Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just plain...heavy.

You ever feel that? Just a very heavy heart and you can't put your finger on it...? Well that's me today. So...I'm praying. Specifically for little Taizi.

I'm humbling asking if you will join me.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rend your heart.

I went to bed with a heavy heart. Heavy for two families. Both friends of mine...both adoptive families. I didn't want to read. I got in bed. And I could hear as clear as day "I have something to say to you...but you won't let me". Yeah...that's what "I don't want to read" is really saying...I got out of bed and opened my Bible.

I was finished my reading and prayed asking for where to go next. I again felt compelled to look at the minor prophets. I went to Joel.

Joel 2. verse 12.

Even now, declares the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.

Rend your heart,
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing-grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.


verse 21

Be not afraid, O Land;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things.

Be not afraid, O wild animals;
for the open pastures are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and vine yield their riches.

Be glad, o people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains as before.

The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten;
the great locust and the young locust and the other locusts and the locust swarm...
my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God,
and there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

-----

I love how when I'm tired and 'didn't want to read' and I do...and I end up reading it 2-3 times b/c it was so amazing. Rend your hearts...not your garments....

I am the Lord your God...there is no other.





Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Busy.

We mailed off 4 grant applications today. Serious amount of paperwork. Especially for someone like me. I honestly think every time I do this..."is it worth it?" You know they get so many applications each month...I'm just another name in their stack. Well...I obviously decided it IS worth it and did them. We believe God will provide...and we are to do whatever we can to raise the money. In the end...He chooses what we receive and what we don't.

Each time I write our story (in a different format... of course they all ask different questions!) my heart hurts a little bit more for our boys...especially for Taizi.

Let's bring them home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shirt photos!



I just received final proofs of our shirts!

Ok here's the details:

We ordered 50 women's and 12 men's.

The women's are as pictured. V neck, heather grey with distressed vintage design in light and dark grey. These shirts fit accurately not super slim fit. Slightly longer length. S, M, L, and XL first come first serve.

The men's are the same design on a black crew neck slim fit American Apparel shirt. We have 9 size L and 3 size XL. Again first come first serve.

All shirts have a suggested donation of $30(to cover costs involved and still have money for the adoption fund) but any donation will receive the shirt of your choice.

100% of proceeds (after paying for product) go directly to bringing Zihao and Taizi home.

You can paypal thewalkers2000@mac.com or mail check or money order to
Walkers
4916 Malaga Drive
Pasco, WA
99301

If you are mailing donation please email me (thewalkers2000@mac.com) to let me know what size so I can set it aside for you.

Again a huge thank you to Heather Brandt who worked and created this design and generously donated her time and work to our adoption.

Shirt update...

By the way I will have a photo to post soon of the final proof and when this box of 50 shirts arrive I will model one for you to see how it fits.

Here's what we have (sizes are first come first serve and by donation only. Suggested donation is $30 to cover costs involved).

13 L
4 XL
4 Small
13 Medium

Shirts are NOT a slim fit so you can order your actual size. They are women's fit but not "fitted" per se. They are a bit longer than average as well.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The gift...with no price tag.

Just Friday evening my sweet friend Rachel and I went out for a bit and I was pouring out my heart to her that it's constant surrender of my fear and anxiety about our travel to China regarding our children. Who is going to watch them? Of course you can't leave 7 children with just anyone. We would need to have the peace that this would be a fun experience for all ... and not everyone can handle 7 young children on top of their current plate. We don't even have a time to narrow down...we have an *idea* but not an exact date. We want to take Azlan and Izrael but yet we don't ideally. We are torn. The kids would be thrown off their groove big time with insane travel and time changes and culture changes and....all the illnesses they would be exposed to. With extensive research we made the decision not to immunize our children and there is an outbreak of Mumps and Measles that our kids would be exposed to (in China). Yes we can get that one shot but...there are still concerns. Then there's the very real fact that we are adopting children with special needs. I want uninterrupted time in those first days just bonding and loving our babies. Talking to Rachel about their experience in China, she has concerns for us going with our children b/c of how much time you spend running to and from appointments then cooped up in a hotel room with traumatized children. Soo I poured out my heart and teared up and told her how I just need to trust God that He will provide.

Fast forward just two days later to today. We saw a family at church that have a ton on their plate and are frequently not all there due to their kids volleyball games. Today we were all chatting. Dean with the husband. Me with the wife. She was asking about our adoption and how we are doing and again I just asked her to pray for me that I will trust God on this one stressful issue. She asked about it and we talked. Back up. They have 5 daughters. Age 7 ish to 17ish. Homeschool family. Very vibrant, we love talking to them. So...back to the story...we talk and she says "when will this be...that you will travel?" I state the problem, we don't know. November ish. We were told October so we are planning on November. November works better with our business schedule as well so if we are all ready to go in October we will request consulate appts in November. She lit up and said without hesitation "we will totally take your kids...all of them...if it's November. It's the one month we are 100% home and no volleyball. We'd LOVE IT!" (as her teenage daughters light up!). I thought I was going to cry!! The baby would be in baby heaven having so many girls taking care of her and all of our concerns with Azlan just wouldn't be a concern with this family. They live in a large house with a HUGE back yard and ..... the list goes on. As we drove away...she texted me and said "my husband and kids are ALL so excited!!"

There is no amount of $$ we could value this gift at. When we leave for a few days for business we pay $200 a day for a nanny (that's a friend whom we trust). 20 (give or take) days at $200 a day....? The heart and willingness to do this...the excitement in having a houseful of children ... and biggest of all the heart to help contribute in such a huge way to our adoption...I don't have the words.

One of the things that has hit me time and time again in this process is truly...not one ... not ONE of the people that have contributed to our adoption .. would I have suspected. You know when you tell someone your need HOPING and PRAYING they get the hint and that you really want them to offer...? Not even an inkling of that was there this morning. It never even occurred to me...not for a millisecond that they would offer or could fit it in to their busy life.

I think many people on the outside think "yah...Dean and Janice have done this before...they know they'll be supported b/c they were supported when they adopted the twins from Africa"...so for that reason I think it's important to say that there have been 2...yes... 2... people that contributed to both adoptions. I think that's amazing. This isn't about who we know. This is about God showing up and moving people to support His work. I can't tell you how many times when we receive a donation to the adoption that Dean or I go "who....?" and then just smile knowing this is not about us.

Never Once....Matt Redman. I can hardly sing it with a dry eye...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tee shirts.

Ok the tee shirts are ordered. In a few days I will have an actual photo to post but it looks beautiful!! We decided on a dark heather grey v-neck shirt. It is a ladies shirt (not juniors) so it fits true to size and is slightly longer length.

Here is what I have: 5 Small, 20 Medium, 20 Large and 5 XL. When you order please specify the size you want so I can make sure to have it set aside for you. Based on price paid we suggest a donation of $30 for each shirt but it is by donation so we are not setting an actual price. Please know that all money donated goes directly to bringing Zihao and Taizi home (after costs paid for shirt).

As of right now this is what we have remaining:
4 XL
15 L
14 M
4 S

I think you are going to love this shirt and most of all you will always be reminded everytime you wear it of YOUR role in bringing 2 little orphans home to their forever family. Not everyone is called to adoption...but together we can all contribute to bringing orphans home. Our hearts are so thankful for you and how much you have done to help.


Update.

Lifeline overnighted the correction to USCIS and said the office will have it Monday morning. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unexpected.

I know you are thinking unexpected good things and ... that is so very true with this journey we are on...there are so many unexpected good things. Today is about an unexpected frustration.

Let me be transparent here...I really don't like when people rant and rave about every hiccup on their adoption journey. There are so many and God is truly in control of the details. It's such a ride of faith ... the unseen...the unpredictable. So this may seem like a contradiction...I'm frustrated today.

Background: Our Zambian adoption was independent. No agency. Me and Zambia. Yah. Yikes. So there were many hiccups and we had many "do-overs" with paperwork along the way and I expected it. I guess I don't expect that when you are working with an experienced agency.

Today: we received a letter in the mail from USCIS regarding our i800a. The homestudy needs revised. They letter goes into detail about how it simply is not clear what we are approved to do. Adopt from China? Adopt 2 from China? Adopt 2 from China with special needs? They want it concise. In a sentence. "This is what the Walker family are approved for..."

Ok.. our social worker no longer is a social worker with that agency. We have to track her down and have her revise the homestudy and resend it all. The frustration is our agency thoroughly examined it to make sure there would be no hiccups at USCIS. And here we are.

There. Said it. Feels so much better. :)

We do what we can when we can. He is in control of the details. Period.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shirt fundraiser clarification...

The tee shirt fundraiser is still very much ongoing...what I meant in my last post is that instead of waiting for everyone to custom order...by Wednesday (there...there's a deadline) I'll make an order of the shirts and if I have custom orders by then great...if not I'll just take a guess at sizes and let you all know what I have on hand. Several people have already requested sizes so they will be ordered. If you want to make an order w/ donation you can do that before Wednesday and get (for sure) the sizes you want...otherwise after Wednesday sizes will be limited to what I have on hand. Hope that makes sense ;)

Fear.

This has been on my mind a lot this last week because with Dean gone..there were 2 nights I was home alone (the others..my sister was here). From breakfast I can feel the tightening in my stomach dreading the night to come. It's not a slight anxiousness it is real fear. It has the power to completely control me. Yes I know it's wrong and I don't shrug that off with a "this is the way I am". It's not who I am...it is my struggle. In many areas of my life, fear would be my downfall. I do know it's not from God because the Bible says that. That's enough of a reason to make me very serious about addressing it head on. I hate it.

Fear comes in all sizes. Some are big and obviously scary and bad. Some are oh-so-innocent looking and come as 'slight stress' or 'anxiety'. It's all the same ugly thing underneath...fear.

I think people on the outside think I lack this completely. Yes we jump into the unknowns with full faith and confidence in God but it doesn't mean we don't daily battle fear. It never leaves without a surrender. Ever. Last night ... reminding me of the awful flight home from
Africa...I surrendered. Ok...so what if the unthinkable happens and I'm home alone...ok...let's go to the next thought. What then? I'm going to live my life in peace and in Peace til the very end. Even in the unthinkable...I am truly never alone. Tirzah said the other night "I just imagine any bad guy coming to our house and seeing all the angels around our house with fire...and running away!" That child has beautiful pure faith. It's just fact to her.

Again I was challenged with how much comfort I take from what I can see vs what is unseen. Sad...really....

This all hit me when Tirzah cuddled up close to me in bed last night and said "I'm so glad I'm sleeping with you while daddy is away...you make me feel so safe..." and my eyes widened as I suddenly was hit with the thought that I am safety to her...and to our 6 other children. They feel instant peace when I am there. And yet..I...am laying there in constant surrender mode of letting go of this fear that wants to eat me alive.

As a parent does that ever hit you? You are now that parent that eases every worry and concern. Instant peace for your child b/c they are with you. It was like I could hear my Father saying...Janice..you should feel the same. Instant peace b/c I'm right here.

When people say "what if Taizi has much more serious medical concerns than you are aware of ...?"

"What IS his diagnosis....exactly....?"

"Are you all learning sign language in case....?"

"Are you going to homeschool ALL of them....?"

"Are you fearful...?"

I surrender. This is bigger than us. Bigger than me. This isn't little ol' Dean and Janice trying to save the world. This is a God in Heaven who has watched every sparrow fall to the earth...nothing unnoticed. Every single orphan of the over 3 million in 40,000 Chinese orphanages. Every single child who cries out with no words to articulate the hunger for food...the deep longing in their soul for love....
It is a beautiful thing when you read that even the sparrow has a Father in Heaven who watches it fall to the earth. Not one child has gone unnoticed. And in His sovereign plan...His eye on little Tai Fu' An and Mao Zhong Hua....He called us to step out of fear...

Fear of what will people say...? And they say.

"How will you pay for college?"

"Do you have any idea what you are doing?"

"I don't think you can give that many children adequate love."

"Are you thinking long term..? It's easy having 9 children (??) but what about when they are teens?"

"Just how many kids are you guys going to have anyways?"


I could list the comments on and on...

God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear God. Not man.

I think the first fear that had to die for me when we said yes to this adoption...was the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."

Isaiah 51 was very powerful in helping me address my fear of man:

verse 12:
I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,
that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the opporessor?
The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread.
For I am the Lord your God,
who churns up the sea so that it's waves roar~
the Lord Almighty is His name.
I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand ~
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, "You are my people".

It gives me chills just typing it out. That's the One that I choose to fear. He wins.


Precious little Zihao




Sweet Jenny sent us a few pictures of Zihao...ahhh his smile is just the best...





(**I'm ready to order shirts so if you have already donated please make sure you have specified a size---I will order several and make a guess on the popular sizes)**

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Changing up the tee shirt fundraiser...

We have to have a minimum order of 12 but I think that's ok...let's just go for it. So I'm going to open the fundraiser up...you can pick your size of a ladies shirt size S, M, L, XL and XXl. I'm guessing this shirt is a slim fit style if that helps. So with your order you can just click on the paypal button to the right of the page and pay that way. It is by donation only (suggested is $30 based on costs involved).

Make sure your address and size is listed in the message when you Paypal.

:)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A family of 11.

Not unheard of. A family of 11 with all 9 children in carseats....? A little crazier. Well..we are that family. :)

We own a Suburban. I love it. It does not fit our family. Yes I just said that. It doesn't even fit our 'current' family. Not with seatbelts and definitely not with carseats. Yes. It's a problem.

The solution has been that we can get a custom made 4th row. Happy Mama! It's reasonably priced...it just still doesn't solve our problems. Our family of 11 would fit in the vehicle with sufficient seatbelts...but still we can not fit 9 car seats / boosters in there. Ahhh!

How sad to see me sad to say goodbye to our Suburban! :) I do love it but really..it's a car.

See for the average family there's dozens of options for a vehicle. For our family...there's 4.
1. A school bus. We would fit. Carseats wouldn't work. And this Mama wouldn't drive it. So it's out.
2. A 12-15 passenger large van. A 12 passenger still barely works with all the carseats. And we do travel a lot. Probably more than the family with 2 children. It's a beast. Its kind of out.
3. A Mercedes Benz Sprinter. Yah yah...it's called Mercedes Benz and looks kind of cool but it doesn't exactly live up to the name. It's quite affordable ...but still a beast. Totally. Like even vinyl flooring so you can spray it down with a hose. Kind of cold.
4. A conversion van. This is what Dean's been talking about for a long time and I've been "I love our Suburban!" :) But he pulled them up online and he got my interest. Comfy seats. Custom made for 15 passengers. Individual headphones for the kids IF they are watching a movie (bliss!). And ... it's really nice looking.

The down side? Well they aren't exactly at every local dealership! We found a large dealership in Pensacola, Fl. Yes...about as far away from us in WA as you can get...

We found a van just a few years old with very very low miles (that'll change quickly) and 15 passenger for a very very great price. I still remember when I was 6y and my dad came home and showed us our new conversion van. ;) Guess I'm going back to my roots.

I've been labelling this a luxury (to move from the Suburban) but it's actually a necessity. I guess this is just one of the extra expenses of having 9 children ;) Thankfully we'll make our house do for a little while longer..but the vehicle...just can not work.

We are excited and the very good news is we have a lot of equity in our Suburban b/c we bought it on Ebay (yes...we did) in FL (yes...we did) and have been offered only $4000 less than we paid for it 3 years ago! Since it's almost paid off -- that's over $11,000 in equity on a CAR! All $11,000 will go into the van bringing our payments down even lower than they currently are on the Suburban = awesome. So the short of the story is we got a screaming deal on our car 3 years ago...and are selling it for a screaming deal now 3y and another 55,000 miles later. This is a trade deal which is another bonus b/c we only pay sales tax on the difference (saving us another $1500 in taxes). Very big deal right now when our focus is our adoption.

The funny side...? We are trading a vehicle...in FL. What does this mean? Yes...it means Dean will be driving TO FL from WA tomorrow. It's about 40 hours drive each way. I'm actually sad I'm not going...I LOVE Florida :) It's northern FL so that helps. :) Dean is going with Zion and Chazano. It was quite easy to choose the 2 that would go b/c my sister, Jocelyn, is coming to visit this week. :) So the ones staying home are very excited to stay home.

Dean's Dad called and offered to fly into Denver...so Dean will pick him up there and will have another driver and adult to talk to :)

Our family will fit in our vehicle and I have to go car seat and booster seat shopping...true story.

tee shirts.

Update on the shirts: we currently have 5 shirts pre-ordered. Please let me know if you would like one. There is no set price...by donation only. Size S,M,L, XL.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Big news...

We just got notification that we were awarded a $5000 adoption grant....!!

Ok now that my excitement has settled down I can post the details ;)

So when we applied for this particular grant the lady was communicating with me regularly and she said we would know either way by mid-March.

Today, Lifeline emailed me saying "how awesome that you were awarded a grant! We are thrilled for you, we have already received the check and applied it to the next $5000 of costs" and I called her going "ummm...did you mean to send this email to me...?" :) It was funny b/c she said the family always gets notified long before they receive the check...well not this time :)

A $5000 gift. Ahhh.

We recently had the run down of remaining costs and we are at about $27,000 remaining.

Now we can say about $22,000.

We have $1200 in the adoption account left from the last fundraiser as well.

Can I fully express how much peace there is in knowing this just isn't up to me...? Dean and I had a good talk on our way home from Seattle a few nights ago...and he said "have you ever thought ... what if Taizi has a very severe medical condition .. much bigger than what we think..?" We were both silent for a while. Me with a lump in my throat. Then he looked over and said the same thing I was about to say.... "well...that's why it's so awesome to know God called us to Taizi. We know that. We don't need to know more.".

Tonight we received our "Sevenly" shirts in the mail from Love Without Boundaries. Love. Simply LOVE. Here is the stat on the info card: "There are over 40,000 orphanages in China caring for over 3 million orphans. 2 out of 5 of these babies will die."

Mao Zhong Hua.
Tai Fu'An.

Two orphans. Out of the 'over 3 million'. 2 lives. Brought home. Saved.

To each of you that read our story...that pray...that give...
thank you.

Because of you....there will be 2 less orphans in China.

Thank. You.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Here it is...!


This is our new fundraiser!

A custom made ladies tee....all proceeds going to our adoption.

I have to give the biggest thank you to Heather Brandt for her design. It's exactly what we had in mind. A vintage map of China...the scripture "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you" and 2 chinese symbols. One for Beauty. One for Love. No more needs to be said.

The only thing with this fundraiser is it has to be pre-ordered.

So if you are committed to a shirt or two please either post here or email me janice.walker@me.com and let me know. I really need to have at least 30 to get a good price. Starting now! (suggested donation $30...by donation only...no set price).


After we have enough commitments I will post how to make your donation and I will make the order at that time. Right now it is simply pre-ordering.

Please specify what size you want your shirt in when you make your order. Size S, M, L or XL.
Shirt is black with charcoal and light grey image. Photo looks white but there is no white on the image.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

7-8 months.

From now and we should be at the end of our adoption process..! Eeeee! Ok we have a lot of work to do from now to then ;)

With each fundraiser that we have done we have had 'someone' feel very strongly about it. Not always me. With the yardsale it was Rachel. With Krispy Kreme it was Rachel. I was terrified buying that many donuts. With the necklace it was Courteney. Now we are working on another one...that I wasn't feeling but one of my lifelong best friend's....does. So we here we go...! It's beautiful and I can't wait to show you...but I'm not quite ready yet...so ... I'll leave you hanging :)

My reading has led me all over the Bible and I just finished Daniel that I felt strongly compelled to read. What an incredible story. That...is faith. Would you stand up and risk losing everything? Your life....? For your faith in God? I had many moments while reading Daniel. I love chapter 3 vs 16-18.

Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

I love that they had total faith that God "is able" but knew He may choose not to...and that wouldn't change their minds one bit. Today we are saturated with a faith of "believe and God will do it" like our faith holds the strings of the Creator of the universe. No, no...it's a 'believe that He can...pray that He will...but even if He doesn't...'

I was struck by how many times the king saw Daniel's God's power and yet immediately turned to worship an idol. It wasn't until he literally lived as a beast...(read it...it's crazy!..ch 4). At the end when he came to his senses...

vs 34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

Even knowing the story well...it was chilling to read.

Oddly, I related to the king. Aren't all of our hearts able to quickly wander? Oh...not to another god....or...is it...? We see God's provision, we are humbled in worship...we see Him move in huge ways, speak and then have it come to pass...and we determine in our hearts we will NEVER forget. We have had our eyes opened...we know how mighty and powerful He is. We will never be the same...
Then very quickly we are fearful...lacking faith...trusting things we can see...money... a whole lot more than Him...idols.

verse 35
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand or say to him : "What have you done?"

And that comes from a KING that turned beast in the field eating grass with feathers like an eagle....and claws....humbly back to his knees...confessing You alone are God and I will worship You.