Friday, December 30, 2011

Adjusting to a New Normal

I know it's been a while.  Let me just say that jet lag can be BRUTAL.  Hence my lack of writing.  I have wanted to post an update before now, but simply lacked the initiative or wherewithal to conjure up words from my sleep deprived brain to pen on paper.  Add to that a seven year old who has wanted to be carried and cuddled by me alone for the first few days home, and you get the idea. 

After being home from China for just four short days Randy, Cassie and I made a trip to Riley Children's Hospital to have several tests run on Cassie to determine the condition of her heart and lungs.  The first up was an EKG, which took an interpreter over the phone twenty minutes to convince Cassie would not hurt.  I think what really tipped the scale though was when the young nurse in charge of Cassie thought to offer her two big red suckers wrapped in red paper.  Knowing this is Cassie's favorite color, I surmised the outcome might be favorable.  As soon as the nurse offered Cassie the suckers, Cassie got up from the floor and allowed me to set her up on the examining table with the two suckers clenched tightly in her little fist.  

It has been determined by Cassie's pediatric cardiologist that Cassie is very stable and doing well and that her health status in regards to her heart is better than her medical records from China had indicated.  Even with this being the case, Cassie will have a heart catheterization perfomed on January 10th to open up a passage from her right ventricle to her left aorta so that blood can flow through.  Hopefully, if Cassie's pediatric cardiologist is reading this now he will call me and let me know if i am failing to decribe accurately the method and purpose of this procedure.  Later on down the road, Cassie may also have another catherization performed which will close up a hole in her left aorta, which the doctor indicated is a necessary hole.  But let me just say for the record, i believe God plans on closing up this hole without man's assistance.  I think someday we will have another echocardiogram perfomed on Cassie, and there will be no hole.  

The vacuous condition in which Cassie found herself her entire life is over.  No longer will Cassie have to fear the worse when someone leaves the room or house. Just the other day, when we returned to our home after visiting Riley, Cassie began crying out in fright.  I called our new friend who speaks mandarin and she found out that Cassie feared Sonya had gone "missing" since she wasn't at home when we got there.  Our friend reminded Cassie that Sonya had spent the night at a friend's house since we had doctors' appointments all day and that we would go and get her immediately.  How many of Cassie's little friends have gone "missing" (adopted) through the years never to be seen or heard from again?  Yes, Cassie needed a hole in her heart to survive up until now but no longer.  Remembering the words of the Lord, "She has a broken heart, and your love will heal her.  I will heal her."   

With that being said, as sweet as Cassie is, as innately generous and kind as Cassie is, she still is a product of an institutional setting, and this has left her wanting and needing a mother to the point of not wanting to share me with anyone, which you can imagine hasn't gone over very well with Sonya who has always had my exclusive attention outside of her father.  So, we have had our trials these past three weeks, and although seemingly lessened far from over. 

When Cassie is not wanting me to hold her or following me around like a shadow, she is seeking the attention of others, charming those she meets.  This has been her life, friends, and it hurts my heart to watch a young child feel a need to "wow an audience" in order to not be forgotten.  And she will periodically throw herself on someone, even a stranger, seeking hugs and kisses.  Yesterday at the doctor's office for instance, while a young father was seated in a chair with his baby in front of him in her carrier, Cassie quickly went over and kissed this man on the cheek.   Thank you to those of you who have met Cassie and have determined to help us to not allow her to take her displays of affection this far.  Of course, this man did not see it coming, but there is an instance of a woman at the Chicago airport who Cassie ran to and the woman scooped her up and allowed Cassie to repeatedly kiss her cheek before I could walk over and as calmly as possible explain to this woman the situation we are facing and help her to see it's really not in this little girl's best interest to entertain her in this manner. 

I've had other adoptive parents share how awkward it can be when they are in a position to ask people to please not allow their newly adopted children to hang on them.  People like to say in this instance, "But your child is so cute, so friendly, so affectionate.  It would be wrong for me to not allow them to hug me or kiss me in this manner", etc.    But if these same people could just put themselves in our shoes for a moment and reflect on how it might feel if their children were the ones running into the arms of strangers, or even friends for that matter, and showering them with hugs and kisses on the lips.  What parent in their right mind would consider that okay? 

When we attended church last Sunday evening, when Cassie would run to someone they would either lean over and pat her on the back or even allow Cassie to hug them around their waist but not pick her up.  This is what i am talking about.  I would not ask anyone to shun my daughter.  Simply help her learn safe boundaries as you would with your own children or grandchildren. 

Now, i would like to share a few pictures, starting with Christmas with the girls.  Cassie's first Christmas ever.

Oh, and I've finally discovered an activity that the girls can do together where neither of them wants me to hold them or even touch them and noone's competing for my affection.  As a matter fact, they tell me in two different languages to sit still and be quiet.   

The only thing is I forgot the girls had done my hair , so when I was rushing around to get everyone ready for doctors' appointments, I looked in the mirror and realized what i was gonna have to do before I could wash  my hair, and it only took me TWENTY MINUTES!  So maybe it's a good activity for the girls to do together for the sake of teamwork, or like Sonya loves to say, "Or NOT!"

And thank you, Johni and Bo, for welcoming us home in this way!  It meant a lot to us to pull up in our drive and see the balloons and signs after traveling across the world for twenty-four hours straight!   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We're Back!

Well, we made it home safe and sound.  It's a little after four in the morning, and while the girls are up playing in their room together, I am making them breakfast.  Cassie is a little on the picky side, so it's going to be rice and soy sauce, scrambled eggs, tangerines and grapes.  Although, Cassie is so excited i don't know how much she will actually eat.  I walked her through the house last night and showed her every room while Randy and our friends the Shafers were unloading our luggage, and in every room she would exclaim, "Wooooooo" and then give me a great big smile.  

I will post later, but right now i kinda have my hands full.  

Cassie being an airplane on her very last  plane ride from Chicago to Fort Wayne.

Cassie looking pleased as punch that she's finally going home!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home for Christmas!

It's hard to believe our time here is drawing to an end. But I am very grateful to come home to America. It is the best place to live on earth, and i pray we as Americans stop taking our freedoms for granted lest they be stripped from us as they have been in other countries, but that's a whole separate topic for a different day.
Cassie ran into her father's arms at the American Consulate yesterday. Great strides are being made in a positive direction, and we know how many people are praying for bonding to occur and it is happening. It is nothing we are doing special. It is the Lord replacing in Cassie a stony heart with a heart of flesh so that she can feel her daddy's love and respond to it. As the Lord continues to knit our hearts all together, we will see one miracle after another occurring in His name. Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to bring glory and honor to Your Father!
We are looking forward to being able to communicate better with Cassie. It is really much harder than I thought on Cassie to not be able to tell us what she needs, or how she thinks. For instance, for two days, she repeated something to me, as she grew more insistent in her pleas with the passing of time. I finally thought to call our guide to see what caused her to feel such urgency. It turns out Cassie had been asking me if we would buy her a toy plane, and she grew more and more frantic due to shear frustration at not being understood by her own mommy.
She speaks to the chinese people around her, and as they share what she says, she's actually very funny and playful. She's very calm in her interactions with them. So you can see we are looking forward to communicating with her in english so her frustration can be replaced with calm and peace and understanding.
I gotta run, need to pack while Randy is out with the girls. See you all when we get back. We are arriving at around 4ish on December 23rd at the Baerfield Airport if anyone should like to welcome Cassie home. We will be very tired, and probably not on our game, but we can get many pictures for her to look at in the future, and tell her many people came to see her and welcome her to America. Like the chinese like to say, "Bye-Bye!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Orphanage Visit

We had our visit to the orphanage today. It went very well, and Cassie even made a great big breakthrough with her dad when she let him carry her for quite a while. I do not have pictures to post because even though i took many, i cannot figure out how to upload them from this new camera onto the laptop I am borrowing. Hopefully, I can get the help of one of the adoptive parents tomorrow to figure it all out and share with you some of what we experienced.

It's not easy walking into an orphanage knowing we'd walk out and leave so many children behind. Cassie Feng Mei sure was happy to leave I'll say that much, even though she was very warm to the ayis and Miss Zhong during our visit.

One young man was brought to me and I was told he is aging out, and he wants a family, so I was asked to take a picture with him and spread the word that there is a thirteen year old boy out there in this great big world who has no family but who wants one. He is open. Email me if you'd like to find out more, and I will direct you to the right person to find out more information about him.

The language barrier is proving quite difficult. Cassie is a very verbal child, and so often we have no idea what she's trying to say to us. She gets frustrated and lamenting, exasperated even. But if i find someone who speaks mandarin to find out what she needs, she is always very reasonable when discussing with them what is going on in that mind of hers. And this child is SMART.

In a way, Cassie is still so very young, but she's old enough to have formed her own opinions and ways. We love Cassie, but we really don't KNOW her, unlike Sonya who came to us at such an early age with no apparent understanding of anything different than what we taught her ourselves.

Cassie is open. Cassie is sweet. Cassie is kind, and Cassie is hurting. She demonstrates this hurt through the push/pull behavior she displays towards Randy. Yes, we are making strides in a positive direction, but right now, we certainly could use your prayers for more bonding as a family even while still here in China.

Something else worth mentioning - on our way to the orphanage this morning our guide touched Cassie's fingertips, and commented on how warm they are. She mentioned it's been her experience that people with poor circulation generally have cold fingertips. Once at the orphanage it was confirmed that when Cassie lived there, her fingertips and toes were always cold to the touch. Not only are Cassie's hands warm, but so are her feet and toes. This is good news for sure, and something worth praising the Lord about.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for praying. I feel rather vulnerable here, so far away from our safety net and our church and friends. I will be grateful to be home. I promise I will never complain about our squeaky floors ever again! On that same note I'd like to mention that Cassie gets really agitated whenever we spend too much time in the hotel room. She wants to go, go, go. We walk around on Shamian Island quite a bit, and it's at these times when she seems the most peaceful. Well, it turns out she's started to think that our hotel room is our home, and she had been looking so forward to going abroad in an airplane to a new land and a new home and a new people. Once our guide, Cordelia, was able to ascertain from Cassie what her thinking's been, she was able to reassure Cassie that indeed very soon we will all board a plane together and fly to a new land and a new home. Which seemed to comfort her to know.....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Prayers Rising

We can feel the prayers rising. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We see much improvement with both girls. Sonya's beautiful smile is returning more and more, and Cassie Feng Mei of her own volition threw her daddy a kiss yesterday as she was walking away from him holding my hand. We'll take it!
It is 5:30 am here, and hopefully I can blog this before the girls wake up. I told you I wanted to share a story with you about Jordon, but before I do, I want to let you know I have met many shop owners here in Guangzhou who are Christians. I have some stories to share about that, but I better get back to the one with Jordon.
I met Jordon eight years ago when I was in Guangzhou to bring Sonya home. At the time Randy and I were not Christians. When I met Jordon and his wife at their shop, I recognized something different about them. All these years I've thought of them and wondered why they seemed so special. It wasn't until recently that I learned through various adoption blogs that Jordon and his wife are Christians. When I learned of this, I made a point before I left home to gather some pics I had taken of them holding Sonya in their arms while we were visiting their shop only eight years previous.
So four days ago we ran into Jordon while walking down the street. Immediately he struck up conversation, and I almost threw my arms around him I was so happy to see him, but of course, he did not recognize me or know me, so I proceeded to tell him Sonya and I had met him eight years ago. I told him I would visit him at his shop, and while he was walking away Jordon said, "You know, it is good to be a Christian." Of course, if you know me, you know I couldn't wait then to tell him the story of our initial meeting and of how he and his wife had made an impression on me all these years just by their presence. They were different, and it was obvious. I shared with Jordon that his life is his witness. He was so grateful and touched to hear this. As he was headed off for a meeting at his church, we promised to visit him another day at his shop and bring the pictures.
Two days ago, we had been searching for Jordon's shop without any luck when once again we ran into him on the street. He showed us to his shop, and as the girls were looking through his store for little trinkets, Randy and I asked him if he would be willing to tell Feng Mei about Jesus and also tell her the meaning of her american name and see if she would be open to us calling her that now.
Cassandra means "to bring light to man", and because Jesus is the light of the world and because Jesus has had his hand on this little girl all these years, how could any other name be more fitting for her? First , Jordon showed Feng Mei the Holy Bible and then told her all about Jesus and asked if she had ever heard of Him while at the orphanage. She had not. Then Jordon shared with Feng Mei that Randy and I (mama and baba) had come to China to bring her home and give her a family because Jesus had sent us. He told Feng Mei that her mama and baba wanted to teach her about Jesus and asked if she would like that. She said she would.
Then he told her about the meaning of her new name, and shared the shortened version, "Cassie" with her and asked if she would like to be called Cassie , or Feng Mei. Feng Mei told Jordon that from now on she wanted to be called Cassie. Randy and I were overjoyed to hear of Cassie's openness to Jesus and her new name. And of course, as always, I was overcome with emotion and could hardly hold back a flood of tears.
Before we left, Jordon asked to pray with us. He said when we saw him he had just come from praying at church and asked Jesus to send a family for him to pray with, so he knew when we requested his help that we were the family God sent. So we stood in the middle of his store while a couple other families shopped, held hands, bowed our heads and prayed.    
So here we are three days later, and we are visiting the Safari Park today. I know the girls will really enjoy this. We had Cassie Feng Mei's medical exam yesterday, and she was not at all happy about it. Here are at least a couple of pictures from yesterday. I hope you enjoy! Hope to "talk" soon!




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update and Some Pics FINALLY!

Well, the past two days have been shall we say, "interesting". Starting yesterday morning, Feng Mei decided that even though she likes to keep track of her baba and doesn't want him straying too far away, she does not want him to hold her or sometimes even talk to her. Which means I have been exclusively on duty with both children ever since because once Sonya saw where all this was heading with Feng Mei, she wasn't about to just let Feng Mei have me all to herself. Sonya loves her little sister, and she is very sweet to her, but her possessiveness of her mommy has come out full tilt. Today in fact we were at the police station to do more adoption paperwork, and because I hadn't picked Feng Mei up as I was there for official business and distracted she sat down in the middle of the police station and hung her head. So I picked her up and when I did that Sonya had quite the meltdown, and I will just leave the rest to your imagination.
As I am recounting the events to you right now it doesn't seem or sound so bad, but let me assure you the last couple of days have been rough, so we would appreciate your prayers as Randy and I have been praying spiritual warfare since last night. Satan doesn't want these girls to feel secure in our love. He doesn't want for there to be harmony in our family right now, but God is bigger than all of that, and He will have His will and His way in this family as Randy and I remember that neither of us will ever be able to heal the wounds caused by being orphaned as new born babies, but Jesus can and Jesus will and Jesus is - as we learn as their parents to step out of the way and let Him heal their hearts and minds and bodies. And I am speaking of Sonya as well as I type this. Just because she was adopted at seven months of age, she is not unscathed or unfettered by a distant memory caused by a feeling of starting out life unwanted. And no matter how much we love Sonya, and no matter how much we love Feng Mei, they have their own cross to bare in this life. It may be different from ours, Randy's and mine, but it is a cross nonetheless, and I am convinced no earthly involvement from people who love these girls, these daughters of mine, can begin to restore to these souls what the enemy has stolen. Only Jesus can do that. And Jesus will do that. Jesus is doing it right now. Don't get me wrong - I think as brothers and sisters in Christ we can and should walk along beside one another and help to bare one another's burdens, and in this bring comfort and fellowship. But when the day is done, and nobody is around, only Jesus can heal the broken-hearted. I am convinced.
I am probably going to jump around a bit and hope you don't mind that. Yesterday, we ran into a gentleman on the streets of Guangzhou
whom I had the pleasure of meeting eight years ago when I was there to bring Sonya home. I had planned on visiting this man and his wife at their store some time this week. And you know what? I'm going to have to share with you later what happened because guess who just climbed up on my lap for some hugs and kisses? And who I am now trying to convince that she needs to go to bed rather than leave with me somewhere which I have no idea where because she speaks mandarin, and I don't. But it looks like I'm going to get a brief moment here to post some pics.
The first four are of "Gotcha Day". And then the other three were taken on December 14, which is today here. One with mommy and Cassie Feng Mei, one with the four of us at Jordon's store and one with us and Jordon, who you will hear all about later.
I hope to write soon. Now i know why adoptive parents in China are so slow on their updates. I think I've been too hard on them because now I know.








Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adoption Day!

Today is December 13th, 2011. Exactly one year ago on this date we applied to Hand in Hand to adopt Feng Mei! And now she is with us. God is good.
The orphanage reports that Feng Mei gets along with all of the other children and that everyone at the orphanage loves her. From our observations, Feng Mei is very astute, very curious, very sweet, very confident, very loving, very grateful and loves playing with her sister! Sonya, who FINALLY can play as she seems to be over whatever she had. Randy and I were up a lot last night praying for Sonya as she had not eaten a thing for over 24 hours but just wanted to sleep. Now Sonya's smile is back, and I'm praising the Lord for that.
We're heading off to our appointment soon. I still do not have pictures to show you. I'm sorry about that. I know when families are here in China to get their children that's what I'm interested in the most. If I can't get our camera fixed, I might purchase one as I have over 500 pictures from Sonya's adoption, and I cannot imagine not doing the same for Feng Mei. In any case, I hope to get this issue resolved soon. As I am a little on the controlling side one might say and like to take charge, it's not comfortable for me to feel so powerless in this matter. Maybe you can pray about that for me?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gotcha Day!

I sure wish I had pictures to share. Not only did I not get a chance to look for a usb cord because Sonya's been sick all day, but after the video was taken, my camera broke so i was not able to take any pictures at the government building after that. But fortunately our guide got some good pictures, and I will get them from her soon.
Unfortunately for Sonya she could not enjoy meeting her sister because she was slumped over on the couch the whole time. Earlier today she threw up and felt better once she did, but then went limp as a noodle. Feng Mei, as soon as she learned her jie jie was ill, tried to comfort her.
I am not being partial when I say Feng Mei is an exceptional child. She took to Randy and me right away, especially her baba. The first chance she got, she flung her arms around his neck and did not let go for a long time.
As a matter of fact, I left with her to get dinner with another family and on the walk there (since Sonya is asleep in bed), she started crying when an airplane went overhead, and she was saying, "Baba, Feng Mei" and then she was going on and on about the airplane and she would say, "Want to go to baba." Then she would point at the airplane and start to cry. I realized Feng Mei thought her baba was on the airplane and left without her. She was heartbroken. So I brought her back to the hotel and now Randy is down with her at the hotel restaurant to get her something to eat.
Btw, I can't be sure since Sonya did not stand next to her sister once, that Feng Mei is taller than Sonya and she definitely weighs more. In our case, the numbers they quoted for her height and weight were low not high as is typical.
Even though I am sad for Sonya that she missed out on the moment, it at least has given Randy and me time to bond on our own with her. But something like this makes it hard to be away from home. Since Sonya is not feeling well, I want her to be safe in her own bed.
Well, all the rest was written a couple of hours ago as I was typing before Randy came back to the room with Feng Mei. I will say that Feng Mei is a very polite, grateful child, and everything I show her, such as hair bows or pick up sticks etc, she adds, "Woooo" with the short o sound. I think that must mean "Wow" as she says it with such wonderment.
Well, got to get to bed now. We are adopting Feng Mei in the morning so we all need to get up early. Please pray that Sonya wakes up feeling well and back to her old self.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Takin' a Train to Guangzhou

Hi all! We made it into Guangzhou on a train today. Yesterday was quite the toilsome day, however. Let me just say, we spent over twenty four hours traveling, with sixteen of it spent up in the air. And no matter how positive I could try to be about that, spending that many hours in a confined, tight space even for a woman my size, is nothing short of
We are thirteen hours ahead of those in Indiana. Depending on your location give or take a couple hours. Suffice it to say, where we are, tomorrow (Monday) at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, we will be united with our littlest for the first time and for good.
Thankfully, we will not visit the orphanage until Monday or Tuesday of next week which makes for more time for bonding with us before Feng Mei goes back to say goodbye to everyone she's known her whole life. I can't imagine what kind of stress that would induce in the life of a little child, so even though in the end the good out ways the bad by a long shot, Feng Mei has much to endure and cope with in her transition into a loving family.
God bless Feng Mei.
I do not have pics to post at the moment because I need a cable to upload my pics from my camera onto the computer, and finding one of those usb (?) cables where I'm at is proving rather cumbersome. Hopefully I will have it all straightened out by tomorrow to post "gotcha day" photos. Keep prayin', please. Pray for Feng Mei especially, although it's just been reported to me that Feng Mei was told on Friday that mama and baba are coming and that she is very excited about this. Please pray that I hold it together when I see her for the first time, or that I learn to say in Mandarin just so I don't scare her, "Mama cries when she's happy." Good night everyone! God bless one and all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our Journey to Mei Mei

I was sitting in church yesterday in the morning service, and suddenly it dawned on me what had taken place in our lives that day just one year prior.  On December 5th of 2010, on a Sunday, I sat in a pew next to my husband as the Invitation was called, and God spoke to me.  "Ask Randy to take you up to the altar and pray for My Will for adoption, and if it is not My Will, then pray that I relieve your burdened heart." 

The day following that prayer, December 6th, I stared at a picture of Zhong Feng Mei and knew that I knew that I knew I was staring at the face of my little girl, our daughter, Randy's and mine! 

Only a couple of weeks ago, I had so desperately wanted to be in China right now, having boarded a plane last Friday.  When I realized it was not to be, i felt desperate inside.  You see, i had wanted to bring Cassie home before her 7th birthday on September 24, 2011.  When those initial plans of  September travel fell through, and i was able to picture that we would get to meet Cassie on the 5th of December and adopt her on the 6th, it made perfect sense to me that God would bring us together at such a time as this.  Suddenly, believing God had a Perfect Plan for our union at a perfectly designated hour infused with significance made my long, arduous and at times gut-wrenching wait for my daughter all worth it.  I weaped with JOY at the very thought.  

Last Wednesday night, as i waited for Bible Study to begin in our church Sanctuary, my mind searched for an explanation as to why December 2nd travel couldn't be. "Lord, I don't get why you're making us wait and travel on December 9th?  It's just that, to me, December 2nd was a perfect plan..."  Then as suddenly as I asked the question and began searching for an answer,  the Lord answered,  "Think back to what you were doing on December 9th of last year.  What were you doing on December 10? December 11th? December 12th? What were you doing on December 13th of last year?

My mind immediately went back in time, and searched for an answer.  What was I doing on December 9th of last year?  Then in front of me I saw a series of events unfold before my eyes.  And i saw what i was doing on all of those dates, and i marveled.   

Because you see, on Thursday, December 9th of last year, i went to bed with a deeply burdened heart.  I had not been able to find a doctor who would look at Feng Mei's medical records for free, the fee quoted to me just the day before by a doctor at an international adoption clinic in the way of $450.00.  On December 9th of last year, when I found myself at the end of my day, I also found myself with little hope because not only did we not have $450.00 to pay someone to look at Feng Mei's records but i wouldn't dare ask Randy for permission to spend it due to the fact that he didn't believe we were supposed to adopt her.   

"But God.  If we are not supposed to adopt this child, then why can't i get her out of my head?" 

My simple prayer to Him that night as i lay down to sleep, "Father, if You want me to pursue gathering information about this precious little girl, then send me word in the morning of a doctor who will look at her records for free."  The following morning as i was praying, having forgotten all about my prayer request the night before, the name of a doctor did pop into my head, and when I emailed his wife requesting his help she immediately responded with an affirmative.  In my mind, that meant  I was not to give up.   

What was I doing on December 10th of last year?  That was the night I sat in front of Randy's chair on the floor and I poured my heart out to him, sobbing.  I begged him to consider that what i was feeling for this little girl, what Sonya was feeling for this little girl, was REAL.  I told him we didn't have much time to decide as her file would be returned to the orphanage on December 14th.  I told him I knew i couldn't force him to see what I was seeing, and I wouldn't want to do that to him or to us, but i asked him to please, please consider that what I was saying was a fact.... That that child, that little girl, was ours and we needed to go get her and bring her home.   

With such a strong element of compassion in his eyes,  Randy said to me, "I really feel for you and Sonya, and I am really trying to understand, but I don't feel that way, Cheryl."  "Then Randy, let's pray."  As we clasped each other's hands with heads bowed the night of December 10th, Randy prayed to the Father, "Lord, if it is your will that we adopt this child, then move on my spirit so that I can feel it too."  Then a peace overcame me as I was enveloped in calm.  After that prayer, I thanked Randy profoundly because I knew that he prayed a perfect prayer.  It was the BEST prayer because it was so simple and so honest and so forthright and so searching and so yielding TO THE CALL OF THE LORD.  And no matter what, I knew everything was going to be alright after that because my husband knew how to pray...   

The following evening, as i headed home from work, I clung to the hope that Randy was now open to the adoption.  Having not spoken to him all day, I really didn't know where his head was at with all of it.  Almost as soon as I walked through the door, Randy started asking me questions about Feng Mei.  Then he asked if i would be alright if he went for a walk alone, and the moment he returned Randy said,  "Alright, let's do this."   

So on December 11th of 2010, with no money at all to pay for the adoption, Randy and I decided jointly to begin the adoption proceedings for Zhong Feng Mei, and we decided it would all be for the Glory, Honor and Praise of God our Father and Jesus Christ His Son.

On December 12th, we shared our good news with our church.  And on Monday, December 13th, Sonya and i headed for Albion, Indiana to pay an application fee and make a request to the CCWAA to adopt Zhong Feng Mei, birth country China.  

Last Wednesday night, as i sat in a pew waiting for Bible Study to begin, I saw all of these past events unfold in my mind, and in the same overlapping moment, i saw my family boarding a plane on December 9th of this year, headed for China.  I saw us land in Hong Kong on December 10th, one step closer to our beloved Mei Mei.  I saw us board a train on December 11th, making our way into the city of Guangzhou, the city our little girl will be brought to at the government building to be united with her forever family on December 12th.  I saw us adopting Cassie at that very same government building on December 13th, and I suddenly realized the FULLNESS of God's Plan in relation to mine, and I lowered my head and cried silent tears.  I cried tears that felt as if they may never end, tears that cleansed my soul and restored my JOY! 

"Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer and giving me a REASON and a SIGNIFICANCE.  You did not have to give me a reason.  You did not need to make the time of travel significant, but You did it anyway!  Lord, only You in YOur Infinite Wisdom KNEW this mama's heart needed a reason for the long wait to my little girl.  Thank you, Lord, for caring the way You do."
Randy and I believe God is using this adoption to build our family's faith in Him alone.  On numerous occasions, more than i can number, God has chosen to help us along in our faith- walk to Him through our journey to Mei Mei.   His fingerprints are all over every single occurrence with this adoption.  Even in the wait, there has been a purpose for it. 

December 14th is fast approaching, that date last year when Mei Mei's records would have been returned to her orphanage, but they weren't.  God had other plans for this child.  On December 14th of this year, she will be with her forever family, and it will be the first full day she will be considered by CCWAA to be fully ours.  "Praise the Lord for the details!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Update on $5,000.00 Matching GGAM Grant

Hi everyone!  I just received an update from GGAM regarding how many donations have come in lately, and we have now raised $1,250.00 towards our $2,500.00 goal.  Once we raise $2,500.00, GGAM will match us for that amount.  

A while ago i was talking with our Preacher and was very concerned about the cost of the adoption, worried that we were not going to be able to raise enough money, worried that we'd have to take out a huge loan to get our daughter home and be saddled with burdensome debt hanging over our heads when we needed to be focused on mending a heart.  One thing Preacher shared with me is that in his experience, sometimes God wants to see what we're willing to do for what we want.  Are we really committed?   Sometimes, even when God calls us to step out in faith (and jump off a cliff into a freefall position, or at least that's how it feels sometimes) we still may have to take out that loan, but then He will help us pay it back.   

Not long after that conversation Randy and i received the $13,530.00 grant from the JSC Foundation, and things really started looking up for us.  The heavy weight on my chest was lifted, and I felt I could breathe again.  Then we soon learned that the additional costs of China, Hand in Hand and travel fees put us in a position to need an additonal $5,000.00 to complete the adoption of Cassie Mei.
Thankfully God provided us an adoption loan for $5,000.00 at 0% for three years, and we took it.  Fortunately once we took out this loan, we received word that God's Grace Adoption Ministry would award us a $5,000.00 matching grant (once again, God proving Himself faithful) as long as GGAM receives enough in monetary donations by December 9th to total $2,500.00.  So... if we receive the matching grant for $5,000.00 we are in a position to pay off our $5,000.00 adoption loan.   

Like i shared before, GGAM has received thus far $1,250.00 on Cassie's behalf, but...  We still need $1,250.00 in donations to receive the full grant.

Many years ago when we adopted Sonya we received no help financially from anyone for her adoption, and we never asked for it.  We never expected it.  Instead we worked, I putting in many 12 hour days in my cleaning business for months on out.  And we really didn't know much in the way of adoption grants back then either, much less how to apply for one.  We did most of it on our own and at the last still needed to take out a loan for $8,000.00, even with me traveling to China alone to save on money, just so we could get our seven month old baby home where she belonged.

I say we did it alone because even though we believed in God, we believed in a God who expected us to do it on our own and alone, and we were surrounded by people who held the very same mindset.  You see, we did not believe in the God of the Holy Bible who shows mercy and grace to His children, and blesses them in their obedience to His Word.  We believed in the God of the Universe who only shows you favor once you've paid your debt, karma in other words.  Back then, I had so much "karma" I couldn't possibly go to Him for help or expect anyone else to help me either.  What a lie i lived. 

"Thank you, Father, for blessing us with the only gift we knew how to receive from you back then and that was the gift of our little Sonya, who melted our hearts and caused us to question the lies we were fed."  It was our love for Sonya that eventually lead us into the Throne Room of Grace to experience our heavenly Father's love firsthand, and to believe and know that He really does care about everything we care about, no matter how small the matter. 

Approximately two years ago, I received an email announcement that a group of adoptive families was planning a huge garage sale fundrasier to raise money to get their little kiddos home from foreign lands, and they were asking for donations of items that would be garage sale friendly.  I kept that email, and I thought about those families often and what they were endeavoring to accomplish.  I even collected many items in my home to donate, but in the end, i never made it over to hand in what I had collected which would have helped them to bring their little children home.  And do you want to know the reason why?  My real reason, the reason only I have known and will share with you now? 

Simply put, since we had never received any help from anyone to bring our child home, and because of it I felt forced to go back to work and give my baby girl to other people to raise just so i could pay off the debt, I felt like they should do it on their own as well.   So a couple of weeks following the sale, when I ended up taking a box of donations into the Goodwill instead, I felt very uneasy in my spirit.   Why did I have to be so callous in my thinking, so hard-hearted?  Where was my love?  Where was my compassion?  And then I felt ashamed.  I was guilty, and I knew it.

When we started this journey to Mei Mei and we were faced with raising an incredible amount of money, i thought back to those families whom i could have helped and didn't, and finally understood why they were reaching out to others in their time of need.  Because really, in most cases, those babies in those orphanages are going to rot where they sit unless and until we come up with the stinkin' money to get them out! 

I didn't know when God called us to the field of international adoption twice now that He calls all Christians to care for the orphans, and man oh man, have a multitude of Christians and other people too who have an innate love for the orphans (personally, I think God is at work in their hearts) stepped up and walked this with us, in prayer, labor and through monetary means.  And for all of you everywhere who have purchased even one of Sonya's art prints - THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! 

So much is happening this time of year.  The holidays and gift-giving are upon us as our heating bills go up.  Money is tighter, and needs are greater.  Even so, I am asking you now, if you feel an urging in your spirit to help us with this adoption, please do so.  Please consider sending in a tax-deductible donation to God's Grace Adoption Ministry before December 9th so that we can receive the full matching grant. 

Adoption is expensive.  For anyone who knows me and talked with me at any length, i make it no secret that I believe that because satan is the prince of this world, our governments bow to him.  Government policies involving the care of the orphan and the exorbitant fees incurred and the hoops set up to jump through to get to these little ones are a reflection of their true allegiance.  That is why our Father makes provision in His Word for the least of these.  I know Cassie is only one, yet every time you help one, you help them all.  So please, if you can, help Cassie now. 

Today we received an update on our little girl from a mom visiting Z orphanage.  We cannot get our little girl home too soon!

Our visit was today! Cassie was in the playroom with lots of other children. She appears to be the oldest and possibly because of her SN isn't able to go to school with the other children her age. She is ready to come home. She wasn't playing with the others, the toys are too young for her, she stood and was watching TV. I told her you would be there soon and I gave her a hug. She did look good, her color was good and her lips didn't appear blue. Counting the days with you! Jody