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But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD-Joshua 24:15

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We missed Lily today.  We pray that this will be the last Christmas she spends without knowing the name Jesus and the Good News (the Gospel)!  We pray she will never spend it without family and loved ones!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Joy in the Waiting?

Can I find joy in the waiting?  I believe so.  God is asking me to as He prepares the details.  He is a sovereign God and while I wait, I know He is preparing my heart, my husband's heart, my children's heart, and I pray He is preparing Lily's heart as well.

As Christmas draws near I thought about being a child and how the wait was unbearable sometimes.  Couldn't Christmas just get here?  Each day was one day closer as we counted down the days til Christmas.    I see my kids get excited about Christmas, the preparations, the get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, desserts, etc.  They get so excited and can't wait!  Could that be one reason why Christmas morning is so special?  The wait?

God works in the waiting.  I think of God's people in the Old Testament and how it all points to the coming of the Messiah, His death on the cross, and His resurrection.  I believe God was working in those 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, preparing hearts for the birth of Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been there?  To hear that the long awaited Messiah was coming!  His people lived by faith, generation after generation.  They had heard the stories of the Patriarchs;  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They had heard about Joseph and Moses and many other heroes of the faith.  They had lived through the festivals each year.  They had heard from the prophets.  Now...the time had come!  Can you imagine the anticipation?  God was preparing their hearts and for those who believed, the King of Kings who had come to save the world was among them.  Baby Jesus was born!! God is working and we must find joy in the waiting.

So, as I continue to wait, my heart is bursting with a deeper love for my Father in Heaven and I am  humbled by the opportunity we have been given to welcome a little child into our family.  God truly does set the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6).  This is not of me...this is the work of my Father.  To have this kind of love for a child I have never met,  a child that has done nothing to draw me to her, a child I miss even though she has never been here before...this kind of love could only be from the Father.  And I wait with anticipation for the day that I meet my daughter, Lily.  A day I think about every day.  How sweet it will be.  I just can't wait to wrap my arms around her and love her.  It is tiny glimpse into our final day on earth.  Jesus is preparing a place for all those who are found in Christ (John 14:3).  He loves us with a love we can't even comprehend.  God is preparing my heart until the day I meet Him face to face and I can honestly say...although it is hard...I am finding joy in the waiting.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

China has approved our dossier (paperwork!)

We were told that it would take 2-3 months to receive our Letter of Confirmation (LOC) from China.  We got it yesterday after only 5 weeks!! Yeah!! We still have to receive Immigration Approval (2-3 weeks), Guangzhou Consulate approval (2-3 weeks) and then China will give us our travel approval (3-4 weeks).  So off to fill out more paperwork...each signed paper is one step closer.

No Matter What

After we received our referral for Lily we went through all the steps recommended by our agency and had Lily’s medical reports sent to an international doctor for review.  She advised us to request additional medical reports that could confirm a diagnosis for her ‘special need’.  We talked to our agency and they told us they would request more information, but they sometimes did not receive additional reports.  With little information, but knowing there was a possibility of her having a disorder, we prayed over this little girl.  I had several restless nights of sleep, but a decision needed to be made.  Do we proceed with the adoption or let the fear of the unknown stop us?  I told Darren that if we had given birth to a child, that child would be ours no matter what.  When do we see this little girl as our daughter, no matter what?   He responded simply and sweetly, ‘now is the time’.  With that, I stopped wrestling with our decision.  I decided it was time to walk in faith, put all my trust in Jesus, and love this little girl no matter what…or did I?
On November 8th, the day after I sent out this blog to our family and friends, we received the additional medical reports. We sent it to the international doctor that we had been working  with.  She had it translated and forwarded us the results.   In one week, my faith has been tested once again.  What did we say…’no matter what’?  Can we still do this?  We now know that the future for our little girl is uncertain.   Lord, what do you want us to do?
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put all this in the blog, however, my purpose for doing the blog is to glorify God.   It is also an attempt to be as honest as I can about the adoption journey that we are on.  To not share this, would to have others only be on part of the journey.  I could just share the good parts…the easy parts…but would that glorify God?   
As a parent, I have always had hopes for my children…even before they were born.  Of course I wanted them to be healthy.  What parent doesn’t want their children to be born healthy?   I wanted so many things for them.  Now, I only want what God wants for them.  I want to see Lily as God sees her, after all He is her creator and He made her the way He wanted to create her.  Now He is calling our family to love her…no matter what.  To give her a forever family this side of heaven…no matter what.  I am so thankful that I am not doing this alone.  Left to myself…I would run from this.  In Philippians 4:13 the Bible reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.  He loves Lily.  He has graciously loved  me…with all my sin and all my imperfections.  He loves me… no matter what.  What else can I do, but to try and do the same.  Love no matter what…no matter what the cost, no matter what the disorder brings…no matter what I have to lay down.  Jesus Christ has paved a way and with Him we can walk through this…no matter what.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So Now We Wait

There is so much I could go back and write about, but if I keep doing that, it will be like my scrapbooking, always behind.  So I am going to go ahead and write about where we are today.  We are waiting.  We have been told by our agency, All God's Children, that it could be as early as February or as late as April.  We will be traveling for 2 weeks.  The first week we will be in Lily's province in Tianjin.  The second week we will be in Guangzhou.  Here is a general itinerary:

Day one: Saturday
     -leave United States
Day 2: Sunday
     -arrive in Tianjin, check into hotel, rest
Day3: Monday
     -"gotcha Day!" (We get to meet Lily for the first time and give her hugs!)
     -register at your child's Provincial Civil Affairs Department
Day 4: Tuesday
    -Placement of your child at Civil Affairs Office
    -Notary Review
    -Request Lily's Chinese passport
Day 5: Wednesday
    -Rest and spend time with Lily
    -If approved at the Civil Affairs Department, visit Lily's orphanage
Day 6: Thursday
    -pick up the notary book
Day 7: Friday
    -Pick up Lily's passport
    -Leave Tianjin
    -take flight to Guangzhou
    -check into hotel
Day 8: Saturday
    -physical examination and vaccinations at the U.S. Embassy clinic
Day 9/10: Sunday/Monday
    -Rest and spend time with child
Day 11/12: Tuesday/Wednesday
    -U.S. Embassy appointment
Day 12/13: Thursday/Friday
    -Oath ceremony at the U.S. Consulate
Day 14: Saturday
    -travel guide will pick up immigrant visa
Day 14/15: Saturday/Sunday
    -Leave Guangzhou and travel back home with Lily

After we accepted the referral, we did receive some updated photos of Lily...She is in foster care and looks to be very healthy:o)

Lily in the foster village

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The little face that stole our hearts

Tuesday, September 20th was the day that we were able to see a picture of our daughter for the first time.  And God is so good!! He answered our prayers.  It had been only 4 days earlier that I was praying earnestly...I wrote in my journal:

"Waiting has never been my strength.  Every international child I see catches my eye.  I question, did we choose the right country?   Did we choose the right time?   Did we choose the right agency?  Can we do special needs?  This is hard LORD...do you want this for our family?  Do you have a child for us?"

I will always remember that day and the strength that I saw in Darren's faith.  Our agency called him and told him that they had a referral for us (that is when the agency has a picture and a medical report of a child that they feel would be a good match for us based on ALL the paperwork they have for us).  This was not our first referral.  Darren called me to let me know that the picture and paperwork were being sent to us through e-mail.  He was on his way to the office to see it and I was in Charlottesville for a homeschool co-op.  I told him that I would have to go to the library to get to my e-mails.  So me and Ryan were off to the library to see if this was the one...the little girl who would become a part of our family.  After I saw her sweet little face, I went back out to the car and called Darren.  We were both sure she was the one.  We always hoped that God would make it clear to us.  Over the next couple of days, we continued with more paperwork and I felt my fears rising.  Again, the questions...was she the one?  Can we do this?  Lots of What ifs.  What pulled me through was Darren's faith.  As my fears were rising, his faith was rising.  I am so thankful for the man I married and how God gave him strength for this journey right when we needed it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My first adoption journal entry

Although I believe God planted a seed about adoption in my heart back when I was in high school, our journey to adopt officially began on October 24th, 2010...here is my first adoption journal entry on that day:

As I write this I feel so blessed to have a wonderful husband, Darren, and 4 healthy, beautiful children.  We are getting ready to embark on our biggest journey yet...stepping out in faith and obeying God's call on our family to adopt a child.  It is all so exciting and I pray that God's fingerprints will be all over it and in all things He will receive the glory!  I pray that His will will be done and that I will be  His obedient sheep waiting and willing to hear His soft gentle voice as He guides us every step of the way during this process. He will lead us to a child He has predetermined and ordained ("...and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." Acts 17:26b).  I already feel love in my heart for this child and pray that God will lead us in this and to Him be all the glory!