7
Jun

A moment I don’t ever want to forget

 

{Psalm 31:22}

I had said in my alarm,

“I am cut off from Your sight.”

But You heard the voice of my pleas for mercy,

when I cried to You for help.

23
May

Facing Reality with a Capital “R”

That’s me.

Facing Reality.

We received a surprise recently which has us off to Portland, Oregon tomorrow.

When we returned from our visit to Children’s Hospital last month, we were so thrilled with what God had done in putting all the pieces together for Samuel.  I mean, we were over the moon, couldn’t stop talking about it, absolutely in awe.  I mean, we still are.  And then, to top it off, I received a letter in the mail. 

Months and months ago (like, in the early days of our paper chase for Samuel’s adoption), a fellow Mom of a New Day alumni contacted me.  Her daughter had undergone surgery and been fitted with a prosthetic through Shriner’s hospital and she had great news for us.  Low and behold, she had arranged for her daughter’s Shriner’s prosthetist (Brock) to see Samuel in Beijing when Brock was there on a medical service trip.  New Day had arranged for Samuel to be brought to Brock and as a result of this fellow New Day Mom connecting us, I was able to speak with Brock over the phone and even receive the X-rays that he had taken of Samuel when he examined him in China.  What a treat! 

Well, that got us thinking.  We decided to pursue an application for Samuel to be treated by Shriner’s once home.  Forms were filled out.  I developed a phone relationship with the provincial rep.  And then we waited.  I heard rumors that cut backs had made it harder to receive acceptance into treatment for Canadians and I was hopeful, but I kind of let it go. 

So, here we were less than a week home from our mountaintop high and I received the letter we had been hoping for.  Samuel was accepted into treatment.  I keep equating it to winning a lottery, but essentially it will allow for his treatment and prosthetics to be covered for his entire childhood.  In addition, we can even ride their “Care Cruiser” bus to appointments (many hours each way) and receive accommodations and food vouchers for our time away.  I literally bawled when I heard.  Like many families in the adoption world, our kids (& in our case, both adopted and bio) have needed a wide variety of therapies and tutors and extras to help them grow and learn and heal and blossom.  And each of those come with a price tag.  For once it felt so good to be told again and again in response to my tentative questioning, “No, don’t worry about anything, it’s covered.”

So off we go.  And I should be singing and dancing with glee.

Instead I have a lump in my throat and Reality has hit the past few days.  I would be lying if I said otherwise. 

We need to once again have the conversation.  And the “A” word will be used. 

Amputation.

And yes, to all of you thinking it, I did know it was coming.

I did do my research before we committed to bringing him home to be our forever son.

And we do want the best for him.  We want to give him every chance at a full, healthy, active life. 

Yes, we do.

But it still stings.

We see him as perfect and active and healthy and as living a pretty full life right now.

And every time someone else asks us what the next step is we tell them.

We talk surgeries and aids and prosthetics.

We smile and nod and talk about his bright future.

But underneath there is a part of me that wants to run to him and pick him up and race away as fast as I can. 

Can’t you hear him giggle and can’t you hear him tease?  Don’t you see him climb and and dance and chase his sisters until they run giggling too? 

But I guess that is the difference of perspective.  And of parenting.

Parents have to love a child as they are and yet do the thing that is hardest for their child in order to help them sprout wings and not just crawl, but fly.

I have to fight down that urge to pick up my kids and run away at different times with each of them.  And this week it’s Samuel. 

So I pack the suitcases.  Call my sister-in-law to borrow the play pen.  Make sure the many bits and pieces we need to load into the van are ready.  And I pray.

Will you pray for us too? 

(Photos taken Mother’s Day 2011.)

6
Feb

Prayer Guide for the Big Family China Adventure 2011

For any and all of you who are willing to pray for us during our trip, I’ve posted a guide under the “Adoption” tab at the top of this page.  Click on it to join us!

7
Jan

Signed, Sealed, Delivered… (We’re) Yours!

Yes, it’s true! 

Our LOA is off to the provincial office and then to China as we speak!

We not only received our LOA in our agency’s office yesterday, but even with me laying in bed with the stomach flu, Stephen managed to rush down and pick it up, bring it home for our signing (NOT the beautiful photo-op for the grandparents’ Christmas calendars – ha) and rush it all back down to the agency.  And this was in the hour just before a rushed notary appointment to have Stephen’s Citizenship information verified (again!) for our application for Samuel’s citizenship. 

Ahhhh, all a part of his story now. 

Day 67 and suddenly it doesn’t matter a bit.  :)

God has been so faithful through all this. 

Even with my roller coaster of doubts (how can we be the right familiy for this little one?) and down right panicked state at times (there’s just no way this will ever happen!), He has been faithful to what He promised us He would do.  And I am so thankful that His plan is better than our own.

As my Mom reminded me the other day, in the natural this all seems impossible but we are not dealing with only the natural here. 

And that is something to shout with joy over!

Now on to our wait for TA and then…

Samuel, Here We Come! 

 

2
Jan

Sky*pe (Update) (Update on the update:))

Update #2:  For those of you who have been e-mailing me and waiting for news, here goes…  

I just heard from a couple of people we know in Ch*na and a couple of them have been told by their employers that Sky*pe and another service I was unaware of are being frowned at now.  They aren’t banned from it per se, but being discouraged from its use.  And that is why most of our usual contacts there were offline.  Guess we’ll be using QQ again, which is too bad as I find Sky*pe easier to use.  (I know… wah!)

 As for Samuel, I heard from the staff member that facilitates the calls and she let me know that it was a miscommunication.  She was given the day off and was unable to figure out how to contact us in time to let us know that she wouldn’t be able to be around for the call.  She did let me know that Samuel has been cauding them to crack up a lot lately as he is happily showing off his “big muscles” lately.  :)  Sounds like calls will resume as usual next Sunday night for us.  :)  WOOOOHOOOO! 

Update: Last night the director of his foster home e-mailed me and let me know that she hadn’t heard about a problem with Sky*pe and that she would look into it.  She’s not currently there.  Also, we were able to Sky*pe with one of Grace’s friends in the city where Grace is from.  This morning an e-friend let me know that her daughter had been able to Sky*pe with friends in her hometown as well.  All that to say, maybe certain folks are being cautious and maybe this had NOTHING to do with the internet at all.  Hoping to hear more today…  I also put in a very nice voice mail to our agencies this morning.  Now off to my “real” life and the Dr.  It would appear I have pink eye.  What a strange day!  {shaking my head and holding on to hope}

We have been beyond spoiled by Sky*pe.  That fabulous free tool has allowed our daughter to keep contact with her friends in her birth country and allowed us to grow a relationship with our son. 

And now, by all appearances, that season has ended. 

A few days ago, reports that Sky*pe and other non-State controlled video calling in Ch*na were ruled as illegal, send a chill up my spine. 

Tonight we waited and waited for our scheduled weekly visit with our son.

All we heard was silence.

No whimsical flower icon.

No smiling Samuel avatar.

No, “Heh-yoh”, in a sweet breathy little voice, microphone clutched in two chubby little hands.

The bucket of toys we had planned to play with him sits here beside me unplayed with.

The story book is unread.

I fully realize that we were spoiled by Sky*pe.

But we’re still crying.

What is Samuel going to think?

Oh please God, send our LOA soon.

20
Dec

Memories of Great Grandma on Day 50

Days since our paperwork was given a date stamp at the C*C*A*A* in China.  Chugging right along to our LSC….

We had the chance to watch Samuel see “Santa Claus” for the first time yesterday.  I don’t think “Santa” knew Samuel was Skyping in the office when he came to retrieve the presents for the preschool party.  They had to grab him real quick so he didn’t spin right off the office chair in his eagerness to turn around and see him!  LOL

Needless to say we had a fairly short visit with him this Sunday, but it was so amazing to hear that he was going off to be a Shepherd in the Nativity story that they were putting on.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. is all I have to say.

Stephen’s grandma went to be with Jesus this weekend and so we will be participating in the funeral.  When asked about our favourite memories of Grandma, Stephen remembered hanging around her house watching game shows with her (he didn’t have a t.v. at his house) and also how he could often score a cookie if he “helped out” in the kitchen while she worked on her baking.  :)   My favourite memory was getting a phone call after we were engaged (at the Bible College – not easy for her to track me down) and asking me to come over for lunch.  She taught me to bake buns and she and Grandpa visited with me over lunch.  What a wonderful welcome into the family!  We all remember her telling the egg story (Stephen as a little boy on the farm) at our wedding and playing many games of Mexican Train.  Our oldest two kids remember her pouring milk and grape juice out of her glass pitchers and being allowed to sit up at the dining room table and use her pretty China dishes.  As Faith put it, “I’m SOOO glad that Great Grandma is with Jesus!”

It’s good to be with family this Christmas and to know our little man is being taught the most important story of all time.  My heart is very full.

Out of the many, MANY photos taken, this at least shows most everyone’s face on Stephen’s side of the family (When you have this many, sometimes that is all you can hope for! ha).  With the exception, of course, of grandchild #12.  :)

7
Nov

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.

Placed.

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.

Plead.

Pray.

Trust.

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?

Heather

Kim

Molly

April & David

Valerie

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.)

 

 

 

5
Nov

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.

PRAISE GOD! 

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!)
26
Oct

Catching up on an Amazing Day

Here’s my effort to catch up on a very full day as quickly as possible…

  • Woke up and saw a pile of photos in my inbox.  Samuel received our package.  He’s such a little guy.  To think it is only the beginning of his long life with us absolutely overwhelms me.  I’m so thankful.
  • Our facilitator called China to see if our LID was issued, and they have not received our dossier as of yet.  In response, they asked for and received our extension (1 month).  Sweet relief.
  • Met with our friend who hosted the Healing Prayer training.  Told her about Garnet’s healing.  Much rejoicing.  My faith was strengthened.
  • Stephen & I met with our kids’ pediatrician.  We’
  • We discussed a variety of concerns we have had with Garnet.  We’ve been waiting for this appointment for many, many months.  We are trying to get help for our busy, optimistic, tender hearted little man.  He heard us out, spoke back to us his own sense, and offered a life line.  We feel so affirmed. 
  • Faith’s birthday is next week.  Stephen & I managed to get out and do a bit of shopping.  We even threw in dinner (Burgers) & a movie (Red).  I remember love & laughter.

(The candy is not  for Samuel!  Just in case you Mamas are concerned.  Haha)

23
Oct

Modern Day Miracle

Follow my trail of thoughts….

10 days ago we received our son Garnet’s allergy test results. 

 

He was diagnosed with cat allergies.

Prescription: “Remove Cats”.

It was o.n.e. m.o.r.e. t.h.i.n.g.

 

I was in tears.

God spoke through someone close to me.

“Ask me for healing.”

 

I called a friend, who is known for her involvement in a local healing ministry.

I told her, “I want to believe.  I know he heals.  But for me?  For my children?  There was a time when he did not heal me.”

She replied, “Come to my home tomorrow.  I am training my new volunteers.  You can observe.”

 

And miraculously our usually hectic weekend schedule…

was wide open!

“Okay”, I told her.

Perhaps even more miraculous?

Stephen wanted to come too.

We needed God’s renewal.

A fresh wave of His Spirit in our home.

We observed.

We chatted.

We dined.

And then it was time to go.

“Let us pray for you before you leave”, said our friends.

They prayed.

The Holy Spirit was very much felt by us. 

Burdens were lifted.

Hearts encouraged.

We went home.

We peeked at our son’s skin.,

usually covered with eczema.

It was the same,

but we held onto hope. 

We had asked Him for healing.

The next morning.

I looked again.

His skin,

IT WAS CLEAR!

I ran my hands over his arms,

his legs.

NOTHING.

Absolutely no Eczema.

I watched him this week.

No cortizone creams.

No allergy medicine.

He hugged our cats.

In shorts.

With a bare tummy.

The eczema that he had had since the day we met him in China

was gone.

It’s stayed gone.

It’s never before stayed away for this long.

 The tip of the iceberg?

I wonder.

{Photos taken in early October 2010.}

{My Dad took Stephen & Garnet fishing.}

{Garnet caught his first (4!) fish that day.}

{Stephen even tried using Garnet’s rod and yet with much laughter on the men’s part, Garnet continued to catch fish!}

{Garnet also  staunchly refused to touch any of his big catch.}

{When he finally braved up to it, well, take a look at his face in the last photo.}

{“Ewwww – they’re slimy!”}