Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Care Package Sent

We finally sent our package to Faith in China.  When we got our pre-approval, we were told we could send her something.  I was so excited when I heard this.  I don't know if it was the idea of giving a gift, or if it was because we would be giving something to Faith.  Maybe it was just the idea of having some sort of connection with her.  I decided to sew a stuffed bunny rabbit doll for all my girls, so she could have something like her sisters.  I also decided to put together a photo album with pictures of each of us, and of her room, our house, and our pets. 
I was told we could include a list of questions with our care package.  I searched all over the internet, reading lots of blogs, and joined a couple of yahoo groups and asked its members, what kinds of questions should we ask.  All I would really like to know is what they call her.  I've heard that often times the nannies in the orphanage call the children by nicknames, and there's usually a reason for the nickname.  My 11 year old daughter wants to know her favorite color, her favorite food, and if she likes music.  So, we included those questions, along with her height and weight.  I wasn't so concerned with her size because I was told we would be told her clothing sizes when we get travel approval. 
   I asked our adoption agency worker if she has been told about us yet.  She said she doesn't know but a lot of times the orphanage uses the care package to introduce the child to their new family.  Aaaahhhhh!  So, this package is going to be the first time she is told she has a family......I better make it good.  Now there was more pressure to make this package something real special.  So, I added some fancy lace to the dress I made for the bunny, and some ribbon with pearls across the waistline.  I added eight pearls because eight is considered the most fortuitous of numbers in Chinese communities.  I bought a 4x6 photo album from Wal-Mart for $1 (love a great bargain).  It's beautiful.  It has a super sparkly pink glitter cover.  We printed out all the photos we needed.  Then, we had my daughter's teacher's foreign exchange student write captions in Chinese for each picture.  The very last picture showed Faith's two sisters holding their bunnies I made and holding hers up to show her they each had one.  I put a small picture of Faith on the front cover with her name written in Chinese so she would know it is hers and that the family pictured inside is her family.
   When I left the post office, after mailing her package, I felt........happy, excited, anxious, and .....nervous.  Why did I feel nervous?  I couldn't figure out why I felt so nervous, but I definitely did.  You see, this package is going to be the first time she is told about us, much like when you are introduced to someone new.  I hope she likes her bunny.  I hope she likes her pink photo album.  I hope she thinks we look friendly and loving in our pictures.  I hope they let her keep her bunny so she can sleep with it every night and think about us.  Here's the crazy thing -- I will never know what she thinks of all of it, because I'm not there to see her reaction.  I pray that she understands, and that she is able to open her heart to love us as we already love her.

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Announcing our big news

We are adopting a beautiful little girl from China.  We haven't started telling a whole bunch of people until now.  It's such a long process and it seemed a good idea to wait until we got closer to bringing her home.  But, as I told each individual person, the support and prayers that have been offered are so comforting.  So, why not tell everyone!  All that support should make the wait a little easier right?
So, here it is......
Though it is not her name, in this blog, I will refer to her as Faith.  She is 6 years old and has lived in an orphanage since she was about 6 months old.  Her age is merely a guess because she was found abandoned.  She has Larsen's syndrome, which is an extremely rare genetic disorder characterized by congenital dislocation of multiple body joints along with other unusual features of the face, hands, and bones.  It occurs in only 1 in every 100,000 babies.  It is also a type of dwarfism, so Faith will always be small.....small but mighty.
Faith was born with dislocated knees and hips, and a club foot.  She had surgery on her legs when she was four years old.  This means, however, that for the first four years of her life her bones were growing with her joints in the wrong place.  So, her legs are not so straight and she doesn't walk on her own.  I've seen photos of her legs and feet and I think they are beautiful.  Secretly, I can't wait to paint her toenails for the first time, probably a nice shade of hot pink.  She also has scoliosis.  As for the "unusual facial features", she does have big round eyes and a flat bridge of her nose.  I happen to be in love with her "unusual facial features", and Scott thinks it makes her look "just precious."
We've always known we were meant to adopt a child.  Months ago, I started feeling God calling out to us that now is the time.  The more I prayed about it, the more clear His message became.  The day I found out that her file was sent to our agency exclusively at the same time that I began emailing them, that's when I knew that she was the one He had chosen for us.  Some people ask "why" we are adopting and why we are adopting from another country.  Simply put, we are adopting because it is what God has planned for us.  We are adopting from China because that's where our little girl is, whom He has chosen for us.  How are we going to do this?  Well, I don't know.  But, I do know that God doesn't give you anything you can't handle.  I have complete faith and trust in Him. 
I titled my blog Ready for a Leap of Faith for a reason.  Way back at the beginning of all this, I sat and pondered one day over why it's called a "leap" of faith, and I realized what it means.  You can't just say you believe God will help you through something.  You have to give your whole self to Him, trust Him completely, throw your doubts and fears and worries out the window. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:6
You have to go 100%, take the leap, not just a step in that direction and then step back when you get scared.  You see, a leap isn't something you can take back.  I was ready for that leap of faith.  We have prayed and He made His message clear.  So, now we have taken that "leap of faith" and we are going to bring our new daughter home.  We have faith that He will get us to it and He will bring us through it.  Like my blog title says, "Faith is not hoping God can, it's knowing He will."

So, now, I ask you all, our friends and family to please pray for our little girl waiting for us in China.  Also, please pray for her nannies who have cared for her for the past six years and will have to say goodbye to her when we come get her in a year or so.  Scott, our children, and I will continue to pray and give thanks to God for giving us such a wonderful blessing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I think the most helpful advice I have read so far is this:  When you tell friends or family about your plans to adopt, give them time.  It took a good amount of time for us to come to this decision, and it will take about as much time for friends and family to understand your decision.  It's a lot to just blurt out at someone and expect them to say, oh wonderful!
I have gotten a good variety of reactions from people when I share with them our plans to adopt.  Some reactions were difficult to understand, some were expected, while others were a complete surprise.  A couple of times, I felt disappointed because I was expecting the person to be so happy for us.  We are so full of excitement and joy knowing that God has chosen to bless us with this precious little girl who just happens to live across the world.  When we tell someone and they just stare with a blank expression, it's like having your birthday balloon popped right before the party.
Each reaction from each person is a part of this beautiful story and I guess, I'm glad that each person has reacted so differently.  It certainly makes for a much more interesting story.

in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18


Waiting is something I am good at and it's a good thing because there is plenty of waiting in my future.  Some days I wish there was something I NEEDED to get done, something that needed to be read, a form that needed to be filled out, or maybe something I need to research and learn more about.  When I am busy getting things done, the waiting is so much easier.  But, on days like today, when it's pouring rain outside and the whole house is clean and ready for our next home study visit, I sit on the couch, wishing for something to do.  Everything has been done.  There is nothing for me to do.

Then I realize.......There is something for me to do.  I can pray.  I can pray for patience.  I can pray and give thanks to God.  I can pray that He continues to watch over my children, especially my daughter who is waiting for us in China.  I can pray for the nannies in the orphanage who have taken such great care of her for the past six years, and who will miss her when we come and take her away from them.  Who am I kidding thinking I have nothing to do ?!  I need to get busy!  I've got some praying to do......

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 107: 1

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home studies include LOTS of paperwork.  I think my favorite is the autobiography, especially the part where it asks about your marriage.  Writing what you think about your marriage really makes you think about it.  I thought about the kind of relationship I have with my husband, what kind of husband he is, and what kind of wife I am. I enjoyed reading what my husband wrote about these things as well.
When I was done writing my autobiography, I felt so very blessed and grateful.  For the past few months, I have felt blessed to be chosen to be the mother of this beautiful little girl.  After writing, I felt so blessed with all He has already given me.....my husband, my children, my pets, my new home, my family......And, now, He is giving me more.  Do I deserve this?  I don't know if I do or not.  But, I will work every day to be deserving of such blessings.  And, I will give thanks each and every day for even the little things.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chosen for us

In October, we couldn't seem to make any progress towards adopting a child.  Initially, things had been moving along steadily.  There was a beautiful little girl who was listed with one agency, and then there was a little boy on the shared list.  When we decided to pursue adopting the little boy, that's when things seemed to come to a stop.  I went to bed praying one night and woke up the next morning feeling like we are supposed to adopt the little girl and that we would need to fight for her.  I told my husband when he woke up and he was full on board.  I prayed that morning for an hour straight.  Then, I got on the internet to search for a new adoption agency.  At the very beginning of all this, I had been led to a woman's blog for something completely unrelated.  Her blog was actually all about adoption, and her 6 kids she had adopted from China.  So, I looked up the agency she used, sent them an email, and waited for a response.  I got a reply within an hour.  Things got moving again.  A few weeks later, I found out that the little girl's file had been sent to this agency to advocate on her behalf exclusively, at the same time that I started emailing them.  No other agency would have access to her file.  That's why things "stopped".....because God was directing us to the agency where we could adopt her.  He has chosen her for us and he brought us both to the same agency at the same time to show us this.  I feel so very blessed that he has chosen us to be her family.  Who knew that I could love a little girl so much who I have never even met!

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sooner than expected

So very excited!  After being told we wouldn't hear anything for at least 2-3 weeks and settling for the fact that we wouldn't get our news until after Christmas, imagine the excitement when the phone rang after only ONE WEEK, and 5 days before Christmas.  Here I was thinking we would get through the holiday celebrating with all the family and such and then would have to wait for an email.  But, that's not what happened.  Pleasantly surprised, we got a phone call, not an email, and before Christmas.  What a lovely surprise!  The lady at our adoption agency was so excited that we had gotten a response from China so quickly that she had to call herself instead of just forwarding the email like she usually does.  God is SO GOOD!  We got our pre-approval from China.  Now, this beautiful little girl whose pictures I stare at each day and whose video I could watch over and over and over again.....she is ours.