Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I have been thinking about posting this for awhile and have kept putting it off. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is personal for me. Sharing personal things is hard to do. But, after a chat with a good friend of mine yesterday, I have decided to post this.

Shame. It is an awful thing and feeling. For me personally, I have struggled with it more than once. For me, the shame also comes with feelings of unworthy-ness.

As I was chatting with my friend we began to share some of our more recent life struggles. Our stories were very different but the feelings of shame and unworthy-ness were the same. For me, when I feel like I am unworthy or feel ashamed of something I did or didn't do, it has a very negative affect on my decision making. I tend to make poor decisions because I do not feel that I have any value or that my decision really does not matter because I already screwed "it" up. It also causes me to doubt God's true love for me. It is so scary how shame sneaks right in and how it really snowballs into something so awful. The more I talked with my friend the more I realized that I had been allowing the shame and unworthy feelings to sneak back in, where they do not belong.

God does not want me to feel this way. He died on the cross so I could be set free from all of my past mistakes. He does not ask that I carry the shame of my past mistakes. He promises to make me "new".

Revelations 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ, who... washed us from our sins in his own blood."

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

He forgives me.  He wipes my slate clean every single time I say, " I am sorry." He does not hold it over my head or ask my to bury it in my heart. He forgets my sins. He loves me. He died for me. He forgives me. All because I am his beloved daughter. I am worthy of his love and forgiveness - He offers it to me, for free.

Hebrews 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

I need to guard my heart a little better. I need to remind myself that He came to me. He knocked on the door of my heart and asked me to let Him in.  When I feel ashamed and unworthy I fall further form God. It keeps me from allowing myself to feel His love, His grace and His forgiveness, simply because I feel I do not deserve it. And that is wrong on every level! In fact, it is exactly how satan wants me to feel. Does it mean I forget that I did something wrong? No! It means that I remember that I am forgiven and that my sins have been cast away.

Micah 7:19, "...he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

It means that I ignore the lies and the feelings of shame that satan wants me to believe and feel. It means I remember how great my God is because He paid the price for my sin. It means that I focus on God and how great He really is and how much He truly loves ME!

Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

Now, that my past sins have been forgiven, I need to leave them there, in the past, in the depths of the sea where they were cast.  And I need to keep moving forward, towards the things God has for me.

Philippines 3:13, "...this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."

So, for me, out the the shame and in with the new creation - thank you God!

Friday, January 27, 2012

It is not a vacation ya know?!

We have heard this phrase, 'It is not a vacation ya know?" a few times now, referring to us taking our 9 year old daughter Alaina to China with us. This was a concern for us when we first decided to take Alaina with us.  We wondered how  people would view our decision to let her come with us when we are fundraising for our adoption and now adding a couple thousand more to our adoption expense, just so she can come too. Trust me when I say deciding to take her with was not a decision we took lightly.

Alaina is a wonderful girl. She is a very mature 9 year old . She has a very nurturing spirit and thrives on caring for her siblings. She is a true delight and a blessing to our family. I am not saying this to sugar coat our decision to take her. She does have some traits, just like the rest of us, that are not the most attractive (she tends to be a bit nosey and bossy at times).

When we first talked about adding another child to our family, Alaina was the first on board. She stated that she would be willing to share her already crowded room, toys and clothes forever if she had to. She even said she would give up all of her Christmas presents if it meant that we could adopt another child. When we asked her why she felt that way, her response was simple, "Because there are children without a mom and a dad and families and that makes me really sad." She gets it. She may not understand about all the attachment issues and grief and all the other tough stuff, but she gets it.

So, when she asked if she could come with us we knew we had to at least consider taking her. After praying about it and talking to her some more, we knew it was the right decision to take her for so many reasons. She knows the trip is not a vacation. She knows it will be a tough trip. She knows that she will have to work hard so she can go. She knows she might cry at some point and  that mommy and daddy might  too. She knows that Aliyah might have a hard time getting used to her family....But, we also know that God has plans for Alaina's future. What if going on this trip stirs up a desire in  her heart to help the least of these? What if this trip helps her realize that she too wants to adopt when she gets older? What if this trip helps Alaina realize how good our God really is and how much we really have? What if God becomes more real to her? What if Aliyah needs her sister to meet her in China? I could go on and on about all the good reasons to take her with. We feel like this is the right choice for our family; we feel like this is what God wants us to do.

I do not want to seem like I am being negative here, we do understand that people may have real concerns about us taking her with us and we are open to answering legitimate questions. Please, just remember there is a 9 year old girl on the other end who's heart and intentions are in the right place.

Alaina and Aliyah

Thursday, January 26, 2012

how to be the village

This is a post from another blog that I read. You personally may not agree with everything she says, but she shares honestly about her adoption experience. I can wholeheartedly say from our experience we too have felt the same way.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Dossier to China - DTC!!

As of Friday, January 20th, we are Dossier to China! YYIIIIPPPPPEEEE!! Those 3 words - Dossier to China make this mama so happy!

All that really means is that our paperwork is off to China. Granted the CCCWA (Chinese office that processes our paperwork) is closed this week due to the Chinese New Year, so our paperwork will not be personally delivered by our agency's contact until the 30th, but I will not let a one week delay steal my joy! We are in fact one step closer!

Christina Perri - A Thousand Years (Lyrics)

I think this song was originally a love song, but as I read and listen to the words it reminds me of how I feel about waiting for Aliyah...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Speak Up for South Korea's Waiting Children

Praying for the families caught up in the long wait to hold their children because of the reduction in the quota. Praying also for the children waiting for their forever families. Please help if you can.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Care Package #2

I know, I know, we are going to go broke if we keep sending care packages to our daughter in China. But this is what Joel really wanted for his birthday; he wanted to send his little girl a care package. This time we sent our own package with things we picked out just for her. We included a voice recordable book - Joel and I read the story and we sent a voice recordable toy cell phone with the kids' voices. We aslo sent a soft photo album of our  family. We used Ann with Red Thread again and did order donations for the orphanage  too. I am pretty sure this will be the last care package for a few months.

Sweatshirts for the orphanage

Cute hoodie for the orphanage

Our package for Aliyah and some goodies for the kids and staff

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My son's ability to say a new word has reminded me of something very important. I have been struggling with "this" the past month or so as I have been dealing with my biological dad's cancer diagnosis (as well as his other illness). I wish I could say more, but I can't. Dealing with my dad is really hard to do.

Love is Dane's new word. It usually takes him 2 tries before it it comes out right. Every time he says it it makes me smile; it makes this mama's heart soar. It really is the cutest thing ever! Dane has come so far. Actually, we both have come so far;we have grown together, not always gracefully but we have made it, gotten "here" to the place where the world feels right.

There was a time when I longed so desperately to hold Dane in my arms. There were days that I had to fight the tears of wanting him home  just to make it thru the day; there were moments when I clung for dear life to to the only ounce of faith I had left. I felt so prepared to have him be in our life, in our families life. I never knew that my love for him would be tried, in every aspect of our life, the moment he was placed in our arms.

He cried the second he was put in our arms. He cried for days. He did not like me. He did not like my husband. He was hard to deal with. I felt total despair at moments. There was nothing we could do to make him feel better or to make him like us. We knew he was hurting. We tried our very best to help him feel better, with no success. He was a stranger to us and we were to him too.

His crying turned into an anxious attachment to me and a strong dislike for my husband. I could not leave his side for a second. He was terrified to close his eyes for fear that I would leave. He never slept, which in turn created a very miserable toddler. He begged for food all the time. He screamed every time my husband walked into the room. He was miserable and was not afraid to let us know.

I am embarrassed to admit this, but I did not feel love for this angry, hurting child. But I don't think he needed me to feel love for him. Love is not a fuzzy warm feeling. Love is not rainbows and sunshine. He did need me to love him though. He needed a loving mama and a loving daddy too.

We held tight to this verse. I read it all the time. It got me through some really tough days:

Love is always patient;13  love is always kind; love is never envious or arrogant with pride. Nor is she conceited, and she is never rude; she never thinks just of herself or ever gets annoyed. She never is resentful; is never glad with sin, but always glad to side with truth, whenever the truth should win. She bears up under everything, believes the best in all, there is no limit to her hope, and she will never fail.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

We tried our very best to make sure we showered him with God-like love, even though there where days when we did not feel love for him. And soon the warm and fuzzy feelings that I dreamt about began to surface. Dane began to laugh and smile. He began to trust. I began to feel like his mama for real. He wasn't just an angry toddler anymore, he was my son and I was proud to be his mama! He began to like his daddy too. I remember the first time he cried when Joel left the room. Oh, how we celebrated that moment.

It is amazing how when we love someone with true love, God's love, we come to a place where we feel such peace. It is amazing how loving someone the way God wants us to transforms relationships.

I am not in anyway saying that I am perfect because I am not at all. I have made many mistakes and have been less than loving on more than one occasion.

God has used my little boy to teach me many, many things about God's true love. I am forever grateful for God's amazing love and His gentle reminders.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Approval and update


Yes, it is true! On Friday the 13th, our official I800A approval arrived in the mail. I believe it is a total God thing that we finally have this piece of paper, since most before me waited 80-90 days for theirs and we waited 57. I was happy, but not as happy as I thought I would be...I feel like we are just so far away from where I want to be.

I ran around Fri. like a crazy lady and got a copy of our approval notarized, state sealed and overnighted to the courier so she can hopefully take it to the Chinese Consulate on Monday the 16th. I am hoping she can pick it up on Tues. the 17th and overnight it to our adoption agency. And maybe, just maybe, our agency will have it on Wed. the 18th and we can be DTC (dossier/all our paperwork to China) by the end of the week.
Then we wait a week for the Chinese New Year to get over so the Chinese agency can start to log in all of our paperwork.

And then we begin the long and unpredictable part of our wait...

It will still be approx. another 5-6 months before we can travel to meet our daughter.

I think know this is why I wasn't too excited to get our approval. I just feel so down about the long wait. There is so much that has to be done and I really have NO control over any of this paperwork. I just fill it out and trust someone else to take care of it for me...that is so, so , so very hard. I like to be in control. This is my daughter after all, and I want to make sure everything is done correctly.

I know without a doubt this is not what God wants of me.He doesn't want me to worry. He doesn't want me to fight for control. He wants me to trust Him. He wants me to wait upon Him and His perfect timing. He wants me to praise Him and be excited for every little milestone we meet. We can never get to the end of our "journey to Aliyah" with out every step, even the little ones. I cannot let satan steel my joy of meeting our milestones, even the little ones.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Serenity Prayer

This is such a powerful prayer. I am guilty of forgetting how simple yet powerful the words really are. I think  because I have seen it and read it so many times I have become complacent with the the true value in these words.  I needed to read this today, I mean really read it, and let the words sink into my heart.
       The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr
In loving memo
Fr Bertram Griffin -- 1932
Requiescat i
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6

Monday, January 9, 2012

made in His image

A few days ago Dane was really struggling. We had had a few rough days in a row. I think the holidays and lack of schedule was hard for him.  Parenting a hurt/ing child is hard, really hard sometimes and somedays it is really rewarding and the best thing ever. One day in  particular I felt like Dane and I were really out of sync. To be honest, I was ready for bedtime. Finally bedtime came and we did our usual routine and all went well. And then, Dane was up, and up again, and up again. At about 12:45 am, I was almost asleep, I heard him calling for me again. I muttered to myself, "Please just go to bed, I am so tired." I ended up bringing him into bed with me. Some may not agree with me, but with Dane I always assume his bad days are when he needs me the most. Somedays yes, he is just being a typical toddler, somedays it is grief of some sort...I usually follow my heart to determining what he needs. 
That night he laid in bed next to me, very quiet. He just stared at me with his big brown eyes. I couldn't help but notice how beautiful he is. His dark hair was shining in the light form our nightlight; he looked so grown up, he didn't look like the baby we brought home. I began to think about the reasons he was in our family and I began to get really sad and frustrated with some of the opinions of this world. 
In Korea Dane was viewed as unworthy because of his social standing (as an orphan) and because of his issue with his hands. He would have really struggled if he stayed in Korea- he could never be redeemed of his lower status. He would have been very lucky to find a job, a wife or get into a good school. He would have always been judged for things that were not his fault.
I began to think of his birth mom too. If she would have decided to parent him, she too, would have been judged. She would have been lucky to find a job and her family probably would have turned their backs on her. She would have had a really hard time even finding a daycare that would watch her son. 
 As I looked at her son, our son, some more, I began to wonder how she was feeling. Were her arms aching to hold her son?  Would she love to parent her son, even on his bad days? Does she wish she could comfort her son, even in the middle of the night? Would she do just about anything to stand in my shoes, even for a minute, so she could hold her son one last time?
I began to feel guilty for being frustrated with Dane and for wishing he would just go to sleep. God has blessed me with the amazing opportunity to parent this wonderful boy. How did I get so lucky? God was reminding me how blessed I am to be his mommy. Even on his bad days I am so very blessed.  For my son (as well as my other children) was made in the image of God, he was made just as God wanted him to be...and God never makes mistakes.
I know we will have some really hard days ahead as we continue to talk with Dane about why he is in our family. I do not have all the answers and I am sure we never will. I can't imagine how he will feel when he learns how life probably would have been if he stayed in Korea. I hope we can convey enough to him how incredibly special he is. I hope our answers will bring him enough comfort. And I hope the words of this world will never keep him down.

We all have value, we all were created in the image of God.

Psalm 139:13-16
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Forward motion...yippeee!

I received an email today from our adoption agency - our state sealed, authenticated dossier (all our paperwork (minus our I800A approval...boo)) had arrived at their office and it looks to be in order!! I could hardly contain myself. It feels so very good to be so close to getting our dossier to China. Getting our dossier to China is the one of the biggest step to getting our daughter home.

Getting all this paperwork ready took months and was very frustrating at times. To begin with we had 13 documents that we needed to gather. All of those documents needed to be notarized, state sealed and then sent to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago to be authenticated. We also had 5 other documents to gather that needed to be notarized (including a psychological evaluation), 4 additional miscellaneous documents to complete, and also get passport size pictures of Joel and I and 6 pictures of our family and home. Not to mention the hours of training we had to complete.

Now, all we need is our I800A approval (permission from our US gvmt to bring a foreign born child in tho the US) which we should hopefully have in the next 2 weeks.

Just when I felt so low and at the end of my rope with the lack of paperwork movement, God provided me with some good news and renewed strength.

Isaiah 40:31
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

Monday, January 2, 2012

it is 2012

Well, 2011 is finally done. I feel bad knowing that I have wished some days away. It is really hard because I want to capture every moment I can with my children. Time goes so fast and they grow and change in a blink of an eye. But I am torn. My youngest daughter is in China, growing older and changing without me and my oldest children are here with me. How can I capture and savor every moment with my oldest children and yet wish days away so I can hold and meet my baby girl...I want to be able to do both.

I am excited for what 2012 hold for us. If all goes well, this is the year we will meet and hold our youngest daughter for the first time. I am looking forward to that time for sure. I know we will have some tough, tough days ahead but I know we will make it through.

Happy New Year!
"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you... For I am the Lord your God..
~Isiah 43:1-3