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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Prayer Request...and our Article 5

We received confirmation today that our Article 5 was indeed picked up on Friday Oct 21st. Our agency is telling us that it may be 3-4 wks before travel approval. We would travel approximately 2 wks after that under normal circumstances; however, 6 weeks from now puts us traveling right before or if not during Christmas. This means: 1) We have a potential "nightmare" on our hands, and/ or 2) that we have some not so fun choices to make. We don't particularly (well at least I don't) relish the idea of being away from our 5 other children(Garrett is going with us) on Christmas; however, we don't want to have to wait even longer to get our baby home either. We want him home with his family for Christmas! I am trying not to "whine" (really I am) because I know, from past experience, that this wait is not in my control and that God's timing is always perfect. Knowing that fact doesn't make the wait any easier!
Where does the Nightmare come in?...well, if we were to choose to travel during Christmas... (getting goosebumps here) ... We wouldn't just have travel plans to deal with, but preparing a Christmas for our other kiddos would be added to travel preparations and "toddler-fying" the house. Then there is the "logistics" of it all...arrangements for child care become more difficult because of everyone's family Christmas (it is a bit difficult to ask friends to add 6 additional kiddos to their holiday/ family celebrations)... We have terrific friends and family who would willingly and lovingly care for them, but I hate to impose on anyone. ... and, there is the children to think about(they need comfort, security and stability while mom and dad are gone... it becomes harder to ask people to care for your children in their familiar surroundings when it is a holiday.)
...oh, and did I forget to mention that since we are serving as the interim Children's ministers at our church, it would be kind of a good idea for us to be around for the Christmas program etc... As I type this, something occurs to me. Is there really a need for me to worry or be anxious? After all Christmas isn't about programs, parties, and presents, it is about Jesus...his birth, his death, his resurrection. It strikes a little chord in my heart. I know that it will all work out to God's glory.
SO... I am choosing to not get anxious, but instead I am going to pray. I am going to pray that God moves that paperwork ever so quickly, and that he sends our TA within the next two weeks. I am praying that we can travel at or around Thanksgiving (not fun!... missing this day with the kiddos, but it beats missing Christmas with them). I am praying for this and that we can all be together, with our Toby, celebrating Jesus' birth. I know that NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE for our God! Praising Him for all that he has done as we have answered HIS CALL to adopt this precious treasure!
Will you join us in prayer over the next two weeks, please?
Some specific prayer request would be:
1) that we get our TA no later than Nov. 4th
2) that we can be traveling to China within two weeks of that date
3) that Toby is made ready, that God will prepare his heart for a loving family
4) for all the changes and transitions that must occur for Toby to join his forever family
5) for our kiddos left at home and for their caregivers
6) for safe and uneventful travels; for fair weather as we will be entering the winter season around here; thus, it will make travel more difficult
7) for the remaining finances needed for the orphanage donation

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Nate!

How, oh how did this baby boy become 10 years old!! It just doesn't seem possible. Our sweet Nathaniel was born this day 10 years ago. He survived all odds! You see Nate was a twin, and about 5 weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried the twin. My doctor cautioned us that often when one twin miscarries so will the other. Praising the Lord that Nate beat those odds! Praising the Lord for this precious boy, who at 15 months underwent a major emergency surgery, and survived 3 surgeries before he was 2 years old. We praise our amazing God each and everytime we kiss and hug this precious child, a precious gift from Him.
Nathaniel, or "Nate" as he likes to be called is a very quiet, tender hearted child. He loves to play with his friends, but he can find an equal amount of enjoyment in just spending time alone. He is kind to everyone he meets, and he loves with every ounce of his being. Of all our children, he is the one who has so easily made the adjustments as we add more children to our family. He befriends his siblings almost immediately, and it isn't long before the love and bond has grown immeasurably. As quiet as he can be, he still defends the weak and any causes he deems worthy. He is almost always calm and mild in manner; however, if  he feels that there is an injustice being done, he will fight. He defends his siblings no matter the cost to himself. It is such a joy to watch as he matures (and this momma has to confess, I am in no hurry for him to grow up). He is developing a sense of humor and loves to laugh. As he gets older his interest are changing. He has developed an interest in baseball again, and he is telling his dad that he wants to try playing again next season (you know his daddy is happy with that!). He still loves to give and receive hugs, and he loves nothing better than to have quality time with his momma and daddy (even just watching a movie together). I miss the baby boy he was, but I am thrilled with the young man he is becoming. I look forward to watching all that God has in store for this wonderful young man.
Nate at 5wks old

Nathaniel Adam  (NATE)
Happy Birthday Nate! Your are truly a treasure and precious gift from God!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Betcha Can't Guess What Time It Is??

...and the Rangers are in the Playoffs...

The Best of Chicago...

The girlies loved playing with baby Ned (who isn't much of a baby anymore)

Everyone wanted to walk through Chinatown

No that's not Toby..yet... it is Ned ...we count him as one of our kiddos too.

An annual (well sort of ) event ...taking a group pic of the kiddos with our Chicago friends... this pic has expanded a bit over the years

Ned just fits right in...

Lovin' it
The Best of Chicago is that we get to visit with friends! In preparing for our upcoming trip to China, we have to obtain Chinese Visa's for our passports. There are courier services available, but we have friends in Chicago. It is more fun to make the trip, and the way we figured it, the cost to go were only minimally more than a courier (of course, that is because we can stay with our friends while there). We are "penny-pinching" more so than ever to cover trip expenses, so our "fun" activities were limited to mostly free things to do. We did enjoy one lunch out at Harry Carey's (yummy food) and a trip to Starbucks (Pumpkin Spice Latte...oh so yummy!). We were able to walk a bit through downtown Chicago while taking the Visa's to the consulate, and a trip to China town always adds to the excitement and fun. Our kiddos (especially the big boys) love to just walk around and take in the sights, sounds and window shopping there. We vistied with Scott, Rachel and Ned. Their warm hospitality was so appreciated, and we love to share family time with them. One evening, we spent with our dear friends Shawn and Tina (Brad and Shawn are Navy buddies). We had a blast visiting, reminiscing, and sharing about our lives. The only problem...time went way to fast. Our trip was a short one (only 3 days), and it sped by much faster than we would have liked. So, we began making plans for a future visit to Chicago in which we can spend lots of time seeing the sites and enjoying friendships to the fullest. First things first...gotta get our precious baby boy home...
Thanks Again Scott and Rachel and Shawn and Tina! We love you guys!

"Bestest" Friends

Can I just say," I love these girls!". They are indeed precious. Miss Mia, Miss Amy (and Miss Jaelyn) joined their families at the same time. We were so blessed to meet the families before traveling together, and we formed a bond that can never be broken. The "girlie" girls do not get to see each other as often as they would like; however, we know it's time when they start pleading with us to find a way. We had hoped that all 3 girls could get together, but it just hasn't worked that way for this year yet (we missed you Jae). We are hoping to find a time for a reunion soon.
Taking the car out for a spin... Can you see them at 16?

Giggly Girls...ready for church

They selected the same candy for the movie ...No, they didn't eat all of the candy in those boxes, but saved some and shared some
Amy and Mia had a blast just being together, playing and giggling lots. Mia is already making plans for another sleepover with her friends.

Family Fun

Staying Busy! Loving on our Kiddos and loving life!! In the post that follow, I am including pictures of the fun things we have been up to while waiting for approval to bring our Toby home. Hope you enjoy the pictures!