SIlent Tears, Dying Christmas Tree, and 81%


Okay, I can’t put this book down, yet, I can’t pick it up at times. I know each and every time I read the next chapter, my heart will be pulled out of my chest. My heart aches and my stomach drops. I leave the book on the table, only to walk away still thinking of the children. They do not leave me. ever. I have been reading the book aloud to Rhea and he has asked me to stop. He can’t handle it right now. Silent Tears, is by far the most difficult book I have ever tried to get through. Are all orphanages like this one? Surely not? Are all SN children shunned? A lot has changed since Kay Bratt was in China five years ago? I know the answers to most of my questions. I just pray that not all orphanages are like the one where Kay Bratt volunteered. How did you move on after reading this book?

tree 2008
Yes, that is an 11 foot Christmas tree. Because God almost took our Levi home this year, but showed us all that He had more work for that boy to do, Rhea let him pick out any tree he wanted. This is the tree we brought home (thankfully, we have high ceilings, huh?) This pic was taken Thanksgiving weekend right after we decorated it.

We went for a weekend trip to see family and just returned. Our tree is c-r-u-n-c-h-y! (I might post a picture later, but it is sad I warn you!)
Yes, we cut off the bottom when we got home with it. Yes, we watered it everyday. Yes, it always had water and never dried up. Yes, it is about to go brown. Yes, Rhea will be calling the tree farm. And yes, it looks like we are going to un-decorate this tree and decorate a new one! That surely wasn’t on the list! However, we will make it fun. In 18 yrs of marriage and 13 years of having kiddos, this is a first and we will make it a memory to cherish!!

China Here We Come!

Finally, our giveaway total is at 81%!! To God be the glory! The fundraiser ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. We will announce winners tomorrow! It is not too late to spread the word. See our website for details!

Snow and We’re at 43%

Can you believe it? It snowed here in Houston today! It snowed all around Houston (which is where we are). It RARELY snows here. In fact, I have lived in and around Houston for over 30 years quite awhile. I can count the times I have seen snow here on one hand. This time, we got a pretty good dusting. Pictures you ask? Where are they? I took some, my son took some and none of them came out. I must not have adjusted my settings back from when I was playing around on manual the other day. I will play around with post processing and see what I can do.

WOW! in 24 hours our Gift Card Giveaway total has brought us to 43%! God is good and he is showing us his goodness through family, friends, and people we don’t even know.

Finally, we have really, really, good news. We have sent in an application to an agency we really wanted to work with even back when we were looking to adopt from Taiwan. Yes, we sent in an app and were going to go with another agency, but after we signed, things changed. We will leave it there. Rhea and I prayed and pulled out our massive, disorganized mound of paper adoption research file from months past. I found a checklist where I checked off answers from agencies to questions we had. Uh-oh, I saw where I didn’t call back one of the favorite agencies! I thought they were off our list and wouldn’t work with us? Oh well, maybe I need a dossier preparation coordinator nap or chocolate or coffee…

So, all of that to let you know we have sent our app and app fee to Marci at ASIA! We are super excited!

Where We Are This Christmas, Are You There Too?

(Please Pause Christmas Music on Sidebar Before Watching the Video Above)

Where we are for Christmas is here in Texas, but our hearts are in China. Although we have just begun the journey to our child in China, we pray for our child every day throughout the day. I have followed so many of your journeys. I have watched some of you go to Taiwan and China and now you are home, Merry Christmas!

I am watching some of you prepare and pack those suitcases as I type, as you get ready to leave so very soon to get your precious babies!

Some friends are preparing their dossiers, just as we are. Merry Christmas!

Other friends I know have been waiting for a referral for many months. Some friends are waiting for the slow judge to just pick up the papers and sign. The beginning of this song really sings true to your hearts, I know. My heart goes out to each of you in this situation. Please know that I pray for your children and bureaucracy to move along. Merry Christmas!

One thing we all have in common is that God placed on each of our families’ hearts a desire, an ache for a child, an orphan, who needed a Christian family, a forever home, with a mother and a father to train the child in the ways of the Lord. We are each on this journey together. Whether you are home with your child, still waiting or just beginning, this Christmas, God has given us all the gift of new life with His Son and the gift of having another child to raise to honor and serve Him. The calling He placed in all of our hearts is real. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He has chosen you, Mommy, to be a mother to an orphan. What an honor and a tremendous blessing.

So, as we all place an extra stocking up this year, whether it is to be filled, this Christmas or next, our chosen child will have a forever family so very soon.

Set an extra place at the table this Advent season. The seat will be filled soon. God is Sovereign. Praise Him to whom all blessings flow!

The Votes Are In!

After having our fourth and final homestudy visit with our SW on Friday, we learned even more about SN. We are blessed because our SW has spent her entire full time career as a caseworker for our state to help SN children get the help they need. She is a wealth of information on special needs children. Another great source is a click away on my sidebar.

This site was developed by a team of adoptive mothers of SN children from China. It is a fabulous resource!

Well, the poll results are in! If you could have a $200 gift card from any of the stores I listed, you chose in the following order:

1. Home Depot
2. Old Navy
3. Barnes & Noble
4. Pottery Barn
5. Williams-Sonoma


Well, you will have your chance to win them all! Our family will be launching a Gift Card Giveaway this coming week. There will be one giveaway with $500 in gift cards to be had. The other giveaway will be for a $100 Old Navy gift card, just for spreading the word about our fundraiser!

We have home study,immigration, and dossier & agency fees all about to hit in Dec/Jan. As things change in the SN adoption world, we have been advised by many to prepare our dossier and have it to China (DTC) or close to it before we find our child. Immigration is taking 120 days at this point and China requires us to be 90 days DTC upon asking to adopt a child [Letter of Intent (LOI)]. China will grant extensions, but sometimes not. Therefore, we are signed with an agency and are getting going with putting together our dossier.

We don’t have a picture of the child we will be adopting. God holds that in His hands. However, each evening, we pray as a family for the son/daughter brother/sister, who we will hold someday soon. We pray that our child is sleeping well in a room full of other children in the orphanage. We pray that our child is bonding with one of the nannies. We pray that our child is receiving the attention he/she needs. We pray that God will begin to prepare his/her heart to know Jesus and live a life that glorifies Him.

So, check back this week. We pray this week as you gather with family, your Thanksgiving will be blessed!

Attachment


Yes, I am quite attached to Starbucks at times, and as of late, this has been the case. As I grab a Venti Latte this weekend, I would like to curl up with my laptop and a movie a good book. Would you guys share your favorite books on attachment or any other adoption related good reads I should check out? It is supposed to be 38 degrees when we wake up in the morning! It is hard to believe since right now it is 80!

China SN…Here We Come!!!!!

I’m speechless, crying, and my heart is about to bust right out of my chest! We found the best agency ever. I thought we had researched all of them, but after things weren’t looking good for us in the Int’l adoption world, our SW suggested another agency and after they asked us questions and researched, we have lift off!! We can adopt through China SN! Rhea and I both have felt all along that our child has already been born and is waiting for a forever family. I have the apps in my inbox, I have already called Rhea who I had to keep asking, “are you there?” He said he was just praising God!

Thank you for all your prayers! I am happy dancin’ all over the house!

No News Yet


Okay, I know one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience, but, oh my, is He giving me a training session on how to be patient! I haven’t heard a thing back from the different agencies. I know they would call if they had answers for us. So, we have been praying and praying some more. We are also looking into domestic adoption again. We really have a heart for children with SN. We are torn and we know God will show us His plan in His time. The above pic is from our CO trip. The kids woke up on 10/12 to a winter scene. It all melted by the late afternoon, but in the meantime, our kiddos played and played!

POAS Day!


Yes, today is POAS day so to speak. I feel like it is. This morning I woke up w/ a nervous tummy. Today is the first day we might “find out”! The agency asst. director was going to be able to speak to their facilitator last night to see if China will let us adopt. So we may have an answer today or we may not. We’ll see if we are “positive” or “negative” very soon!

UPDATE: I got impatient and called the agency and left a msg. earlier this afternoon. It is close to 5:00 and nothing yet.

New Direction

I haven’t wanted to post. I really didn’t quite know what to say. The Lord has moved in so many ways in our adoption this past week. We are no longer going with the agency we had planned to use. We heard something that raised a red flag for us. After discussing our concerns with a reliable source, we knew God was directing us away from that agency. So, we began the phone calls once again to agencies. During the next few days we found out that we are not going to be able to go with Taiwan for our adoption.

We are now waiting to hear back from CCAA for a pre-approval of sorts for China’s SN program. We should find out at the end of the week their answer. If they say we are approved, we are going forward with China.

When Rhea and I met for coffee months ago, I was ready to adopt SN. Rhea was not. We went forward with Taiwan, the paperchase for the HS and then the HS. After we received the news about the Taiwan agency, Rhea said he felt we should go with China SN. I can see how God used these last few months to guide us through the baby steps forward in the adoption process to lead us toward special needs. Now, will we be able to adopt from China? We are prayerful and we will see very soon. We have been in contact with several wonderful agencies that have come highly recommended. In the meantime, I check the waiting child lists. Will you join us in prayer this week for us to be approved by CCAA if it His will? : )

Homestudy Visit

Well, after today I am ready to go sit in one of those chairs in the picture above. However, the paperchase has thickened. I see a couple of reams of paper in my future!

The visit went well. Our SW is great and said she was looking forward to working with us. Rhea leaves in 2 weeks for Colorado, so I need to make sure a few things get completed before he leaves. First, we have a date! just he & I. We finally get a day away to be a couple. I have it all planned out. It is going to be a romantic excursion. Here are my plans:

First, we are going to take a drive into the city to visit the Sheriff’s Dept. We’ll request some papers and pay some money and then holding hands walk out to the parking lot, and talk about where we’ll eat lunch. First though, we need to make one more stop. Yes, the Social Security Office. I know you are jealous. Yes, Yes, we will take a number, enjoy the decor, and wait to be served. When our table, uh counter, is ready we will order off the SS menu. We want the his and her special please. However, the price doesn’t seem so special. Well, no time for dessert, our date has only just begun!

Next, Rhea whisks me off to the doctor’s office where we agree to get matching tattoos, uh TB tests. We pay our money there and drive on to our next date stop. You are super jealous now aren’t ya?

As we drive back to our side of town, we stop for a photo session. This is great b/c we don’t have a current professional photo of just the two of us. Oh, wait, you just want one of us at a time? That’s it, one picture? Oh that’s right, it’s only our Passport photos.

What a beautiful date we are having thus far. I am sorry it is coming to an end. The cell phone rings. It’s our eldest telling us the vet called and we can pick up the cats(who had to get updated vaccinations for the HS)from the vet on our way home. What a wonderful way to finish our date.

We pick up the cats and as we approach Starbucks, Rhea suggests we stop for some coffee. I have to pass as my physical is tomorrow and I want to be off caffeine.

We arrive at the house, let the cats out, and before collapsing in the family room we remember we must photograph it for the paperchase!

Thank you everyone for the support, e-mails, phone calls (you know who you are CA girl), and prayers. If you want the details on how you can have a date like mine, let me know. ha.

Welcome!

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