Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthday Catch Up

I missed doing a post for Anna's birthday (back in February).  Super bad I know!  And Madalyn had her birthday this month.  So I decided to post a few pics for both girls to show that we did in fact celebrate their birthdays!  Lol  

All three girls are officially 3 years old now!  Once again I am reminded of why I find it so difficult to get anything done these days...  :)


Anna got a Cabbage Patch doll for her birthday.  All my kids have a Cabbage Patch they received at some point during their childhood.  Even my boys!  


This doll looked so much like Anna that she just had to have it!!  Don't you think it looks like her?


We are so proud of Anna. She is eating so well with utensils now!  A far cry from what she did at her last birthday!!  She has come so far! 

Remember these?  Ha ha ha ha  She seriously enjoyed her cake last year!!


Yea, much better and so much less mess this year!!


 Oh man this is soooo good!!

But the spoon is taking too long.  I think my fingers will be much faster.



This tastes so yummy!!!
Happy 3rd Birthday (belated) Anna!  You are such a character and we are so blessed to have you!  We can't imagine life without you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Madalyn' birthday was a couple weeks ago. As a matter of fact it was the day after our LOA came from China!!  
She's lucky we even remembered her birthday!!  We were so excited to have those special letters of approval from China.  
Just kidding!! 
We were REALLY excited though!!  Lol



The birthday girl is a princess, too...  


Blowing out the candles...



Papa is having fun, too!


Nana talked Mom into letting her "just take one spoonful" out of the cake.  Hmmm


Even Madalyn isn't too sure about this.  

"Am I really supposed to eat all this cake, Mom?" 

Well okay, I will give it a shot!!  Yum, I love birthday cake!
Here it looks like Mark is pointing at her bib.  Yes Mark, we know she is the birthday girl.  Ha Ha  
Actually he was trying to get her to look at her cake I think.  
Anyway, the girls are all 3 and super busy all the time and yes, I absolute love it!  
Well, not all the time...,honestly.  Especially when they go from room to room ransacking everything.   
But I do absolutely adore all these girlies!!  They are just so precious and I am absolutely amazed that God gave them to us!  :)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don't forget that there is only a day left to donate to our Casting Stones fundraiser.  Thank you to every one who has donated!!  We appreciate it very much and we know we couldn't have gotten this far without each and every one of you!!  If you would like to help us out, there is still time!  And the Faith/Hope/Love stones are super cool!!  You will love them!!  :)


Here's a picture of Toria just because I love her sweet little face...


Have a great week everyone!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God Nod Today

  • Our family has been talking a lot about fundraising lately. It's a big deal in our household these days.  There are lots of conversations about how much money we still need to raise, how much we still have to have before we travel, etc.  It can be a bit overwhelming.  This evening, my hubby and I were having yet another conversation about it.  We had been talking about fasting and praying, and not worrying about the money!  Mark had been saying how God has provided everything we needed so far, right at the moment we needed it. We were trying to reassure ourselves that we just need to keep trusting and not FREAK OUT!  Lol
    Every single time we have needed money during this adoption journey, it showed up somehow. We never expected it, or knew it was coming.  
    Amazing.
    Anyway, not two minutes after this conversation, my phone bling-blinged (if that's even a word) with an email.  I checked it and it was an email from our case manager at our agency.  She tells me that they received a donation for $500 dollars last week from someone who wants it to go specifically toward our family's adoption!!  
    I didn't even know you could donate money to an adoption agency (for a specific family)!!!  Holy Cow!!!  
    Just minutes after talking about how God has always provided everything so far and right on time, and us saying how we need to just keep trusting Him for the rest and not worry, I get that email.  
    Coincidence?  
    Ummm, I think not!
    If that isn't a God Nod, I don't know what is!  What a confirmation from Him that yes, He wants us to keep trusting Him and that He is going to take care of things.  I am in tears just writing this.
    So amazingly AWESOME!!!!
    Oh I forgot to mention... the person who donated it wanted their information to remain anonymous!!  We don't even know who did this amazing thing!!!
    I don't know if that person reads this blog, or knows us personally, or what.  
    But I just want to say a BIG HUGE THANK YOU to the person who donated $500 toward our adoption!! 
    Thank you for being part of God's lesson to us and part of our adoption journey.  Thank you for helping us bring our little girls home!!!  I just don't even know what else to say, but thank you for being God's hands and feet and allowing us to witness Him working in this adoption and in our life.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thank You!!

I just wanna say THANK YOU to every person who has so generously given to our Casting Stones giveaway!!  It is so humbling to know you have given out of your own pocket to help us bring our daughters home!



So THANK YOU very very much to the 5 amazing people who have donated so far.  :)  And while I'm at it, a big THANKS again to everyone who has donated towards this adoption!  We could not have gotten this far without you!!


I also want to remind you that you still have time to be a part of our daughters' story.  We are still very much in need of this last set of agency fees.  If you would like to donate and receive one of these neat little Blessing Stones, it would be so very much appreciated.  You would be helping us remember every single day to cast all our cares on the Lord. 


Plus, you get to stick it in your pocket and it will help you remember as well.  We all need to remember this.

Every single one of us!

If you are in the midst of an adoption, whether domestic or international, it is a necessity to know that it is all in God's hands and He will take care of it.  He will bring your little one home!  He has called you to this, and He will be faithful finish it.


Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Psalm 36:5


For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.   Psalm 33:4


And what about this one?!


What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?  Not at all! Romans 3:3-4  
(this is good to know, right?!)


Just yesterday I was pretty stressed about the adoption.  I think it is because it is all becoming pretty real and real fast.  Lol  


Don't get me wrong, this is what we have been wanting and waiting for so long.  But now that we have officially been matched with our daughters, things are going to start moving real fast.  We will be traveling in a matter of months.  It is just that reality that has slapped me in the face I guess.  




My sweet hubby reminded me yesterday of why we are doing this.  He asked, "Is He the one that brought us to this?  Is God the one who told us to go to China for Hailey?"  And my answer was of course YES! 


"So then, He will take care of this.  Don't worry!!" 


Listen to this song.  I love it, it is very encouraging!!  
(Remember, to listen to this song, first scroll down to the bottom of my blog and turn off the playlist).




Visit our previous post to find out more details about Casting Stones and if you feel led, please consider donating to our Chip-In  and help us with our Agency fees. 
   
Have a super wonderful Tuesday!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Promise

"Every call has a beginning...
 
a quiet moment when God whispers a promise to a mother's heart,

a holy place where a father bows and faithfully accepts

the journey set before him.

A miraculous morning that unexpectedly dawns,

casting it's first light on a chosen threshold.

A gentle knock...a closed door opens.

A sacred invitation sent by the Father
leads to the other side of the world.

Where lonely hearts stare out orphanage windows

praying for someone to care..
.

And then one morning, on an ordinary day,
an orphan's life changes. God sends them a second chance.

Through you."

-author unknown-
  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Casting Stones


Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” 

Lately we have had a few “cares” hanging a bit heavy on our hearts.  

Yesterday we had some WONDERFUL news!  Our letters seeking confirmation that we will commit to adopt both girls (LOA) came from Ch*na!  And we are sooo very excited about that!!!  But with those letters came a few “cares”.
 
In other words… big agency fees.
 
These wouldn’t necessarily have been cares.  Well, they weren’t previously!!  You see, we expected some money to be here that did not come.  So what we thought was all okay, became a “care” unexpectedly.  More on that later.

Aside from that and above all else, we know we are following the Lord’s leading with this adoption.  But, as most people who have adopted or are in the process to adopt internationally could tell you, when you follow His lead and step out in faith to bring an orphan home, many times you are met with trouble.  Whether it is financial trouble, health issues, your car dying, your basement flooding and all your appliances ruined, nay-sayers telling you that you shouldn’t be doing this because you don’t have the total cost of the adoption saved up ahead of time, trouble getting your homestudy and/or paperwork done (or what have you), there is just usually trouble of some kind!

 John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”.

It doesn’t really matter.  The enemy will try to attack you.  ANY time you follow the Lord–you WILL be met with nay-sayers.  (And sometimes unexpected leaky sinks and broken dishwashers.)  There will be trials. There will be troubles.  Almost every time.   When you are doing something like trying to bring an orphan home to a family, the enemy just does not want to let that happen!!
 
So he attacks.

There have been so many things that have happened during this adoption process that have confirmed for us that we are following God’s will and that these girls ARE chosen for us by Him.  But our process hasn’t been without its troubles.  I don’t take that to mean that we shouldn’t be doing this.  I just try to remember that the enemy is attacking.  But sometimes all these things (attacks) are stacked up and a person starts to get overwhelmed from it all.  That seems to be where we are a little bit.
.   
The girls have been sick.  I’ve had two on oxygen at the same time, one with pneumonia and one who got a small head cold and had to go on O2 full time because her little system just couldn’t handle it.  We had xrays for that same little girl because she couldn’t walk for about 5 or 6 days for some unknown reason.   Now she’s walking again and fine, praise God!  One of the boys had a broken arm.  And we had some big emotional trauma for one of our oldest sons (some bad things just seemed to keep happening to him for about 3-4 weeks straight).
 
Trouble.

We have had some successful fundraisers for this adoption, but we have had a bit of trouble with some matching grants we were promised.  Without going into too many details, we recently found out that we will still get the matching money, but it will not be coming until possibly late June.  We were expecting it this month, and we were counting on that money to pay our final set of agency fees that we knew would be coming with our LOA when it finally arrived.

Now that it’s here (thank you Jesus!!), and our funds are not, we are finding ourselves about $1200 dollars short of what we need to pay those fees.  Yes we have some funds set aside for the adoption that we will use, but it wasn’t the full amount we needed for our agency fees.   Like I said, we expected our matching grant to be here, but it isn’t so we are having to scramble a bit.

We are trying to raise some funds quickly. 


This is a beautiful ceramic piece my niece made for the girls after we came home from Ukraine with Anna and Victoria.  It has Grace, Faith, and Hope written in Chinese on it because those are the middle names of our girls.  At the time, we did NOT know we would be adopting from China. 

Faith

Like EVER!

Hope

We knew that God was in this when we found out Hailey’s Chinese name means “Love”.  We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was our daughter!!

Grace

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”   1 Cor. 13:13


That is also why we changed the name of our blog.  But I digress…

ANY time you follow the Lord–you will be met with nay-sayers.  And sometimes unexpected leaky sinks or broken dishwashers. There will be trials and troubles.  Almost every time.

So how should we respond to this? 

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” 

So here’s the deal…  

We are trying to come up with a  way to raise some funds quickly.  Because we need them right now, we cannot have them donated to our Reece’s Rainbow FSP.  We don’t have access to those funds until we travel.  So we have started a Chip-In.  

For every donation of $20.00 to our chip-in on the side bar of the blog, we will send you one of these worry stones (we are choosing to call them Blessing Stones) that have Faith, Hope, or Love written on them.  Sending them to you will be like a physical act for us to remember to cast all our cares upon Him, and to remember to have faith and hope that He will equip us and provide for what He has called us to do.   

Also, it helps us remember how much our Heavenly Father loves the orphan!!!




The stone you receive will also represent the ripple in the water that you are creating with your donation to help us bring our girls home.   

As Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

And as a bonus, we will have a giveaway.  For everyone who shares this fundraiser on their blog or facebook or some other way, you will be entered into a drawing for this awesome necklace.  If you decide to donate and share, you will receive 5 entries in the giveaway. 


We were BLESSED with this necklace by one of my very special blog readers.  She offered it to me when she won it in another giveaway.  I have gone back and forth with wanting to keep it for myself because it is very special to me.  I LOVE this necklace. But  I think that maybe someone else could be blessed by it.  Maybe you know someone who is waiting for their special little one in China.  Maybe YOU are waiting to bring your child home.  Regardless, this necklace is just beautiful and we are willing to part with it if it helps us get our daughters home.  

We would really appreciate it if you would share about our fundraiser on your blog, or on facebook, twitter, or by word of mouth that might lead to a donation to help us out.  We really need to get the word out quickly!!   Then let me know where you have shared about it so I can enter you into the giveaway!  

Remember...please share share share!!!  THANK YOU!!!  

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Cor. 13:13

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh Yeah Baby!!!





  LOA


Do you know what this means?!?!


Our family received the official letters seeking confirmation from a certain Asian country today!!!!




YIKES!!


WOW.


OMG!!!


We really are SUPER SUPER excited!!!   :)


And just in case you don't know what this means....


Basically the country our girls' reside in has accepted our application to adopt these two beautiful little girls and has approved us to adopt them!!!!  


Now we just need to finish the rest of the paperwork process and head over the big ocean to complete the process. 


This is HUGE!!!! 


HUGE


We would really appreciate your prayers to help us.  We need to figure out some more fundraising ideas and some ways to raise the rest of the money we need to bring the girls home.  We are so thankful for all the help we have received so far!!  But we have a long way to go.  Because we are adopting 2 children, our expenses have been raised by about $7-8 thousand dollars.  We still need approximately 22K.   


And they are SOOO totally worth it!!  























We will find a way to make it happen!!  (or rather God will)!!  He brought us to this, and we know He will make a way for it.


This is our 2nd adoption in 2 years. Four children in half as many years. We brought our precious Anna and Victoria home in October of 2010.  And now, Lord willing, Ruby and Hailey will be coming home this summer!!

I have to say that again.
  
Ruby and Hailey will be coming HOME this summer!!!
And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it", whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Isaiah 30:21

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Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.