Friday, May 26, 2017

13 Things For 13 Months

 13 things on her 13th month…

1. Today our Little One turns 13 months old. There is no one there with a fun sticker on her onesie, or a blanket to lay her next to, or a headband to put on her little head. She is just going through her day at the orphanage, no fanfare, no pictures. Nothing.

2. Her birthday is an estimate. We do not know the day that she was born. Officials estimated the day. Regardless, we will ALWAYS celebrate her on April ~~th*. It will be her birthday and we will celebrate her beautiful life every year for the rest of her life.

3. Little One’s orphanage has a one to one partnership with our adoption agency, which meant that we got the very first look at her file once the Chinese government released it. She was ours from that very first look.

 4. Because our agency partners with her orphanage, they have been able to come in and make some changes and help support the orphanage in very vital ways.

5. I read on an adoption blog of a family that adopted a little 2 ½ year old girl from our daughter’s very orphanage five years ago and the conditions were heartbreaking. There was a 35+ kid to 2 helper ratio. One of the nannies would cook and clean while the other would take care of the kids. 35+ kids for one single lady. No one can love and nurture 35+ kids in the way that they need in a day. It is not humanly possible.

6.    The same family estimated that the kids were out of their cribs for one hour in the morning and one hour at night. That means these kids lived in their cribs for 22 hrs a day, including when eating their meals.

7. We are SO thankful that our agency has since gone into that orphanage and brought color, toys and training to the nannies. They also do regular visits and work very closely with them. We will pay an orphanage donation fee of around $6,000 (a standard procedure for all Hague country adoptions) and I will gladly give them every penny. These kids need to have those funds to help care for them, give them toys and areas to play.  They also took care of my daughter for the first 13 months of her life and for that, we are eternally grateful.

8. We have no idea what our daughter eats or how often, but we have read of one family that adopted their 22 month from China last year and she was only formula fed. 22 months old and had never had solid food, only 3 bottles a day.

9. Our daughter was given a Chinese name with a very generic last name. Most of the kids in that orphanage are given the same last name. We are SO excited to give her our last name!

           10. We will change her first name and her last name, but we are keeping her Chinese name as her middle name. If one day, she would like to go back to her Chinese heritage and be called by her Chinese name, she will be able to do that without having any legal issues to change it.

11. We have pictures and two videos of her and we look at those every day! We will not be sharing those pictures on any social media until we get home, or have permission from our agency. We want to respect our agency's ties to China and do not want to cause any problems by posting things before we finalize everything in China. However, if you see me, I have those beautiful pictures on my phone and would love to gush over them with you!

12. We are fortunate to have a few newborn pictures of her. Fortunate because many families do not have pictures of those first few weeks. However, they are very difficult to look at, as she is in the nicu with cords and wires and she is screaming.  It is heart wrenching. That sweet newborn baby was by herself in that nicu, and I hate that. I am so thankful for the medical staff that worked on her and kept her safe, but those pictures are just one more reminder of why she needs a family and why we need to bring her home.

13.  UNICEF estimates that there are 132 million children in the world that have lost one or both parents, the true definition of an orphan. This is a staggering number. We are choosing to  make that number one less. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How can change the orphan crisis? One child at a time.

In celebration of our Little Lady’s 13 months on this planet, we are asking that you join us and give to her orphanage donation. Help us provide for the other children that are still waiting for their forever family.
 Click HERE to partner with us.

*removed for privacy sake until we are home with her


Friday, May 19, 2017

And then the phone rang...

5 days after my last adoption post, I woke up feeling down. I got online and saw that another family was going to China to adopt. They were leaving in week. I was so sad. I was so happy. It was such a bittersweet thought. Happy that there is now one less orphan, one more baby that was rescued from an orphanage, but yet, my heart ached. Where was my baby? Where was my little one?

And as life always does, I moved on through my day. I packed up the boys and sent them off to school and I got ready to go to my weekly ladies Bible Study. I tried to not let the sadness of not knowing overwhelm me and concentrate on those around me. I was not very successful.

At the very end of my bible study, as we were packing up and saying good bye, my phone rang. I had been getting a lot of spam calls, so when I saw it was from Kentucky, I just silenced it.

Wait. Kentucky is where our adoption agency is located. They left a message. My heart raced. I grabbed Macy from her class as quickly as possible and I pretty much ran to our car. I listened to the voicemail that said it was our agency and to give them a call back.

I stilled my thoughts. It could be just a recap on our file, maybe questions about what to do while we wait. It could be anything.

It wasn't.

They had a file for us. They had a baby that they wanted to match with us. This was it.

I listened with tears running down my face. It was more than I was expecting. It was more than I had every thought. While we were open to so much,  and we would have been happy with whatever the file said, this file was exactly what I had been dreaming of, hoping in my heart of hearts. The Lord is so good to us. He knows those secret desires of the heart and He listens.

It's a GIRL!! A beautiful 12 month old baby girl.  We are so thankful and excited and shocked.

We are now officially matched with the cutest 12 month old baby girl that you ever did see. She is ours and we are working frantically to get her home to us.

In the past two weeks, we have been working, talking with doctors and filing SO many papers. We have had a few hiccups and we are working and praying to get those papers through the system so that it will not delay our travel to China, thus delaying bringing our girl home. One extra day spent in an orphanage is one day too many. We want her home.

How can you help?

First, you can pray for us. We need some seriously smooth paperwork to happen. No delays, no complications.

You can donate to our fundraising page. We are still frantically working on getting the $15,000 needed to bring her home. Click HERE if you would like to partner with us and be a part of bring our daughter home. We chose to use PureCharity so that your donations are tax deductible!

We are still doing her puzzle!! While our account at AdoptionBridge is no longer open, we are using every donation as a puzzle piece on Pure Charity.

We are doing a big yard sale. If you are local, we would love to help you get rid of some of your no- longer-used treasures. Also, tell your family and friends to come by the yard sale! June 8th-10th!

Celebrate with us! We are matched and we can not wait to introduce you to our daughter. We just need to get to China and bring her home.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Momma Heart

I will be celebrating my Mother's Day cheering on my boy in his very first big tournament and I am 100% ok with that.

As Mother's Day was approaching, I was thinking about motherhood and the many varied paths to it.

I am lucky to have a beautiful solid example of motherhood that I witnessed from my Great-Grandma, my Grandma and my mother. I was able to sit in all of their kitchens, and watch and learn from their examples. I realize how blessed I am to have known not only my Grandmother so well, but also my Great-Grandmother. Following in their foot prints has been one of my greatest privileges in life.

But this is not the case for everyone.

I know that this day is hard for many. Mothers that are no longer here, or were not around. Mothers that may have never been there in the first place.

I know that there are many that are longing to be mothers and are not.

I know that there are mommas who gave up their babies, babies that will one day be adopted by another momma.

I know that there are women that may not be biological or even adoptive parents, but whose love and devotion is the same to those around them.

They all have that momma heart.

For the momma heart is not grown from purely a biological birthing. No, motherhood can take all shapes and forms. That is the beauty of the momma heart. It shows no preference. It only shows love, pure unconditional love.

That momma heart is so strong. So brave. It rallies for their loved ones with a fierceness of a great warrior. That momma heart gives selflessly.

So today, I salute that momma heart that is alive and beating in so many of us.

Keep giving, keep sacrificing, keep loving.

Keep beating those strong Momma hearts.