Thursday, December 6, 2007

Homestudy paperwork.... done

We had to have a few things updated (paperwork-wise) for our China homestudy update as well as our new Taiwan homestudy....

I received the package in the mail from Christian Family Adoptions yesterday and worked on it immediately....

We needed new financials, new medical update, which, Derek is going to help us with, a criminal investigations consent, and new life sketches for each of our family members.

Today, we paid the big fee to ASIA to get started on the dossier.
Today, I also went to our local police station to get our criminal background letter for our dossier. It should be ready in a couple of days according to the police station.

We found out that Juline, our social worker will have to come here for a home visit, so I am praying God's FAVOR on us to make it happen before Christmas. We go to Hawaii in the middle of January so I really want to have this done before we go and have our homestudy sent to Taiwan very soon!

Aaron was at the hospital yesterday, talking to Jill from our church, whose daugher had been miraculously saved and recovering well in the hospital after a car accident. Aaron was talking to her about our China adoptions slowing WAY down and he mentioned to her that we'll be adopting from Taiwan in the meantime and she said, without knowing what has been going on with us..."I think this is about God's GRACE"... Aaron said to her that we had felt like she is supposed to be named either ANNA, ANNIE or GRACE (all means Favor, gracious, GRACE) and she said "How about Anna Grace? I really think that was God because we had been wondering what to do since we already have a family member that would be her cousin named Grace and we still really liked that name... So, now we can name her Anna Grace.... I think that's perfect!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Our New Journey begins....

Aaron & I have decided to adopt from Taiwan while we wait our referral of Selah from China!!! This came a bit suddenly.... I had been wanting to adopt another girl either before or after Selah, and knowing the timeline for referral for China increasing, we have been praying about a 2nd adoption... ofcourse, we had hoped by now that there would be some development in Indonesia, but since we are not hearing any word of that, we have given up that it will ever happen....

a couple days before thanksgiving, we received an email from Barbara Jajeh, who goes to Aaron's parents church. We met her and Daniel, and their 2 little girls from China in the fall. She had been talking with Barbro and asked about what is going on with our China adoptions, and Barbro had told her it has pretty much come to t stand still... So, she sent me a link to her agency, who had recently started a Taiwan program.

I casually asked Aaron, do you want to adopt from Taiwan, to which he said, tell me more about it.... I was shocked at first because he had turned down all of my attempts in the past with Guatemala and India but since Taiwan is very close to Okinawa and it is part of China, it really appealed to him and ofcourse, to me... so we prayed about it and basically felt the peace to go the next step... this was on November 27, 2007... the next day, I sent in the application by fax and by saturday, we had our first packet in the mail. ASIA had initially wanted to do our homestudy, but after talking with Christian Family Adoptions, it seemed easier just to go with them again because they seem to think they wouldn't need as much from us.

I had the initial disappointment of thinking we had to get fingerprinted locally, but thankfully, we found out we don't have to because we've lived in the state of Oregon for 5 years! THANK God!

So, now we are waiting for ASIA to send us the 2nd packet with info on how to proceed with the dossier.

I spoke with Mindy @Christian Family Adoptions and she said it would cost us $375 for the homestudy update for China (Oh, yeah, the INS office in Yakima called and said they need an updated homestudy for the CHINA I-171H so we get to do that simultaneously).... Isn't God's timing perfect, or what??

The only thing, according to Mindy that we have to do is our Present Life Sketch, 2006 Tax statement, Financial statement, a new application, and they will need to do a home visit for the Taiwan portion. So, Juline should be calling us soon! I hope.... I am praying we get to have our home visit before christmas so that we can hopefully have our homestudy in Taiwan by the time we go to Hawaii...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Disappointing email

I received an email from mom this morning about how their trip has been going so far.... they just returned from Manado, a town on the island of Sulawesi.... it is this town's hospital that Susi & Fenni have contacted to ask about a newborn girl. This is a town that Mom & Dad have never been to and it happened to come about that there was a need for them to minister there.... I had high expectation that when they were ministering there, God would orchestrate that they find our baby girl. I know it is crazy but everything really seemed to line up that way.... from the figurine given to me last December, to mom & dad being there right when the baby will be due (based on figurine).... and the increased faith God has been giving me about believing for a child from there.....

well, the email from mom talked about the bad roads in Manado, the meetings there, but no mention of a God-orchestrated meeting.... at the end of the email, it said "Talked to Susi and Fenni.... they have no word on a girl"

I don't know why that sounds so FINAL to me, but my heart just sank.... I am still trying to get myself UP from it. Maybe instead of trying to get myself "up"... I need to ask God to do it.

Maybe all of the "signs" were really not anything at all and I had put my hopes too much in those "things" and not enough in God Himself who wants to talk to me every minute... maybe I replaced "signs" for just plain 'ole relationship and asking HIM what He's doing. I think I am disappointed because I might have been wrong in what I thought was God.....

Aaron said something so simple yet profound.... He said "I think the signs were from God.... but I think God wants you to use the signs to build up FAITH but just rely on Him daily and when the road turns a way you're not sure it should, just ask Him.. "What are you doing right now, and how can I follow you?" So, today, I am laying it all down.... the "signs" the "dreams" the faith, the country of Indonesia. I no longer claim to know where our daughters will come from. I will leave that up to God.... I don't want to get so focused on "specifics" (i.e., due dates, Indonesia, etc...) that I MISS God if He were to present to me an opportunity that He is giving us. God, I don't know what You're doing and I will follow the road you have for me. I will not focus on things, but I will focus on YOU. I welcome any plans that seem like "change of plans" from my perspective. Adoption is something you laid in my heart and I don't want to limit you on how or where our children will come from. Heal my heart ~ let me Hear Your voice today. In Jesus' name.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Dream....

I woke up this morning at 6:39AM after having this dream....

In my dream, there was a stork with a baby in a white blanket, flying towards us...as the stork got closer, I knew that it was not a STORK, but an EAGLE carrying our baby...in my dream, I was SOOOO excited and then I woke up...

I have been asking the Lord to let me know through a sign or dream or something when our daughter is born so that I can celebrate in my heart and begin to really "see" her in my heart and pray for her.... I wonder if this was God telling me that she was born? I guess we'll find out....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I love what God is doing in my heart.

It's so amazing how God has changed my heart about adoption in the past almost 4 years since he layed this on my heart.... I started out wanting to adopt for the obvious reason of wanting a daughter... but it really did start out fairly shallow.... mostly wanting God to meet "my need" for a girl....(I'm not saying that those reasons are not good enough to adopt.... I think any reason is valid to adopt if God calls you to adopt) but as the doors kept closing on adopting... first with Indonesia, then with Cambodia ~ it made me dig deep down and search my heart.... I still DO want a daughter and I believe God will grant those desires because I think He put it there to begin with.... but all the details of what I felt like I wanted are starting to melt away.....when we had that opportunity to adopt Sherlly & Sharonne back in January, I feel like for us, it was a test... God has been beginning to show me little bit more of why we had to go through that.... Aaron & I really didn't want older children... we really wanted a newborn or an infant.... we definitely didn't want 2 toddler girls that were the same age as our Michael, either... not only that, they already had their own names, they spoke another language, they were taken care of by others as babies, and one of them was older than our Michael, which would throw off the birth order (These were all things that were important to me). Anyways, it really threw me off when that opportunity came by and I really had to give it to God....I told him that night... "God, you know what I want... you know that my desire is for a newborn or infant girl and you know that I want to name her... you know that having her as a baby is an important thing in my heart, you know that throwing off the birth order will take some getting used to....but in the end, I want YOUR PLAN... if these 2 girls are part of YOUR PLAN for our life, make it happen and change my heart and let Aaron & I both have PEACE about it and be in agreement..." Those are the words I spoke to Him and then... Amazingly, He changed my heart so dramatically and we said 'yes' to adopting Sherlly and Sharonne... when we did that, I had this CRAZY JOY that came over me... I suddenly felt FREE... I felt like this bondage of having to "have the ideal situation" was lifted from me. It was a tremendous feeling and I began to really, really get excited about the girls. I even felt like I truly wanted toddlers and I would not want a baby anymore....God had certainly transformed me. Anyways, I believe that the situation with the girls was something we had to go through in order for me to grow even more....I used to also think I DEFINITELY will NOT adopt a boy and that I didn't want to adopt any orphans from Africa.... Don't ask me why and please don't judge me.... it was just something I didn't want or I guess God hadn't given me the desire for that.... but now, this day, if there was a chance to adopt from Africa, I'd do it in a heartbeat... If there was a chance to adopt a boy, I think I would do it. My heart toward orphans has changed... I used to only care for the orphan that I would eventually adopt.... now, I truly ache for the orphans out there without parents. I am not sure what the future holds for my family and how many we'll end up adopting, but I believe God has still more changing in me to do...even though the process is painful, the results so far have been more than wonderful. God, I yield to You... make me desire only You and Your plan.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another trip to Indo and word about FAVOR

Aaron's parents are going out to Indonesia again on Sept 2 for about 5-6 weeks. I have been praying for the past 3 months about what God would want us to believe for when it came to adoption from Indonesia and after giving this over to Him in prayer daily, here are some conclusions:

1) He's given us a desire to adopt from Indonesia
2) He's given us someone that is looking for a newborn baby girl for us
3) He's given us a desire and a BIG dream that ONE day, we'll help coordinate other families to adopt from Indonesia.
4) He's given Aaron's parents the land (in the dumps) to build a women's shelter along with a children's home to one day house many orphans
5) He's given us the name Annie for our daughter from there and the name means "grace" or "FAVOR"....
6) The Willow Tree figurine, if it was given to me at the time of conception, means that our baby girl will be born EARLY Sept.

Now today, I was listening to my ipod on a teaching from one of my favorite pastors about God's FAVOR.... and in his message, He was talking about how when God's favor is ON You to orchestrate His will, He will use ANYONE to accomplish His will and in doing His will, You will have His FAVOR...I know that part of the reason it has been very difficult for me to REALLY have faith for an Indonesian adoption is that it is IMPOSSIBLE humanly to make it happen because of the laws of the country.... but this message by this pastor said, "God's favor goes beyond governments, people groups...in other words, God can accomplish whatever He wants However He wants and if it's His will, there is nothing a country can do to stop it! So, I had this renewed faith tonight to ask for God's FAVOR on us with adoption from Indonesia.... that God will cause the right child to be born at the right time and be placed in the right hands at the right time and that when the time comes for us to go get her in Indonesia, His FAVOR will be so strong on us that the gov't will allow us to bring her and that when this is done, the country will realize that they need to change their laws in order to allow these orphans to come to loving homes!!! THAT is my big dream, but more than it being MY dream, I believe with everything that is in me that this is HIS dream and plan for us... I also happened to come across an article today that Indonesia has the worst child trafikking problem with orphan girls (mainly) being sold into other countries for child slavery and prostitution. Now I KNOW that is NOT God's will for these children and I believe that He has called us to be a VOICE that will cry out for these girls and begin the process of restoring their lives. I have no idea HOW or WHEN He'll do this, but I believe He will accomplish it... My job is to PRAY and STAND IN THE GAP for these children that have NO voice. As I type this, I feel a righteous anger well up in me that will not take NO for an answer! I believe it's a mother's cry and I believe it is the heart of God. Lord, Let it be, according to YOUR plan. If this is You, keep stirring up this hunger inside me and let it spread to others.

BRING Annie to us. Release her to us ~ we ask for Your favor! In Jesus' name! AMEN!!!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mom & Dad are off to Indonesia..

Today, I spoke with Aaron's dad for a bit to say good bye since they will be gone for a month to Indonesia again for their ministry trip starting this sunday the 3rd.

They hadn't really expressed their thoughts about what Susi and Fenny had been working on for us as far as the newborn they are supposedly trying to keep an eye out for us so I asked his mom by email and she said she would talk to Susi again and see how things are going.... the great news is, Aaron ended up talking to his dad tonight and he asked if they would please talk to Susi and Fenny and he said to Aaron "I am as curious and excited about this adoption prospect as you are so we'll DEFINITELY talk to them to get more info."

So, it looks like we may get "some" answers about this whether it's a no or that there is a baby for us to adopt. God knows and I am putting my trust in Him...

I've had this feeling (even though feelings don't always pan out)that we will know something about our daughter in June... that was what I felt the Lord tell me last year when we were paperchasing... that I will know something about our daughter by June.... but when the China adoption slowed down, it seemed impossible to know anything by June and here we are in June and we are definitely NOT close to a referral for Selah... HOWEVER, we don't always see the full picture and it's possible that we have another daughter in Indonesia... I also felt last year before deciding on a country to adopt from that we'll end up with TWO daughters... it was a gut feeling and even though we chose China and you're not allowed to adopt 2 at once from China unless you're having twin referrals, I still felt like we will end up with TWO. It is interesting that God orchestrated the timing of Aaron's parents going to Indonesia to be in June too.... perhaps God has been speaking to me... I know that in our relationship with the Lord, hearing from Him is rarely crystal clear...I've been wrong many times about "feelings" so I hold all of this lightly.. I know I'm human and my own desires and my flesh can get in the way of hearing Him accurately... we'll see how this all plays out... Life with God really is an adventure... it's fun!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I wonder where you are....

I am sitting here, just finished researching online about Manado, North Sulawesi... the area that Suzi and Fenny felt our baby might come from. Today, I feel as if this could never happen... it's too big, too many complications... and even as I write this, China adoptions are slowing down to a screeching halt.. They only referred 2 days worth of LIDs this month... wow, TWO DAYS... that's not exactly the speed up we've been praying for... Although, I know God is good and He has a plan. Today, I had an especially hard day wondering what in the world is happening... I want to either know this Indonesia thing is going to happen or let it go completely... I just can't do it... it's so hard. I hate NOT knowing. God, the amazing thing is YOU DO. Can you let me in on a secret? Maybe I can't be trusted... I don't know. Is she born yet? Is her name to be Annie? Do we have an Annie? Do we even have a Selah? I just don't know. It is humanly impossible for us to adopt from Indonesia... our I-171H expires March 2008 and fingerprints expire Oct 2007. Will it happen before then? Was all of this wasted time, energy, emotion and money? Why have we been led down this path? Do I dare ask you, God? or should I be afraid of the answer... I really should if I really knew You... You are the one who shaped the heavens... you call out the stars by name... I was not around when you created the heavens and the earth... you never consulted me about what to do with lions or Sea turtles... I don't know how to tame an animal... I barely know who I am... All I know is... YOUR LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE.... that is so true... All I know is You love me... when I feel uncertain of whether I heard you right or not, I can cling to the verse you gave me about you being father to the fatherless, defender of widows... that is YOU, God, Your dwelling is HOLY. You set the lonely in families (you did that with me)... You bring HOPE to the hopeless. God, I cling to the hem of your garment... I won't let go until You BLESS me. OK, I know that's what YOU want for me, so I am here... I'll CLING, You GIVE :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We are ready

It's been a while since I've posted here... nothing much has happened other than we are told Fenny & Susie are on the lookout and have calls into the hospitals for a newborn and when she is born and the birthmother is willing to put her daughter up for foreign adoption and sending her to a christian home, we could get a call. We are ready in terms of paperwork... other than my birth certificate which is waiting ceritfication and then it'll get sent off for authentication. We still have no idea who to send these paperwork to and who will require it, but atleast we have it and if we just have to take it with us to Indonesia, that's fine. Either way, we are ready paperwork-wise... our homestudy has been updated to reflect adopting up to 2 Indonesian children 0-5 years of age and our I-171H has been changed to Indonesia as well...

We did receive the "brown envelope" from the Indonesian Embassy stating the rules for adopting from their country. Only time will tell what will happen or IF anything will happen with Indonesia... it's very hard to hold it lightly, but we have to since things are so unstable. I have to keep reminding myself, this may not happen at all. I do feel like it will but I also felt like those girls were ours so time will tell and I will rely on God... He knows...

Friday, February 2, 2007

Sorrow may last for the night ~ but joy comes with the morning...

Aaron's dad called lastnight and told us that Fenny tried everything to get the girls out of the country, but it is not going to work.... The government feels that they will be willing to allow us to have the girls if they were younger, but since they are almost 5 and 4 years old, they feel the girls are very much part of Indonesia and it would be too hard for them to adjust to a new culture and a new language. I have some thoughts on why that is just not true, but it's pointless to talk abou that now...

My heart aches because we really followed God on this one and we obeyed Him the best we know how. He changed our hearts to accept toddlers when that wasn't our initial plan and there were so many confirmations along the road. I still know God took us down this road... the part that is a mystery is "Did you have to take us down THIS road?" I know that with more time spent with the Lord, I will get the answers to these questions, but for today, my heart aches that these girls will never be part of our family. My heart aches that these girls may never know what it's like to have parents. I look at their faces and think "Could this really be Your plan, God?" I don't know anything... the more I know God, the more I realize, I don't know much... the verse that pops up in my mind is in 1 Corinthians 13:12... Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know is partial and imcomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. I know that as for me and Aaron, we were following God... even fighting for these girls was part of God's plan... But just because these girls can't join our family, doesn't mean we weren't supposed to be fighting... we are fighting for something... but now, I only see things imperfectly... I don't see the BIG picture. Maybe in 6 months all this will make more sense.

Despite my grief, I still trust in My God... in fact, my love for Him is deeper today because of this experience. Only He is able to comfort me and I am going to take up on His offer to heal my heart. He has already begun healing it and I know He will finish it. Psalm 147:3 says He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.... Oh, what COMFORT! God will heal this ache and when the healing is done, I will be even closer to Him.

Aaron's dad did say that Fenny was going to try to find us a newborn ... apparently, they get calls from hospitals all the time asking if they would take a newborn that a new mom is relinquishing. He said that there would not be a problem getting a newborn out of the country and that is what he will work on for us.... For now, I just want to rest... not plan ahead, just REST. Lord, You know exactly who is meant to join our family. We didn't seek after these girls to be part of our family.... they just came out of nowhere.... we know that there is a purpose in why you allowed us to go through this. We will abide in You and rest. Amen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Update...

Aaron called his dad tonight (Tues AM Indonesia time) He had not talked to the husband of the orphanage director yet.... but he did say that he'll pass on the message that we do not want to get the girls with a bribe... and we said we would pay for any honest expense incurred, but nothing illegal or unethical.. so he said he was going to call him.... Aaron tried to ask WHEN he would be doing that, but the phone got disconnected, so maybe we don't need to know :) They are trying to send pictures from their trip to visit the girls last week... which, I had not yet posted about... they had a GREAT time together and Aaron's parents both said that the girls are absolutely adorable and very happy girls. I guess the older one(Annie) is into picking up and cleaning :) which, Aaron LOVES... also that the younger one (Emma) kinda gets bossed around by Annie :) I cannot wait to see them together in person!

I'm a bit disappointed we don't know anything yet, but I know God has it all under control... I will stop being a control freak and allow God to build character in me during this process....

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anything worth fighting for comes with a TEST...

Well, here's the part of the story where we'll one day say "What a miracle God performed!"... It looks as if there's a little "snag" in adopting our girls... the orphanage director friend had Aaron's parents over to their house and they were able to meet our precious girls today... that was the GOOD part... the bad part was, they received some news that it might be "harder than we thought" to process our adoption... Ofcourse, I already knew this rule about Indonesia... I knew it 3 years ago when we initially thought about adopting from there.... the rule states..."You must live in Indonesia for a period of 2 years before you can adopt"...not quoting exactly their wording, but that's the basic idea... and that's the RULE that Aaron & I will not be able to comply with... the orphanage director knew this rule, Aaron's parents knew this rule, and ofcourse, i knew it because I TOLD them.... So, as it stands, they don't know HOW they are going to go around this rule... they haven't ruled out all options yet, but it's our first little ... or not so little... snag. My initial reaction was TEARS... buckets and buckets of tears... but God has always been faithful to me when I seek Him to talk to me.... so, I tucked the boys in tonight and told Aaron I needed to go and talk to God a while... so, as I did... I read this in Exodus... This is where Moses and the children of Israel are heading out of Egypt... they had just encountered God through all the plagues and Pharoah FINALLY let them go... but then, He changed his mind and decided to pursue them and try to get them back... As the children of Israel saw the army coming, they began to complain... "Why did you bring us out here to die!" "We should've just stayed in EGYPT!... it would've been better to be slaves"... and on and on... but Moses said "Don't be afraid... STAND STILL and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.....The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace!".... God is so faithful! He gave me that scripture just when I needed it! I asked Him to change our hearts if these girls are not meant for us, but that confirmed it in my spirit that we are to FIGHT for them and just as the children of Israel could only see in the natural (i.e., army coming and there's a SEA surrounding us and we can't CROSS), MOSES saw in the SPIRIT and knew that GOD IS ABLE to do anything... including PARTING THE SEA!! So, I was led to pray in faith that these girls are OURS! WE are to fight for them and that they will come to their promised land, which, we believe is OUR home and so MUCH more for their future. Until God changes our hearts and releases us to let them go, we are fighting for them. Even though the 'natural circumstances' seem dark right now, God is MORE THAN ABLE and He will be faithful... Can't wait to find out what the final chapter says. I am very tempted to get discouraged and in fact, I think a little discouraged heart might make me feel better temporarily... but I am NOT going there because FAITH has no place for discouragement... I HAVE to press on and BELIEVE that God has the best intention for us.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SOOOO Excited!

I called CCAI today to double check if we can leave our dossier in China for our Selah and they said "YES"!!! I was so nervous that adopting our 2 girls from Indonesia would make CCAI want to withdraw our dossier, but they said it really shouldn't be a problem... even better, they told me that rather than doing another I-600A for Indonesia to adopt our girls, we should just do an I-824, which is revising our approved I-600A (I-171H for China) to state Indonesia and since she thinks we'll most likely have to re-submit our I-171H because of the expiration before going to China, we could just at that point, re-submit everything back to China and China will never know or care :) That'll save us some money right now and in the long run! God is so good and I am SO excited that we can still wait for Selah! Aaron & I had both decided that our girls in Indonesia should not be named Selah because that's the name He really gave us for our China girl. It's always possible that we'll end up needing to pull out of China in order to make our family what God has intended, but I have a feeling we'll end up with SIX children in the end!!!!! I'm not sure why that is so exciting, but I think my excitement comes from we really feel like it's God and when it's God, no matter how crazy it sounds, it's AWESOME and we know He'll give us the grace for it!!!

In the meantime, we have decided to name our girls Annie & Emma. Annie is a form of Ann, or Anna and it means "grace, or gracious"... we feel like her life will display God's grace... it already has in her young age, and we are so looking forward to seeing who she grows up to be. Emma in the English translation means "Whole, complete" and in the Hebrew, it means "healer"... I've always LOVED the name Emma without knowing the meaning and now I love it even more... everytime I call her Emma, we'll be essentially saying to her "You are COMPLETE, You are WHOLE"... I know that many times abandoned children have a hard time with feeling like they are complete and I truly feel God gave us this name to almost prophesy over her that she is INDEED complete in our family and in Christ!

I am EXCITED beyond words these days... I get more and more excited EVERYDAY and I KNOW they are our girls! I am excited to see how God also will bring Selah into our home!

The greatest thing in all of this is individually, God has speaking the same thing into my heart and into Aaron's heart.... we've are so amazed at how much He is guiding this.

I have no idea why He would listen to us at all, but He does, and He loves us so much... I am amazed...Thank you just isn't enough to express my gratitude to God.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Received an email from mom this morning..

I received an email from mom this morning... she is so excited about the girls... she said she did not get to go see them the other day (the pictures were sent to us from the orphanage overseer).

They plan to meet Susi (orphanage director and friend) on saturday and Susi is going to bring the girls to her home that day and spend the whole day with mom and dad!!! I know they are going to LOVE these girls! They already do. I can't wait for them to meet their grandparents!

I sent the pictures to Anna & Andria (sisters-in-law) lastnight and they both told me that the girls kinda look like me (which was so sweet of them because I think they are both SOOOO beautiful!)

God is good and today, I am contacting our homestudy agency and trying to figure out what we need to do in order to get these girls home! I am praying that we'll get to meet them before the youngest turns 4 (her birthday is 3/19.....)

Still sleep-deprived and freaked out :)

I want to clarify my subject line a bit... yes, it's true I have not slept much since last Thursday when the phone rang at 1AM.... I am freaked out a bit still, but that is my mind speaking... My spirit is completely at peace, which is such a funny feeling.... on the one hand, my mind keeps going and going and going about the details of these girls....everything from how old they are to what have I missed with them.... and on and on it goes..... usually, when I allow my mind to take over, my heart starts to get sick with doubt, fear and all kinds of emotions I'm not supposed to be having.....But when I slow down, listen to God's voice, and allow Him to take over my life, it's like the piece just FIT... This adoption has really come out of nowhere and it is mind-boggling to me... I was not prepared in my heart or mind to adopt a toddler and even though I was prepared for 2, I was not prepared to adopt a child that would change the birth order of our family. Even though Michael is only 12 days younger than Sherlly, it still makes her "older"... but only if one is into details (which, I am..... maybe God wants to change that...) anyways, these are my random thoughts.... I am afraid to say it because it'll put it on "record" that this is what I believe but I really do believe God orchestrated this and these girls are meant to be ours. Part of me is afraid to feel so much faith about that "just in case it doesn't work out"... but I believe they were meant for us..... now, God will have to start doing some miracles!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Introducing.... OUR GIRLS!

This is the older of the two girls, her current name is Sherley (thought it was Shelly Becky, but turns out, it is Sherley Betty) Turns out she is actually 12 days older than my youngest, Michael! We thought she was 3 1/2 but she'll be 5 years old THIS summer! YIKES... she is SOOOO beautiful... God is so good because I had asked if one of the girls could somehow look like Calvin (my middle son, who got alot of my Okinawan background and has dark skin and big brown almond shaped eyes like this beautiful girl's eyes.... I was absolutely "stunned" by her beauty... she also reminds me of my sister, Sheri, who was the dark skinned one and I was the more pale skinned one... and, as it turns out, Sharonne (the younger girl) is a year younger than Sherley, (just like my sister and me) and she even reminds me of ME a little bit... Sherley was born on 7/17/2002.



This is the younger girl, her name is Sharonne... she was born March 17, 2003... she'll be 4 in just 2 months! She is so adorable! She looks like she's kinda shy in that picture... which is the part that reminds me of when I was young. And also her skin tone... I could be wrong, but I think she is actually the one that is Chinese...To me, their names don't quite fit them :) But, since they are even older than we thought, we will really have to pray hard about what to do... I just want their names to be special because we took such care naming our boys... I don't want them to ever feel like they are any different...I am already so sad that I have missed so much of their life... God knows everything though....

No pictures yet....

I woke up this morning and first thing I did was check my email to see if they were able to send us pictures... but... NO EMAIL from them.... however, I did get an email from Angel, the orphanage overseer (also daughter of Susi) and she wrote just to tell us that we can contact her anytime with any questions! So, I asked if she could send us pictures and if she could give us details about the girls like their birthdates.. right now, we THINK they are about 3.5 years old... not really 100% sure though...

Our call to Indonesia ~ evening sunday 1/21/07

WE called dad's cell phone and thankfully, he answered right away... we just wanted to ask some details about the girls and actually talk to them in person... Aaron talked to his dad for a while about how to get a hold of someone to get details about the girls. Mom got on the phone to talk too and she was so excited! They were in a town about 1 hour away from where the girls are and said that they were going to go visit them today! WE begged for pictures so we think they are going to get some for us by email... hopefully monday morning...

We heard a few more details about the girls...

Shelly Becky is the Chinese one... she was named after 2 pastors' wives names(Shelly & Becky)... they said they had to come up with a name and those were the names given to her... She was given to them by a 19 year old mom and Susi's son went to go pick her up.

Sharon was given up by an 18 year old mom, who was giving birth at the hospital and Susi was called by the hospital to see if she wanted to take the baby to her children's home... so Susi went to the hospital as the young mom was giving birth to Sharon and apparently, there were 5 or so Indonesian men waiting and ready to buy this baby from the mom so that they could sell her...(what a terribly corrupt world she was born into)....They kept trying to intimidate Susi but in the end, Susi was able to have the baby and take her to a safe place...satan was already at work in this girl's life... trying to ruin her before she was even born.

I am amazed at how much these girls have already gone through in their young age.... Susi wanted to ask if we would be willing to have her be a grandma to these girls as well ~ I already know we'll be sending updates to her all the time.

Anyways we asked mom what she thought about us renaming the girls and she said "you can do whatever you want once they are yours"....we'll still be in prayer about that...

Mom was excited to go see them and give them hugs! I hope they were able to make it over there.

Message from Dad ~ 1/21/07

Family Picture of us Celebrating the GREAT news that the GIRLS are ours!!
I still have my nametag on from church :)


Sunday morning our time, we went to church, still not having heard from mom or dad about their conversation with Susi... we were dying to find out anything about these girls.... we didn't even know whether mom & dad had met them yet....

We went to church and saw Gloria and Shawn and told them our news! They were so excited for us and prayed with us right away... we decided to invite them over to our house for lunch and went to the store to get some groceries and on the way home, Aaron noticed he had a message on his cell phone and it was dad. He told us on the message that Susi came to the town they were ministering in, and she came to tell them the girls are ours! He proceeded to tell us that Susi thinks her husband can get the girls' paperwork ready in one month!!!! That is so soon! I still have no idea what WE are supposed to do here other than file an I-600.... we have a name of an adoption lawyer that we emailed so hopefully we'll hear something from her... in the meantime, my head is spinning! I called to tell Anna right away about the girls and left her a message and started to cry.... it just suddenly felt so real that we are going to have these girls! Ofcourse, there are things that need to happen paperwork-wise that will take a miracle... In Indonesia, foreigners are not allowed to adopt unless they have resided in Indonesia for atleast 2 years .... we are not about to leave the states to do that, so this means God will have to do a miracle to have their gov't waive that rule for us. I think if it was too easy, we wouldn't give God the glory, so I am excited to see what kind of miracle He has in store for us! My mind keeps telling me, "don't get too attached to these girls, you could be in for something painful if this doesn't go through.." but my spirit says..."Faith is believing in something that ISN'T as if it IS"... I want to please God and without Faith, it's impossible to please Him... we feel this is from God and if it is, He will work the details.... it will be exciting to see what God unfolds...I feel like I'm on the biggest rollercoaster and it's about to start ....

The next morning... Still 1/19/2007

I woke up about 6:30AM, totally exhausted! I couldn't sleep even after I was done praying at about 2AM... I think I tossed and turned until atleast 4AM so I was running on only 2 hours of sleep! I had to take the boys to school this morning so I quickly got ready... I wished so badly taht I could "talk things over" with Aaron a little more....but he told me that he felt peace and that we should call his parents today and just tell them... I was so amazed at how at peace he was about it! I am such a "talk it over" kinda person that I really wanted to talk more, but unfortunately we didn't have time and it was looking like we were going to have to just tell them yes before we could talk... Aaron felt like it was not necessary to go over any details because he felt like it was God and if it's God, He will take care of all my concerns... So, I have to trust.... very hard, but probably very good for me. 4pm came around and Aaron said he would be home in time to call, but he wasn't!!! I had to do this on my own! I was so stressed out... I really was needing an emotional crutch of my sweetie but he was still in surgery so I HAD To call Aaron's parents by myself to tell them we are interested in adopting the girls... Right before I called, I was starting to get panicky... my heart was racing, my hands were sweating... it was strange... Noah asked me if I was OK... The boys were so easy going about it all... They kept saying "Ofcourse, we HAVE to take these girls!"... like, "what's the big deal, mom?"

I called and Arlan's cell phone and he answered quickly and I told him we'd like to take the girls... He was thrilled that we were going to take both girls and not just one... He said He and Barbro were going to meet Susi tomorrow (sunday their time) and talk further about the girls and Susi wanted to pray again to make sure she wanted us to take them.... So, the next step is waiting to see if Susi will give us her final approval... then maybe we'll get some pictures and other stats like birthdays???

A call at 1AM...1/19/2007

We received a call at 1AM our time on EARLY friday morning 1/19/2007 from mom & dad in Indonesia...

Barbro had talked to me about possibly looking for a baby girl for us prior to her departure and I told her that we are always willing to adopt more than one, so if God led her to the right one, we'll definitely be open.... I really did not expect to get the call since we have kinda gone down this road before 3 years ago when we initially wanted to adopt from Indonesia...

anyways, fast-forward to the call... Aaron's dad called and since Aaron was on call, I didn't even think twice about the fact that the phone was ringing at 1AM so I was basically sleeping right through it and Aaron woke me up and said that "mom wants us to call her back so she can tell us about some girls she wants us to adopt." ... When you're in the middle of sleep, even good news sounds very painful and at that point, I felt REALLY unready to listen... but he called and got me a phone too and she was trying to sound very calm and unemotinal about it all but proceeded to tell us that she spoke with Susi and asked her about us possibly adopting an infant from her orphanage and Susi told her that she has always wanted to give us "her best child" in the orphanage... and that there are 2 girls that are 3 years old that are like sisters.... we weren't quite prepared to adopt TWO from Indonesia... I somehow in my heart from the beginning of paperchasing for China, felt like we might get two children and should ask for twins... anyways, I initially thought that maybe that meant we should adopt one from Indonesia NOW and wait for our girl from China in hopefully a year or so....

I also kinda had my heart set on an infant because it just seems easier to transition as a family when the baby is as young as possible.... even in our dossier for China, we requested a baby 0-6 months so we really had been set to have a baby....

So, the phone conversation went on and she told us that the names of the girls are Shelly and Sharon.... that one of them is "100% Chinese" and the other one is Indonesian. She told me that the Chinese girl was picked up by Susi's son from a 19 year old that wanted to give her to an orphanage. I believe she was just too young and unmarried. We didn't hear much about the other one... other than they are inseparable...

She asked for us to pray about it and give them an answer by the next day. They wanted to make sure we had an interest before they talked further about them with Susi.

As we were about to hang the phone up, Aaron's dad told us that these girls have been raised by Christian caretakers and from what he knows, they are as pure in spirit as they can come.

So, we had a LOT to pray about... Aaron had a BIG day of surgeries the next day so he really needed to rest... we talked a little bit about it but my mind kept going back to "What about our daughter in China?" I had really begun to be at peace with China adoption and the timing and many ways, this could potentially end our China adoption.... Aaron said "Don't you think that the fact that ONE of the girs is fully Chinese say something?" Meaning, SHE may be the girl from China and it's not like we will be "losing" our girl from China. Still, I didn't feel total peace. WE came to the conclusion right away that under no circumstance, would it be right for us to separate these girls... so if we were going to adopt, we have to take them both. Aaron immediately felt peace to pursue this adoption and said to me "I feel like this is God and we should do it"... Ofcourse, I had to get that peace for myself from God, so I told him that I was going to go pray.... so I went in the living room and just sat there... somewhat shocked, confused, overwhelmed... and I opened my bible to Psalm 18:6... These words gave me comfort... "In my distress, I cried out to the Lord, yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary... my CRY reached His ears..." Those words gave me such comfort because suddenly all my fears were gone... My head was still not following all the details of what this could mean, but very quickly and suddenly, I realized that GOD HIMSELF HEARD me! He was not going to let us down a path that isn't HIS... because We are seeking Him... though we hear imperfectly sometimes and mixed with our own thoughts, we know that in our hearts, we ONLY want God's will and we just have to follow what we think He is saying... It was such a huge thing for Aaron to have peace FIRST... I truly believe that many of the big steps we've taken, things have gone well when Aaron & I BOTH felt peace.... and especially when Aaron felt the peace first. Can't explain it, other than God made Aaron to be the head of our house. Also, Aaron is not one to make decisions based on emotions at all (unlike me). He is very thoughtful and careful about decisions and if HE thinks that adopting TWO girls is a good idea, I KNOW that it HAS to be God...If this was just MY crazy idea, He would've dismissed the thought right away. So, even though my mind kept saying "what if...." I had to follow the peace in my heart God gave me... I felt like He wanted us to take the chance.... our pastor has been talking about "Getting out of the boat" and not playing life "safely"... I had asked God a week ago that He would give us the opportunity to stretch us and help us "get out of the boat"... and this sounds like the answer to me... it's scary, we might drown :), we won't be able to accomplish this on our own strength, and that's what it took for Peter to walk on water to Jesus...We want God to help us ... not only 'help' us, but actually DO IT for us! God, You are in charge of us... I know You will never lead us astray when we ask you for help. You will guide us because You have always been faithful...