Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our First Born

In this interim between the bare necessity of gathering money via fund raisers, I am slowing down and enjoying time with Sonya in our shared home schooling experience. It was recently brought to my awareness that while we are biding our time just waiting to bring Sonya's sissy home to America, this is the last "season" Sonya will have me completely to herself. And do I really want to be so completely wrapped up in providing for our next child that I fail to provide for the one standing before me every day asking for my time and attention?

My little Sonya is preparing to turn eight in less than two months from now! Where has the time gone, my friends?! It was just yesterday I was bringing her home from China to meet her daddy for the very first time. Imagine now, this once helpless baby who needed to be cared for in all matters of survival for a chance to flourish is now preparing herself to act like a big girl and walk everywhere on her own two legs for the entire two weeks we are back in China to bring sister home!

I am actually pretty incredulous that she'll make it the whole two weeks without asking her daddy to carry her, though. Of course, that will mean Randy will be carrying two little girls instead of one because we all know how that works when it comes to children! And, in case you have forgotten, Randy is preparing himself to be able to carry one daughter in each arm, so...this should be good.

Digressing, as I prayed over Sonya tonight, I asked the Lord to give Randy and me wisdom and understanding, love and sensitivity, to minister and parent our two beautiful daughters in such a way that there will never be a need for insecurity or jealousy between them. I further asked the Lord that as He prepares the three of us to welcome Mei Mei into our hearts (this has already happened, actually) and lives, undergoing a great metamorphosis which is all positive and beautiful and glorious, that Randy and I both remain cognizant of potential dissonance arising from stress and uncertainty throughout the next year and thus manage to seek God's leading in our every step so as to greatly minimize this dissonance through Christ Jesus.

The small "interim" I am experiencing at this present moment is soon coming to a close. Very soon, and with the Lord's help, the time is coming for me to press into the next fund raiser with all that is in me. If I could take a lesson learned from the last fund raiser, however, it would be that even though gathering the necessary funds is an important and viable means of gaining our second daughter's freedom, our first daughter, our first born, my little girl who is soon to turn eight years old, needs me more than ever right now, her last season with mommy to herself. As a mother, I dare not marginalize the significance of such a need as this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More China Children to Adopt!

Boy 226 B- This handsome young 8-year-old boy has had cleft lip and palate repair surgeries. He has lived with a foster family since age six. He is an average learner. He can sometimes be naughty about doing his chores. He gets along well with other children.

Boy 226 C - This cute little 3-year-old boy has deformities of his limbs. He cannot walk but he can scoot around on his rear. He has an outgoing personality, likes to listen to music and smile, likes colorful toys, and likes to play outdoor games. He likes to draw.

Boy 226 D - This 7 ½ year old bright young boy has had corrective surgery for club feet. Now he can walk, run, jump alone, his other growth is normal, he has good self-care ability, can help do housework, e.g. sweep the floor, take out the trash etc. He likes writing Chinese characters, drawing, reading, likes to have discussions on schoolwork with the kids around him, listens to the teachers attentively, can answer the teachers’ questions after thinking over them. He is a kid who is good at studying.

Boy 226 E– This 7 ½ year old little boy has congenital absence deformity of bones on the left hand and carpal bones, syncretic deformity of near tip of the left radius and ulna. Firstly since he lived in the welfare institute and seldom communicated with other, he was shy and not talkative. After a period, the teachers communicated with him actively, and other children played with him actively, he became outgoing. He turned to be active, and could communicate with others on his own. Though he only has one hand, he could take care of himself in the daily life. He would tidy up his bedclothes after getting up. He is friendly to other children in this institute, would help others actively. When he is free, he would help the caretakers to take care of other children and play with them.

Boy 226 F – This almost nine-year-old handsome young boy has had a cleft palate surgically repaired. In the orphanage, he was accustomed to the life in various stages and had common living habits, regular life. He is interested in handicrafts. His interests and imagination develop well. When teacher and classmates change the classroom’s environment, they mad a pearl-decorated curtain from discarded foam, separated the handicraft zone from classroom, which has a great influence. In the curtain, there are different patterns in strings, each pattern has different numbers, from 1 and 9, 2 and 8, 3 and 7…till 9 and 1; when children are doing calculating, the curtain becomes a great abacus. He likes to stand in front of the curtain very much, with hands move to and fro, counting continuously “1,2,3…”. When he sets aside answer according to teacher’s question, he will jump happily and tell teacher “I did it teacher!” When guests visit our classroom, He will point the curtain and tell guests proudly, “This is made by us and teacher together, we use it for calculation.” He is bright in his school work and enjoys learning.  No Longer Available through Hand in Hand.

Child R - This is an almost ten-year-old girl with postoperative cleft lip and palate. She is described as clever, with a ready smile, easy to accept new things, sociable, energetic, gets along with children who share a room with her, likes to play with toys with sounds, is good at communicating and does average work in school.  No longer available through Hand in Hand.

Child 10C –This is an expressive and smiley 6-year-old boy who has funnel chest but is otherwise healthy. He is outgoing and warm, curious toward everything, likes building with blocks, and gets along well with other children. He has some language delays but the teachers say he is a good boy. He likes music too. 
No longer available through Hand in Hand.

For further information on these China children, please contact Vickie Truelove at Hand in Hand International Adoption Agency @ 260-636-3566.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lifesong Has Decided to Partner With Us! Will You Help by Sending a Copy of This Letter to Family & Friends on Our Behalf?

“…bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43: 6-7

“The forgotten children of the world are some of the most valuable hidden treasures that exist. We seek to serve these orphaned, foster, and waiting children in the name of Christ, regardless of their gender, religion, race, or ethnicity, and we will begin on our knees. Will you join us?” (the Show Hope webpage)

Dear Family and Friends,

As some of you are well aware, Randy and I are in the process of adopting a six year old little girl who has been living in an orphanage in China since birth. Her name is Mei. It is reported that “she is developing well and is a happy little girl who loves to make others laugh and smile.” When Randy and I look at Mei’s picture, we see in her eyes a great love for life and desire to be loved by a “forever family”.

And not just any family, but our family whom we believe God foreordained before the very foundations of the earth to raise her up in a godly manner and teach about the great love and transforming power of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. What a great and awesome honor this is, and we do not take God’s leading in this matter lightly. Praise God forever and ever for choosing us to parent her as he did our first, these two little girls from China who were always meant to be with us before ever even being formed in the womb! What a Mighty and Awesome God we serve, who would place it upon our hearts to provide a home, love and nurturance to two of the world’s orphans.

Some of you may be wondering what has prompted us to adopt. Foremost, we believe it is the Lord’s calling on our family to provide a loving home for yet another China-born daughter. As is described in our initial adoption testimony which can be viewed at http://yiandmeitogether.blogspot.com, on December 5, 2010 God showed Randy and me His desire that we pray for His will regarding adoption.

On December 6, 2010 I saw for the first time Mei’s little face in a photograph and fell in love, knowing without hesitation I was staring at the face of my little girl. On December 10, 2010 God showed me He would receive the Full Glory in this adoption. That same night, Randy and I bowed our heads in prayer as Randy asked the Father, “If this be your will, then move on my Spirit so that I feel it too.” On the morning of December 11, 2010 as I cried silently, the Lord comforted me and said, “I will make a way.” On the night of December 11, Randy was fully “on board” even though we had no available resources to bring this adoption about.

On December 13, 2010 we paid our $200.00 application fee to Hand in Hand requesting the adoption of Mei. On December 14, 2010 had a family not stepped up on her behalf, Hand in Hand would have been forced to relinquish Mei’s file forever, losing any further opportunity to find her a home and a forever family.

The Lord willing, we will travel as a family to China in September of this year to bring Mei (Cassandra Mei) home. The only obstacle set before us at this time is a lack of finances. Through the Lord’s grace and bounty, thus far we’ve been able to raise $6,825.00 through donations and our fund raising efforts. Even with this, we are still looking at $25,000.00 to secure in the next six months.

It is foreign to us to make known to the Body of Christ our needs, as both Randy and I were both raised to ask for nothing from others and simply take care of our own. However, it is in our growing awareness as Christians that we are called to bear one another’s burdens which causes us to humble ourselves now and ask for help. Therefore, would you please consider helping us in our adoption? There are two ways you can help:

1. Prayer – Please pray God will keep His watch-care over Feng Mei (Cassandra Mei) in China until we are able to bring her home. Pray God will prepare Sonya for the upcoming changes to our family. Pray that He will grant us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise both Sonya and Cassandra to know Jesus Christ.

2. Financial support - Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay the remaining $25,000 in adoption expenses to bring Cassandra home?

Lifesong for Orphans, a trusted non-profit Christian organization, has set up an account in our family’s name to make a way for friends and family to support us financially with a tax-deductible gift between now and May 4th. Once the gifts are received, Lifesong will disperse them to the appropriate agencies to pay the adoption expenses for Cassandra.

Please make checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo section of your check, write - Hoium #1888 Adoption.

Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Hoium #1888 Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Thank you for investing in the Kingdom through your prayers and financial support! Your investment will garner an eternal return! (Matt 6:20)

We will be happy to send you an updated picture of Cassandra and details as we receive them. Please pray this entire process will glorify God and fulfill His purposes!

Your brother and sisters in Christ,
Randy, Cheryl & Sonya

If any of you know of anyone who would wish to receive a copy of this letter along with a letter from Lifesong written on our behalf explaining why they have decided to partner with our family in our adoption journey, then please email me at c.hoium@yahoo.com with the name(s) and address(es). I will gladly and expediently send the information to them. Thank you in advance!

With a Little More Help from Our Friends!

We did finally end up with the $5,500.00 to cover the latest adoption payment. I was at our church on Saturday for Sonya's basketball game, and a gentleman from our church approached me and asked how the fund raising was going. I told him how much we were short, and a few minutes later he came back with a check for $20.00 to cover the difference.

Since Saturday, we've been handed even more checks - $20.00 here, $25.00 there.... Believe me, it all adds up, and we are so grateful. It's in these loving demonstrations of kindness that removes the feeling of a heavy burden from our shoulders.

We simply cannot do this alone. If God were not in the center of this, stirring within the hearts of those He has called to step up and help us to purchase our little girl's freedom, in the end Randy and I would fail to create a life for our two daughters which would glorify God. Beginning a new life together saddled with burdensome debt is not the answer.

So... we accept with gratitude and openness the help that is being given by our friends, neighbors and family. Make no mistake, though, it is God who is behind the giving because the world does not give to the orphan. The world does not care about the orphan. God cares and knows and provides for the needs of the orphan through His people.

Again, thank you for your generosity.

If you are interested in sending a tax-deductible gift toward the adoption, you can send a check to Lifesong for Orphans. Write in the memo section - Hoium #1888 Adoption. The full address is:

Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Hoium #1888 Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update On the Total

Add to the $5,370.60 an additional $112.00, and you will come up with a figure of $5,482.60! That is the amount we've collected thus far for the spaghetti dinner and silent auction fund raiser! If you recall, last week, Randy and I sent to Hand in Hand a check for $5,500.00 for our dossier preparation and China fee. The amount raised then is only $17.40 shy of the $5,500.00 paid.

God is definitely in the mix! He is working it out! "Praise your Holy Name, Father!"

Every single day, we receive news from yet another person that our family, and more specifically Cassandra, is in their prayers. We are so grateful to all of you for your prayers and concern. The Lord had shown me at the very beginning of our journey to bring Cassandra into our family that she suffers from a broken heart, but that our love will heal her.

I am just now beginning to realize that he was not just referring to the love of Sonya, Randy and me but that he included the love of countless souls praying for her and loving her from afar. Through these prayers, the distance between China and the rest of us becomes non-existent. Could it be that that our corporate love for this little girl is healing her precious little heart as I write these words to you?! I believe so!

We really are so grateful to all of you! Please don't stop praying! And I want you to know that even if I don't know who you are, I am praying for you too! God is showing me the importance of continual, fervent prayer for the Body of Christ and even for the lost souls who desperately need Christ Jesus to fully understand and embrace the significance of the undeniable transforming power of Him in their lives!

Without Him, there is nothing, only a future of darkness and death! The world will lie and say that He does not exist, and suggest instead the ultimate truth is in seeking creature comforts and basking in the pleasures and duldrums found in the world. Drink alcohol, take pills, go to fancy restaurants, take lavish vacations, sit in front of the television and "zone".

What a lie! What a horrible lie this is! The journey God is taking my family on is opening my eyes more and more to the Truth. That the only thing that counts, the only thing that matters, is if our lives demonstrate to the world the Glory and Power of Jesus Christ and His Atoning Blood on the Cross at Calvary, freely spilled for the salvation of all who seek His face, turn from their sin and ask Him into their hearts and lives as Lord and Savior.

I am looking forward to the day when I can sit with Cassandra face-to-face and tell her in words she can understand about this man called Jesus. "Thank you, Father, for this opportunity!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Back!

I received an email today from a "follower", and because I haven't yet gotten permission to divulge her name, I will give her anonymous credit for her thoughtful, kind and generous words. She wrote, "I do hope that you continue to blog about your family's journey through this process. It has been such a wonderful conversation starter with people in my life to have about not only the adoption process/journey but also about faith and how wonderful God truly is. My husband and I were actually just saying at dinner last night about how you and Randy have "stepped out" in faith just doesn't seem to be the right fit but that I visualize the two of you jumping out of a plane as if to sky dive and trusting that the Lord will give you all the direction you need to navigate a safe landing and have such an amazing experience during what could be a terrifying time. Thank you for so openly and honsetly sharing with not only those you know but those you do not. I truly believe that God is using this journey to touch more lives than you will ever know."

It was Tuesday, February 1, 2011 when the initial plans were laid for our very first adoption fundraiser, the Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction held on March 11. Truthfully, I am just now beginning to feel as though I've gotten my second wind from this event even though it took place almost a week ago.

Let me just say, "Thank you" to all of the angels who showed up on the scene last Friday to pull together the "loose ends" to make sure the evening would be a successful one. Some of these angels were people whom I'd never even met before, but came to offer their help and welcomed expertise nevertheless. I had been embroiled in the acquiring of donations for our silent auction for so long that I had failed to conceive a plan for decorating the silent auction area. Once again, God showed Himself through the new and old friends He sent our way to wrap us in their loving support and not expect Randy and me to carry the whole thing all on our own.

So far, with money still trickling in from people who had anticipated being at the dinner but couldn't make it, and after subtracting all expenses, we have collected $5,370.60.

Randy and I sent in an adoption payment this week to Hand in Hand in the amount of $5,500.00. It would not be unlike our Father in Heaven to make the amount collected match the amount just paid out to Hand in Hand. In order for this to happen, we will only need an additonal $129.40. I am interested in seeing what happens next. We will be sure to keep our readership posted in this matter.

Let me take a moment to thank all of you who were able to attend the dinner. We estimate 200 in attendance. Even though the numbers were not as high as originally anticipated, it was a very special evening. We later received the same feedback from several of the participants present, such as, "The food was great!" "There were so many good things at the silent auction." "We had fun." "It was a relaxing evening."

Let me take the next moment to thank all of you who have continued in intercessory prayer on our family's behalf even if you were not able to attend the event. Ultimately, we know that God is the orchestrator of all plans involving the adoption of our little Mei Mei, and that He hasn't left one detail out of His ultimate design and plan for our family's future. Part of His design involves the powerful and sincere prayers of our brothers and sisters in the Lord for the successful adoption of our second born China daughter. "Thank you, Father, for placing so many people in our lives who truly care about what happens to us! We couldn't do it without them, Lord."

We will be sure to keep you updated on our next planned fund raising event which will be a huge parking lot sale and silent auction, the anticipated date to be held - Saturday, May 21st. We are accepting donations of lightly used household items, furniture, nic nacs, etc. We would like to hold off collecting these donated items until mid-April at the earliest.

Also, if you have any suggestions of companies we can contact for donations to our silent auction, please let us know. We are open to suggestions.

Thank you for everything! May God bless you all as we remember to keep you in our prayers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eight Days & Counting

Only eight more days until our highly anticipated Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser to help bring our little Mei Mei home and to help raise public awareness about the plight of the orphaned children throughout the world!

The support we have received thus far from friends and even strangers in the way of money toward the adoption and gifts to be used toward our event has been truly touching. To know that we are not alone in this brings me quickly to tears, friends! Thank you for your kindness! Even Sonya will comment on how God is working to bring her little sister home through the kindness of others. What a great perspective to gain at such a young age!

Friends who are not able to make it to the dinner have been quick to send monetary donations. The outpouring of apparent empathy for our situation and readiness to help meet the need is received by Randy and me with utmost gratitude and elation. Why, just yesterday a shop owner instructed his employee to reach into the cash register, pull out $50.00 and hand it to Randy, a perfect stranger to us yet someone who instinctively knows the necessity of giving toward this cause in order that we can meet the desired end. "Thank you, Father, for sending kind people our way who love You!"

The list of donations for the silent auction has been updated, and in the days ahead this list is sure to grow as we await to hear from various stores and shops that have been contacted. As things have gone, 90% of those remaining will say "yes"!

The following is the most recent list of donations to our fund raising event:

Rainbow Furniture, Holiday Inn, the Mastodon Grille, Ciocca's Cleaning and Restoration, Dantzer Heating and Cooling, Blondie's Cookies, Cookie Cottage, Crazy Pinz, Rave Theatres, Regal Cinemas, B. Antonio's Pizza,Comfort Quilters, Atz's Ice Cream, Home Transformations Residential Cleaning Service, Cottage Flowers, Spyro's Pancake House, New Haven Bakery, Abby Brown's Chocolates, Forever Friends Floral, Office Depot,
Too Much Fun Rubber Stamps, Art by Mindy Bermes, Roberts Shoes, Azteca Restaurant, Pro Bowl, Georgetown Bowl, Neuhouser Garden and Gifts,
Eagle Tile, Three Rivers Natural Grocery Food Co-op, Lighthouse Oil Painting by Lydia, Mary Kay Products, the Country Baker, Stitch N Frame, Peg Perego, Nature’s Corner Antiques, Stoller’s Antique Mall and Collector’s Gallery,Umber’s Do-It-Best Hardware, Cosmos Restaurants, IHOP, the Health Food Shoppe of Fort Wayne, Don Hall’s Restaurants, GFS, the Asian Market, Star 88.3, 90.3 fm, Bob Evans, O'Charley's, New Revelation Hair Care Center, Kelley Family of Autos and many others! Many miscellaneous household items and art work will also be available for bid.

We hope to see all of you there! Please tell all of your friends and family to come out and support us as we endeavor to bridge the "money gap" which separates us from our precious and dearly loved little girl!

We do expect a huge turn-out, God willing. We are leaving it all in His hands. We will continue to do the footwork as He directs our footsteps so that He can do the rest! "Praise you, Father, forever and ever! Amen!"