Monday, March 30, 2009

Court papers on their way!!!

We got "the call" tonight! :)  :)  :)  Julie called to say that our court papers will be overnighted and should be here Wednesday.  We are thrilled!!  Thursday we will need to get a million papers notarized and then "authenticated" with the state seal.  Pray for us Thursday!

One BIG step closer!  This puts us at roughly 4 months from "Gotcha Day."  We're SO HAPPY!!  

Thank you to everyone who is donating into our adoption fund!  We don't know everyone who has donated, but please know that you have warmed our hearts and have profoundly affected our lives (and Grace's life).  We are praying God's blessings on you and your families!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

God is so GOOD! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Amazing how we can pray fervently for something and then resist the very answer to our prayers! In the pre-dawn hours of today, my mind was awake and already pouring over the events of the past few months.  And that is when it struck me. of our biggest heartfelt prayers right now has been, "Lord, please prepare Grace for our family, and please prepare us for her."  We will be walking into the orphanage (her home) and taking her from all she is familiar with.  We want it to be a smooth transition for her (we do not want to take her screaming from the orphanage!).  So, our prayer has been for God to really prepare her little heart to recognize us as a daughter recognizes her Mama and Daddy and to go with us without fear.  And I tacked onto our prayer a simple, "And please prepare us for her.  AMEN."

And as I lay in bed in the dark this morning, I began to see the string of events in our lives recently...  We were supposed to receive court papers within 2 weeks; it has been EIGHT weeks, and we are still waiting.  We are waiting on immigration papers.  We are awaiting word on an adoption grant.  I've spent many frustrating moments waiting on one of our children who has recently begun to take a much longer-than-needed time to do almost everything.  Another child has been extra sensitive emotionally lately and has been acting out.  Yesterday I found myself having to slow down longer than usual in a public bathroom (3 times!!) as one child had overalls on and had to unhook them and rehook them (an event that I'm convinced took hours...meanwhile we're in a hurry!).  Then the other day as I was attempting to sew an apron, the sewing machine decided to have a fit, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.  I was almost in tears, and as my sensitive child hugged me, I said, "If I just knew HOW to fix it, I'd be's so frustrating to know how something is *supposed* to work but not to be able to do it."  And several times over the past few months, I've had episodes with my Kitchen Aid I'm making the dough for bread, I keep forgetting to turn the speed down on the lowest setting before adding more flour...with it on a higher speed, when I add the flour, the flour hits the kneading hook and then puffs up in the messiest cloud of flour that lands on everything (everywhere except in the bowl, of course!).  I keep thinking, "UGH!  I need to remember to turn down the speed before I add the new flour!"  Haphazard crazy things that happen in normal everyday lives, BUT as I thought on all these things today, I realized that THIS is the answer to my prayer.  All of this is part of the preparation for Grace to join our home.

I'm reading The Connected Child, which is a FABULOUS book for adoptive families to read.  It helps prepare the adoptive family to successfully connect an adoptive child to the family (particularly one with special needs or one who has spent the first formative years of her life in an orphanage).  And as I began to read this book, I realized that Grace is going to need a family who is patient enough to walk alongside her as she takes the slower pace at many things.  She is going to need us to be patient and compassionate when she is extra sensitive emotionally.  She is going to need a family who can sympathize with how frustrating it feels to know how something is *supposed* to work but to not be able to do it yet.  

In all these rather irritating (and higly frustrating!) events we've been going through, God is gently guiding us toward a deeper compassion and insight that is preparing us for Grace.  He's showing us that if we turn down the speed on our "mixer," we will be able to add Grace to our family without creating a mess.  AMAZING how life's lessons are perfectly tailored for what God is preparing us for!  Even more amazing that we KICK at these very things that are creating in us what we have been praying so fervently for!

May I NOT kick any more!  May I submit humbly to my Heavenly Father's loving pruning shears, knowing that cutting back the branches produces beautiful fruit.  And may my fruit be lots of PATIENCE!!  :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Announcing: Bring Home Grace Walk-a-Thon

Did I ever mention what GOOD FRIENDS we have?! :)  The Peersons are helping us put together an amazing walk-a-thon to help "Bring Home Grace!"  Homeschooling families are being invited to join us on April 30th for a walk-a-thon in a beautiful local park with a walking trail.  We have an INCREDIBLE grand prize gift bag worth about $150 (in gift cards and other prizes).  The grand prize will be awarded to the participating walk-a-thon family who raises the most money for our adoption fund (asking friends and family to sponsor them in the walk-a-thon).  (Must be present to win)  We've worked to make the process of getting sponsors very simple (we've created neat flyers and a simple sponsorship form). 

For those home schooling families who are reading our blog for the first time, WELCOME!  :)  We LOVE home schoolers around here!  :)  Please feel free to read our past posts to "catch up on our journey," not to mention looking at all our cute pictures of Grace.  :)  If you want to read a bit more about our story, you can click on Grace's picture in the upper LEFT corner of our blog; that will take you to our adoption fund page and our brief story.

If your family will NOT be able to join us for the walk-a-thon, I'm sure there will be other home schooling families who would love to have you as one of their sponsors to help them earn that Grand Prize!  :)  Or you can help us by donating directly into our tax-deductible adoption fund (click on Grace's photo in the upper LEFT corner of this blog).  EVERY donation, no matter how big or small, is truly a BLESSING to us and will impact Grace's life forever.  A little here and a little there really DOES add up!  In fact, if every person who hears about our adoption were to give just $10, we'd have all our adoption funds!  Amazing, isn't it?!  :)  

Thank you to the Peersons for all your hard work and sweet servant's hearts.  Thank you to all the home schooling families who will participate in our walk-a-thon (it should be a really wonderful event!).  Thank you to everyone who donates.  And thank you to everyone who is covering our adoption in daily prayer.  We've been encouraged by all the sweet support!  :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends :)

We have been so blessed to be able to walk this adoption journey with another family who is also adopting a little girl from the same orphanage in Taiwan.  We are hoping to be able to travel together to pick up our girls on the same day, so PRAY for our paperwork to get moving.  The Hyman family signed their papers 2 weeks ago, and we are still waiting to sign ours.  Again, patience seems to be the name of the game.  :)

Here is a picture of our Grace with the Hyman's little girl Lilly.  Aren't they both sweet?!  Now you know why we're having issues with patience.  We want our girls HOME!  :)

I find it very comforting and encouraging that God would give us friends to walk this road with us, AND He would also provide a friend for Grace in her orphanage.  We'd like for our girls to become pen pals as they get older.  They will always share a special bond.  Really, isn't GOD good?! 

Friday, March 13, 2009


Yesterday I cried all the way back from the mailbox because I had not received Grace's new pictures, and today I cried all the way back from the mailbox because I HAD received her pictures!  Happy tears...thankful tears!  I pulled the pictures out of the envelope and just stared at our beautiful treasure!  And look at all that hair!  Really...isn't she GREAT?!!  :)

We also received her update, and I was pleasantly surprised with how detailed it is!  They told us her weight, height, medical update, what she likes to eat, what she likes to do, etc.  They even included her nap times and her sleep schedule, and I cannot express how GOOD that is for my heart to know when she is asleep or awake.  I can look at our clock and say, "Well, Grace should be waking up right now."  :)  It somehow ties us together through the vast gap of time and space.

We've been praying every day for God to take care of her.  We have also had the privilege of "meeting" (online) her Reece's Rainbow prayer warriors who have been praying for her for a long time.  What a blessing to know that even before we knew of Grace, she was being covered in prayer!  And God has indeed taken good care of her.  She seems to be in an orphanage that cares for her, and she is doing so well.  She is even walking well on her own and is learning to walk up stairs with alternating feet!  Thank you to everyone who is praying for her.  Your prayers mean the world to us.   

We wanted to share her new pictures with you.  I just want to pick her up and kiss those cheeks!!  We're SO HAPPY to have some more glances of our Grace!   

Lessons in patience

I'm convinced that adoption puts us in "patience school."  I'm also convinced that I have been failing class on many days!  :)  

We were expecting to have court papers in hand within 2 weeks; instead, we've been waiting for 5.5 weeks (still no papers).  We were expecting to receive new photos of Grace in the mail yesterday, but they didn't arrive.  I walked back from the mailbox with tears burning in my eyes, and I began talking with my Heavenly Father. 

He reminded me that His Timing is perfect.  He reminded me that in order to keep peaceful inside my heart, I must focus on HIM, not the adoption, not Grace, not the empty mailbox, not the silent phone.  HIM!

And this morning during my quiet time, He reminded me that we will need PATIENCE in order to have a home where Grace can thrive to her full potential.  So, we're being grown in patience...He is preparing us for her arrival.  Definitely "patience school."  But, in the end, I know it will be very worth it.

James 1:2-4 "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes you way, let it be an opportunity for joy.  For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pictures from the Bring Home Grace Race

This morning our friends Shelby and John ran in their first race of the spring.  It was a 5K race, and they did so well!  They are wonderful runners, and they did the whole thing with SMILES on their faces!  Both received medals...Shelby won first place in her division, and John won second place in his division!  I told you they were WONDERFUL!!  We wanted to share some of the pics with our blog friends.  Aren't they great?!

For those of you who sponsored them for today's race, we THANK YOU so much for your donations!  Really...every single penny is a blessing to us, and we are so appreciative to each of you.  And for those of you who didn't get a chance to send in donations before the race, you can donate any time.  Just click on Grace's photo on our blog, and it will take you to our adoption fund page with all the information you will need.

THANK YOU, JOHN AND SHELBY for using your gift of running to help us bring home Grace!  What a precious gift!  :)

If anyone else wants to use their gifts and talents to raise donations to help us bring Grace home, we would WELCOME your gracious support.  Ideas are almost limitless...walk-a-thons, theme dinners, car washes, yard sales, EBAY sales, etc...lots of creative ways!  EVERY PENNY is a blessing and will forever impact Grace's life!  Thank you!!  :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

God adopted me!

The longer we walk down this road of adoption, the more and more we understand our own adoption into God's family. It really truly is the road of GRACE. I see so many parallels...

We CHOSE our little girl. We didn't choose her because she was "good" and not because she did great things. We didn't ask her to perform some great feat before we'd consider adopting her. Instead, we chose her because of our unconditional love for her. God chose to adopt me...not because of the good things I've done...but because of His unconditional love and grace. In fact, if being "good" were a qualifier for Heaven, I'd be OUT. But, because of God's grace, He chose me as His own.

Right now, in the orphanage, Grace owns nothing of her own. She shares clothes, toys and caregivers. But when we walk into that orphanage, pick her up and take her into our arms (and our family), she will become a Gamble. Everything we have will be hers too...not because she "earned" it but because we graciously give it to her because of OUR love for her. When God adopted me, I was a living in a pit. He reached down in His love and grace and picked me up (mix-matched clothes and dirty face and all!). All He had became mine...I have endless access to His love, His provision, His protection. I am His CHILD! With God as my Daddy, what could I possibly fear?

Adopting our new daughter comes at a great cost. As we near the final stretch in our wait to adopt her, we have a mounting pile of fees that we need to pay. The price is very high. But when people comment on how expensive adoption is, I can't help but think, "But not nearly as costly as my own adoption was." When God adopted me, He did it through the sacrifice of His only Son. Now, THAT is an expensive adoption! But LOVE will go to great lengths. How GREAT God's love is for me to adopt me at such an enormous price!

I pray that our adoption of Grace reflects with intensity the glorious way God invites each of us to be adopted by Him. All we need to do is believe, and God's grace and love do the rest.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One more step closer

This morning we had our appointment with immigration.   FYI for anyone going to their INS appointment...  They do not let you take your purse, coffee, cell phone, etc in the building.  You simply bring your appointment paper and your identification.  But the appointment was quick and easy, and the people working there know what they are doing. 

We expect the court documents from Taiwan very soon.  That will be the next big step, and it's a step we are looking very forward to because after we send the paperwork back in, we will get more pictures of Grace...and then our final 4 (approx) months of waiting will begin.   :)