Count of Chicks for Children

God's Plan For Us

This is our journey - God's incredible plan for our lives. When we followed the moving of the Holy Spirit, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured out upon us blessings we never dreamed of! Indescribable joy!

" 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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Erin Quinglian is ours!!!

Months of paperwork and praying came down to a few strokes of a pen. Erin Qinglian is ours!! Papers were signed today- we skipped the Harmonious Period (the 24 hour period that you normally have before you sign- not that we needed time to decide anyway) because there is a holiday this week which shuts down business, so they are pushing it through to be done before we leave on Saturday.
Erin is absolutely beautiful!! She knows much more English than we anticipated (thanks to great volunteers- like Jessie from Illinois and Anna from Spain), and she is spelling many of the words!!! She LOVES music and has been singing Oh My Darlin' all day. She has also been singing "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart" .  We've got joy too- knowing we now have another daughter, and that she now has a family. Since I am pretty clueless about raising a blind child, I am still trying to figure out what she needs help with, and also how best to help her. It's been trickier since we are in a strange place for us all.
We went to the Civil Affairs Office, then to get photos needed for
paperwork, and then on to the orphanage. We met her teacher from when she lived there (it's been more than 4 years since she left there to go to Bethel in Beijing), and also her music teacher. Erin sat down and played a couple of songs on the piano for us.

Before I go further- We got to meet some of the children in the orphanage. They were all so precious. One little guy in a wheelchair - probably 4-5 years old- reached out and grabbed me, pulled my face right over to his and didn't let go. I can NEVER explain how hard it is to see these children and know that for most, they will sit there year after year, waiting for the one thing they will probably never have - family. It breaks my heart, and I want to encourage each person reading this to pray and consider whether or not God is calling you to adopt or care for the orphan in some way. There are millions of children who need someone to love them.

We ended a long day with another trip to the Civil Affairs Office and the supermarket. Since our flight was delayed and it was after 1 this morning before we got to the room, we are pretty exhausted. The girls have both already gone to sleep and I am soon to head that way myself.
To all those who have been following our journey and praying for us- THANK YOU!! It is exciting to see how God is working.

Friday, August 28, 2015

We Made It!

We arrived in Beijing about 3,  and got to the hotel around 4:00. We'd been going for 24 hours, and were ready to take a little nap. The Lord graciously allowed us to have an empty seat beside us on the flight, which gave us (in truth, it was me, not us) a little more room to get comfortable (as much is possible for 13 hours). Thanks to a tailwind, the flight was an hour shorter than anticipated. We met with Shirley (our agency representative who was with us the last time we were here as well) this morning and took Elli to see the Great Wall. She was as impressed as she thought she would be. We've determined that none of us will try out for a stair climbing class any time soon ;-). It's a wonder I made it to the first section. Pretty sure I had forgotten (since our last time at the Great Wall) that I had those muscles.

After eating at a Chinese buffet, we headed on to the Summer Palace. (We had Elli pick the two sites she had wanted to see, and those were at the top of her list.) As with the other times we have visited, the workmanship there amazed me. The longest covered corridor is there housing over 14,000 paintings. It is a beautiful place to see.

Thank you for continued prayers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

We're on Our Way to China!!!

We've checked in our luggage and are waiting to board. All the months of waiting, planning, praying, preparing, and waiting some more are over. It seems surreal right this moment. It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that soon they will be in our arms. Soon, two more daughters will call me mama.
Leaving the girls was hard. Ximi just sobbed. They were all pretty upset that we were saying goodbye. 24 days is a long time to be away, but even as I type this I can't help but think of the birth moms, who so many years ago, said goodbye forever to their daughters. All our daughters have health needs, so I believe their moms did what they thought was best for them. They left them somewhere that they'd be found, and hopefully cared for. I wish I could tell their moms that they are loved beyond anything I can explain. They are cherished daughters and we are blessed to call them ours.
Please pray for Erin and Meimei. Leaving all they know will be hard for them. Pray also for our girls waiting at home for us to return.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Roller Coaster of Adoption

I love roller coasters. Prior to neck surgery, it was my favorite part of a trip to an amusement park.

Oftentimes, I feel the journey of adoption is like a roller coaster......

I feel I am in the standing-in-line phase of the ride. As you probably know, the best coasters have the longest line and seem to take FOREVER for your turn. But finally, you are close to the front of the line, and a funny thing begins to happen. In the pit of your stomach it starts to tighten up. You want to ride, but there is some fear of the unknown (and sometimes the known!). Each step tenses you up a little more until finally it is time to take your seat and get strapped in. In no way does the tenseness lessen once the coaster begins to move. As a matter of fact, as the ride inches up that first hill, your heart is pounding, your hands are gripping tightly to the bar, and you can barely breath. It seems as though you hang forever on that first hill before you start down the other side. At this point you're thinking you must be crazy for voluntarily getting on this dangerous thing.

But then.......

You start down that first hill and the screams of terror become screams of excitement. Laughter erupts. You let go of the bar and put your hands in the air. It is a thrill!!

I willingly get back on that coaster and will ride it over and over, and go through those same emotions again and again ( though not to the same degree as the first time, because I know all those twists and turns now).

This particular 'ride' has taken us a year- short by adoption standards, but oh, the line has seemed so long. We are finally at the front of the line and getting ready to board our seats. The knot in my stomach is there. The unknown ride is about to begin. Yes, many things I know quite well to expect. To be honest, they make me tense up even more. I do not look forward to taking two girls from the only family they have really known. It will be hard for them and their foster families. Grieving is hard, but at the same time, I know that it is a good sign because they have felt love (and we are eternally grateful for those who have loved them these past few years!).  Adjustments are hard, and since Erin is blind, I know it will add another layer to that. Each daughter we have brought home has had their own difficult adjustments to make-to a new life and to a forever family. They have done so beautifully, and I know Erin and Meimei will as well. As we climb up that first hill, and before we start down the other side, we will have some tense moments, both while in China and once home. We will all have to discover a new normal. Oftentimes that is not an easy thing to do. Expectations need to be readjusted. Many prayers need to be prayed- day in and day out. My biggest job will be to let go of the bar on the ride I'm holding tightly to. I know that my grip is not what keeps me from falling out of my seat. Actually, it is an easier ride when I take my hands off the bar and relax. That's what I need to do now as well- stop gripping tightly to something I'm not in control of and let God work His mighty works. The journey will be smoother and more joyous.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Travel Approval!! Tickets to China!!!

There is something special about those two little letters- TA. If you have adopted, are in the process, or have someone close to you who has, you understand just what seeing those letters together will do to you heart. So many emotions flooding into the same space in your heart- excitement that soon you will hold them in your arms, relief that the paperwork and waiting, waiting, waiting are almost over, stress over all the things you still have to do to get ready (even though I've had a year to prepare!!!), concern for the little ones you have to be away from for three weeks,

but most of all..

GRATITUDE.

Grateful that God has allowed me this incredible privilege to have two more children who call me Mama.
Grateful for being allowed to see God at work in so many amazing ways this past year.
Grateful He shouted loud and clear to begin the process to bring home more children.
Grateful He guided us gently to those who will soon be called by our name.
Grateful that He has surrounded us with  those who have prayed, loved and encouraged us throughout the journey, and that we know will continue to do so.
Grateful that we will soon be able to share with our two precious girls just how much God loves them.

We will head to China August 26. We would love your prayers as we go!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nini and Ximi- First Day of School


                                              
 I wasn’t anticipating the tears that came with the first day of school.
Nini and Ximi started first grade today. They have been homeschooling since they came home from China, so today was a big deal. They attended first grade camp a few days the past week, and were so excited that they talked about school continuously. When it was time for them to get on the bus, it wasn’t Nini or Ximi who had the tears. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure they even really said goodbye to us. Their focus was on their seat on the bus. The tears were from a 50 year old woman who knows that time moves swiftly. I thought I’d be a bit more excited than I was, but instead it signaled another tick on the clock of life that moves more quickly the older I get. Having a 30 year old son, I know how fast they grow up. I know I will turn around and we will be planning graduation. More than once I’ve told our kids who now have little ones of their own to savor the moments. Yes, even the fussy, cranky times when they are driving us crazy. It is but a breath that we hold them in our arms (and yes, I know that when we are in the middle of a full blown meltdown it feels more like an eternity!!).

So, in our ever changing ‘normal’, we now have Xiaoyun, our sophomore at the local high school; Elli taking academic classes with other homeschoolers; Enya, homeschooling; Nini and Ximi, 1st grade in public school. Soon Erin and Meimei will be coming home, and our ‘normal’ will once again shift. More updates on that soon!!

BTW- When we went to open house, I’m sure it was just my imagination, but almost all the other parents looked quite a bit younger than us J