Friday, September 30, 2011

Fundraiser FAQ's

I've received several emails and messages today regarding this fundraiser raffle that we are doing...with people being confused as to how it works, how to support etc. I thought I'd just write it here since I'm sure others have the same questions.

Ok along our adoption journey we will be doing several fundraisers. Many of them will be local (yard sales, bake sales etc) so we decided to do a fundraiser that people all over can participate in, if they wish.

This raffle that ends tomorrow is a raffle where each ticket costs $10. You can buy 1 or however many you like. Each ticket you purchase puts your name into the bucket. So if you purchase 3 tickets for $30 your name goes into the drawing 3 times. 100% of the money raised from this raffle goes to help our family bring our 2 precious boys home from China. The total amount needed is $40,000-43,000. Yes thats enormous. But so is God. :) So we are trusting Him 100%. Along the way we will do what we can in the form of fundraising but at the end of the day...we are obviously going to need Divine help to raise $40,000 in 9 months or so.

With this raffle...tomorrow at 3pm PST we will do a drawing with our family. The first name that we draw wins an Apple iPad2. (what a great Christmas gift!!). The second name we draw will win a $200 Target gift card ($200 gift card to store of your choice for Canadians).

You may pay either by cash (locally), check, or money order, or Paypal to thewalkers2000@mac.com.

If you are paying by check or money order please either email me at thewalkers2000@mac.com or message me on facebook letting me know how many tickets you are purchasing since the drawing will occur before your payment arrives.

Our address is Dean & Janice Walker
4916 Malaga Drive
Pasco WA
99301



You can also pay by email transfer for Canadians if you email payment to my mom at vipro@rogers.com and she will forward it to me via Paypal.

I hope this clears up the questions. Feel free to email me with any more questions :)


Well...

Next week is a holiday in China so we may not hear regarding PA for "tommy" for another week. Bummer.


Tomorrow?

I have a heavy heart tonight for our baby #2. Praying for PA tomorrow. Can't wait to introduce you to total preciousness.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3 more days!

The raffle drawing is in THREE DAYS!!

$10 tickets.

Cash or Paypal (thewalkers2000@mac.com)

Prize #1 is a ipad2 16gb
Prize #2 is a $200 Target gift card (Future Shop in Canada).

All proceeds go to us bringing our babies home from China!

**1 Month ago today I first felt burdened for China...here we are one month later...in the process of adopting two little boys...!**

Communication from "Jenny"

We recently found out that Zhonghua is in a foster home run by an American lady named Jenny. When we received PA for Zhonghua we also were given Jenny's contact information. I wrote her immediately and she responded quickly. Today she sent us info and updated photos.

So here's the story. She runs a home for special needs children like a well run orphanage. But then they also take some of the babies and put them into Chinese foster homes. Literally with a mom and dad figure. That is where Zhonghua now is. He transitioned in 11/2010. We also found out he had his palate repaired 04/2011. His surgeries may need to be repaired here and thats ok.

I want to say that he is one very blessed little boy to be living in these circumstances. And we are so blessed to be able to have constant communication and updates from his caregiver. "Tommy's" situation is much much different. He is not well, he is in a very poor orphanage, we will have no communication, etc. The contrast is so extreme...yet God chose both of them to be in our family. It's a beautiful thing.

Here are some photos:

This is when he first came to the home in December 2009:
Here he is getting ready for Cleft lip surgery 9/30/2010:

His first day going to his foster family 11/3/2010


After Cleft Palate surgery 4/8/2011. Precious~ness:

And here are 4 new photos that Jenny emailed me today :




Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh my heart...!

... please meet our sweet sweet little boy. (name to come soon...hopefully ;)






PA !!!

We got the PA for Zhonghua (Ethan) today!!! Sorry for the confusion on the names...Ethan is the English name they gave him (never used) and Zhonghua is his Chinese name and to confuse matters even more we have no idea what we are naming him!!

So excited. So we can show you who our little boy is...I just have to figure out how to do this. Be prepared...he's absolutely gorgeous.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tomorrow?

I feel hopeful that we'll get a PA for Zhonghua tomorrow... We submitted LOI Wednesday...and I know they say up to 2 weeks but we are seeing many people get the PA 5-8 business days after LOI.

When the kids go to bed I find myself searching and searching online for names. This is such a difficult task for us. We have too many requirements. Must have significant meaning. Must contain a 'z'. Would prefer the name to be from the child's language since we believe their heritage is such an important part of who they are. I'm sure I have looked at every resource out there. Have a few 'maybes'...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A beautiful mess.

I think that's the best way to describe it. My emotions are raw and very near the surface. In church this morning singing "The Earth is Yours"...I broke. I saw little Tommy laying so lifeless in the 'ball pit' with his heart crying out for love and attention and thinking about how God has seen every moment of neglect. He's watched it all. Imagine how His heart has broken...

After church I met Rachel and gave her the $1000 and the moment I did, I lost it. I started to cry. Really cry. Poor Rachel had no idea why in the moment b/c I couldn't even talk. I was so overwhelmed.

As we ate lunch we talked about having your heart soft. That's where we are right now. Emotions are close to the surface. Overwhelmed with simply thankfulness. A place of surrender. Streaked faces from sudden crying episodes, constant images in our heads of 2 precious children needing us...and it feels like a beautiful mess. Mess because it feels crazy. Life just changed dramatically for us in the last few weeks. Beautiful because it's right in the center of where God wants us to be and in the mess...there is a surreal peace...and excitement to watch God work.

Your voice it thunders
The oaks start twisting
The forest sounds with cedars breaking
The waters see You and start their writhing
From the depths a song is rising

Now it's rising from the ground

Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord
The earth is Yours and singing

Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord
The earth is Yours
The earth is Yours

Your voice it thunders
The ground is shaking
The mighty mountains
Now are trembling

Creation sees You
And starts composing
The fields and trees
They start rejoicing

And now it's rising from the ground
Now it's rising from the ground
Hear us crying out
Hear us crying out

Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord
The earth is Yours and singing

Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord
The earth is Yours and singing

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Completely. Totally. Humbled.

Yardsale.

Ok. Rachel (close friend from church that is also adopting ~ the most precious little girl JossLyn from China) and I planned to do a joint yardsale just over a week ago as a fundraiser for both of our adoptions. We gave only about 5 days notice to friends. We asked that they would consider donating to us this week instead of Goodwill.

We had no idea how God would move.

Yesterday we finally got into "preparation mode" at about noon. People started dropping off bags and boxes of stuff and we had lots to go through. My neighbors Amy and Courtney came over for a few hours as well and we all sat in the driveway sorting clothing and items by size etc. We spent hours and hours. Remember how Lance and Courtney decided to donate their entire sale to ours? That became quickly...overwhelming emotionally. I don't know what you picture when someone says that but I picture 'yard sale items' as kind of junk. No no...this was unreal. A leather couch. A new playpen and stroller system, beautiful home decor, clothing, toys...it was amazing. Courtney put her two young children in their car (age 7 months and 19months) so she could just keep driving loads back and forth even though they only live 3 houses down. At one point Rachel said we "needed to come inside and refuel" and she was so right. We were exhausted. Dean had fed the kids pizza so we had a slice and then went back to work as he put the kids to bed. He came out and the three of us were making progress. He had rented tables (many...and we used every one!) and we decided to start setting up IN THE DRIVEWAY and pray that God would 'keep watch' all night. We felt we had little choice. This yard sale was rather huge and there was no way we could move it all out in the morning.

By the time our night was done both Rachel and I were emotionally spent. Seriously done. We were both ready to start crying over nothing and everything. Everything was overwhelming. We were exhausted and we knew we only had a few hours to sleep. She went home after 1am, we came inside where I made several signs and baked cookies.

We left the garage door open so we could hopefully keep any thieves at bay. Dean slept on the couch in our bedroom with the window open so he could "hear" if anyone came by. Yah right. He was snoring within seconds. I..on the other hand...jumped up at every sound. It was awful. Finally I confessed that I could not keep this stuff untouched, God had to protect it and I closed my eyes and slept.

6am came VERY fast. We got up and got out there at about 6:15 while it was barely light. A neighbor was already there and made a big purchase. No joke. Rachel arrived and we got to work with signs etc. Her husband stayed home last night with their children and baked pumpkin and banana breads for the kids sale...some friends gave freshly baked cookies as well.
We committed this sale to God and decided we would trust Him to help us in our needs. We never added up money, we just kept selling.

The donations that came in...were seriously unreal. Friends and acquaintances brought bags and van loads...of shoes and clothes and toys and furniture and everything was amazing. It was quite the set up. At about 9am we set the kids up selling cookies and breads for a quarter a piece. We had signs everywhere detailing how all the proceeds from this sale was going to bring 3 precious special needs orphans home from China. People were generous. Yes people bartered. But even in the fact that we went through DOZENS of cookies ... we couldn't believe it but they sold out of everything. I think we had 11 or 12 dozen!

Friends came by and showed their support and it was at times...crazy. We were having people switch price tags from no-name-brand shoes to top name brand shoes and being smart enough to go to Dean to pay instead of us. We had a lady steal a purse then fly off the handle when she was kindly approached that she forgot to pay. Little Zion sat at that cookie and juice table for HOURS.

At the end of the day we loaded up the suburban FULL and Rachel's truck FULL with left over clothes and toys and trucked it off to Goodwill. By 3:00 it was OVER and our yard was pretty much empty, tables folded and signs taken down.

We had no idea how much we had raised.

One day of a yardsale. We thought $1000 would be amazing. Wouldn't you? $500 for each family?

Are you ready to hear what God did? The grand total is $2580. ....

Woah.

I didn't know you could bring in that kind of money in a yardsale. Then again...maybe you can't. This was no ordinary yard sale. This was dozens of families all answering the call of not leaving 3 little children as orphans.

It was incredibly beautiful to see how God heard the cries ... of us, yes...but of three precious little people half a world away. He has heard every cry. We answered the call to rescue them from death. He moves in people's hearts to give...and look at the result.

$1430 per family. Wow.

Then... Jason and Rachel tell us their need for their next payment is just $1000 short so they will only take $1000 and the $1580 will "go to bring Tommy and Ethan home" (in her words). Ok I think my tears are going to stop working soon...

Ever have your heart so full with thankfulness you feel you could explode? Almost exhausting. No, it is exhausting. It's beautiful.

I have to share what happened tonight. I was feeling overwhelmed. And I pictured our sweet little boy laying in his crib sucking his empty bottle while he caressed his own head. I said out loud to God while driving "how can we rescue him fast enough...? He needs us now". And I looked at the radio and had the thought to turn it on. I quickly prayed God would give me something. Then I had the thought "ok ...but turn the radio off after the first song". Ok. Sure.
I turn it on and the moment it turns on this is what I hear:

"You alone can rescue...
You alone can save...
You alone can lift us from the grave.
To You alone belongs the highest praise."

Did I blink while I listened...? I'm not sure. I listened to the rest of the song and turned it off as I said I would. Oh it was so clear. We were called to rescue but we can only do it through Him. He alone can rescue.

I get goosebumps just typing this out. He's got us in the palm of His hand. Yes we stepped of that cliff but He's so close...we hear his whispers.

With hearts full and flowing over with thank-full-ness tonight...we sleep in peace. Praying for our baby boys in China. He will rescue you. Know in your little hearts that Love is here.

Here's the song "You Alone Can Rescue" by Matt Redman. (I had never heard it before).


You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise
Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own sin could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your love is deeper still
You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise
You, oh Lord, have made a way
The great divide You heal
For when our hearts were far away
[ Matt Redman Lyrics are found on www.findlyrics.com ]
Your love went further still
Yes, your love goes further still
You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise
We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes
You’re the Giver of Life
We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes
You’re the Giver of Life
Now we are more than conquerors through your deathless love
And nothing Lord will have a hold on us
You’re the saving promise, You will never fail
To You alone belongs the highest praise



1:40 am Saturday morning.

And this very tired mama is baking cookies and then headed to bed. What a day! We have been more blessed than we could have imagined. The donations that came in for the yardsale...well ... have been overwhelming.

I actually don't have a lot to say. So I'll say little.

Thank you. Our sacrifice is of thanksgiving. For You, Lord...are so good.

7am tomorrow morning the sale begins.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oh He's up to something ... MUCH bigger than me...

This story begins Wednesday.

It was a great day. We are loving school. Dean is very busy with work. In fact he came home to see if anyone wanted to go with him while he did estimates. Azahria and Zion took off with Daddy.
They didn't get home til after 7.

I was cleaning the kitchen, getting ready to put the kids to bed when I felt compelled...suddenly and extremely...compelled...to go to the computer and look at Tommy's photo. Ok let's back up. Remember in the beginning when I called Lisa and she said "have you thought of Ethan or Tommy?" and we quickly said no. She chose to send us their files anyway. I had opened Ethan's file first and knew very quickly. It was a 'long' process of a 'long' several days of us arguing with God, debating whether or not to surrender...was He REALLY asking us to do this? Now?
We looked at Tommy's file and noted some deformities with his outer ears as well as cleft lip and palate. That was it. We moved toward "Ethan" with God confirming it every step of the way.

China has recently changed it's laws regarding adoption and it is now possible to adopt two children at once. We've laughed at this thought and even verbalized (oh...be careful what you say...!) how God called us to adopt TWO the first time around...this time He was very specifically calling us only to Ethan. ...

So between that first day September 6 and Wednesday evening, September 21...there was not one thought of Tommy. None. We were completely focused on moving forward to bring Ethan or little Zhonghua into our family.

Then Wednesday night. I remember dropping the wooden spoon into the pot and moving quickly to the computer where I sat down and opened Tommy's photo. Instantly I saw a video option ...I paused and thought "weird...I never even viewed his video before...God made it so clear it was Ethan". So I opened the video. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.

A little boy laying in his crib. He's over 2 years old. He laying there with his Haberman bottle (which I used from birth to 15 months with Azlan) and drinking his milk. His other hand is caressing his head. I uncontrollably sobbed. I'm not a sobb-er. At all. I was sobbing. This little boy wanted to be touched and here he was laying in a crib caressing his own head just like you would do to your baby. The video then moves to his feet which he's kind of watching as he moves them slightly back and forth on the crib mattress. He's laying in a cloth diaper and girl's clothing (common). I'm sobbing. Then the video moves to him sitting in a ball pit (you know like in a play area where the children sit with all the bright colored balls). He's sitting just looking at the balls. Then the provider starts (gently) throwing balls at him. He looks at the ball. Doesn't smile. Looks at the provider. Who then starts throwing handfuls of balls at him. I'm crying hard and now talking to the computer saying 'stop...'. I had to pause the video as the thought hit me "what if...what if God is ....calling..." I couldn't finish it. I put my face in my hands and cried and cried. I then finished watching the video and it got worse. The provider puts him on a rocking horse and is holding him trying to rock him. He looks terrified. He is barely (if at all) holding his head up. If she let go he would fall over. Picture me putting baby Izrael (almost 7 mth) on a rocking horse. Thats about the image it was. Except this little boy is over 2 years old. He then starts to cry and she taps his hand to get him to stop. I can barely see the video at this point b/c I'm crying so much. It ends with him laying in his crib, sucking on his Haberman bottle.

I clean my face. Dry my eyes. 20 minutes later Dean walks in. I'm noticeably "streaked-face". We talk and I cannot even get the words out. I know what's going on. I tell him "God's doing something...can we really do this?" Dean just looks at me and smiles.

We go one with our night. I had a business call. Dean put the 6 children to bed. I fed Izrael and put her to bed. He typed up several estimates.

Then we sat down to watch the video. Immediately it hit me again and I'm crying.

We talk. We agree this seems significant. We discuss how maybe God is letting us know He has more plans for the future. We discuss the video. Dean talked about how touched he was watching it. We talk about how strange it is that we never even viewed the video before...then it hit me. I went and looked up the video. It was brand new. Uploaded just 6 days ago. Oh now it's making sense....I was compelled to view his photo...to see a new video that was just posted....?

Dean went to bed, I stayed up to read. Job is done. Jeremiah. Amos and Proverbs. Tonight I didn't want to read. Have you ever been there? You don't want God to speak ... yet you don't want Him NOT to speak. I didn't want to read and see nothing...and I didn't want to read and get a very clear answer specific to Tommy. I wanted to be blank.

So I opted to read. I prayed "God please show us yes or no. Clearly. We don't want to go through the "10 day process" again of praying, crying, seeing dots, being confused as to whether to connect them or not...please just tell us yes or no."

Proverbs 24. 24 days ago I started this book. God knew back then where we would be today. Nothing 'just so happened'. 24 days ago we didn't have a clue. 24 days later I'm praying "God please show us yes or no".

Prov 24. verse 3 and 4.

By wisdom (fear of the Lord ~ according to Job) a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with
rare and beautiful treasures.

I stopped and pictured our house a year from now. 8 children...maybe 9...? Rare and beautiful treasures. Isn't that beautiful? 4 of them being orphans. Castaways. Fatherless. And He turns them in rare and beautiful treasures? I loved this. I sat and enjoyed it.

verse 11 jumped out almost 3D.

Rescue those being led away to death,
hold back those staggering towards slaughter.
If you say "but we knew nothing about this"
does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who guards your life, know it?
Will He not repay each person according to what He has done?

I don't think I was breathing. I read it again. Closed by Bible. Quickly. Opened it. Quickly. Read it again. Was it really there or did I just imagine that? I have read this book dozens of times. This passage seemed literally written for us. Right now. For Tommy.

If you saw this video...you would know. He looks like he's dying. We are arguing with God that "we knew about Ethan..but we didn't know about Tommy". Doesn't the One who guards our life, already know? Did we have to know? He knows. That's all the matters.

I jumped up off the couch and read it to Dean. He was out of it. I closed my Bible and began to pray.

I dreampt many times about little Tommy. I even dreampt about us picking him up in China and we put the cutest little beanie hat on his head.

Dean was gone early the next morning. I still had puffy eyes that were even bloodshot...remember I sobbed a lot the night before. I wrote my friend Wendy. And Amanda. They both knew. Wendy said something that really hit me. I had told her I was so scared of God asking us to something crazy. First of all she said "um Janice...8 children already IS crazy in most people's minds!" True. We are a controlled 7. It's good. Life is good. We can totally do 8. 9 makes us insane. And 9 all ages 8 and under makes us plain ... crazy. She said this to me..."don't you already know your answer if God has made it clear to you?". Yes I did. What was I fighting? My commitment is 'yes Lord'. Yes You have stretched my faith beyond where I thought it was. But isn't that what faith is? If I could see and predict the future...how is that faith? No faith is jumping out to the unseen...knowing there are the biggest, strongest hands right underneath you. But not close enough that you can feel them. No our feet can't feel them. It feels like we just stepped off a cliff...but we know He's right there. The moment that we slip we'll feel them.

So last night after the kids went to bed we talked. I showed Dean the verses from the night before and he read them. And read them again. He said "this is incredible". It was such a clear answer. We couldn't miss it. God's answer was quick, clear and concise. "Rescue him from death. Yes I know you didn't know this or plan this. I did. I guard your life and I knew it. I will repay you. "

I told him Lifeline required a document filled out to request another child. Before I gave it to him we watched the video again. I started it and oh my goodness...it hit me...his Haberman bottle was empty. He is laying in his bed...caressing his little head...sucking like crazy...on an empty bottle. I felt like I was going to be sick. I stopped the video and went in the bathroom for a good cry. I have seen a lot of sad, horrific sights regarding children. I've had to step over starving orphans in Africa. God was giving me something more for Tommy. I've never been so emotionally affected. Rescue him from death.

I closed the computer. We filled out the document.

We just found out that Ethan is in a foster home. This all makes sense now. He's not in the social welfare institute. He's in a home run by an American caretaker. Ahhh. That's where his happy demeanor comes from. It gets better....as soon as we get the PA for him we will be in direct contact with the American lady running the home. We can get regular updates and and have regular communication though the entire process. How beautiful is that?

Last night in Amos 4. Verse 13.
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He who turns dawn to darkness and treads the high places of the earth~the Lord God Almighty is His name.

That stopped me in my tracks. No matter what God shows us there's always that human reasoning that slips in. "Has God realllly said...?" And then I read this. This one that created all things...also reveals His thoughts to man. Ahhh.

This morning we woke with a mix of peace and anxiety. Yes. I said that. Constant surrender in this house :) Dean went and did his reading and he came back to show me what God showed him.

Psalm 50.
Verse 1.

The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and He has spoken.

Wow. Stop questioning. Have peace. He's spoken.

Dean woke this morning with thoughts on his mind about concerns for our future. Financially. For when the boys come home. And God answered.

Verse 7 .... I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offering you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns...
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are Mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird on the mountains and all the animals of the fields are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is Mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you.
And you will give Me the glory.

Wow.

He is so good. So good to give us clear answers. He doesn't need us to stress about money. It's all His. And what does He want from us? Thankfulness. We thought about that. Thankfulness requires faith and peace.

It reminded us of Jonah 2.
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of THANKSGIVING will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord.

LOI is submitted for Tommy this morning. I surrender.


...The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and He has spoken.




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wow.

I was talking to Lisa today from the agency and she said our Zhonghua's file has been with them SO long, long before they had this special connection with Maoming Orphanage. Ok...when you see his beautiful face I think you'll agree...why? As far as 'special needs' go there's a lot more severe needs and they get matched very quickly. Lisa said "oh Janice...he was waiting for you".

Melt.

Proverbs 24.

In my reading last night (now in Proverbs, Amos and Jeremiah) Proverbs 24. verse 3 and 4 caught my attention.

By wisdom (I've been reading a TON about wisdom....Proverbs, Job and Jeremiah. But Job concludes wisdom is the 'fear of the Lord...plain and simple' ) a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

I stopped and really thought about our beautiful children that God has given us. Rare and beautiful treasures. Some people will look at us as crazy...and well crazy. Having 8 children age 8 and under...travelling around the world for 3 of them. Being multi-cultural...some even having special needs. But we see them as 'rare and beautiful treasures'. So does God. That made my heart sing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Next Step.

So the next step is homestudy. I'm supposed to be getting a call today to get that started.

We are working on our big yardsale for this Saturday. The kids are SO excited. Mainly b/c they know their Mama doesn't like doing yardsales so this is a first in years! :) Secondly because they are doing a cookie and lemonade stand to raise money for little Zhonghua too and they LOVE that.

Two nights ago the kids were setting the table for dinner. I had made lasagna. I asked Chazano to put a hot pad in the middle of the table. He asked what it was for so I told him "the lasagna". I heard a ton of whispers and excitement going on but didn't ask any questions. I went to sit down at the table and the eager eyes and especially...Zion...was a bit much so I asked what they were waiting for. Zion said "Chazano said you said this hot pad is for little Zhonghua and we are so excited to meet him tonight". Ok. I was laughing so hard and trying to explain that no, no...LASAGNA. Zion said "you mean that dinner thing??" umm...yah. I have to admit it did sound similar. ;)

Our neighbors and friends read this blog a few nights ago and decided to donate their entire yard sale to ours for the adoption. I cried. See it's each of you that are playing such a huge role in bringing our little boy home. God uses so many people to make it happen. To Lance and Courtney...from the bottom of our hearts...thank you.

Patiently waiting for the PA and super excited to be able to show you all who you have been reading about!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The power of one.

I don't know if you feel this way but I do sometimes. You know when people have a LOT of money to raise (whether it's a school, church, family etc) and you feel that your measly little contribution of $5 or $10 or $20 is like a tiny drop in the bucket...? I feel that way often. Because I can't give "a lot" I often fall into the trap of giving nothing.

Isn't that where we are missing it?

It's not about 'saving the world' and giving everything...but think of the power if we ALL gave a LITTLE.

I mean let's stretch it a bit...imagine if your entire community contributed $1. Just four quarters to something. That's totally doable right? I mean that doesn't hurt. We can scrounge that up around the house...in the car...under the cushions of the couch (in my house anyway :)
Now think about your community. What is the population? 13,000? 225,000 (TriCities is). Do the math.
$13,000 ???
$225,000???

Wow! What made the huge impact? It wasn't one family giving all. It was everyone giving a tiny, seemingly insignificant amount. $1.

Could your $10 make a difference in bringing little Zhonghua home? Yes...a huge difference. Why? Because it's the power of one.

There's ELEVEN days left of our raffle fundraiser. Can you be a very important piece in bringing an orphan home to a forever family? Not every family is called to adopt. But we can all do our part in bringing them home and not leaving them as orphans.

Paypal to THEWALKERS2000@MAC.COM to buy tickets. $10 each.

Spread the news at your office. Your friends.

First prize is a 16GB iPad2

Second prize is a $200 TARGET gift card (Future Shop in Canada).

The real prize...is a little boy's life forever changed because of your contribution.


And we wait!

LOI is being submitted to CHINA! Our doctor called us at 8am this morning saying the file was ready. Dean picked it up...there were a few things missing, thankfully we caught it b/c we are told it wouldn't have been accepted. (Our doctor had to fix it now THREE times...as he kept referring to Dean as HER in the letter. Seriously. THREE times :) Now it's sent to the agency and we are praying for a quick PA! Baby Zhonghua...we are coming!

Oh...and I joined a yahoo group for the orphanage where Zhonghua is and I found a lady that is traveling there in December for her child. She said she would LOVE to take gifts to Zhonghua and take photos of him for us! Most importantly she said she'd be honored to pray over our little boy. How awesome is that??

Monday, September 19, 2011

Almost ready...!

To submit LOI! The doctor called today and the bloodwork results are all there he just needed the head physician's signature on the paperwork and we'll be picking it up and submitting it to our agency tomorrow. Then we wait for a PA (pre-approval)...and when we get that...you all get to see our beautiful little boy!


Speaking of Azlan...

Many of you have never seen Azlan pre-surgery. I thought I'd put a few pictures on of his first weeks of life. There has never been a baby more loved than this one. Melt. My. Heart.
Azlan Honor...for such a time as this...?















Sunday, September 18, 2011

A must read.

This is simply the best-written post I've ever seen on adoption. It's a must read. She says it better than we could.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Virtual Fundraiser starting NOW! :)

So we are doing a virtual fundraiser that's ... FUN! :) Virtual b/c we have so many friends all over North America. Please pass it on to friends of yours. Feel free to copy and paste this note. If you are a friend of mine on facebook check out the NOTE I just made on my profile page.

Starting today...drawing will be in TWO WEEKS on October 1.

Raffle tickets are $10 each. Each ticket obviously puts your name in the bucket for a drawing.

100% goes to bring our little boy home from China. (except to cover cost of prizes).

GRAND PRIZE: Apple iPad2 16GB in your choice of black or white!
SECOND PRIZE: $200 gift card to TARGET ($200 gift card to Future Shop for Canadians!)

How to participate? Simply paypal $10 for each ticket you wish to purchase to: THEWALKERS2000@MAC.COM. Specify the amount you are purchasing and make sure your address is entered so the winner can receive their prize in the mail.

We think this is a fun way to raise money to bring our baby home...and with Christmas right around the corner...who doesn't need free Christmas gifts?? :)

Thank you for reading and please pass the message on.

My Heart.

I really want to express this. When we were going through the African adoption many people would say "ohhhhh I get it, it's because Dean's sister..." and both of us would be like "no, no...that's not it at all!" Yes it's true, God used her to call us etc etc. But it could have been a complete stranger that made that 'random statement' and it would have been God's answer. It's the same thing this time...people automatically say "oh... yes Janice finally gets her cleft baby!". Again...no, no, that's not it at all. God was totally gracious to give me the desire of my heart (while stretching me way out there at the same time). If this story was the same and this little boy had a heart defect or shorter limbs or deafness or blindness...the story would have still had the same ending. This is not about Janice and Dean having a desire to adopt a cleft baby and going on a search and finding one cute and falling in love and .. .and .. and...NO....none of that.

If you really knew the struggle we had for several days before we submitted to God ... you would know. We cried, talked, prayed, said 'no'....said "yes...not now'....said 'ok we'll think about it, leave us alone!' said "what .?!?! NO!"

Yes he's beautiful. Yes I get up every morning and stare at his picture. Yes I dream of the day I hold him in my arms and tell him he's home. Yes...but that was not my or our..immediate answer. Not even close.

See when God called us to Chazano and Zunduka it was a major struggle. We wanted an infant. Cleft lip and palate. ONLY ONE and perhaps a girl. It was nothing to do with Dean's sister and connections. It was such a clear call from God that we plunged in, surrendering our ideals. And you have no idea how glad we are in hindsight that He called us. The boys are precious, absolutely. Has it been easy? Not even close. I've often described the process like having open heart surgery...while I was awake. And I watch the surgeon take my heart and before my eyes open it up and reveal all the ugliness within. Yes...that's one of the things we had to go through. Open heart surgery on ourselves. Then there were the adjustments and no-so-adjustments. Then there were the rivalry issues between the boys and Azlan. Then there were the serious RAD issues that make you want to scream no matter how 'text book' it is! School...it was a nightmare so we canned it all. I cannot even sort of express how many times I went to the bathroom and cried to a Father that promised NEVER to leave me..."please don't leave me now!". I cannot express how many times I looked up and cried "I'm so glad you called us b/c this is Yours...!"

Though the world sees and soon forgets...we will not forget who you are and what You've done for us...!

Now to this adoption. I requested a packet of info 2 months ago from a domestic agency. Adopt a newborn right from the hospital. Bliss. We quickly decided we do not have the money and it's not the right time and we put it away. That was it. We thought 'someday' but who knows when. Maybe when Izrael is 2 or 3 years.

The beautiful part about little Zhonghua's story (one of the beautiful parts) is that God in all His love and total graciousness...while stretching us beyond where we thought we could go....(China? Now? A 2 year old boy?) gave us the desire of our hearts. If this little boy did not have a cleft...we would still be where we are today...working like crazy to get this process completed. It was His call. His choice. I am completely overjoyed that He chose us to be the parents of this precious precious child. His smile melts my heart. Think about what that means to you...then multiply it by 100. Melts my heart. Azlan Honor is a gift that keeps giving. He changed my heart. He changed my eyes. He changed so many people around us to see deeper. To love more genuinely. To empathize.

Because of Azlan we have become great friends with a family in Pakistan. Their little baby born with the same condition as Azlan. They call me "Dr. Janice" (Yah...imagine?) because (I say this so humbly) they credit me for their child's health. They didn't know how to feed her. They didn't know why she had pneumonia. They didn't know how to prevent ear infections. And in a weird way that I still haven't figured out, she found my message on a cleft message board that I posted on ONE TIME ever and never went back...and emailed me. Little Ezzah is thriving today.

Because of Azlan...my heart beats harder for our little Zhonghua. He has a medical team that we clawed our way to after 3 years of nonsense in Seattle. He has a speech team that we clawed our way to for FOUR YEARS. He'll have an easy diagnosis of Goldenhar Syndrome after we begged for help for 2 years for Azlan knowing there was more. He'll have a road of choices with his hearing that we had to BEG for 18months in Seattle to PLEASE TAKE US SERIOUSLY because we knew our child had hearing loss.

Did God give us Azlan "for such a time as this"...?

Oh You are so good. We are humbled to answer Your call.

Knowing there is a little boy a world away waiting for his forever mommy and daddy...that God has handpicked us for...there is a serious sense of urgency to bring him home.

Fundraiser plans are in high gear. We will not leave you as an orphan our precious little Zhonghua. (considering keeping his name....)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Things that make you go 'hmmmm'




Take a look at this picture. This was taken in December 2008. This is a photo of our entry in our house. I've always wanted to do this...it's "WELCOME" in many different languages. The other night Dean and I were sitting in our office talking when I looked out and saw all the languages. I stopped, mid sentence and said "look at the wall Dean...look at the first line..." and I just sat a little stunned. When we had this wall done we had 4 young children, Azahria was 8 months old. We had NO idea of what lay ahead of us regarding future children and especially adoption!! Well the word on the top right is in the LUVALE language....that is Chazano and Zunduka's language. Yes we had that one done b/c of Dean's sister living in Zambia African and speaking Luvale. We did NOT know, however, that we would someday have 2 sons....that have Luvale as their native language and now have Luvale names! The first word on the left...is Mandarin. We certainly did not know we would have little boy from China.

Hmmmmm..

I got teary eyed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Planning fundraising.

With a friend. Which makes it so much more fun. My good good friend Rachel and her husband are adopting a little girl from China. She is sooooo beautiful. Little JossLynn (think I spelled it right). So her and I are going to team up and do fundraising together on the weekends. Next weekend we are doing a yard sale at our house. We are taking donations (you know...things you were going to give to Goodwill) and the kids will do a cookie/lemonade stand as well.

We were updated that the first agency payment is not due til the PA is received...therefore about 3 weeks from now.

Dean and I have follow up doc appts today to get the test results of our TB test. Yes we have to drive everyone to the doc for them to look at our arm and tell us it's not swollen. Lovely.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Almost ready to submit LOI

We spent the morning at the doctor's office today. I know, no big deal...and it wasn't...except we do it with 7 young children :) So I spent a few hours there...getting a physical for the adoption. TB test, bloodwork and all the normal stuff. Then Dean went in for his. So 9am - 12:30 we were there.

The good news we are almost ready to submit the LOI to China! Did criminal background checks today so we are just waiting on the blood work to come back as well as get a neighbor to snap a family pic and Dean to get a passport photo taken. Then we wait! (Well actually after talking to Amanda today I'll probably go ahead and get started on other things to save us time later).

At the lab this morning, Zion said "mama do you know we have 7 kids and soon we'll have 8?" I smiled then he said "little Zhonghua makes 8...I cannot WAIT!!!" :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We've come a long ways in just 2 weeks.

We went from a very heavy burden on my heart for China (out of the blue) to arguing with God about the timing factor and the craziness of it all...to surrendering to God's plan and finding total peace and now excitement. Several times a day I open our little boy's file and just sit and stare at him. I reread his story and tonight I got teary eyed.

We have a lot to do before we go to China and get our little boy ... but I cannot wait.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Paperwork.

The application is now complete as well as the "christian questionnaire" (it's a Christian agency). We are faxing that in now.

The LOI will be ready early next week as all paperwork is complete just have to get Dean to get a passport pic, a family pic snapped including little miss Izrael, and our medical exams which are booked for Monday and Tuesday!

Here we go! Can't wait until I can post photos and possible a name (got some work to do on that one) of our special little boy!

Update on our little boy.

We asked Lisa if anyone has recently visited the orphanage and if there are updates on little Zhong Hua. Well here they are:

(notice the mention of ear tags...hmmm...we already figured that one out...;)

Quoted email below:


I can give you the information that I have from Dr. Chambers... this is by word of mouth only. Dr. Chambers did not have a file or initial paperwork to go off of so she was unable to give a clear idea to his situation. She says he is a sweet boy. Lily also says he looks good. We currently do not have pictures of him.

Ethan:
- Potentially syndromic (only because the initial diagnosis had multiple things)
(**added by me~seems as if Goldenhar Syndrome is being referred to here...it took almost 2 years for Seattle Children's to diagnose Azlan with this...**)
- Cleft- repaired but not well (because they did three at once)
- Ear tags

The children.

Last night at the dinner table Zion kept asking about "zhongwa" in his words :) So I looked at Dean, got the nodd and told them. It was the best moment ever. Everyone was giving high 5's but Zion was frozen. His eyes were wide and he kept saying "really, mama??" he was so excited it was so so sweet. Then he very quickly said "Can I go to China with you...? I would love to see all the babies in the orphanage..." He is the heart and soul of this family without a doubt.

There is so much more peace in this home right now you wouldn't believe it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The truth.

Don't you really want to read the truth? I try to be transparent. What help would this story be to another family going through this journey if they didn't know the whole truth? I really struggled with that while blogging our African adoption journey...it was raw, real and unedited. Well let's start there this time as well.

Have you ever been attacked? Like spiritually?

The last four days have been odd. Then weird. Then just plain awful. Last night I lost it. Dean lost it. We both completely lost it. Nothing to do with the adoption. Then all of a sudden through the tears Dean said "I think I'm under attack..." and though I didn't want to entertain the thought in my moment of anger that someone else could be to blame here...it hit me too. This was all happening the night before we had a HUGE decision to make. And looking back over the last four days...it was a build up. This wasn't just a decision either..it was a call to answer.

In my total frustration and outright anger...I stopped and realized...this was the final proof we were in the right place. When you step out in total obedience and faith...you also become a target for the enemy. While it was sad and I was in no way happy with what had just happened...it was confirmation.

Now to put our guard up higher and be on high alert.

So I called a few friends today...friends currently in the process of international adoption as well...and asked them if they went through this. They absolutely had. And one friend said it was so bad they almost changed their minds regarding the adoption of the precious child God so clearly gave them...and then they realized...'oh wait...this is an attack'. Knowledge is power...when you know what's causing it you can fight the battle.

Oh it's feeling like chaos alright...God bring your Peace to our family. If you are reading this blog, I ask you to pray for us when God brings you to mind. That He will protect us and our family. That He will provide at every level, every step of the way. That He will hold this little boy in the palm of His hand.

~it's begun. A mound of paperwork on my desk. A child's face never far from my mind to help me get through it. And a realization that over $1900 is due when we submit this first packet (that we will be ready to submit early next week). ...? No I will not panic. .. I will remember every miracle He gave to bring Chazano and Zunduka home. You're up to something...bigger than me..

To little Mao Zhong Hua, you sweet sweet child...my heart aches for you. May you feel the love of a Dad that has never ever turned His face from you as you live your day today. He's heard every cry...every single one...

Update from Lifeline

There were concerns about us having 7 children age 7 and under (yes that sounds pretty crazy...) and little Zhong Hua would make #8 age 8 and under. So it took some time to run that by the China coordinator and we got a green light.

Now on to booking Doctor appts for physical exams for Dean and I and getting to work on that LOI (letter of intent). We hope to announce the adoption once we get the PA and at that point we are free to publish our little boy's photo and story. (about 2 weeks after we sent LOI to China).

I am still in shock. Woah. Talk about a crazy 9 days.

The Tuesday.

I called Lisa (our Lifeline Coordinator). She asked where we were and what we thought about Ethan. I told her that God has made it extremely clear that he is our child. She was totally in shock. She kept saying "WHAT?!?! You said absolutely not you were only looking at a little girl" :) Yah. Well. This journey is not going to be about me. I need to realize that right now. :)

So I faxed her the income document and she will talk to the China coordinator and make sure we are a go with that and then we will get started on the Application (yes we have not done an agency application yet), the documents about our faith and then the LOI (Letter of Intent). This is the first thing that goes to China. When it is approved we are granted a PA (preliminary approval) from China and this little boy known as Ethan will be locked in as our child until the process is completed.

There is a surreal amount of peace. I shouldn't be surprised.

Last night. The night before the day.

Ahhh finally Monday night. Meaning finally Tuesday is around the corner and we are ready for it.

I went out and played soccer with Zion, Azlan, Zunduka, Chazano and Tirzah. Ok I really played soccer. They gave me no breaks and well...they are 5 and 6 and I'm not. When we were done (err I was done) I was really done. I went up to Zion and said "do you dare me to jump in the pool?" His eyes got huge. You have to know Zion. I could tell this would be a memory that would last FOREVER if his mommy jumped in the pool at 7:30 at night with all my clothes on. He nodded without saying a word, his eyes the size of quarters. I didn't hesitate I just went for it. The squeals and screams and faces...I won't forget. :) One by one they joined me screaming with delight. Still looking at me like "is this for real...Mommy is letting us jump in with all our clothes on>...?" (that IS an extra load of laundry...;) It was funny to see mr.cautious and particular leave his shirt on but go change into his swimsuit .. Zunduka ;)

We came and I'm getting them all ready for bed. hearing the voices was the cutest thing ever. "Can you believe Mama did that?" ... "that was the best night ever" "I didn't think she was really going to do it, did you?" :)

At bed time the boys wanted to pray for Zhong Hua. This is the little boy. They had seen his file on my computer and asked about him. In the photos he has an open cleft lip and we have educated our children on this since Azlan was born with it. It was precious watching them look at the photos and see their reaction. When I told them he was left in a shoe box on the steps of a building as a new new baby...I seriously thought Zion was going to cry. I said he has a tummy mommy but she left him. Seriously it was quite a moment watching them process and then say "but Azlan was born like that and we never left him". So at bedtime they wanted to pray for him. So I did. I couldn't even get words out. I felt so much emotion. All I prayed is that in his little heart you would give him the peace of knowing he is sooo loved. That You've seen him from the first moment he opened his eyes and You've never rejected him. When we were done, Zunduka put his hands behind his head (you'd have to know Duka this is such a him thing to do) and flopped back on his pillow and said "I know what he needs mama" and I said "who needs?" he said "the little boy in China..." I said "oh...what does he need?" He looked up at me...took a huge sigh in Duka-fashion and said "he needs us. He needs us Mama". I kissed them all and walked out.

Zion was sleeping with Azahria so I went in to them and prayed. Zion said very pointedly "mama lets adopt him" I said "Zion thats really sweet that you care for him like that, why don't you pray about it and ask God if we should" he looked at me without hesitation and said "oh no Mama God has already said 'yes'" .. huh?? I said "Really...?" he said "yes because He loves all the childs (thats how he said it...not children...childs...) so much. He loves him. I know He wants us to adopt him." I kissed him too and turned off the light.

In Dean's OY Bible reading yesterday he told me he read somethings that really applied to my whole "I wish I could see" aka "wish I didn't have to go by faith" :)...
2 Corinthians 4: 18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Ok looking back over the last 9 days...when we would talk and challenge the notion of if God would really ask us to move so fast. Oh He took those quiet whispers and subtle hints and turned them into a voice so loud we'd be deaf not to hear Him. ...

He's up to something bigger than me (us)...

It feels like chaos...yet somehow there's Peace...

Monday, September 5, 2011

hmmm.

Jonah 2:8

Those who cling to worthless idols...forfeit the grace that could be theirs.


Today I'm in Jeremiah. Hmmmm...

Jeremiah 2:11

Has a nation ever changed its gods?
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.


Hmmm..

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Speak, Lord.

Your servant is listening.

Yesterday I called Amanda again in chaos. I can't get this song out of my head...I just keep hearing ''Whatever You're doing ... inside of me...it feels like chaos yet somehow there's peace..." We are still trying to piece it all together...we are seeing signs but this is a big decision that needs to be made fast. Could God really be asking us to do this NOW?. What she said gave me so much clarity. She said "it's not about the timing. Maybe you shouldn't be focused on the timing: Is God asking us to MOVE NOW...maybe you should be asking 'is God telling us this is our little boy?' b/c if this is your child...then you have to move now". The peace that brought was remarkable. I shared it with Dean and it helped him too. We should be praying about this boy...not about the timing.

Also I was reading a friend's blog who just returned home from China tonight with her 2 little children they just adopted. The blog is called "have you heard the salt". I must ask her b/c I have NO idea what it means. However...last night especially I kept hearing "have you heard the salt?" over and over and over. At one point I was cleaning the master bathroom and I remember stopping...looking up and saying "I have ZERO idea what this means...so you are going to have to spell it out for me...SALT!??!"


... Fast forward to this morning...

As we walk into church we were handed our notes AND...are you ready...A SALT PACKET! I'm not joking. I looked at Dean and said "ok you have got to be kidding me..." not b/c of the confusion of a packet of salt on my way to church but b/c of this line that would not stop coming to me last night about 'have you heard the salt'....Pastor Dave explained that the salt was to be used as a reminder this week to stop and pray. So I have a packet of salt in my pocket and this is much more than coincidental. God...seriously...You take a weak, often faithless person and You graciously...graciously show up time and time again..

A big part of my battle with God this week has been "I just wish I could see". I know it's always the battle when you are asked ot step out in faith. I'm a missionary's kid...so I grew up watching my parents living day to day never knowing how next month's mortgage was going to be paid. I'm sure I determined sometime in those young years that I wouldn't be a missionary b/c well...living 'by faith' ... is a little stressful sometimes. It's SO much easier to live a life that you can 'see' what lies ahead. Predictable. Safe. Secure. Ahh. Bliss. See... we planned on adopting again. If you asked us (many many people have...) "are you done" a few weeks ago...we would have said "well we see another adoption a few years down the road. But see this adoption would have been different. God called us ONCE to go totally blind...by faith and wow that was a crazy road. We passed that test right? So next time would have been the comfy route. Work hard. Save up a ton of money. And sacrificially take that money and adopt. A newborn. Avoid a lot of issues, especially RAD. ahh. Bliss. But wait...what...? You are really calling us to another trek out in faith? Just trust you and go? Just jump in...? No idea where the funding will come from. No idea about much...Just trust You? I just want to see...show me a glimpse of how You are going to provide. Show me the final picture so I can look back and go "ah not a problem, it's going to be great...let's do this". No He's asking us to step out in faith...

We walked into church half way through a song...and the first full song we heard was..."Be Thou My Vision". I didn't even look at Dean. I didn't sing. I sat, feeding baby Izrael. With a lump in my throat, my eyes watering...I could see my Father looking down, smiling.

God was answering my cry. I AM your vision. I AM your eyes. You cannot see. I can. Use my eyes. Trust Me.

Ahhhh.

Pastor Dave spoke this morning on Esther. I was sitting with baited breath to see if he was going to use the verse God gave me weeks ago...but he didn't. Instead he spoke about it without mentioning that particular verse. (but he referred to Jonah, Job and Galations...hmmmm). A book all about God and His hand...with no mention of Him. But don't think He wasn't there and that it's not His works you are reading about. It is all God. He orchestrated all these events that may have appeared like 'coincidence' if you didn't look with faith...you could say "oh look at that...funny!" or you could see it from God's eyes...WOW.


Regarding this little boy...
it's all happened so fast..
~.the way God poked me last Sunday regarding China and a cleft child
~the way I, out of desperation, called Amanda and went for coffee to talk.
~The way she said it was so much like her call to China...her surrender.
~How she asked me about Lifeline. (I had never heard of the agency)
~How that night I went on the waiting list...saw no one for us (looking for a girl!)...
~I called Lisa (from Lifeline) the next morning asking about a little girl with a cleft on a different waiting list...she says no that's only offered to families deep into the adoption process, I tell her we are looking for a girl and she says "have you thought of Ethan or Tommy" I said 'no'. She said "let me just send you their files...look at them and pray" I told her that's fine but we feel strongly about a girl.
~I look at Ethan's file and I could not stop staring at him. I read his story several times. I immediately say to Dean...with scoliosis I wonder if he has Goldenhar Syndrome like Azlan....
~I view his video. I viewed it several times. I viewed it Friday evening AGAIN and the video ENDS with a close up shot of his left ear (he's walking away and the shot ends on his ear...) and I stopped in my tracks. I could see ear tags on his ear. Oh. My. Goodness. He does have Goldenhar. He has the same exact diagnosis as our son. He likely has hearing loss. (Azlan is 100% deaf in his rt ear). My heart was pounding and I felt like God had just hit me over the head with "ARE YOU LISTENING??". Just to make it clear he is NOT diagnosed with Goldenhar.
~His medical file states that he basically has a mysterious assymetrical thoracic cavity. Today I googled that. I have no idea was a 'thorax' is (Sorry all I could think of was the giant LORAX painted on my playroom wall...) and see it's the midsection of the body. I thought...hmmm...I'm sure that's related to Goldenhar. Yes it is. It's one of the symptoms and Azlan has it too. Further confirming the diagnosis. Could God have given us Azlan...for such a time as this?
~He even has this happen over Labor Day wknd so guess what...we don't have the 72 hours to hold his file...we have 5 days as everything is closed til Tuesday. (and He knows how much time we needed!)
~Oh and just to be sure we emailed our accountant to request a letter for the agency stating income (there are income requirements for China adoptions) and this man is amazing but busy. And slow. We usually call him 5 times before anything every gets done. The very next morning he called me! I told him what we needed and he asked (as expected) "Can I do this next week?" I said 'sure'. 30 minutes later my fax rang and he had already faxed me the letter...!



Pastor Dave ended with these three points:
-Watch. (see what is happening, see God in the events...is He speaking to you?)
-Pray.
-Move. (Step out in faith...take action to what He's asking you to do)

It's interesting to add that our church is one week behind. This message was spoken live LAST SUNDAY...we hear it a week later. Last week it wouldn't have had the impact it did today.

My heart immediately softened and all I whispered was "Ok Lord..." and immediately I heard "Speak Lord, your servant is listening". (Samuel).

Last Sunday it was soft whispers. Things that made me go 'hmmmm'. The whispers grew as the week went on. There are no whispers now. God is speaking loud and clear.

I never once thought during the message about this being for Dean. I was only applying it to my own heart. So when we talked after church I was surprised to see how much the message was an answer for him. He said it was as direct as you can get seeing as we had JUST talked about 'signs' and 'dots' and how to connect them. He said tonight that he was seeing this as a very strong 'yes' by Saturday night but after the message...it was pretty crystal clear. I asked about the 'big moment' in our African adoption being how his sister had called us out of the blue mentioning needing a family to adopt the twins...just a few days after we had surrendered to God and asked Him to drop it in our lap if it was from Him. This was a huge 'to top it off moment' of all the things God has given us in the last 7 days. I asked him what he thought of the three final points: Watch, Pray and Move..he looked at me blank and said "I never heard that!!" I knew he hadn't. He was holding Izrael and I was pretty sure he was distracted. So that was a cool moment to tell him how the message ended with a very direct: WATCH, PRAY and MOVE.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

New blog name.

The blog WAS named "Oh, I refuse" and while that song played a huge part in speaking to us...the one that has not left us for days is "Whatever You're doing ... inside of me" by Sanctus Reale. Particularly for me "It feels like chaos yet somehow there's Peace" so it seemed only fitting to change the name.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ok...I might actually be speechless.

Tonight I re-viewed the video of this little boy....

His cleft lip is repaired (I must admit, I was disappointed...yes of course we would repair it but I'd love to embrace that wide smile one more time...) and at the end of the video he comes very close and I...watched...and grabbed the computer and brought it to Dean and said "look at his ear!".

I'm not sure words were needed. His ear has lumps or 'ear tags' on it just like Azlan's.

I had come to the guess that he has Hemifacial Microsomia like Azlan based on his appearance and the Scoliosis. But the ear tags would pretty much confirm it. And may indicate hearing loss and I'm being honest here...my heart started POUNDING.

Could God have laid this very heavily on my heart...have me need a friend to pour out to...arrange the coffee with Amanda...the discussion about Lifeline Agency...the look on the waiting list...the talk with Lisa...her asking me if I looked at this little boy (I said 'no we want a girl') she said "let me just send you his file..."...the review of the file...the connection...the peace...the song...my quick response to His prompting...to see this little boy at just the right time....the first file we have ever viewed...and he has the same exact diagnosis as Azlan Honor...??? All the way to the ear tags and maybe possible hearing loss?

A few weeks ago while reading my Bible I completely stopped in my tracks in Esther...with the verse Esther 4:14
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

I couldn't seem to leave the verse. I told Dean and we discussed what maybe God was telling me...we didn't know.

Was He saying that all we've been through with Azlan...was for such a time as this...?


Ahhh. Tonight Dean and I stepped outside and I looked up. I immediately felt small. You ever do that? Look up. Suddenly we are just a people. Just a people on a planet on a continent on a...on a...on a... on a street....in a house. Just a people. And God really speaks to us? And God really orchestrates the details of our lives? And half a planet away...a little boy. Born unloved by his mommy and daddy. Left in a shoe box on a step downtown. ....

I can't even finish it.

I might actually be speechless.

Oh the chaos...

inside of me. What a strange ride we are on. Again.

So this morning when I wake up...Dean says "I had a dream..." and he proceeds to tell me about his dream of seeing an abandoned baby in a dumpster. And how everyone was looking at this baby but did nothing. You couldn't help b/c the child still had parents. He felt so helpless...

And then he said.. "I woke up singing part of the song you had in your head all day yesterday but a different part....it was "You're up to something ... bigger than me..."

Ok this is all very significant. We had JUST been talking about why is God speaking to me and not to him. Why is this so common in adoption that God speaks to the wife long before the husband. And because this was so not in our plans right now he said "I really want God to speak to me...I'm willing to obey...I just want to hear Him..."

So that's where it was left. Pray. Wait. See what God has in store.

On the contrary I woke up blank. Noticeably silent on the inside. It was an odd contrast to the last several days of being poked.

Then there's the emergency call I made to my friend Amanda to meet me for late night coffee. Where I promptly poured out my heart and we laughed and cried together. I just had to explode on someone with all this 'chaos inside of me'. I always said "we'll adopt from any country EXCEPT China" and "the next one will definitely be a girl" and "an infant, hopefully a newborn". The only thing that God kept in the equation so far is that we long for a cleft baby. That's it. Right now it looks like He's leading us to China. And for a child older than 1. And for a boy. With a cleft.

Ahhh. When will we learn...? I have to say, like the song, amid the chaos there's this very odd peace. Hard to articulate but it is so real.

Amanda asked me if I've gone to Lifeline's site (a Christian agency that she is adopting from). I hadn't even heard of it. I went and checked it out. I looked on the waiting list and saw 2 young boys with clefts. Cute kids. Then I went to another waiting list and saw 2 infant cleft girls. Ahhh. Perfect.

I called the coordinator with the agency and asked for info on the girls. She said No. They are only for families so far along in the process. She assured me they'd be LONG spoken for by the time you were that far along. Great. She said "have you thought of Ethan or Tommy?" I said no. I saw them but we feel strongly about a girl. She said she understood but that she wanted to send the files anyway of that was ok. I said fine. He's 2. Severe unilateral cleft lip and palate. Level 3. Same as Azlan. And scoliosis. Hmm. Same as Azlan. His story broke my heart. Is this from you God? He was left in a shoe box on the steps of a building downtown Maoming. The contrast of the pure joy in my heart when Azlan entered the world and what this sweet little baby felt was so great. Neglect. Abandonment. I showed his file to Dean who said "there was an odd peace looking at his file".

I called Lisa and asked for her to hold his file for us while we pray. She committed to praying for us too. This is too much to drink in. God...could you give us MORE direction? MORE answers?

Is he our child?

I've been reading in Proverbs, Job and Galations. I know weird mixture but I read a chapter of each, each day. Galations is done and I was going to move on to Ephesians when I felt this strong pull to read Jonah. That was odd. Jonah?? I know that story too well. It's hard to read a book you KNOW. It's hard to stay focused. So I started while feeding Izrael today. I had to catch up to my delay yesterday b/c Galations was already done and I was confused where to start next. So I read chapter 1 & 2 of Jonah.Except I read them twice. Ooops I kept wandering and realized I hadn't read a thing. So I reread. Hmmm...

Right aways in chapter 1...

1The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it b/c its wikedness has come up before me"
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshesh....


Yes I know this story and scripture WAY too well but his was different. We had had very methodical talks about "ok if God is calling us to adopt from China surely He won't mind if we wait 2-3 months til we start...we could have this big chunk of debt paid off and we KNOW that's what God wants....right...so yes we are NOT saying NO we are saying YES...we'll pray about it...YES we'll start in a few months. UNLESS He shows us "no, RIGHT NOW" but thats unlikely..."

Chapter 2.

verse 8.
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving will sacrifice to You.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord.

And the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.


I think my heart stopped and my mouth dropped.

Yes we are talking about good things like paying off debt and getting ahead. But I have idols in my heart too. We are on a path to financial comfort and we can finally foresee trips with our kids and family things and...not going materialistic at all but just enjoying life more...

Idols...?

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

Wow. But .. with a song of thanksgiving I will sacrifice to you.

Oh it will take sacrifice. Can we do this with thanksgiving? We don't want to forfeit anything. God ... help my unbelief.

I closed my Bible. And quickly opened it again. I read it all again. This is the 3rd time. This is Jonah INSIDE the belly of the fish...in full repentance. My heart is it there...? The trusting God on another huge faith journey....? Not stressing about where $27000 is going to come from...? Sacrificing OUR goals...? Letting go of our "worthless idols"....? Is that what they are, God..? Worthless idols? To stop and move towards the 'least of these'....the infant left in the dumpster...the one thrown out like garbage b/c of the facial deformity....this is what you want of us? Now?

I closed my Bible.

I had a jump in my steps. He's moving...oh...He's moving. I can feel it...He's waiting for that full surrender to open the floodgates. He's got a plan. Am I willing to sacrifice my plans for His...?

It feels like chaos...yet somehow there's peace.

Oh he's calling us to something. He's moving inside of us and He's moving fast.

"I could choose...not to move.."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whatever You're doing...inside of me...

...it feels like chaos...yet somehow there's peace....

(Lyrics to Sanctus Reale's song)...

This phrase has been sung over and over and over again for hours today. To the point where it hurt. I was constantly singing it in my head then annoyed when I would realize what I was singing...again. It amazes me how God uses song to speak to me. And then how it stops in my head when I sit and listen to the song. So finally tonight, Dean and I did. And I had no idea what the words to the song were until tonight. Oh He's up to something..

Today has been quite a day. And it ended with ok let's stop and pray for His timing and His clear path. If He's calling us to adoption NOW then that trumps everything. We are open to what He has. Completely. Our plan is to take this week...weeks to pray. No decisions unless they are clear, direct, can't miss them...from Him. We are working so hard on paying of this one chunk of debt and feel strongly about our responsibility to do so.

Here's the song...

ahhh..

God, one day I'll figure this all out and everything will make sense...

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

(Chorus)
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...
To...

(Chorus)

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly