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...