Abigail wasn't sure about all of the attention at first, but she warmed up to everyone before the lunch was over :)
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Abigail wasn't sure about all of the attention at first, but she warmed up to everyone before the lunch was over :)
Sunday, December 6, 2009
We drove into our driveway to this very appealing sight - our house super cleaned, lights on waiting for us, and decorated :) Thank you Sabrina, Misti, Erin & Emma, and all others that made it such a special place to come home to!
With Much Love,
Monte, Missy, & Abigail
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
On Tuesday morning we went to the Chen Clan Academy. It was beautiful...wish we had taken more pictures and had a little more time to look around.
We had our Oath Taking Ceremony at the U.S. Consulate that afternoon - which is the final piece in the adoption process. When we land in San Francisco, Abigail Weaver will officially be an American citizen!
We ate at a Dim Sum restaurant in the hotel that evening. It was quite an experience...good food and good atmosphere.
For the afternoon we went back to Shamian Island for a little more shopping and to get the group photo on the red couch at the White Swan Hotel. The White Swan was a beautiful hotel and had lots of room to sit and walk around in lobby areas. We really liked everything about our hotel except for the lobby - it doesn't really have any areas to just sit.
Love - Missy
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
That evening we went back to this Italian Restaurant that is not far from our hotel. We had been there for lunch once before. The other families went that evening too. It was very fun to be with all of the families again, and the food was good. We met a waitress that speaks Cantonese. She and Abby have become friends :)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Oddly enough we spent the Friday after Thanksgiving visiting a shopping mall and market square in China. However, there were not any huge Black Friday sales! We thought we were going to a park again, so we were a little disappointed to be going to a shopping mall instead. It was another shared first experience, though.
This picture is of Daddy and Abby as she plays on her bed. She loves to have all of her belongings around her. She pretty much entertains herself, but she loves for us to play too.
This picture is of Mommy and Abby at the market square. Abby was a little nervous in this environment. There were lots of people around and a lot of action going on.
This last picture is of Abby playing in the afternoon - again with all of her stuff around her on her bed. Missy had just put a bunch of clips in Abby's hair - she loved them, but her hair was still too short for the clips to stay for very long.
Thanks for letting us share our day with you and thank you for your prayers!
Monte & Missy
The day started with a very traumatic visit to the medical clinic for the formality of a medical exam that all adoptive children must have before they can travel to the U.S. Because Abigail is 5 she must also have a TB test before she can travel. It was a morning of fear and many tears. Please pray with us for her fear of doctors - that the Lord would give her peace and strength. It is clear that she has many bad memories of those 3 months alone in the hospital earlier this year. The Father has created her with such a strong determination...she is very resilient. There will be many Dr visits when we get home, so please keep praying for her and us. We had Pizza Hut instead of turkey dinner! It is a bit fancier here...many eating choices on the menu. We're fairly certain that Abby had her first ice cream - it was very funny :) We have a hilarious video of it that we will have to try to post when we get home.
We started praying that the Lord would bring us together with our Chinese daughter for Thanksgiving 2008 soon after our paperwork arrived in China in Oct 2007. When that didn't happen we were a little unsure of the timing to pray for next. We began praying that we would know her when we saw her as we joined the Waiting Child Program with our agency America World. And know her we did when we saw her beautiful face in May of this year! We obviously didn't want to pray for Thanksgiving but rather for travel at the end of the summer, but the Lord had other plans. When we prayed for Thanksgiving 2008 it was because the Lord had impressed upon on us what a blessing our daughter would be to us - not just us to her. Now it is most fitting to know her on this Thanksgiving - that even through her illness she is such a great JOY and truly a blessing - not at all a burden to care for her. We have so VERY much to be thankful for this year! We are thankful that Jesus brought us together with our Abigail (we chose the name because it means father's joy - and she definitely brings us GREAT JOY)!
We are thankful for Rosa as our guide - it is clear that she cares deeply for the children and for their families. We are thankful for Abigail's caregivers - they obviously loved her well. We are thankful for our family and friends at home in the U.S. that are praying for us and our little girl. And most all, we are thankful for Jesus coming to this earth, dying on the cross in our place, and rising again. We are thankful that He offers us grace and adopts us into His family!
Love - Missy
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
After a buffet style breakfast (btw, Abigail is a great eater), we headed out to see some of Abby's hometown of Guangzhou. It is a major city - the capital of the Guangdong Province. Millions of people live here. We visited one of the largest parks here. Rosa (our guide - who is wonderful in so many ways!) told us that Guangzhou has 50 parks. This particular park had a playground/amusement park. We were excited to find some things that Abigail could play on...we found ourselves wondering how long it had been since she had been to play in a park. She had a great time and was tired enough to take a nap after we ate some McDonald's in our hotel room!
We had an extremely quick "interview" for the adoption that afternoon. Then we visited the Memorial Hall, which is built in memory of a doctor that founded the democratic revolution here in China to overthrow the emperor. We ended the day with an evening meal in a Japanese steakhouse here in our hotel. It wasn't quite the same as back home - we'll have to explain more later. Thank you for your comments, emails, and most of all for your prayers. We can't wait for everyone to meet our precious Abby :)
Happy Day Before Thanksgiving to you guys - it's Thanksgiving Day here!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We met this wonderful family - The Ambrose Family - at an adoption conference that we went to a few weeks ago. They own Adoption Bug. They make some really awesome adoption t-shirts. They also help other families by setting up a fundraiser site for their adoption. They rushed to get ours set up before we left and then we ran out of time before we left to send everyone the info.
So, here's how it works: We chose 4 different t-shirt designs. They are not all specifically about adoption so that anyone could be interested in them. There is a really cool one that says Faith, Hope, and Love in Chinese and English. We receive a portion of each sale to help pay any adoption and medical fees. We have read that one way to create a bond with a child is to where matching shirts. The 3 of us have the Blessed By Adoption shirt to wear on our flight home. We are ordering the others we have on our site to have when we return. How marvelous would it be for Abigail to see others wearing the same shirt and feel a bond to a much larger family! And for your own family it would be a bonding experience as well.
So, please visit http://www.adoptionbug.com/TheWeavers/ - take a look and maybe even make a purchase.
Thank for your support of love and prayers! Though we cannot read our blog or get on facebook, we are receiving your comments in email and they are most encouraging to us...THANK YOU :)
Monte's description seems appropriate - there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth as we left the meeting place. She was excited and received us well while her nannies were there. We've decided that the set up at the Civil Affairs office is not the best venue for meeting. As children see other children get upset it is like a chain reaction. Our Abigail didn't get upset until we were leaving the building. It broke our hearts to see her's breaking at the loss of her nannies - who obviously loved her very much. Once in our hotel room, it wasn't long until Veggie Tales Silly Songs dvd had her calmed down and even liking us again!
We also found that she loved the Signing Times dvds that Heather bought us! She has already begun picking up many signs and English words...she's one smart cookie :) Today we had to return to the Civil Affairs office to finalize the adoption. They asked the question - are you satisfied with this child? YES, of course...no no doubt about it! Two busy days down...a little more relaxing tomorrow - sightseeing around Abigail's hometown.
One last thing, thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for the 3 of us. Especially for Abigail - it seems that she is afraid to sleep. She woke many times last night whimpering, and today at nap time she began to cry.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We received official Travel Approval (TA) from China yesterday morning! We will be headed to China this week! We'll meet Abigail on Monday (Sunday evening TX time)!
We are a little overwhelmed with what we have to get done before we leave, but oh so excited! Thank you for your prayers! We are so grateful that God chose to act now and answer those prayers by doing just what we asked! It truly has been a miracle to see things unfold as they have in such critical timing. Even with our paperwork being delayed in Anchorage and then Japan last week, China approved our TA in just the right time! Only the One True God could orchestrate such a turn of events...and all of the glory is His!
We aren't sure if we will be able to post to this blog while in China, so we're working on some other ideas. If you've been to China and blogged while there, any advice would be most helpful...we're looking for the least expensive option??? :) We will email if nothing else, and then post when we return.
We humbly ask that you continue to lift Abigail and us to the Father in prayer. Here are some of our specific prayer requests:
- Healing for Abigail
- Bonding and attaching with our Abigail
- Safe travel to China and back
- Abigail's province to set earlier appointments for paperwork processing so that we can get her home sooner
- Monte's knee to heal and recover full range of motion - he's prepared to be miserable during travel to meet his little girl :)
Monday, November 9, 2009
Our agency requested us to compile a list of questions from our doctors and from us. They felt that because the update was from April that there was grounds to request more info. So, our list of questions was sent to the orphanage on Thursday of last week. We received answers to those questions today. However, these answers still do not tell us much.
America World asked us to collect some documents today - and they will send our RA back to China tomorrow - which begins the process of waiting for TA (Travel Approval). So, here is where praying for the miracle comes in. Our Father moves mountains and He has loved our daughter before we even knew her. He holds the three of us in His mighty hand. We are asking Him to move this TA mountain and take us to our little girl and get her the care she needs. Will you join with us in praying for a miracle for our Abigail?
Monday, October 26, 2009
We still wait..with no new information. The silence is unbearable at times, but we know our Father is not silent. He is at work. Our comfort and strength is found in knowing that we are waiting on the One who holds our daughter in His hand while at the same time holding us firmly in His hand as well.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. - Psalm 130:5-6
Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for our Abigail and for us.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. - Psalm 33:20
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Please Pray for her as you see her beautiful face.
I started to title this post after something we sent to our Family Coordinator on Thursday - "tears of joy on Tuesday and tears of another kind on Thursday." But I realized that might leave the impression of us being it great despair. Do not misunderstand, we are grieving and feel a little helpless as we wait in what seems a dark time. But Jesus is GOOD and He is Sovereign over all things! We have had a great sense of His peace - no doubt because of the many that are praying for us and our precious Abby. We need your prayers - our daughter desperately needs your prayers. Thank you for remembering to intercede for us.
For those that do not know, here is a recap of this emotional roller coaster of a week:
- Monday Oct. 12 we received RA from the CCAA and were told we would most likely travel to bring her home at the end of November - what great JOY we experienced!
- Wednesday Oct.14 the official LOA packet arrived. We signed it and FedExed it back to our agency for them to send back to China on Friday - what an exciting day!
- Thursday Oct. 15 our Family Coordinator(FC) called to tell us the very difficult news about the health of our daughter. We are so thankful for the staff of AWAA. Before hanging up, she prayed with us - for us and for Abigail. After hearing the horrific news, her prayer was such an encouragement. They truly care for us and our daughter.
Here is what we know:
About 3 weeks ago we contacted a third party organization called Ladybugs and Love from Above to request an orphanage call because we were still waiting for RA at that point. We mainly just wanted to see new photos and get new measurements. Well, the week after we requested this call the Moon Festival (which shuts down most things in China for about a week) occurred. We were contacted by them through email the Friday of that week to let us know the delay was because of the festival. Then, Monday the CCAA was back up and running - and our RA arrived. When our FC called on Thursday we were overwhelmed to say the least. Ladybugs and Love from Above had called our agency when they found out about our daughter's illness. She has been diagnosed with spinal acute myelitis. We found a very helpful explanation on the website of Children's Hospital of Boston. It is very serious - currently she is bedridden - unable to walk and without bladder/bowel control. We don't have any details as to when she contracted it, how long she has had it, or the treatment she is being given. At this point our FC has told us that the CCAA and the orphanage will have to decide if it is still in her best interest to be adopted. It could be another 1-2 weeks before we hear from China.
Please PRAY for these:
- healing of her body
- for her to receive good treatment
- for the CCAA and the orphanage to allow the adoption to proceed(we want her to know that she has a family that is waiting for her)
- that she would not be scared...grace and peace for her painful state
- peace for us as we wait to receive more details (it's very hard to think of her in such pain without her family there to comfort her)
- that we will receive an update from the orphanage
A couple of final thoughts:
1) Monte & I do NOT want anyone in the process of adoption or considering adoption to be discouraged. Though this pain we are currently experiencing is not what we expected, we would do it all over again for the life of a child and for what it has meant in our walk with Jesus. We have known Him like never before throughout this journey. Last night, at our revival service, Monte voiced that through this Jesus is about conforming us to His image and that is not without pain. Our faith muscle is being strengthened and we are growing in His love...and all because of a little girl that we call Abigail.
2) We do NOT want anyone to think that our adoption of a child that may not ever recover is some noble or honorable act that we feel obligated to. We believe Pan Zi He has been our Abigail long before we ever saw her face in May. The Christmas of 2006 we were burdened that there was a daughter waiting for us in a Chinese orphanage. There is no doubt that she was that daughter. Much more noble and honorable things have been done by men and women greater than us. We are simply trying to bring our daughter home.
We have tears of JOY at the very thought of our precious daughter.
We thank you for your prayers and ask that you continue praying.
Monday, October 12, 2009
If you look at our timeline on the left side of the page you will notice that we sent our dossier (big packet of info about us) to China (which is known as DTC) on October 12, 2007. And now - TODAY - October 12, 2009 we have that long-awaited phone call telling us that we have Referral Acceptance (RA)!
What a joy it is to share the LORD's answer to our prayers - though it may not have been in the timing of our choosing or even in the way in which we thought at the beginning of this journey - He is GOOD! She has a family and we have a daughter all because of His faithfulness. His adoption of us is all the more real on this day. He seeks out His sons and daughters and He waits for them with His everlasting love.
More to come...
Saturday, October 3, 2009
You may already be in the know of the plethora of swapping clubs available out there, but we recently learned of this one - Swap a DVD. We have been cleaning out our dvd collection, and this seems like a great way to get rid of the ones we don't want anymore and get some we'd like to have. There are so many movies that we own that we've decided are just not what we want in our home, and many others that we'd like to have. Rather than go out and buying everything that we want and trashing what we don't, we started looking for other options.
Here's how it has worked for us so far. We posted 17 or so movies on Thursday night. We immediately had 6 requests for 6 different movies because other members had placed them hold for when they became available. Our responsibility is to print out the label, wrap or package the dvd, and then mail it off at our expense (which was $1.90 each). We will receive a credit for each movie we sent out when they are received by the other members - which means we can request movies ourselves. We also got one free credit just for posting our first 10 movies. We have a request out for a movie with that free credit right now. Most of the movies require 1 credit to request - the credits required match the number of discs of the particular requested dvd. We created a wish list of movies we'd like to have. The wish list helps to request movies as they become available. Did I mention that this is all FREE??? They do tell you that at sometime in the future they may have to charge a $10-$20 annual fee for maintaining the site, but will notify all members with the option to leave. No credit card is required to join, so there's no fear of getting charged something without your knowledge of it. We're trying it out and thought others might want to also! Oh, and they have a book swap and a cd swap as well. We're definitely checking those out too!
Next post we'll share an update on our waiting to be united with Abigail.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
We know that some RAs have come in for AWAA families over the past few days, but we haven't received a call yet. We've also read that TA (Travel Approval) has slowed down - so most of these families receiving RA will not travel until mid-October. Let's PRAY that it's a lot sooner than that!
Oh, and another nifty thing going on in this Weaver home is media fasting for the month of August. Apparently every year FamilyLife challenges their staff families and listeners to fast from t.v., movies, video games, and the like. We've done things like this before and it's really pretty cool - we're actually reading some books in the massive collection we have accumulated! We do have limited time for internet use - obviously since I'm posting : )
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Last week was our Vacation Bible School - it was a blast! Our modem/router went out that Wednesday evening. So, we were disconnected from the world - not really, but isn't it strange how it feels like that without the internet now??? Anyway, we had to travel to Mesquite to track down a new one, and didn't get it up and running until about 45 minutes before time for VBS to start. We opened our email to find a lovely message from our FC at AWAA!
On Thursday June 11th we received Pre-Approval from the CCAA's Special Needs Department!
"The PA is issued electronically once the information from the Electronic Acceptance has been reviewed and approved by the CCAA’s Special Needs Department.
Once the CCAA has fully reviewed your Dossier and application to adopt a specific child they will issue the Referral Acceptance (RA). How quickly the PA was received has no relation to how long it will take to issue your RA.
Because your family’s dossier has not been reviewed by the CCAA, current trends indicate your RA can arrive 3-5 months from the day your EA was submitted. Please note this is based on recent trends and is not an official timeframe given by the CCAA. This is subject to change at any time.
Please remember that once you have received your Referral Acceptance (RA), you are welcome to send a care package to your child. "
One more step toward bringing her home!!! We can't wait to get that RA and send her a care package! Our specific prayer requests at this point are:
- ability to learn and retain some Chinese
- breakdown communications barriers between her and us
- wisdom in discipline and care for her
- the Lord to prepare her to become part of our family...take away any fears and comfort her in her sadness of leaving behind all she has known
- the Father's continued financial provision
- that we can travel to bring her home ASAP
We have sooo much to do in paperwork and just getting her room prepared - it's a bit overwhelming at times! Just do the next thing, right? Thank you once again for your interest and your prayers.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Warner Brothers Pictures will be releasing a horror movie on July 24th called “Orphan.” The film is about a couple who decides to adopt a 9-year-old girl from a local orphanage who “is not what she appears to be.” The message portrayed about adoption and orphans, particularly older children, is extremely negative. One of the quotes in the movie is, “It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.” All of us, as adoptive parents, know that adoption is a great blessing and gift from the Lord. This film’s message is completely contradictory to the “Spirit of Adoption” message.
We encourage you, your friends and your family to protest this release by signing an online petition (http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/OrphanMovie) and by contacting your local theaters, as well as Warner Brothers Pictures, to voice your concerns about this movie.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522818-954-6000
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
For those of you that don't about the Waiting Child, here is the lowdown. America World, just as many other adoption agencies, has a list of children given to them by China that have a variety of special needs - the needs range from some that require very little extra care to major care. Some of these children are simply listed here because they are out of the age range that most families are seeking - that means that their special need is that they are an older child. We've seen it stated somewhere that the age at which a child joins the waiting list is 6 in China. To say all that, we had been intending to join the AWAA Waiting Child Program for some time - joining doesn't affect your place in line for a "healthy" infant unless you pursue an adoption with a child on the list - in which case you move out of the "healthy" line and pursue that adoption with the waiting child. So, AWAA has children assigned to them by China - and they also receive what is known as shared referrals.
Shared referrals are sent out by China to all agencies that they work with in order to increase the opportunity of finding these children families. Since we joined in February, we have reviewed 5 shared referrals. These are very time sensitive - meaning that we had a very short time to decide what to do. We were the only AWAA family looking at each of these children at a given moment, but across our country and even the world other agencies were reviewing them with familes. So, you can see prayer was extremely important in reviewing each of these children. Just to clarify, we didn't review them all at one time. AWAA allows one family to review one child at a time - which is wise...these are lives that are being reviewed on paper and in photos. There are also steps in place - 1) review the child with your spouse, 2) have a doctor review the child and share about the care needed, 3) Lock down the file with the intent to pursue adoption of the child 4) 48 hours from locking the file down the agency must send in a letter from you describing why you want to adopt that particular child and how you will care for their needs - this is known as Electronic Acceptance (EA).
We got the call for the first shared referral a week after we turned in our application for the program, and after that we saw a new one each month. We almost made it to step 3 with the second and third shared referrals we saw, but the LORD had other plans because they were already being pursued by other families somewhere in the world. In all honesty, those were difficult days - to be so close(we were less than 15 minutes late for the third referral which we saw just a couple of weeks ago) to the child you think the LORD might have for you only to see them joined with another family...very heart wrenching. But God is sooo GOOD!
The LORD has shown and taught us great things through this process.
When we began this journey, we were thinking our first Chinese daughter would be anywhere from birth to 18 months. We saw us adopting older children at some point, just not in the beginning. It wasn't long until God broadened our thinking. Many of you know that this past summer and then again during spring break of this year we took our church to work at Rio Bravo Children's Home in Reynosa, Mexico. We know that one thing the LORD showed us in Reynosa was that if we could've brought any of those children home to be a part of our family we would do it in a heartbeat...no matter the age. After we returned home in March we received a shared referral for a 3yr old...she wasn't ours, but through her - God settled the question of a 3yr old. Another shared referral came for a 3yr old, and again she wasn't our's. The next day we received an email with shared referral photos of children that our agency was unable to match with families. We looked at the email as we always did. There was a precious little girl that completely stood out to me. She was 5 yrs old though, so we closed the email and continued to wait.
We were getting ready to leave for a visit with family in Oklahoma the next day - and all of a sudden her face was in my head and I couldn't forget her. So, Monte and I discussed asking to review her file. We had crossed the bridge of a 3yr old - why not a 5yr old? We agreed and emailed AWAA our request.
During the drive up to family we discussed what it would be like to suddenly have a 5yr old - the challenges and the learning. Her being a 5yr old became less and less of a factor. We were disappointed to find the email stating that her file had already been locked by another family somewhere in the world. It seemed that God had broadened our thinking and enlarged hearts only to say again "Not Yet."
There was another little girl in this same group of shared referrals that had caught Monte's eye - she was 6 and 1/2 - so we asked to see her file. She was still available. I should probably interject at this point that each of these children we've reviewed do each have medical needs. After a LOT of prayer over that weekend we just didn't have the LORD's guidance to pursue her adoption, so we sent her file back Monday morning.
About 5 minutes after sending that email the phone rang. It was our AWAA Family Coordinator(FC)...and the 5yr old was available again. This doesn't happen often, but if paperwork is not submitted in that 48 hour timeframe or if a family decides against pursuing the adoption then China resubmits the child to the database. Our FC asked if we would still be interested in reviewing her file...well, of course - we most definitely would like to learn more about her!!! So, we went through the steps and made it all the way through this time! What a marvelous work the LORD has done! A HUGE thanks to Bob and Crystal for their timely medical input! Our EA was sent Tuesday - May 12th! Now we just wait for China to approve our acceptance of her - which is called Referral Approval (RA).
We can't post her picture or give many details about her until we receive the RA. Just know, though, she is a CUTIE! What a great JOY it is to have finally seen her face! Now, we are diligently completing an online course about adopting an older child because it is required to be done before we receive the RA. We're trying to learn some Chinese. Our home study is being updated again so that we can get USCIS approval for an older child. We're trying to get our house in order...especially her room! Gotta figure out what exactly a 5yr old needs because our family and church family want to have a shower for us...any input out there? And last but certainly not least, we're tallying up our finances and the upcoming expenses! So, please add any and/or all of these to your prayers for us. Also, please PRAY that the LORD prepares her little heart for us just as He is preparing our's for her. Thank YOU!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I came across this book drive for some children in Guatemala over at Journey of the Heart. Here is a snippet of info:
The books will be going to the library in Tierra Linda that Dave from Connexions is trying to get up and running and the other half to the Los Robles school!! You can purchase books especially for them and they will be shipped here for FREE and then on to Guatemala via Medrano. OR You can choose to purchase books for your family and the total of your order will help the school to earn free books!! If we can reach a goal of $500 we will then begin to earn 50% of free books!! Please take a moment to look at the site ad consider helping us to stop the cycle of illiteracy in Guatemala!! Learning to read can mean BIG changes in the life of a child!!
The book drive will end May 26th, so if you're interested head on over to http://www.ubah.com/BF31840
Friday, May 8, 2009
Children's Hope Chest
Attn: Ethiopia Formula Drive
9240 Explorer Drive, Suite 202
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Please indicate "Ethiopia Formula" in your correspondence and in the check memo line.
Would YOU join us in giving for this formula so that one more child might live and grow as they wait for their family...what a wonderful surprise if that family turned out to be YOU or us???
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
- The safety and provision for Abigail and her birth family
- For God to change the hearts of those in charge of adoption in China - that children would not have to grow up in orphanages when families wait to bring them home
- The Lord has graciously provided for us throughout this journey - and as it extends with more expense we humbly ask Him to continue that provision
- That we will know Abigail when we see her in a referral
- That the Father would bring us together with Abigail this year
Thanks for joining us on this journey. We are very grateful for your interest and prayers.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Look at that beautiful Spring theme in each item!
Monday, March 30, 2009
LIFE...we have all of these arguments about when it begins and not so many about when it ends.
I just want to share an observation from my own experience that became very clear to me as I watched the story found in Bella.
It was the late 70s. My mother was beginning her senior year of high school. She had plans to go to pharmacy school...and many other big dreams I'm sure. I interrupted all of that. She graduated from high school while raising me with the strong support of family. Then, she did go get that pharmacy degree.
Most of us know that by this time Roe vs. Wade had legalized abortion in the U.S., and it began in the state of Texas. According to a chart of historical abortion statistics for Texas, there were over 50,000 lives snuffed out by means of abortion the year that I was born. What a sobering thought it is to think that my life was not one of those lives.
So many people must have told my mom how much "easier" it would be to have an abortion. She could've finished high school just like every other carefree teen. She could've avoided a marriage that ended in divorce. No one would have ever had to have known, and no one would have looked at her differently.
I am so grateful that she chose LIFE - that she chose me over her own convenience. I am so thankful that she doesn't have to bare the painful scars of choosing to end a life. I love that she was my mommy when I was happy, sad,scared, well or sick. I enjoy her friendship now more than ever. I anxiously await the day that she can hold her granddaughter and many other grandchildren.
LIFE...it is most definitely a gift from the Father. I will always treasure the truth the He is Creator and Sustainer of all LIFE. And I will always treasure the mother in whose womb He created me.
I love you mom,
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This is probably at the top of my list of favorites. It reminds me of those fairy tale endings. Jeremy & Christy did such a fantastic job with every shot that was taken...thank you guys so much - it means even more that our memories were captured by friends!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Please pray for wisdom concerning our church's mission trip to Rio Bravo Children's Home in Reynosa, Mexico. Violence has increased between drug cartels and the Mexican army all along the border - so there are some safety concerns. We went here last summer and had a wonderful experience. The staff and children are amazing! Mission trips must be much of their source of income. Please pray for God's provision and care for the enitire facility.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Monte finally converted me to the love of coffee sometime in 2008. On our quest to learn how God wants us to be involved in orphan care beyond adoption, we came across some delicious coffee that supports orphans. Gobena Coffee is the name - and they have a great story. A family began this work in response to what they encountered after adopting their daughter from Ethiopia...go HERE to learn more. Around Christmas 08 we placed an order for 5 different bags of whole bean coffee (free shipping when you order 5 or more plus we just really wanted to try each of them). We gave one bag as a Christmas gift. The first bag we tried was Ethiopian...and it was different than any we've had before...very much a change of pace - a distinct fruity flavor(you non-coffee drinkers may not get that...give it a try anyway). We are now into a bag of Guatemalan, and WOW it's really good as well...a smooth medium roast. 3 BIG positives about their coffee: Organic - Fair Trade - Shade Grown. And on top of all of that 100% of the profits are being reinvested in the lives of orphans!!! Does it get any better than that?
We've also tried Saint's Coffee and really like it as well - 1/3 of their profits go back into the lives of orphans. Their beans are roasted-to-order and shipped exactly when their ordered. We tried a bag of Decaf and their Christmas Sampler box. The sampler box was grounded, but they were all still very good...St George the Dragonslayer Blend was our fave. The Decaf was whole bean, and it was stamped as roasted within just a few days of our receiving it.
So...if you are a coffee drinker, there are some great options out there that provide an opportunity to enjoy some awesome coffee and support orphans around the world, as well as give a fair share of the revenue to the farmers growing the coffee beans - which in turn helps eliminate poverty. If you're not a coffee drinker, maybe you should give it try like I finally did...of course with an adequate amount of creamer and LOTS of sugar or vanilla syrup!!!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Creation brings an offering,
As autumn leaves turn to gold,
The trees bow down in highest praise,
Now made bare before Your throne.
The western sky an amber blaze,
At the end of the day,
For everything must die to rise again.
The winter’s chill, a bitter cold,
As sin and shame leave us to fall,
The clouds now full of newborn snow,
For grace to come and save us all,
Within the darkest night of man,
Was found Your saving hand,
For everything must die to rise again.
On the third day, behold the King,
On the third day, death has no sting,
On the third day, we’re forgiven and reconciled.
The earth it groans in labor pains,
As flowers stretch to heaven above,
Your creatures sing the prophet’s song,
To be a gift of selfless love.
The sun is rising in the east,
And Your spirit is unleashed,
For everything must die to rise again.
And so we wait in joyful hope,
For You to come and take us home,
And so we join beneath the cross,
In suffering from whence we go.
The greatest act of sovereign grace,
In the universe displayed,
For everything must die to rise again.
On the third day, the saints rejoice,
On the third day, we lift our voice,
On the third day, united and glorified.
What powerful lyrics! My fave line is "For everything must die to rise again." It is so amazing how God the Creator gave us knowledge of Him all throughout His creation. And the seasons - what a creatively beautiful way to teach us. Take a look and listen below.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It takes a few seconds to start up.
Well, let's see there is quite a bit to this answer. To begin with, it was short and simple...we had seen much about the need for adopting daughters from China. Steven Curtis Chapman and his family were our main influence. I think that they brought the idea of international adoption to the attention of much of the Christian community. I'll have to share a snippet about their story from a book I've read in another post. So, since we were aware of the need in China - from the very beginning our discussions were always about adopting from China. God planted that seed early on in our relationship.
It seems like from the beginning that we've always wanted to pursue 2 daughters from China. As we explore the world of adoption, we have discovered many other areas in which the Father has opened our minds and hearts.
I think if we are honest, which we want to be - as we looked at the adoption options before us international adoption appeared to be the "safest." Meaning the "safest" for us...there's not much risk in being in competition with birth parents. Oddly enough, I now find myself hoping that we will be able to discover some link to Abigail's birth heritage just in case she ever wants to search. We pray constantly that her birth parents will come to know the truth of the One True God and the gracious love found in Him so that if it never happens on this earth, one day there will be a great reunion in heaven.
One lesson we're learning on this journey is that birth and adoption are equal in the great Father's plan for a life. He creates the inmost being of each life in a womb and He sets the lonely in families. Children are entrusted to earthly parents by an amazing heavenly Father. An enormous responsibility and stewardship is given to each and every parent.
We see international and domestic adoption as equally great paths to build the family God has already planned out. So, now we would love to adopt domestically. However, there are some strict qualifications on adopting from China at this point in time. Now that we KNOW Abigail is in China, it simply seems wise to pursue international adoption first. Which is part of the answer to another question closely tied to this one, so I guess I'll end with this. In regard to any adoption or even birth of a child being "safe" I couldn't help but think of this from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - the children are asking the Beavers about Aslan:
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king I tell you."
Our Father is not safe, but He is most assuredly good. And the King of all Kings gives perfect gifts.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Because it is asked so often, we may not have very much of a response if and/or when you ask it. Please don't misunderstand any particular response that you may receive from us - we are grateful for your interest.
Our typical answer is something like this: Basically we're waiting on China at this point. Our paperwork is complete and sitting somewhere in an office at the China Center of Adoption Affairs (otherwise known as the CCAA). We are in this invisible, yet very real, line of families waiting to adopt. The current wait time has grown to 35-36 months. They base this on the time that families getting referrals (a referral is info about the child chosen for your family - once given the referral you must accept or decline within a very short amount of time) now have been waiting, which means the timeframe isn't set in stone - it can grow longer or shorter based upon any number of factors.
Unfortunately, it is already time to update our home study and renew some documents needed from our government. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of international adoption, you might find this a bit humorous - our fingerprints have expired and we must be re-fingerprinted! It's all part of the journey.
I think we might need to re-evaluate our answer to this question. Afterall, China is in the Father's hands...so, it's really Him that we're waiting on - and that is definitely a much more comforting thought.