Friday, May 27, 2011

Ups and Downs

Did someone say that adoption was like being on a roller coaster? The last two weeks have definitely been that.


heart pounding as we head up the hill  i can almost hear my life groaning under the strain of my train named the Stress Express

                                      HOP ON BOARD

Our second choice social worker agency was just awful. Mean and triple the price of other agencies.  I had all the paperwork filled out and the check filled in, but I just couldn't bring myself to send it. Something felt wrong. So I called up the original agency I wanted to go through and switched. Starting over. Big gamble! Here is the dilemma...

EVERYTHING needs to be logged in by October 1st or we start over. The agent I do like has a pending Hague Accreditation. As of October, China requires full accreditation. We need to MOVE and I mean FAST! If we get it logged in in time, we are OK.

So, who would have thought that the adoption agency(ones who told us to move fast) would be the one holding things up? On May 11, they sent the contract as an attachment. When I opened it- empty!


Turns out, they are in the process of switching over the contracts to ready themselves for the October 1st change. We got caught in that mess. I called them on May 24 to ask "WHERE IS OUR CONTRACT?" 

They finally sent it, but all the fees went up almost 10 percent! WHAT? So not fair. Oh well. We lost two weeks and have to pay more. Guess a smooth running train was too much to expect.



My mind started eating itself.

you can't do this you are wasting your money you aren't good enough why mess with your perfect family your extended family will never accept her as a legitimate grandchild/niece

Oh,  but it was loud! I cried I prayed for protection I called on God. While reading my Bible, I found the perfect passage to help ease my fears. Just as I was hungrily devouring it, my Bible slammed closed losing my place. I searched tearfully in vain for where it was. No luck. SATAN BE GONE!

Then on Sunday our water heater died. The funeral cost a thousand dollars. Ouch- when we still owe the water people over five grand for the furnace's funeral. Then on Thursday, just 90 minutes before our first home study visit. The toilet upstairs started hemorrhaging water all over the floor. Needless to say, I dissolved into a sloppy, huddled on the floor, mess. What will I do? I have a physical this afternoon. NO shower. NO shaved legs. AND how are we going to pay for an adoption when our heating and water systems have smacked us for over $10000 in the last ninety days?


                  Oh no the top of the track. Here we go....       AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The social worker came. We love her. She seems to love us WHEEEEEEEEEE!

Physical....passed with flying colors WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Driving home I hear an amazing song on the radio. Who is this? I press the info button. Steven Curtis Chapman. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


I just finished reading Steven Curtis Chapman's wife's book,  Choosing to SEE the day before. Then the DJ said the most inspirational thing....he said, Don't tell God how big your mountains are; tell the mountains how BIG your GOD is!  WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I got home to learn that the plumber took pity on us and operated on the toilet for free! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

As I pull into the station, I remember how fun it is to be terrified when it is followed by miracles. That night I found my verse Satan had hidden.

2 Corinthians 3

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

AND I opened to this one too.

Isaiah 54:10
10 Though the mountains be shaken
   and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you.


My mother told me that UCONN Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun spoke at her work that day and he said that their mantra on the road to the National Championship was "YES WE CAN YES WE CAN YES WE CAN YES WE CAN" until it became YES WE DID!

So this little engine will warn those mountains while chanting....


until our little girl is in our arms and I shout


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moving Right Along

good news! the adoption agency sent a list of questions to china for us. we wanted to make sure that jiara wanted us as much as we wanted her. they asked her if she knew what adoption was, did she want to be adopted by an american family, does she want two sisters, and a couple of others. her answers were ALL YES! they sent us back the question form and five updated pictures. can a heart do cartwheels? it sure feels like it.

we got our fingerprints done yesterday. the trooper overseeing the messy process was asking many questions about adoption. he then admitted that he and his wife wanted to adopt but thought it was too hard, too expensive, and too time consuming.

so far, we have been breezing through the paperwork. it does take time, but a waiting child(one older than 5 or one with some sort of special need) can be placed just inside of a year. as far as expense, we are hoping to have all of it paid for with tax credits, scholarships, and some generous donations from family and friends(hint hint). 

as we were leaving, the trooper stopped and asked us for the website of the agency we are using. SEE how being open to one more life can save the lives of even more orphans? 

recently a friend of mine accused us of "buying" a child. she's right!


Our Father adopted us into His family


Jesus purchased us with His Precious Blood!

- Galatians 4:4-7, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a women, born under the Law, so that he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘ABBA, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
—1 Corinthians 6:19-20."Ye are not your own: for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Misery and Miracles

i can’t believe it has been 10 days since i posted last. guess we’ve been busy. wonder why, ha! so this is a long but worthwhile post. 
i just kissed my darling E and A goodbye as they drove off with grampa for a weeklong vacation to myrtle beach. i blessed them and set off to water the tomato and cucumber plants i am attempting to keep alive, (the only thing i can grow besides children are potatoes and onions in my cabinets and mildew in the bathroom).
it struck me for the millionth time what abundance we have. we loaded the back of my father’s pick-up truck with their brand new bicycles, scooters, suitcases full of new clothes, bathing suits, and 5 pairs of assorted shoes for each of them, a large bag of beach mats, sand toys, helmets and pads, and boogie boards. we stuffed the backseat with activity books, nintendo DS game systems, american girl dolls and warm jackets in case of cool weather. then they were off to a gorgeous timeshare on the beach and a weeklong grandparent spoiling session.
why on earth wouldn’t we share all this with an adopted child? if they let me, i would adopt a dozen more.  for so many years i have been focused on ego fulfillment. i am extremely thankful the Lord wouldn’t let up on me and “got all up in my business” about adopting. everywhere i look i am faced with adoption. even yesterday, i pulled out an old reader’s digest to flip through. what page did i randomly open up to? you guessed it…a story about a family adopting two children from vietnam. i can’t get away from it. and frankly- i don’t want to. i am sure everyone is sick of me only being able to focus on that one topic of conversation. get used to it folks-its not changing anytime soon.

i haven’t been writing because i’ve been so busy with farming, adoption paperwork, piecework orders, and trying to jam remaining schoolwork in before vacation.

BUT also there was another reason

i haven’t wanted everyone to know how hard the emotional roller coaster has been. now i can share it.

monday afternoon, s and i decided to start collecting all the mountains of required documents while in manchester for the kids’ piano lessons. we stopped at AAA to get passport photos then dumped the children off at lessons and headed to town hall to purchase birth certificates and copies of our marriage license. while we were there we found they even complete passport applications. so all got done in less than 90 minutes! when we arrived home, our requested child’s file was sitting in my email inbox. elated, happy, excited that everything has been so easy and fast thus far. i know it wouldn’t always go smoothly, but i hadn’t anticipated the turn things would take in just a few short hours.
late monday night we decided to peek at jiara’s file. s was tired so we thought we’d only look at the fun part-PHOTOS! as we looked, we saw a little boy!? i know they keep the hair short on little girls, but this couldn’t be our girl. those dimples looked just like a child i had looked at on the waiting child list. then i saw it-the familiar cutie i had been looking at weeks ago. why did we get his file? as we scrolled through the pictures…horror. this 5 year old sweetie has ambiguous genitalia.  i knew such things existed, but in theory only. seeing it was too real. too painful. the chinese are very into appearance. they wouldn’t want him, would they? and what american family for that matter would take him?  who will want this little guy? the sad reality was, not me. not because of the issue, but because we had wanted a girl.

what was God trying to tell me? i was so afraid that He meant this little one for me. i emailed the agency letting them know of the error and went to bed very upset. LORD, WHY BURDEN ME WITH THIS?
i got up after a long sleepless night so depressed. no one will want this child i thought. i started calling people asking them if they did or knew of someone who would. i felt responsible to find him a home.
the agency then sent me the correct file and apologized saying they had no idea how that had happened-they didn’t even HAVE that file on their server. i knew then God had done it- BUT WHY?
i didn’t want to open jiara’s file after that. it wasn’t fair to look at her when i was so unwilling to take on this poor child. needless to say, i spent all morning crying and praying hard for our Merciful Father to find him a home.
when i was able to bring myself to look at the correct file, it was bittersweet, not full of the joy we had had the previous evening. then- blow number two. i won’t burden anyone else with this information, but do know that she came to be an orphan in a disturbing way. i cried a bunch more begging God to forgive His people our atrocities. how could anyone do what they did to this child-MY child of my heart? will she ever know how much i love her and WANT her? if it hurt me so badly, how must it hurt God when He has known her since before she was in her mother’s womb? i am so naive, so sheltered, so pitifully unblemished by the world’s cruelties.
so you can see why i didn’t want to write. Lord take this knowledge from me…unburn the images of these poor children from my mind! WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?
it didn’t take Him long to answer. wednesday morning i awoke to another email from the agency. a family requested that little boy’s file!!!!!!!!! PRAISE YOU LORD.
oh, how we can’t even begin to comprehend His plans. perhaps He sent this child to me so i would lift him up in prayer. PLEASE GOD LET THAT FAMILY CHOOSE HIM. it also goes to show that i know nothing. he was wanted. the day before, i was amazed at the evil hatefulness of mankind. less than 24 hours later i was shown the capacity of mankind’s great love. THANK YOU GOD FOR SHOWING ME BOTH SIDES AND FOR ANSWERING MY PRAYERS.
i have written enough for now. we are plodding through the homestudy applications and all it entails.
please keep jiara in your thoughts and prayers. pray that this endeavor will continue moving at its current pace. thank you to everyone who has been supporting us and pouring out their love. we appreciate you all. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2 Down 98 To Go

we knew there would be several hurdles along the way on our journey. we are preparing for even more to come. it is the practice of staying peaceful and calm through the storm that i need to work on.

so when we found out that the Chinese officials needed to pre-approve us and make special exception, i knew i had to take it in stride. we were told it would take a week to hear back. i was ready to work on patience. this might not happen, we might not get approved, this may be an exercise in futility. let it go v.

funny when we surrender ourselves to something-how unexpected the blessings. 

less than 18 hours after i submitted our EC, the phone rang with the news we thought would take a week...


woohoo. now we move forward with the application and homestudy. i already had a call in to the social worker before i heard back from the agency. the social worker said i could start proceedings, but may want to hold off for a few days. i explained that our EC was accepted and she was amazed at how fast that happened.

she explained that i needed to work on getting lots of forms done to complete the homestudy.

first: proof of insurance- our insurance company approved a special needs child and is already sending out the adoption letter for our homestudy and dossier(file of 13 legal documents needed to complete the process) CHECK

second: background checks for local and state police- we only have state police here=1 less form

third: list of all states and countries we've resided in- that is easy...just CT and NH

fourth: letters from our children's school- we homeschool- so no form needed CHECK

fifth: we need to enroll in Hague classes(the international agreement and rules to keep adoption on the up and up) and complete 11 hours of classroom. i already registered to take a webinar on may 17. process started... CHECK

after the social worker and i went through these initial steps, she said that having less forms will make her job easier! really? something having to do with me, easy? i told her two problems solved -1000 to go and she said more like 100. so 2 down 98 to go. ahhh, the power of prayer. He is hearing everyone- so keep it up please!? thanks for all who are praying and thinking over us. it is working.

i am not so naive that i expect everything will be this easy, but it sure has taken some of the scary out of it. everyone we've talked to and dealt with so far has been great.

hang on jiara-you'll have a family soon! we're gonna move some mountains to bring you home.

i'll leave it with this: 

I know not by what methods rare
The Lord provides for me;
I only know that all my needs
He meets so graciously. —Adams

Monday, May 2, 2011

Change of plan

i love the old quip that the easiest way to make God laugh is to make plans. God must be giggling at my expense.

today, minutes after writing the Chinese officials a plea to make a special exception in our case(we're less than $4k shy of minimum financial requirement) and requesting a specific child, we were emailed informing us that sweet "annalisa" as she was listed on the agency site, was matched with a family.

my heart sings for joy that she will have a family to love her. i prayed for her to be adopted, not for her to be mine. that is why i posted a different name. God knew she wasn't meant for us and blessed me with forewarning that her name would be jiara. very kind indeed to save me the heartache of expecting this particular sweetie. THANK YOU GOD FOR YOUR PROTECTION

we will pray for her always- that her new family would be loving and perfect for her- that God will always shine on her and bless her.

now i turn my attention and pleas to "jiara" whom we don't know yet. i pray  God gives her the patience to endure waiting for us, that her birth parents' hearts are healed,  her caregivers are kind, and that she feels God's love and provision even if she isn't aware of Him yet.

i must say thank you to all those who wrote me in support and love. so much encouragement and advice.  your love for us is reflected back in all those we love. THANK YOU GOD FOR SHOWING ME HOW LOVED WE ARE

i copied and pasted this from a dear friend's email. awesome. thanks e!

James 1:27 (New Century Version)

27 Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this:
caring for orphans or widows who need help,
and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence.

雅 各 書 1:27 (Chinese Union Version (Traditional))

 27 在 神 我 們 的 父 面 前 , 那 清 潔 沒 有 玷 污 的 虔 誠 , 就 是 看 顧 在 患 難 中 的 孤 兒 寡 婦 , 並 且 保 守 自 己 不 沾 染 世 俗 。

雅 各 書 1:27 (Chinese Union Version (Simplified))

 27 在 神 我 们 的 父 面 前 , 那 清 洁 没 有 玷 污 的 虔 诚 , 就 是 看 顾 在 患 难 中 的 孤 儿 寡 妇 , 并 且 保 守 自 己 不 沾 染 世 俗 。

Matthew 25:34-40 (Amplified Bible)

34Then the King will say...,
"Come, you blessed of My Father
[you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation],
inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35For I was hungry and you gave Me food,
I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves
and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me,
    36I was naked and you clothed Me,
I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care,
I was in prison and you came to see Me...

Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for
one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren,
you did it for Me."