Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Uh oh.

I'm blogging at 4am. Why? well because our ride to the airport comes in 50 minutes.  How long was our sleep? What sleep...? Yah.  That.  Dean and I both pulled an all nighter.  Uh oh.

Today was busy. Very busy.  Every time I got into the car...I cried.  I don't want to leave our children.  I really really...don't want to leave them. :(

I had to get passport pics done for the in country file and I had glazed over eyes. I was really crying.  I got back into the car and cried again. And prayed. I turned on the radio and heard a song I've never heard before...

I only heard one line.

I just googled that line and here are the lyrics. I'm reading them for the first time as you are.

Audio Adrenaline- Kings & Queens.

Little hands, shoeless feet
Lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run 
When their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won't let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

(Chorus)
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won't you look around 
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

Chorus

If not us, who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free shout your name in victory
We will love we will love the least of these
We will love the least of these (Repeat)


I don't know if you believe in coincidence...but I sure don't .  A broken heart, crying out to God. And He puts my focus back on the ones we are going to rescue.  The fatherless. The "least of these"...so beautiful. Then I REALLY cried.

We told the kids they could pick a restaurant tonight so we could go out as a family one last time before our trip. They picked a buffet. My stomach started to turn (not a buffet fan...)...but this is absolutely where they wanted to go. :) So we went. In fact Tirzah only had mashed potatoes on her plate and I said "wait...what...?" "oh this is my favorite food...I want a whole plate of it!" was her reply;)

We then went to the Hills house. We stayed a while and got everyone settled.  There were no tears...Tirzah was close.  Praying they stay in the "we are on a vacation" excitement.  

We came home...put Izrael and Azlan to bed in our room and have been working ever since.

Ahhh.

The vacuum seal bags were a great idea...thanks mom! We have a suitcase full of snowsuits we are bringing to Taizi's orphanage. These bags shrunk them down so small we fit tons more in there! 

The bad news of the night...is we cannot find Azlan's 'ear'. :( We haven't seen it since Sunday afternoon. It has gone missing for a few days before...and when we offer $1 to find it...it magically appears.  Well...the offer was up to $5 tonight and we searched up and down for hours... no ear ;(  The good news is ... his left ear can hear. And he's truly fine. The bad news is ... we are leaving for 3 weeks without it. We never go more than a few days without it.  Honestly...I'm shocked this hasn't happened before. It falls off when playing all the time.

We fly to Seattle at 6am. Then we sit there for over 6 hours (...ugh) before departing on Korean Air for Soeul, Korea.  

We downloaded a VPN service and should be able to blog and update facebook as we go.

From our hearts...thank you.  To each of you who have walked this journey with us.  You have prayed. You have cried with us. You gave generously. You have been a huge part in bringing these 2 precious little boys home. Thank you. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

My heart hurts.

Tonight Chazano was acting exactly like when I went to have baby Izrael.  Spaced. Baby talk. Wringing his hands as he's talking. Staring off in space.  Wouldn't talk. :(  This is what happens when he's scared.

I dragged out the putting-Azahria Peace-to-bed-process as long as I could just to savor it.  She painted me a massive picture tonight of her and Mama with silly hats with grabber arms.  I cried.

I packed Azahria's bag. And Chazano, Zunduka and Zion's are close to being ready.

Dean has been working since before we all got out of bed this morning.  It's 9:23pm right now and he's still not home.  Good news is tomorrow he won't be working.

Our good friend that is watching our kids came over to talk some final things this afternoon. I had a lump in my throat when she left.

My heart is in a total state of conflict.

The constant advice we are being given is to "truly enjoy your trip".  I think my friends know me well. I'm leaving half of my heart behind ... on the other side of the world...to bring the rest of it home.

The only peace I feel inside is that we are bringing the 'neediest' two of our children.  I would be sobbing right now if we were leaving Azlan and Izrael home.  They would struggle the most.  The 5 we are leaving are so beyond excited be staying with the Hills.  They adore our kids and their greatest goal is for our children to have 3 weeks of amazing memories. How beautiful is that...?
Remember that "would be sobbing" thought...? Well. Yah. Nevermind...:(

If I didn't know that I know...that I know...that this is right exactly where God wants us to be...doing right exactly what God wants us to do...bringing home right exactly the children God chose to be in our  family....then I'd be questioning my sanity right now for leaving our family...again.

To those of you following our journey...please pray for us.  Pray for our children. All of our children.  For their hearts. All of them. Those that stay behind ... those that come with...those that we will be soon meeting for the first time.  For our safety...and for very smooth skies. That's for real.  The God that the wind and seas obey...would calm the skies for this trip.  For God's hand over every part of our journey in every part of our family.

From our hearts...thank you.


Good news!

We have been waiting for our 'wired fees' total now that we are at the end of the process.  There are several variables and we haven't had this number until now.  We were told to anticipate an average of $20,500 when adopting 2 children.  (Yes this number is included in the total of this adoption).

We were told if we are taking Azlan and Izrael that costs may increase about $3000.  We begged to be able to stay in one hotel room and got that wish.  Still we were told with an extra in country flight and larger vehicle for our guide etc...we would still be up another $1500.

We received our total and it is $20,600!! So awesome!

It is very important for us to go to Taizi's orphanage if it all possible and we are expecting those final numbers tonight but it's estimated at $200 for the guide, van etc of going.

We are being offered the chance to go to Zihao's facility as well but since he was in a foster home since 7 weeks old...we are waiting to hear if we would get the opportunity to meet his foster family. If so...we would say yes to that opportunity as well. Otherwise we don't really see the point especially when the director will be delivering him to us, so we will have already met her.

Our suitcases are open.  And empty. :)  Open is a start right...? Since we are like 36 HOURS (I had 'days' typed...ooops!) away from travel.  Not one thing for the children staying is packed either.  Yah, I'll panic tomorrow :)

Oh that's not true...Zihao and Taizi's bags are packed...! :) That was the fun one!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Truly...

speechless.

I hope if you know God is calling you to step out in faith in an area in your life...I truly hope following this journey strengthens your personal faith as you see God deliver, provide and just completely blow us away.

Let me just say...we are speechless today. Yesterday. And the day before. 

I make lunch for my kids and I hear it deep inside of me...

I bathe my baby and all of a sudden I'm singing it...

I was doing laundry this morning and Zunduka said "what song are you singing...?"

I'm not even thinking about it. It just won't go away.

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


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A song of thanksgiving.

Today was a normal day for our family.

School was happening downstairs.

I was on a training call.

There were a few emails exchanged with a friend.

Then an email came in to say...a donation of $5000 was being sent to us. 

I felt weak. Dizzy.  Emotion.  Shaking. Crying.

I read and reread the email. 

Closed it and read it again.

I ran downstairs to Dean and just showed him the email, said nothing.

He looked up at me and had tears.  He's a guy...not always tears ;)  He said "now I want to tell you what you don't know...
yesterday after we got the rejection letter from the grant...I started to pray. And felt convicted to pray boldly.  Pray big.  Tell God our need and I prayed that we would receive a donation of $5000..."

I looked at him...me...with chills..."what...?"

Tirzah was doing her school at the counter and she said "I prayed yesterday kneeling down by the couch that God would give $5000. I knew He'd do it...I knew it! It's a miracle!! God heard me!!!"

I'm still standing there holding my phone looking at the email.

Just yesterday I poured out my heart about my cry to God.

 In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. Jonah 2:2.

That's hard to say when you are sitting in the belly of the whale with seaweed on your head...I have no doubt.

That's hard to say when you are 6 days away from getting on the plane to China and you do not have the funds to go.

Thank you Lord.  Your mercy endures forever.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Testing.

Yes...testing.  We are ready for the test to be over.  Have we passed yet...? If only it worked like that.

Today I crumbled under the weight of it all.

When we got the 'you were not approved for a grant at this time' letter...I started to cry. Really cry.

 I poured out my heart to God.

 We stepped out in faith against our ideas of timing...we felt like we jumped off a cliff because You said 'jump'.  You have provided..miraculously...every step of the way.  Please don't stop now.  We are so close...yet so far away.  Getting on the plane is impossible at this moment.  Please tell me what to do and I'll do it.  Yes...yes I know that's my weakness. I'm a do-er...waiting is not my speciality.  Faith is much harder than any physical labor You could ever ask of me.  Yes... I trust You. I...trusted... You. I trusted You when people openly questioned us.  Told us we were crazy.  To look at the numbers...that You wouldn't call us to something we didn't have the finances for. We knew that wasn't true. You had asked us to trust you BECAUSE the finances weren't there.  You haven't let us down...not once in this journey.   Why am I feeling it now...? 7 days til we are on a plane to China...7 days...You know that right, God...?  Please show me where to read...I want to know what You have to say"

My Bible always opens to Jonah 2.

"Really God...? Jonah 2 again? I know that verse. I LOVE that verse. That's one of the reasons we are in this spot today...because I knew Jonah 2:8 was Your message to us.

Jonah 2:8
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
verse 9
But I with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord.

It was in reading that verse I knew what You were asking of us. To let go of our worthless idols...our ideals of what we envisioned for our lives. Our family.  To not forfeit what You had in store for us.  That was our moment of ... 'Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.'

Ok. I'll read it again.

Jonah 2

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.

He said:
"In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and You listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the deep,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.

I said, 'I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'

The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.

To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O Lord my God.

When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered You, Lord,
and my prayer rose to You,
to Your holy temple.

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.


In my distress...I called to the Lord.  That's where I am right now Lord. 'In my distress'.  I'm calling to you...Jonah knew You had answered him. Jonah is sitting in the belly of the whale as he says "He answered me".   Can I be so sure of Your promises that I can say it in the past tense...? In my distress I called to the Lord...and He answered me.

From the depths of the grave I called for help...
and You listened to my cry.

What I have vowed...I did make a promise to trust You that day we said yes.  I said I would go by faith and not by sight. Sight said "no. Not now. This time next year should work. Not now".  Faith said "jump...He won't let you fall".

What I have vowed...I will make good.

Salvation comes from the Lord.

We are trusting You to deliver us Lord.  Though it's in the 11th hour...salvation comes from You and only You.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Faith.

Psalm 33

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.

Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to Him on the ten stringed lyre.

Sing to Him a new song;
play skillfully and shout for joy.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all He does.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of His unfailing love.

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of His mouth.

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
He puts the deep into storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the people of the world revere Him.

For He spoke and it came to be;
He commanded and it stood firm.

The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
He thwarts the purposed of the peoples.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of His heart through all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people He chose for His inheritance.

From Heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;
from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth

He who forms the hearts of all
who considers everything they do.

No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength...it cannot save.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him,
on those whose hope is in His unfailing love,
to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in His holy name.

May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in You.

A friend texted me to read this chapter.

In all what I'm feeling and constantly surrendering ... God keeps bringing me back to how trustworthy He is.  I thought the financial situation with our African adoption was a test of our faith...here we are with travel booked that we have pay for tonight...and waiting on God to provide.  He keeps gently bringing me back to His promises...His power...what He did by just merely speaking...is anything too hard for Him? Yes Janice...I know you can't do this.  You are totally stuck. Forced to rely on me.  No other options right now.
Wasn't that how it was in Africa? When I felt like I couldn't breathe one more day without Dean and our children...that was when I hit rock bottom and realized God is the only One that should make me feel like that. He should be my everything. To realize my husband and children were idols...and have no one to rely on but God...changed everything.  It was one of the hardest realizations...b/c it wasn't 'after the fact'. It was in the heat of it with no end in sight. I had no return date. I had no idea how long I was going to be there. I knew I was going to miss by baby's second birthday at home. I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Yet it was only God who I really needed.  If He is really my everything...then something had to change.

Here we are. A different situation.  Yet totally being tested.  Am I doubting that He called us? No. Am I doubting He will provide? In the moment...yes. But deep down...no.  I know that I know that this was all Him.  It wasn't about us in the beginning. As one friend said to me "if our adoption had costed $8,000 or $80,000...nothing changed. We didn't have either".  Well $4,000 would have been doable ...but $42,000 or $44,000...no.  Not a chance.

So all the way to the end...we trust You.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord...even as we put our hope in You.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

A little something.

So the other night my friend and I were out and I told her how amazing that Psalm 91 was that she texted me. She looked at me a little blank...so I reminded her she texted me....:) And I kept talking about how I told her earlier in the day about my fears about illnesses with the kids etc and how this was such a direct answer. She looked at me really blank. I'm like 'am I talking to the right person...? You did sent me a text right?' It was funny. Anyway...here's the best part...she was reading Psalm 91 and got this strong feeling to tell Janice to read it. She said she had no recollection at all that there was any mention of disease and protection from that etc.  I couldn't believe it.

And... well...how sad is that? That I was shocked? That I had goosebumps again that it was God speaking without her even knowing it...?

Mustard seed faith.  Sometimes that's all we have. ;)

So now I cherish it even more.  She had no idea why she was telling me to read it. Yet it was the answer to what I was crying out for.

A little something. Awesome.

Family.

Every year we go to a local pumpkin patch in October. The kids talk about it all through the year.

This year we told them we are not going to the pumpkin patch. It's a sacrifice our family is taking for the Chinese trip.  They were so mature about it and said they were sure we could find other fun things to do.

So we dressed up cute and went to "the forest". It's one of their favorite places to go. Oh they had so much fun!! Daddy would hide in the trees and scare them and they ran and ran and ran lots of energy off.

Here's some pictures of our day together.


Daddy & Izrael Promise 19m

Azlan Honor 6 y



Mama, Izrael and Chazano


Zion has magical eyes. He just shines.



Zunduka said "was I smiling?" :) He was smiling on the inside <3 p="p">

Oh Azahria Peace!


Daddy was running to hide with Izrael...it's far away but she was so excited she was giggling


Kisses from Daddy!


Mama and Izrael




Daddy was acting like he was going to tickle her...so cute!






Mama and the little girlies.


Chasing Daddy!


Tirzah Liberty :)


:)


I said "how excited are you that we are going to CHINA...??" and they all screamed ;)


Zunduka...high on top of the monkey bars


Love this picture of my Chazano boy


Upside down Duka


Go Zion go!!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zihao

Miss Jenny wrote us this morning and said "this is the last set of photos I'll be sending you of Zhong Hua...the next photos will be coming from YOU to ME :)" 

He is adorable.  

November 12 is gotcha.  We cannot wait little Zihao.  Cannot wait.

This is one of my favorite pictures of him! So precious.


:)


:)



And this...is his namesake photo. His name Zihao means Our Heroic Son.  The kids love this. He's a superhero! :)




Friday, October 19, 2012

We are going to China!!!!

While that's pretty exciting...I love seeing other cultures...it is nothing compared to finally getting to meet our precious little boys.  I cannot even begin to articulate...what my heart is feeling.

Our consulate appointment is November 20.  We fly out of Seattle October 31 (those of you that were praying for October travel...we got it! ;) and fly home November 22.  Mid morning...Thanksgiving Day...how very fitting!

We fly Seattle - Shanghai.

We are several days early (the only way we could get affordable tickets) so we may spend a night or two in Shanghai before taking the train to Jiangsu province where Taizi is.

We fly from there to Guangzhou a week later and gotcha day for Zihao is November 12.

We fly home from Guangzhou November 22.

I'm still shaking.

Totally shaking.


Very tentative schedule

We spoke with one travel agent last night to see what we could come up with.

His idea is we fly from Seattle to Shanghai which is a train ride away from Taizi's city.  The lowest fare leaves on Oct 31...so that is days earlier than we need to be there. We have already found very affordable hotels in Shanghai if we want to hang out there for a day or so.

If CA is Nov 20 then we would leave Oct 31 and return Nov 22. Yes Thanksgiving day.

Flying out of Pasco gave us a rediculous 6+ hour layover in Seattle and added quite a bit to the cost.

It would be awesome to have the CA today but we don't anticipate it til Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We called...You answered.

This morning we spent quite a bit of time pouring out our hearts. To each other and to a confidant.  (I hope you are blessed with someone in your life that you can call confidant. What a gift she has been to me.)

Our cry has been: but the funds are not there.

Back 2 weeks ago we called out and God answered.

He showed us Azlan was to come with us to China.

The very next day, we received an anonymous donation specifically for Azlan's airfare.

That was a confirmation that God had indeed said yes.

Then we found out costs were higher than we anticipated.

So we questioned everything.

We wanted an answer in dollars.

If the money is there...the answer is yes.

Wouldn't that be easy for Yours Truly...? Yes, why yes it would.

The money is not there.

The decision needs to be made today.

Mind you....the money is not there for Dean and I to go either.  We are short. In the big picture of the overall cost of this adoption...not by much.  But when you don't have it...it's a lot to be short.

Back up to yesterday.

I poured out my heart to a friend talking about all the 'what ifs' in my mind about taking Azlan.
They can be broken down into 2 things. 1. Money. 2. sicknesses he would be exposed to in China.

Last night, late last night, that same friend texted me this "Psalm 91".  I replied..."you want me to read it..." and she said "yep".

I pulled it up on my phone which 'just so happened' to be in the NLT version. I never read that version but that's what I read last night.

Here it is: PSALM 91

 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

This I declare about the LORD:
-He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
-He is my God, and I trust Him.

.For He will rescue you from ever trap and protect you from deadly disease.

He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.  They will hold you up with their hands so you wont' even hurt your foot on a stone.  You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The LORD says "I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.


Wow.  That was in my friend's reading and she knew it was for me.

A direct response to my question earlier in the day.

Then my friend posted on my blog yesterday with the quote:
If you are waiting on a bus...you are watching for the bus.
If you are waiting on God...you are watching for God.


As I was talking to my confidant this morning...mid sentence....it hit me.

Janice...are you really waiting on Me? Are you watching for Me?
I answered your cry 2 weeks ago. Then I confirmed it with the anonymous donation for Azlan.
I answered your cry yesterday about illness and promised my protection.
Are you watching for Me? Or do I have to answer the way you want me to...? Just put the funds in your account NOW so no more faith is required...?

I texted a friend this morning that this feels like a giant leap of faith.  Her reply was "It has ALL been a leap of faith. Phil. 4:6

Don't worry about anything; instead...pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.

And when Dean and I were talking and I remembered her text...it was crystal clear.  The faith journey is not over. Nor will it be in the near future.  Why is this one so hard? It's ALL a leap of faith.


Psalm 91 verse 2.

He is my God.
And I trust Him.


Yes!

:)

We received our TA's today.

Day 35.

Who's counting...?

Reading blogs of others that received theirs yesterday at day 7 of waiting...you know...only God knows. He sure knows how loud we cried out to Him and the needs of our precious children waiting.

We applied for CA (consulate appointment) of Nov 20. That would require us to be IN China by Nov 4.

So exciting.

Then my agency let us know that we need to know who all is going on this trip....by tonight.  I felt physically ill.  We do not know.  We have been praying for a clear answer re Azlan.  2 people out-of-the-blue donated for him to come...we thought we had our answer..yet here we are.

We had prayed the $ would be there by the time we had to make this decision and therefore we would know.  However...the $ isn't there for Dean and I to go. So is that really an answer?

How much of a leap of faith...?

Ahh Pray for us.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No.

Not today either.

The good news today is that lifeline didn't call or email us telling us to call them right away...only to hear they were calling to tell us no TA came.  No call is better. No call=no TAs.


Nothing so humbling.

As helplessly standing by...and watching God work.

Amazing. 

To you...who He is working through...thank you.  Thank you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Moments

Dean asked me how I'm doing today and the only thing I could think of was "I feel like I was given 2 weeks to live and I can't possibly savor each moment enough".

As I said it...I entered into it.

Wow.

Can you imagine?

I'm not a country girl but it reminds me of the song "Live like you were dying" and Tim McGraw talks about "someday I hope you get the chance...to live like you were dying".

Everything changes.

Perspective.

Ok why do I feel this way?

 Because I now know...twice...what it feels like to get on a plane to go to the other side of the planet.  Leaving your children behind.

First time...I had no clue.

Second time...I cried most of my flight to Africa.

This time...I feel sick at the thought.

I went in the pantry last night and fell to the floor crying.  Please...can I not go?  Can I just change my mind? Please don't make me go through this again.  Yes I know this is your plan. Yes I want to bring our babies home.  Please don't make me leave ... please...

And I just sat and sobbed.

I know I'm going.

I know I have to go.

This whole thing was about surrender.

Someone said to me recently "if it's surrender...why are you excited about bringing the children home? Surrender is against your will. And actually...if you do anything against your will...you will just be bitter.  Is this really surrender....?"

Woah.

Ok...not sure how surrender works for you. But for us...it's waving the white flag.

Total. All out. Heart. Soul. Surrender.

And in that moment...the most amazing thing happens.

His excitement becomes mine.  I can see in His heart.  His will...becomes mine.

Surrender.

When I said "No" it was against my will.

Surrender is the act of letting go of your will.

Not my will.

Yours.

Are we excited? Over the moon.

Total surrender.

Why?

Because He made it crystal clear.  Clear as in there's not a sliver of doubt in our minds...clear.  That this is what He was asking of us.  And we had a choice.  When that became clear...everything changed.

Well...here we are. At the end of this phase of the journey.

I know it's coming soon. We are going to China. I'm ecstatic.

Yet I don't want to go.

I want it to all be behind us already.  Let's fast forward.  Let's already be home.  Reunited with our family.

The non-ending lump in my throat.  The knot in my stomach.  The way my heart hurts. At the thought of leaving our family.

Surrender.

I'm always at this place.

Ok Lord.  Ok.

Today I took Azlan and Tirzah on a mama-date.

I date at least one child every weekend.

It's amazing.  Not expensive.  It's the moments.

We got a little ice cream.  We sat by the fountain and we talked.  I laughed.  I savored every moment. Trying to take mental pictures of Tirzah's sparkle in her eye and the way she ate her ice cream.

After waiting for what feels like forever for this TA. Now what...34 days come Monday...I feel like I'm now afraid to hear it's time to go.  Talk about a torn heart! Few moments in my lifetime will rival the moment of meeting Taizi and Zihao for the first time.  I think about it...and I cry.  I cannot wait.  To be looking at the child that the God of Heaven chose...the one He saw...the one He heard...the one He chose...that is incredibly humbling and emotional.

Hold my heart, God. Hold my heart.





Friday, October 12, 2012

Goodness.

Do you ever stop and think how mind-blowing it is that God hears you? That He sees you? Not just 'sees' but looks at ... you?  Not just hears you in a sea of voices...but hears...you? That he knows...you...?

I find that thought overwhelmingly humbling.

3 nights ago I got into bed. Tired. It was well past midnight.  I could see my Bible on my bed. I felt rather empty.  Small faith.  Too many decisions. Big decisions. That we have to make.  I got into bed and started talking to God.  And suddenly I felt small.  Really small.  Am I really going to pour out my heart...to God...again...?

I could feel this pull..."read. You need to read tonight".

I sat up and got my Bible.

My reading is in 2 Samuel 7.

7:18 (David's prayer)
-Who am I, O Sovereign Lord...and what is my family that you have brought me this far?

Talk about something...for me...! I was blown away.  Yes this is how I'm feeling, Lord.

verse 19

-And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant.  Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?

Wow.

verse 28

-O Sovereign Lord, you are God!
Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.

I closed by Bible. Laid down.  And starting talking to God.  Feeling small? Always.  Knowing how loved I am...? Absolutely.

"Is this your usual way of dealing with man...?"


The next night we were going out for a free dinner with our friends.

On our way home we got talking about faith.  Mustard-seed-faith.  My friend and I talked about a challenge...have you ever prayed and even told God how tiny your faith is..but asked for something big...?

So when we got home I tucked Tirzah in bed. She was sad about the lack of a TA.  So we prayed.  A mama and her baby girl.  I told God we only have mustard-seed-sized faith ...but here we are.  We know You have brought us this far. We are asking for a miracle.  Show us a miracle.

That was 9:40pm.

I came downstairs and sat down on the couch with Dean. My phone beeped alerting me that an email had come in.

9:52pm.

A friend living on the other side of the world wrote to say she was sending a large donation to our adoption.

I had chills from head to toe.

"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"

We didn't ask her. We didn't communicate with her.  We didn't send her a Both Hands letter.  Nothing.

She felt moved by God to write us and let us know.

Just 12 minutes after I prayed with my little girl with mustard-seed-sized-faith.

"Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant".


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Decisions.

I'm one very decisive person. My dad used to always say "she's quiet but when she makes up her mind, there's no moving her!".

Why am I having such a difficult time finding peace with these decisions.

We just spoke to our agency about final fees and they are higher than anticipated.  They increase $1500 (besides flights) to take Azlan with us.  We did not count on this and this makes me question everything about taking him.  What increased...? Well while we are insisting we can comfortably stay in one hotel room...not all hotels will let us. They may require us to have a suite.  Guide fees, meals etc increase.

So it would be costing us his flight ($1000 ish ... if we can book it soon! Otherwise may be $1500) plus $1500 in country fees.

I feel we are back to square one a bit.  Maybe... we are not. Maybe ...we aren't supposed to be looking at these numbers.  Maybe... we just really need some clarification.  Maybe... waking up to God's hand written note on my wall would solve all of this. Maybe...faith...is really difficult.  Maybe...it's easier to punch numbers and write a check and go with what you can.  Maybe...none of this would even be happening if that were the case.

Maybe...I need date night with my husband.  :)

Maybe...it's time to put out a fleece again.  Have God very clearly answer us. Because what I DO know is we aren't supposed to be stressing about it. No anxiety.  So I need to let go of that.  And see what God really wants us to do.


I just received another update from LIFESONG regarding our account so the funds can be sent to Lifeline for those final fees.  I pray everytime I open that email from them and I pray every time I see the updated report.  To YOU...who continue to give generously...someday I truly pray you will get the opportunity to meet these precious children in person and see what you were a part of.  If not...I know in Heaven you will.  Our hearts are touched.  Thankful.

Many of you have written me with your words of wisdom and I appreciate that and am totally open to hearing what you have to say.  Maybe God will speak through you.

One thing I know...I could use peace in all of this.

Wait...it DOES feel like chaos...

I don't want the Peace to get buried in the chaos.

Pray for us.


28days.

I'd take it if it was the day we received TA!! :) but alas...

We received an update saying our TA should be mailed this week and received sometime next week.

Lovely.

Patience...? Always a matter of surrender for me.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Now 41 weeks pregnant.

No I have never been...I wouldn't have made it, can you tell...? :)

But I can tell you I wouldn't be telling people how many WEEKS I was over due...I wouldn't even be counting DAYS...it would be minutes.  Watching the clock.

My friend reminded me today about how Izrael's emergency surgery would have been missed had we had our TA at 6 days...Azlan would not be coming with us... and how many more things that I don't know about.

Hindsight is always crystal clear. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Our week.

I got a call from someone at Lifeline on Friday.  I've never spoken to him before but he introduced himself to me and said he was really calling b/c our family has been on the China team's hearts and they pray for us in their staff meetings.  That was pretty special.  He said after leaving the meeting we were still on his mind so he thought he'd call and introduce himself to us.

We talked about the wait and the frustrations of it and I told him that honestly we've been really patient. The 25 day wait for a TA...however...gulp...when we were told the doctor's letter would expedite it...was really a gulp but that we understand we are just sitting on someone's desk in China.  He was taken back by the time and said he would personally guarantee that he would do all he can to make sure this comes asap this week.

Felt like a little smile from Heaven.

We had a great weekend so far.

Which is sometimes hard when you are waiting for Monday. :) We are trying not to let any days slip and really ... I can feel that lump in my throat about leaving our children to go to China and I'm doing my best to savor every day here.

Thursday we were invited to my very very close friend's parents for dinner.  They briefly met our family recently and I guess we made some sort of an impression ;)  My friend and her family were there as well and we had such a fun evening. Our kids were looking forward to this all week.  They had kittens and ducks and that was pretty fun for the kids.

Saturday morning Tirzah wanted to go watch her best friend play soccer near our house. Dean dropped her off to watch with her bff's mom.  :) So cute. I'm telling you I bet she was the best cheer leader ever! Her best friend is also the family that our children are staying with when we go to China.  I love seeing Tirzah develop this friendship...it reminds me of my childhood friend Beth-Anne and I.  How on Sunday I'd be hoping I'd get invited over after church to play at her house :)  Well the last two Sundays, Tirzah has been invited to her friend's house for lunch ;)

Meanwhile, Dean was at our church helping them renovate the new building.  The other kids and I cleaned like crazies (we hate Saturday cleaning so we think if you do it super fast you get it over with and on to bigger and better stuff ;).  Dean came home, we were all ready to go out, we stopped and picked Tirzah up from the soccer fields and off we went.  We made our first run to the farmer's market. Sad that we've lived her 9 years and it's our first time!  I loved going to the market in New Brunswick with Jocelyn and her friend Mary on crisp Saturday mornings!  My fave was the maple sugar leaf candies.  And anything fried we could find.

This morning we bought 25lbs of apples (for only $14!), some fun loaves of bread including a pumpkin loaf the kids were all excited about, honey candy for the kids and definitely hot mini donuts for us all to share!  We came home and put little Izrael to bed for her nap after lunch.  I then took Zunduka and Zion for a Mama-date. They were so cute and I laughed almost the whole time.  Duka is pretty attached to me, especially lately now that he knows we are leaving soon.  He held my hand almost the whole time and I first stopped in the chocolate store where I had a gift card.  We got chocolate covered gummy bears (a real treat b/c there's no candy allowed in our house...just chocolate...due to dental issues) and chocolate coins.  They each had their own baggie and were pretty much over the moon.  I then tried a few shirts on in a store...yes with my 2 hilarious sons giving their opinions.  Zion would laugh and say how awful the color was and Duka would say how beautiful Mama looked.  :)  And then they would each crack up laughing that the other liked it or didn't.  Zunduka would pick out a pair of shoes for my trip and I'd try to nicely say that they weren't my style and he'd get so silly. By the time we left there they were full of chocolate and definitely done 'shopping'.  We drove thru the McDonald's drive thru for their sole request: a bottle of water.  Too funny. Water it was.

We came home and cooked a feast of chicken wings. Dean and I found a recipe on Pioneer Woman and this was amazing! It took a while but wow. We did parmesan wings for the kids and hot wings with homemade hot sauce for Dean and I. I'm not a wings-girl (or much of a meat girl for that matter)...but they were really good.

We then sliced up the eggplant from our garden.  Quite a funny story. I have the blackest thumb of all and yet we have this massive garden.  I believe in doing 2-3 things all-out...very well instead of half way at many :)  So...gardening doesn't make the list.  And well...what a disaster for the second year in a row.  So...we pulled it all out and left my tiny struggling eggplant plants. Zion came running in the other day to tell me the eggplants were massive. I couldn't believe it! They were!  Hilarious.  So we took the biggest one (which the kids were all excited to see that not one at the market today was as big as ours;)...and made eggplant parm for tomorrow's lunch.

With songs and kisses and lots of prayers we tucked everyone in.  Then Zunduka asked if he could draw in bed instead of reading tonight. I got him his pad and pen and he said "can you remind me how to spell 'love'...I have to write a very very very special letter to you tonight..." ;)

That's a pretty good way to end the night.

Today I was reminded so many times of the peace I feel when I remember that we are taking Izrael and Azlan with us to China.  Such a burden is lifted having made that decision.  Oh...and on Friday, Izrael's passport arrived complete with her Chinese Visa and Azlan's passport ... arrived.  What was that...a week for his passport?  So Monday we will send his off for his visa and then we wait.

We are getting good at waiting.  We seem to be doing that a lot.  Waiting on God.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Strength.

I'm reading through Samuel.

Last night I read how David returned to his camp and found it completely destroyed by fire and his wives and sons and daughters taken captive.

1 Sam 30:4

So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.

wow.  Total agony and loss.

He goes on to say how there was talk of him being stoned to death.

vs.6(b)
But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Ok you really need to read the story.  Maybe I've passed over this little phrase before but I think it is key.

He wailed out loud til he not only didn't have a voice but completely was drained of strength.

But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Honestly...I've never lost my family. I've never come home and found my children kidnapped and my house on fire (can you fathom...?).  Yet all of us have moments of feeling completely drained of strength.  At this point in this adoption journey...let's just wrap it up and go.  Why this phase is taking record lengths of time for us when Taizi desperately needs to come home...I don't know.  And the patience I pledged at the beginning...is waning.

I don't believe the timing is set in stone and cannot change.

Prayer CHANGES things.

Not helps you feel better.

Not makes you feel like you did something.

CHANGES things.

I don't believe the time and details are set in stone and there's nothing we can do to change it.  At all.  There is tremendous power in prayer.

Read Luke 18.

Jesus compares to prayer to an "unjust woman who begs day and night and the judge grows weary of her pleas".  Really?

Verse 6.

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".

Prayer CHANGES things.

A friend of mine asked for prayer last week for her two adopted children from South Africa (where she lives) to gain Canadian citizenship.  They were battling this with no answers for TWO years. She asks for committed prayer and BAM...done.  What...? Coincidence? Set in stone timing? Whether she prayed or not...? I don't think so. Prayer CHANGES things.  Not helps. Not eases the pain. CHANGES.

We have been storming Heaven's doors for CHANGED circumstance.  We are still praying to be on a plane to China in October.

David's heart in the ultimate moment of despair spoke to mine last night.

But David found strength in the Lord his God.

Back to my knees of asking 'day and night'...

and making sure my strength is coming from the Source of all.