Friday, January 30, 2015

Bring-me-some-good-news Tuesday!

 I'm pretty sure the longest month of the entire year is January. Not for the number of days, but for the number of days I spend dreaming of spring. I can't wait for Groundhog Day this coming Monday!!! Come on Punxsutawney Phil give me some hope for warmer days ahead! January's goal of keeping the boys busy and alive is always a challenge. They literally bounce off each other and every piece of furniture that gets in their way. And when the grand-boys are here, they do  the same! 

Bounce, Jump, Bang, Crash, Yell, repeat....over and over and over and over. I put games out where they can see them and art supplies, just to "encourage" them to stop moving. 

Warmer weather means more time OUTSIDE!

This Tuesday our Article 5 approval is scheduled for pick up. This is a letter from the US Central Authority that lets China know all the Hague requirements have been met and the US approves this adoption. Therefore, China can formally invite us to come! Travel Approval (TA)! Once the article 5 is received by CCCWA, we could have TA within a week. So we probably have less then 2 weeks for this .... oh my heart!

Therefore, this year amidst the bounce, jump, bang, crash, yell, I am fully engaged in preparations knowing I will soon be in China. 

We will soon be the parents of 7 kids. 

I am strangely calm, except for obsessively and compulsively checking my email. 

Check, refresh, check, refresh... until finally something comes in the form of adoption news! Email can be a dangerous thing for an expectant adoptive mother. Now, I'm sure YOU would not behave like this. You're much too busy and mature to get crazy about timelines and spreadsheets that some other OCD expectant mom (far worse them me-insert sarcasm) has created to ensure we have the exact dates paperwork may arrive at the appropriate office. And if it doesn't arrive on that predicted date.... the OCD email happens again! Sending emails and waiting for responses.
Our Poor Agency! Please forgive me! I'm thankful for our FB adoption groups. 
It gives a place to "vent" and connect with others on this journey to  Crazy ... I mean China :)
 And in the meantime I still need to get some home school done. Art this week. It was fun! We don't always do it but we (I) needed a break-to check email, of course. So during a snow day we got out the oil pastels. Listened to classical music, and tried to relax. 


This was supposed to be over a foot of snow.... silly weather people.... ooopsy
 The Governor declared a "state of emergency" for the entire state due to the impending blizzard :)
 It didn't come...
 But the kids had fun! Except maybe Arielle. (but she had fun too. For some reason she enjoys shoveling snow. Or maybe her enjoyment was the day off of school she had! Thanks Gov.)

So now I'm nearing the END of this Paperwork Pregnancy. Waiting for a delivery date. 

It's coming, soon. 

I know that God had lead us to this journey.  I'm curious as to what this will bring. And scared too. Things are going good here. 

VERY GOOD!

Why would we "rock the boat"?

But there is a little girl on the other side of the world who needs a family. And for some reason God saw it fit for us to be that family. It doesn't matter what I think. All that matters is my obedience. 

Yes Lord, here I am. Use me. 

Abiding in Faith.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Faith - Part 2

...Continued from Part 1 yesterday (CLICK HERE for that)

I'm a stay at home mom. It's a privilege I don't take lightly. I know we are all led to different paths. A parent who chooses to stay at home is no better then a working parent, and the other way around. :)

But being home, and homeschooling, has afforded us to do what we do for our current brood. Our schedule is flexible, that is how we like it! Medical appointments and home-school trips fill most of our calender. It's those spontaneous field trips we love the most, life is too short to do math on a sunny spring day! (don't worry, we get the math done!)

All of our adopted kids had/have some form of medical special need. So life can be a bit chaotic at times. It was our experience with our son Asher that brought us to the path we are now on with our current adoption. 
My son Asher has sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder. One complication of SC is a condition called acute chest syndrome. It's an extremely painful and serious complication and can lead to death. Asher's body is prone to this when he gets sick. 

He was born in Haiti and not diagnosed for almost three years, until he came home. There where many moments we had stormed the throne of God with petitions to heal infection and unknown sickness in his body-we were so far away from Haiti, how else could we help?!  But he survived, miraculously.
2 1/2 years were spent on my knees, pleading the healing blood of Jesus to wash over him and take the sickness away. Praying that God would get him out of Haiti to a place where help is plentiful. My eyes were opened to spiritual warfare and mountain moving prayer...

He was finally granted permission to come home by "the powers that be" in Haiti, and went from the plane to the hospital. He was full of infection and pain. Our suspisions were confirmed... Sickle Cell SS disease. Today it can be challenging (especially for him!) but he is one of the biggest blessings of our lives. If he had not been adopted, Asher would not be alive today.

Adoption literally saved my son's life.

 Look at this kid!     And our world is full of "Asher's".


Since our last adoption in 2011 (Arielle-forever home at almost 14), I had seen more and more children who were available for adoption from China with thalassemia, another genetic blood disorder. I became curious. Many of the symptoms present themselves like SC. Symptoms Asher deals with daily- so I did a little research. Thalassemia looks scary if you had nothing to compare it to. But having this connection with hematology, it didn't look so scary to us. In fact, I saw huge possibilities! We live so close our choice of children's hospitals.

So when I received a little photo of a little girl in China who was 5 years old with thalasseamia, I immediately sent it to Brad! There was something about her. MAA was willing to waive some of the fees due to the severity of her special need (love MAA! They truly care about the kids!).  We prayed for a couple weeks and the answer was clear.

YES!

And it was "yes" in our heart before we even had her file looked at. We knew it in our heart, but needed confirmation. And we got that too! Both directors of MAA had met her and fell in love. As soon as I showed her file to Asher's hematologist (she's an adoptive Mom too! China!), she loved her as well.
We were all smitten <3

We didn't have a dime. Not one cent to contribute. Nothing to start with.



But we had the name, Elizabeth - God is a Vow

His promise


Luke 1:45 "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord."

So we rested on this promise that God was in this and He will provide everything...  we stepped
out in Faith. The rest of this story is pretty quick, and straightforward.

We knew God was in this. His very heart is for the orphan. We began to sell bracelets and other fundraising and money started to trickle in. We had what we needed, when we needed it.

We applied for 3 grants - and got all three!








Yesterday we also found out that our orphanage fee was waived as well!!!

Blessed beyond measure!

I realize how difficult it is when you are adopting and the money does not come this easy. I know, because I've experienced it. But, the Lord still provided a way for each of our adopted babies. I don't know why this final adoption He has made so easy financially. I have no answer to this. But we give God all the praise for all of our children. ALL of them. They are each one a gift from God. Maybe God opened the door so wide for Elizabeth because we were so reluctant to walk through it at our age... Maybe. When God makes the way so clear, it's just foolishness not to listen....

We are soon to have 7 kids! 7 is the number of perfection and this will be our last adoption.

But we aren't finished! We have more work to do for the orphan.
 That's another topic for another time.

Join us on FB! Elizabeth LongJu - God's Promise, One Less Orphan

And

(for more information on Liz, where she is, and adoption stats, click on the logo)


http://www.babyjellybeans.com/web/do/site/home?ID=744670














Monday, January 12, 2015

Hope - Part 1

I want to encourage you today. Some of us are on journeys that are difficult...and I'm not just talking about adoption. Some of us have a dream on our hearts, or an idea or vision. And to make that dream, idea, or vision a reality is impossible, unreachable. Please keep reading...

I've been trying figure out a good way to express exactly how this adoption journey has unfolded. Of course we are still on the path to our daughter, the journey has not ended yet. In fact, once she is in our arms, home forever, the true journey begins. But as I sit here typing, my mind drifts back  to a name I felt God impress on my heart in a dream. We were deciding on a name for a little girl:

Eliza or Elizabeth

In the dream I wrote these names on a piece of paper and showed it to Brad, then I awoke. It made such an impression on me that I wrote it down in my journal. I couldn't get this dream out of my mind. Then I looked up the meaning of both names. Eliza is a form of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth - God is a Vow -

I had this dream during a time of financial struggle and unemployment. And this dream gave me 

HOPE. 

I knew God had not forgotten us. A "vow" is a promise.... truth. And when God makes a vow, He "is" the vow. For God to lie would go against the very definition of who God is.

I wrote this in my journal October 2012:

Elizabeth - God is a vow. You have vowed. You are faithful. Your message of faithfulness is clear! You have heard our plea, and You are faithful to Your promise of provision. Thank You Jesus. Fill my heart with Your understanding.

We were struggling to pay our bills, pay our mortgage, and eventually food. The unemployment announcement came shortly after we brought Arielle home from China. Another adoption wasn't even on our radar. In fact, at that time, the current needs of our children made the thought of adoption an impossibility. All we wanted was "normal". The added stress of "lack of money" hit heavy. I don't want to seem overly dramatic, because as we lived life through that season we made a choice:

Obedience

Give

Rejoice - regardless of circumstance!

It blessed us! We had already lived through losing a home many years ago due to unemployment. And we did not want to relive that again. But we learned something through that experience...

"Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5&6

"Give and it will be given back to you..."
Luke 6:38

"Rejoice in the Lord Always"... We knew God was/is in control. We need to CHOOSE to believe His promises, regardless of circumstance.

God's Vow. Period.

At the end of a very difficult 2013(and extended time in the PICU with Asher!)  our prayers were answered and Brad got the job we needed to pay the bills and the mortgage yay! I could go on and on about God's provision, giving, etc, but it would take too long and I'm too ADD to stay focused that long!

One year ago, January 2014, we were just getting back on our feet and enjoying the new wonderful normal we seemed to have finally achieved.

I received an email from Madison Adoption Associates. They had reduced their application fee, and I found myself filling out an application to adopt ONE LAST TIME. Although we were nowhere near ready, we had talked about starting the process sometime during 2014 AFTER we become a little more financially stable and regain some savings. Waiting would be the "wise" thing to do... And we really weren't sure we wanted to adopt again. We both felt like there may be one more. Another Daughter. But we were pretty content.

 to be continued...

(Part 2)