Almost time!

We are taking a brief rest before we go to meet Eliza. I just wanted to let you all know how much we appreciate all of your comments and prayers. We are so incredibly thankful for the encouragement you have given us.

We are doing absolutely fabulous with Evangeline. She is so full of love and reaches out to hug us all the time. She jokes with her Baba, and helps keep track of our things. She tries to speak English whenever she can. She seems so relieved and thrilled to be here. She tells the guide she is very happy, but her body language really tells the story.

Tonight She is going to sleep in our bed with us. ๐Ÿ™‚ She seems completely comfortable.

The hotel is gorgeous, and we are in the executive suite which is just out of this world. I think they put us in it because of our family size. She must feel like she is living a dream after what she has been through.

Today, even more than yesterday, she just radiates pure joy. ๐Ÿ™‚ We could not have asked for an easier transition for her.

I believe reaching out to love these two precious ones ranks right up there as one of the most worthwhile things we have ever done.

We are so thankful for the privilege of parenting these two newest treasures.

There is no greater joy.

More pictures soon!

We meet Eliza in an hour and a half!

Blessings!

Oh My Goodness!

I have so much to say about today. I don’t even know where to begin.

This morning we took Evangeline to Walmart to get some coloring books and colored pencils. She is just precious and picked out a pink back pack and several things to color with. Then before we left I suggested to Mark that we go to the toy department to see if she wanted a doll.

We walked past several stuffed animals and dolls, and then she saw a barbie like doll in a pink box with several different outfits for it and a little suitcase. She immediately picked it up and asked if she could have it.

Then we saw a Starbucks outside of the Walmart, and decided to go in. She had some fruit and orange juice.

She is just precious and we are enjoying her spunky little personality immensely.

Then we flew to Guangzhou, which was long and exhausting.

As I have said before, we were given no information about her from the orphanage at all. I asked the guide to ask if there was anything I should know about Evangeline, and the guide said she has a sore on her foot, but it was fine and the orphanage said it didn’t need anything. I asked the guide on several occassions how much I should be helping her, and he said, “Evangeline can take care of herself. She is fine.”

I didn’t know what to do about it. I pointed to her foot several times, and she would just shake her head no. I also took her in the bathroom and pointed to the shower and the bathtub, and she would shake her head no.

I wasn’t sure how much to push. She is almost fourteen, and I can see that she is very capable. On the other hand, she doesn’t look or act anywhere near fourteen. In Xi’an we had three different guides in four days which contributed to our feeling of confusion.

I also have been trying to go slow with this tiny teen and allow her as much independence as she is capable of.

So, we arrived in Guangzhou around 8:30 pm. We waited a long time for our luggage and finally met Rebecca whom we immediately loved. In a couple hours with her we found out more than we did in four days in Xi’an.

She commented on how tiny Evangeline is, and told us that in many of the poorer orphanages the children just do not get enough protein to grow.

She brought us back to the Garden Hotel and made sure our room was all set up. We are in the executive suite, and it is absolutely beautiful.

I mentioned to Rebecca that Evangeline did not want to bathe or shower, and I wondered if she could talk to her about it. Rebecca ran right in to talk to her, and immediately came out to tell that she could not take a shower because of her foot. We took her shoes off, and found a huge pressure wound that is open to the bone.

This poor child has been walking all over the place on an open wound that has not healed all summer, and I did not even know enough to change the bandage!

We changed the bandage and I gave her a shower sitting on a stool with her bad foot propped up on another stool.

I was so thankful to be able to help her. This precious tiny girl, who has born far too many burdens alone, seemed relieved to have her mother take care of her. She is not alone anymore. Never again does this dear little girl have to bear the burdens alone. Praise God!

We rented a wheelchair from the hotel, and intend to have her keep off of her foot until it heals. I guess we will watch it a day or so and then take her to the hospital if we need to. I do not think it is infected, but it is a raw open wound. I feel terrible that I didn’t insist on seeing it earlier, but she seemed to want privacy.

She is just a little sweetheart. We are so in love her.

Tomorrow we get Eliza at 2:30pm!!!

Oh my goodness!

Blessings!

Breakfast Smiles

These were taken yesterday morning at breakfast with my iPhone. She is smiling and playful!

Yesterday she ate a lot! I think she has never seen so much food in her little life. Her frail stature tells the tale better than any words could have.

With Baba and Victoria!

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Sisters, FOREVER. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Will post more tonight if I can!

Blessings!

Day Two With Evangeline

Evangeline is doing so very well. She seems so much more relaxed today.

We have chosen to go slow with affection and to let Evangeline lead as she feels comfortable, and already she has reached out to us.

She is incredibly capable and independent. Here she is talking to the gentleman who came with her yesterday from the orphanage.

And here are a few more pictures from the Civil Affairs Office today where we signed the papers.

She is eager to be a part of everything we do, and is so inquisative. I would not say she is shy, although she does hold back when she does not understand what we are saying.

We are struck by her beauty and her strikingly petite size and features.

Now that we have seen how frail she is, we are even more convinced than we were before that had we not arrived in time to adopt her, her future in China would have been very dismal at best.

China is a very beautiful country. We have enjoyed being driven around the city of Xi’an.

This is a picture of the City Wall in Xi’an

Today was a more difficult day than yesterday for us. The streets of China are very crowded and busy. The drivers seem to have no rules, and today the swerving and constant breaking got to me, and I got really car sick. We had to come back to the hotel so I could lay down.

Our guide went home so we were left alone the rest of the day. We did not really have anything for Evangeline to do in the room, and since it poured all day, we could not even take a walk. With the language barrier, it was a little difficult.

We are really struggling with being away from the children. We are trying to be strong, but the thought of being away from them all for two more weeks is so hard. We have been sort of attachment parenting gurus, and leaving them was just so hard.

The Director at the Civil Affairs told us we could not visit the orphanage in Baoji where Evangeline lived. We are disappointed because we just know nothing about her. We desperately wanted to meet her nanny and take pictures of her friends. It appears that the orphanage intended not to communicate with us because we never received an update or anything on her.

A friend wrote today and said we could have demanded to go to the orphanage, but we just weren’t in the position to do that today because I was feeling sick and we are leaving tomorrow for Guangzhou.

Evangeline’s foot is bleeding from walking on it, and we have asked several times about it, but we are told that it is fine and does not require any treatment.

We knew that she had some effects from the Spina Bifida, but she came to us without the orphanage ever telling us a word about her needs. In fact, she came with nothing at all except the photo album we sent her and a few current photos of herself, and one group photo of her class. Evangeline is very private and handles it all completely herself, but we are so eager to get her home and enable her to see a doctor.

Tomorrow afternoon we fly to Guangzhou, and we are so thankful! Evangeline is looking forward to the flight, and we are thinking that we won’t be so alone there. We know of a couple families who are there now adopting, and are hoping to see the Dexter’s from The Pearl River Diaries.

We want you to know that we are reading every comment you are making on facebook and here on the blog. every single one blesses us more than you know. We would love to respond to every one of you, but the internet connection is very slow, and we just don’t have the time.

Gotcha day for Eliza is the 13th! We cannot wait to have our dear Eliza with us as well!

Blessings!

All About Evangeline

We have our precious Evangeline!

We just came upstairs from dinner, and we are all going to bed, but I wanted to do a post first to tell you about our day and everything I know about our sweet Evangeline.

She is beautiful, and very frail and very tiny. She walked in ahead of the man who brought her to the Civil Affairs Office, and I didn’t recognize her. As soon as she walked in, I was in awe of this tiny precious little girl. She was very nervous, and sort of hovered at the door, and the more I looked at her, I could see that this precious little girl was our Evangeline.

I went over to her and knelt down on the floor next to her.

She just stood there with tears running down her face. I could see she was suffering terribly, and I wanted desperately to tell her in a language she could understand that it would be okay, that we would love her and take care of her.

But all I could do was kneel there and rub her arm.

I wasn’t sure she wanted me to hug her, but I did, and then the man who brought her got out the picture album we had sent her.

Still she was so nervous.

Inside the picture album we had sent her, was the letter we had written her. She opened it up and began to talk to the guide while pointing at the part of the letter where we had told her that her friend Emily had wanted her to have a family too. She was saying “Ruping” which was her friend Emily’s Chinese name. We told her she would be able to talk to her and see her, and she began to calm down.

I was overwhelmed with the strength of this tiny child who was so much older than she looked.

We signed a few papers.

And just as suddenly as she had walked in the door, it was time for us to go.

This incredibly brave tiny teen walked out into her new life holding my hand with a confidence and spunk that impressed me as something remarkable.

Welcome home, Evangeline.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

We had a nice dinner with her, she laughed and talked to the waitress in Chinese. Then, we came upstairs to our room, and I gave her her new nightgown and helped her get out her dress. I took the elastics out and brushed her beautiful black hair.

And I was overwhelmingly aware of how unspeakably blessed we are to have another precious daughter.

Blessings!

In China!

We have arrived at our hotel in Xi’an. The hotel is very nice!

We have an hour to get ready, and then our guide will pick us up to take us to dinner at 6:00pm. We are going to a dinner theater of Chinese dancers and a dumpling buffet. Apparently, this area is known for it’s delicious wheat, and is therefore famous for its noodles and dumplings.

Southern China is known for its rice, so our guide told us to eat the noodles and dumplings here and the rice in Guangzhou.

When we arrived in Hong Kong, everyone looked so happy and was so nice and welcoming, but when we got off the plane in Xi’an, it seemed so different. There were guards everywhere, and the mood seemed so austere.

Our guide is a man. His name is Sean. He is very nice, and I believe he intends to keep us very busy. I am fine with that, because I miss the children terribly, and don’t need a lot of free time to dwell on how long we’ll be away from them.

We did Skype with the kids in Hong Kong. They all seemed wonderful and happy. It was wonderful to see all their smiles.

In the morning we will see the Terra Cotta Warriors, and then we will go to the Civil Affairs office to get Evangeline at 4pm.

I can’t even believe I’m writing that. It’s just so hard to believe. I am constantly praying for her heart right now. I can’t imagine all the feelings she must be experiencing.

I’m so tired I’m having trouble even thinking about what to write, but I wanted you all to have a quick update.

I’ll keep you posted!

Blessings!

Just An Update

Just thought I’d give you all a little update.

We will get our TA handed to us in Guangzhou, but our agency was able to confirm our CA (Consulate Appointment) for Thursday, September 20th! This is wonderful because it means that we will be able to take our already scheduled flight home on the 22nd from Guangzhou.

Because seating was so limited on that flight, the travel agent was able to reserve our seats in the upgraded seating section! How awesome is that? So, when we are exhausted and so very eager to be home with our sweet family, we will be flying home in bigger seats that recline and have a footrest!

Isn’t that just like our God? He just loves to throw in those little blessings to His children!

We are tired out tonight. Our minds are racing. We’re making our last minute lists, and rushing around tying up loose ends.

We fly out of JFK International In New York tomorrow night (Thursday night), or it might be tonight by the time you read this. My Dad will take us to the airport.

The kids have a make your own Sundae party planned for my mother tomorrow night. She may be in for more than she bargained for! The hope is that they will be so eager to get out all the goodies for their Sundaes that the “goodbyes” will be bearable.

That’s the plan anyway. This stay at home mama is definitely way out of her comfort zone.

In four short days, we will meet our precious Evangeline for the very first time. Then, only four days later, we will have our dear Eliza as well.

It still doesn’t feel real.

Praying God will comfort their anxious hearts tonight, and give them peace.

Our sweet daughters have seen many Baba’s and Mama’s come and go through out their lives. Every time those parents came for someone else, and our sweet girls were left behind.

Not this time!

It won’t be long now, dear daughters!

Blessings All!

A Quick Question

As many of you know, we are a home schooling family. At the moment, we are in our end of summer rambunctious stage where the many long days of summer have kind of strung together, and the children are all settled into their lazy crazy summer routines.

In other words, we are all ready for some structure. Needless to say, we are about to fly off to China for our two newest blessings, and the kids are all looking forward to a few weeks with their grandparents. So, although they may be ready for the structure of our school days, I don’t have it together on that front yet.

I’m a little concerned about arriving home with the girls who have lived ALL of their lives within the structured confines of the orphanage. My kids will be thrilled to have the girls here,and I am sure will overwhelm their newest siblings with their love and with many suggestions for play and fun.

But, what should I plan for those early days at home? I’m sure within a few weeks of getting home, we will begin school, but what ideas can you give me about structuring the early days?

Should we plan some day trips? Or should we just plan to be home, play some games together, make the meals, and get to know each other? Will too much idle time make it more difficult on the girls?

What do you think?

Or perhaps, I should just let it all happen, and evaluate the needs as we go along?

This is one of those posts I am really hoping to get some comments on!

Blessings!

BELIEVE WITH ME!

I am finding it so hard to believe that we are really leaving for China in THREE days!

It seems like only yesterday that I began to seriously entertain the dream to adopt.

It was two years and nine months ago when I began to purposefully pray about adoption. Our daughter Victoria had been working on a report for school about China, and she had “stumbled” upon several adoption blogs.

One Friday morning, she was so consumed with the stories she had read of how God had provided to bring so many orphans home, that I allowed her to stay home from school to tell me all about it. (At that time our children were in Christian school. We homeschool now.)

After all, is there anything more important than our children’s relationship with God?

I’m so glad I kept her home that day. We read the stories together. We laughed. We cried. We fell in Iove with face after face of so many of the precious children waiting in China.

I will always remember that day for several reasons. One, because my sweet daughter was learning about how HUGE her God is, and because she wanted to share it with me. And two, because that was the day when God began to call me to adopt.

I knew, when I went to bed that night, that I desperately wanted to make a difference in the lives of as many children as I possibly could. I knew that I wanted to give my life away loving these precious abandoned children.

But in my mind, there was just no way we could possibly adopt. We already had nine children. Mark had an excellent job, but we needed every penny of it. Not only that, but seven years prior to this fateful day, Mark had lost his job two times in nine months. And seven years later, we were only beginning to climb our way out of the hole his job losses had created.

In my mind, those things were certainly mountains that loomed ominously over any dreams of adopting.

I decided to begin a new prayer journal specifically for the purpose of asking God to do the impossible in our lives. I prayed for God to use Mark and me for His Glory in a big way. I have always been a dreamer, but I began to allow myself to entertain dreams of living my life for God without limitation. I began to purposefully ask for the impossible.

I did nothing else.

I just asked, and believed.

I knew deep inside that the insatiable craving to adopt after having nine biological children was God sharing His heart with me.

So, I wrote in my journal.

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And I prayed.

Now, almost three years later, God has moved every mountain!

What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Zechariah 4:7

The mountains are nothing to God.

I stand amazed at the God we serve, and I am overwhelmed with the conviction that He wants to do the impossible in ALL of our lives.

We need only to believe.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ~ Mark 11:24

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. ~ James 1:5-7

Believing is a choice. It’s not a feeling. It is deliberately expecting God to finish the great work He has started.

When we first began this adoption journey, I was almost crippled with the enormity of the task. Face after face of the many children who wait haunted my thoughts. In my mind meeting the needs of every orphaned child seemed an insurmountable task, an impossible task. We could bring home one child, maybe two or three, but the thousands we would have to leave behind just filled my mind.

The children’s faces still haunt my thoughts, but now I know how to meet the needs of every child. It is through faith.

The children come home by faith!

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What if the church united and began to believe that God not only could, but that He would bring every child home?

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

If you have a dream in your heart to love a child, recognize that desire as a dream God has placed in your heart for a reason. BELIEVE that God will finish what He started in your heart! He is in the business of creating the tangible from faith!

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~ Hebrews 11:1

May we stand in faith, as the body of Christ, and bring the children home!

โ€œNot by might, nor by power, but by my spiritโ€, says the Lord. ~ Zechariah 4:6

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In faith, till they ALL come home!

Praise Jesus!

Karla from Lifeline just emailed us at 3:59am to say that we need to be in XI’an on the 8th!!!

We will get Evangeline on the 9th in Baoji City, and Eliza on the 13th in Guangzhou!

We are waiting to hear from the travel agent. According to our estimates, we are still about $1,500 short, but we will know more when we get firmer numbers on the plane tickets.

We will travel before TA. We do not have time to wait for it, so it is risky.

We will trust the One who called us!!!

I’ll keep you posted!!

Blessings!

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