Monday, March 24, 2014

Here we GROW AGAIN & Again!!!

We are off! Moving over to our travel blog, follow along by clicking HERE!!!!

Catching up 2014

Since I am leaving for CHINA and bringing home TWO children, I am guessing I will never get caught up on blogs if I don't catch up NOW before I go! :-) (and I do this because my children bug me when I DON'T, so here we go, in pictures! )

January
Chinese New year was the big event! 




February
We had the youth mystery ball with our church youth group. I was in charge of the dessert bar. :-) 





March
Celebrated my moms 60th birthday!
(also my grandpa and aunts!)





Had a fun day at Cahokia Mounds.







AND prepared to travel!!


Prayer and Blessings

 Sunday our church called our family up to pray over us. It was such a sweet send off. Our church family has been so supportive of my mission in Chenzhou and of our adoptions. So thankful to be a part of a church that has a heart for the orphan! I think it was so good for even my little girls to be a part of such a beautiful time of love and encouragement! 

 Then after that my friends and family gathered at my favorite coffee shop for more prayer and encouragement. It was beautiful. They each had a specific area they prayed over from our flights to luggage to our guides, each of us by name, the kids, etc and so on. 

I know that many do not have the support of family and friends when they adopt, and I am SOOO thankful that we do. Not only did I feel loved, I felt that my new children to be are truly already loved by them.

They say it takes a village, and I am so grateful to say that I have one of the best around! When the going gets tough, as I know it will, I know that these dear friends will be there for me to love us through those tough times. Thank you friends for loving us well! 

Who's going to China?

The question keeps getting asked, who is going to China this time? On our previous adoption trips we took NO kids. And it was heavenly. :-) It was the right choice for those trips and honestly what our new kids needed at the time. 

But this trip we knew we would consider taking kids. In particular one kid. Who has a HUGE heart for the orphan, a HUGE heart for babies, and DESPERATELY wanted to go. 

Makenna had no interest in going. She has been to China 3 times on mission and LOVES that. Wants to return again for that. The thought of NOT being in the orphanage the entire trip was to much for her to even imagine. Plus she is saving up to go back next summer on mission. 

Sawyer, we wondered. It is a brother, would he want to go?! But Sawyer has yet to travel overseas. He is a VERY very VERY picky eater. Though I know that when God calls him, he will work through that. He is thinking he wants to go on mission, so he is saving his money for that. I do think he will do better on a mission trip over than an adoption trip. To much down time on adoption trips! 

Sage & Mavery.... I really did want to consider taking Sage. This is her orphanage after all. And this trip would be easier than a mission trip. (I will not take her on a mission trip there till she is MUCH older) Plus she is just easy. BUT, Mavery is not ready for this trip at all. Mavery could not handle the flight let alone China!  And to be honest, I am not sure that Sage is ready either. 

So, the decision was pretty easy. Malaine will travel with us! She has wanted to go on mission, and I think this is a good step in that direction. Malaine is the one who knows the kids in the orphanage by name, sometimes better than I do! (and she has never been!) She knows the nannies, she knows their stories. She listens, she bears the burden of life there through what I share. 

This will be her very first flight. She is SOO excited and I am SOO excited to share this with her! I know that she will do great with the kids, and will just be a joy to have along. She is an easy child as it is, and is laid back. She is excited to try the foods, she is NOT excited about squatty potties. :-) 

I have had the privilege of seeing China through Makenna's eyes 3 times, and I have loved that. Now I will see it through Malaine's eyes. I pray that God will capture her heart and she will return changed, as China seems to do for all of us. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A room for a Superhero


My mother is amazingly talented. Unfortunately that talent skipped right on over me and landed on Makenna. Which are both to my benefit, I get out of much of the decorating work! :-) My kids young and old are obsessed with super hero's. So when adding a boy, the choice for his room was so easy! 
 A super hero room for our superhero! My mom has spent MANY hours on this. Painting and drawing and sewing curtains and painting some more. My parents are so generous with their time, $ and talent and we are so thankful. You can just see the loved poured into this room for a boy they have yet to meet. But whom is already loved. 

Makenna painted the letters below. She is such a good artist and enjoys drawing and painting. And as you can see, she is also VERY talented! You might remember, Syler was one of her favorite's from our mission trips. So the fact that he gets to actually be her brother is pretty special. I can't wait to see him finally seeing her! 


Can you imagine the look on Sylers face to walk into this room? We will have a bed set up in our room for him, but he can keep his things in here and when he is ready, he can sleep under the city of super hero's! 

Together Forever


Waiting is hard. No matter how many children you already have, how many adoptions you have done, or how many photos you get. It is not natural to have children who are not in your care. 

But one thing that has done my heart good is knowing that my children are together. They say that Syler is taking good care of his baby sister, and I believe that! 
 When I get photos, I can just see the tenderness that he shows towards her. Notice how he holds on to her, or how she is watching him. Is it not the sweetest thing ever? 
Syler and Mercie will sleep at the orphanage for just 7 more nights. Then they will leave everything they have ever known. Nothing will be the same. The smells will change, the sounds, the clothes, and of course no nannies that have been there with them. 


But the thing that won't change? Each other. No matter how scared they are, how unfamiliar things seem, how different life is, they can wake up every day and still see a face that they know. 

I am so thankful that God allowed this because it has given me just a bit of peace when I think of all the change they will encounter very soon. 


Mercie is young, she won't remember life before us when she is older. But Syler will. He can fill in those gaps for her, he can remind her of their story, because he walked these halls with her every single day. 


My heart overflows with each photo they have sent. I study them for hours, looking at everything and trying to soak them in. 


What is going through Sylers head? Mercie is to young to understand, but I know he knows. And I bet he is counting down. 
I know WE are counting the heartbeats till we are ALL together, very very soon! 

Flight leaves TUESDAY!!! Have a few posts to catch up tomorrow and will link in to our travel blog! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Building a Bear for Mercie

We sent Syler a monkey from build a bear back in November, with our first package to him. We stuffed it full of love and dreams and even our voices were included. So when we finally got approval for Mercie, we went to build a bear for her too! And we did the same thing. Debated over which bear fit her sweet personality. Each of us chose a heart that we prayed over and stuffed it full of love. The wait is so long when our children are so far away,  it helps a bit knowing that they will hold these things that were made by our own hands. 

 We have also been working hard to get a space ready for the kids. (Syler's room gets it's own post!) Because Mercie is only 2, we plan that she will spend quite some time sleeping with us. We know that she will not know she does not have her own space, but I did want to put some effort into it. Even if she sleeps in our bed, which is what we hope for.
 My aunt gave me the quilt through an auction for the Life Network Pregnancy care center. I find it quite fitting that it was made by the quilters at our church. LOVE the colors, love that it is a cozy house, a home. A place Mercie has never lived in.

I wanted to find a picture to hang over the crib, and I searched and searched. This photo caught my attention, but I just wasn't sure. I picked it up, put it back, put it in the cart, put it back and walked away. But then I came back to think some more. (in case you didn't know, I OVERTHINK everything) I stood there studying the photo when something caught my eye.

It the top corner, against the leaf it had a verse. And when I saw what it was I started to weep right there in the middle of Hobby Lobby.  If you would like to read WHY this verse made me weep, please go here to read. 

When God breathed adoption in my heart he also planted that verse along with it.

He used it so many times to remind me of WHY we were on the journey we were on. With Sage, with Mavery and now THIS picture. Not only is it fitting that it says PRAYER CHANGES THINGS, the verse. So to the counter I went to pay and that picture was over her crib as soon as I walked in the door.

Each time I look at her crib, next to my bed, I am reminded Prayer DOES change things.

Most of all prayer has changed ME, it has changed Mark. We are getting ready to travel for our 6th and 7th children. Children we begged the Lord to let us parent.

There are times our Faith wavers. We question, we cry, we get so tired of waiting and wondering. We think of our kids sitting in an orphanage, and it breaks us. I have walked the halls of that place, I KNOW how they live. I can't think to long or to hard or I go crazy.

But not much longer! We hope to have a date this week!



And we hope to have pictures of that bear in the arms of our baby girl, it is being delivered today!

HER name is....

Oh this name game!

As you know I have dreamed of a baby girl for YEARS, and I do mean years. So I have tossed around names in my head for all those years.

Then when we found Syler we knew he was an S name and if we DID find a baby girl, she would be M.

But having a houseful of VERY opinionated children is HARD.

I suggest a name, they make fun of it.

I suggest again, they go on and on about it. And when I say ON & on I mean gagging, falling on the floor, "I can't believe you would do that to our sister" going on.

I live a rough life.

One thing with our children's names is that we never chose them based on meaning. I know some do and that is great. But honestly, we just picked based on sound. And then of course letter. I mean really, Sawyer means woodcutter. I have no love towards trees or anything, just loved that name!

As I have prayed over this child and wondered how God would write her story my prayer was, Lord, please have mercy on her. Have mercy on US.



And so it went. We found out He DID have mercy, so we needed to officially name her! Here are some we considered.

Myer
Maryn/Merin/Maren
Maelle
Maraya
Mali





























On and on the lists went. I asked for suggestions and people were so kind to share, I had pages I was going through! I joined every name board, I PRAYED and prayed. It was to the point I was literally have nightmares!

And I just kept coming back to this.

God had mercy on us.

And that just fit! So our baby girl will be named after the miracle that HE has done, by showing us mercy.


I actually loved Mercie all along. My family did not. I kept bringing it up and they said no. Until I showed them a photo with her name, and that did it. They agreed, it fit her and it fit us. 

Webster defines Mercy as this:

a :  a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
b :  a fortunate circumstance 
C:  compassionate treatment of those in distress 

:kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation. 
:a good or lucky fact or situation


We know that God has been faithful. He has given us a gift that we did not deserve. We will never forget the mercy and compassion he has shown on us as we have laid on our face before him crying out to rescue this baby girl. 

Our prayer is that she will someday know Gods mercy herself. That she will understand how he wrote her story, our story. That she will see the mercy he has poured out on all of us. 

Romans 9:15






For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”










Psalm 23:6 






Surely Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 








Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.



Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence approach the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

Mercie Fei, our sweet daughter, forever loved. 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Miracles

 When you ask God for miracles, and then you actually SEE them, you want to shout it from the rooftops.


And yet words fail me.

In October we announced the news of our son, you can read here. And HE is a gift! I feel like the luckiest mama in the world that he is ours! Syler Blane, our 6th child. He evened us out!

You may recall I wrote in that post about my longing for a baby girl. How humorous that we started out for a baby girl and ended up with an 8 year old BOY child!

And we were SO happy with our boy! 

But God… He wasn’t done. He was putting his plans in motion. He knew the ending & he was still writing our story.

We have a baby girl.

Well maybe not so much a baby, though she is in our eyes.

She is 2 years old.

And she is a miracle.

I first laid eyes on her in 2012. So to answer the question, yes she is from Chenzhou.




The day I saw her I knew, she was mine.  I can remember the moment I laid eyes on her. I gasped, I got tears, I dropped to my knees and looked at the nannies in wonder.

Back in 2011 I fell in love with a baby we named Rosebud. I adored that baby girl and would have taken her home with me. But she was not meant to be mine. I have been blessed that I have connected with her family and they are so gracious to let me see her life!

She went home in 2011, shortly after I met her.

So when I walked into the baby play room in 2012, and THIS baby sat there, looking SO much like that baby, it took my breath away.




As I fell to my knees before her to soak her in, the nannies started to laugh and started saying Rosebud (her chinese name of course) because they knew exactly what I was thinking!


I had sworn this trip I was not going to focus on ONE baby as much. I was going to spend equal times with ALL babies.

And then I saw her and well, she was just my baby! She was perfect and smiley and I called Mark and said, I want to bring her home!

And oh did they want to send her home with me.

But of course that was not an option. And at that point while we had tossed around adopting again, it was simply that. Tossed around, but nothing settled.

We spent the next months praying over this baby girl. Praying over our family. Are we supposed to add more? Are we going to be ok if we start an adoption and can't find her file? Are we CRAZY! 

We knew going in we would only find her with a miracle. 

But we also know that God IS a God of miracles. 

And so we trusted in His plan. 

I am not going to lie. It has been a LONG year. My faith felt like it was on a roller coaster of up and down. I wish I could say that I stayed strong, I never complained, I kept a happy attitude and knew that in the end God would give us a miracle in one way or another. 

My friend shared this verse with me, and I wanted SO badly to live that! 



Waiting is not something I have ever been good at though. EVEN now, I can't hardly stand it. We found Syler in October and we wondered, what is God doing? We were SOOO excited to have him as our son! We tried to come to peace with it might be just him. But my heart just kept saying, don't give up.


And God, who is a God of Mercy, gave us our miracle.



There is so much more to her story than I can even put into details. We are still processing through it all. But we do know this, God is good. We are blessed. Not only do we have an amazing son, we have my baby love.

I know it is a gift that I have been given to celebrate her 1st AND 2nd birthdays with her. 

I watched her go from a smily happy baby to a nervous toddler that is scared of strangers. 

I know that she loves puffs, and that was my secret ammunition in July. 

She is a tiny peanut, weighing in at a whopping 22 pounds. She will be 3 in July. 

She was born VERY early and the fact that she is alive IS a miracle in itself. 

She is ornery, and some families who met her have called her Ms Attitude or simply, Trouble. :-) 

Her name is Lin Fei, and just happens that MY middle name is Faye. 
She does not have an English name yet, she is up for the letter M. 


Her report was so detailed, of that I am so thankful. My favorite line is that "she is a beautiful dainty princess." And she IS. 

She is now the baby princess of our family. She is our daughter, never to be an orphan again. She is so loved and cherished and WANTED more than words can say. We have prayed on our knees and continue to do so for this sweet miracle. She is our gift. 


There are moments when I stop and just weep. We started this journey and it was so unknown what would happen. We knew what we wanted to happen, but we just had no idea what God would do. We would look at files and lists and dream and wait. 

My dreams though, they were only THESE kids. Always. 


So now we wait. We will travel SOON though for BOTH kids. We are praying to meet them on March 31st, will you pray with us? 


I really do hope to get back in this blogging thing because I do love to keep track of these things for my kids. Someday I may not remember their stories in detail, but they can read them! 

SEVEN children. It just seems like the perfect number if you ask us!