Tuesday, May 31, 2011
It's been about 36 hours since we first met Lilly. She cried for about five minutes when the people who brought her left. Last night (24+ hours after we got her) she teared up after Elizabeth went to sleep and our guide was no where to be found to find out what was wrong. So we rocked, used the potty, offered food and drink, finally brushed teeth and put on jammies and then sat and looked out the window. She appears to prefer mommy over daddy. Lilly and Elizabeth will start cracking each other up or start singing songs- one in Chinese the other in jargon English. It has really been a blessing having E along. The first day we'd show what was going to happen to her first- change clothes, brush teeth, etc using Elizabeth and then Lilly would just jump right in.
When we first saw Lilly, I began to cry. She looked like a princess. Her nanny or grandmother (?????) bought her a jade necklace, a beautiful dress and jacket and a little stuffed animal. She was so well cared for. We were also given lots of pictures- baby, 2nd birthday, in the park... We had not gotten any except for her referral pictures and three others before we got her and so I was wondering how we would explain her first years. Not only do we have a story (though it's in Chinese) now we have pictures too!!!!
I have been living in a haze for the last couple of days. I guess that's what three days with no sleep does to a person. We completed the adoption finalization yesterday. So today is the start of the US paperwork. We have the medical exam in just over an hour. I am a little scared about the TB test, since we had the issue with Elizabeth's. I also don't like the thought of causing her pain and undressing her in front of strangers since she's older and so new to our family, but God has been with us this far and He won't let us down now. Mommy might need a Starbucks on the way back to the hotel though! :)
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Sunday 5/29 and morning of 5/30
We left home at 2am Friday morning. I've been up since 7am Thursday morning. We arrived in China at 9am on Sunday, the equivalent of 8pm on Saturday in Texas. Writing this note, it is 12pm in China on Sunday (11pm Texas) and I have slept approximately 4.75 hours in 1 hour increments since waking up on Thursday, so about 77 hours ( I think :)). If for some reason I don't make sense, now you know why.
We missed our connection in Vancouver due to 1. Boarding the plane was delayed an hour because of broken part, 2. Boarded plane then sat at gate for another hour because same part broke AGAIN (we have no idea what part it was), 3. We left the gate and rolled to the taxi way where we waited another hour (we think our flight plan had expired and never refiled). So our 2 hr 50min. long enough layover in Vancouver ended up being NOT long enough. AA put us up in a hotel room and gave us food vouchers. We were able to use the hotel room for about 8 hours while we waited for our next flight. It was actually very nice to be able to shower and rest in a bed. We have contacted AA about them reimbursing us for the extra expenses, we incurred because of the delay (adoption related), but haven't heard a reply yet.
Once we were on the plane at Shreveport I finally started getting excited about the adoption really happening and going to China. When we were walking around the Vancouver airport trying to find someone to help us rebook I commented to Rick, "Is this God trying to stop us? Or is it Satan at work trying to stop our obedience?" We laughed when he said he was feeling the EXACT same way. For every two steps forward in this adoption it seems that we've then been thrown three steps back (at least since February). Once we landed in China a little of the excitement that I felt in Shreveport came back, but I am still not as excited as with our adoption of Elizabeth (this is as of Monday am in China). This fact scares me. Terrifies me. I want to love Lillyanna and I do love her, but I am having a hard time seeing past the to do list of doctor appointments and how can I hold her and she not break. I feel guilty that I don't feel the same way as I did with Elizabeth's adoption. We are in the same province, have the same guide (staying at a different hotel this time), but I should be happy and I am not. Sunday was her last full day of the life she has known for over four years. She may hate us for taking her away from it. She may scream for hours on end, like a little 6 year old girl that another family adopted in our group when we adopted Elizabeth. She may..., She may..., .... She may love us.
We began this adoption out of obedience to God. We were not looking at adopting a four year old (and the fact that she's older is scary). We were not wanting to add to the list of special needs members of our family have. GF, PDD, RAD, ADHD, LD, hearing impaired, and developmentally delayed are our current ones. Isn't that enough?!? But God doesn't call us to do what is easy. Sometimes the things God wants us to do push us to the brink of our sanity, our physical strength, our emotional capability, so that we can depend on HIM. Lean on HIM for our daily bread, our well being. Trusting HIM for provision and grace and strength. If God loved me enough to die for me, surely I can love HIM enough to show grace, mercy and love to a little girl who has never known the lasting love of a mommy and daddy. HE calls us to care for the least of these. He didn't say care for them only when you have time and it fits in your schedule and it doesn't break your heart or cost a lot of money. He said, whatever you do for one of the least of these, you do for me. THAT is why we are obeying him asking us to adopt Lillyanna.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."
Sometimes those little sheep are half way around the world.
Just as how each birth is different (at least it was for us) each adoption is different, even if you thought it wouldn't be :)
Thursday, May 26, 2011
-like buying a computer (because our old one (less than 2 years) is having a couple of issues (started in the last week, so no time for repair before we leave) and we wanted to be sure to able to Skype with the kids while we are in China
-tracking down the right person to talk to (took three phone calls) in order to get something reissued (we'll see if it shows up while we are gone)
-finding missing insurance cards
-writing down all the important numbers that we need while we are gone and we need to leave for those who stay
-trying to figure out how I have a bill that says I owe and online it won't let me pay because online it says I have a credit...
-taking the less than 48 hour old computer totally apart because it stopped working, while being guided on the phone by someone from India (I kid you not)
-returning the "new" computer and getting another computer, same model, if it lasts more than 36 hours it will have lived longer than the first...
-dealing with a child who was trying to run away this morning (guess who). Not dealing real well with Mommy and Daddy leaving.
-walk back inside from dealing with child and find another child has entangled a CAR in his sister's HAIR!!!!!
-the air conditioner man just arrived to fix our air conditioner, it's been running constantly if set below 75 and the house doesn't even begin to feel cool unless it's set at 74...
Yeah, it's been busy. We leave in less than 24 hours and we are still not totally packed. It's been real busy!!!!!!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Imagine living in a house made entirely out of concrete, that heats up like an oven in the hot sun. Imagine a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling as your only light. Imagine having no toilet facilities or running water, but instead getting all your water from a community hand pump. Imagine having parents who worked in the field, barely able to provide from day to day. Imagine no hope, growing up in a hope of idolatry and severe poverty.
To Sindhu Babu this kind of life was normal. It wasn't until he (at age 10) came to Lifesong India that he knew there was something better. Something far better.
Today, at age 18, Sindhu Babu not only has a hope for a future as he studies to become an electrical engineer... not only does he live in a clean home with clean running water... and not only has he heard the word of God, but in 2003, his parents, who for years worshipped idols, gave their lives to Christ!
Praise God that He continues to replace hope for despair in the nearly six hundred children we work with and their families!
Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we serve children in India!
Monday, May 23, 2011
I have the girls suitcase packed with everything I think we will need clothes, diapering and entertainment wise. I am contemplating packing a fourth suitcase (instead of the originally intended 3) just for food stuffs. I have a mild paranoia about eating and not finding GF food. Three of the five restaurants on Shamain Island can do some GF options, but I'm taking lots of snack bars (and I think some nutritional drinks for the girls) just in case. After Elizabeth eating by only a syringe for a month, one can never be too careful. It's also nice to take things like raisins and fruit snacks in order to expose our new one to some of our common foods.
So as I was preparing all the paperwork for my parents while we are gone. I noticed I was missing a child's insurance card. No big deal, right?! Wrong!!! It would be the card of the child who gets injured the most!!! After a frantic hour of searching I found it in the glove box of our car. Did I stick it there?!? Did Mr. Incredible? I am just so glad it wasn't in a returned library book or accidentally thrown out. (all possible options :)) Yeah, I think I have high stress levels. And right now if my head wasn't attached, I would really look like a chicken running around with it's head cut off! LOL!
In preparation for our trip, I've been letting Elizabeth watch the videos we have of Lillyanna. I hadn't let her see them before we got TA. Just with all the delays my heart really began to wonder. When Lilly would wave her hand or hold up fingers, Elizabeth would wave or count. Truly precious. I would point and say "sister" and in true Elizabeth fashion she parroted back "sister" as she pointed at the screen. I would have recorded it, but there is no room on the aforementioned camcorder and since I didn't find the cable until after Mr. Incredible left for work and I really don't want to make anything explode... it is a moment that I will have to cherish in my memory. In truth, watching the videos calmed my anxious heart some. I saw again a child that is truly a precious creation of God. Her bones may not be perfect, but she is still a beautiful creation.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
My parents arrive this week to care for the boys in our absence. Please be in prayer for their safe travels here and for their strength and health. A certain, wonderful child has been testing patience this week.
Well I've put off the packing long enough! Time to finish dinner and get some suitcases ZIPPED! (at least one, maybe :))
Thursday, May 19, 2011
US Immigration Fees = $830
Agency Travel Fees = $5404
Airfare = $7453.10
Orphanage Donation = $5300
Provincial Fees = $880
Doctor Fee = $80
Visas = $420
Food and Misc. = $2000
Total = $28,876.10
The chance to love a child into the kingdom of God = Priceless
My cost conscience brain is REELING from the cost. In two days alone we are racking up almost $13,000 in charges with airfare and travel. My heart may grow faint, but my trust is in the LORD, maker of heaven and earth, owner of the cattle of a thousand hills, and not in the balance of my bank account.
I share our details, not so that you feel pity for us, but so that you can see that though the cost of international adoption is high (and we are taking Elizabeth to China with us which added about $2000) it is NOT impossible. Nothing is impossible with God. Many are spending that much or more on a new car. Our first house was less than double that amount. What God calls you to, He equips you for. You may however feel very stretched before it's over! :)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Our travel travel advisor was sick Monday and didn't get our Consulate Appointment confirmation until Tuesday afternoon...(it was in her junk email)
Then we got an email from one of Mr. Incredible's business contacts in China saying how he wanted to meet... (that's why we don't have tickets yet)
All I have to say is that my nerves are on edge, cheap tickets*com is NOT cheap (when you call to talk to them), and I really wish M would STOP getting in poison ivy! (We got to go to the doctor today because of his face swelling with the new outbreak from last night) When I remarked to Mr. Incredible that "that child is going to give me gray hair", he kindly offered to buy the hair dye :) LOL!
So sorry for the sporadic posting. Life is going at the speed of insanely crazy busy life. We hope to post more often in China to help keep family and friends informed.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Here's a little ditty concerning things to come- On the first day of summer my true love shared with me one metal house on 15 acres, four boys, two girls, one dog, one cat, one mother in law and the possibility of my parents moving here too and don't forget about potential chickens.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Now to try and find cheap flights for May 27th!
Please continue in prayer for us. My MIL is supposed to be coming Monday and we will be finalizing travel details all next week.... (might be a bit much) ...need wisdom.
This devotional is something that someone passed onto me and I wanted to pass onto you. Enjoy.
Just Before Victory by David Wilkerson
If you are experiencing confusion, pain, and suffering, it may be that God is working things out for you in his own way. It is most often the sovereign work of our God unfolding a master plan known only to him. Through all the suffering of God's people, he is at work. The miracle soon follows the confusion. Study your Bible and you will discover these same patterns in the lives of all of God's people. In case after case, when God began to fulfill his promise, the roof seemed to cave in first!
Think of Daniel and the three Hebrew children. They gave themselves to a life of holiness and separation from the world and all its pleasures. Daniel pledged himself to a life of prayer, tears, and intercession, but what did that get him and his three Hebrew friends? Testing just before victory!
You don't go from the prayer closet to some mountaintop victory—you go to the lions' den. You don't go from consecration to a life of ease and blessing only—you go to the fiery furnace. These men were not afraid to face pain and suffering, because they knew it always ended in God having his way. Through lions and red-hot furnaces to God's perfect will!
Think of Elijah. God gave him a glorious promise of a spiritual awakening in the land; of an outpouring of abundant rain; of a new day of victory for God's people; and the overthrow of Ahab and Jezebel. But look at all the confusion that broke out after the promise was given. Jezebel threatened his life, chasing him into hiding in the mountains. Wicked forces killed the prophets of God and the land continued in wickedness and drought. In fact, the Word of God seemed like a hoax.
Can you imagine how confused Elijah must have been? “What kind of answered prayer is this? I'm left all on my own. Where is the Lord? Has his promise failed?" And all the while God was doing exactly what he said he would do. The confusion would soon pass and the answer would be forthcoming.
Christ left his disciples a promise that could have seen them through all the confusion and pain, but they were too broken up in sorrow to remember. He had told them: "After I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee" (Matthew 26:32).
In other words, "Don't try to figure it all out. Don't question the time of confusion. It's not your battle. God is at work! When this is all over, I will still be going before you. Your shepherd will still be there." What an encouraging word!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tomorrow holds so many hopes and yet also so many fears. Am I really prepared to be a mother of six? I WAS an ONLY child after all! Can I really handle the demands of OI? (osteogenesis imperfecta) Will Shriner's qualify her or will we be swimming in even more medical bills? I am scared. Scared of what tomorrow could really hold. Because it may just be another ordinary Thursday and all my wishful hoping (and praying) will be in vain AGAIN. Or it could be the day we finally hear we can get our daughter?!
Our daughter that we've missed the first four and a half years of her life. Our daughter that breaks easily. Our daughter that has endured so much heartache without a mommy and daddy that it could take years for her to trust us. Our daughter that so desperately needs to come home. Our daughter that even yet holds a piece of my heart, though she might not know it. Our daughter. HIS daughter. HIS precious child. He knows the end from the beginning. He holds the keys to hell. He knows. He cares. He holds tomorrow in HIS hands.
Friday, May 6, 2011
With all the activity of last weekend and the emotional drain of Monday by Monday night I felt like it had been a week (and it was only beginning).
There is poison ivy, our constant companion now. M asked if there was poison ivy in heaven. My reply was that I didn't think so, but I didn't really know. His response? "If there is, then I'm DOOMED!" Oh, my dear, sweet, poison ivy magnet M.
M got his cast off, yeah! No sprouted sunflower seeds inside, yeah, yeah! Lots of dirt, no sprouts. I consider the three weeks a success.
We celebrated the 12th year of Z's birth. He is such a blessing to our lives.
But by Thursday night I simply went into my closet and cried. We had been so blessed at the Chris Tomlin concert on Wednesday and really enjoyed Z's birthday. Then it was like DUMP, BLAH, SQUISH on Thursday (worse than Monday or Tuesday or some combination therof).
We received notice from the IRS (on Monday) that they were further investigating our claim to a refund and it would be indefinitely delayed and they might need more information. Shocking, but okay, we can deal. On Thursday we got the letter saying what information they needed. Receipts from the adoption almost two years ago. First, that was almost TWO YEARS AGO. Second, a little recent lifestyle transition involving packing, boxes and a truck makes locating those certain receipts not as easy as one might think!
On Thursday we got the news that my MIL may have early onset Alzteimer's this was after waiting three weeks to see a specialist after the general practitioner gave the same diagnosis. Still no sure answer. MORE testing needed and BTW she's coming to YOUR (our) house in the interim. What?!?
On Thursday we expected to hear something from China via our adoption agency. We heard nothing. Not even a reply from the agency to our email inquiry.
On Thursday the plans that I had made for Friday fell through and I was forced to re-group and make new plans. (that was the straw that broke the back)
Thursday also included a trip to the allergist following a counseling session, Zumba and school for E. Allergy testing is next week because now insurance doesn't cover testing the same day you see the doctor... really!?! (head shaking)
If it had not been for the Chris Tomlin concert and this song I really think I would have lost it. "If our God is for us, then what could stand against?" Kept going through my head on Thursday. It's what kept me sane. Knowing that God is SOOO much bigger than all the things that are going on around me and in our lives and He sees it and has a plan for all of it. The enemy may be attacking, but I have a secret weapon.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Peace in a house of five children is a rare commodity, I honestly cannot believe we are adding ANOTHER one. AND SHE'S 4 1/2 YEARS OLD! We've missed the baby years. Though we expect her to be developmentally delayed we will never have those first four years back (and we started this process when she was three). We have never been in that situation before, except for a foster respite child and that was only for three days, not a lifetime. How I still pray for --- and that God can reach down and heal the hurt in her little heart. And now here we are eight years almost after our first respite care and we are looking at being the forever family for a special little girl and month after month is ticking by where she is not with our family because of Chinese bureaucracy and the processes still being developed for the "copy dossier" process.
I imagine you are thinking how can this woman title the post "thankful in the wait" when she just wrote that tirade?! Well on Sunday I heard this wonderful communion devotional talking about "being thankful in the wait". The speaker compared Noah and Jonah.
Noah obeyed God in building the ark, God had told him that he would send a flood. The ark was not something Noah could build in secret, it was longer than a football field, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Not something you could hide in a garage. So of course he was ridiculed, it hadn't even rained yet in the world. Well about 100 YEARS later it finally flooded. 100 years! That's a LONG wait in my opinion. Yet, "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." Gen. 6:22 He obeyed in the wait.
Then there is the story of Jonah. Jonah finally got to Nineveh and delivered God's message and then he went to sit and wait for Nineveh to be destroyed. Jonah wanted God to immediately destroy Nineveh because of their wickedness, but because of the Ninevites repentance, Jonah was sorely disappointed in his wait. He then told God, "I would rather die". (Jonah 4) Jonah was angry that he had to wait for Nineveh's destruction (it was destroyed much later). It was a sinful place and he didn't want to see God be gracious and compassionate toward them. (How often is this us? We are wronged and we want the person who wronged us to pay.) Not anything is recorded of Jonah in the Bible after his anger that God had compassion and didn't destroy Nineveh. Jonah became angry and let that anger destroy his ministry in the wait.
So am I going to be thankful that we have the opportunity to adopt from China again? I am going to be productive in our wait for TA and do the things God has already given me? Or am I going to become embittered and angry because things are not happening on my time schedule? I chose to be thankful. Thankful for our wonderful children who are in our care. Thankful that Lillyanna will join our family in HIS time. Thankful for our home. Thankful for plenty of food. Thankful for Mr. Incredible's job (though he does travel a lot). Thankful that I am the daughter of a caring Father who loves me, knows what is best for me and has my best interests at His heart. Thankful? Thankful.
But if you would like to pray for God to hurry this along, I would be thankful for that as well. :)