Monday, May 31, 2010

Family Fun!

We had a great day at the beach - one last hoorah before we leave our precious kiddos and head to China.  Enjoy the pictures!

Our last time at the beach without little Hudson.  Lord willing, next week this time, Hudson will be with us.

Friday, May 28, 2010

We interrupt this blog to bring you an important announcement. . .

This new blogger format really does not agree with me.  I had a draft saved on Ethan and Hudson's room makeover.  I posted it today, but it appeared below the post that was already on the blog.  Go figure.  SO if you want to see pictures of Ethan and Hudson's room as well as read about the "LAST CALL" for ordering our Adoption Bug fundraiser tee shirts, please scroll down past Ethan's Graduation post!
I am still waiting on some much needed advice regarding the new Blogger!  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Kindergarten Graduate

Congratulations Ethan!
Ethan graduated from homeschool kindergarten Friday.  He looked so handsome and did a great job helping to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer.

Ethan high-fiving his best friend David.  Shirts untucked and one tie gone but aren't they just the cutest?  The boys both attended a church kindergarten until this year when they both came home to school.

Ethan's biggest cheerleaders - Lilly and Ellie who were already anticipating their kindergarten graduation.

By the way, I am having the hardest time with this new blogger format.  I will never admit how long it took me to post this.  The pictures appear in the wrong order - repeatedly.  Please someone help this computer dummy!!

And preparations are well underway for our trip to China.  One unexpected potential problem. . .
Our agency emailed tonight and said that there is a Ping -Pong tournament in Hohthot from June7 to June 11, and hotel accomodations are limited.  Trying not to panic.  We have a CA and very expensive plane tickets, there must be a hotel room for us - somewhere!

Room Makeover

This was how we spent last Saturday.  First the bunk beds had to be disassembled at our neighbor's house (thank you dear friends for giving us the bunk beds), reassembled, painted, and repainted!   Just look at how good they turned out!  We had lots of great helpers and although we were all very tired at the day's end, this mama was extremely happy with the day's accomplishments! Ethan's navy bedcap for the top bunk (a comforter designed with fitted corners at the bottom to stay on the bunk bed) should be arriving today.  Ethan and Hudson's room is done!  Hudson's growth chart has been hung, clothes are in his closet, toys and books are on the shelves.  Now, we just need Hudson!


A quick reminder about our tee shirts that we have been selling as a fundraiser through Adoption Bug. . .
This weekend will be the last time to order a tee shirt and support our adoption.  We will be closig our online store so that we can use that money for our adoption expenses.  Thank you to everyone who has purchased a tee or 2 (Jennifer and Sharon - thanks friends!)  So far we have raised about $125 through this fundraiser.  Overall, we have raised over $5500 through our various fundraising events! 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Travel Approval!!!!

It may or may not be clear from this picture, but we did get our TRAVEL APPROVAL!!!

We are so excited and are frantically preparing because we are leaving to meet our son on. . .
                                          JUNE 4

More details to come but for now we are heading to Ethan's kindergarten graduation!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy 3rd Gotcha Day, Lilly! 

Happy 40th Birthday, David

Today has been a wonderful day although a very busy one!  We are having one last fundraiser tomorrow for Hudson's adoption - a yard sale and bake sale.  In between baking, we celebrated Lilly's 3rd Gotcha Day and David's 40th birthday.  Lilly received a panda bear this year which she loves.  This girl adores stuffed animals yet it was listed as one of her fears when she lived in the orphanage.  She may have once been afraid of them but not anymore.  Later, Lilly enjoyed licking the beaters from one of our many baked goods - chocolate cookies by Shelby, banana bread, brownies and David's requested birthday cake  - lemon pound cake.  After a photo shoot where my subject was quite uncooperative because she wanted to be in control of the camera, we left for Fulton's baseball game.  Not an especially exciting schedule of events, but we enjoyed our time remembering where we were 3 years ago. . .

3 years ago tonight, we were in a hotel in Changsha, Hunan getting to know the little girl who would truly change our lives in the most unbelievable and amazing ways.  Little did we know that night of the difficulties we would face with Lilly's serious illness in China and open-heart surgery which would be only 6 weeks later.  However, on this night 3 years ago, we were also completely unaware of the tremendous blessing that we were being given and the absolute joy that this little girl would bring into our lives.  Also, on May 14, 2007, I never would have dreamed that I would be back in China to adopt again 16 months later nor did I know that 3 years later, I would be anxiously awaiting our TA for our son in Inner Monglia.  I must say adoption has absolutely changed my life and our family.  Although I thought back in 2006 when our adoption journey began that God was just calling us to adopt one precious baby girl, He actually placed orphans on my heart and on the hearts of each person in my family.  We have witnessed first hand what love can do, what the security of a family can do, and what access to quality medical care can do.  We saw the hand of God transform a malnourished, frail, sickly child into our bundle of joy!  From then on, our adoption journey has not been about 1 child who is no longer an orphan but about the 147 million orphans who long this very moment for a family to call their own.

Thank you Father for calling us to adopt but more importantly calling us to care for the orphans of this world.  Thank you for the gift of this precious child who has brought so much joy and love into our lives.  Thank you, Oh God, for blessing us so richly when we are so undeserving.  May others hear your call and have the courage to walk in faith to the orphan and care for "the least of these." Amen

Friday, May 7, 2010

Now we wait for TA!

Our Article 5 was picked up on Thursday and overnighted to the CCAA. This means, after many, many steps, we are now only waiting on 1 piece of paper - our travel approval! Lord willing, our TA should arrive in the next 2 to 4 weeks, and then we can make our travel arrangements! Hudson, we are coming soon - very soon! Please be in prayer for Hudson that the Lord would be preparing his little heart to attach to us and to leave all that he has ever known. Please pray for the rest of our brood to lovingly accept their new little brother.

Today was our 180th day of school - the last day- YEAH! I am so thankful that another school year is complete. However, that does not mean rest for me. Now, I must pack away all of this year's school books - x 4 students -and finalize our curriculum for next year. Plus, do I force my students to do work this summer to prevent loss of knowledge or can we possibly just relax and do nothing except read? Any thoughts on that subject are welcome!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Reunion At Last!

It all began when this little girl, named Chen Kai Shu, lived

in this orphanage Chenzhou Social Welfare Institute in Chenzhou, China.

She shared her days with these little girls who once were much younger and who did not have a Mommy or Daddy to call their own. Together they shared their first laughs, saw each other do many other "firsts", and then, one by one, said "goodbye" as each left to live with their forever family! No one knew at the time that all 4 of them (plus a 5th little girl named Sarah Mei who could not join us for our reunion) would live within a few hours of each other on the other side of the world. Only God could orchestrate that! Thus this reunion all began because of these little girls who once were left all alone having little hope for a bright future, but God, being full of love and mercy, rescued these precious ones by placing adoption on the hearts of their parents. Normal men and women who just knew that someone out there was waiting. . . who knew that God does not call the equipped; He equips those He calls. . .who knew that faith would lead the way. They said "Yes!" when it would have been so much easier to just say "NO". Their obedience to God's call blessed them all so richly and allowed this Saturday in April to happen. A reunion of. . .

older brothers (missing 3)

moms and dads

older sisters

new siblings also adopted from China

Lilly, Anna Claire, Lainie, and Mia, the 4 little girls from Chenzhou, with all of their siblings. Just think for a moment had someone not said "Yes" when God called, these 4 children would still be in Chenzhou Social Welfare Institute - without a mom or a dad or a brother or a sister.

Finally, as a result of accepting God's call to adopt, not once but 4 times, Anna Claire's family now has moved onto the "big white van". They will soon have so many children that your "average sized" family car will not do! And I am so happy to say that our family too will soon have to purchase one of these 12 passenger vans. Why? Simply because we said "Yes!" - 3 times!

Thank you, O Father, for calling these four families to adoption, for giving us the courage to say "Yes!", and for creating beautiful friendships among strangers who love you and love the orphan just as you do, God. Thank you for adopting each of us through the blood of your son in whose name I pray. Amen

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18