Catching up

So I think I am over my general feeling of malaise.  Now I am onto Full Speed Ahead.  Haha 

Thank you to everyone who commented and e-mailed to check in on me.  I really REALLY appreciate every word.  It’s so good to know I’m not the only one…

In the meantime, we made a quick trip to Grace’s specialist at the closest Children’s Hospital.  She’s doing really fantastic and somehow those words always put me at ease.  We visit that particular specialist twice per year and it’s easy to forget that there is even a need for the visit until just beforehand and then suddenly I get to wondering how things are beneath the surface.  As usual, those thoughts were for nothing.  And for that I am truly thankful!

We also celebrated a really big milestone birthday as James turned 15 this week.  Everbody says this about their kids, but How On Earth did He Get this BIG?  And how come every year we enjoy him more and more?  We are really thrilled with our young man and we had an absolute hoot the other night on our birthday date with him.  Accoring to a certain arcade game, we are Ace shots at killing giant spiders and leeches, but are not really all that compatible as mates.  Uh ,yeauuuuh?!  Lame plot line, but too funny laughing with our teenager.  :)

I’ve been polling friends for tips on which size diapers or pull ups to bring with us.  Samuel is trained duirng the day, but we expect a regression (you know, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and all that…).  He’s about 20 lb.s and will be 3 (!) next Tuesday.  factoring in his limb difference, but knowing he’s a little guy has made me go a bit crazy.  Input welcome.  :)

The realization also dawned that while we way over pack every time we travel, we also like to bring a lot of donate-able items.  But, on this trip, we will be flying into Beijing and then taking a bunch of domestic flights followed by an international departure via Hong Kong.  That means less than half our usual luggage allowance.  Not sure if our arrival into each city will allow enough time to shop for items to bring to each orphanage.  We’ll have to see…  Any tips (Americans!) on what you do when you fly into Beijing and exit via GZ or HK? 

We received our last monthly update on Samuel (which I will post separately) and it said something that made us curious.  Guess we’ll understand more once we meet him. 

We were able to Skype last Sunday night.  He is a total monkey boy (and we LOVE monkeys in this house).  He loves to climb all over the desk, point the web cam around, show us his belly button, flex his muscles, play peek-a-boo (his favourite), and accost the pig shaped light on the desk. hehe  We notice that his rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is getting clearer and clearer each week.  His new haircut is often styled by his nanny into a very manly swoop across his forehead and he is often dressed to chat with us in a sharp little sweater.  Very adorable handsome.  :)  We have played with him this way for so many months now.  What a tremendous blessing – one we never dreamed of. 

I am ignoring the second half of my Chinese New Year cleaning by writing this post.  We are beginning CNY early this year as our church group is coming over tonight and treating us to some very yummy sounding homemade Chinese food.  Our contribution will be a little more western in that it will need to be picked up from our local restaurant shortly before the party.  :)  Grace has told me that my version is just not quite right and so we jokingly order what we call Fake-Chinese food and don’t even try and pretend its the real thing.  I’m even serving Chocolate dipped fortune cookies from this site.  She has amazing ideas – totally worth the look!

I think I have just about come to the end of my catching up, but before I go finish catching dust bunnies (Hey, it’s the Year of the Rabbit – aren’t I clever?!), I want to make a quick mention about a very special little girl by the name of Sharaya.  Our friends the Berzenji Family is raising funds in order to bring their newest child home.  We travelled with them on our journey to Miss Grace and their daughter Jade Ping is Grace’s orphanage sister. 

Anway, back to Sharaya (don’t you just love her name?  Brings back memories of a certain Amy Grant song – and yes, I am that old.)  Sharaya is a young friend of the Berzenji family.  She has decided to raise money for their adoption fund and the Canadian Cancer Society by cutting off her beautiful, long tresses and not only donating the hair to make a wig to bless a person fighting their cancer, but is also taking pledges in order to give financially to this special family trying to bring home their child from China.  Who says kids don’t have great big hearts?  In addition, both she and Adrian (Baba Berzenji) are taking part in a Congee fast right now!  You can read all about it and all of these fantastic people on their blogs: Sharaya & Adrian’s.  And please, do more than read.  Won’t you encourage them with a donation? 

Off to herd up those bunnies….

And don’t forget to weigh in on the great diaper debate & luggage fiasco of 2011.  I could really use the advice.  😉


Samuel Update #4 (November)


We have so so loved interacting with Samuel every Sunday evening.  Sure it makes our hearts ache afterwards, but it is so so worth every moment.  It is possible to fall in love over a long distance relationship.


From New Day Foster Home this morning… 

Samuel is 2 Years 9 Months Old.

Samuel’s nanny wrote this update:

Samuel is getting very good at being the older brother to all of his younger siblings. Not only does he not insist on being held, but he also helps to take care of them! When he sees a little one crying, he immediately goes to them and helps wipe their tears. No comforting by Samuel is without a kiss and he gives them with the sweetest affection. We were so excited when we received photos of Samuel’s parents who are going to adopt him soon. Sometimes I ask him, “Samuel, what do you have in your family?” He usually considers for a moment and then says, “Dad and Mom.” I often find him looking at the photo album of his family and, if another child tries to touch it, he clutches it tightly to himself and says, “It’s mine, it’s mine!” We are so excited for him.


Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends

I hope you are enjoying a day filled with family, friends and gratitude.  :)

And from the New Day blog…

While we were sleeping, a little monkey was learning how to mash potatoes.

“…for Samuel, who’s tender heart always finds a way to make people feel loved.”

How very sweet!

Take a look at their blog for lots of photos and over to their Scrapbook page for full coverage of their Thanksgiving festivities.


Giveaway to benefit Grace’s orphanage

An “e-friend”, as we call them in our home, is having a really (I mean REALLY) fantastic giveaway that ends today. 

All of the proceeds (100%) will go directly towards this family’s orphanage donation.

The really exciting part for us, is that this family is adopting one of Grace’s orphanage-mates, Kaleb.

Follow this link over to He Leads Us – Faith Walkin’ to Kaleb.

Anita is giving away an I-pod Touch, a bunch of Visa gift cards and lots more.

Won’t you take a look?


hello son

It’s taken me days to wrap my mind around what to write.

We waited and waited for this day and I really think that for me, I stuffed down a lot of what I have been feeling about Samuel until Sunday evening. 

I mean, at first in the summer, I couldn’t even believe that I was to be his new Mama.

Then there was the matter of the Canadian approvals.

Then I wondered, would we manage to get our dossier to the CCAA in time?

And then here we were, getting ready to meet our son face to face.

So Sunday night we were so excited.

We realized with the time change we had last Saturday night that our time with him would be an hour earlier.

We prepped the video camera.

We sat down with the kids gathered around us.

And we waited for that first message that asked us to hit the call button.

And then all of a sudden there he was! 

“Hey-yo”, in a sing song voice.

And it was all over.

I can’t speak for Stephen, but I had the biggest case of stage fright.

Like a young girl over her first crush.

This is no longer some abstract idea to me that I can control and keep in an emotional box.

He is no longer just sweet Samuel.

He is my son.

And I ache to have him here with the rest of our herd.

I need to get there.

Someone is missing and suddenly I know it as well as I know anything.





Samuel’s Warriors

Today is Orphan Sunday.

Many churches around North America choose this day to bring awareness to the enormous global Orphan Crisis. 

There are numerous ways that one can help those who wait for families (at least 98 million, although the numbers have been tabulated into the 200 million range by some).

So many options:

  • befriend a foster child, family or foster parent group in your community
  • give financially or in kind
  • sponsor children abroad
  •  help a family bring home their child
  • adopt a child and give them a place to call their forever home

So many ways.

One other way that is not often mentioned directly is all of the behind the scenes work of a secret army of tireless men and women. 

They do not hold earthly weapons.

They do not always congregate in companies and legions.

But they do daily storm the gates of Heaven for those that wait,

the Orphan.

To many of us, the Orphan is a faceless, nameless blur.

A Concept.

An Abstract Idea.

And then sometimes, Someone, a Face, will cross their paths and suddenly that Warrior Heart rises up and we can do nothing but rally and plead for that One. 

That Orphan.

That Child.

These warriors sometimes are seen.

And sometimes they are not.

Sometimes they share their passion with others and let them know that the need is great.

And sometimes they quietly interceed for that Child.

Until Heaven moves.

And that child waits no more.

My son was that One.

He was abandoned.


At the gates of a rural civil affairs office.

And then he was Found.

Taken into the care of a Foster Grandmother.

After 18 months, the Director found a new place for him.

A New Day had come.

His photo was posted online.

And many of those same Warriors began to rise up.

Across an ocean Hearts of a Family began to be stirred.

And another Battle was won.

Our Son would wait no more.

So today, on Orphan Sunday, I ask that you consider the ideas to help that I posted above. 

But perhaps more so, I ask you to rise up alongside these quiet Warriors.

Join them and fight.




But do not forget.

Until the One who waits,

becomes None.


Once our eyes are opened, we can not pretend we do not know what to do.

God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.

Proverbs 24:12


May I, with {MUCH} gratitude, share with you just a few folks off of the long list of Samuel’s Warriors?

These are just a few of the ones that have public blogs.

They have invested finances, time, prayer and much heart in advocating for our little man.

Will you say a pray of thanksgiving for each of them and the many who have contacted us?




April & David



Photos courtesy of a very kind former volunteer from ND.  :)

(Samuel was trying his best to sport the ever present “V” sign with his little fingers.)





Grace’s Friend is Coming Home!

I can’t even describe how excited I am for our new friends Barb & Mike

They just received their Travel Approval and are hoping to leave in about 3 weeks to bring their daughter, Nora, home.  

That special little girl is also very special to my little girl. 

{You might remember my posts here & here, which led to our amazement when this happened.}

They’ve shared many years in their orphanage together.

(Grace is on the far right and Nora is just to her left, holding the red lollipop.  The girls were about 3.5 years old.)

Nora has watched Grace leave.

And now it’s Nora’s turn.


Hop on over to their blog and congratulate them, won’t you?

Let’s throw them a party to remember – something special to tell Nora about once she’s home!

(And just in case you are looking, I know of at least 2 more little girls from the same orphanage who are looking for their forever family… just thought I’d mention that!)

“Young Love” courtesy of ND

Samuel & Lucy

It just doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

(Just think of the poor boy’s wedding slide show!)

Hope you all have a wonderfully blessed day!



Protected: Nora (A post for a friend – private password)

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Samuel Update #1 (July)

We are amazingly blessed to know that our son is in such an amazing place.  He is prayed for, kept careful watch over and even loved on.  We are even more appreciative of the fact that New Day has allowed us the opportunity to receive updates monthly along with his special sponsor families.  It does this Mommy’s heart so good. 

We received this first update awhile ago:

Samuel is 2 Years 5 Months Old.

Samuel’s nanny wrote this update:

Samuel’s best friend is Jennifer. Because Jennifer is funny, Samuel is always smiling! These two good friends (and roommates!) are always talking to each other in their own little language which only they can understand. Samuel doesn’t like it when other children are close to me, and if one is sitting on my lap, he crawls over and plops himself down on my leg. He has such an adorable smile! As summer has come, Samuel has started wearing shorts. When he see’s the little ‘foot’ on his left leg, he smiles at me and says, “Look at it, mom, foot!” I’m so happy to see how happy Samuel is, and am incredibly blessed to be apart of his life.

(Samuel is on the right.)