Saturday, May 31, 2008

See you soon, Mr. Taylor

Today was a sweet was another funeral, but this time for the dad of my dear friend, Angela. Mr. Steve Taylor spent his life as an evangelist, singing and playing his trumpet. At his memorial service today, his grandkids all told sweet stories of how he'd poured so much love into each of their lives, and how he had never met a person he didn't share Jesus with. They are all living testimonies to the amazing Godly heritage he left them. We all cried and laughed and sang old hymns and celebrated this life well-lived. His fellow trumpeteers all played a special tribute to him. I'm glad I got to be a part of his "home-going celebration." So move over Gabriel, you may have met your match! ...And Angela, I LOVE you dearly!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maria Sue

Well, it was one week ago today that unspeakable tragedy struck our friends, the Chapman family. Little Maria Sue went to be with Jesus in heaven. Though we celebrate where she is, we all grieve alongside the Chapmans with their loss. This family has meant so much to us personally, and if it weren't for them, we would not be joining them in this "Great Adventure" called adoption. They, as you can read in "The Story of Macy", inspired, nudged, prayed for, sent "hints" in the mail, encouraged, challenged, and talked and talked and talked to us about adoption way back when. Mary Beth used to tell me that she was my "burning bush!" All throughout the process of bringing Shaoey, Stevey Joy, and Maria home, they continually assured us that "we were next." Even when we were flooded with doubt, they stood by us in faith, knowing that God was working on our hearts getting us ready to "Dive" in.

Today, I remember little Maria Sue and Stevey Joy hiding behind the draperies in my living room, and then walking way out from the wall with them still over their heads, just giggling and giggling because they thought that since they couldn't see us, we couldn't see them...nevermind that my draperies were now nearly horizontal across the room! I remember Maria banging on my piano with her chocolate-covered-fingers...chocolate and coke that I'd snuck and given her when Mary Beth wasn't looking ;o)........Before last week, I would have kept that little secret, but as Steven said in Maria's memorial service, if your kids want to eat butter, give 'em the whole stick because we don't know how long we have them with us. Amen to that.

I loved that sweet little cherub face. We will miss her, but she'll never be forgotten. And one day, we'll all be reunited in heaven because of the faith we share in the One true God--the God who adopted us all into His forever family.

In love, God predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.
–Ephesians 1:5

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We're getting close!

We've gotten word that CCAA is matching, which means we will be hearing very soon (hopefully within a week or so) who and where our baby is! It has been so long, that we're feeling sorta surreal right now. We were "Logged In" with CCAA on January 13, 2006, so this means we've officially waited for 28 1/2 months. Actually, we started compiling our dossier back in September of 2005, so it's been a long and winding road. For those of y'all not familiar with the terminology, the information we've been waiting on for so long is called a "referral." The referral is information about the baby that the China Center of Adoption Affairs has matched you with. It usually includes a couple of photos, a short bio, a little medical history, and a few descriptive details about your child. After we receive our referral, we'll have it reviewed by our physician, and shortly thereafter respond to our adoption agency that we've accepted it. Then, they notify CCAA. About 3-4 weeks later, China issues a "Travel Approval," which we'll have to have in order to purchase flights, hotels, etc. in China. Also, US consulate appointments in Guangzhou, China have to be secured, as well as many other details which must come together, including Chinese visas being issued for all of us, her passport being applied for, etc...

Here's a peek into the "Matching Room" at China Center of Adoption Affairs in Beijing:

Anyway, the bottom line is that we're in the home-stretch. It's kinda like we're in the transitional phase of labor! YIKES! Just typing that makes my heart flutter. I'm flooded with every feeling from outrageous joy and excitement, to nerves, to feeling overwhelmed with how much there is to do, to fear, to a feeling of what else is going to happen to delay this even longer, to just about every emotion you can think of.

We'll keep you posted! Please pray!

"100 Good Wishes" Quilt

To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt for the baby, and the other part of the cloth can go into a creative memory notebook with the wish for the child (see above photos for examples of the "wish" or prayer. The quilt symbolizes the prayers and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation. Although this is a Chinese tradition, it is a great tradition for any child to be welcomed this way. What a treat to read the good wishes when the child is older and to know how much they were wanted and prayed for.

This is an example of a "100 Good Wishes" quilt:

If any of you would like to participate in this, it would thrill us to include your fabric in our special quilt for Macy. Just send a 10 inch square of fabric, along with your prayer or wish which also has a little sample of your fabric. If you need my address, please e-mail me or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Thanks for being a part of this special tradition for Chinese children!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Here I Go!

Well, I am finally caving in to the peer pressure from my "China Adopt Talk" friends and am attempting my hand at blogging! Nope, I have no clue how to do this...I'll be learning as I go, so be patient and maybe in time, I'll get in the swing of it. This blog is a work in progress. And so am I.

After our 27(!!!) month wait, we're finally NEXT in line to receive our referral from the China Center of Adoption Affairs' next "batch", which will be sent out from Beijing the first week of June! So many of y'all have prayed for and with us along this journey, and many of y'all are so kind to always ask us where we are in this process. Well, since we're finally about to have some concrete news, we figured this would be the best way to communicate our "adoption happenings" to all of you. In the near future posts, I'll tell the story of how all this came to be.

Our "slow boat to China" is almost there and we are so excited! From the moment God birthed this adoption in our hearts years ago and we stepped out in faith to His calling, we have been learning so much about what "walking by faith and not by sight" looks like. This is not a journey for the faint at heart! Absolutely nothing so far has gone like we expected, but we know that His ways are higher than our ways, and so we trust Him even in this timing that has nearly gotten the best of us at times throughout this whole process.

Our family is about to take on a whole new dimension...."From dating to diapers!" Wow!...And a GIRL in the midst of all this testosterone!! Only God can write a story like this one.