Thursday, June 14, 2012

First things first...


We have been home for 2 weeks today.  We're finding our new routine.. and settling in as a family of FIVE!  Jude fits into our family perfectly... it's hard to believe that he has only been with us for a few weeks!  He has already learned to walk... well, now run... he says a few words, likes to imitate his big brother and sister, he loves to cuddle, has the BEST belly laugh, and finds joy in everything! 

Here are a few pics from our trip...

Our first touch...  He wasn't so sure about us.  :)

Forever Family Day... May 22, 2012.

Playing with Grandma

First bath!

Shanghai... WOW.. I have never seen so many people!

Blessed to share this experience with some amazing people!

Going home!

I will not leave you as orphans;  I will come to you.  John 14:18


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
I LOVE this verse!  I struggle with inadequacy.  I love that I don't have to pretend to be great or to have it all together.  I am weak, and broken... and it's ok... God is holding my hand!  I've wondered more than once why God chose me to be Jude's mom.   It's certainly not because I deserve it.  I am so blessed... and so thankful for God's grace!
We leave tomorrow!  I don't think I have ever experienced so many extreme emotions all at once.  I'm off to pack!

Friday, May 4, 2012

On 9-27-11, we saw this precious little face for the first time.
Love at first sight!
And he is coming home so soon!!! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Travel Itinerary :)

May 16            Portland / San Francisco   (7:00A 8:52A)
May 16            San Francisco / Beijing   (12:02P 3:15P) +1 day
May 17                 Tuesday              
Arrive in Beijing at 3:15PM from San Francisco (12:02PM / 3:15PM)
May 18                 Friday                                                  Beijing  
                       Great Wall and Hutong Lane.
May 19                 Saturday                                              Beijing
Orientation at the hotel meeting room
Half day tour of Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City after group lunch
May 20                 Sunday                                                
Beijing/Shanghai flight (11:30AM / 1:40PM)
May 21                 Monday                                               Shanghai
                      9:30AM – Go to Shanghai Social Welfare Center to sign the papers and then meet Jude!
May 22                 Tuesday                                               Shanghai
                      Morning – Adoption registration and notarization
May 23                 Wednesday                                       Shanghai
Free day
May 24                 Thursday                                             Shanghai
Free day
May 25                 Friday                                                  
Transfer to airport Shanghai / Guangzhou flight (2:30PM/4:50PM)                                                                                           
May 26                 Saturday                                              Guangzhou  
                                  Visa paperwork check and Medical check    
May 27                 Sunday                                                 Guangzhou  
                                  Free day  
May 28                 Monday                                               Guangzhou  
                                  TB result check in medical clinic  
May 29                 Tuesday                                               Guangzhou  
                                 Visa appointment and Oath taking ceremony  
May 30                 Wednesday                                      
                                  Visa pick up  
Transfer to Hong Kong                                                                                                   Hong Kong  
May 31                 Thursday
                                Transfer to the airport   Hong Kong/San Francisco (11:30AM / 8:25AM
                                May/31 Hong Kong / San Francisco  (11:30A 8:25A)
                       May/31 San Francisco / Portland (10:39A 12:28P)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jude's quilt is done!


Article 5

Dear Adoptive Parent,
The Adopted Children's Immigrant Visa Unit (ACIVU) at U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou has finished processing your child's Article 5, and your file is ready to be returned to your adoption agency's facilitator.  

We thought that we had this 2 weeks ago... but, we didn't... but, now we do.. for real this time!  :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Q & A Time

I have started writing this a few times… and then deleted it because I was mad when I wrote it…and you could tell! We have been asked a lot of questions about our decision to adopt. Most of them are from people who are genuinely interested, which I LOVE! But, some have been harder to answer and some have been… well, just mean! I don’t expect everyone to share my passion… but, I was not prepared for the harsh criticism. I am a “people pleaser”, I crave approval, I don’t like confrontation…so, dealing with the “critics” has been hard for me. Probably harder than it should be. I’m writing this to answer some questions.. All of which I have been asked… from the nice to the not so nice.

* “Why did you decide to adopt?”
Because I have a heart for orphans and because I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mom.

* “Why Ch*na when there are kids here in the US that need homes?”
When we decided to adopt we asked God to lead us to our child. All options open. We inquired domestically and internationally. Some doors opened, while others closed. Eventually, we applied to the special needs program in Ch*na. This was not by chance. God lead us to Ch*na because our son is in Ch*na. So, “why Ch*na?”… because that is where our son is.

* “You already have 2 kids. Isn’t that enough?”
Hmmm… I’m still not even sure how to answer this one. I’ll just say this… there was a time that I thought our family was complete… but, God had different plans and I am SO THANKFUL for that!

* “The child could be mean, or sick!”
Yep… someone really did say this! Children don’t come with guarantees… ever! You do your best, you love them unconditionally, and you pray…a lot! I don’t go into this expecting all glitter and rainbows… being a parent is hard work!

* “How did you pay for the adoption?”
The cost of adoption was really scary for me…especially right now. When we applied, we had no idea how we were going to pay for it. God provided. As each bill arrived, the money was there to pay it. We cut back on things, borrowed from retirement, we had pleasant surprises in our paychecks, and did some fundraising. I struggled with the idea to fundraise. It’s hard to ask for help… but, I was so incredibly encouraged by our family, friends, and even strangers who wanted to help bring Jude home! I am so thankful!

* “What happened to Jude’s birth parents?”
We don’t know the details… but, we may find out more when we go to Ch*na. I really think that anything more that we learn will be kept private for Jude. For now, this is what I do know. The laws are very different in Ch*na. We don’t know the circumstances… but, we do know that his birth mother chose life for him. Facing harsh consequences, she chose to carry him, give birth to him, then wrap him up warmly and take him to a place where he would have a chance at life. My heart hurts for her. I can’t imagine what she has gone through. I wish I could thank her. I wish I could tell her how much I love Jude!

* “Where is Jude now?”
He is living in an orphanage with hundreds of other kids… most of which will not be adopted. Most of them will grow up in the orphanage and age out of the system alone. I am heartbroken. I’m hoping to spend some time in the orphanage while we’re there.. But, I hear that is unlikely.

* “Why do you keep researching this stuff when it is making you so sad?”
Closing my eyes to it doesn’t mean it stops happening… it just means that my comfort level is more important to me than doing something to make a difference. It can be overwhelming, and consuming, and I know that I will never be able to do “enough”.. but, I don’t want that to stop me from doing something.

* “Oh wow… you guys are so great!”
No.. we’re not. This makes me even more uncomfortable than the mean questions! This journey has made me even more aware of all of my flaws and my weakness. It has also made me much more aware of God’s power, His love, and His faithfulness. I have gained far more from this than I could ever give. God is great!

* “Jude is such a lucky boy!”
I know that everyone who has said this is expressing their joy that Jude is coming home to his forever family. I know it is meant in the nicest way possible… I just have a different perspective. Jude has suffered so much loss in his short life. He lost his birth parents and has spent the majority of his life alone in a crib in a cold orphanage. By this age, other kids have bonded, learned to trust, been cuddled and loved on… Jude will have to learn this now at almost 2 years. We are about to turn his world upside down. He will have a dad and a mom, a brother and a sister, a home, a dog… his world will be better… but, how do we explain that to him? He will know in time… but, for now he will be experiencing even more loss… the loss of the only life that he has ever known. If anyone is lucky here, it’s me… I get to be a mom to another beautiful little miracle.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I800 Approved!

Look what I got today...

Good afternoon! 
I was able to finish the review of your petition today and gave it a provisional approval this morning. I have placed the approval notice in the mail to you and you should be getting it soon. Congratulations!  

Onward... Wooooo Hooooooo!!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday Morning Devotions

So, Monday was a pretty amazing day!  If you haven't read Monday's post, read it first.  You will have a better understanding of why I think this is so PERFECT!  Also, this is a copy of a post I wrote when we were matched with Jude in September...

I’m super excited to announce… we are having a beautiful baby boy!  He is just over a year old.  He has chubby little cheeks, a beautiful smile, and bright eyes.  I wish I could share a picture… because he is just so darn cute… and because I’m super excited to show him off!  His caregiver says that he is active, social, and a little naughty!  Ha… He’ll fit in well!  He was born without a right hand… but, they say that he doesn’t let that hold him back.  Now, before you read any further… go back to the top and read the verse in the title picture.
 A fear of mine going into this was, how do you know?  How do you know that this is your child?  What if we accepted a referral for the wrong child.  Does this sound crazy?  I really need to stop worrying!  Throughout the adoption process, Isaiah 41:13 has been such a comfort to me.  When I started this blog, I decided to use it in the title.  I remember wondering why he said “right hand”.   Was there something significant about a right hand?  Do you think it is a coincidence that out of all of the verses, this is the one that I haven’t been able to get out of my head!  I think it’s a God thing!  :)

These were the devotions I read on Monday morning... 

Keep your eyes on Me!  Waves of adversity are washing over you, and you feel tempted to give up.  As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me.  Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand.  I am fully aware of your situation, and I will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. 
Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow.  If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat.  you must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today.  It is in the present moment that I walk close to you, helping you carry your burdens.  Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. 

 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand. ~Psalm 73:23
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.~1 Corinthians 10:13


Monday, February 27, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:7

It has been hard for me to update this blog lately.  I’ve been really sad, and I have a hard time sharing when I’m struggling.  I always answer “how are you”, with I’m OK.  I haven’t really been OK… so, here’s the truth.  Having a child in an orphanage on the other side of the world is painful.  I don’t know if he has been held today.  I can only request an update once every three months… that is hard!  He is most likely sitting alone in his crib, and I am here... aching to hold him.  Our wait for approval has been unusually long.  I can’t make sense of this.  My heart hurts for him… and for the hundreds of other kids in his orphanage.  Most of them will never be adopted.  My heart is broken for the millions of orphans in this world.  So, in my sadness, I started to lose sight of God’s faithfulness. I started to forget all of the miracles I’ve seen which have gotten us to today.  I even started to question God’s goodness (please don’t judge).  The message at church yesterday was a much needed slap in the face.  One of those times where all the other people in the room kind of disappeared… and it was just me and God.   In my sadness, I was forgetting…

God’s timing is perfect!

                                                           God is good… all the time!

AND ...
Before I had time to post this, I got a call from our agency.

We just got our letter of approval !!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear Jude,

I miss you!  I had no idea I could miss someone so much, someone I haven’t even met yet…but, I do!  I pray for you every day.  I pray that you are safe and that God would surround you with his love.  I pray that God is preparing you for the big changes that are coming your way.  I pray that you won’t be scared and that you will understand how much we love you.  I pray that our paperwork will go through soon, because I can’t wait to bring you home.  I thank God every day that he chose me to be your mommy.   I love you son!  xoxoxo

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today, I wanted to introduce you to someone very special. 

This is Frankie.  Precious!  Although I have never met Frankie, he changed my life.  God used Frankie to break my hardened heart… and to teach me about life. 

A couple of years ago, my sister Rose spent a summer volunteering in South Africa.  She sent me stories and pictures of the kids.  This is how I was introduced to Frankie.  Frankie is an orphan.  He is the same age as my son.  As I cuddled with Sawyer, played with him, tucked him into bed, told him how much I loved him, prayed with him, cooked for him, held his hand, and loved on him some more… My heart ached for Frankie!  I wondered if he would ever have a family. 
I had heard the statistics.  147 million orphans!  How did that not break my heart sooner?  Now I loved one of the 147 million… and that changed everything! 
This little boy changed me.  He brought me closer to God.  He taught me about priorities.  Suddenly the big house, nice car, working endlessly for more "stuff"... seemed pretty ridiculous.  I felt guilty.. I still do.  

Frankie deserves to be loved fiercely by a mommy and daddy! 
He deserves a forever family! 

I am passionate about adoption... domestic and international.  I love both! 
While I realize that it is not for everyone... I do believe that everyone can do something to make a difference in the life of an orphan.  A figure like 147 million can be paralyzing... but, you can do something to change the world for one.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 43

Day 43 of our wait for our letter of acceptance. 
This waiting is HARD!

I can not wait to kiss this sweet face!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Made For Each Other

A precious friend made this for Jude.  I've watched it over and over... and still tear up!