find out his name that way. And our first duty as parents is to protect him. But the name is beautiful and the biblical meaning of the name is so so so fitting. We will reveal his name but probably not until the day he is finally in our arms and out of that orphanage. Just writing that brings such hope to my heart…out of that orphanage…has a beautiful ring to it, doesn’t it?

And do you remember me telling you in this post that the name we have chosen for Valentin is the same name that some dear friends of ours had named their child after they lost him way too early through miscarriage? We did not know what they had named their boy until we mentioned Valentin’s real name and through tears our friend told us. When we are paying attention, it is amazing to see how God has weaved lives and souls together in such a beautiful tapestry. It means so much to us to be naming our child in memory of theirs.

I can tell you what we have decided for his middle name. Really, how could it be anything other then Valentin?!?! Valentin is how he is known by so many. To think of the thousands and thousands of prayers that have been said using the name Valentin…it is so part of who he is. So Valentin it is.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The house that love built

Who would have thought, when this picture was taken and I was pregnant three and a half years ago, that so many changes would happen in that room. It has been so much fun to search old pictures of the kids' room to see how it has transformed over the last three and a half years.

The room started with one crib as we anxiously awaited the birth of our first child.


One crib turned into two cribs with the arrival of our second child.


As our boys grew, two cribs turned into 2 beds (which is a bunk bed that separated into two beds - I highly recommend this - it has worked so well for us) while we worked on bringing our third child home.


Two beds stacked to a bunk bed and the old crib was added back in with the arrival of our third child.


And now, a second bunk bed was added as we wait to welcome Valentin home.


We are leaving the crib in the room until we see what Valentin will be most comfortable with. The last thing we want to do is take a child who has been confined to a crib for so many years and put him in another crib. But with as many changes as he is going to experience leaving the orphanage, traveling on a train, lots of car rides, different apartments, many flights, and a completely new country and home, we just want to give him the option of a crib if it makes him feel secure and safe. Plus, we don't know how active or possibly quite violent his stimming will be and a bed (especially a bed with another child on top) might not be the safest option.


Our house is growing in love, not size, but one thing that had to grow in size was our vehicle. We had a small crew cab truck that would only fit five (very snugly) and we didn't think any of the kids would want to ride in the bed of the truck. So we had been searching for a great deal on a used vehicle that would fit all 6 of us. As usual, God provided the right vehicle at the right time and at the right price (although having a car payment again is something we will have to get used to). I never thought we would be driving a 12 passenger van. The van, with it's removable seats, also provide lots of flexibility if Valentin needs a wheelchair ramp or lift too. With the huge van and growing family I think we have officially become "that" family...and I love it!

Our snug ride before...



Our roomy new ride...



It's funny how Christ, time, and kids change you. When I bought our house almost 9 years ago (before I even met my husband) I thought it was just a small starter home and that when I married and had a family we would move to a larger home where each child would have his or her own room and plenty of space for material items. Hehe, I am no longer that person and this is so NOT that house. I think we have wisely invested our money in rescuing orphans, not in material possessions and I thank God he changed our hearts. Our kids share a room and there just isn't the space for lots of material items...and I wouldn't have it any other way. This house holds some of my most precious memories and it is one of my greatest goals to build loving memories here for my husband and my children. My prayer is that my kids grow up not with lots of stuff, but with lots of substance. The things that really matter in life.

Thanks for taking this journey down memory lane with me. It's not a starter house, it is a home, filled with love. A home that is waiting for you, Valentin.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"And the people were restrained from bringing"

Exodus 25: 1-8 “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.’”

Exodus 36: 2-7 Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.’ So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, ‘Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.

I have always loved this piece of scripture. Out of love for God the people brought their offerings for the building of the tabernacle…and they brought…and they brought. So much so that the scriptures say the people had to be restrained from bringing! What a beautiful scene! However this morning this bit of scripture means something more to us. “From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” means something more to us. “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do” means something more to us. Why?

VALENTIN’S ADOPTION IS FULLY FUNDED!!!!

We could not be more elated, grateful, or blessed! Valentin’s ransom has been paid!

You might be wondering “but Reece’s Rainbow shows that your adoption grant is $15,710, didn’t you need $24,000". Yes, we need $24,000, at least, probably even more because the stay in country is growing and it is looking like hubby is going to have to make 2-3 trips, which means more airline tickets. But Valentin has a separate grant of $3711 that will also go towards his adoption. Plus we have received checks written directly to us which puts us just over $24,000!

I want to scream it from the rooftops! I want to sing God’s glory! I want to give all of you a huge hug and kiss…ok, the kiss might be weird, but you understand the sentiment.

How about I take all those kisses and give them to Valentin :)

Soon, Valentin, very soon