Tomorrow the family, who were strangers to us only a short month ago, will be on their way to our daughter. They will be boarding a plane on a journey to their son in Weinan City, China. A journey that has crossed ours and led us to introduce ourselves to them begging them to try to get just a glimpse of our princess when they are there. Begging them because Jill and Joshua (their son's name) are in the same orphanage. (Begging wasn't really needed as this momma from Colorado is gracious and understands the heart of this adoptive momma (me) to "see" her daughter. She even sacrificed space in her suitcase for a package for my girl. What a huge blessing she has been.) They were told by their guide that he has arranged for them to meet Jill and they have permission to get pictures of her for us. I am praying that this sweet family has a safe trip and their son is in their arms safe soon! I am also praying that they get a glimpse of our Jill. Thinking that this momma is going to get to meet my girl is so overwhelming and yet I simply can't wait to be there myself. So blessed that God has brought these loving, believing strangers into our lives and that they are more than willing to bring our love to Jill. As soon as those pictures are in my inbox, they will be posted. Stay Tuned....
Enjoying our holiday staying with my dh's parents on the coast. Oh my girl is growing up so that I hardly recognize her walking the beach next to her daddy. The only thing missing is Jill. Can't wait to have that precious baby here. Looking at this ocean and sunset..You are Marvelous God and I am in awe of all that you given me. Post more soon. Hope you are enjoying your holiday and family this week!
Stillness lays on the house now like a comforting quilt. Still I am restless. Daddy and Sissy are in bed snug and resting. What a beautiful quiet Christmas it was here for us. We opened presents for you and I have to admit that mommy did shed some tears thinking of you so far away. (You will get to used to that when you join us. It happens often.) You are such a miracle sweet one. A precious miracle and we can't wait until you are home with us. In just a week, we hope you will be getting your gift from us. We are sending it with a family whose son lives in the orphanage. I wonder what you will think when you see our pictures? Will someone let you see us? Will anyone explain? Do you know in your little heart already that you are ours? Will you like your pink dog? Momma prayed over that little thing before sending it on its way to you. I am praying that God is readying your heart for us precious one. Praying that in God's perfect time, we will be together at last. I can't wait to hear you call your sister sissy and see a smile on your face. I can't wait to watch you sleep and have tea parties. I can't wait to see you run into your daddy's arms and kiss him. Mostly, I can't wait until the day that I don't have to miss you so much! I love you so my girl. Merry Christmas. This is the last Christmas you will spend alone.
Yesterday I was given the privilege of being a part of bringing the light of Jesus to a needy family that has come in contact with our congregation through our food pantry and free Saturday meal ministry. Through these ministries the faithful volunteers from our congregation welcome the poor in the name of Jesus to be fed and send them off with food for their families.
Last week at the meal, a dear friend of my mine was confronted with a very real need facing one of the families she serves through these ministries. This family needed beds for their little ones. Their five year old and 18 month old had been sleeping on a couch. They-had-no-beds. They had never had beds. No-beds. My friend's heart was troubled when she discovered this and she couldn't sit by and do nothing. She started by asking for prayer in our women's Sunday School Class. Soon because of her efforts, our entire congregation was rallied around this cause and more than enough money was brought in to provide beds for these little ones. We were also able to get gifts, blankets, and pillows.
I was lucky enough to deliver these things yesterday to this family's modest home... Blessed. Blessed by the experience. Blessed by the chance that Jesus gives me to help others though in a small way. Blessed to see the five year old boy shouting with joy-NOW WE HAVE BEDS! Blessed to have the opportunity to have beds for my family and one waiting for little Jill already. Blessed!
Immediately after delivering to this precious family, I went to the grocery store to buy more supplies for another gathering I have to cook for this week. The store was packed. The line was down the aisle, but I couldn't forget-Blessed! I had a choice to make in that moment. We have a choice to make in every momment. Choose to remember that I am blessed. Choose to remember that I am blessed to be able to walk into the store anytime I want and buy whatever I need anytime that I need it or choose to dwell on the time spent waiting. Choose to use the time to take in the blessing or choose to waste the time counting all the minutes ticking away. Blessed. So many of us are blessed this holiday season.
Today I am choosing to bask in the blessings I have and not dwell in the world that is so full of negatives. Hope you are feeling the blessings of a life in Jesus Christ this Christmas Eve. No blessing compares to the blessing of knowing my Savior!
Jesus looked at them and said, "With Man these things are impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." When we started this adoption, we literally had NO IDEA how God could really make this happen. It seemed beyond impossible.
We had NO IDEA how DH would be able to overcome his fear and fly.
We had NO IDEA how we could ever agree to surrender our easy lives and invite in the unknown.
We had NO IDEA how we would pay for this adoption.
We had NO IDEA, but God knew!!
God knew that He would give DH a love for this little girl that could overcome his fear of flying. God knew, the daddy in my DH would have to get to his little girl.
God knew that the fears of the unknown would be overcome by His promises to never leave us or forsake us. God knew that He would use this journey to draw us ever closer to Him!
God knew that He would provide financially every-step-of-the-way! Even when I didn't know- God knew. We have made it to $4,000 dollars in donations in just two months. Each and everyday we are given more and more by so many people who love the Lord and are supporting us by helping us bring our baby home! People who are making more than one donation. People who are giving in huge ways and sacrificing much so that our girl can come home to her family. $4,000 dollars just like that!! Who knew? God knew. Have you ever just taken such a leap of faith and had God show up in such a big way? He promises He will and I am in awe of the goodness of my God! I was just in the kitchen yesterday shouting and screaming with Praise to God for amazing friends who shared $1,000 dollars with us!! Praise be to Jesus!
This momma is forever grateful to the many friends who have so generously supported us and loved on us and our girl. I can't wait for you to meet her.. I can't wait to tell her about all that God has done through so many to bring her home to us. Missing her like crazy today and counting down the days until I can hold her in my arms!
While I sit warm in my house, baking my 100th batch of cookies..Logging on to my email to find the sweet face in the video above. It is so easy to close my eyes to these images. They cause me to feel pain, but I can't keep them out. I can't close my eyes. May I keep my eyes open to the millions of children, widows, and poor who are struggling. Who are cold. Who are hurting. Who are in need. May my eyes continue to be open to the world around me..in my backyard and around the world. Jesus wants that. Jesus wants me to respond. Jesus wants me to feel the hurt of those in need and reach out. I have wasted so much of my life not doing what Jesus wants. This Christmas..I am trying so hard to keep my eyes open, to experience the need of others, and to respond. Thank you Jesus for the way that you don't give up on me and for the way that you challenge me each and every day to live out this life the way that you call us to. I am blessed to know you Lord! Praying that all who read this may know the blessing of knowing you this Christmas Season!
There she is. Right where she belongs. That's the only picture we have of Jill from the orphanage and it is almost a year old now, but here it hangs on her grandma's wall with the other family pictures. So very blessed that my family is so willing and ready to accept our new princess from half a world away into our family. You are so very loved Jill by all of us. I am a picture taking momma. So don't worry precious girl, I will make up for all those months when there was no one to take your picture when I get to you. You're big sis rolls her eyes when the camera comes out now-a-days(though I am convinced she secretly adores my fondness of her). Simply can't wait to photograph you over and over again! Love you sooo very much!
There I was digging under the Christmas tree. Looking through the packages for the ones we needed to pack up for our first family Christmas function of the season. Suddenly, I came upon it. I put it there. It shouldn't have struck me so. It was the little gold package without a bow. The one whose tag read: to Jill from Mommy, Daddy, and Emily. Tears instantly welled up in my eyes and I began to wonder what my little girl was feeling this Christmas so far away from her mommy and daddy. Oh the waiting is so hard and at times I am filled with more sadness than I think I can bare. Still, the fact that I can miss someone so much that I don't even know is just so supernatural that I wouldn't miss this pain for the world. I know that when I finally hold her in my arms, I will have just a glimpse of what it must feel like when God welcomes one of His precious children home.
I was thinking after I saw the package what God must have felt like that first Christmas sending his son from the comforts of heaven to this Earth knowing what he would have to endure. I was thinking about the fact that God was separating from his son for a little more than thirty years-all the while knowing that in order to have him join him again, he would have to endure a horrific death on the cross...a death so painful, so brutal. A death so necessary so that many more of his children, us, would be able to join him one day too. I am so very thankful for God's sacrifice and that I can have the chance to be in relationship with Him who made me! Just I anticipate Jillian coming home, I look forward to the moment that God welcomes me home-to live beside him for eternity!
I am thankful too for this adoption journey-full of joy, trials, and tears- as it is allowing me to see my God all the more clearly. Pray for my little girl and the many who are spending this Christmas without a mommy and daddy. My little girl has somebody coming for her, but so many don't.
We have a submission date. A package arrived at our agency today with a letter from China that had our name on it and a submission date of Dec. 8. This is the date that our paperwork was officially submitted to the center in China. That means the official waiting begins as of Dec. 8. Here is what the next few months look like from here...
1. Waiting for Letter of Confirmation. This comes from China and could take 3-5 months but right now is running about two months. (You know this momma is praying like crazy that continues.)
2. Seeking the second half of our US immigration. This comes from the US government and takes 2-4 weeks.
3. Waiting for Travel Approval This is the golden ticket to China issued by their government. This takes 4-6 weeks.
4. Traveling to meet our baby girl!! This could be about three weeks after our golden ticket arrives.
If everything goes as planned, we should be traveling in May/June. I simply can't wait!! Oh to hold that baby! Thanks so much for your prayers. They are priceless to me!
So after church we spent the rest of the afternoon doing this...
I love spending the whole day in the kitchen with my girl. Precious mother daughter time that I wouldn't trade for the world. So thankful to God for giving me this wonderful young woman to raise up in Him.
Yesterday, we headed to the local toy franchise to pick out something to send half way across the world to our sweet, precious girl. I really wanted to get a blanket but Jie Jie (big sis) wanted to pick out a stuffed animal. We found a soft, pink doggie and a picture album. We are putting our pictures in the album and praying over that little dog. Just think in less than 4 weeks these very items that we have touched and prayed over will be half way across the world with our girl. Oh to be going myself. So extremely thankful for this wonderful family who is willing to send a bit of my love to our Jillian. God is so good to have lead us to them. Have a blessed Sunday! Stay safe and warm!
My dh came across this blog last week. I love it because it means that he was thinking about Jill and was searching. Well my searches have turned up void, but his search was successful. I haven't found one family who is going to or who have adopted from Shanxi province. BUT...He found a family that will be traveling to our Jill's orphanage in a few weeks to get their son. They may get to see her. Can you believe it? I am truly jumping-no leaping-with joy!!! Despite having only one bag a piece, they offered to take something to her from us. I am going to run out and get something for her. What to get? I think I may send a blanket that we sleep with for a few days. Then, it will be like we are right there with her. Oh I am just so thrilled!! I may get pictures of her in just a few short weeks. Praying that this precious family has a safe trip and they get a chance to see our girl!! Oh, I can't believe it! Honestly, GOD is sooo good! So good! Keep praying my friends! You are so vital to me!
This is one of the worst times of the year for most people financially. There is a lot demanding people's money during this season..gifts, special offerings, travel. There are a whole lot of ways to spend your money in December WHICH makes it even more miraculous that so many of our precious friends are investing in us and helping us to bring our precious gift home. WE HAVE RAISED $2,000 AS OF TODAY!! Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over for investing in God's call on our lives and bringing this precious girl home to us.
I was so encouraged to receive this personal note from some wonderful,faithful believers who we are blessed to call friends. It read.. We are so excited to share in your journey of adoption! God has many blessings in store for your precious family and your "new addition".(They are grandparents to two beautiful Chinese granddaughters adopted by their daughter.) Our son told us that our daughter's first adoption gave him a more vivid picture of Christ's salvation to us. Their little girl, due to her severe disabilities, was rescued from a most certain death had she not been adopted (by their daughter's family)..we too were sentenced to death had Christ not rescued us!
To which I spoke audibly after I read it alone in the kitchen..AMEN! Thank you sweet Jesus! Thank you for the opportunity you give us to know you and for the chance you are giving us to reach out across the world in order to show our newest daughter who you are. We love you Lord and are so blessed by the many you have put in our lives like these precious friends-who because we share you as personal Savior are like family to us. Praise you Jesus! Praise you Jesus!
We have called this city home for 12 years now. While I never dreamed that this would be the place that I would stay, I call it home and I have lived here longer than any other town during my life. There are a few things about the Christmas traditions here that I have come to look forward to. One is the Winter Wonderland Parade.. Supposed to be a time to bring Santa Claus into our neighborhood. But as dear hubby and I see it, it is a chance to put Jesus back into the season by distributing Bibles and tracks to the hundreds who line the streets waiting to catch a glimpse at the jolly old man himself. Little do these unsuspecting observers know, they are about to encounter God himself in the faces of our precious teens smiling and passing out Bibles along the parade route. Love me some teenagers who come out in the freezing cold to bring the good news to others. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an incredible example to all those around you. You are boldly living your life for Jesus and you inspire me each and every day to live more like Him. Love to see you living it for yourselves and so very thankful to be a part of your lives. Love ya like crazy!!!
I haven't ever longed for anything in my life like I long to get my daughter home. Today was one of those days that the longing just overcame me. Watching my dear husband help a young girl zip her coat at church this morning. Tears fill my eyes and longing fills my heart. Oh to have Jill here to help her with her coat. Driving to Walmart this morning and longing to have her here to see the Christmas trees lighting up our park. Longing to hold her. Longing to love her in person. Longing to see her smile. Longing to hear her say momma. So longing to see her little hands folded for prayer. Longing to rock her. Momma is longing for you sweet girl. I love you so. Knowing that God is the only one who can satisfy my deepest longings and that I have to trust Him. Trust that you are cared for and that your little heart is being readied to love us as much as we already love you.
Our dossier is officially on it's way to you and I am begging God during my prayer time to make the wait fly by. Begging God to allow us to get to you as soon as possible. Calling on all my prayer warriors to petition the Lord for the same!
I never dreamed that when I asked God to break my heart for the orphan that I would literally cry buckets of tears for little ones across the world. I loose sleep at night thinking about these children without a home while my own darling kiddo lounges in the arms of her daddy on the couch in the livingroom. God how can this be? What can I do? I am linking to this post. An incredible little guy who needs a forever family. Could It Be You? Read it. Pray. Seek His Face!
So excited to begin our holiday weekend on Wednesday night with our youth ministry kids at the house. Nothing makes me happier than shovin' as many of 'em in my house as I can. We were sitting in every corner of every room. DH challenged us with a message about thankfulness from the Word and I fed 'em hundreds of pancakes. Love this life God has given me to live. Love havin' my house filled to the brim with our sheep! Oh that the Lord should bless me so abundantly. So very thankful to know Him as Savior and to be livin' this life in service to Him!!
That was then... (Celebrating his 17th birthday together! We just started dating.)
This is now.. (Celebrating his 37th birthday together!)
Some things never change..Notice both cakes are chocolate. Still others do...Also notice one picture has my dear man smiling with a head of hair and one with a head of glare. :)
So very blessed to have spent more years of my life with this man than I have without him! What an incredible father and husband you are.. I am blessed beyond words to be able to call you mine! Happy Birthday-you are my best friend and one of the most selfless people I know! You are constantly sacrificing for us. I never have to carry in my own groceries, rarely have to get my own gas, don't touch the laundry, or ever have to take out the trash. You are always serving me! Love ya Baby!
So while she is never-ever far from my mind..yesterday Grandpa said it. We were sitting around the table after gorging ourselves with food and he said..I wonder what our little girl is doing now. Wonder..The very activity that drives me to my knees in prayer for my Jillian. While I sit here warm, loved, and fully fed..Where is she? What is she doing? Has she been fed today? Does she know love? Does she feel joy today? It is so very painful waiting to bring her home most days. It is almost like a peice of my heart is missing..leaving an exposed place so raw that nothing seems to distract me from it. Nothing seems as it should be without her sitting around our table. How is it that this love for a little one I didn't even know or couldn't have even imagined has formed so deeply? God is the author of love and because I have chosen to give Him my heart and am Him following in His will on this road, He is allowing me to experience more love for this little one than I could have ever dreamed. Despite the pain and trials..Oh, I wouldn't have missed this journey for the world. So very blessed and thankful that God is allowing me to become a mother again and that I am being given the chance to bring this little one home. Can't wait to get to you my dear, beautiful girl. I love you so.
Thanks to the Lord for the miraculous way that He is providing funds to bring our Jillian home through you. I got our first update today from Lifesong and it has had me weeping all day. I am so humbled by all of the beautiful people who are giving to our account, buying t-shirts, praying us on, and walking this life with us! I am blessed beyond measure by your love and friendship! We have sold 52 shirts and received $1,255.00 in donations. PRAISE BE TO GOD!! We are forever grateful for the sacrifices of many who are helping bring this precious girl home to us!
We love you so Jillian. I think of you everyday and I can't wait to share this story-the story of our journey to you-with you someday. I imagine praying with you before bed each night, hearing you giggle, and reading the Bible together. I am desperate to hold you baby girl. Your sister and I pray for you every night. Praying my sweet baby that God is opening your heart to receive our love. Oh how we love you, Jill! Oh How So Many Love You!
We are cleaning out the basement. Living in a parsonage, there are many treasures in the basement that have been deposited there over the years. Left by others who have stayed here for a time and then moved on. So it is with the old table we inherited in the laundry room. It has been chewed on by a dog who undoubtedly called this house home before we did. It has seen better days. It is wobbly, chewed, missing a handle-definitely trash. Until now, we have kept it in the laundry room as a reminder of the history of this place. A reminder of the many God has used for His name here before us.
Well, it was time to part with the old table. We set it out on the curb tonight knowing that someone would come along to claim it.
And claim it they did...
About 7:00 there was a man at the door. A man who obviously lives a life different from mine. His clothes were ragged. He was walking. He spoke with a slow drawl. He was inquiring about the table. "Did we want it?" he asked. "No, we no longer need it," we replied. He then shared how very much he needed it. I noticed he was walking and didn't have a car so I asked how he intended to get it home. He said he planned on carrying it home by himself and that it was just about five blocks. This table was work for dh and I to carry to the curb so I knew there was no way! I offered dh's truck and services to drive this man home with his treasure. He was reluctant to accept our help insisting he could get it on his own not wanting to bother us. After trying to lift it, he accepted help and dh drove this man and his new treasure to his home right here in our neighborhood.
This interaction reminds me that there are so many living right here under my nose, beside my house, across the streets who need. Their needs are physical, emotional, and spiritual. Needs that I ignore so many times. Needs that I see and do nothing about! Praying tonight that God continues to bring people to my door and that He continues to open my eyes to all the needs around me. AND that I will respond to those needs in a way worthy of one who claims to follow the Lord.
It is that time of year again. Thanksgiving feast day at my darling kiddo's school complete with a very long musical program, delicious homemade meal,and chapel service.:) So thankful for this wonderful little place that is our school. A wonderful, God filled ministry so boldly representing the Lord in this culture that has tried to squeeze God out. Nothing like a kindergarten class of five year old smiling faces reciting the entire chapter of Psalm 100 from memory to bring this momma to tears. God is beginning to be written all over these precious children's heart because of the faithful, beautiful people who serve the Lord so sacrificially by teaching at this small school. So very blessed to be a part of it!
We win!! Each year there is a costume contest at the feast. All the classes dress up in Thanksgiving related garb and go up against each other for the Most Original or Most Life Like award! We love us some winnin' at our house, so we devise a plan each year. We usually try to go for the most original and this year WE WON!! We put a spin on the traditional pilgrim costume by adding a cardboard Mayflower around her middle for her to "arrive" in. See the first place ribbon?
Just for laughs Daddy's idea (which we did not pursue) was to tape a rock to her back side and say she is a pilgrim landing on Plymouth Rock. LOL!! Gotta love that man! He slept through most of our costume photo session in the livingroom. Darling kiddo loves to capture his naps on film so I just had to include one.
I wish you could have been there. My words won't do it justice.
Tonight walking out of the youth room heading to serve dinner to my teens..there he is in the hallway. The quiet boy who is experiencing trials of his own so numerous now that my heart has broken for him and I have cried out in prayer on his behalf. The young man who has slowly shown me his heart and shared himself little by little. The young man I have come to love oh so much. There he is standing alone looking as if he is on a mission of some kind. It isn't too uncommon for him to be alone so as I do I smile my big smile and greet him by name. He slowly hands me a five dollar bill. I ask-What is this for? He says..It's for Jillian. I want you to have it. He wants me to have it. His five dollars to bring my baby home. Instantly tears well up in my eyes and I hug this boy who has touched my heart so deeply by this incredible, selfless act of kindness and generosity. He will probably never know what it means to this momma that he was willing to share his $5.00. Such a special boy and such a sweet memory that I will forever treasure. I truly experienced the touch of the Father tonight my friends through this young man who willingly gave of himself for someone he doesn't even know, an orphan half way across the world who because of his $5.00 will be able to join a family, my family.
Tonight I am treasuring this thing in my heart. God is so good to bring so many in my life who continue to bless me beyond measure!
So lucky to live in this community where Christ is alive and so many are working to reach youth for His name right here in this city. We were blessed to be able to be a part of our local Youth For Christ's garage feast last night. Is there anything better than having your home filled with 100+ (yes that's 100+!!!) teenagers eating turkey and hanging out in every nook and cranny? I don't think so and this wonderful lady agrees with me...
I think that she has been hosting this get together for 6 years now and it just keeps growing. Kids everywhere.....
You know I just love to feed kids. There is just something so special to this momma about providing food for somebody that just says you love and care about 'em. Strange I know, but I love sharing a meal in the name of the Lord. It's a beautiful thing, but even more beautiful are all the adults who came out to reach out in love to these kids by serving 'em up some turkey! BEAUTIFUL!! DELICIOUS!
So blessed to be able to support this ministry in prayer and to be able to watch all that they are doing in the name of the Lord in our community. Praise God!
Jill I just want you to know that there is not a shortage of people here who are dyin' to love on you. THERE ARE SO MANY!! One of my favorite things about being in the body of Christ is that there are many people who are complete strangers to you in one moment who you then turn around and love like family in the next. I can't wait for you to experience this for yourself my baby girl! God has blessed us beyond measure with so many of these dear people and they love you already sweet, precious one. What a huge, gigantic blessing they are to me and such an encouragement while I wait to hold you myself!!!
I got a beautiful text from one of my youth this week that said she has been dreaming of you at night and you are beautiful! Dreaming of you, loving you, praying for you from across the world. So many people Jill. So many youth spending their own money to buy a shirt to help get you to us.
So many people who you are affecting and you don't even know them yet. Can you imagine what God can do with your life my dear one? I am praying that God is working in your little heart even now to prepare it to accept His Love from us. Your creator loved and cared about you so much that He planned for you to be placed here with us and all these many, precious believers in the body of Christ who love you enough to be a part of your story. A story that God had planned out from the beginning of time. I feel so overwhelmed to think that God has allowed me to be a part of your story and to raise you to know Him. Praying for you my little one..Knowing God's timing and hand are all over this journey..Longing to hold you though, but getting my strength to run this race from Him who set me on this path.
Fundraising.. That has pretty much been our focus this entire week.
We have gotten the t-shirt sales up and going. It took me many hours to create and alter html codes, call the printer, and get things worked out. (I AM NOT TECHNICAL AND IF YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD ME I WOULD BE DOING ANY OF THIS I WOULD HAVE CALLED YOU CRAZY!!) Well, we've sold only ten this week and I'm down right discouraged.
The rest of the week, I spent time writing, copying, addressing, and mailing out 200+ letters to our friends and family explaining the opportunity Lifesong for orphans has given us to raise funds through them.
I have to tell you that we are oh so lucky because so many of our bloggy friends have to fundraise from the very beginning. They have to experience what we are just beginning to experience as soon as they begin to take this journey. Oh how I pray for these families. We really can't even begin to understand that as we were given a much easier road to travel on when we received an unbelievable donation to our account just a week into this journey. (Remember that? Read about it here.)
I tell you though I know that this money issue is probably the number one thing keeping most people from saying yes to adoption and I just can't help but think how tragic that is. Tragic-but I understand. The uncertainty at times is just overwhelming. Overwhelming, but an incredible opportunity for God to work and oh God is working here friends. I can't forget what He has done to bring our daughter home already...a $15,000 dollar donation from strangers, a $10 donation from a former student, a $100 dollar donation from dear friends, youth spending their own money on t-shirts to help support us, an opportunity to earn extra income here and there, scrimping/saving and having the money you need even when it seems impossible. God is so good and He is providing in His time every-single-step-of-the-way. Without a doubt His hand is all over this journey and I can't believe that we are even walking this road.
We are so blessed to be able to add this little face to our family. It is incredible to me that you can love someone so much that you don't even know. How I love you my beautiful girl and oh how I can't wait to see you, know you, and put hair bows in your hair. LOL! God will get us all we need to get to you baby girl! Momma will not doubt. I will hold tight to the promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it!
So many posts and thoughts swirling in my head. I had a tough day without my Jillian to hold yesterday. Some days are just like that for me. I want her here so desperately. Some days I am lost in the grief of waiting and the uncertainty of it all. Then just like God does, He provides just what I need at just the right time. I sat down to type a post and came across the post here called They Didn't Ask For Reassignment. (It is an incredible post. I hope you check it out for yourself!) Now I am faithfully digging deep in God's word for comfort and reassurance just like the post reminded me. Praise the Lord for the encouragement and reminders He provides me through others.
The T-Shirt design is hot off the presses and ready to order. We have three colors-military green, ice grey, and aqua sky. They are all $20.00 each. YOUTH SIZES ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR $15.00. If you need shipping,it will be $3.00 more. The design includes over fifty names of children who have been adopted from China and brought into their forever families for good. In the middle is the verse John 14:18, I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. I am so super excited to start sporting this shirt! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, in advance for all of your support! We could not be bringing our girl home without you. You are a huge part of our story and I am blessed by you!
PS I have never set up a store before, nor would I ever have dreamed I would. Hope it works. If you have any suggestions or difficulties, let me know by email firstname.lastname@example.org!
So I resisted as long as I could, but I finally gave in and bought one of these things.
Here's my story..
The tween years have brought about many changes in our house in recent months. It's like riding a roller coaster in the dark that never stops and never gives you a glimpse of where you are going. One of the recent twists of this coaster has been curly hair. Darling kiddo's hair was straight as a board, then bam it slowly started to get curly. The curls are beautiful! If she just wouldn't fight them, her hair would be so easy. Scrunch and go. Easy and oh so cute. One problem-She hates her hair curly. She tries to brush the curls out leaving it a poofy mess. Then she is unhappy and never leaves the house without a pony tail. Sigh..Daddy says with much wisdom, "Is there any teenage girl who likes her hair?" To which I reply, "Well, no."
Then it happened. We went to get a hair cut and the precious hair dresser who has been trimming darling kiddos lovely locks since she was a toddler says.."Do you want me to straighten it?" A look of exuberance comes over darling kiddo and her whole demeanor changes. She was ecstatic and loved it!!
And so into our lives enters the flat iron. I have resisted it as long as I could because I don't want to make her appearance a big deal. I don't want her to base her feelings of worth on whether or not her hair is straight, but it made her so happy that I broke down and bought the thing requiring her to pay only half. So not aloud, but definitely in my mind there is this part of me complaining about the amount of prep time this is going to add to our routine which is already too tight as it is. I begin to get a bad attitude about having to do this and I begin to have second thoughts about the purchase. Then it happened..Day two of flat ironing I realized it. A half an hour of one on one time in the bathroom flat ironing equals thirty more minutes a day I have to connect with and build into my girl. Day three and beyond of this flat iron saga have brought precious conversation about life, faith, marriage, purity, and so much more. I am only sorry that I wasted day one and two with such a lousy attitude. Sometimes you just need a flat iron to encourage a little bit of intentional bonding.
It gives me an idea. Maybe I should write a book of devos for moms and daughters to do while they are flat ironing. Hey take the opportunity whenever you have it. Embrace every moment that you get to spend together as divine time set aside by God to pass your faith along to your children. Will I ever learn this lesson this side of eternity? Doing my best to embrace it and be the best mom I can be..Take sometime to enjoy being a mom this weekend! Hope it's a good one for you.
We recently spent an entire weekend moving and painting. You see, we are working to make this house Jill's home. We have made room for her in our hearts and now we are making physical space in our home that she can call her own. We are having so much fun-painting, buying used furniture to revamp, and choosing decor.
It is a family affair around here.
What a double blessing to be preparing for this precious new daughter with my dear husband and darling kiddo by my side.
Jill we are all so excited to be adding you to our family. Know that we are praying over every detail-even paint color. We love you so precious, sweet girl. You are so loved and so wanted. One day when you read this, I hope that you can see God's hand over your entire journey and feel as blessed as we do to have you as a part of this family. What a divine plan God has for your life my dear child! I feel so lucky to be your momma. I pray that you sense that and that someone there is lovin on you until I can get there. Mommy's coming dear one. Counting the Days.
Our last piece-yes last piece-of paper for our dossier has arrived. I can't believe it is finally here!! My dh will be headed with the 50+ pieces of paper tomorrow to be notarized by the Sec. of State. Please pray for my dear man as he gets a bit stressed out in new situations and he is having to go it all alone tomorrow because I have meetings at work. Hopefully he will drop off the papers in the morning and pick them up after lunch! Then, this chapter will be over..The before dossier portion of this journey will come to an end. The paperwork load should lighten significantly after this. (I hope so anyway!) China is officially shut down for several weeks in November due to a holiday and some sort of games. Please pray that doesn't slow us down too much. We are one step closer to holding that sweet girl in our arms. Praying so desperately God will expedite the wait and get her to us ASAP!
P.S. I am going to be needing a new use for the filing system that has been storing these papers for the last five months. Anybody out there want to start their own dossier? Did you know China has 2000+ waiting children a month who need a forever family. Could it be yours? My filing system is available.
Sometimes things just don't go as you have planned. I had planned to have everything sent to China long before now. When I started this process, I thought there was no way it would take 6 months to get our dossier ready..Well, it's been five and I am still waiting on one piece of paper. So much is out of my control and all the while that beautiful face remains alone without a momma to rock her at night half way across the world! I can't help asking God why the waiting. Inside I know that he is in control, but more than anything I want our daughter here. Needing some prayers for that last piece of paper which was resent on Friday, Oct. 29 because it never showed up the first time it was sent. If it's not here by Thursday, I am driving the six hours to the office to get it myself. What is twelve hours in a car if it means I am closer to bringing my girl home? Please pray!!
It can't get any better than this.. Raking... Posing... Leaf fight...
I love these two so much that even raking leaves alongside them is a precious blessing! Can't wait for our little toddler to join us..Don't worry Jill your rake is waiting. Hope you have time to enjoy your family and this beautiful fall weather. It seems like the days are going much too fast!
When I set out to embark on this journey I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was God had stirred my heart to add to our family and I was drawn to the Asian face. I had met a handful of people who had adopted, but never discussed it with them. Adoption was not part of our plan and so I had never thought too much about it. It caught us off guard for sure!
Then as I researched and saw the orphan crisis with my own eyes through the images of others-my heart was broken and opened up like I have never experienced before. A passion for adoption, orphan ministry, and those who reach the least of these was born in me. One of the unexpected blessings along the way has been that there are sooo many other families who feel the passion we do.
We met the sweet couple whose video I posted above in our adoption training classes. We entered as strangers-left as families connected by our passion for God, for orphans, and for adoption. Our daughters were born a half a world away just a day apart. Praying for these sweet twin girls and dreaming of the day that we can be in play group celebrating the goodness of our God together!
I opened up my daily Bible on Sunday, Oct. 24 to read this...God's Family of Friends That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 God offers you a family of Friends and friends who are family-his church. When you transfer your trust into Christ, he not only pardons you; he places you in his family of friends. So appropriate on this day-Oct. 24-because we headed over to IWU to celebrate one of those dear friend's birthdays who God has so graciously given us to love as family-not of blood, but through the fellowship that we share in Christ.
Family:) (Minus this sweet girl's momma who is taking the picture.)
I am so very thankful for this young woman and her mother. Thankful to God for them and the many more that he has given us over the years who love on us like family because we are all a part of the church together. Praying that you know this love dear ones and that you have experienced the miraculous love of the family of Christ.
We are waiting on one piece of paper to complete our dossier. The NBC said that they mailed our I800A approval last Thursday and it is still not here. It is coming from Missouri and should be here already! So frustrating..I want to get these papers to China so desperately so that the official wait can begin.
Fundraising is a must in the next three months and we are anxious to see what God will do. We are praying specifically for direction about what, when, where, and how to raise funds to bring Jill home. He has been so faithful to provide over $15,000 already and we know it will come in His time.
The t-shirt design has been submitted to the t-shirt house and we should be able to unveil it next week. I need to learn how to set up our paypal store this weekend. We covet your prayers and thank you so very much for taking this journey along with us!
I will probably struggle with putting this experience into words, but it touched my heart so very deeply I am going to try. It was Sunday morning and I was seated in my back pew sandwiched between those two older, beautiful foster faces living with my friends that have blessed me beyond words. Oh how I love those girls! The four year old was parked in my lap rocking back and forth and doing her best to be still and quiet during church. This is a nearly impossible task most days and last Sunday was no different.
She rocked to the side and grabbed my precious word of God. She fiddled in the front pocket and pulled out the picture of our Jillian that I carry in there. I will carry it until I get her home! When she saw Jill's picture that wonderful little four year old girl on my lap got the most beautiful look on her face-a look of tenderness, love, and compassion like I have never seen. That sweet girl stroked Jill's face in the picture and looked into my eyes and said,"I hope that I am still here when she comes. I want to play with her." Oh Be Still My Heart! I nearly broke down in tears right there in the back pew.
I am so praying that God moves mountains and that those three foster girls are still here and in our lives waiting for us to bring our Jill home. Those three girls are so loved in my friends' home where they are being raised in foster care and they are so well cared for. I long to see those girls running in the backyard with my Jill laughing, playing, and shouting with joy. I dream of them clapping off beat, praying too loudly, and dancing together during the praise set in Sunday service while we do our best to keep them quiet. Oh What a Glorious Day that Will BE-when we are all together!! Praying those girls are still here and that my Jill is home soon!!
So this past week was a flurry of activity on the adoption front! We took off for Naperville on Wednesday for our fingerprinting appointment at the US Dept of Immigration. What an adventure! We headed to the big city the night before because our appointment was at 8:00 AM and we worried about being stuck in traffic and missing it. Good thing we did because the address for the immigration office didn't come up on the GPS and the name of the office was random and didn't at all match the name on our summons to the appointment. Anyway, a nice Asian man working at a local gas station knew exactly where immigration was located and so he gave detailed enough directions to get us there. As we arrived, we realized that they must give everyone an 8:00 AM appointment because every one's summons listed the same time. How neat it was though to sit outside this office with other adoptive families and share our journeys. Throw into the mix quite a diverse crowd of multicultural immigrants waiting as well and you've got some interesting sights and sounds to start your day! The fingerprinting appointment that cost us nearly $1,000 lasted only about ten minutes and we were sent on our way wondering how long it would take for the magic piece of paper to arrive to clear us and send us off and running to the next paperwork hurdle. Well our wait was over extremely quickly, because we received approval the next day!!! This is truly miraculous. So, we notarized about 50 pieces of paper on Friday and sent off our official referral acceptance paperwork to AGCI. Next week, we should have our dossier (the mountains of paperwork china requires) state certified in Springfield and off to China! Then the official waiting for China to invite us to pick up our daughter begins! I have been begging God lately in all my prayers to move mountains and get us to our daughter as quickly as possible. I am dreaming that we will hold her before May-a girl's got to dream. Right? Can't wait to see her. Hold her. Smell her. Kiss her. See her with her sissy. Just can't wait!!!
Seems like our weekends are never dull here. Last Saturday was no different. We woke early and headed to U of I with a stop at ISU along the way. Our purpose-to catch a day with two more of our sheep who have left us to join the college ranks. Spending so much time on college campuses has certainly left me with an urgent feeling of conviction that I don't spend near enough time on my knees praying for these students. In case you didn't know, sin is alive and well on these campuses. And to be honest I have to tell you as I live my life in this safe, predictable christian environment of mine, it is easy for me to forget just how ugly and evil it is out there. I also forget that this is exactly where I am preparing my daughter and all the students we are lucky enough to have in ministry to be. Walking on the U of I campus and even near the apartments at ISU, it was clearer to me than ever that most of the students living around these precious girls are not believers. In fact, they come face to face with evil and sin on a regular basis. Let's face it-I just don't get that. I don't have to deal with sin in my face every minute and my environment is much more conducive to growing my relationship with Christ. Man, they need our prayers. Our kids are in deeper than we can ever imagine! I need to open my eyes, recognize that, and pray like crazy that God will protect their hearts! Despite this sin and evil so many of our students are thriving and answering God's call to live a life of holiness-to be in this world but not of it. That is exactly my daily prayer for them-to live in this world and not be of it.
Despite coming face to face with this reality fun did abound!
We visited an Asian grocery store to pick up some unusual ingredients for a dish our Jill eats in the orphanage,
had lunch at a yummy Italian restaurant that's use of garlic was so liberal no one wanted to sit next to me,
bought frozen yogurt by the ounce in buckets as big as my head,
and took in the marching band competition where our PCHS dragons took 6th place! My band kids rule!! Hope your weekend is great too!
So, I was lucky enough to spend the night in the church kitchen with my kids (and some even more incredible parent volunteers!!) cookin' up some yummy cinnamon goodness tonight. Delicious rolls good to eat any time of day! Especially good to sell for raising money for our mission trip. Love me some teenagers! I wish I had their enthusiasm and energy. If you want to bake up some delicious cinnamon treats of your own, it's easy.
Butter, cinnamon and Sugar-need I say more.
Bake, Eat, and Enjoy!!:) Hope you have a great Thursday.
I am a Christ follower, wife of 20 years to my best friend, and a stay at home momma to five amazing daughters. I am currently waiting for one precious special needs treasure to come home from China. I am passionate about the orphan and special needs adoption. I love to teach God's word, am involved in youth ministry alongside my dh, and love,love, love cooking. Above all, I desire to serve God and surrender my life to His call.