Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Blessing of Unanswered Prayers.....

Adoption Update......Major Delays!
I have not updated the blog regarding the delays we have experienced because I really wanted to remain positive and feature the amazing adoption showers and all the wonderful gifts we had received.  I really 
didn´t want to post publicly about the delays we have been experiencing....but last night I realized that even though it has been heart wrenching to go through...this last experience literally brought me to my knees in gratitude to my Heavenly Father for unanswered prayers.  

The Delay:

We were told that our Article 5 (documents for the U.S. Consulate to review to approval Little M´s immigration to the U.S.)  was dropped off on June 16th.

This process is a standard 14 days, it is dropped off and picked up two weeks later.  It is expected to be straightforward.  Well, ours was not, two weeks went by and we were not notified of pick up as is expected.  Nearly a week later we found out that our Article 5 packet was missing her Abandonment Certificate and so we waited two weeks for that document to arrive and then to be translated and FINALLY it was resubmitted on July 14th.

We were hoping that the consulate would NOT make us wait another two weeks.....well guess what...they DID!  Article 5 pick up is scheduled for July 28th!  A total of a 5 week delay!!!

Unanswered Prayers

In the evenings Dave and I have talk time where we talk about life, frustrations, happy things, whatever.  During this time, in the past two months, we both discussed how we were NOT worried about the Article 5 but we prayed and prayed and prayed that Travel Approval would go quickly.  We have seen Travel Approval take anywhere from 2 days to two months!  That is what we worried about.  We had fasted and prayed that things would go smoothly as we already have had a two month delay earlier in the process, we could have traveled in May without any delays.

Obviously you can tell that our prayers were not answered, we have experienced a 5 week delay all while pleading and praying that things would go smoothly and quickly.  We have been skyping with Little M and just can´t wait to get to China!

I wish I could tell you that I patiently waited on the Lord´s timing but in all honesty I haven´t been patient at all.  In fact, I have often said I don´t understand why God would want a child to go one extra day without a family...I do NOT understand this at all!  Why the delay?  Why is this happening?  Why is God not answering our prayers?

I tried to humble myself and pray to understand why God was not answering our prayers and boy did I get an answer.............

****Before I tell you the blessing....please understand that if we had not had any delays and everything had happened on an ideal timeframe: 
we would have traveled sometime around July 21st.

The Blessing of Unanswered Prayers....

**Yes these people are standing on a BUS!

We were supposed to have a Skype call with Little M on Wednesday night at 7pm.  We had heard nothing about the flooding in you notice the news report is from the U.K.  None of the U.S. news outlets had reported about this.   Well....we never received a call Wednesday night.....we didn´t know why.  We went to Macey´s to get Raspberry Dole Whip and while we were there Dave received an email from ¨A¨ from the orphanage saying that Beijing was flooded and they had been without power for an entire day and she did not know when the power would be back on.  She also said all the kids were safe.

I searched online and saw all the photos of Beijing and it hit me all at once.....God Knew Better than I!

In all our fasting and praying for a quick travel approval we would have never known that if we had received a quick travel approval we could have been flying into a flooded city and it is very possible we would have been in country longer and had many delays and issues while in the country due to flooding!  As I had been whining and complaining about delays and wondering why.....asking God why?  He gave me quite the humbling answer!

I learned quite a lesson last night in patiently waiting upon the Lord and His timing!  He had something better in store....we never would have known.  I am so grateful that I received an answer to my question why?

Not everyone receives an answer to why some things happen but I can tell you that now I understand that God has a purpose in ALL things even if we can´t see it.  

I am still praying that things will go quickly from here on out.....We are now planning on travel probably around the third week of August but that could change depending on how quickly we receive travel approval.   We were told after we received LSC that worst case scenario would be travel the first week of August so we are already beyond that :-(

Monday, July 18, 2016

Adoption Showers & a Pic of Little Ms room full of gifts

Adoption Showers!!

Words cannot express how absolutely HUMBLED I am by all of the love and support we have received from family, friends and church members who have supported us through this amazing journey!   On Saturday July 9th we had a family & friends shower at my moms house, my sister did a BEAUTIFUL job decorating and making amazing food for the shower!

I was so amazed by all the people who came to the shower and the wonderful gifts that everyone brought for Little M.  My heart is so full and I pray with all my heart that this little girl will know and feel how absolutely LOVED and adored she is by so very many people!  

Our youngest child is 14 years old and so we do not have a single toy to be found in this house.....trying to purchase clothing, coats, shoes, hair accessories, towels, and toys was overwhelming to us amongst the adoption expenses which have ended up costing nearly double what we originally expected!  The showers have helped us so much in being able to have all the clothes, toys and little girl items we need!

There were lanterns strung overhead and beautiful tables with fancy chopsticks, photos of little M, square plates, and napkins...every thing was decorated in red, white and was beautiful.  I was so thankful for all the people who came, I was so surprised at the large crowd we had!  Thank you to all of you!

The food was delicious!  Lots of Chinese themed items...with an American twist like the Chinese takeout cartons :-)  So cute!

Shower from our Church Family
I wish I would have been able to capture more photos of this amazing shower...we walked up to the door and it was decorated with globes and Chinese characters.  You can see this amazing food table with globes, you can´t see the streamers with Chinese characters hanging above but it was amazing.  There were delicious croissants, salads, fruit, and yummy cake pops along with a beautiful dessert!

I was so humbled that these sweet ladies would throw such a lovely shower for me and Little M.  I wish I would have been able to take more photos but I was answering questions, telling a little about our adoption journey story and opening gifts so I didn´t get much of a chance to take pictures but it was such a lovely shower with so many amazing women who came.  

I was given this beautiful journal with lovely wishes and comments from all the sweet ladies who came and plenty of room to continue to record our journey.  You can see the lovely necklace on the journal, it is a beautiful globe.  I just absolutely LOVE it!!!   I feel so blessed to be able to attend church with such sweet women who are so thoughtful!

Drum roll please.......Little M´s Room
***First I would like to make a disclaimer:  Her room was completely clean and ready for her before the showers....and it won´t be messy when she comes home! :-)

Looking at this sweet little girls room brings tears to my eyes...this is literally a perfect representation of how many people love this little girl!  I haven´t begun to put everything away in her drawers, toy bins and closet but honestly I can tell you that they will all be full!   I cannot believe how generous and kind everyone has been to us through this amazing journey!  

This journey has been filled with moments of seeing the Grace of God showering us with blessings to be able to financially make it through as well as feeling the love and support of so many people.  I cannot wait to bring her home so she can wear the clothes, shoes, socks, hair bows and play with all the toys that everyone has given to her.  We feel so absolutely blessed and love all of you!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! <3

Monday, July 11, 2016

The time is drawing altering moments

This is a little clip of our last Skype call with Little M....My daughter Kenzi had said,
 妹妹好 Mèimei hǎo.  This is a way of saying, Hello Little Sister, but the literal translation is, ¨little sister good.¨  Little M has such a soft, shy voice we were not expecting her to say 姐姐好 
Jiějiě hǎo so loudly!  Luckily Kenzi had her phone recording and was able to capture this sweet can hear her replaying it in the background over and over again, Kenzi kept saying, my heart is melting <3  all night long after this skype call!

Adoption Update...

I did not share the last post on Facebook as we had just enjoyed the beautiful adoption shower and I didn´t want to distract from the joy of the shower by sharing our bad news.  We have run into a delay which could potentially cause a 2-3 week delay.  Our Article 5 packet that was sent to the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou was missing Little M´s certificate of abandonment and so they could not complete it and so we are now waiting on a new article 5 pick up date!   We are praying our hearts out that it won´t be another 2 week wait.....but the reality is it very well could be.  We will keep you updated.

I will post pictures of the shower from Saturday very soon!

Life Altering Moments....

A couple of comments I have received really made me ponder on the attitudes toward adoption, and even attitudes we may hold toward our bio children as well.  It is common for people to ask me if I know what I am getting into or may say that my life is going to change.  Sometimes it is just a comment in passing, at other times it is said in a way implying that I am purposefully choosing to ´ruin´ my own freedom.  
Is life really about living for myself, carefully making choices to ensure my own comfort and that my life never has a moment of discomfort or inconvenience due to someone else´s need?
It would have been easy for me to ignore the feelings and promptings that God was giving me.  It would have been easy for me to say, ¨My kids are teenagers, I will be an empty-nester soon, why would I want to go back to raising small children again.¨
It would have been easy for me to turn my back on something that would be ´hard.´  But that is NOT what I came to this life to do.
When I think of my Savior, it would have been easy for him not to come to this earth to pay for my sins, to pay for your sins, to pay for the sins of the world.  It would have been easier for Him not to live a life of service, suffering at the hands of evil men being mocked, spit upon, and rejected.  When I profess to be a Christian, when I made covenants at baptism I covenanted to ´take His name upon me.´  This means that I strive to live a life that is a reflection of Him.
I am not perfect, not by any means, but I know that God has a plan for each of us and rarely does that plan involve, comfort and living in avoidance of or ignoring others suffering and struggles.  His plan involves holding the hands that hang down, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and needy, caring for the widow and the orphan.  It isn´t about living in comfort, it is about serving our fellowmen. 
I know my life is going to change, I know that I will have less time for myself, I know that there may be days and nights trying to comfort a grieving little girl, I know that my time will be filled with simple yet demanding tasks of helping a blind little girl learn the layout of her room, find the bathroom, learn the layout of the kitchen, teaching her English, and helping her adjust to her new life.  There will be moments of joy and smiles, there will be moments of shear exhaustion and lack of sleep, there will be moments of raw emotions that will bring a lot of tears.....Life is messy!
Not every person is called to adoption, and that is okay.  Some of us are called to help others in their adoption journey whether that is financially or simply just being a helping hand or listening ear when needed.  We all have a responsibility in this tragic world of child abandonment to give relief and aid where we can.  There are those who God calls to adopt, we may not feel adequate or prepared but I know God qualifies those whom He calls.  Your life will look entirely different than mine and that is okay, we are all on different journeys, on different errands of the Lord at different times.
Life is always messy!  Even if you try as hard as you can to make choices to ensure your own comfort over all will still happen to you!  In an instant, life can change! 

Yes, adopting a child with special needs is a life altering may look from the outside in and say, ¨you chose this¨, but the reality is....God chose this for me, I was just willing to say yes!  This doesn´t make me a saint, this doesn´t make me better or worse than anyone is just my life and what God requires of me.  

When the tears come, and I know they will...when the hard days are upon me or I am tired from lack of sleep or emotionally run down I hope you will have the compassion to offer a helping hand or a kind word rather than a ¨this was your own choice¨ attitude.  I chose to say yes full well knowing it wouldn´t be easy but where would any of us be if every choice made in this world was only made to take the easy way out?
We would all be lost...we would all be orphans...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Life´s Setbacks and Delays......

Reflections on Life´s Setbacks

This picture beautifully illustrates how nearly 6200 miles separate us and yet our hearts are so inextricably linked and how we desire so much to be together.   I wish I could say today´s post was going to be full of exciting news, but unfortunately, today brought with it difficult news, setbacks, and delays.

As I sat and listened to Dave ask me on the phone, ¨How are you feeling emotionally right now?¨  I thought, oh no, here it comes..... My heart was racing wondering what he would say, how bad would the news be?

As I reflect on this experience I realized that this situation relates so much to life.  We are going along, everything seems to be on track and going smoothly and then BAM....something broadsides you.  Sometimes it is a BIG setback and other times it may be minor even though inside it is still painful.  How do we make it through these setbacks and delays in life?

As I have gone through life, I have realized that nothing has ever really been a total surprise to me.  I always knew inside that something wasn´t right and felt as though something was going to happen.  The Lord warns us and prepares us if we are in tune and listening.  I won´t say today´s setback and delay was some major life altering event, however, it is still heart wrenching and difficult.  I knew something was wrong when we were never given an Article 5 pick up date....

Our Article 5 was scheduled to be picked up exactly one week ago and we were told that we were in the Travel approval phase, the last little bit before travel, just waiting for the CCCWA to give us approval to travel.  I knew in my heart something wasn´t right, I knew that our article 5 had not been picked up as much as I so desperately wanted to believe it was. 

Dave received an email today notifying us that the agency had failed to include Little M´s certificate of abandonment in our paperwork when it was first submitted three weeks ago!!   The document has been sent and arrived at the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou yesterday.  It looks as though we are now facing another 2 week delay, which puts our total adoption delays at nearly 2 months!  I will not pretend that it was not hard news to hear.  Last week we Skyped with Little M for the first time, we talked to her and watched her giggle, hum, sing, and play with her toys.  We saw her holding the bear we sent to her for her birthday.  After that call I cannot tell you how much I wanted to be able to leave that minute to go pick her up!

I do not claim to understand God´s timing because often it is heart wrenching to wait upon the Lord and His timing.  I have waited for this child for nearly 10 years, praying, pleading, and waiting so I will not say that this is easy to continue to experience delays and setbacks along the way, it´s not.  I know that God knows better than I do and no matter how hard it may be I have to trust Him.  We have prayed that things would go smoothly through this last leg of the adoption process but for whatever reason God had other plans.

We have watched other families sit and wait for travel approval for weeks and even months because of payment processing issues and we were frightened to the core of this happening to us.  This Travel Approval phase lately has been riddled with payment processing issues, delays and heartaches for dozens of families.  We have been fasting, praying and pleading with God that this process will go smoothly.   It was tough news today but I am holding out hope that things will all work out okay and go smoothly from here.  

We will have a new article 5 pick up date issued tomorrow and I pray our agency will actually contact us and let us know what that is.