Family picture

Family picture

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trusting comes around sooner than we thought

Looking down the tunnel before deciding to slide down.

Walking into the strong arms of his father, with the support of his brother behind him.

I choose these two pictures to show how we are feeling right now in the adoption process. I really debated about sharing this on the blog, but after talking to Kevin decided to go ahead. Since this next adoption is a journey God has put us on, just as our adoption journey to Philip was, then we need to show the entire journey. That means sharing our triumphs as well as the sadness that is bound to come along the way. For those of you following this blog because you are in the journey yourselves, maybe this will help you. Help you to not feel so alone when the journey gets hard, when you don't understand where God is leading, when you feel you might never get there or not know the way there.

When you follow God's sure leading to a place that is a little unknown, a little scary, don't you feel a bit like Ted and Philip do looking down the slide? Don't you want to see what's at the end of the slide before actually sliding down? We do. Kevin and I really have to fight that urge to find out the rest of the story before going on. We also feel a little like Philip navigating a tough piece of playground equipment. He concentrates on getting the right step, all the while his dad is really near guiding him and ready to catch him if he falls. His brother, too, is behind him supporting him along the way.

These pictures help me put into words the feelings we have right now. We know God is there. We know he is guiding us and helping us if we should fall. We also know that we have people who love and support us.

Last Thursday we found a picture on the Waiting Children's List. It was a picture of a little girl with a cleft palate and cleft lip. She was beautiful. And there was something about her eyes that we just couldn't get out of our minds. She definitely captured our hearts at first sight.


Up until that little girl's picture, no one had captured our hearts. They were all precious, but no one spoke to us. To make a long story short, we immediately felt this was our daughter. We contacted our agency, and they said somone else was already requesting her file, and they would call us if she became available. Kevin and I took her information over to our pediatrician anyway because we felt so strongly about her.

Later in the day our agency called and said that the other family had decided not to review her file. Did we still want to try to lock her in? Yes, we did. They said they would contact their Beijing office to see if she was locked in to another agency. They also said that she was one who needed a Log In Date to be able to do so. Big problem since we don't even have our home study completed yet. But then they said they would ask Beijing for a favor to waive that requirement and see where that led. Immediately upon hanging up from them, our doctor called to say her file looked fine. We just felt she might be our daughter from that point on. . . I know, I know. The shared listing on the Waiting Children's List is very difficult to manuever, and we know better than to get our hopes up. But we just felt that she was our daughter.

A Bible verse that had kept coming to mind earlier in the week swept across my mind. It was the verse in Proverbs that says, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all of your ways, and he will make your path straight." As it turned out, the next day we found out another agency had her locked in, so we could not review her file. We know this process. We know this kind of thing happens a lot! But we also felt she was our daughter! We don't know where this will go. Philip was also locked in before we could get to his file, and look what happened.

We fight the feeling of wanting to know what will happen, what's at the end of the slide. What we do know is that the Lord is still in charge. Whatever happens, he already knows the outcome. We are both very sad that it appears she is not ours. We even have shed more than a few tears over it since yesterday morning, but we keep holding onto that verse about trusting in God. He is in charge and guiding us. He is waiting to catch us with open arms if we should fall, and he knows the rest of the story.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trusting in the Lord

We are now in the process of collecting documents for our home study and our dossier. It is that up and down roller coaster ride of emotion beginning again - the uncertainty of the outcome mixed with the sureness of God's leading! When we look back over the last several months, we know that God has led and provided. Why is it that we still struggle when the next step, the next provision is not clear? Sure could use your prayers for the journey!

Pray for us to remember to walk by faith and not by sight. Pray for us to live Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Four years ago today

Half way around the world just four short years ago today, Philip's Chinese birthparents gave birth to a small baby boy. We will never know why they could not keep him, but in letting him go, they gave him a chance to find his forever family, the mom, dad, and brother he was meant to have all along! By God's amazing goodness, we were united with the young son and brother we were meant to have all along as well on June 23, 2008, our precious Philip's "Gotcha Day."

Today we want to wish Philip a happy first birthday home. We pray that Philip will someday know just how very much we all love him and how very much he was wanted. And we want him to know how very much his Father in Heaven loves him to orchestrate such a miracle in the way he came to his forever family. From beside a gate in a small Chinese village, to a Henan orphanage, to the Philip Hayden Children's Village outside of Beijing, to our waiting arms! What a journey!

We also want to remember Philip's Chinese birthparents. We can never begin to thank them for the beautiful gift we have received. They will forever be in our hearts! Today we pray that God will give them a peace about the son they had to leave - somehow whisper to their souls that Philip found his forever family and he found his way home!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Philip, Happy First Birthday Home!

This coming Thursday, March 19, will be Philip's fourth birthday. Wow! That's hard to believe. It was just a little under a year ago when we first saw Philip's picture on the Waiting Children's List! What a year it has been!

We had a big party for Philip's first birthday home on Saturday, March 14. In Philip's words, it was "a huge people." I think he understood that everyone was there to wish him a happy birthday, and he was happy about it. He understands more each day that not only do the three of us love him dearly, but he has so many, many other people who love him and are a part of his family, too. That's a beautiful truth about his life.

We had a blast watching him enjoy his party. Kevin, Ted, and I got a little choked up when we all sang "Happy Birthday." The biggest smile lit up Philip's face when he realized everyone was singing to him!

Happy Birthday Philip. We love you.

Our two sons - We continually thank God for them. They are more wonderful than we ever could have imagined!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday on Sunday!

Mom and her two sons

Dad and his two sons

A day in the park

Happy to be together

Things have been a little busy this week, and I am just now getting around to posting my "Thankful Thursday" post! Ted was home on spring break from college, we got ready to have Philip's first birthday party home, and we began the paper chase for our new adoption!


1. Ted home for spring break

2. Being able to celebrate Philip turning four

3. Family and friends who have welcomed Philip home with open arms

4. God's amazing blessings

5. Being able to share it all with Kevin

What are you thankful for this "Thankful Thursday" on Sunday? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Ted

We celebrated Ted's 23rd birthday on Valentine's Day. Philip helped mom clean before the party. Then Ted got a little "help" opening his presents!

Without a doubt, Ted was the best Valentine's Day gift we ever received!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Silent no longer!

When we first put in our adoption application with our agency, way back in the spring of 2006, Kevin and I thought "healthy baby girl." We held onto that thought for awhile. Around December of that same year, I began to follow different family adoption websites - ok no not really began to follow, but began to be obsessed with different family adoption websites! I poured over them daily from that time on! Sometime in the spring of 2007 or a little later I stumbled upon some websites where families were adopting children with special needs, usually minor and correctable needs.

That summer we took a vacation to one of the most beautiful places on earth- in our minds anyway, to the shores of Lake Michigan. We were doing laundry one night in a laundry mat in Traverse City. They had a computer in there, so of course I decided to check up on my adoptive families. One of my favorite websites was about a little boy named Jude who was at that moment being united with his forever family in China. It captured my heart! And it captured Kevin and Ted's heart, too! From that moment on we began to open our hearts to little boys with special needs. On that very vacation in a Christmas shop in the heart of Traverse City, we bought three little snow baby ornaments. One of them said "Sophie", the name we had chosen for a little girl. The other two were for Ted and maybe a little boy in our future?? Philip became a glimmer then!

Later in the summer another family posted about their trip to their new little boy in China, Isaiah Samuel. That family's blogspot also caught our eye. Both families had a deep faith in our Lord, and they believed that through God's leading, they had found their little boys. We called our agency and got on the "Waiting Children's List" and began to look at files of precious little children, all who had some kind of special need - big or small.

Those two websites eventually led to our little boy, Philip. What joy overflowing we have experienced since bringing him home last summer! You can view our journey to him by clicking on Journey to Philip under Blogs and Websites I Follow.

Even though we opened our hearts to adopting again near the end of this past summer, Kevin and I were still struggling with some worries well into October. We had prayed about it repeatedly but God seemed to be silent. Then one night I was reading Linn and DW's website (parents to Isaiah Samuel). I had already e-mailed Linn once about how Isaiah's story had inspired us to adopt Philip. Linn and DW were having a wonderful visit from another family who had also adopted from China. They were all sitting around a campfire looking at their two China miracles when DW asked, "Can you imagine where these two would be without adoption?" Linn's reply pierced our hearts. She said, "My only thoughts now are - if you are debating doing it again - end the debate - DO IT. If you have wondered about adoption - GO FOR IT! If you think you are too old - ICK SCHNAY - they will keep you feeling young!"

We immediately felt God speaking to us through this post. We had wondered and debated for about a month and a half if we should pursue another adoption, and now here was his leading. I immediately e-mailed Linn to tell her that whether she knew it or not, God had spoken to us through her words! She wrote back saying that she had originally planned to write about something cute the kids had done, but then she felt driven to write those words instead! God was silent no longer. The message kept hitting home with us time after time after that in sermons, Bible verses, and people. This was just how it was with Philip, too. We now had a clear direction.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

A bloggy friend of mine, Linn, has Thankful Thursdays on her family blog each week listing what she is thankful for that day. Some of the items listed are silly and funny, while some are very sweet and touching. It is such a wonderful tradition and always brightens my day to read. Now that we have a family blog, I would like to start that tradition. I'm sure it will make our family of four stop and see how blessed we are even when we are having a bad day. Thanks Linn for the idea!

When I was little, my mom would always tell me things like, "Stop and smell the roses" or "Count your blessing." I would usually just roll my eyes at Mom and giggle. Now I can see what wise advice that really was. I guess this is a way to stop and smell our roses and count our blessings, too! Here's to you, Mom.

I am thankful for . . .

1. Our God who is a mighty God . . . And his love
2. My amazing husband who is my closet friend
3. Our two awesome sons God has given us and our third child on the way
4. The love of our parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews -
what a blessing they are to us
5. The love of our friends, too
6. The miracle of birth and adoption
7. Pasta in any way, shape, or form
8. Ice cream sundaes
9. Our faithful puppy dogs
10. The support of others in the adoption community

I am thankful for helpers big and small . . .

and a silly moment with Daddy swimming
across the living room!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A seed planted in our hearts

Once we returned from China last summer, our resolve to begin a new adoption began to waver. It's not that we didn't want to have another child join our family. In fact, we couldn't get all of the children we had left behind in China out of our minds and hearts. It was just that we were tired and overwhelmed. And for the first time in 22 years we felt complete. When our family is faced with any dilemma, big or small, we pray and ask God what he wants us to do. That's what we did.

Then late August, early September an answer appeared. At that time I felt that I was pregnant! An impossibility to be sure from a couple who had struggled most of our married life with infertility issues and not something we had planned for at all!! But the fact was that I looked and felt pregnant. What was more, there was a cricket in our bedroom wall! It sang all night, and in the morning I kept thinking about that cricket and what crickets mean in China. I did some research and came up with articles that said crickets mean blessings and many children!! You can imagine how interested I was to find out more. Was God talking to us about a third child being added to our family? Were we really not complete as a family?

That's when I read this verse in Deuteronomy 7:13 It says, "He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land - your grain, new wine, and oil - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you." Whoa - did I just read that right? Could I really be pregnant (at my age!) and was he going to bless us with a way to finance this third child? I was on a leave of absence from my teaching position, and that is one of the issues we had struggled with - doing without my teaching salary and relying on my home tutoring business.

I know at this point some of you might be thinking, "Oh, no, here she goes again. Finding things that support what she wants to hear!" But over the years, I have learned to hear God's voice in many ways. One of them is through the Bible. It is God's living word, and I have found answers time after time to struggles I am facing. I have found answers addressing exactly what I have faced so many times and exactly what I have just asked in prayer. As a believer in Christ, I don't believe that is a coincidence. I believe with all my heart that he does speak to us through his word. It is powerful, and it is alive! More on that topic later. Kevin and I believed it so much that I took 4 pregnancy tests! Each one came back negative, but until the last one, I really felt I was pregnant. What did that mean?

It certainly peaked our interest and began to open our hearts to another child. Thinking that I was pregnant at almost 50 was a little scary. And one thought kept surfacing. . .if we were going to add to our family, we really didn't want to be pregnant - we wanted it to be through adoption! But here we thought we were pregnant, and if we were, then it was surely from God. We had to give it over to God and let him work out the details and the worries. As it turned out, I was not expecting a child in the physical way, but our hearts began to think "pregnant" in the adoption way again. They call it "paper pregnant" when you adopt because of the mounds of paperwork! Well, we began to think of ourselves as "adoption pregnant" again from that time on.