Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fill our hearts

There are two boys I want us all to help. It just seems right.
It's Christmas and these boys need it to be the last one they ever spend without a family.
They need to hear the story of the Christ child that came to earth so that they could know of God's great love.

Most of you have heard of Edward and Percy and the plight to find them a family quickly. You can go here to keep up on them I am in awe of how God has moved in people's hearts all over the world for these boys. Every where I go I hear stories of people that have heard of these boys or seen them on the internet. Oh my heart, they need a family. God is moving and when God moves the world listens.

I have an amazing opportunity to share with you. A sweet friend has volunteered her time and talents to helping these boys find a family. She is going to be putting together a fundraiser for them. Here is how it works. (I'm giddy over's that awesome)

She is going to put together a gorgeous scrapbook with notes of encouragement from all of us who are praying and advocating for these boys. For only $8 you can email Molly and send her your message to the boys. She will catalog them all and put them into this book and then give it to the family that adopts these boys!
Product Image

Isn't that awesome???
I'm really excited about this. Goosebumps excited.
They will see that God moved the world for them. They will see our prayers for them. They will know that God is calling them out of the life of orphans and placing them into a family. They will see how very much their God has been loving them all along.

Let's poor ourselves into this. All $8 will go to the fund for these boys. Let's fill this book so that poor Molly has to squeeze in every last note of love and encouragement to them.

First mail in a check to MAA to the address here, please make sure you include a note that it is for the Edward and Percy Fund.
Madison Adoption Associates
1009 Woodstream Drive
Wilmington, DE 19810

Or you can donate online (yay, for convenience) if you follow this link:

Then you can email Molly at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Limbo Land

It's time for an update!

Most days I feel like there isn't much of an update, but each day gone is one day closer to our boy. I'd count down the days if I knew how many there would be!!

We are in limbo right now. Here's what we know.

We had LID (log in date) before Thanksgiving. My agency doesn't seem to know exact days so it was "sometime before." I count the day before as our official LID day. So, LID the 21st.

We know the China Center dealing with paperwork has agreed to expedite the dossier process. Which means faster translation and approval. On the usual timeline it takes anywhere from one to three months. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but we're already a few weeks out so I'm hoping any day now to hear that we are LOA (letter of acceptance).

Then we send a care package. It better come soon because this package keeps growing. Every time I go run errands I find just one more small thing to sneak in there!! I have two sets of Cars socks, stickers, hot wheels, a photo book, a glow stick, a coloring book and crayons. Oh, and letters/drawings from the kids.

...I had to go buy a larger envelope...

So, right now we are filling out our I800 paperwork to have ready to mail in as soon as we hear the word from China. We will be meeting with our State Representative to ask him to officially oversee that our next few steps get expedited. 

Pray, pray, pray.

I have seen God do amazing, incredible things in this adoption and I am confident that if we ask He will answer. Pray that we get that LOA in even the next few days. That would be miraculous!

We get updates from our special inside source nearly daily. :) I get to hear what he was wearing, what he ate, if he took a nap and when he gets his blood transfusion. It makes the days more bearable. 

Pray that when he goes to get his next transfusion that they have enough blood to give him. It will be sometime after the 10th of this month.

And we officially have chosen a name for him. He is Simon Ken-zhi Jiang Hurst. Simon means "God has heard." :) Love it. Love him. Want. him. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Friendship is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. It gets us through our toughest days. It makes us laugh in the middle of long days. It gives us companionship. It gives us purpose.

I'm bringing to you today my son's friend. His name is Darren Xiangzi and he is being adopted right now, as I write this to you. They've been best buddies in their orphanage! His family has been blessed to be chosen by Give1Save1 for the week.

You may remember our amazing week that we had with Give1save1. It was incredible. You all gave and shared and people from all over the world donated to help our sweet son.

I'm going to ask you to do the same for Darren. They are in the home stretch and could still use a helping hand. Darren is another very, very special boy who has a serious heart condition. He will need corrective surgery once he is home in the States. So, can we help them out?

I say yes!!!

We can all help and give $1.

Give $1 and share it on your facebook page.

Just for kicks I'm going to do a giveaway prize.

I'm giving away a matching set including, bracelet, ring and necklace!!!

You will get one entry for each of the following:

1. Give to their fund. Come back and comment that you did.

2. Follow my blog by email (on the right hand side)

3. Share on facebook (one entry for every day that you share!)

4. Follow give1save1asia blog and comment to me that you did!

Stay tuned on give1save1asia for a guest post from me as well!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Overwhelmed by Grace

Today, I am overwhelmed by God's grace. I'm not sure how to even begin to express what all this day has brought to our hearts. 

We got an email early this morning that our paperwork had been logged in with China. I know it doesn't sound like much but it is. It's a huge milestone marker in the process and every mom that has adopted from China knows how we sit and we stare at the screen for days waiting for that email! So, so thankful. Now we wait for LOA, Letter Of Approval. We are praying for a miracle on that one. That one will let us know if they are really expediting this adoption. Miracles happen and we are begging for one.

Then after rushing out to the store for last minute items before the holiday I came home and checked my email again and nearly fell off the sofa. I had begun to get a little panicky about the rest of the finances for our adoption. I was holding up fairly well and trusting that God had a plan, but I also knew we owed a hefty chunk to our agency in the next week. There is was. An email that shocked me. A grant that we applied for from the JSC foundation came back to us. They covered every remaining cent. It said, "Congratulations to the Hurst family from the JSC foundation. You have received a grant in the amount of $13,000." Say what!?! 

We sank to our knees next to the sofa and immediately thanked the Lord for His provision. It was He who started us on this journey and He provided for every dollar that we have needed. 

We are in awe of His goodness, His miracles. I have just witnessed a miracle, and now you have too. Praise the Lord tonight. What an incredible way to start Thanksgiving weekend. 

Be Blessed, my friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shopping Online for a Cause

I'll admit it. I am usually a huge Black Friday shopper. I gather all my ads together highlighting as I study them. Then I place them all out in order by times of sales and get my plan of attack all together and then I hit the stores in those crazy wee hours of the night/morning/whatever time of day it actually is. I take those tips from the Target Shopping Lady very seriously. She was life changing. Dress in a red shirt folks. Blend in and act natural as you walk to the front of the line. Own the night.
Oh and Starbucks loves me on Black Friday. 

This year I'm not going shopping. Collective Gasp. I know, I know. I'll wear a red shirt and name tag and mourn all day long. But the thing is I'm in the middle of an adoption, the transmission on our only car is shot and the bonus didn't come this year. So, we are making nearly all our gifts instead. The good news is that I am fairly creative so don't panic if you are on my list!!! It won't be that painful, I promise!

 See? I really can make a few things... Just don't ask me to sew!

Really, isn't the world going to online shopping these days anyways. Avoid the death sentence of Black Friday shopping at Walmart. Avoid the insanity of Target. Avoid the train wreck of Old Navy and their piles of clothes all over the store because everyone is in such a rush to get to the line before the 2am cutoff. Oh.My.Word.  ...not sure I'm really going to miss it one single bit...

Alternatives? Yes, yes, yes!! I've compiled a list of families that are fundraising for their adoptions. 
You can purchase gifts for everyone in your family, still live, and save some orphans all at the same time. 

So here's an awesome list of things to purchase. 

An auction for Maya Grace from China. Ends 11/28

Momma for Maya Grace also sells thirty-one bags and gifts

Some really amazing artwork that a daddy is making for his family adoption fund

Hair bows at AMAZING prices. And 10% of each order goes to Pearl River Outreach

Creative Memories has an adoptive momma working to fund their adoption.

Another thirty-one momma. Pick one. Either one. Pick both and buy for all the ladies in your family!!

Not gonna lie. This is probably my favorite. Adorableness bleeds out of these little outfits!

Amazing family adopting two kiddos! Lots and lots of options on her etsy page.

One of my favorite families is still raising money through Zoe Clothing. Type Garrick when checking out.

Some super-duper, cute little crochet animals. Very Chinese. Very close to my heart.
Same family different fundraiser

One page for a few fundraisers for one family bringing home two kiddos.

This family gets a percentage of the profit from t-shirts sold from Olive Tree. Go to the right side of their blog and click the Olive Tree button.

Our own etsy store.

I'll also be selling those bracelets at the top for only $5 a piece!!!

If you know of others or want yours added please comment below and I'll add it to our growing list!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Black Friday!!!

Come back closer to Black Friday and I am going to put together a list of 
adoptive families that are fundraising for Christmas.

Because really, do the department stores NEED your money? 

There are tons of great things out there that families are selling.

There are t-shirts and they really are cute too! :) If you order them type in Garrick when checking out

Really cute artwork

And this one I just found today. It's a Keurig giveaway! You don't even have to donate although I put a shameless plug in that you do. :) $10 gets you five entries!! It's such a sweet family adopting a sweet little girl and we can all have the chance to help change her world!
Here's the link. Go look, enter as many ways as you can.

If you know of more family fundraisers or you have one of your own please link up below in the comments! I want to have a big Black Friday Post so that we can bring home as many of these orphans as possible!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Joydrops from heaven

I am feeling overwhelmed with blessings today. So many details and gifts that God has given me. 

First, our dossier passed authentications!!! This is truly, incredibly huge since even the courier thought we may have to redo the entire thing. Not a single question. It is stamped and sealed and approved. To say it's a miracle doesn't seem like a large enough term. But it is just that. A miracle. 

Second, we were put in touch with a volunteer at our son's orphanage and I've wondered myself a few times if she isn't truly an angel from heaven. She has updated me every day this week on my boy. *tears* She tells me what he is wearing that day and how he did in class and what he was doing during lunch. It's like a glimpse into my son's life. Every morning I wake up to a new story about how caring he is with the smaller children or how helpful he was with the nannies. 

Third, we were updated that his medical condition remains stable. Stable! Another miracle. He's not even small for his age. He is active and running around and he was able to receive his last transfusion. That transfusion buys us another month. *sobs* My boy is okay. He's going to make it! I'll actually get to hold him in my arms. Words can't express what this information has done for me. 

Fourth, a fellow adoptive momma that I have become good friends with through blogs, emails and facebook is picking up her son in a little over a week. She lives only a few short hours from us. Here's where is starts to get miraculous

Hang on, Friends, my God has been moving in our lives before I ever had any idea I had a son across the oceans. 

We both found our sons on the same blog and this friend found me through pinterest. What are the chances right? We realized a few months back that our sons are from the same orphanage. But that means very little because there are so many children there. This volunteer...let's call her,"The Angel,"told both of us today that our two sons are best friends, orphanage "brothers." 
My dear friend went back through her files to where it listed his best friends and there in the very first spot was my son's name!!

The world has never, ever felt so small. My son will be able to stay friends with his best friend from an orphanage on the other side of the world. He will get to have playdates and sleepovers and share secrets with the same boy that held his hand when neither one of them had a mommy or a daddy; they only had each other. 

But they had a God that saw them and chose to place them each in a Christian home in the same state. What a gift. A precious, miraculous gift. My God has surely had his hand in the adoption of these two little boys. He brought their mommies to a website during the same week to find them, to a silly thing called pinterest, to form a new friendship all to allow these two boys to keep that special bond. From China to Michigan He has loved them. From China to Michigan he has been planning their reunion. He was listening when they whispered to each other their dreams of a mommy and daddy. He was listening when they wondered what they would be like, if they would ever come. He was watching as they watched out for each other. He was loving them all along.

He has always been their Father and now he has given them each a daddy to lead them to Him. 
Can it get any better than that? I can.not.wait. for them to realize that they get to stay friends! I cannot wait for them to see each other again. I cannot wait to hold my son in my arms and then watch him run into his brothers arms and I cannot wait for the day that he realizes that God did that all for Him, just because He loves him. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Adoption Awareness

During our whole adoption process we have had things said to us, lots of things, some have been hurtful but more importantly some things have opened our eyes to the indifference all around us.

We've heard the questions like, "Why would you do this?"

We've heard the comments like,
 "You don't have to be the one to do this. You don't have to take one so fragile and needy."

"Why not wait for a healthy baby?"

"Why not have another one of your own?"

"You have enough on your plate."

"Your hands are already full."

"You're not going to do this again are you?"

I confess my own indifference. I confess that I try to harden my heart daily. I don't want to see the pain all around me. It is overwhelming. I don't want to notice ALL the other orphans needing families when I pick up my own son. I don't want to hear their cries as I walk away. I don't want to look into any of their eyes and see their need. I want to pick up my son, cradle him in my arms, feel like I have done well and go home.

I'm going to leave you with this link to an amazing video that convicts and begs the questions that God whispers in our hearts. And ask you, my friend, what is it that God wants you to do for the least of these?  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hard times and Halloween

We have hit on some rough times in our adoption journey. 
It seems like everything has gone wrong all at once. You know the scene in the Batman movie
where he stands in the middle of the cave surrounded by his greatest fear, the bats, and he just 
oh, so incredibly stands tall? 
I often feel like that. 
I feel like I am regally standing in the midst of my fears... only in real life as soon as you stand tall some horrible, unforeseen enemy swoops down and knocks you right onto your toosh.
Kinda takes the wind right out of your sails.
Whoosh. Thud. So much for standing tall...
Real life isn't glamorous. The bad guys don't wait for you to get your batman suit on, they just come at you when you least expect it.
If only they did wait, because I would so ROCK the batman suit.

We scrambled to get all of our paperwork done and ready to be sent to be authenticated and sealed only to be told first by our agency that they forgot a step. (a big, huge step that cost us weeks and money)
Then to be told once we finally mailed it that it was all done incorrectly.
However, there is a slight chance it will still pass.
But my God is bigger than slights and however's and mountains standing in the way.
So, we are stepping onward in faith and getting our next round of paperwork ready to go as soon as we hear the word. 
That's it.

...maybe I should be batman tomorrow for Halloween...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conversation starters

Adoption has opened my eyed to so many other devastations in the world. It has opened my eyes to the needy widow in another country who can't feed her children. It has opened my eyes to the divorced mother in my own church who struggles to raise her children without their father. It has opened my eyes to the issue of human trafficking. It has opened my eyes and broken my heart.

There is something to be said for the fact that once your eyes have been opened there is no turning back. The eyes of a million hurting people haunt my soul. I want to spark a flame for others to research and find out what is going on in the world beyond the doors of their own home. Take a look around you and see and feel the ache of a world that has no hope in Christ. They have no hope.

We need to start conversations with our pastors and elders in our churches. What are we doing as the body of Christ to actually BE His body. Are we helping the hurting? Are we at the very least vocalizing their pain. Silence is our sin. If we know of atrocities and remain silent we have sinned against the God that has created us. If we see pain in others and remain silent we grieve our Father.

I don't claim to have any suave answers to these problems in our world today. I don't even claim to know where to begin. I don't claim that it's not controversial. But what I do know is that we need to be having these conversations. We need to be having the hard conversations in our homes and in our churches. We need to speak of the unspeakable atrocities that are occurring within our world and within our own country. Put a voice to the nameless faces. Name them out loud. Name the atrocities. Name the people.

Start the conversation. Ask the questions. Refuse to be silent. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Slow Moving


That's about it for the update.

Just kidding. I'll fill you in a little more than that, but really that IS the gist of things. We got fingerprinted last week at the immigration office. That was pretty cool. I got to see all those people waiting and applying to become a part of my country. Then I got to apply to bring an immigrant into my country myself. Nostalgic much? I think so.

Now we wait for the confirmation back from immigration. Our agency said to call and nicely remind them this week to please rush it for our boy. Then our stack of paperwork that we turned in at the beginning of September goes to the consulate in New York, then back to Michigan then to China!!! Woot. There will be cake on that day, my friends.

We received over $6,000 from that company hosting a fundraiser for us. Amazing. God is good. He always provides. We applied for a matching grant from Hand in Hand. We should hear something early next week. We also applied for a JSC grant. They have recently changed their process so I'm not holding my breath too much for that, but just the same am praying and praying that it will come!!!

We are also holding our breath for some updated pictures of our little guy. Hoping and praying to get those soon. That would be a breath of fresh air. 

All in all we are doing well. We are learning patience and more patience and yet some more about patience. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Let the Children Come

I had the opportunity to write in a guest post for Give1save1 Asia today.
If you have a chance be sure and check out their work. They are amazing for any family that is adopting. I love,love,love what they do!

Let the Children Come

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

When we started our journey of adoption we got a lot of questions, from well meaning people, about our current biological children. I think there is still the stigma of adoption belonging only to couples that have no children. So, when some of us that have children step out to adopt we are automatically watched simply because we are out of the “norm.”

A few people thought we shouldn’t tell our kids anything at all until we were further in the process. Some, when we they discovered the severity of our new son’s (still waiting in China) medical condition questioned if we were acting in the best interest of our children.

So, I want to take this chance to expound on children in the midst of adoption. First, I honestly don’t see how it would be possible to keep such information from them when it consumes your life for months while you work on paperwork and have an agency come into your home and even question your kids. Throw that thought out the window…not gonna happen. If your kids are above the age of two, they will know fairly quickly exactly what is happening. Keeping them in the dark will only add confusion.

Secondly, life is hard, really hard. Sometimes it is full of heartache. As parents we naturally want to shelter our children from things that hurt. We hover over them constantly on playgrounds. We pad them from head to toe when they head out on their bicycles for the long trek…down the entire driveway. So, the thought of doing something that you know is going to stretch them and possibly bring heartache is something very foreign to our minds.

God tells us in Matthew to, “Let the children come.” Let them be near to the heart of God. Let them join in the work for His kingdom. Let them sit at His feet. Can we really say that dressing them up in expensive dresses and sending them down the hallway to Sunday School Class really teaches them about serving their Savior? Being near to the heart of God means seeing things as He sees them.

My purpose as a parent has changed through this journey. I want to stop teaching my children to be Sunday morning Christians. I want to teach them to be in the trenches serving their Savior. I want to teach them to love the Lord their God with everything that is in them.

Should the day come when we bury our son, their brother, then we will guide them through grief and teach them of how great God’s love for them is and how much He loved their brother. I want my children to know deep within their souls how God loves the “least of these.” I want them to see how He would go to such great lengths to place one dying child into the arms of someone who will love them even if it is for a short time. I want my children to understand that this life is short. This life is just a picture of the beauty that is coming. I hope they will learn what it truly means to be the hands and feet of Christ. I want them to see and understand that following Christ is not always the easy way, but it is the most beautiful, the best way to live your life as a Christian.

Let your children be a part of your journey. Let them sell cookies to help you fundraise, let them see your grief and watch you lean on Christ. Let your children see the heart of Christ through you. Let them serve right along side you.

Let the children come.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The process

I've been asked a few times now where we are in this process. Sometimes I don't even know myself! There are so many steps involved and paperwork gets sent here, then there, then somewhere else, then who knows!

We have our fingerprinting appointment for immigration set for the 25th of this month. I don't know why but they did not agree to expedite it. We're trusting that God is going to watch over this process and help us get everything to China in time.

That's called the I800a.

We collected all our paperwork for our dossier and sent it to our agency. It has to be notarized and sent to the consulate in Washington D.C. and then back to our agency and then to China before the 15th of November. They have to wait for our fingerprinting to come back from immigration to mail any of that.

That's called the dossier.

After that all gets to China then we wait for our Log in Date.

Known as LID

Then we wait for the official referral. Then we are sent a letter of confirmation and usually you are matched and then send in a Letter of Intent, and are given back your Pre-approval status.

We have already done the Letter of Intent and Pre-approval.

Those are known as the LOI and PA

So after our dossier is sent in to China then we will be waiting for our referral and Letter of Acceptance. (this can take months)

Then we file for I800 immigration and visa. (about 3 weeks)

Then we wait for Article 5 from China (2-3 weeks)

Then we wait for travel time!!! (2-4 weeks)

On the really short end of things (which we are praying for) it could be as little as three or four months after our LID. It could also be much, much longer before we are allowed to bring him home. I've been told to throw out the timeline and I consider that good, sound advice so that I won't be upset when it doesn't go as I had planned in my mind. We've done our part at this point and just have to wait and pray for each step as it is given to us. I'm learning a whole lot about patience on this journey...a whole lot.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The god of what-if's

Running is often my only chance to have a few uninterrupted (usually) minutes with my Savior. It's refreshing. It's when I talk to Him. Yes, I talk out loud. Sorry, neighbors if you hear my ramblings being whispered, sometimes shouted, to the heavens. 

The truth is I have struggled, really deep down struggled. Those who know me best know that the times I am the quietest are the most dangerous. I have been quiet...nearly silent. I have struggled with the what-if's. Those pesky questions from the god of what-if's that suffocate all the promises of my Savior. They have broken the barrier and been shouting into my ear. 

What if my agency blew it and we can't get our dossier out in time?
What if China rejects our petition at the last minute?
What if I find out I'm pregnant? (funny, because that's impossible)
What if tragedy strikes and we can't complete the adoption?
What if Jiang dies before we get him?
What if Jiang dies when we get him home?
What if he dies after we have him home and have loved him for years and heartache is that much worse?

You get the picture. 
So I went for a jog. I went to have it out with my God. I went before His throne.

Two songs came on the radio:
I don't believe in coincedence. I believe in providence. They were providential. They provoked my heart. They squeezed the truth out of my lips.

I cried to the Lord. I shouted to the Lord my God. I prayed for my son. I prayed for all the what if's. 

My Savior is truly mighty to save. His hand is not short and his love is everlasting. He has conquered the grave. He is glorious in His wonder. He will move these mountains. He will save this one. He will save my son. With all that is in me I will come before His throne and ask for His mercy to extend to my son. I will kneel at His throne and ask. I will stand boldly before His throne and say to Him, "This one, Father. Mark this one for Your Glory. For the sake of all Your followers that are asking, You will mark this one. You will set Your seal of salvation on him. You will shatter the darkness. He will know the love of You. I will shout it to the heavens. This one, Jiang Hurst, is untouchable. He is marked for the glory of the heavens. He will sit in the high places and he will sing. Hear it now, He will sing the praises of his Savior. Jesus, You will move this mountain."

To the god of what-if's, "You cannot have him. He no longer belongs to you. My Savior is calling his name. He is claiming this one. You. cannot. have. him. Jesus Christ has heard his cries in the night.  Jesus Christ has marked him for His kingdom. God has heard. He has answered. He is redeeming Jiang Hurst. You cannot have him. The blood of the Lamb is sealing him. He. belongs. to. Christ. "

I refuse the what-if's. I claim the promises.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have no idea how to go about saying thank you for something so huge as our give1save1 week. I have pondered how to write this out for days and still haven't come up with anything that sounds amazing or expresses the true depth of our gratitude. I feel like I should at least have some eloquent way of saying thank you. I feel like I should give at least that back to all of you.

Instead I am left speechless as I stare looking at $2,000, much of which came from strangers that I have never met. How do I say thank you for caring about my son's life, a boy you will never meet? How do I say thank you for being a part of saving his life? He's my son and there are no words that could ever express my love for him and so there is no way to express my gratitude for saving him either.

But I thank you all, with every part of who I am I humbly thank you for your giving. I think this is the most encouraging thing we have been a part of to date. People from all over the world (literally) gave to save this boy. You all cared about us and about him and about the Christ who calls us to care for orphans. Thank you.

Through our journey last week we raised $2,000, but we were also told that a business (that will remain anonymous) was going to host a matching grant for up to $5,000 for us. That would be another $10,000 if they meet that goal. To say we are speechless is an understatement.

I have seen the hand of God at work in humanity this week. What I would have said was impossible is proving possible. What I worried over for months has been tossed away and I am reminded that I walk with a God that knows no boundaries. Why He should care about one little boy and one family I can't  answer but I sit at the foot of His throne and give thanks to Him for His great love. I serve an Almighty God.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We need your help! We are having such a difficult time with naming our son. We would like to give him one American name that he can have the option of using if he wishes. Naming an older, adopted child turns out to be pretty controversial. Who knew? But Jiang was found abandoned and I think it's important that he have a name chosen for him by his parents. Jiang is actually his last name so I'm not sure which Chinese name he will choose to keep. Jiang is the easiest to pronounce for us!

Craig and I carefully choose our names for our kids. We prefer them to have significant meaning or be named for family members. So, here's the fun part. We would like to ask for advice on names. Guys are probably eye rolling at this point (it's ok, just move on to the next thing on your reading list) but most girls love this part. So, everyone send me your three favorite names and what they mean.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Standing on the Edges

I think that it is easy to stand on the edges of true Christlike living. It's easy to attend church and teach our children Bible stories and the great songs from ages past. It's easy to stand on a pedestal and claim to know Christ. It's easy to walk what we have so easily accepted as Christlike living. It's easy to follow a set of rules. I like boundaries and rules because they make me feel safe. It gives me a reference point to look at and know that I am doing things correctly. It makes me feel very Christlike.

But is it really, truly and deeply Christlike? If we are holding onto the rules doesn't that make us less like Christ and more like those pesky pharisees?

It's easy to sing our hearts out worshipping our glorious Savior and then go home annoyed that the pastor took too long and now your Sunday roast is ruined. It's easy to judge and far harder to sit with that person in the pit of their despair. It's easy to throw the first stone and far harder to admit our own shortcomings.

It was easy for us to talk about adoption, to say we thought it was a great idea or a Godly goal. It was easy for us to say it was in the ten year plan. It was all easy...until we actually started it. Being Christlike is painful, because we are not like Christ and getting there hurts. It was easy to stand on the edges and advocate for orphans. Adopting one is a whole different story.

It was all easy...until now. I will stand here and tell you that adoption is the hardest thing we have ever done. And we have walked some tough roads in our marriage. But it is a good difficulty. It is a life changing road to walk.

Leaving the safety of those rules and getting off of the edges has painfully changed me. I will tell you my judgement of others exists far less than it once did. I judge myself far more now. What are my motivations? Why am I serving this God? Do I truly want to be like Him?

Could I shave $20 off of my grocery budget and give it to the person from church who asked for prayer for medical bills? Would I really give the coat off of my shoulders to someone who is colder than I have ever imagined? Would I sit with the girls on the side of the street and really, deeply listen to their stories?

Things in this world have taken their place behind faces that are in desperate need of help. Do I really need that new dress when I have seen true need in the eyes of those mother's who cannot clothe their babies? Do I need to redecorate again when I have seen the homeless teens on the street? I am sickened by the wealth that surrounds me and how little of it I have given away. I am sickened that I could go to sleep inside a house, under a roof, with blankets to spare and not wake up and go take my bed and give it to someone who needs it. I am sickened that I have been so self centered that I never saw the needs of others. I never understood their pain.

I am sadddened that even in my serving I expected something in return. I expected respect, for myself, for my things, for my home. I had no clue what sacrifice meant. I heard of hurting people and offered up prayers for them, but never once sat down with them in the midst of their ruin.

Lord Jesus, continue to change my heart. Help me to see with your eyes. Help me to see others needs before I see their flaws. Help me to learn to truly give of myself. May my heart become less like a pharisee and more like the Man on the Cross who died in shame and rose in victory. May I live less so that I may serve You like You have served me. Help me, Jesus, to see myself as a servant. Help me to see myself as lower than others so that You will be raised higher. Help me not to see myself at all. Dear God, let me only see You. May You be my Master and may I be your servant in everything everyday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seeing his face

The first time I saw his face I melted. That night I went to sleep dreaming about a little Chinese boy and began to wonder what if...

I knew his diagnosis wasn't good. I knew he was already four. I knew he would need lifelong care. I knew we could't afford it. I knew there were more things in our way than I could count.  
AND I knew he. was. mine

I knew he was mine. I just didn't know how in the world it would all work. I remember Faith peeking over my shoulder and whispering, "Oh Mommy, can we adopt him?" And I said, "I don't know, Sweetie, it's SO expensive. I really didn't know, but I knew we had to try. This sweet face that had sneaked into my heart would die if someone didn't take the risk and come to get him. 

I also remember crying so hard when I honestly crunched the numbers and they didn't fit. I was heartbroken that a little boy wouldn't find a home because of money. It didn't seem fair. I tried to hide the tears that day, but my kiddos saw straight through it all. As I broke down they hugged me and started crying as well and told me they would sell all their toys for him.  
I cried harder.
They told me not to give up.
I cried buckets.
I told them there was just no way we could do it.
They told me they would sell lemonade.
It was 30 degrees outside.
Then they decided to go around the neighborhoods in the freezing cold and sell whatever they could.
Hope began to rise.
Maybe God was speaking through these kids and telling me to do everything I could to go get this boy.
Hope replaced fear.

Was is possible for a few coins to really add up to enough? Was it possible that God would do the impossible for one little boy? Did God really care about one heartbroken woman who wanted to give one little boy a chance to live?

God has proven to me again and again that He is faithful. I couldn't tell you how we've come this far. It has been quarters and dimes and pennies and many, many prayers. It has often come down to the very days we had to pay but to this point God has provided every single penny we have needed.

This week we will be featured on Give1Save1. It is a HUGE opportunity for our family to raise some funding for this little guy. The idea is everyone that sees the video gives just $1 and promises to spread the word. We need this thing to go on as many facebook,twitter, pinterest, wanelo and whatever other social media outlets are out there. 

The first time I gave to a family on there I felt silly giving $1 and thought it really wouldn't make a difference (so I think I gave $3) and then I watched the total every single day and they ended up with thousands! It really does make such a huge difference. What may be only $1 to you may mean our little boy gets here to the USA and gets the medical treatment he needs to survive!

Please don't think that $1 is silly. It may be nothing to you but it is everything to our family.

I wanted you to see the little boy you will be helping, but I have to ask you not to copy and paste his picture anywhere. So many of you have waited and prayed for him already.
Look at that face. Isn't he precious?
He's our son!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Without Grumbling or Complaining

Philippians 2:14 Says to do all things without grumbling and complaining. 

I've avoided writing any posts for a while because I'm not sure how to write it without sounding like my five year old whining because I didn't get my way.

So, without grumbling and complaining I will just list the facts.

Our dog died a horrible and tragic death, and super expensive to boot.
Someone stole our identity and wiped out our bank account. (Praising the Lord that our adoption account was left untouched)
Faith needs glasses which is another unexpected expense right now. Please see the above facts to fully understand...
The few adoption grants that we were counting on are running low on funding and we can no longer count on them.
The I800a approval has gone from two weeks to around 90 days.
As it stands the adoption tax credit will NOT be renewed.

One thing I have learned is that this process is full of the greatest moments and then it seems like those are followed by horrible, awful ones that take your breath away. I do believe that at every turn Satan wants us to quit, to throw in the towel and go back to our normal every day lives.

But there is a stirring in my soul for a little boy whom God has claimed for my home, for my family and for His family. While after weeks like this past one I want to throw in the towel, I know that I can't. So, we keep pressing onward and keep our gaze focused on the end goal. 

I will end with this thought and I will say it over and over again until it sticks in my heart and replaces all the fear and doubt this week has left me feeling.

Philippians 4:19,20
And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

And the winner is...

We have had an unbelievable fundraiser with our painting!!!  Altogether we received $1,000.  Did you see that? $1,000!!!!!

It amazes me that so many people love and care about Jiang. God's hand surely is not short and little by little we are moving closer to getting him home. Unbelievable. I am amazed!

So, with all that being said we put all the tickets together...

and shook them up...

and drew out a name...

Ashley Galloway Metzger 
a dear friend from my college dorm days
who by all accounts deserved to win this painting!!!

And a runner up (because I'm a softy) who will get a print of the painting

Dick Jusino from our church! 

Thank you seems too small a term for this, but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who participated. 
God has once again surpassed my expectations
and we stand humbly amazed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

His first momma

Jiang's first momma has been on my mind so much lately. I wish I could meet her and ask her so many questions. What went through her mind? Who is she? Did her heart grieve when she knew she couldn't keep him? Was her goodbye kiss salted by her own tears? Did he scream for her when she left?

She had him for over a year before leaving him all alone in a McDonald's. I know she knew that was a place where he would be found, but he didn't know that. He thought they were going for a treat. Maybe they had ice cream first. Maybe she wanted to see him eat his first ice cream cone and drip with the sweetness and smiles they always bring. Maybe she wanted her last memory of him to be a happy one.

I am so thankful to be his new mommy, but the truth is I wish she had kept him. I wish he never knew the pain of being abandoned by someone he loved. I wish a thousand things for him for his future, but if I had one wish above all it would be that he could have stayed with her.

I know the stigma of unhealthy children in China is more than likely what drove her to leave him. They would have found his diagnosis right around the time that she left him. What did her heart feel when the doctors told her he had thalassemia? Did she cry in his office or wait until she got home to break down? Did her heart know in that instant that she couldn't keep him? Did her family pressure her into giving him up? Did he have a daddy that grieved the loss of his son? Did she keep him for a few weeks hoping that he would somehow be okay and be able to stay with her? Did she put on her favorite outfit for him and rock him one last time that morning?

While I know she will never read this I'd like to somehow send this out and pray that she knows that I will love him. I wish she could know that he has found a family to take care of him. I wish that she could know that I will teach him of her the best that I can. I will teach him forgiveness and love. Together we will love her and pray for her. We will pray that God will heal her broken heart and breathe His peace into her soul. We will pray that God whispers into her heart that her baby is safe and alive and so incredibly loved. Somewhere in the darkness of her pain I hope that God's gives her the light of His hope.

Father God, mark this mother for Your Glory. May she be redeemed. May she somehow hear of Your great love and know the goodness of Your grace and forgiveness. In Your loving kindness can You speak to her of her son's redemption? Bind her broken heart and give her comfort. Tell her that I love him. Above all mark her for Your Glory, place Your seal of salvation on her soul. Save her, Dear Father, save and love her. I ask all this in the name of Your Great Son, Jesus Christ. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What a weekend can bring

This weekend has been full of blessings, almost too many to count! We had our garage sale this weekend and it went so well. We were ready a day early so we were open for three days instead of two. The kids had their own lemonade/bake sale stand and did incredibly well. All together we raised close to $700 at the garage sale! That's huge since I was only hoping for $100-$300. God surpassed my expectations...again.

Then I was surprised when I walked into church today and they announced our next fundraiser and many people donated and entered for our painting giveaway. So far we have close to $200 donated for that already. I stand amazed, simply amazed.

It was as if God reached down and hugged me again and again this weekend. I cannot tell you how many people who came to our garage sale had adopted themselves and encouraged us to continue down this road. We even had the privilege of meeting a birth mom who took the time to talk with us. It was just person after person giving us the encouragement that our hearts so badly needed. It felt as if everyone knew someone who had adopted and they stopped to talk with us and let us know that it encourages them to see what we are doing.

To top it all off as we were going out for Father's Day Lunch we bumped into a couple that adopted a five year old girl from China last year and they live near us! I had been praying for God to grant that wish for me, that I would be able to meet other moms who have gone down this road and that our children could play together. As I talked to her I thanked God for answering what I felt was a silly wish and totally unlikely to ever happen in my tiny edge of the world. But even in that He proves to me that He is in this. He is walking this road with me and taking care of my emotional needs as well. He is providing friends for Jiang that will be able to remind him of home and talk to him in his own language. Even now my Savior is showing me that He is watching over Jiang.

My heart is overwhelmed with the gifts God has given me this weekend. I can't figure out if I want to cry or laugh or just sit and soak it all in, but I know that I want to give Him the praise for a weekend of answered prayers. We came into this adoption with great need and I have learned that to have great need is to know the greatness of our God in a personal way. I have empty hands and He fills them. My heart aches to hold my son and yet God soothes my soul by reminding me that He is holding him for me.

I have no idea how this will end. I have no idea what tomorrow holds. What I know is that my God shall supply all my needs and I have learned that is all I need to know. I am thankful for this humbling. I am thankful to have great needs. I am thankful because in this place I can see the hand of God. He is truly Great and Mighty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mark your calendars!

We have some amazing friends with an incredible talent for painting.
They have very generously donated 
a painting that we will be hosting a drawing for
next Thursday the 21st.

Visit their gallery 

Each entry will be $10 and you may donate as much as you like
and continue getting your name in multiple times!

There will be other prizes given for second and third place as well.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The daily humdrum

So, we continue to work on paperwork but now it is for our official dossier! Exciting, and a little frightening. Everything has to be done just perfectly before it is sent off to China. According to what I'm told it will take us the better part of the next few months to complete this thing! 

We are hosting a garage sale next Friday and Saturday. So, this week means the house is turned upside down trying to get stuff ready. Should I mention I've never done this and organization is not exactly one of my strengths??? If you happen to stop by in the next week, have mercy and try not to judge the status of my house! 

We have another home study to schedule. China apparently requires us to meet together a minimum of four times. Our agency is graciously trying to use our previous domestic home study to count as one of those! 

We are also working on a super amazing giveaway fundraiser! We have some great prizes and one spectacular grand prize that I may or may not be wishing I could win for myself!!!

That's it. Not much, right? 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gideon and Grace

Here's the update on our progress:

We are finished with our first round of paperwork and getting it in the mail today! Phew.
One done, a million to go.
Now we get to start the fun dossier.
In real terms it's more legal paperwork which all goes over to China. China!
We've already got a good headstart on the dossier since we already had to send a lot of it to be approved by China to adopt Jiang.
We have raised/saved close to $2500!

I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to what I am about to say, but I am here to tell you that all of those crazy preggo hormones exist in the adoptive process. Why? I have no idea! I guess my body and mind know that I'm going to a mom again, but shoot keep the hormones! Hot flashes, restless leg syndrome and lactating are not my friends these days. My husband has that deer in the headlights look that he has for the nine months of pregnancy which means one thing. I am not imagining these hormones! The poor man. Add him to your prayer list...he's going to need it. However, the one comfort that it brings to me is that I know deep in my heart Jiang is MY son. My mind knows it, my heart knows it and my body is proving to me that it knows it too. Weird. Really weird, I know.

This week has been one of those weeks that I feel anxious. One of the weeks where I break down in the middle of my run sobbing because I wonder if we will reach Jiang in time to save him. The what if's have broken through and are shouting into my heart and it leaves my heart anxious. I am anxious to see God's mighty hand working in ways that leave me breathless. I am anxious to see and hold my son and know that he will know me. I am anxious to know that my son has heard the name of Jesus and has known His love. I am anxious. I'd like to tell you otherwise, but I promised myself to write a truthful blog on our adoption and anything else would be less than my honesty. I am anxious.

To calm my anxious heart I have started a journal that I call "Remembering God in the Impossible." Everyday I write down stories from Scripture where God did the completely impossible. Feel free to remind me of those that you think of, it has been immensely helpful.

I have been encouraged by one of our prayer partners to read Gideon's story again. I am so glad for that push to dig back into his story. I was reminded of how God took Gideon's already small army and made it even smaller so that God's people would see and know that He alone did this great work. It hit home and made me realize that God has me right where He wants me so that the world will know that He is doing this. I am so thankful that Gideon heard and answered the call of the Lord. I am selfishly thankful for all of his doubts and that God in His grace recorded them for me to read all these years later.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Precious in His Sight

There is an amazing fundraiser going on for this little one's 
upcoming surgery.
It's called the red envelope. 
If you have never heard of the red envelopes go read about it here.
You can donate as little as $1 or as much as $500. 
It gives everyone the chance to do something.

I keep hearing the part of Jesus loves the little children in my heart where it says, "They are precious in His sight."
She is precious in the eyes of my Jesus 
and she is precious to me.

Please, please spread the word for this little one. And go grab a red envelope!

Read more about Alea on her blog Hope for Alea.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Speaking Faith into Others

Perhaps it is the guilt of others, perhaps it is meant in the best of ways. But no matter how it begins it comes out as judgment, harsh, ugly, in your face judgment. Perhaps it's a by product of my passion for orphan care that others feel the need to go into offensive mode and attack. I don't know why it is. I just know it is.  And I know the harm it does to me, to others, to the orphan and most importantly to the call God gives us all.

Do you know what happens to an adoptive parent when a well meaning friend comes and speaks their concerns over them? Do you know the terror, the questions, the nightmares that plague them after those "well meaning" words? Do you know what happens if they jump ship and decide not to adopt because their friends were right? 143 million orphans happens.

You are right. Many of us come to the table with nothing, nothing but open eyes. We don't have much in the world's eyes. Most adoptive parents I have rubbed shoulders with started with very little in their pocket to fund this journey, but they had hearts that said "I will." You are right. We don't have $30,000. Heck I'd be happy with a third of that. You are right we could have said no. For three years Christians have said no to our Jiang. He along with millions have waited for Christians to take up the call and bring them home. If Christians took up the call to adopt there wouldn't be orphans waiting. But too many have heard the questions in their hearts. They have heard doubt spoken over them. They heard and believed the road was impossible to travel.

Adoption is no less a calling from God than mission work is. It is just as clear in scripture. Adoption is not a wish or a dream fulfillment. It is a covenant with God, an answer to the burden He places in the hearts of His people. It is a picture of the Gospel message for the whole world to see and know that He is God. He sets the fatherless in families. And if Satan wants to attack anything it is the Gospel. There is nothing more powerful than the Gospel. And he hates it. He despises adoption. He hates those who choose to answer the call to adopt.

I encourage you to choose your words carefully. Be oh so very careful. Those of us on this road hold onto our faith with what sometimes feels like the last strength in our bones. We know on a daily basis that we can't do this and we are on our knees hourly begging God to help us finish this race.

I encourage you to speak faith into those you know going through adoption. Remind them of God's faithfulness. Encourage them to call back to memory the miracles of God. Speak over them the faith in your heart, because you never know what kinds of terror Satan is planting in their soul today. Help them in this fight. Surround them with the community of Christ and lift them up in prayer. Cast away the doubt and speak your faith out loud.

Calling All Bakers!

Calling all my incredibly gifted baking friends! We are putting together an online bake sale. I know, I know it's an odd thing to host online, but we have so many friends and family all over the place that I think this way works best. 

Here is how it will work:
If you want to participate send me an email with your idea for the recipe to
Whoever bakes it ships it. So once the sale has ended I will send you your orders. You bake them up and ship them out. I just ask that you bake and ship them within a week of getting the orders in to you.
Make sure you let me know how many you are willing to make so I can put a limit on that item!
If you are local and have an item that cannot be shipped but you would like to donate for the sale then I will mark it "for locals only."
A third of the cost of the items will be sent to you, the baker, through paypal to help with the cost of shipping.
Two thirds of every sale will go directly to our adoption fund for Jiang!

I will have a separate page for this event on our blog so that it will be easy to link and find. 
Pictures will be a huge plus! 
Make sure to get the word out with your friends!  Word of mouth is the only way this works. Tweet it, email it, blog it and facebook it.