Thursday, August 16, 2007

Special Blessings

Okay Kateri, this is for you!
I wouldn't want to cause undue stress
on that cute little heart of yours or anything :)

Our adoption agency, Living Hope, hosted its annual "family reunion" at a local hotel in the Philly suburbs. We had known about it for months, had prayed about whether we could go, and decided to skip it this year. Finances have been very tight since we started our "waiting" process (not that they are ever free-flowing and extravagant other times!) and we just felt that it would be good, probably lots of fun, but not necessarily wise to spend the money this month.

Enter my new friend, I'll call her K's Mom. K's Mom is a mom that I met through LH. They actually paired us together for support through the waiting process. Having "been there, done that" K's Mom has been a very supportive and encouraging new friend. She's got lots of great ideas for educating our family about Chinese adoptions, and has been a good resource of ways to pray, how to handle people's comments and other things we face in this journey. Anyway . . . . When K's Mom found out that our tight budget was the main reason we did not register for the reunion, she went to Samuel and his staff. (Samuel and Lily Fang are the founders of Living Hope Adoption Agency.) On our behalf, K's Mom requested that we be able to come "a la carte" so we could still experience the fun and the connections within our own budget constraints. The LH staff graciously agreed that that would be fine and we joined them for a really well done family picnic around the hotel pool. My little ones even got to tie-dye t-shirts (now I have a fun family craft plan brewing in my head!!) and meet a couple girls their ages.

The Boss and I were near tears all afternoon. Little chubby cheeks, glossy black hair and shining brown/black eyes were everywhere! It was so encouraging to see the "end result" of this journey we are on - in living color! One little girl in particular just captured our hearts. All of about two and a half years old, she sashayed right up to me and said, "Hi. What's youh name?" Through my blurry eyes, I introduced myself and my family. When her mom came to find her, we got to hear her story and that of her older sister. As if that all weren't enough, one of the families had tickets to the evening banquet that they couldn't use and offered them to us through the LH staff!

So we went home, swam with the kids for a little bit and then ordered a pizza and left Shaggy in charge. We headed out to the banquet, for our first night out in a very long time! We sat with two couples that we've known for a little while and got to hear their stories and meet their families. And we got to watch an area dance troupe perform some traditional Chinese dances, complete with the dragon. At the close of the night, there was a special presentation of information about Living Hope's sister organization that provides homes and training for kids who do not get adopted. It's a sort of vo-tech orphanage and is doing great things in the country of China. If you have a heart to see children cared for, equipped with the Gospel and trained with life skills to re-integrate into their own society, you should check this out. They are actively pursuing sponsorships and support, as well as staffing personnel. When I'm feeling particularly stressed about the ones that I cannot take home, I focus my prayers to Living Hope International!

We spent the whole night checking on each other, gaging each other's emotion and ability to cope with this overflow of cuteness and fulfilled dreams! I can't even describe to you what was stirring in our hearts and minds - I'm still feeling overwhelmed. Thank you, Lord for your care for us. And thank you, Living Hope, for being HIS hands to minister such encouragement and community to The Gang! These special blessings will be in our hearts as precious memories during this long journey.



Sounds like you guys had a great time. Miss Talicee and I went to ours in Denver in June and had a blast. These little children just know how to warm your heart. I too, like you, lived through many people's adoptions and children while I waited. Makes the heart grow for the unknown child that God will place you with. God is good all of the time.

Kateri said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience at the reunion. We decided not to go this year because of the emotional toll I was afraid it would take on me. I attend a support group once a month and that is hard enough. We were also very blessed a couple of weeks ago to be able to babysit for one of the cutest Chinese children on Earth. We know Keira and her family from the support group so I jumped on the opportunity to watch her when I heard her mother comment that she was desperate for a babysitter. Not only did she get one willing babysitter...she got 4 and we had a blast with her. It was a joy to watch my husband and the kids interact with her, roll around on the floor laughing with her, and taking her on a surprise trip to Toys R Us for a special toy to remember our time together. Keira did my heart some good that day...I can't wait to see her again. It is nice to have a tangible, lovable, huggable reminder that, God willing,our daughter WILL be in our arms someday!