Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Sunday, December 30, 2012


This adoption process has been such a great "stretching time" in my walk with my Heavenly Father.  It has awakened me to thinking and praying about so many things (adoption related and otherwise).  But one particular thing that has stood out is "FAITH". ( And to those of you who know my family, no I'm not referring to my son's "special someone!", although I do think she's pretty special too)
For a few years now, I've been praying specifically that God will "increase my faith and give me wisdom".  And He continues to do just that.  However, the more my faith grows, the more I realize how very small it still is!  Oh I have faith in this area and that area of this adoption or in my life in general but what I'm also realizing is I don't have faith in ALL areas of my life -- faith in God's sovereignty!   
Thankfully, our very patient Father has also been increasing my awareness in these areas that I'm lacking faith. I'm realizing, I need to step back and get out of the way of myself and put my trust in the one who knows what's best for me and my family!

Psalm103:19 - The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.  (NASB)

Matthew 17:20(b) - Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

II Corinthians 5:7 -  For we live by faith, not by sight.

I Corinthians 2:5 - so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

James 1:3 -  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our adoption status December 2012

A quick update as to where our family is currently at as of  December 28, 2012
- All of our home study visits are completed
- Pictures printed for dossier
- Extra set of passport photos taken
- 14 hours of training completed
- Financial paperwork compiled
- Physicals and corresponding paperer work completed
-Psychological evaluations completed
- Adoption agency received all reference letters
- First set of fingerprints completed
- Copies of certified marriage license received
- All four of our PA Child Abuse clearances have been received
- Waiting on Merle and I's certified copies of our birth certificates

Next steps in the line-up:
- Our home study will be written and reviewed
- Completing necessary paperwork for the I-800A - (an application for determination of suitability to adopt a child from a Hague convention country)
- Upon receiving approval  from the government of the I-800A (a letter from the USCIS of "favorable determination") - all paperwork will be "authenticated for China" by the Chinese Consulate in New York
- A certified check will need to be given to our agency for $6580- the next large installment amount due
- After all papers are authenticated and re-checked  and next financial obligations met - our dossier will be ready to send to China! (Sometimes you will see "DTC" - this stands for Dossier to China!")

**  Always keeping in our minds that these precious children without families need parents to do this  paper process and "pay the ransom" to bring them into a family!  At the other end, a child made in the image of her heavenly Father is waiting for her earthly Daddy and Mommy to bring her home! **

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Depraved Indifference" by Eric Ludy

"For our King and HIS Glory, we will reach out"    E.L.

We watched the you tube clip (linked below) over a year ago.  It's powerful, it's uncomfortable and will evoke emotion.   In fact, I will tell you NOT to watch it if you have the mind set "another guilt trip".  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Someone's Missing at our Christmas Table

You know the feeling when one person in your family is away and how it feel's  "off"?  Just "not right?"  (YES - it happens in big families too - even one person not there makes a difference!) That's how I've been feeling lately, like someone's missing.  Our little someone we don't even know yet but still feel very much  connected to.  I find myself looking at the clock often and thinking, oh it's "X" time in China right now, she's probably in bed for the night. (Did someone help her brush her teeth, give her a goodnight kiss and tuck her in?).  Christmas Eve, found me thinking about her a whole lot (knowing that it was Christmas Day in China).  Has she ever heard the story of Jesus' birth?  Did anyone take her picture on Christmas morning?
Today, when setting our large table for Christmas, I thought about her place at the table.  That same feeling of "someone's missing" came over me.  Little one, we're doing all we can to get to you just as fast as we can, and praying that next Christmas you will be sitting with your very own family, holding hands with a brother, a sister or a cousin and praying a blessing over our Christmas meal.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." We are trusting in God's best timing!

"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28 (the reference Merle and I have inscribed in our wedding rings)

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Conspicuous Family!

"Red, Yellow, Black and White they are precious in His sight" 

Since I was a little girl, I've loved learning about different cultures and ethnic groups.  Today,  I'm so blessed to have a multicultural family of my own!  We're excited to add even more diversity into our growing family with the addition of our Chinese daughter.
  While we are journeying the path of our first international adoption, we have needed to take training courses.  These courses are designed to help prepare an adoptive family.  One of the courses we needed to take was entitled "Conspicuous Families".
We already are one of those "conspicuous families"!  Yes, we get "stares" and have had a few "glares".  But I have to remind myself that sometimes the glares are being given because of a lack of knowledge or because we're "different" then the average Lancaster County, Pennsylvania family.(and that's a.o.k. because different is not bad!)
Our family also chooses to be "color aware" and NOT color blind!  Ignoring differences doesn't make them any less there. Instead we choose to embrace our different ethnicity's.  And embrace our "sameness" too!!  After all didn't God create ALL mankind and loves them equally?!  We love to bring different artwork, books and music into our world to "color our world".   I want all of my children to understand that our good and perfect God has created each and everyone of them in HIS image!
Our adoptions are very obvious and thus very public.  Because of this, every once in awhile we've been asked what I'll call and "intrusive" question that's answer is personal/private.  So we have to chose immediately to answer in a way that is a.)  informational  b.) humorous or c.) privacy guarding.  We're trying to equip our children with answer's to pull out on the spur of the moment when asked one of these intrusive type questions.  You see a little person needs to have something to pull out of his back pocket when a question is thrown out to him that is private.  We're in the process of helping them decide how they want to answer - in one of the a., b. or c. methods above.
One question that I've gotten is ....."Where is he from?" (now seriously, would we even think of asking this question to anyone else other than a conspicuous family??)  Why would one think it's ok to ask of a conspicuous family??)    If my son is standing there when I'm being asked, I can ask him if he wants to answer or if it's been a day in which I know my boy probably doesn't want to be in dialogue with this stranger about his personal history, I might just answer for him.  Honestly, it may depend on my mood as to how I answer, whether I chose to give a limited amount of information and move on or whether I'll use sarcastic humor to avoid answering the question or simply say "that's personal family information".  Some well meaning people may not even think about the question as being intrusive.  A good rule of thumb maybe this, would you want to answer the very same question in a public manner to this person?  Or if I ask this question, could it make the person I'm asking in any way uncomfortable?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"W.R.A.P." around adoptive families

How to provide support to those called to adopt:
(small excerpts from the booklet by Focus on the Family)

What if you have not been called to adopt a waiting child, but you still want to help orphans and play a role in the adoption process? Focus on the Family has a tremendous little booklet called Wrapping Around Adoptive Families - (if you're interested in the small booklet, I'd be happy to send you a copy- use the comment section to ask).
YOU CAN play a role in the adoption journey.  You CAN help a child. You CAN support a family.  You CAN make an enormous difference, and here are a few ideas Focus on the Family wrote:
Often an adoptive family is welcoming home an emotionally wounded or struggling child.  The child has a large LOSS they're dealing with.  Adoptive families need others to W.R.A.P. around them with prayer and practical help.  Here's an easy way to remember their needs:

W - wrestle in prayer
R  - respite care
A - acts of service
P - promises of God
There is spiritual warfare involved in rescuing orphans it is very real and often overlooked.  Adoptive families need us to WRESTLE in prayer on their behalf.
Pray for things such as:
- Strength and patience
- Grace and mercy
- Spiritual eyes to see the truth behind their struggles and strength to exercise their faith and trust in God
- That God's love which never fails, will cover the child in all he does.
- For the child to know and believe that there is hope in Christ.
- That the child will trust and recieve her new family's love and desire to help her heal.
- Seek out a group of believer who will commit to pray regularly
RESPITE care -no matter how wonderful, committed and loving adoptive parents are, they need a break from the demands of caring for their children.  Respite care is defined as short-term or temporary provide relief to a regular caregiver.
- Respite should NOT begin until the child has been in the home for several months - check in with the adoptive parents perhaps after four months being home.
-  Get to know the child beforehand and spend time with them along with mom and dad.  Being a consistent presence in their lives communicated a genuine concern for them.
- Respite must be long enough to be worth the trouble of preparing for it.  
- If possible, provide respite in the children's home in order to maintain as much of the structure and schedule as possible.  
Acts of Service - one of the keys to effective acts of service is that they are offered enthusiastically, in a spirit of love and are specifically designed to meet the needs of the family.
- Meals
-Errands and Shopping - don't say "let me know if you need anything" (because you'll likely never be asked).  Instead, tell them you're going to the store that week and ask if they have time to give you a list..  Or keep a running list of their regular items such as detergent, toothpaste and so on.
- Laundry - pick up the laundry, take it home and return folded.
Yard Work
Cleaning - 
Gifts of Homecoming Celebration
Promises of God - Scriptures mane many promises of God that can encourage us during the different seasons of our lives.  His Word is living and active, but His truths sometimes get lost amid pain and struggle.
- Provide encouragment with God's Word through notes, call or e-mails can be a powerful source of comfort and strength for families.  Hope-filled words combined with listening ears, understanding hearts, kindness and mercy will deeply resonate.
 - Don't be afraid to communicate truth in love to adoptive families.  Knowing they have your support and prayers is helpful to them.
- Buy a box of cards and periodically send them an encouraging note.

While not every family is called to open their home to a child in need, everyone can be involved in caring for orphans.  Take time to explore how the Lord may be asking you to service the adoptive families in your community.  Often it's the small gestures that mean the most.

= Focus on the Family
"Each helps the other and says to his brother, "Be strong!"  Isaiah 41:6

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Special THANK YOU to our VILLAGE!

Many years ago, when I was a young (and feisty)  mother, I would hear the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" and it would grate on my nerves.  I would think to my independent self-- "No it doesn't!"  (with attitude).  

As the years have passed and I have grown older,  I have come to realize the truth in that saying.  As I think about our family, and our various needs -- I realize I have been blessed with a wonderful VILLAGE in helping to raise our children!  Our  VILLAGE consists of loving and extremely helpful Grandparents, older siblings who love and care for their younger siblings and seek to impart spiritual truths into their lives, friends and family members who love on our children , wonderful pediatricians who care about the well being of our children and respect Merle and I as parents, kind, compassionate teachers that will change a teaching style to meet our children's various  learning differences, friends who have traveled the adoption path and can share valuable insight, an adoption support group,  mother's helper's that  helped in many ways in keeping our household running smoothly, therapists,  and the list doesn't end there.......
Thank you God for sending us such a wonderful Village of caring people to help us in raising our children and meeting their needs!  To those in our village, THANK YOU!!!   We  are blessed and  LOVE and appreciate each of you!

"I thank my God on every remembrance of you."  Phillipians 1:3

Friday, December 21, 2012

The International Adoption Process

And the teacher part of me comes out.....
For those of you who are new to the world of international adoption (like us!), this post will help to inform you of "what the process" looks like.  If you're one of those who can 'do without all the details" - you'll want to skip over this post!

As you read the L.O.N.G. list of thing to do below what you need to keep in mind and remember.....

There is a little person at the end of this process that desperately needs a Mommy and Daddy to "do the process" and "pay the ransom" so they no longer need to carry the orphan status and have a family to call their very own!  
First and foremost - PRAYER is essential!  We would encourage all those who are children of God to devote this journey to continual prayer.
Application - next we sent our application to the adoption agency along w/ the necessary fees to "process the application."  The application we completed was 8 pages (this is longer then the "basic" application because we have a desire to adopt a "waiting child" - so we needed to also complete the "special needs application" .
The application process is to make sure that your family "qualifies" for an adoption in the country you are pursuing to adopt a child.  Each country has different standards and guidelines.
After acceptance by the adoption agency comes the H.U.G.E. paperwork trail.  When they say "adoption isn't for the faint at heart" - one is most likely speaking to this part of the process in part at least.

HOME STUDY needs to be completed.
Here is a listing of what is required from our adoption agency in completing our home study.
A certified copy of marriage license
Multiple certified copies of birth certificates
Proof of training records (more on that below)
Some countries require a psychological evaluation
Physicals - the adoptive parents as well as all household members need to have current physicals
Police Clearance
Child Abuse Clearance
FBI Fingerprints
Reference Letters
Proof of Medical/Health Insurance
Proof of Income
Verification of Debt
Verification of Assets
Financial Worksheet
3 or 4 visits from adoption worker (either all at place of residence or a combo. of agency and home visits)- interviewing the adoptive parents as well as all members of the family.  Our agency has a 13 page "preliminary question" sheet to complete in preparation for the home study visits.
Proof of Life Insurance Coverage


The amount of training and topics vary from country to country.  But all adoptive families adopting internationally need to complete training.  This training is to help "prepare" the adoptive family.  Our agency has a total of 14 training hours required.  Here are the topics that we learned about and were tested on:
Conspicuous Families
China:  Language, Festivals, and Traditions
China:  Her Land & People, History, and Philosophies
 For parents of newly adopted school-aged children
For parents of newly adopted toddlers/preschoolers"
Medical Issues in International Adoption
Adopting the Older Child
Rights of the Child/Intercountry Adoption
Adoption Law of The People's Republic of China

Once all of the above is completed and approved, several things will need to be added to complete the
Employment letters for both spouses
Adoption Application Letter
Psychological Evaluation
Six photos reflecting family life
Two passport photos of each applicant
Copies of passports
United States Immigration Notice of Favorable Determination (upon the completion and acceptance of a

The dossier is then checked, re-checked, notarized and authenticated for China!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Our family was rescued from a safe faith"

If you know me, you know that I can be a very wordy person.  But then there are those few times in life where I have a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings about something to paper.  Below you will find some very special thoughts and feelings that others have wrote but those same thoughts and feelings reside within us.
I am very sorry that I am not able to give credit to the adoptive family's blog that some of these thoughts were posted on.  I had copied them because the feelings so strongly resonated within me, but somehow didn't put the family's name.

"Our lives are transformed when we STEP OUT IN FAITH!  It's about the LORD rescuing US from a place of complacency and passiveness and ignorance.
Our family was rescued from a "safe faith", a faith that is too fearful to step out into the unknown   We were rescued from the life of never knowing the joy of adoption.
Had He not given us the courage to step out, we would have never seen HOW BIG GOD TRULY IS!  Nor would we have ever had the HUGE BLESSING of being called our children's parents."

Francis Chan says.....
"'s about realizing what "We've been rescued from" and WHO has rescued us!

  By the Grace of GOD we've been adopted into HIS Family.  It's about us being so moved in gratefulness of this powerful truth, that your heart is practically just going to explode with a fierce thankfulness and desire to obey HIS commandments and to pour out His love!
So,'s not about us rescuing anyone.   Yeah, its us who were absolutely rescued!!  What a gift!"

and the conclusion of this post is best stated by my very dear friend, Susanna:
"The paramount goal is not and can not be the adoption of our child.  Our surpassing desire must be for the name of Christ to be lifted up, so that many can see a vivid picture of who HE really is and what HE can do!"
(to this we say a heartfelt AMEN!!!)
God may or may not be calling you to adopt, but is He asking you to "step out from a safe faith" in another area?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thanks for your visit!

Welcome to our blog! We are new to blogging, but our hope is that this will give you a peak inside of our journey and thoughts as we joyfully work and wait through the process of adopting our daughter. Please visit the "why we're adopting" page to find out how God began this journey at this point in our lives.

I'm a question person - tell me a story and I'm apt to have a half a dozen questions about it.  It's just my nature - I like lots of details!  Merle explains (in a lot of detail) about the "WHY"  we're adopting.  But I'm guessing there are a lot of other questions that some of you will think of.  Don't be afraid to ASK!  We welcome your questions.

I'm going to attempt to address a few questions that I've heard buzzing around and how we might possibly respond to them -

- Is it fair to a child to have "old parents"?  
   Which do you think an orphan would rather have, NO PARENTS or OLD PARENTS?

- With so many children needing homes in the United States, why are you going to a country a half a world away?
    ALL children are created in the image of God and deserve a family!  We believe that God has told us to go to China. 

- How are you going to pay for this adoption?
   The first response is -- "we don't know" (we don't have a big pot of money set aside) but what we DO KNOW is that where God guides, HE will provide.  We're calling this our "Faith Walk".

- Do you think it's fair to your other children to bring another child into your home?
   YES - I don't know that we could "talk about" or "explain in words" to them in a better way that God calls us to care for the orphans in their distress and to be servants!  We believe that this is "walking the talk" to them!  

-   How old do you think the little girl will be that you adopt?
    Probably (but we're also not limiting God) -somewhere between 3 and 7 years old

- Why not an older child?
   - While we would be open to an older child (and if God tells us that is HIS desire, we'll walk in that direction) - currently we think keeping the "birth order" in place is prob. a wise step with the current family dynamics.

We'd covet your prayers as we travel this path the Lord has laid out before us.  The mighty power of prayer is a beautiful thing and God loves for us to bring our praises and petitions to Him.  Will you consider being a prayer warrior for us and our daughter?