Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Will Praise Him

First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU for all of the prayers, love, support, everything!!  We are so blessed to know such caring people.  God has really blessed us with so much support and it helps…A lot.  Every word of encouragement and every prayer gives us wind in our sails. 

So, here's another piece of our adoption journey! 

I had been living in CA with my hubby and 2 dogs and we were married almost 4 years by then.  Chris and I were extremely happy and content with where we were in life.  We were not in any kind of hurry to have children, although we knew we would eventually take the leap!  At the time, my sister was pregnant and I wanted to fly home to see her before she gave birth.  So when she was around 7 months pregnant, I flew to MS and stayed a week with my family.  It was a wonderful week, but towards the end of it, I remember sitting in the living room with my daddy.  He was sitting in his recliner and we were chatting a bit about life.  He asked me, "so when do you feel that you and Chris will have children?"  He completely caught me off guard!!  I stuttered around a bit and said, "Well, I'm not really sure…we are pretty happy right now, we really aren't in any hurry..."  My dad then said, "I just can't understand that, Maria... when I had the 3 of you, my life became complete.. I can't imagine life without y'all..."  WELL, that got my thoughts churning.  For my daddy to say something like that to me, wow... it made me feel so loved... I could FEEL how much he loved me just through those words and I knew then that I was ready to have children of my own.  I called Chris, told him what my daddy had said, and we began our journey into parenthood... Our sweet girl was born in May 2005 and my daddy was right, I could not imagine life without her.

            My family flew out to CA in rotations to meet our sweet daughter.  I absolutely LOVED having them visit us.  My parents came out on the 2nd rotation and just loved all over their grandbaby.  However, during their visit, my dad started feeling bad.  His lymph nodes started swelling and he knew that something was very wrong.  I could tell that my mother was very worried about him.  She told me the symptoms he was having and I talked with him about letting us take him to the doctor.  He refused, saying that he would be fine and that there was nothing to worry about.  Well, after making it back to MS and going straight to the doctor, he was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and sadly, he passed away 7 months later.  God so graciously gave my daddy the perfect words to say to me.  Because of this, he was able to hold his sweet granddaughter.  I miss him every single day.

            Life with G has been wonderful!  I love her so much that I really can’t put it into words!  All I knew then was that I wanted more.  I had to have more children.  My husband and I discussed how many children we would want to have and we both agreed on a dozen of them!  J 
So we got pregnant pretty quickly once we made the decision to go for number 2.  13 weeks later, I lost the baby. I was floored, crushed, confused, hurt, you name it, I felt it.  I just could not understand why it happened!  But with God’s help, we got through it… and surely it wouldn’t happen again…

            Chris ended up having to take a tour to S. Korea and was away for 1 year.  It was the longest year of our lives!  Once he returned home in Feb. 2009, we had to pack everything up for our huge move to Germany… We left MS on Easter Sunday with our sweet G and everything we owned and made the long flight to our new home at Ramstein AB.  AND, I was 6 weeks pregnant!  Life could not be better.  I had my husband back, G was on cloud 9 that her family was back together, and we were so excited to have another child.  Then it happened, I lost the baby.

            So by now, we really started thinking that adoption would be our only way to have more children.  Those two miscarriages left a huge hole in my heart that needed to be filled…  It had to be filled.  I prayed and prayed for God to allow us to have another child.  We had everyone praying that prayer for us.  God heard those prayers and our sweet little G was born in October 2010.  Praise God!

            I felt complete.  I actually told people that little G had filled a hole in my heart and that I knew that if I could never give birth to another child that I would be okay with that.    A few months after making that statement, the hole came back.  This time, I knew that it was not for another biological child, it was for an orphan.  I knew that God was issuing that official call to adopt and little did I know, God was working on Chris as well.

Up next, “The least of these…”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Beginning: Our Desire to Adopt

First of all, I just wanted to thank you so much for your encouragement, prayers, support, everything!  All of you have been so wonderful to us!  All of your kind words mean so much.   I am planning on printing out every encouraging word and putting them in his adoption baby book for him to read one day!  He will be so happy to know that so many of you are praying and pulling for him!  God bless you all!!
Our home study was a success!  What a relief.  I have to say that I really had no idea how it would go.  First of all, I couldn’t get little G to take a nap to save my life!  She fought sleep ALL day and that was so unlike her.  Maybe she was sensing my stress?  But anyway, she went from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM with no sleep, missing 2 naps.  THEN, I started feeling a migraine coming on.  The kind of pain that usually progresses until I can’t even form words right.  Thankfully, with your prayers, everything went perfectly!  My migraine subsided before it got bad and Garridee did very well!   Our social worker had dinner with us and little G sat quietly in her highchair chomping on her green beans.   We provided a lot more food than usual so I’m sure that’s why she was so happy!   After dinner, we took him on a tour of the house and while Chris finished up the tour, I slipped away to put her down for the night and she slept the rest of the evening.  After the tour, we sat around our kitchen table and he reviewed our very lengthy questionnaire that we completed, while big G got a free pass to play Wii for the hours that he was interviewing us.  Conversation was very easy and it went very well.  Before he left, he gave us a verbal approval and said that his writer will type everything up!  So now you know what a home study is like! J
So here’s another piece of our story..  Shortly after we were married, we moved to Travis AFB, CA.   K-love Radio Station was located not too far from where we were living and we got invited to attend a private concert for Steven Curtis Chapman at the K-love studio.  We were so excited!  We were in a group of about 40 people and we got to enjoy a private concert as he sat on a stool without a stage and played his guitar acoustically, mixing in new songs and some of his older ones.  It was amazing!  Afterwards, Steven Curtis Chapman spoke on adoption and the foundation that he and his wife started to help provide financial support through grants.  The foundation is now called “Show Hope”.  On our way out, Chris ran out to our car, grabbed his guitar and had Steven sign it for him!  Such a memorable night…  On our way home, we both shared with one another how we felt that God was calling us to adopt and we felt that we would...And now, here we are!   This was the beginning of our desire to adopt.
More to come!!  Up next,  how we praised Him in the storm……

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We're Going Live!

We are going to start circulating our blog address!  This is a huge step for us, as we are able to now accept donations through Paypal.  These donations would be non-tax deductable at this time.  When we get our Family Support Page through Reece's Rainbow, we'll be able to accept tax deductable donations.  They are a 501 organization, so you can donate to us, while at the same time, reducing your tax liability through the charitable donation!

God Bless!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"My Family Found Me"

There is a precious little boy living in an orphanage in Eastern Europe and he’s waiting for us.  He has the most beautiful eyes, the sweetest little hands, so much potential.  Our little boy has been blessed with an extra chromosome; our son has Down syndrome.  He needs a home and we are going to do everything possible to make that happen for him!
                Our hearts are overflowing right now as we feel that we are in God’s will.  We have learned that at times, there is nothing more frightening, yet nothing more rewarding, than taking leaps of faith and trusting that God is in control.  I know that many of you have so many questions right now and we will be writing many blogs to answer them.  We can’t wait to share with you how God has worked this situation!  We will start from the beginning and give the full story in the days and months to come!   Promise! 
I will begin with this for now:  We both felt that God was leading us to adopt a child.  We knew we would, eventually, but the timing never felt right… until now.  10 years later, 2 beautiful daughters later, 2 miscarriages later, a huge move to a different country later, and God issued the official call.  We are so excited to go on this journey! 
We found our son through Reece’s Rainbow.   Their mission statement is this, “to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.”   As of right now, due to privacy and a desire to protect all children listed on Reece’s Rainbow, they are unable to release official names publicly, so they refer to him as “Finn”.  Also, his country will have to remain unnamed in our blog but will be referred to as Eastern Europe.   We can’t wait to find out his real name and see how we can incorporate it into a name that we have already chosen if we were ever blessed to have a son. (This explains the blog title!)  Being that he is 2 ½ years old, we are pretty sure that he will probably be attached to his name so we would love to incorporate it into his name somehow.
I just can’t wait to hold him in my arms, to see some personality on that sweet face, to show him a mommy’s love.   I want to rock him and let him know that we are his forever family.  We want to do our best to give him a life, to try to erase some of the damage that may have done to him.  From what we have read in blogs of other adoptive parents, special needs are not viewed positively and these children are shunned and hidden away, locked away in a mental institution when they reach the age of 5 for the rest of their lives.  God, please, please let us bring him home!
So we ask of you to pray for us.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!  We need all of the positive encouragement that we can get!   We have already had a Scentsy Consultant step up and offer a fund-raiser for us and a friend of ours has offered to do a 10 mile run in Paris, France to raise funds for our adoption!  We are currently selling items on a site called Ramstein Yardsales and have raised $2000 so far!  We have had friends from our area volunteer to help us with our sweet girls while we travel to Finn’s country.  Someone even donated a laptop to us anonymously to sell as a donation to our adoption fund!  God is truly lining everything up for us!  If you have fund-raising ideas, please share them with us!  Every bit will help with the $25,000 that we have left to fund this adoption.  
So that is all for now.  We are so happy that we are finally able to share this news with everyone!  Thank you so much for supporting us on this amazing journey!  We hope to be posting Finn’s picture soon!  J