Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thoughts and fundraising.

Dean was saying on our way home from OR...that to him...the ocean is almost too loud...almost annoying after a while.  Ahhhh to me...it is instant peace.  

It is louder than all my thoughts.  Bigger than anything I'm facing.  Stronger. Powerful.  It screams "God" to me.  If I lived near it...it is where I would run when feeling overwhelmed. Some people go to a quiet place...horse back ride...sit by a tree....you would find me on the beach.  Looking out over the massive-ness of something so powerful it brings peace.

I am now convinced it is deep inside of me.  I grew up on the ocean. I never thought anything of it...until when we moved to the mainland I saw my mom struggle because for the first time in her life she wasn't over the ocean. I remember thinking "how silly...the ocean?".  Going back...showed me it is indeed something deep inside of you.  I would pay a fine price to live right...there.  Dean...would rather be on the lake ;)

Our Both Hands project is this Saturday.  Deep breath. It's all going to be ok.  Right? :) We'll make it and we'll get there.  If you have received a letter from us...the thing we want you to know the most...is that every $10 counts.  We all too often fall into the trap of thinking "if I can't give big...I can't give".  That isn't true here. I'm not convinced it's ever true.  You can also click the "donate" button to the left of the blog. Lifesong will mail you a tax deductible receipt for your donation.  

We are doing a large yard sale next week (gulp). 

Basically we are doing what we can and praying God blesses our efforts.

To each of you that gave...our hearts are so thankful.  More importantly...you have been a piece of this story.  You have personally had a hand in bringing Taizi and Zihao home.  


Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 77.

This last weekend we took a spontaneous trip to Lincoln City. It just may be my favorite place ever and that's saying something...because I've been to a few 'places' ;)  It was Dean's 35th birthday and we had so much fun.

This morning, Dean 'just so happened' to still be around and we were on the phone with business calls and the phone just seemed to be non stop.  As soon as I hung up the phone one time, it rang again. I glanced over at the phone which was in front of Dean and saw "Lifeline".  I said "oh...it's ... it's ..lifeline..." and with that I dropped my head to the table in my hands and instantly was sobbing.  Dean kept saying "Janice...you want to answer it...you answer it" and I was no where near ready. He did and I could hear Logan's voice on the other end.  He put it on speaker and she had so much emotion in her voice it was amazing. She told us how their entire office has been praying for us and for these LOA's and they were SO elated when they saw ours in the batch this morning.

It was an amazing moment.

Day 77.  One perfect number for each perfect little boy that is soon coming home.

We will receive the LOAs via Fedex tomorrow and send them back with the I800 filled out. Lifeline will attempt to have the I800 expedited and we'll wait to hear updates from them. Normally it's about 8-10 weeks from LOA to travel but we are praying that this is much shorter.

Thank you for praying with us...I just can't believe it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The...ocean.

We have lived here 9 years...have 7 children since we moved here 9 years ago...and have been to Florida more times than the Oregon coast.  Funny. :)  This weekend is Dean's birthday...and we are taking our fabulous crew to the Oregon coast.  We had a $200 Expedia credit (b/c they messed up big time on a reservation once) and we booked a nice hotel in Lincoln City.  They credit could not be used for 2 rooms (seriously) so please don't give heads-up to the manager that we are requesting a room with back door access...so we can sneak 7 kids into one room. Yes...yes.

ahhh.

So there you go. I will get to see the ocean after all! As my sweet friend kept reminding me "don't get too excited it's the Pacific NW!" :) haha...but to me...right now...the ocean is the ocean. I don't want to swim in it..I want to sit on the beach and HEAR it! ahhh.

We heard back from Home Depot (who kept us waiting for a week now for an answer) that even though they requested a detailed sheet of what items we need for the Both Hands Project...they are giving us 2x $25 gift cards. I have to admit I felt a little sick...we still have much to be donated. And it's about $500 in bathroom/kitchen supplies we need...wait...$450 now :)

Lifesong For Orphans has now teamed up with us to pray for Taizi's health and fast LOA's.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people that are so passionately advocating for the 'least of these'.   Please keep praying.

As we go to Oregon I'll keep looking on PDX craigslist for the rest of the bedroom furniture. So far we have the 2 dressers, 1 bed with new mattress and night stand...we paid a total of $220 and at Ikea it's $580...so we are doing pretty good so far! :) Just one more bed and mattress and we'll be set. We'll take a look a the curtains and rug at Ikea this weekend. The kids are all voting on how to decorate their room...we'll see. Right now I keep thinking YELLOW and blue.  The furniture is all blue and I think a sunny yellow and blue room will be cheerful which is exactly what I want our precious little boys to got to sleep and wake in! Yes...even though they will sleep with us for quite a while...:)

Back to the ocean...

you have no idea how excited I am. It's really sad that we've been here 9 years just 4.5 hours from the ocean and this is our 2nd time



*73* days waiting since LID

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peace.

There is so much peace in the knowledge that I can come with no anxiety or stress...24/7 and plead before my Father for a miracle.

And that's just what I've been doing.

I go to bed late.

I wake early.

Praying.

This morning I sat on the couch in our master bedroom with the window open, sun shining in. The breeze was beautiful and I'm not going to lie...I closed my eyes and I could totally imagine I was overlooking the beach in Florida. And it hit me...whenever I'm dying...at whatever age...remind my husband to park my cot on the beach so I can die in the peace of hearing the waves crashing.

I hope there's an ocean in Heaven.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surrender. Again.

Noticing a theme here? :)

Isn't it the story of the christian life? Constant surrender.

Today I spoke with our agency and they are wonderful. She said they received a 'batch of LOAs" on Friday...which was their first batch in a few weeks. Yes ours were absent from that batch ;) She did say of the 5...3 of them were WELL over the 100 day mark...like 120 days. But she said one went through translation the same day as ours did.

She ended it with the ever-true...sometimes cliche sounding "Janice, God is the only one that can help us speed this up" but we know it to be not-cliche...and really.. truly..the only answer.  They are still praying that Taizi's orphanage director will be honest with the CCCWA on his condition b/c that could help the LOA process.

I think the hardest part is I've followed other families' journeys and I've seen how the wait can be brutal at this phase. So we made a conscious choice to not even count the days. That worked amazingly well! It all changed when we saw and heard from the Pediatrician at U of W just how ill Taizi is.  Having a child on the other side of the world that is deathly ill...is more than just waiting. This is now urgent.

A friend of mine posted a comment on her blog yesterday: (jennysupdates.com)


It really is going to take some Christmas miracles in July to get Esther out of here in a couple days, but Jesus never rebuked people for having too much faith.  What amazed Him was all the fear, doubt, and unbelief that was prevalent amongst His followers.  So I'm going to go full out child-like and ask my Father for some outrageous stuff.

And though such a simple comment ... it hit me. That's a true statement.  When did Jesus criticize someone for too much child like faith? Never.  The constant rebuke was for lack of it.  Well...I, like Jenny, am making a choice to ask for some outrageous stuff and we are praying for a LOA in lightning speed and the rest of the process to be expedited like they've never seen.  Just as a by the way...Jenny posted that just hours before they were granted their 'Christmas in July miracle' and they are now on a plane on their way home...

I'm not interested in someone telling me to be realistic. We don't serve a God who does the norm and what is expected.  We are hopeful that our baby boys are coming home soon. Very soon. We will storm the doors of Heaven until they are.  

A very interesting part of Scripture Dean and I recently heard preached on is in Luke 18.

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”


Isn't that wild? A persistent woman...eventually received her request...is likened to us praying...? Well we are going to cry out day and night!

We were sent new pictures of little Zihao:) And measurements so I can start preparing with clothes etc. I'm such a bargain shopper that I love having some time to shop and get what we need! I did get him the CUTEST little shoes at Ross the other day...$35 down to $11.  :)



He looks so strong and healthy and as Dean says "he looks like he's going to fit in perfectly with our family with that personality!" :)

He's 29 lbs, 18.5" head, 35.4 " tall,  5.7" long feet and 20 teeth :)

We are coming baby boy!!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 70.

Came and went.

With no LOA gift.

My reading last night was in Habakkuk 3.

This is rather fitting today:

Habakkuk 3

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; 
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to go on the heights.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Crushing pain.

There's heaviness and then there's a crushing pain deep within your spirit.  I am not anxious. I am not stressed. My heart hurts. Deeply.  I have a child on the other side of the world...that desperately needs me.  Needs help.  Needs hope.

I stop and pray.

God bring our children home.

I received our letter from the doctor this morning.

Please keep praying.  We need that LOA before we can do anything.

Today is the first time I have counted since day 29. Today we are day 67 waiting for our LOA.  I'm praying day 70 is the day. Monday.


After I typed this post I went to Zulily to see if any deals stood out to me for our boys.  I saw a site with Robeez type shoes for a good deal. They were all same-same to me.  Right at the end my eyes stopped...and I'm not convinced my heart didn't pause...as I saw these.  It felt like God's little gift to me today.  Shoes for Taizi. With his name on them.  Crown prince my baby boy...you are the prince!

 
RE:  Tai Fu’An
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a pediatrician who specializes in children who are adopted internationally.  
I had the opportunity to review the information for Tai Fu’an, date of birth 6/26/09, who is being adopted by Janice and Dean Walker.  Tai Fu’an is a child with cleft lip and palate who also has significant failure to thrive and profound developmental delay that seems to be getting worse over time.  In his initial physical he also had a significant heart murmur.  
I am very concerned that Tai Fu’an has a serious medical condition in addition to his cleft lip and palate.  It is my professional opinion that he needs to be brought to the United States as soon as possible so that he can receive a full diagnosis and start on intense therapy for his condition.  I implore you to expedite his adoption.  
Please feel free to contact me with questions.
Julia M. Bledsoe, MD





Wednesday, July 18, 2012

International Adoption Clinic analysis.

Dr. Bledsoe from U of W called us at 12:30.  The first thing we were struck by was her comments right away how she felt we were an amazing family. We weren't expecting that from a physician to a family with 7 young children, adopting 2 more.  I assured her we were as ordinary as they get.

She told us she viewed Taizi's video several times, his file and all the photos.

She then softened her voice and said "I'm very very concerned about this little boy. Very concerned."

So she went in detail to talk about what she sees.  Of course she has not examined him, no scans and no blood work.

He is severely malnourished. She pointed out how he started life well. He had normal height, birth weight and head circumference.  She said since then...his head is the only part that kept growing properly.  At 3 years old his weight is that of an average 7 month old and his height of an average 15 month old (he is a few inches shorter than 16m Izrael).  She said his plateau in growth is of great concern.

Ears.  She said your ears line up with the crease in the corner of your eye. His are way lower.  They are also externally deformed.  She reminded us (we knew from Azlan's journey) that ears are formed the same time as kidneys and heart in utero. Therefore they often tell a bigger story. She referred to his 'heart murmur' on his file. She is quite concerned he has a serious heart condition.  Which would in her mind...explain the severe 'malnourished' appearance.  She said he definitely is malnourished but she is wondering if there is more behind that than just what it appears to be. Her concern: serious heart or kidney disease.


She does believe there is some genetic syndrome behind everything we see...her reason for this is:
-"profound growth deficiency"
-"unusual ear shape and placement on the head"
-"heart murmur"
-combined with cleft lip and palate

She does not believe he has hydrocephalus. She said we would see overall head size increase.  She does see the large forehead which she said could be a number of things.

Friends of ours suggested CP she does not see signs of that either.

Her voice went the softest when she said this:
"I don't know how to say this, it isn't easy to say...but I want to make sure I'm telling you what I would want to know if he were my child...there is a high high likelihood of 'mental retardation' (she expressed her displeasure of that word ... we share that). She said this is not a child merely in need of "love and good nutrition".  She did say she believes in our home and family he will grow and flourish...she also believes realistic expectations are important.

When we asked her about a letter she said "oh most definitely. This is a child where every day and therefore week matters. He needs to be home. He needs medical attention. He needs out of there, asap".

When she discussed his video she said it was 'difficult to watch' and she watched it many times.  She did note that his muscle tone was almost non existent and yet he had it as an infant as seen on his original file picture on my blog (on left hand side).  That concerned her that he's clearly regressing.  She said how she wished the director picked him up and cuddled him instead of snapping her fingers at him when he was on the horse.  Her final words regarding the video were "I think having seen that video that he couldn't even sit unassisted".  Thought that was interesting as Dean and I thought that when we originally saw it as well.

Overall...her prognosis is good. She believes he will flourish and grow and strengthen once at home. She does not believe he will ever be "developmentally 'normal'".  She believes he very likely has Rickets which is severe lack of Vitamin D and Calcium. She said the bones start deteriorating and therefore the muscles around them all lose mass. She thinks this explains the regression...he once held his head and now does not. She said this is very reverse-able.

The tests she wants when we come home are:
-screen for Rickets
-echocardiogram of heart
-ultrasound of kidneys
-urinalysis
-chromosomal analysis
-MRI of brain

We are told we will have the letter scanned to us tomorrow.

I called Dean after we hung up from our three way call together and he said he was wow'ed by the doctor's compassion, heart and way with words for such a difficult matter. He said he was thinking through the lens of 'she doesn't know us, and has no idea if this news will change our minds about this adoption' yet she handled it soooo well.  I asked him what his thoughts were and how he felt about the news ... he said "let's pack our bags b/c we are going to China soon".  We both feel complete peace.

This all reminded me of that first hospital visit when I was 5 mths pregnant with Azlan. It was ALL grim news. They kept unloading all of this info on us. We walked out smiling. Let's have this precious baby and do all we can to help him thrive!

We feel the exact same way now.  Information is power. Let's know how we can best help him. We are focused and passionate about doing whatever we can to not only bring him home quickly...but help him thrive.

Talking with Dean tonight I asked him (because so many of you ask me) "did the thought occur to you 'what in the world are we doing'?" he looked at me and said "no" We both know this is right in the center of where God wants us to be. This adoption is as much about our heart as it is about these 2 precious little boys.  God is transforming us and the constant surrender of every ideal we had...is no doubt...a beautiful thing to God who already sees the end from the beginning.  He is the Author. He knows how the story ends.  We are just going to let Him write the book.




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

With a song of thanksgiving...

I will sacrifice to You.

That little phrase really stood out to me in Jonah 2:8-9.  It's amazing how often it has surfaced in our Bible reading and grabbed our attention.

The very least I can do...is humble myself before my God...with a heart...full of thanksgiving.

Tonight I want to take the time and say a thank you...to you.

You know who you are. The ones of you...though not knowing the words to say...you have taken the time to write us and tell us you are praying for us and for precious Taizi.

I've learned so much in this journey and I know there's much more to come.  I know many times I've seen a child with a disability and ... simply didn't know what to say.  I've seen a new mom with a child with a very obvious 'defect' :( and not know what to say.  What I have learned...is say something.  I loved when people came up to me to say Azlan's eyes were beautiful...pure windows into his soul. He talked with his eyes from just weeks old. I was never offended by that. Offense is something you 'take'...I chose to see that you were making an effort when it was difficult to know what to say.  Those of you that have reach out and said "we are broken for you and little Taizi" and are praying for us...our hearts are full of thanksgiving.  We know we are not on this journey alone.

The song that keeps playing over and over in my head tonight is Casting Crown's "Jesus Friend of Sinners".  Dean and I have been so convicted by this song. It's beautiful. It's sharp. It might even hurt.  Heaven forbid that people may really be on their way to Jesus...and yet trip and stumble over me.  How devastating.  But right in the middle of the song...it changes....

"You are good....

You are good...

and Your love...

endures forever...."

And that has played over and over and over in my mind tonight. Just when I think it's gone...

softly it starts....

You are good...
You are good...
and Your love....
endures forever...


And our hearts tonight...though breaking for our child....sing...

You are good.

A friend wrote me and said she cannot wait to see the progression in little Taizi.  What a beautiful thought.  As the light begins to flicker.  The orphan-heart...begin to change.  No longer an orphan.  No longer a numbered crib.  A child. A son. Loved.  Just as you are.  If you never walk.  If you never talk. Loved.

You are good...
You are good...
and Your love...
endures forever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6VAy9y_iQ

Tomorrow.

Our appointment is at 12:30 tomorrow via phone. I was told they moved a few appts around to fit us in.

Thankful.

I'm now looking for more infant type clothing for our little  boy...and I was on Zulily.com and saw super cute little Robeez style shoes for $10.  I pulled up the size chart and here is what I saw:


AUGUSTA BABY

SizeInchesCM
0-6 months4 1/2"11.5
6-12 months5 1/4"13.5
12-18 months5 1/2"14
18-24 months6 1/4"16



Taizi's feet measure 4.25".

Yeah...I rechecked everything twice.  0-6month size feet....?

:(

Update.

Lifeline has seen the birthday photos and requested a medical doctor's review of his photos and entire file. She said with a full letter stating how serious his medical need is and the urgency of it...we may be able to expedite the rest of the process.

After calling 8 international adoption clinics, University of Washington's was the first one to call me back. We have sent them Taizi's file, video and all three sets of photos from October 2011, February 2012 and now July 2012 so they can see the progression. We are waiting to hear back but likely have our consult tomorrow on the phone with the specialist and from there he will write the letter. The fee is $450 for this service and it's just part of the process to bring our precious home.

We also decided that we are going to keep their english agency names as their middle names as opposed to their given chinese names.  So it will look like this Taizi Tommy Walker and Zihao Ethan Walker.  It actually goes well with Zunduka and Chazano since they have Luvale first names and english middle names.  Now our new little boys will have Mandarin first names and english middle names and that is how we first new them....Ethan and Tommy. I would have never thought the name Tommy would mean so much to me...but when we saw that video of little Tommy...ahhhh.

Thank you for praying. Please don't stop.

Pray.

We just spoke to Lifeline about the pictures of Taizi. She requested the email of photos and said she would get back to me but that an expedite of the rest of the process is likely due to his severe need of medical care.

She did say that LOA's come in 'batches' and that they haven't received any for a while...she is hoping for this week.

Please pray with us, for us and for Taizi.

1. That we receive our LOAs this week
2. That Lifeline is able to expedite our process to rush the wait time from LOA to travel.

My heart just plain hurts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

All this time.

I woke yesterday morning. Singing.  A song I haven't heard in quite a while and I don't know it well.

It wouldn't leave my head.

I finally stopped. And smile when I realized what I was singing. All this time. God often speaks to me through song and it's the most amazing thing when I wake literally singing and I haven't heard the song recently. It's often just one line...that won't leave me. When I look up the lyrics I see just how applicable it is to me ... right then.


Last night Tirzah had my iPad and saw the pictures of Taizi. Oh my poor girl.  She has such a tender heart.  She immediately teared up and said she felt like she was just going to cry and cry b/c she was so said for Taizi.  She kept saying "he looks so sick...and sad...and like a baby" "He needs a mommy and daddy".  She had her hand over her mouth as she kept staring at his picture.

Thank you God for the gift of empathy in our children.  It's a beautiful thing.  To feel pain. Other's pain.

We were driving home from somewhere...just her and I and so I suggested we pray. I prayed then she prayed.  She poured out her heart to God.  "God please let Mommy and Daddy go to China in September...we need this letter...please let us get this letter this week.  God will you take care of Taizi? He looks so sad...and that makes me sad. I can't wait to hold him. I know he's three...but he's little.  Amen".

I said from the beginning that I wouldn't wish for a LOA that I would just wait and keep busy with our busy life. But since those photos...my heart is waiting every time the phone rings...for Lifeline to call.

My sweet friend came over this morning for coffee. And sincerely asked how I'm doing.

Another sweet friend called me tonight to say she saw the photos and is praying with us.  She feels the pain of a mother's heart just looking at his pictures.

I went back tonight in emails and found Taizi's measurements from February that Red Thread China gave us.  I'm thinking we will have to go off of that and start getting clothing ready. 31" height. 19" head. 4.3" feet.  18 pounds.

I know you may not know what to say...when you see the pictures. But know in your heart how very 'all in' we are. We are not doubting. Questioning. Wondering.  Our hearts are broken for the pain of our baby boy and what lies ahead of him.  We are waiting to go and bring him home.

We are asking you to pray.  Would you team up with us and pray for our LOA to arrive quickly? We do believe there's a sense of urgency and we are going to knock on Heaven's door for our child.  We believe in the power of prayer...we have seen it time and time again.  Yes He knows everything but He wants us to come and ask.

All this time.

The song God gave me through the night and I woke with it on my lips yesterday morning:

"All This Time" by Britt Nicole
I remember the moment, I remember the pain
I was only a girl, but I grew up that day
Tears were falling
I know You saw me

Hiding there in my bedroom, so alone
I was doing my best, trying to be strong
No one to turn to
That's when I met You

All this time, from the first tear cried
'Till today's sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there, You were always there
It was You and I
You've been walking with me all this time

You've been walking with me all this time

Ever since that day, it's been clear to me
That no matter what comes, You will never leave
I know You're for me
And You're a story

Every heartache and failure, every broken dream
You're the God who sees, the God who rescued me
This is my story
This is my story

All this time, from the first tear cried
'Till today's sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there, You were always there
It was You and I
You've been walking with me all this time

You've been walking with me all this time


I hear these people asking me
How do I know what I believe
Well, I'm not the same me, and that's all the proof I need
I found love, I found Your grace
You stole my heart that day

You've been walking with me all this time

All this time, from the first tear cried
'Till today's sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there, You were always there
It was You and I
You've been walking with me all this time

Ever since the first tear cried
It was You, You and I
You've been walking with me all this time

Ever since the first tear cried
It was You, You and I
You've been walking with me all this time

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Look!

Look on the left side of this blog to see "on earth as it is in heaven" in the blog list.  Click on it.  Kisses From Katie's blog. I read the last 2 entries and have never been so entranced in someone's writing, heart and life.

What young girl gives up everything...her american boyfriend, her family, her life...to pour her heart into the "least of these"...?

Read about Katie.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Loved.

Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.


Proverbs 24:11-12

Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say " But we knew nothing about htis"
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?


When we felt compelled to consider little Tommy...much beyond what we were ready to surrender to...I poured out my heart to God and begged Him to give us a crystal clear answer. No guessing. No wondering. No questioning.  Tell us yes or no and we will do it.

I sat down reluctantly to read my reading for the day which was several books of the Bible ( one chapter in each).

When I read Proverbs 24 I had chills when I read verses 3 and 4.

The masses of humanity would not consider little children like "Tommy" (Taizi) a rare or beautiful treasure.  But choosing to view life through 'God-lenses' everything changes. Ever try that?  The surface is merely the surface to God.  He sees so much beyond.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for i have rejected him.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart"

Using God's lens...

rare and beautiful treasures.


Pouring out our hearts to God when my eyes got further down the chapter to verses 12-13...I'm not going to lie it was as if it jumped out in 3D on the page.

It was God speaking to me.

"But God...we agreed to Zihao. One child. That was what we surrendered to. Not 2.  This isn't what we knew about...we didn't sign up for this!"

"Right.  You didn't know.  I knew.  I know you didn't know I was asking you to adopt Tommy.  You couldn't have handled me asking you to adopt Tommy"

"But what ...? How...? Us....?"

"I know your heart. I hold your life. It is I that gives you life and breath.  I knew it.  I planned it. I knew it"

"......"

"Rescue him from death.  Save him from the slaughter"

"how...?'

"I guard your life. And I guard his.  I will repay you.  Do it for me."

And in that moment we knew this was our answer.

"Yes, Lord."

People often say "how do you know it was God asking you?"
For us:
 1. it lines up with His Word.
2.It wasn't the desire of our heart.  We had to surrender.
3. He is persistent.  He will do what it takes to get your attention.

That's not always the case with everyone (point number 2--point number 1 IS always the case).  But for us we knew that we knew...that we knew.

The moment that we said "yes" it was amazing how He gave us joy. Excitement. Compassion. Passion.  Emotion.  Love.  For our little Taizi.


I wrote last week that I was concerned about the lack of birthday party photos and felt it was not something the orphanage wanted us to see.  Easy to prop a child on a rocking horse and make them look 'good'.  Sit at a table and eat cake...? Looking happy...?  Bit more challenging.

We finally received 2 photos.

My emotions reminded me of when I lost the baby in Africa.

I was numb. It was hours later that I cried and cried. And cried.

I saw the photos and hours later on my way to Vancouver WA for the day for business I had this lump in my throat that wouldn't go away.

I got out of the car and called my friend Jenny.  I just started crying. My heart was broken.  I wasn't regretting anything.  My heart was broken for little Taizi.  God so specifically chose him for us to bring home.  There are thousands...millions of orphans. He didn't say "adopt". He said "rescue HIM".

Jenny is such an amazing friend. She was strong. She talked about Daniel. She reminded me that Daniel didn't sign up to be Daniel.  "Pick me!!! I go in the lions den!!!" "Pick me...I'll defend my God to the masses..."  No God equipped him to be a Daniel.  God chose him.  He was equipped not because of his genetics.  Not because of his longsuffering.  Not because of his patience. Not because of his firm resolve.  He was equipped because God equipped him.

She paused. Her voice was soft. "Janice...there is no doubt in my mind God has equipped you for Taizi.  He's got you. He's got him.  I love you."

I dried my eyes and hung up the phone.

I got in the car and stared at his picture.

I have never seen a picture of Taizi without instantly reaching my fingers towards his face to stroke his hair.

My love...you are chosen. You are more.  You are ours.  You are so loved.


As my friend Jenny Groothuis said... you are not a number.  You are not a statistic.  You have a name.  Your name is all about you and God's plan for you. You are Taizi Tommy Walker.  Your name means "crown prince"  
THAT is who you are.





Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Duka's surgery

After the busiest 3 days ever...(I think that is an accurate statement...) we woke everyone up at 3:30 am this morning, piled them all in the van with pillows and their blankets to go to Spokane. I had packed a small suitcase with all their clothes and shoes for the day so they could stay in jammies.  I have to say...I'm seeing this as a much easier option than the hotel stay! Kids slept, it was dark and I love driving as the sun rises!

Dean dropped Zunduka and I off at the door and away we went.  He was quiet...wouldn't really say much.  When Dean went in to wake him at 3:30 he was wide awake...we don't think he ever slept :(  Once we got settled I noticed him shaking. I went and put him on my lap and asked if he was scared and I was sure he was going to burst into tears. He nodded dramatically. I held him close and prayed with him. We talked about how the angels were going with him and Jesus promises to never leave him. He thought that reminder was cool.  ;)  I requested sedative and the doc fully supported that as he could see the separation anxiety plus the fear of surgery.  He got a little woozy as I held him and he doesn't remember a thing about the rest of the morning until he woke.

Surgery was 3 hours which seemed like a really long time for this procedure.  The urologist was happy with the outcome. He said he 'accomplished the task with difficulty' and he thinks the prognosis is good. He said we really won't know about fertility for sure until he is an adult. He will monitor growth as he grows and said that will give us a good idea.

When Zunduka woke I had a funky robot there for him ;) We just so happen to have 4 boys that LOVE stuffed animals.  Robots are even better ;)



:)

We are home and he's been doing great. A little bummed that he can't go swimming for a few days but other than that he's enjoying all his time hanging out on the couch with books or the iPad ;)

The nurse was telling me how difficult it is for them to do an IV on children so dark.  She said especially here in the NW where we are predominantly white...they just aren't skilled. She showed us how she put a flashlight under his head to try to show veins b/c obviously the color doesn't show. I had never thought of that.  She said it takes a few pokes which is another reason it was good he was already 'out' ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fees.

Many of you have asked what makes up the enormous costs of this adoption.

Here it is! :)

First this is what we have paid so far. Some out of pocket. Many donations and a few grants.

-Fingerprint fee $102.50
-Passport photos $20
-Passport renewal for Janice $80
-Immagration services fee $890
NCFA Parent Training $195
Birth Certificates $26
Marriage License $13
Fed Ex Fees for sending dossier to Lifeline $45
State certifications based on 13 documents $65
Dossier County Certification $39
Chinese Consulate Authentications $150
Visa expenses for 2 adults including courier fees $350

Application fee to Lifeline $250
Lifeline Children's Services fee $5000 (covering administrative costs etc)
China Humanitarian Aid $250
Chinese Liaison Fee $1500
Home study fee $1500
Shipping fees for all documents $195
General Translation fee $50
Post adoption services $1750
Post adoption translation fee $70_______________all listed above is paid.  $12,480.50 is paid in full.

CCCwA log in fee for a child when you have a preapproval $800
Special Needs online processing fee $140
Orphanage donation (mandatory) $7000 PER CHILD

Internation flights estimate $3000
Hotel accomodations $2000 (yikes but we are there about 17 days)
in country flights $700
Food $460
guide/service fees $500
transportation $1000
guide / driver tips $200
visit to orphanage $300

  (total fees for adopting one child $28580.50)


FEES FOR ADOPTING SECOND CHILD at the same time:
additional $7000 orphanage donation
$2000 agency fee for second child
Other travel fees. Total estimation for adding second child = $12,000.


$28580 plus 12,000 = $40,580.50


Paid so far $16,930 (counting $3000 Katelyn's Fund Grant and $2000 in adoption account).


Left to pay on account : $23,650




:)  






Monday, July 9, 2012

"We didn't choose where we were born".

Dean called a contractor friend a few days ago to see if he would be able to donate his time and energy to helping at our Both Hands Project.  Not only did he say "YES" but he said this quote "We didnt' choose where we were born..." and that hit me.  We didn't get to choose our birth place...our circumstances...our financial status...our parents...

This contractor friend of Dean's was born in Mexico and told Dean he's had to work hard his entire life to get ahead.  His comment was to do with Zihao and Taizi being born in China...given up at birth...and on top of that having special medical needs.

Rabbit trail warning...

Last week we had a business leadership even and we needed a private room so we held it at a local Applebee's.  Our server was a young girl, quiet, prompt and fantastic.  As Dean and I were cleaning up at the end it was just us and her.  We asked her how long she has worked there. 4 years. She stressed that if our experience was positive to please leave feedback b/c she would get more hours with that.  So I asked about her hours. She said they have been cut and "I'm on a budget...getting part time hours hurts me".  She quietly opened up about her life.  She is 25 years old.  Born to an alcoholic mother.  Has a younger brother.  Her mother walked out when she was 7 years old.  She spent time with her grandmother but felt the sting of abandonment.  She said at a very early age she made a conscious decision to be more.  To take a less travelled path. Definitely the one her own mother had not taken.  She talked about how hard life was...and how it got so much better when her Dad took her and her brother in full time.  She loved her Daddy. She said he was such a hard worker and a good man.  He died 6 years ago when she was 19.  Knowing it was a risk, I asked. I was shocked. He died in a canoe accident in Horn Rapids.  The lights were low in Applebee's and I was thankful.  I couldn't blink much b/c it was about to force the tears out of my eyes down my face.

She has never had her liscense so she moved into an apartment right across from Applebee's so she could walk to work. She said her brother has taken the easier path.  Alcohol. Drugs. Now has a young child.

Literally alone in this world.

About 10 minutes from my house.

"we didn't choose where we were born".

I was praying for the words to speak. What do you say?  What do you think? What would you say...?

I asked her if I could write down her name and number...

She said "sure ...." and I looked up and said "do you ever need a friend? Someone to take you to coffee? Someone that cares about you...?" She quietly tilted her head and said "oh...I'd like that".  I again was humbled. Speechless.

Who am I ...

That I was not only born here...

but born into a family that loves Jesus...

a family that loves me...

Who am I...?

Taizi.

Born on the other side of the world.

We don't know the circumstances but we do know...that in the world's standards...this little boy was born 'less than perfect'.  Deformed ears. A severe cleft lip and palate.

My fingers (which simply move as I think...) paused several times for me to write that sentence.  How can I use the word 'deformed' to describe a creation...? Not a broken mold. A created being. Created in the image of God.  Sadly...that's the label given.

Little Taizi.

Assumably ... has spent the last 3 years of his life... laying in a crib.  His head is flattened. His hair is missing in patches.  The only sparkle seen in those eyes ... are when he's laying in his crib.  Clearly that's his comfortable...familiar place.

My heart went here tonight b/c here we are....13 days after his birthday. .. still waiting for photos from the party we sent him.  I can't help but wonder if those are pictures they don't want us to see.  Taking photos of him propped on a rocking horse works.  But sitting at a table 'eating cake'...?  If this is the case...little do the know how they have nothing to be concerned about. This is truly an unconditional adoption.  We aren't adopting him based on what we think or know about him.  This is based on a God in Heaven who formed him...and formed us.  And asked us to be the family that would love him...unconditionally.

We didn't choose where we were born.

Did we?

The circumstances. The events of our life. Our family.  Jenelle didn't choose it.  Neither did Taizi.

Neither did you.

If you are blessed more than them...

do something with it.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

He wants our heart.


Psalm 50.

7. “Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
    O Israel, and I will testify against you:
    I am God, your God. 
I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
    or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
    or of goats from your pens, 
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills. 
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
    for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
    fulfill your vows to the Most High, 
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; 
    I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”


This is the scripture God gave Dean when we had just surrendered to His clear call for us to not only adopt "Ethan" (Zihao) but also "Tommy" (Taizi).  I can still see Dean coming into the room to show me what he had just read after praying for peace about the financial side of this adoption. The finances which seemed...overwhelming.  $40,000-43,000...? We couldn't even fathom it.  Honestly if it were $10,000 we didn't have it...but $40,000....?  Sure we surrendered but now what?  

Dean went and did his devotions only to read this (above) in his daily reading.  The part that jumped out to him was verse 9 and on.

I have no need of a bull from your stall....

If I were hungry I would not tell you...

The world is mine.

All that is in it.

Fulfill your vows to me.

(Jonah 2:8-9....what I have vowed I will make good. Salvation is from the Lord).

We were humbled. And had a clear vision. God knew we didn't have the $40,000. He wasn't asking us for the $40,000. 

He was asking for our heart.

$40,000...? He owns the world and ALL that is in it. 

Need our money...?

He wasn't asking for our money.

Interestingly enough...money is easier to give.  

But my heart? Total surrender? My dreams and plans? The rest of my life?

That's what He wanted.  And that morning we knew...we were going to see Him provide in amazing ways. Through people we would never expect.  

There have been times when my chest has been tight. My stomach hurting.  How? When? What next? We still have about $22,000 left? In just a few months? Where...?  Who...? How...?  Help...!  And it has been Dean. The one who was most 'stressed' about finances in the beginning...that has maintained his peace that God didn't ask for us to come up with $40,000.  He was very clear that this is His...every part of it. He's got this.  And I keep surrendering. "Keep" as in constant...repetitive...surrender.

Tonight Katelyn's Fund emailed me the most touching email....letting us know we received a $3000 grant to bring Zihao and Taizi home.  

Here's the email:

Dear Dean and Janice,

I usually call families but really felt like this email was the perfect time to tell you that we have approved your family for a grant from Katelyn's Fund.  The grant is for $3,000.  We will send it director to your agency.  We pray this is an affirmation of Him providing and that He is so pleased with you walking in obedience to Him.

We were blessed with out time with you guys the other night. Clearly He is leading and directing your lives and His Spirit is within you. We are confident your children will see your deep love for Him and they will also learn to be lovers of our Savior.  We are praying for healing on each one and for His peace, encouragement and affirmation to be with both of you.  We love that your greatest desire is for them to know and love Him.

We were so touched with the ways that you seek and hear His voice and walk in ways of authentically living out the gospel in the things you do. Not by the world's standard ... but by His calling.  We really sense that He has so much in store for your familly. He is using your family to make an impact on the little ones in your home and so many more He desires to bring to His home.  Please let us know any updates and ways we can pray with you. We look forward to walking this journey with you for years to come.  

In him,

Sheila and Katelyn's Fund Board


Humbled.  With a heart of thanksgiving we say thank you to this organization and most important to our God in Heaven. We serve such an amazing God. He loves and cares for us and never ever...has made us walk alone.


Inspiration.

Check out this blog I added to my list. I've been following this story since it was on the front page of fox news. A young college student, Aimee, went zip lining and cut her leg. She ended up fighting for her life because of flesh eating disease. This caught our attention because this is the same bacteria that took Mom Walkers life 4.5 years ago. Aimee lost 1 leg, her other foot and both hands. You want to see faith in real-time? Read her dad's blog. A born again Christian that is not talking about his faith....he is living it. Www.aimeecopeland.com