"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."--- Kristi Larson
I have really dreaded this moment! I am so ready to move on in this process . With each step it brings us closer to our sweet girl! But I did not have good luck in this stage of the process in the last adoption! Back in '07 I was so careful to make sure everything was perfect ! I called on several occations and consulted with the USCIS officiers to make sure we did not miss a step! So , when we still had not received our reciept by mail by day 60 ,I set up an appointment. We waited for 3 hours to be called up to the counter only to be told that they threw out our application! We were told on the national hotline that you can send a personal check, so we did! Little did we know that our local office does not accept personal checks!
To make a long story short it all worked out and I had my new application , fingerprinting appt. and approval in hand in three short weeks! At the time I could not see the reason for this delay through all of the blurry ,tear stained contacts. But I now know that our sweet Ava was not ready for adoption yet!
So this time around I am going to say a little prayer for a safe arrival and quick processing for my little "pill"! So pardon me while I hold my breath ...I think I will breath again after I get that glorious little reciept in the mail! Can you believe my husband asked me if I was sweating at the Fed Ex place?
We had a wonderful Christmas this year! What difference this past year has made for Ava. Last year she was not sure what was going on with any of the holiday events. This year she was dancing around and singing! She was such a ham and loved being the center of attention!
I found myself thinking of Peyton and wishing she was here. There was definitely someone missing this year. When I would feel a little sad ,I would just look at Ava and think how fast this year has passed and soon she will be home with her family.
Ava took everyone over to the computer and proudly showed off her sister's videos. By the way , she requests to look at Peyton's videos everyday. And if you could see the grin on her face ! Ava is totally in LOVE!
Look out Peyton because your big sister is going to smother you with kisses and hugs!!!!!!!
I will leave you with a couple of photos of Ava this year compared to last . My heart just smiles at the progress of this past year has brought!
We have been running like crazy on the paper trail! Our home study is completed , dossier is almost done and next step the I800A! So today Ava and I took a break from all of the paper craziness and went to the mall to have our first official picture with Santa Claus! We filed in line with all the other kiddos and waited our turn. Well ,the little girl in front of us ,who was exactly Ava's age, started a mass hysteria that spread like a virus through the line. Ava was fine till she took one look at him and that was all she wrote! She did not care who he was or if he had his own toy factory ...she wanted no part of this !
Later on in the day she took one look at that picture and started to cry... again!
So, I will forever treasure this photo because this will be the last! I will not put her through that again!
And for those of you that were at the mall this morning that was NOT me doing an army crawl ,in a pair of high heels, to avoid being in the photo! What's a mama to do?!?! My sweet girl was in distress ! I am not above making a complete fool of myself for my kids. Funny thing is that Nick(15) was with us and was not impressed! Go figure!
But I have to say she still was so cute even though she did not smile!
When we start out on our journey to our children we often look for a connection.Something that jumps out at us that says you are who I have been waiting for. Some parents say I just knew when I saw their face. Other say it was a birthday that they shared with a loved one. And for some it was just a feeling. Whether it was butterflies in their tummy or just plan love at first sight they knew.
We travelled to Russia in July '08 to meet Ava .We boarded a plane with no information other than a little girl on the other side of the ocean was waiting on us. When we arrived we were blessed with such a special treasure, a beautiful baby girl just one week shy of her first birthday. We spent an emotional yet wonderful week with our sweet girl . We squeezed one last visit in before departing on that Saturday. As we walked away, I prayed that God would keep her safe. It saddened us to leave her behind. I wondered if she thought that we had abandoned her like so many had before us. We left our little girl in that hospital knowing that she would be there for her first birthday the following week. We returned home exhausted yet anxious to get back to our baby. That next week on Saturday, July 19th Ava turned one. We were sad knowing that it was just another day to everyone in that hospital. I breathed a sigh of relief on that Sunday that we had made it through that dreaded day and she would never have another birthday alone again. Little did we know on Sunday, July 20th another beautiful baby girl was born, our daughter Xia Ben Pei . That same week we began our wait for our court date. This was the worst part of the process. You give your heart away to your sweet child only to have to give her back and pray that she will be safe while you are gone. As I struggled with my sadness another mother a world away was struggling too. During that same week she held her baby girl for four days and on that fourth day made the decision that someone else could provide a better life for her. My struggles pale in comparison to hers. In the end ,I was blessed with my sweet Ava .In the end , she gave up one of her greatest treasures. Soon to be one of mine.
After we had submitted our LOI for Ben Pei we began looking at names. We had a list of names that we had selected for Ava. Each family member had their original top picks and majority of these had carried over for our ladybug. When Jacob was three and in mother's day out he had selected the new babies name after a little girl in his class. We were at the beginning of this process and were not sure if we would be going to Vietnam,Guatemala ,China or Russia.Either way her name was Peyton. I had always imagined little Peyton to have olive skin and beautiful dark hair.So imagine my surprise when we found out that Xia Ben Pei's nickname is Pei Pei(sounds like pay pay) . So when we originally began this process in 2007 ,God had already etched little Peyton in my heart even before she was born.
We chose Lily as her middle name after my dear ,sweet Maw Maw Lily. She was a wonderful grandmother and she could always make you laugh! She had the most beautiful dark hair just like Peyton. When Jake heard the name Lily he said "I love it Mom". He said it was perfect because in the Peyton's picture that we received there are Lilies in the background! Mind you he is only six years old! Pretty observant for a first grader!
I started this journey back in 2007 looking for my daughter, Peyton. So in the end, I ended up with my beautiful Peyton after all! Little did I know that I was going to be blessed with Ava first !!!! These little sister's already share such a connection to one another.
I must have been a really good girl to be blessed like this ! Or maybe it was my original career choice in elementary school to become a nun!
Now, I am a makeup artist ... but He loves me anyway!
On my way from Heaven, God delayed my trip that day. He said that I was special, and then sent me on my way. But not before he kissed me, Right upon my ear He left his blessed mark to carry with me here. He whispered in my ear right then, that He loved me without doubt, and then He closed my ear up tight, so the whisper won't get out. He told me both my legs were strong and would help me stand up tall. He told me both my arms would work to catch me if I fall. My eyes would catch my memories to store within the pages of my mind, My heart would fill with all the things I would love, so many things, I would find. He told me I could fall asleep to my Daddy's bedtime tales, and listen while my Mother sings of seas and boats with sails. One ear, He told me, could hear the sounds that little birdies make. The other ear was His gift to me, a blessing for my sake. For when I'm feeling sad, He said, my other ear would hear, His whispered words of eternal love, left waiting for me there. (Author Unknown)
I saw this posted on a group that I am a member of . I just love this and thought this was such a great way to begin this post. As many of you know we are adopting Peyton from China's special needs program.Peyton has a deformity of her right ear and nerve palsy on the right corner of her mouth. The palsy is due to the facial nerves involvement in and around the ear. You only see this when she smiles or cries. I have to say that she has one of the cutest little smiles that I have ever seen! We are unsure of the extent of hearing or lack of in that ear but we will find out more when we return home.
We have decided to be open about Peyton's special need for a variety of reasons. One is that Peyton's need is visible.When she is older she can have surgery to correct the ear malformation.Generally that surgery does not take place till she is somewhere between 6-8 years old. Another reason is the hope that other families that are considering a child with this particular need might see beyond this medical label and not miss out on one of the greatest blessings ever.
I have posted some links with some great information about Microtia and Hemifacial Microsomia.If you scroll down the right side of my blog you will find them.
We have been so blessed to have had several families come forward and share their personal experiences with this specific need.The experiences that they shared spoke volumes about how manageable this need is.Microtia was not on our original list of needs.But once again this is just an example of God's plan vs. our plan ... And his is always better!
If I can help anyone with any questions , please feel free to post your email address in the comments section!
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, "plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"God hears all our prayers, and we must trust that He will answer them in His own time. They may not always be the answers we want to hear, but they are always for our good, and teach us to trust in Jesus as we travel the pathways of our daily lives."
Not The Way You Planned
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, 'Someday I hope to be a great treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with an intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'
Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.'
Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.' The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said,'I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,' and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying Kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.
Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said 'Peace' and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined...
We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
We are so excited about receiving our pre approval for our sweet little ladybug! We began Thanksgiving with an exciting email from Xiaoqing. At 1:26 a.m. (Yes, I said a.m.!)Xiaoqing sent us our PA for our sweet girl! X works so hard for her families and these sweet kids. She is a wonderful advocate for these children finding their forever families.We are really lucky to be working with her and BAAS!That afternoon we ordered her first care package through Lady bugs n love. Kelly and Angela are wonderful to work with! We are planning on sending a few more packages soon.
We are so fortunate that Ben Pei is living with a foster family in China. Ava was not so fortunate . She lived the first half of her life in a hospital and the other part in an orphanage.The day we picked her up she never looked back. We prepared for some mourning of the life that she knew but that was not the case with her. She graciously allowed herself to love and trust us over the course of the past year. What a wonderful gift that was and still continues to be each and every day.
I suspect Ben Pei's reaction will be a bit different.She is going to grieve for everything that she has lost.
She has a family.
This is the family she has had since she was a baby. They are who she loves and trusts. They are who she calls her mother and father.
In her little eyes ... she is home.
Sometimes I think it is so easy to get caught up in all our excitement and the planning that we loose sight of that little persons perspective.I am reminded of this as I watched Ava this Thanksgiving Day. She was beaming with a grin from ear to ear as she called out each family members name at the dinner table.This was her second Thanksgiving as a member of our family.She is a far cry from that scared and timid baby that joined us last year.Despite the fact that she did not grieve that former life, this has been one full year of attaching and adapting.And learning to love as only a family can. We are hopeful that Pei's transition into our family will not be difficult for her and preparing for all the emotions that she will be experiencing. Reality is that this transformation does not happen overnight. I think with the adoptive child you always are working at promoting attachment ,building trust and addressing abandonment issues. At the end of the day there is no greater reward than to have that child seek you out, crawl up into your arms and embrace you with such love that it just stops you dead in your tracks.Such a simple action speaks volumes to an adoptive parent.In that moment all of the hard work has been so worth it.
I look forward to the day when Ben Pei will wrap her little arms around me and let me know that she is now home ...forever.
I am doing a bible study with a great group of girl's (not ladies that sounds too old!) that live all over the country. Most of us have come together through our journeys of adoption and some are just friends . Most of us have never met face to face but we share one goal in completing Beth Moores "Living Beyond Yourself" bible study and are going to have fun in our fellowship with one another!
One of the fellow mamma's in the group, Mel, has been presented with somewhat of a challenge by her eleven year old daughter , Lydia. Lydia has fallen in love with a little girl on Reese's Rainbow named Darya. Darya lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. She spends her days housed in a crib . She is a beautiful baby girl that is deprived of some of the basic human needs.She spends her days sitting in a crib not touched or spoken to. I know we were all taught in school that there are three basic human needs: Food , Shelter and Water. As adoptive parents we know that there are actually more "basic needs" that we as human beings need. Some of us know this because our sweet kids were subject to just this kind of deprivation.
The challenge is that if Lydia can raise the $20,000 to cover the adoption fees, Darya will have a family and Lydia a new sister! Maybe $1.00,$5.00 or $10.00 does not seem like a lot but just think if everyone reading this donated something!We all have the power to change this child life!
Are you up for being part of this extra special challenge ?
If so, head over to my sidebar and visit their family blog.It is the button titled "Praying for God's healing for Hope" . Be ready to be inspired!
Also, visit Reese's Rainbow and take look at Darya.You can find the direct link in my lists of my favorite blogs!The website is set up to take donations towards a specific child's adoption. Be sure to specify Darya's name in the comments category.
After you see this sweet angel face then the challenge will be ...HOW CAN YOU NOT BE PART OF THIS!
I heard something this weekend at church that has been ringing in my ears since Sunday.
Journey's of faith have times of limited sight.
This is so true. Just think how many times in your life that you have been in the middle of something that you are unsure about . Maybe you are at a fork in the road and are deciding between the safe clear path or maybe you are looking at the other option. A path that requires you to relinquish control , close your eyes and trust that he will guide you where you are supposed to go.The second choice is what I imagine a true journey of faith is.In fact I know it is because it is what we did on our journey to Ava.Having enough faith that he will not steer you in the wrong direction but actually just where you are supposed to go.
I cannot think of a greater journey of Faith than adoption. You enter adoption with a limited scope of sight. In the end, I have found myself so deeply leaning on him and my faith more than any other time in my life.
Over the course of this process we have not once but twice thought that we had found our daughter only to find out that he had other plans.After each has found wonderful forever families you are left wondering ... what about us? We had pretty much decided that we probably would not hear anything for a least a few more weeks or even months . And I have to say that we were okay with that.
On Sunday evening out of the blue we recieved a call from our agency about a little girl.Not just any girl but the missing piece to our family.We were truly swept away!
We are so excited !!!!!
In a few weeks we will be able to make our official announcement but for now you will just have to trust me when I say she is so precious!
How many times in your life have you heard how God works in mysterious ways? As a child I had heard that a million times not really ever grasping the true meaning behind those simple words.It was not till I was an adult that this statement was better understood. As Adoptive parents we know , adoption brings about many facets of uncertainty and quite a bit of "mystery" to your life. Well, today is just another one of those days that he has revealed that mystery of his actions.At the time something does not go according to plan you want to say "Why did that happen? " or " That was not my plan". But I am quickly reminded that it is not my plan after all and his plan is always better! A few weeks ago we had fallen completely in love with the most precious little girl. We had really thought that this was to be our daughter. I had studied every detail about her file backwards and forwards. So last week, I am on my email and a post catches my eye. I recognize the medical detail/question from her file. So I risk looking like a complete crazy person and contact the sender.
What are the odds that this question is indeed about the same sweet girl?
Well, the odds were really good and indeed it was!After speaking on and off, I could not help but feel that this little girl fit in their lives like a missing puzzle piece.
I had to share that all of the prayers for this sweet little girl have been answered and she will know the love of a family after all!And this family is going to have the most amazing little girl!
So his ways do seem quite mysterious at times but I will continue to be amazed each and every time the meaning behind that mystery is revealed!
The past few weeks have brought about a lot of change. On the adoption front,We are sad to say that the little girl that we thought would be our daughter will not be. Without going into too much detail, it was not meant to be. More than anything please pray for this little girl that she will receive a family to love her. No matter how terrible this is for us the thought that she might not ever have that chance is the worst part of any of this.We have cried many tears over this but in the end you have to consider all factors in this. I have been so emotionally led through this process. Being led by your heart somewhat clouds your decision making process. I cannot change this about myself . In fact I do not want to change this about myself. If asked I would say that this is one of my best and worst qualities all rolled into one! So we have assumed our new roles. My DH is a little less emotionally charged in this so he is to bring in an unbiased and logical opinion. But when they bring that little girl in and hand her to him his heart will be gone!
I will leave you with a few photos of our Halloween festivities and our little stinkerbell. This is Ava's 2nd Halloween with us and the transformation is incredible! Last year she was unsure of the commotion.She looked like a deer in the headlights. This year she praced around in that Tinkerbell costume, danced the monster mash and handled her sugar rush with the utmost grace! When all the kids would gather around the coffin in the front yard and try to determine if the guy in there was real or not she would announce that was her bubby! All of the kids had a really great time! Next main event Thanksgiving...the year is going by so fast!
When you enter a special needs adoption you find yourself googling medical terms that you did not know existed .How many of you out there feel that you have missed your calling to attend medical school? And You definitely do not dare repeat the medical terms out loud for fear that you will hear a chuckle at your attempt to pronounce it correctly! And yes, I have heard a few giggles!
In these short few months I have learned more about the common and not so common medical diagnosis that label these children. Each child has their own medical file that names their particular special need . You see so many different special needs but they each have one common need.This particular need is a need that is not listed on their medical checklist and is not stated anywhere in their file.In fact you will not even find it in a medical dictionary. There is no greater need than the love of a family.
This common thread has no boundaries. There are approximately 147 million children around the globe that are considered orphans. That number is shocking. Each one of these kids come to the table with one common special need ...a family. We all have felt a need to "belong" at some point in our life. Whether it was a club, organization or just a group of peers.Do you remember how bad you felt when you were not excepted? Now, take that need to belong and make that need a family.Imagine your whole life never having someone to protect ,nurture and love you. That is a really hard thing to imagine but that is the reality for so many of those 147 million orphans .Sometimes we do not want to see those things that we feel we cannot change. It is easier for us to turn a blind eye. And often people say "Why would God let that happen?" but be careful maybe he will ask you the very same question.
We have been reviewing the file of a special little girl. We have done the research, hired a doctor and looked at all the possible scenarios at least a million times. But as I look at that sweet face ,I am once again reminded of her greatest special need the love that only a family can give .
This little girl is going to know the love that only a family can provide....particularly our family. I laid out the fleece .And I have prayed . We did not lock her file . I sat back and research her needs for a week.I then presented the info to my DH. If he looks over the medical info and has any doubts we will walk away. He agreed that she deserved a closer look.So we then requested additional info.
We still did not lock the file.
This time was spent researching, praying and dreaming. This whole time one lingering question "Could this be our daughter?".
We hired a doctor to review her file but I felt strongly about not locking her file. We had decided that there would be no greater sign than after putting our hearts out there and her still being available.Well ,not one single person has locked her file. I say that is not because her needs are too great or that she is not wanted but because she has been waiting for us and we have been looking for her. I have found that peace that I was waiting on. You know the peace that you get when you just place something in God's hands and let him carry you through it . He has replaced any questions and fears that we had with joy and excitement.
And I already feel blessed yet again!
I am leaving you with a photo of Ava holding and kissing her new sister's photo! And if you cannot tell she is a little excited too!
This past week has been the hardest week yet. During the course of our research phase we have seen files of several children. Each and every one of them so precious. But we were still at the very start of this process and still researching what special needs were right for our family. So each of these kids have gone on to be with the family that they were intended to have. We felt that we had completed our list of special needs and I have been told it is fairly open. We have only two needs that fell into the maybe category that we felt needed some more research. Two weeks ago we were sent a file of a little girl. I opened the file and across my screen came the most breathtaking photo of a little girl.The kind that makes your heart skip a beat. We then proceeded to look through her medical and her special need was one that we felt needed some more clarification.So I spent the next 48 hours scrambling to get as much info as I could. I have to say that those 48 hours was quite stressful waiting and hoping that the doctor is going to be able to call you back in that time frame.During this time I am praying that God is going to send me a sign. At first you are looking for a big sign and somewhere in those last few hours of that clock ticking you would take even the smallest one ! In the 47th hour we had not received all of the answers and felt that it would be a complete leap of faith to move forward. We had taken that leap of faith with Ava and decided that we would do the same with her. As I picked up the phone to call our agency to let her know that we had found our daughter and the phone rang. It was my pediatrician . I had prepared myself for his honesty as we have known him for 15 years and entrust him with the care of our most valuable gifts. He said that we need to be prepared for the unknowns that this condition comes with . After a long conversation with him we had our medical opinion and in a split second we were heading in a different direction. I took this as our sign ,called the agency and told them we could not move forward.
For the next few days I could not get this little girl of my mind.I questioned our decision. Was our doctor calling "the sign" I was looking for or was it our fear that lead us to our decision? I waited about 5 days and had to know if she had found her family.My agency called me back and let me know that she had found them . I felt that things were as they should be and I was truly happy for this sweet girl.
The phone rings two days later with some startling news...She was back on the list! DH and I decided that fear would not be our guide and we were moving forward! We submitted all of the necessary documents and were so excited! Later that day I asked DH to make me copies of all of the original medical documents for my personal file. As I was sorting through all of this there was one document that I had not seen before. As I read it that excitement was replaced with fear.
We spent the next few days with our hearts heavy and needing a direction. Finally my husband asked me "if you would have never fell in love with this little face and had only seen her medical file would you have any reservations about this particular need?" When he asked me that I knew the answer .
I have cried a million tears over his little girl and I have to believe that God has place her in my heart for a reason. I am helping to advocate for her finding her family.I believe that if God had chosen this child for us she would be ours. He is not going to let you miss out on your child ...it is way too big!
As PAP's of special needs children we need to do our research.You can never be too informed. We each have our list of needs that we feel comfortable with. I would never feel comfortable judging someone else on their list being too narrow or excluding a need that I feel within my comfort zone. Ask yourself can we provide for this child's particular need? How will this impact our other children? Set up the worst case medical scenario and be prepared because this could be a possibility. This is not only if this child is the right child for us but are we the right family for this child.
As I was typing the description of this little girl for all to read. I went back to my email to get the contact information for anyone who wanted to inquire about her file. In my emails was the sweetest words ever!This little girl was matched to a family that I have been corresponding with for the last couple of days!I am so over the top for this family!How blessed they are!
Just confirmation that it is just too big to miss!
I know that many of you are aware of the great work that New Day Foster home does. They have just launched a project called "Operation Giggle". This extra special mission is to provide each of the 64 children living in their foster home a Christms morning to remember. All you have to do is go on to the operation giggle blog, select the child that you would like to sponsor, notify Sherri and purchase a gift. I am taking advantage of this life lesson and involving my kids. I cannot think of a greater opportunity to instill the joy of giving verse receiving.
But be forewarned these kiddos are so cute you might have to sponsor more than one!
Ava and I are sponsoring sweet Elizabeth! And the boys are going to select a child ,probably one of the darlng boys.
www.operationgiggle.blogspot.com The direct link is on my side bar!
We are fairly well versed in Russian adoption. We learned everything about what to expect and lived and breathed it for well over a year. We began the journey to Ava and assumed our role as the "rookies" . With Russia you have no choice you pick an accredited agency first, submit your dossier and then the MOE in Russia matches a child to you.Special Needs China is a bit different. The CCAA in China has a shared list of children with a wide variety of special needs . There are children added every month. Some agencies receive an individual list specifically for their agency. These are generally children that are a little harder to place due to age or their specific need.You can either select a waiting child first or choose an agency.
So we have assumed our "Rookie" ranking again and face a fork in the road. Should we search through those lists of sweet kiddos or do you choose an agency and let them led the way? Searching through those lists are not for the faint at heart. Face after face of sweet little kids that greatest special need is a family to love and advocate for them. Each and everyone that we have seen I have checked on their status to make sure that they have received the gift of a family. Well after a month of doing this I have come to realize that this is too much like me taking control and leading the way. On our journey to Ava I realized that relying on my faith was a far better plan.Traveling to met Ava with no photo or info before arriving at that hospital in Russia was a true journey of faith. Scary as that sounds, when they handed me that baby I had a sense of peace that is indescribable.We knew that she was our daughter.
We have researched many agencies and met some wonderful people along the way. But one really stood out. We have chosen Xiaoqing with Bay Area Adoption Service to be our guide. She works tirelessly at getting these children families. Her devotion to these kids was a sure sell for us!
So, we now sit back and wait ...patiently! Yes people I said patiently! I will continue to remind myself daily that this is not on my timing but his! I believe with all my heart that this child was in God's plan for us long ago. For me the journey of adoption is a journey of faith like no other.
Our family is beginning a new chapter in our lives. As parents, so much of our lives evolve around our children as it should be. As each child has entered our lives a new chapter has begun . No matter how they have entered our lives , birth or adoption, each child holds an equal and special place in our hearts. With our first adoption, I looked at it as a blessing to have the opportunity to "rewrite" a little child's life. Little did I know that my little girl was going to be the author and rewrite our lives. Ava was an unlikely teacher camouflaged in the body of a scared one year old Russian orphan. Now at two years of age ,she has evolved out of her cocoon . I am in awe of her determination and how many obstacles she has faced in her short life. Our little "professor" rewrote my life song and our desire to be blessed yet again has grown. This journey through adoption is one of the most spiritual journey's that I have ever taken. I have learned that God will pave the way and our one simple job is to follow . This one simple job to follow and not lead can be somewhat of a challenge at times! We feel that the road was being paved when we met Ava in Russia. Being the "rookies " in the adoption world we began researching adoption and ended up in the most unlikely place,Russia. When we traveled to met Ava we did not have any info prior to traveling. All our agency knew was that we were open ethnicity and requesting a girl as healthy as possible.We were told that the most healthy children in Russia are not of Russian ethnicity . Most Russian families that adopt seek out Russian children to achieve a "blended" family. So we are expecting a healthy little girl of one of the many beautifully diverse ethnicity's that make up Russia's society. Now this next part is where I know that God has a sense of humor!When we met our daughter she was not at all what we expected but what God had chosen . This tiny, pale,blond/blue eyed babe was one week short of her first birthday and weighted a whooping 12 lbs! When we received the medical info on Ava it was scary. She would have been considered special needs in China. We accepted her referral aware of all the risks and prayed for the best. Now fast forward to today ,we have a beautiful little soul that graces us each day. We believe that God paved this road for us to special needs China via an unlikely source,a sweet little Russian princess. I would never consider Ava to be special needs just a really special gift that we have been given. If Ava was not enough God presented one more perspective that has reinforced how "special needs" is just a label. Over the course of the past year we have also been impacted by another unlikely source,our sweet nine year old neighbor. He was diagnosed with cancer and has since lost a portion of his leg to this terrible disease. He has been in the fight for his life and has won. When he comes over to play he is still the same little boy that we have always known. The loss of his leg makes him no different. He is the same person just doing things a little different.Just another reminder that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made! His courage and strength is amazing!Please pray for this courageous boy's continued good health!
We have been home with Ava for a little over a year now and are very excited to be on this journey to adopt again. International adoption can be a lengthy process so we are starting the process now and can not wait to see what God has planned for us!
LID – Log in Date DTC – Dossier to China TA – Travel Approval (called other things in other countries, this is the Notice of Coming to China) CA – Consulate Appointment SN – special needs NSN – non special needs PA – Pre-approval (part of the SN process) PAP – Potential Adoptive Parent LOA – Letter of Acceptance – used in both NSN and SN process. In NSN program it is the document that allows you to officially accept a referral. In SN program the CCAA sends it after the LOI and before TA. LOI – Letter of Intent SWI / CWI – Social/Children’s Welfare Institute, what orphanages are called in China
The Starfish Thrower
Once upon a time there was a man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit
of walking on the beach
before he began his work.
One day he was walking
along the shore.
As he looked down the beach
he saw a human figure
moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself
to think of someone
who would dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.
As he got closer,
he saw that it was an
older man and the man
Instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently
throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out,
"Good morning! What are you doing?"
The older man paused,
looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish into the ocean."
The man noticed
there were hundreds of starfish
all washed up on the beach
from a storm the night before.
He watched as the man carefully
continued to pick up the starfish
one by one.
"I guess I should have asked,
‘Why are you throwing starfish
into the ocean?’"
"The sun is up
and the tide is going out.
If I don't throw them in
"But don't you realize
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!"
The older man listened politely.
He bent down, picked up another starfish
He looked at the starfish
as he prepared to
throw it into the ocean,
past the breaking waves and said –
"I will make a difference to this one!"
On my way from Heaven,
God delayed my trip that day.
He said that I was special,
and then sent me on my way.
But not before he kissed me,
Right upon my ear
He left his blessed mark
to carry with me here.
He whispered in my ear right then,
that He loved me without doubt,
and then He closed my ear up tight,
so the whisper won't get out.
He told me both my legs were strong
and would help me stand up tall.
He told me both my arms would work
to catch me if I fall.
My eyes would catch my memories
to store within the pages of my mind,
My heart would fill with all the things I would love,
so many things, I would find.
He told me I could fall asleep
to my Daddy's bedtime tales,
and listen while my Mother sings
of seas and boats with sails.
One ear, He told me, could hear the sounds
that little birdies make.
The other ear was His gift to me,
a blessing for my sake.
For when I'm feeling sad, He said,
my other ear would hear,
His whispered words of eternal love,
left waiting for me there.