Monday, June 30, 2008

The Things We Know

Thank you, friends, for the generous prayers and support. I've taken some of your comments and words of encouragement and posted them throughout my house, to remind me and my family that we are loved and that His Word is true and right. We still have no answers, but are coming to a place where we can accept that. He is really the only answer we need, and everything we KNOW about Him and His ways keeps washing over our hearts and minds. Here's just a sampling of the things that we KNOW. The things that we are trusting Him to work out, and to work in us, to His glory. The things we KNOW we can stand on.

"And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:4-6

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah

Psalm 46: 1-3

Sunday, June 29, 2008

He Is Holy

This morning was the first chance all weekend that I allowed the emotions of Friday's terrible news to manifest. The Boss was away with the two older boys when I got the sad news on Friday morning and I was literally knee deep in a crowd of yard-salers in my front yard. I just took it all in as best I could and tried to find a way to deal with the issues at hand. The flurry of bargains and negotiations. The feeding and care of my two little ones. Sharing the news with my in-laws. Saying good-bye to my in-laws. Cleaning up Part One of the yard sale. Trying to find the words to explain it all to my kids and my immediate family. Hosting my niece's pizza/swim party for her birthday. All the while, what I really wanted was to climb into my bed and drag the covers over my head for a good cry. I wanted to rant and scream at the heavens and catch the next plane to Hunan province, as if I could take matters into my own hands. I wanted to crumple into myself and wallow.

The Lord knows what I wanted. But He also knows what I needed. And I needed to not do any of those things. I needed to stick to my plan. To walk in the path laid before me for the day. And do it all again on Saturday. I needed to think and pray. I needed to not sin in my anger and frustration. But this morning, in the fellowship of my church family who has been loving and supportive of every step of this journey, I let my heart open before the Lord. The theme of worship was purity and the holiness of God. It was tied into today's sermon, part of a series that my brother-in-law is preaching that addresses some of the big questions of the faith that we must all walk out in our daily lives. The combination of the songs, the flow of the service, and the choice I made to open my heart to the hurt all came together at once and I could barely hold myself together. I kept just choosing to worship. Choosing to let the tears come (I ABHOR crying in front of most people.). Choosing to let the hurt all bubble up and reveal itself to my Father. He knew it was there and He met me there in the middle of the ugliness of it all. He took it and held it and I felt Him cry with me. I felt Him in a way I've not felt in many years. In fact, I think the last time I felt Him "feeling my sorrow with me" in this particular way was when my Grandpa Sam went to be with Him in heaven.

I didn't come out of this time in His presence with any answers. I don't even think I came out with any greater degree of hope or restored joy. I did come out with a new definition of His comfort. With a cleansing that's been needed for a couple days. With a renewed gratefulness for what I KNOW. With a confidence that what I KNOW has not changed. Last night, I dropped a note to my folks, thanking them for their prayers, and for the years of making us memorize Scripture as kids. For teaching us, by their words and their examples, to run to the Word and to base our lives on His Truths. Because in these past two days, and in my tears this morning, the Word of the Lord has been running through my mind. All those things that I KNOW about my God, those things that I KNOW about His nature and His plans have been working their way from their place in my memory and down into my heart. They've been washing the hurt, binding up the wounds, holding together the frayed edges. His promises for me and for my family have not changed. He is still good. He is still loving. His mercies are new for the journey of each day. He is Holy.

I don't have any answers, save that He is in control and He is Holy. I rest in that for today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hard News to Digest

We were informed this morning that due to a series of events that we cannot control nor fully understand, little Xiao Yun will not be our daughter after all. Please pray for us and with us. We are having a very hard time processing and accepting this, but are trying to trust the Lord for His plans and His will.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sign a Cast for CURE!

I got this great email forwarded to me from my brother today. It's a campaign to spread awareness about CURE and to provide healing ministry to hurting children all around the world. We've been aware of CURE and the awesome work that they do for many years now and I'm more than happy to share the mission with you all. Head over to their site (link below) and read about all that they do for kids around the world.

And thanks, brother mine, for sharing the information! Your tender heart for the children of the world is such a blessing to me.

Help spread the word about CURE through our "Healing Changes Everything" video campaign!

Take a moment to watch their short CURE video (at the link above) and then to "sign" a virtual cast for a child. For each cast signed, a generous donor has agreed to donate $5 to provide a cast for a child.

After a cast has been signed, you also have the opportunity to enter email addresses and forward the video to your friends. For emailing to large groups, it would be easiest to simply email the link above. For those of you who are bloggers or use social networking sites, there is also the option to post this video on your sites and forward to friends that way.

The idea is that this is a fun and engaging way to quickly tell many people about CURE. Please take a few moments and join in on this campaign!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Cannon Balls!

Baby BlueEyes actually broke two toes! There are several little fractures in the upper third of his big toe (crush type fractures) and a long one or two in the next segment of his toe. The second toe has a few long thin fractures in the top half of the toe. But they did NOT cast it (whooo hoooooo!) and he really only needs to buddy tape it if he feels the need for extra protection or stability. He's only got limits on his activity for today. He can even swim if he wants. Just no diving or cannon balls off the board. Yes, he actually asked the doctor this question. In all seriousness. He obviously was delirious from pain if he thought even for a second that I'd be letting him on a diving board any time soon. WhatEVER!

After today, he can proceed as he feels able. The bad news is that he has to miss his first Rangers' PowWow as it's just too risky to camp for th
ree days with 400 other boys and men. Ya think?! (Insert snarky tone here.) I must admit, I'm really glad the doc put the kibosh on that activity, instead of leaving it up to me! So we're crashing with videos and snacks this afternoon and I might just sneak in a nap. After I make a run for acetaminophen and ibuprofen, that is. . .

I told my sister-in-law on Saturday, "This parenting of boys is NOT for the faint of heart." I wasn't kidding.

Parties, Painting and Piggies

Well, the fun just never stops around here! Do any of you remember the old Randy Stonehill song, "Stop the World, I Wanna Get Off?" I think that just might be my new personal anthem!

Saturday, we were blessed to host a big family party to celebrate The Boss's big 4-OH and Dr. D's "graduation" from all things elementary. We, of course, being the party crowd that we are, added little Xiao Yun in absentia, to the party purpose. (Yes, I party with purpose!) There was swimming, laughing, crying, tons of food, and great family time. We had asked all the attendees to write a little something that would encourage or call out the godly characters in Dr. D that they've observed, and be prepared to share them with the family. It was a beautiful time of just showering him with affirmation, encouragement and challenges to gird him up for his adolescent years. My brother joked that it was like a Christian Bar Mitzvah, which tickled me cuz that's where we got the idea. We first did it several years ago for Shaggy and I love all the meaningful words that were spoken over my son. It did this Momma's heart good to hear how the others view him as he grows in the Lord.

The Boss didn't know I'd do this, but I also asked everyone (on the spot!) to do something similar for him to honor this milestone birthday. I started off by observing that we've now been together longer than we were apart before meeting in college. I said more, but it was sappy and you guys know I love The Boss. You don't need to read my gushing here :) There were some wonderful, honoring things said over my hubby's life and it was a delight to hear how our families see him and know his heart.

Sunday was a more toned-down celebration of the 'actual day' of The Boss's arrival to our world. The kids silly-stringed him (and each other!) and got him a couple gag gifts, thanks to the creative ingenuity of my sister-in-law Lessons and Life. I think the kids had more fun with the silly string and shock of it all than he did - it was over before he could really process what they'd all just done to him!

Monday was a crazy, insane, out of this world day. I was going to blog about the irritations of paint shopping at our local S*^#s Hardware store, and the frustration of being in and out and in and out all day. I was going to go on and on about the lovely shade of spa-like aqua green that LadyBug chose for her big-girl room redo (to make room for guests when the guest room gets converted to Aidan's room). I was going to share the fun in picking a sweet, little girl-y green for Aidan's room and the joy of getting both rooms painted and trimmed out in one week. I was gonna share all that in glorious colorful detail.

But that all pales in comparison to the finale to the day!

Around 3:45 or 4, when I thought I was finally home to stay and could jump into the PILES of laundry that are taking over my family room, I heard this THUNK and a blood-curdling scream from the basement. The Boss and Dr. D started yelling for me and Baby BlueEyes was scrambling up the stares screaming his little head off. I yelled back for The Boss to tell me what had happened since BBE was screaming and crying too hard to talk. Turns out, Dr. D was changing the weights on his new bench and the 15 lb. disk slipped out of his hands and hit the concrete floor. It bounced and landed on BBE's left big piggie. It immediately turned purple and gray and blue and nasty. (Is that a color?! It is now!) We iced it down and called the doc. They saw him almost immediately and sent us for x-rays. (Don't even tell me how sick I am that I thought to get a pic of this - I know. This blogging is a disease and pictures of all the craziness are just a sad, sad symptom!)

The outpatient radiology department took us right away and poor BBE had to move his foot and have his toes taped out of the way and THEY KEPT TOUCHING HIS TOE. DON'T THEY KNOW THE POOR BOY IS IN PAIN?! Then, they made ME hold his leg down and keep tension on the tape to get a clear pic. ME! I could hardly stand it, making him cry cuz they TOLD ME TO! Anyway, I'm not bitter, anymore.

They sent us home and called later to say that it is indeed broken. A non-displaced fracture and the orthopedist will see us at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Which means I'd better get this posted, get my hair done and get my face on. A full night of regularly interrupted sleep from a crying and moaning BBE will require extra face. And a really big mug of coffee.

See what I mean? The fun just never stops . . .

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Cuteness for Your Viewing Pleasure

*These pictures have been removed, as the child mentioned previously is no longer available to us for adoption.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Final Word

Updated 6/27/08 - this post is no longer relevant. We were informed on 6/27/08 that the child mentioned here (XY) is no longer available for our adoption. Please pray with us. And for us as we seek God for His will and as the CCAA seeks out another child for us.

Well, it seems as if God isn't finished with this story yet. As I posted earlier this week, we spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday praying and coming to an acceptance of this twist in the journey. Thursday morning, I got another call. It was our Miss Ashley (the SN Coordinator with our adoption agency). I assumed she was returning my email from late on Wednesday. I assumed that she was prepared to help me explain the technicalities of this new system so that we might better understand how to avoid this mess with future referrals. I assumed that she had answers to some of the questions that we'd sent for our director to consider when speaking with the CCAA.

I assumed wrong.

Unbeknownst to us (Don't ya just love that word? It sounds so Oxford-ish! Chris, are you reading this?!) . . . Anyway. Unbeknownst to us, the director of Living Hope has been in contact with various levels and departments at the CCAA. In a conversation with the HEAD of the Special Needs program at the CCAA, Samuel was told that little XY will be ours! Yes, you read that correctly. (I'm referring to her as XY which are her Chinese initials, not because I'm spouting some great algebraic equation. Just so ya know!) Little XY will soon become Aidan Hope after all!

Here's the interpretation of my scribbled notes from my conversation with Miss Ashley. (Have I mentioned that I just love Miss Ashley?!)

"Sam. spoke with head SN @ CCAA"
"working on paperwork to get her matched w/us"
"not 100% yet (hmmmm, we've heard that one before?!)"
"still very positive, CCAA is now saying she is ours"

Those scribbles are going in the baby book. Joining the other four baby books lined up on my bookshelf.

I still don't totally understand what went on between Monday afternoon THERE when the CCAA told Samuel her file was still available in the system and Monday morning HERE that her file was no longer available for viewing. I don't understand how another family could have locked the file, reviewed at passed on it. I mean, come on! She's as cute as the proverbial button and all her records seem to indicate that there's been no issues remaining with the need that presented for surgery. "Hey, what's wrong with my little girl that someone would say "No" to her file? What were they thinking?!"

Oh, wait! That's what's wrong. She's MY little girl.
And God just wasn't finished with the story yet.

So this morning, I shot an email off to the agency. No more updates yet. They were waiting for Samuel to call in. I reminded her of my cell number and LadyBug and I headed off to Costco.

At 11:25 a.m., in the baking ingredients section of our local Costco, while facing the humongo bags of chocolate chips, I got the call! According to Ashley, the director of the Special Needs Department of the CCAA has given VERBAL CONFIRMATION (
to be followed Monday morning by a written letter of confirmation) that little XY is indeed OUR GIRL! It's happening. The drama is over. The mess is untangled. See, God just wasn't finished with the story yet.

And Aidan Hope's new story is just beginning . . . .

Check This Out!

Simple Mom is running a contest to give away a great budgeting tool that she recommends. I've been following this blog for some time now and find many of her ideas very easy to implement.

And for you gals that attend our church, this week's sermon in our "Where in the Word" series is all about God's Word on money and our finances. What a great tie-in!

Head over there now and enter the contest for yourself . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No New Word

Taken from the email I sent to our family:

There's no new word - the soonest we'd have heard (IF we hear anything at this point) was this afternoon. But at this point it looks like the computer glitch was maybe God's way of saying this is not Aidan. We don't really know what else to think. Monday afternoon was hard, very sad and frustrating to be so happy in the a.m. and then so sad so quickly on the heels of that. We're doing okay generally. At this point, we are concerned that this little girl find a family that will love her as much as we we were beginning to.

I've turned my prayers to interceding that she be placed in a home where she'll learn about Jesus, and learn how to love and be loved in a family. That she'll early in her little life feel a burning need to find Him. If I'm not the Mommy that will lead her on that path, you can bet I'm praying for the right one to do that. It's helped us all to turn our prayers to covering her while she is "in limbo" in the system.

We've not posted sooner cuz we've been processing it and praying - with no real word from the agency we didn't really know what else there was to say. Psalms 16 and 18 and 31 have been on all of our hearts. For ourselves and for this child.

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We appreciate the support and love more than you can know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Great Distraction

The kids and I spent this morning at a local park with the MOMS Group from our church. I didn't even remember it, but I had invited LadyBug's best little friend from school, with her mom and sister to join the fun several weeks ago. With all we've had going on this week, it was a pleasant surprise for both of us to see them there. We also invited our neighbor to join us with her sweet little girls.

I arrived late, as I was on the phone for an hour and a half before the event trying to re-boot, re-start, power cycle and cast out demons from my dsl router. Thankfully the tech had a great sense of humor and four grown children of his own so he was sympathetic to my whispered commands and my "Can you hold on just a minute's?" that kept interrupting his directions to re-set this and unplug that and turn this thing-a-ma-bob inside out and do a rain dance on its case.

After play time we trekked home to Shaggy (he remained behind to do his weekly jobs - how weird is THAT?!). We ate a huge carb-loading lunch for the task ahead: purging and sorting the kids' rooms for our upcoming yard sale. Baby BlueEyes and I had tackled his room weeks ago, and LadyBug started hers yesterday morning. Today, we really made a huge amount of progress! There's a reputable pile of boxes and bags in the garage, neatly stacked on a tarp. Two of the three bedrooms are tidy and organized.

As I'm typing this, Dr. D is chipping away at his huge pile of "things-he-must-have" that have been stuffed into every possible nook and cranny of his room. The stuff that he can never-ever-ever-dispose-of! You know, like the class roster from first grade. Full of names he will never utter again. And the card with a tuft of fox hair taped on it that we found at Grandpa's house back in 1998. The "important" stuff.

I also took the time to post our yard sale details on craigslist (which by the way, I love love love!). If any of you have another idea of how and where to post yard sale information for free I'd love to hear it. And if you're in the area, we'll be busy selling our wares on the front lawn in two weeks. Rain or shine! All proceeds will be stuffed in our Adoption Jar.

All in all, a satisfying and productive day. And a welcome distraction from the pain and sadness we are still processing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Roller Coaster of a Day

8:20 a.m. - Living Hope was almost 100% certain that this file was still open and still available. We were told to expect final confirmation of that by Tuesday a.m. All of this was based on a 4 p.m. conversation with the CCAA (China Time). Hopes were very high, and Miss Ashley promised to get our information loaded and our Letter of Intent back into the system as soon as the computer system at the agency was back up and running. (They were down from the storms over the weekend.)

10:40 a.m. - The file is gone from the Waiting Child list. It seems as if this referral is not ours. Best case scenario for us is that the file re-appears on the list after someone else exhausts their lock (the 48 hours given to review the files). Most likely scenario is that someone else has "locked" her file and proceeded with their own intent to adopt her. There are a lot more details and technicalities surrounding this. But they don't feel very important right now.

We are not likely to hear anything (if anything is to be said) before Wednesday. We are the first family that this has happened to with our agency, in the new Waiting Child program. So this is new territory for everyone involved. And we are all stunned. Sad. And trying to process.

Please pray for us.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Burned Out

No, this is not another post about the looooong wait till the open of business on Monday morning to hear about the adoption. This refers to the toasty warmth we are all experiencing after a day under the sun and intermittent clouds on 2 soccer fields.

Dr. D was asked several weeks ago to play on a special rec sports travel team. They were down several players for a special tournament, due to vacations and other league play. Now, Dr. D has never played in a seriously competitive league. His current league is a once a week, kind of a learning league and fits our family's lifestyle perfectly. Practice is for the first 45 minutes or so of the evening and the game takes up the remaining hour. It has become apparent to both The Boss and I that Dr. D has some serious skills, waiting to be developed and nurtured on the soccer field. And the game seems to suit him well - the etiquette and the "feel" of the game really energizes him. When he was asked to sub for some of the other, more competitive players on this team he was thrilled! And the idea of Fathers' Day away together enjoying a new experience was exciting for all of us too.

They played three tough teams, who've been playing together for a long season. These other teams were like well-oiled little machines, darting and passing and finishing each other's thoughts with each play they executed. Dr. D's team put up some very valiant fights, holding all three opponents to lower scores than any of us expected. And of the two scores that our team was able to shoot, Dr. D made one of the sweetest goals I've ever seen him make. I may be a bit biased here, but his technique, watchful eye, and accurate shot were things of beauty all melded into one glorious goal.

And I'm sure none of you will be surprised to know that I was a riotous fan. In fact, I'm a bit hoarse from cheering and yelling encouragements from the sideline. I may have even embarrassed my sons a bit. And I know I shocked a couple of the other parents with my enthusiasm. Not that I even care one little bit. Only two goals by our team for three hard-fought games and MY BABY MADE ONE OF THEM! Yes, I'm shouting at you now. Sorry (insert sheepish grin here!). Sorta.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Still No Word

The Boss and I were up before 6:45 this morning (not at all normal for either of us on a Saturday!), seeking the Lord and soaking in His Word. I must admit, as the time drags on (while we wait to hear from our agency about yesterday's glitch and what they are able to do to ensure that this child will indeed be ours) it is hard to keep choosing faith and standing on the promises that we feel the Lord has given us over this decision. But peace and faith are a choice and I am choosing to stand in that place, to be still and to know that He is in control. Those verses from Psalm 34, 37, and 46 mean ever so much more this morning than they even did on Thursday morning.

We are waiting expectantly. We are choosing to praise. I am supremely grateful for some particular things that have been happening here with the Gang lately that have prepared us for this vigil.

Ever since his accident, (see my 7/23/07 post) Baby Blue Eyes has struggled on and off with varying degrees of fear. These fears are mostly related to very large vehicles or thunder and lightning storms and do not dominate his life. But when they are triggered, they could easily dominate his day. We've dealt with it differently over the past two years. But recently I had this amazing conversation with him. (I didn't know just how amazing till I remembered our talks last night!)

I shared with him that instead of choosing fear, he could choose some different paths in his heart and mind. For example, when the doctor wanted to cap off his new adult tooth that was chipped in the accident and is now finally erupted, he chose fear. I helped him see how he could have asked the doctor or the nurse a couple questions that would have given him an explanation of what they were doing next. (In his defense, they did just kind of abruptly announce their plans and commence the project with little explanation!)

I also shared with him that he could choose to praise. His name, (his real name!) means "Our God is known through our praise," and is taken from Psalm 76. The psalmist there is proclaiming the glory and might of our majestic God. He's declaring His reign over all the land and his victory over all the enemies. I explained to BBE that when he feels fear fluttering in his chest, upsetting his tummy or messing with his mind, he can choose to worship Jesus. He can sing out loud, he can pray, he can even dance and shout to the Lord.

This morning, I am choosing to praise. I am choosing to worship. I turned my iPod playlist to all my hymns. While I was cutting up fruit for a yummy salad at 7 a.m., I chose to sing. Here's the song that the Lord has stirring in my heart for today. Please, sing with me. Worship with me.

by Henry van Dyke

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day.

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise:
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Blooming meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain, Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the Joy Divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reigning o'er us,
Brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing marching onward, Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music lifts us sunward, In the triumph song of life.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Please Pray With Us NOW!

I just got an urgent phone call from our special needs coordinator, Ashley. In the process of entering the final data on our files to the new on-line special needs program there was a serious glitch in the system. For some reason, Aidan's file could not be accessed and the message was given that her file would not be available to Living Hope for another 15 days. This IS NOT how it's supposed to work, and we are being called to stand in prayer together against any attempt of the enemy to thwart this adoption!

The staff has gone to extraordinary lengths to assure that our information and Aidan's file have been sent to China by fax, by email to several high level connections, and to our Director of Living Hope (who is BY GOD'S PLAN in China right now).

Additionally, there is a former government worker who is now a Living Hope employee that has accessed some of her connections in order to assure that our information RELATED TO THIS CHILD has been sent to the appropriate people. Finally, the staff all banded together in prayer for our family and for our daughter before calling us.

Please stand in prayer with us that the appropriate measures are taken this next 24 hours to ensure that Aidan will continue upon the path to becoming our daughter. We firmly believe that the enemy wants to mess with our peace and we will NOT have it. Please pray with us. Please also pray for Ashley - this has shaken her up a good deal and I desire to see that the Lord release her from feelings of guilt or "what did I do?"

Thank you for your love and support thus far. We KNOW that He hasn't spoken this clearly this far along to leave us OR AIDAN now.

We'll post updates as we receive them!

*Updated 9:45 p.m. - In case I wasn't clear enough in the above posting, this "glitch" is one that could potentially shut down the process to adopt this little girl. After speaking with some people, it became clear that I may have not expressed myself clearly enough. Additionally, until this is resolved, I won't be posting any pictures of her. Please continue to pray - it is 9:45 a.m. in China right now, and we are trusting the Lord to move on the hearts and minds of the officials involved, on behalf of Aidan and our family to continue the process of declaring our intentions to adopt her, regardless of technology glitches!

Favorites Friday

*if you are "jumping in" in the middle of this journey, please read Wednesday's post first, then the one from this morning. It will all make more sense then! And if you've not read about our journey to today, please check my archives by searching "adoption" in the upper left corner of this page. Our family's story can be read there, oldest posts first . . .

My Favorite Things
The Lord Has Done
In The Past 48 Hours
  • He has shown us His direction. Believe me when I say, over the past 2 days, His plan and His will for our family has been made abundantly clear. He has used our family, our children, and of course, His Word to point our feet on the path which He has laid before us.
  • He has given us His peace. Thank you to those who have particularly been praying this peace over us. Whenever our minds got to racing or our hearts to worrying and fretting, we felt His presence move in with gentleness, calm and "the peace that passes all understanding."
  • He has reminded us of our calling and our purpose. Through times in prayer and in the Word separately, The Boss and I keep coming back to each other and to the kids with a renewed sense of what our mission has been, since we started this journey in January 2006 (and really, in our spirits long before that!)
  • He has given us unity and confirmation. All 6 of us have consistently been of like mind and like spirit in these past two days, and as word is getting out we are discovering that those we trust and admire and respect keep confirming our steps.
  • He has given us great joy! We are BEYOND thrilled and excited to share with you that we have accepted the referral that was presented for our consideration on Wednesday morning. We have a new daughter! Aidan is coming home!
An official Letter of Intent (LOI) will be sent with our file to the CCAA today telling them that we are officially requesting the privilege of adopting this beautiful toddler. We thank our Special Needs Coordinator, Miss Ashley, for her tireless efforts on our behalf. This young woman deserves a post all her own, and believe me, I feel one brewing! Once that LOI (woooo hooo, I get to throw around those abbreviations now too!) is on its way, we will talk with Living Hope about travel estimates, final balances due, and further documentation that is still necessary. The whirlwind begins now!!!!!

Stay tuned for more information on our precious Aidan. I'm working through what documentation I have now, to be able to share with you a little about our girl. (Lord willing, I may even be able to post pictures.) For now, please know that we still crave your prayers, for financial provision, for quick paperwork exchanges and approvals, and for smooth travel plans - as soon as they can happen!!!!! I can't believe it, I'm going to China to get my girl! Suddenly, excitement about our summer has just taken on a whole new meaning!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Update of the Day

*if you are "jumping in" in the middle of this journey, please read Wednesday's post first, then the one from this morning. It will all make more sense then! And if you've not read about our journey to today, please check my archives by searching "adoption" in the upper left corner of this page. Our family's story can be read there,
oldest posts first . . .

We have had quite a few phone calls and emails back and forth with the agency and the doctor, and the gist of it all is that our request for further information has been submitted. But, like most of the paper-chase that is International Adoption, it is highly unlikely (we knew this, but it never hurts to ask!) that any more details will be forthcoming in any semblance of a timely manner. And certainly NOT by Friday at noon. Other similar requests were made for other children and it's been over a month with no response. Obviously, that's too late for our 48 hour window. So, we proceed with our prayers and our "being still" (very hard to do with a full day of school activities!) to hear His heart. We've been praying and encouraging the kids to pray and listen also - we fully believe that this decision is close at hand and that all four of the kids will have valuable input at tonight's "family meeting."

I'm off to finish the weekly church bulletin and get my soccer star ready for the second half of his final tournament with this league. I cannot even believe that he's "outgrown" the U-12 group - how can it be?!

Thank you all for the words of encouragement, support and the prayers that you are sending our way. We can't remember the last time we felt so covered with the love of the Body of Christ! Check back later for the latest and greatest on the goings on here with The Gang.

In the meantime, go HERE! for a fun way
to support foster kids in the U.S.
I heard about it from Steven Curtis Chapman's
website. It's a fun way to cool off
and "do your part" at the same time!

Where Are We Now?

Below is the update that we sent to our church's prayer ministry, after last night's consultation and some prayer and talk-time with our kids. Please continue to pray for us - we have until Friday afternoon to make a final decision . . .
It's 6:45 a.m. and I've been up for almost an hour now, thinking and praying and seeking the Lord. I slept deeply and felt refreshed, and with as fast as my mind was whirling last night at 10, that's a huge praise the Lord for me! You know it's big when I'm up before 7 a.m. and in bed before 11 p.m. :)

Here's the summary of last night's consultation and the update: The doctor raised some good, valid concerns to consider. Certainly not "deal breakers" as she kept putting it, but things that we might need to know more about before we finalize a decision. It turns out that the original diagnosis is not likely correct, and that what they did operate on was in many ways less severe with fewer long term consequences. That's the good news. The bad news is that she is low on the growth curves and there's not a ton of documentation about her growth and specifically her measurements since the surgery. As there are several questions about her overall health (since the surgery), we have requested that our agency seek more information about her. We are waiting for a response from them today. It is HIGHLY likely that we may never have these further questions answered.

So Todd and the kids and I need to determine how comfortable we are with the "not knowing." With any adoption, there is a degree of unknown and the degree of unknown's just skyrocketed when they handed us a picture and a medical history (SKETCHY though it may be!). We knew this going in two years ago, we knew it when we joined the special needs list, it's just another thing to face it with a child actually attached to the questions now.

We need continued prayer for discernment and wisdom. But the biggie now is that we need God to move on our behalf IN CHINA to release more information about her health history - specifically about her growth measurements at 5 months and currently. The information we've been going from is 7 months old (not unusual in Chinese adoptions!). Please also pray that we continue to seek HIM first and not get caught up in the emotions of it all (it's VERY emotional, and that's a hard request to admit!). We have until Friday afternoon to make our final decision to accept or pass on this child.

If you can, please direct the prayer warriors to our blog (address below) - as we will be updating soon for this purpose. It's too hard to keep sending out individual emails with all the updates - with all of the end of the year activities, I'm in and out of the house all day today and tomorrow.

Finally, the Lord has been speaking to me from Psalm 34, Psalm 37:1-8, and Psalm 46. Please pray with us that His purposes for us will be made clear as we wait on Him! There's a lot of "be still's" in those verses and a lot of "he delivered's" and the recurring themes are His sheltering, refuge nature. We crave that today!

Thanks for your support and prayers. You can't know how much it means to all of us that you are standing with us in this journey.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Got A Call Today!

*see below for updates!

We just got a call from our adoption agency this morning - there's a little girl that they think might be a good match for our family. I can't believe I just typed that sentence ~ I canNOT believe that this might happen. To us. Now. Can it be?! OH MY WORD!

The Boss has received a set of medical records and has faxed her information to the International Adoption program docs at CHOP already. They will review her file and give us a recommendation (maybe this afternoon?) of their counsel and prognosis information. I can tell you that she's a little over 2 years old and is "post-op" for the presenting medical issue that put her into the special needs program.

Please pray for The Gang: for wisdom, for clarity of thought and discernment for His Heart over this decision, and for patience and acceptance of whatever path He calls us to in these next 24 hours. For timing and finances to work out according to His plan. And for me: I can't decide whether to cry, throw up, pace, go running (ha! who am I kidding? I never run!), or laugh and dance all over my living room! :)

We'll keep ya all posted!

*Updated at 2 p.m. - We have a phone conference with the IA docs from CHOP at 7 p.m. this evening. Once that's done and we have all the necessary information, we will have some family time to pray and seek the Lord for an answer. How the heck am I gonna get anything done till then?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

hot, Hot, HOT!

Here's what's happening in our neck of the woods :)

"Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 10th, elementary schools will dismiss early due to the continued excessive temperatures and most notably the projected increased humidity and heat index being fore-casted in advance of Tuesday’s thunderstorms."

from our local school district website

Baby Blue Eyes and I are waiting for them to join us in the pool!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is Anderson Cooper's birthday. I had forgotten all about it, but heard it on the news tonight when I was home alone in a quiet house alone baking a cake alone. I got to lick the beaters all alone. Can you even imagine the bliss of that?! I digress . . . .

Several years ago, a certain buddy of mine mentioned in a blog post that she might have seen Anderson Cooper's twin in her local grocery store. That night, I confessed to the whole blogging world (well, to all 6 of you who happened to read that post and the subsequent comments) that I have had a closet crush on Anderson Cooper since he appeared in The Celebrity Mole 2. In fact, that might be the first time I let the world in on my little quirk that I now call Celebrity Crushes. My, how far I've fallen! I mean, my how far I've come . . . . yeah. Riiiiiiiight. I digress again . . . .

Happy Birthday, Anderson!

Monday, June 2, 2008

We Love Mr. T

Did you happen to notice that Mr. T stopped by my blog recently? That he took the time to comment on Dr. D's splinter dramedy? Did you wonder to yourself, "Hmmmm, I wonder how The Gang got to be all chummy with Mr. T?" Did you start humming the theme to The A Team? Did you mumble to yourself "I pity the fool!" when you saw his tag line?

Well, calm yourself. This Mr. T is our friendly school band director. Dr. D's French horn teacher for now and, hopefully in the fall, LadyBug's band teacher as well. Since he took a moment out of his busy day to de-lurk himself (ha, I knew you read this blog and now I have PROOF!), I thought I'd introduce him around to the rest of you! And show him some bloggy love, in honor of his hard work and dedication to the students that he loves.

Bloggy friends, meet Mr. T.
Mr. T, meet my bloggy friends.
There, now you all know each other.

Here at the Gang's house, we love our Mr. T. He's bright, energetic, and has just the right blend of dry humor and light-heartedness to capture (and hold!) Dr. D's attentions. He has a way of inspiring our little French horn player to stick with it, to try harder and to do more with his skills. Mr. T keeps incredibly busy running the band programs & group lessons for two elementary schools, teaching private lessons for aspiring trombone players, and being a hubby and new dad. I'm sure there's tons more that he does that most of us don't even know about. He goes out of his way to answer all my questions as we navigate this new territory of Concert Bands, Wind Ensembles and musical talent. These last few weeks in particular, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty, helping with our search for a used horn of good quality and affordable pricing. He even inspected it for us and gave us his honest evaluation of the horn.

Our experiences with this elementary school band program have, so far, been absolutely a pleasure and we are very excited at the prospect of LadyBug participating next year. In fact, The Boss and I have been talking about what future participation in the school band program might look like for The Gang. Given that our district's high school marching band has won countless awards, it will almost certainly guarantee a very busy household. But we are so grateful for the start the kids have now and the foundations that are being set - largely due to Mr. T's passion and excitement for his job and "his kids" in the program.

When I asked Dr. D what he'd miss the most when he left 6th grade to move on to middle school, his first answer was "band with Mr. T." I think that says it all!

So, Mr. T - in this blogging mom's view, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a "marching band mom." I look forward to it!

Special thanks to Dr. D
for helping me write this tribute
to one of his favorite teachers!

Snapshot in Time

After a brief verbal tussel with Shaggy, which Baby Blue Eyes watched
with concern and wonder, this is the conversation I had with BBE.

BBE: "Mommy, why didn't Shaggy want you to take his picture?"

Mommy: "Well, Shaggy doesn't really like to draw any attention to himself, and he didn't like Mommy and Daddy making a fuss over him."

BBE: "Why was Daddy mad at him?"

Mommy: "Shaggy was kinda rude to Mommy and Daddy and hurt our feelings with the way he acted. Thirteen year olds sometimes forget that Mommies and Daddies have feelings too."

BBE: "Well, when I'm sirt-teen and in 8th gwade, I'm not gonna complain and say it's dumb. I'm gonna be pleasant. Cuz I'm always pleasant and nice to my paywents."

Mommy: "Okay BBE. Can I get that in writing from you? Cuz I'd really like to remind you of that when you are 13!"

BBE: "Yeah. Sure!"

You heard it here.