3 coloumn

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! Christ is Risen! GZ day 2

Day 2 in Guangzhou...Today was a really fun day. We shopped on Shamian Island to buy the girls some silk dresses and a few things for future Gotcha day gifts for MaeLynn. We want to celebrate this special time each year. Mae is continuing to bond with us. When she gets over stimulated she continues a couple nervous ticks from the orphanage but we are seeing less and less of those everyday. She is really bonding with Daddy. She left him hold her at dinner and feed her mexican rice. (Yes, ofcourse our third child loves mexican food like the rest of us;))
What a special gift MaeLynn is. She is so full of joy. Her smiles lights up the room. We are slowly working her into baby food and she is doing great! She had never had baby food yet. She does not like anything sweet! She won't drink ANY liquids other than her bottle, it's been a little difficult to keep her hydrated. She will only drink that bottle from the one the orphanage gave us, trust us we have tried many;)
Tonight we went to dinner with 5 other adoptive families at the same yummy mexican restaurant as last night. MaeLynn love all the smiles and attention from the other children. She is really going to love her brother and sister.
I can't tell you how much this little girl already feels like apart of us that has always belonged. I was telling Scott that tomorrow marks one day with her and I already can't imagine life without her. The Lord has been knitting our hearts together for many months and it's aparent to all when you see us with her. We feel so blessed to experience life with her and I know we will be better people because she is in our lives.
Thinking of our visit to the orphanage and all the children laying in there beds. She was just one of those little persons not too long ago, waiting on a family that was open to love. The sweet faces of these children, I will never forget. God made each one of them unique in their own special ways. I will continue to pray everyday that he uses MaeLynn, our story of her expanding our family, and also for the hearts of those that come in contact with us, that the Lord will use it all to impact the children that are left in the orphanages here...ready to be loved by a forever family.
If you or anyone you know is open to adoption, please feel free to give out our information. We are happy to answer questions, pray with you/them and point you in the right direction for resources;)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guangzhou Day 1

Hooray! We are finally here in Guangzhou. This is the final leg of our adoption journey. MaeLynn had a fever yesterday but it broke by her morning nap and she was all smiles when she woke up. We took the in country flight to Guangzhou and didn’t get in until 11pm last night because we had a 2 hr delay. MaeLynn did amazing!!! Momma on the other hand, was about to have a nervous break down in the airport! No one spoke English and the signs were VERY hard to read. Sooo stressful!
BUT WE ARE HERE!!! We went to breakfast and it was soooo great to see our friends again and hug their sweetie pie, Khloe. She and MaeLynn are only 4 months apart and really had fun talking to each other today and playing. I am soo glad the girls will have each other over the years to process and celebrate all this with. Good friends are priceless;))))
We went the the US approved doctors office this morning and had the girls do their final evaluation. They are healthy and happy:) Although both girls DID NOT enjoy being out of momma’s arms when they were being checked out by the doctor. MaeLynn is 18 lbs very long and skinny.
Our guide here, Jack, is amazing. He zipped us in and out of there in about 1 1/2 hours and the room was filled with adoptive families. It was so great to meet another couple with a little boy who was born with the same arm missing as Mae. Their little boy was running around crazy like a typical 2 year old boy;)
We came back to the hotel for a brief meeting with Jack about the game plan for the week and then a quick lunch before naps. Today MaeLynn had a rough couple hours in the afternoon. She was grieving again. I took her in the quite dark room and sang to her in my arms while she cried and screamed a little. I could tell she just needed to get it out. Then she fell asleep in my arms. She woke up about 45 mins later all smiles again. I am sure she will have more of these moments and I know consistency and love will eventually win out;)
To end the day off, we ate at this AMAZING Mexican restaurant...Tequilas. Scott claims he had the best burrito he has had in his whole life. He said it’s just like his Aunt Dana makes them and that says a lot because those are his favorite;) Although, I am not sure if it was just because we are getting burnt out on noodles and rice;)) I will say the Margarita hit the spot;) I am exhausted and ready for bed. Night from Guangzhou, China!!!;)

MaeLynn's 1st birthday!!!

Today is MaeLynn’s special day! We feel so blessed to be able to celebrate her birthday with her in person! She will never spend a single birthday in the orphanage. We had hoped and prayed for this from the day we got matched with her.
Today was very special. We woke up and Mae was all smiles as usual. We skyped and played after breakfast. Then we napped and relaxed for a bit. MaeLynn loves waking up to us watching her!
Next, we headed to the Confucius Temple area. It was so beautiful! The teachings of Confucius are still a part of the Chinese way of life today. Live life by peace, harmony and kindness. We toured the temple area and read all the history. It was very interesting.
The city is still decorated from the Nanjing Lantern Festival held every year the following 2 weeks after Chinese New year. The whole city has these beautiful silk lanterns all around that are shaped like different things. Scott and I had fun taking in all the lanterns and getting some great pics;) MaeLynn loved the bright colors.
In the temple area we took a ride in this little cart thingy this guy ran with. We were quit the site. These funny Americans with the Chinese baby in an all Asian market area. It was hilarious. Everyone was taking pictures of us. Probably because we are much bigger than the average people they pull in these and our men were working up a sweat!
After all that, we left with Micheal, our guide, to do some more touring. We went to the mausoleum of Seno Sans ( sounds like that but spelled totally different). He was a president in China that helped lead the people revolution. He is very respected and revered. The area was beautiful at the top!
Then we toured the city wall that was over 600 years old. This city wall used to go completely around the city but a part was torn down when the Japanese invaded China in the 1940s. The was is 4 layers deep at the entrance. This was so that if people made it through the first layer, they would close the outer layers and trap the enemy in the inner layers and kill them. The sights of the city from here were sooo beautiful!!!
Last, we went to a famous cake shop and celebrated MaeLynn’s birthday. It was so fun to sing happy birthday to her. A dear friend, and fellow adoptive momma, gave me this precious bib and birthday hat she was wearing in the pics! So fun! BUT the cake here is not the same:/ Frosting is all whippy (which for those of you that know me...I LOVE butter creme frosting!) MaeLynn did not like the cake either but really loved all the special attention from everyone there;)
What a special day! Tomorrow we head to Guangzhou! We will meet back up with our friends Erica and Jason Kennett and meet there new daughter Khloe. Then we finish the last leg of our adoption journey before we get to come home! I am missing Lilly and Fischer like CRAZY!!!!! Love you all!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orphanage Visit

I am going to keep this brief as we are really trying to protect as much information for our daughter one day. This was a very hard/emotional day. We drove 1 1/2 hours to Changzhou City. The city is an industrial city and has about 2 million people. My stomache was in knots.

As we pulled up to this beautiful building, there were children outside playing in the sunshine and lots of fountains and greenery around the area. The staff met us outside. They were very friendly and glad to see MaeLynn ( Chang AiHe is what they called her). MaeLynn was not excited to see them and clung to me in fear. I had her in the Ergo and wrapped my arms around her to assure her mommy was not letting go.

When we went inside it was very bright white with lots of colored paintings and characters on the wall. It was very chilly in there. Much cooler than outside. We were able to see the therapy rooms with lots of special needs children. We even saw a place were they hired outside people to come live in the orphanage and act as a foster family to children. They call them Momma and Baba (dada) even.

Last we were taken to MaeLynn’s room and bed. There were 36 cribs in the room. The room was silent. 4 nannies walked around and tried to feed the babies their snacks as they lay in there beds. I learned that they are fed all meals here. They are out of their beds for 2 hours in the morning for play and 2 hours in the afternoon for play.

This momma’s heart can’t take much more telling you about this so I will move right along. Please know there are a LOT of babies here that need forever families. Please pray about if this is something the Lord has for you. Do you have extra love to give?? Also, if you do not feel called to adopt, please support a family that is by donations, prayers or offering to help with fundraisers. The church family, community group, neighborhood and family and friends that made this possible for us are PRICELESS to us and this would not have happened to change this former orphans life without them!!!!!

Gotcha Day/Bennington Day

I am sorry I am catching these blogs up a few days late...MaeLynn only wants momma mostly when she is awake and I am soaking up my time with her. When she sleeps, I sleep;) When she’s awake, we are playing;) Also, I am keeping a special journal for MaeLynn of our time here so blogging and Facebook take a backseat sometimes:( BUT I love our friends and family and know they are anxiously waiting on pics and stories...So it’s 5:30am here and I am wide awake and she is sleeping still;)

I know it’s going to be difficult to sum up Gotcha Day. I get tears in my eyes just thinking of those surreal moments. Scott and I woke up super early and had knots in our stomach. I couldn’t help but think...is she in the city yet? are they preparing her still at the orphanage? will she like us right away? will she feel the love we already have for her? So many questions and we had many hours to go until we left our hotel.

Finally it was 10:00 and the driver came to pick us up. We took a 20min drive (which felt like an hour) to the Jiangsu Provincial office. We anxiously snapped pics of the building and room we were waiting in. Our translator/guide said they were on their way from the orphanage. Scott describes this room as one of the happiest places on Earth. Families everywhere staring out the window waiting to catch glimpses of their little ones before they enter the building.

I saw some people scrambling to see what children came out of this big white van. A lady said...There is an adorable little girl with fuzzy hair and a pink snow suit. I knew that had to be here. My eyes began to fill with tears and then the moment we prayed for, longed for, and even againized over was finally here....our little girl came through the doors with big smiles and a sweet giggle.

The nanny holding her also had a big smile and kept telling the translator to tell us that Aihe (pronounced Eye Huh) was a very happy and smart baby and she is glad she is going to a forever family. She handed her right to me and she was willing and happy. We played with musical toys as the orphanage told me those were her favorites ahead of time. We took a ton of pictures, signed lots of papers, asked loads of questions to the nannies and that was it. Time seemed to stand still with her in my arms. She fell asleep and I just sat and stared at her for what seemed like minutes but soon our translator said it was time to go. (It had been over 1 1/2 hours!)

She continued to sleep on me the whole way home. I snoozed off for a bit too. My heart was soo full in those moments. This is it, our tiny baby girl. When we got to the hotel her eyes began to open and panic set in. You could tell she didn’t recognize us or anything around her. Her nannies where gone and she was scared and felt alone. These were the hardest moments for all of us.

We quickly got back to the room. I held her while she cried and at times let out a few screams. I did everything i knew to comfort her...change her diaper, try a bottle or food, sing to her...but in the end I just sat and cried and prayed. Lord, please give her comfort. you are the only one who can. Let her know we are her forever family. Never again will she be abandoned. We will love her to the best of our abilities.

After 2 hours of this, our guide/translator called and said he needed us to sign a few more things and asked if he could come up. We told him she was still crying from when he dropped her off and he brought up the female driver. He said this was very normal to experience, although that didn’t make it any easier on my heart;) Then the driver said to put her in her crib and let her cry a little. I was VERY hesitant to do this. I didn’t want her to think for a minute that we were going to just put her in her crib as she was used to most of her life. But, we didn’t know what else to try. So, i gently laid her in her crib and gave her the bunny lovey we had for her and watched. I quickly noticed a few coping mechanisms she must have used in the orphanage but then she stopped crying and was asleep in minutes!

I watched her for a long while, sleeping so peacefully. I continued to pray for the rest of our time together. Scott and I decided to take a nap in case she woke up and decided she didn’t want to sleep any more today;)

She woke up after 3 hours a new baby! She took a bottle and even began to smile and giggle again. That was that and she has never looked back! We had to go back the next day to sign the papers that officially made her a Bennington. The first 24hrs with her is what they call a “check out” time where you decided if you want to move forward with the adoption. Are they crazy?? There is NO WAY they were getting our sweet one back!;) We signed away and came back and skyped with the family. Everyone was soo excited to meet her. She even gave some giggles to brother and sissy back home. Lilly is already begging us to come home with her NOW;) Wish we could, we are dying to be together as a family and miss Lilly and Fischer like CRAZY!!!!!!

Thank you again to my mom and dad and sister, Ginger and brother-in-law, Ryan Stelk, for taking care of our children back home. We know they are in good hands and could not feel as much peace about being here as we do with out you!!!! x0x0x0

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beijing Day2/Nanjing arrival

Today is our last day in Beijing. Our guide Rocky has been amazing and we have seen sooo much BUT I am ready to get to Nanjing to got get our baby girl!!!!! Today in Beijing we did a Rickshaw tour of the Old Beijing "Hutong" District. This was so fun! At first I didn't thing the driver was going to be able to get Scott and I going!! We are not as small as the little Chinese people they are used to driving on their bikes!
The history is soo rich here. The district was build over 300 years ago and is one mile behind the Forbidden City (Where the Emporers resided). This district was filled with the tradesman who supplied the goods to the Emporer and the Forbidden City. The man who gave us a tour lives here and spoke of how many generations of his family lived here in this very area (4 generations passed down!).
Next we toured the inside of a current artist in China. This man is very well known in China and even won a Bronze medal from the Governement for a painting that he did. He was a trained apprentice from another artist at a very young age and later developed his own style. He uses water colors from China and oil paints from the "western worlds" and combines them on rice paper and silk to make beautiful art!! Scott and I ended up buying one of China's official flower and stamped with the artist seal and signature. We even got a picture with him and saw his little studio he painted them in!! Soo special and in American dollars was only $30!!! WHAT A STEAL!!!!!
After that we ate at an amazing local dumpling restaurant and headed to the Bullet train station! The train zooms at 300 km/h. We got to Nanjing in 4 hours and the time flew by as we watched the country side. BEAUTIFUL!!!! ( and a very smoothe ride I might add) Sooo we are HERE in Nanjing and just enjoyed some Papa Johns pizza and can't believe we meet our sweet girl TOMORROW!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! SO excited! Night y'all!

Greetings from Beijing!!!!

March, 21, 22, 23, 24

Ni Hao! We are in Beijing!!!! This place is amazing! Scott and I have marveled at how big the city is!!! We flew out on Thursday March 21 from XNA and because of the time zones we landed here in Beijing at 3pm on Friday afternoon. The flight was 2 hrs to Detroit and 14 hrs to Beijing! It wasn't a bad flight though. We flew Delta and each seat has it's own touch screen entertainment system! It was great! I was so excited that we were finally flying here that I didn't sleep a wink;) Needless to say, I am still trying to adjust to the difference in time change;)
When we landed we were greeted by our English speaking guide named Rocky. He is wonderful! Yesterday he managed to get us to Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City (outside pics only), the Olympic square (the Birds Nest and Ice Box), a Jade Factory, The Great Wall, Summer Palace, the Tea House, and to cap of the fun-filled day...a Chinese acrobatic show. Whew....we are exhausted!!!
I wanted to give a quick 1-2 liner on each thing we did yesterday so y'all get a little taste and so I can remember;)
Tienanmen Square- HUGE! Probably 1/2 mile square! Can not believe it was packed, shoulder to should, with people when the protest happened years ago. It is beautiful and had 2 HUGE LCD screens that showed the beauty of China on it. The mausoleum of General Chow is there.
Forbidden City- directly across from Tienanmen square. This place was the palace of all of the emperors and their families. HUGE compound. Sad part was that when China was invaded years ago this man ransacked the palace and took most of China's treasures and fled to Taiwan. :( To this day there is still tension with the people over this.
Olympic Square- in 2003 this whole area was farm land and construction went lightening fast to make hotels, apartments for the athletes, and the stadiums. The Birds Nest and Ice Box are right next to each other and very beautiful. There is the famous hotel there next to it too that is in the shape of the Olympic flame.
Jade Factory- this place was soo impressive. There are several workers working with a carver and large pieces of jade to hand make the gifts for people here. It was amazing to watch them, I could have stayed for hours. Jade is very precious to people here in China. It grows naturally in the rock and when polished it is gorgeous. We bought a jade family ball here. This is a ball made from 1 piece of jade rock. Inside is four smaller balls that are each hand carved by the workers. They make 12 holed into the rock to carve the smaller pieces in it. When you see it, you would never believe it came from 1 piece of rock! On the outside is a double Phoenix, meaning mother and grandmother and a double dragon, meaning husband and grandfather and the balls inside are the generations of happiness to come. I love the history here!!!
The Great Wall- WOW!!!! that about covers it here! We hiked with our friends Jason and Erica to one of the highest points in our area (soooo sore today!) and revelled at God's creation. The stones and carvings on the wall are amazing. It is sooo steep in places and uneven. I can't imagine the people who guarded this wall every day and the ones who gave their lives to build it.
Summer Palace- very intricate. Known for having the longest open air entry way. It's detailed with hand painted art. This is where the Emperor and family spent summers. This place is 200 acres! It includes a man made lake on it with a HUGE marble boat that one of the royals ordered. We were amazed at the size and beauty of this palace. Def worth seeing if you are here!
Tea House- my friends all know...I LOVE TEA!!! (Sarah Philips you would have LOVED this place!) They taught us all about the ancient teas in china and what they are believed to heal in your body. The presentation was fascinating. This was a highlight of the trip too for me;)
Acrobatic show- this was not a branson Chinese acrobatic show!!! Let me tell you, this was AMAZING!!! problem was I was soo exhausted from the jet lag and full day of sight seeing, I had to chug red bull to keep me awake!!!
Well, that about wraps up today! We crammed the whole city in one day!! Exhausted! Lights out;)
Couple more days til we get MaeLynn!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pursuing our daughter...Jan-Mar 2013

Pursuing our daughter...

After we got matched the race was on to bring home our little girl. We quickly got a pre approval from China that she was ours and our paperwork was taken out of translation and taken to be reviewed for the final Letter Seeking Confirmation that Chang AiHe would officially become MaeLynn Ann Bennington. Erica and I began to pray that the Lord would place our paperwork at the top of every stack of papers to be processed and we would get to our daughters in lightening fast speed.

The process to receive confirmation of a child normally lasts between 2-3 months then there is a little more paper work on both sides until you are issued an Invitation to Travel to go get your child. This part normally takes another 2-3 months. We were praying a miracle that we would travel spring break still. Scott and I dreamed of spending our daughters first birthday with her! We know our God is BIG and he wants to lavish gifts upon us SO WE WERE ASKING!

We are apart of a private facebook group of people who are on a similar 6 month time line as we are. We can watch these people to get an idea of how long approvals were taking and let us know when we might expect our approvals. These moms have been an amazing support for Erica and I and we were watching their timelines recognizing we were realistically looking for summer travel approvals to China.

I got the call on Jan 27th that we had received our Letter Seeking Confirmation and our caseworker was in shock. This was lightening fast speed and there was no reason to her why this happened so quickly. Most people on our group had been waiting 60+days already and still didn’t have approval. God was working for us and we were already in awe of him. So what a better way to celebrate... WE ALL GOT TATOOS!!! I got a tatoo on my wrist that says “Jesus Saves” in Chinese. Scott and Jason both got different characters for “The love of a father”. Scott on his chest and Jason on his inner arm. Erica got the symbol for love in chinese on her wrist. We wanted to forever mark the day that the Lord officially welcomed these two girls into our families in China’s eyes.

The paperwork that needed to be done and visa applications kept us busy as the days went on. As march was nearing it was looking like a very slim but possible chance that we could actually travel spring break. We put the families on standby for watching our children and began to dream about traveling together.

The call came on Monday, March 11, 2012. I saw the New York number after I dropped off Lilly and Fischer at Kids Day Out at the church. I immediately thought...I wonder whats wrong. (Isn’t that aweful! Oh me of little faith!) My caseworker answered and uttered those sweet words...YOU HAVE TRAVEL APPROVAL, YOU ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!

Needless to say, I had to pull over as I couldn’t see straight from my tears of joy. After I cried out to the Lord thank you Father, thank you Father, thank you!!!!! I pulled myself together and called Scott and my family. I called Erica, as she had called several times, and we screamed and cried together as the miracle God had done. You see we were on DAY 6 of travel approval wait and there were several who were on day 20 in our group and God had chosen to answer our prayers and send us to China for my little girls birthday. My heart was sooo full.

Sooo here we are. A little over a week from hearing the news...we are ON A PLANE TO CHINA!!! I can’t believe the blessings and hardships the Lord has guided us through on this journey. We are so lucky and blessed to be going to get this little girl and can’t wait to treasure every minute (including her every birthday) with her!!!!!!!!

Christmas Miracles-The day we saw her face Dec.2012

Christmas Miracles-The day we saw her face

December the hope for a match grew in us. Our friends that had previously been filling out paperwork to adopt from China, was just issued their Log In Date to be matched off the shared list and we were praying this was the month for both of us. In the month of December, our caseworker was going on vacation for Christmas Eve through the first couple weeks into January. As the time neared to be matched, we realized that the date was going to fall on Christmas Eve. We lost hope of a match immediately. Our caseworker said they filed for the date to be changed, but that had never happened before. Our sweet caseworker assured us that if she was gone she would train someone else to match us but we didn’t feel good about that either.

I decided to pack up the kids and head to my parents house in Kansas a little early and Scott would meet up with us closer to Christmas when he could get off work. On Tuesday am December, 18, 2012, I checked my email and saw the most amazing thing (well next to the notice of a match;). China had decided to change their date of match and the list would update for all on December 19. I called my friend Erica and screamed. We both discussed how it would be special to be matched together and we both were praying (as we did every month) that God would show us the face of our little girl.

December 19 finally came and I was a mess! My sister and brother in law had just arrived at my parents house and the kids were all playing with glee... oblivious of my nerves and distracted heart. I left the room about 7:30 and sought out a quiet place to pray and watch my computer/phone. Scott and I decided our caseworker would send any profile to Scott first and he would call me to discuss things since we were in different locations.

I’ll never forget the call. 9:30pm the phone rang. I hear a broken voice on the other line...I am forwarding you a picture...SHE IS THE ONE! Oh I could shout to Heavens, Glory to God. The Lord is GOOD to us.. but mostly I cried. My hands were shaking as I opened the email and my sister snapped pictures away as I got to see the face of our beautiful daughter that night. Our little MaeLynn (Chang AiHe) was born March 28, 2012 and was a tiny little sweetie. She had a big smile and was born perfectly with only one hand. She was very healthy and happy appearing. The moment I saw her face I knew why God has made us wait and I can tell you now...SHE WAS WELL WORTH THE WAIT.

Such a miracle...we weren’t supposed to be matched that month because of the date. And best of all our friends we had grown so close to during this process had GOTTEN MATCHED THE SAME NIGHT!!!!!!

The Matching Months...Adoption Story Sept, Oct, Nov 2012

The Matching Months...Adoption Story Sept, Oct, Nov 2012

I am doing my best on this LONG flight to Beijing to catch y’all up on our adoption story;) Honestly, I don’t mind this flight because... WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO GET OUR BABY GIRL!!!!!

I wanted to let everyone in on our matching process that might not live close to us. So here goes... September was technically the first month we were “eligible” for a match. The process that we had gone through thus far was the initial application process, paper work on both the US side and China side, detail Home Study and approval from both parties. When China gives you their blessing to be apart of the process to pursue adoption in their country, you are issued something called a LID (LOG IN DATE). This means means you are pre approved to see all the children on their “Shared List” or you can pursue a pre approval for a specific child you have identified off of any Waiting Child websites.

A little note on Chinese adoptions... China is a Hague country, meaning they are apart of the Hague convention with the US and other countries to comply with a specific set of standards for applications and processes during the adoption process. There are two ways you can be “matched” with a child from China. Off the “shared list” or off of the “waiting child” sites like I mentioned above. The number of children on the list can range from minor to more involved medical needs and the lists of new children on the list can range from a few dozen to several hundred depending on how many profiles were processed that month. Children that are older than 2 and have more medical needs tend to stay on the lists a little longer and are available anytime during the month. Because we were pursuing an infant as young as possible, we were set to be matched off the shared list.

The shared list updates with the newest and youngest children typically once a month. This usually happens on the third or fourth monday of any given month. Agencies around the world set their clocks to China time as the list typically updates around 8:30am China time. It is a race to find the babies each agency is looking for for their people and get them reserved for the family before another agency.

Our Log In Date was Sept 5 and we were so sure that this was the month we would be matched. Our caseworker told us it typically takes three months or less and she didn’t see why we wouldn’t be able to get a match before Christmas. We thought the timing would be perfect because that would mean it was likely we would travel spring break to get our little one and that would work well for childcare options. Besides spring is one of our favorite seasons. The night came that we were to be matched. I can remember going to Levi Newman’s 1st birthday party and our little girl could soon be matched with us and be friends with all these little ones. On the way home Family Life radio was playing a special on Gods heart for adoption and I thought this was a sure sign we would be matched that day.

As we anxiously waited by the phone and computer to hear any kind of news, our stomachs were in nots. This could be it...the day we see our daughters face! Finally around 10:30 pm we saw an email come through. As we anxiously read the email, tears began to stream down my face.... there were no baby girls on the list this month between 6-9 months.

It was very hard to get this news. I didn’t understand how a God that has a heart for adoption and caring for the orphan, wouldn’t match a family immediately that was paperwork ready to be matched NOW! My heart began to long more and more for this little girl and several more dreams about our little MaeLynn made my heart ache. Thoughts of her sitting in an orphanage just waiting for someone to notice her...think she was special...love her.

It felt like FOREVER for the October match and the days leading up to it did not look good. A HUGE hurricane was set to hit New York and our adoption agency was uncertain if they were going to be able to have power to even attempt to match us. We prayed again that God would hold off the weather so we could be matched. At 8:35 that evening the city of New York lost power and as the shared list was uploading, our caseworker lost power. Seriously God????

My heart was becoming hardened and I was starting to question our calling to adopt. Was God trying to send us a message? Our dream of traveling spring break was dwendling also. We prayed November would be our month.

As the moments leading up to November matching was coming we had mustered up enough optimism and faith to believe we would be matched. As we waited for the news again I felt the knots rise in my throat and Scott prayed for Gods will. We got an email pretty quickly into the matching that there was a computer glitch and that China was going to take down the list and try again in three days.

Three days later, I was at our neighborhood bunko night thinking of the match. I needed something to distract me and the girls in my neighborhood were just what I needed. I had told Scott to txt me if we didn’t get a match so I could move on and enjoy the night but to call me right away if we did get a match and i would come home immediately. At 8:47 I got a txt message that said “call me when you can”. I knew this was something unique.

I called Scott and he explained to me that we had a match BUT as our caseworker looked into the file, it was a boy even though the file was marked girl. Scott wanted to know my thoughts. My heart raced, I felt this was a test. On one hand we prayed for a match, we got one and doesn’t this little boy deserve love?? One the other hand I know God had been so clear about a little girl, even given us a name for her!!!! As I took a minute to pray in the bath room of our neighborhood bunko group I felt the Lord speak clear as day....There are several things in life that might lead you to GOOD choices but I want to give you the BEST my child and the BEST for your family is a little girl who is born and out there and waiting for your patience to be matched with her! IF you take this little boy and accept the match you are TAKING him from the family that I have saved the BEST for them. That night we turned down the match and that night would be our third month without getting to see our little girls face;( 

The many faces of Jesus-July 2012 Adoption Story

The Giver on the Street---- July 2012

We have never hidden the fact that adoption is very expensive. It’s very hard to understand why it’s so expensive to pursue these children when orphanages are expensive to run the longer children are in there and there are many families that are willing but not financially able to pursue these children. We knew the $35,000 price was what the Lord had asked us to give and we knew if he called us to it we would sacrifice, fundraise and see what he would provide.

Our friends and family have been amazing on this journey to buy tshirts, participate in our events, donate freely and pray for us without ceasing during this time. One way we were not prepared for was the people who didn’t even know us that God would use to pursue our little girl and answer the call of adoption. One of those situations happened on a warm July day summer 2012.

Scott and I had taken the kids to Frisco fest for some fun family time. As we were watching all the people and enjoying ourselves, Scott ran into a patient and reminded him of the Krispy Kreme Challenge we had coming up as a fundraiser. This unique even was one way we planned to help spread the word about adoption and raise funds to continue the journey to our little girl. The man next to Scott’s patient subtly asked about our fundraiser. He didn’t say much but asked for a card of Scott’s so he could look up our blog on our adoption. Scott thought nothing of this but his kind smile and warm wishes for the sucess of the race was a boost of encouragement.

Later that day we received a message that a significant donation had come in from “someone who is obeying God’s call to help us”. We fell to our knees in praise to the Lord. You see this was the exact amount we needed to write a check for the next payment that was due to our agency. OH THE LORD IS GOOD TO US!!!!!!! 

Thank you friends, family and others for allowing God to bless us. This little girls life will be forever changed largely due to people like you! Thank you!

God can speak to us, even through cartoons!-June 2012 Adoption Story

June 6, 2012

I was working on more adoption paperwork while the kids were napping and thinking about the conversation I had with my friend Stefanie about making some kind of quilt or baby blanket for MaeLynn. A couple days prior, Scott and I had been talking about if we were sure we had settled on MaeLynn as her (our daughters) name. I have felt pretty sure that God had given us this name but I guess time would tell and prayer on it. At this point in our adoption, people question us all the time saying things like....”Wow your kids are so young, are you sure this is the right time?” .....”Oh don’t you think you should wait until your kids are older?” ....”How do you think you can manage 3 little ones when 2 keep you busy?” I admit, these things do make me unsettled. God called us to this. Of course I am sure! I KNOW I AM NOT EQUIPPED TO HANDLE 3 LITTLE ONES BUT GOD IS!!!! Well June 6,2012 I got a little nugget or a few nuggets I should say of reassurance.

On this particular day, my kids woke up from their naps a little early so I turned on PBS and fixed them a snack so I could finish up my paperwork I was working on. The show Arther was coming on and I usually don’t let them watch that show but the title came up pretty quickly...Binky gets a baby sister. I thought that sounded fitting so I let them continue to watch.

As it played in the background, I heard Binkys mom tell her son that he was going to be a big brother and that they were adopting from China. I couldn’t believe my ears and suddenly I was glued to the TV. The show continued with Binky being excited but confused about why they couldn’t travel now. Their mom explained the long process and that it could take a year or more to complete the process. I could not believe how detailed the show was with EXACTLY what we were going through.

Binky and his family had lots of paperwork, family adoption photos and even a home study visit! Just when i thought it couldn’t get any stranger, Binky comes down his stairs and finds his mom working on a quilt for his baby sister. She said she was working on a Bai Jia Bei or 100 Well Wishes quilt and explains how this is a tradition for new babies in the family from Northern China! This was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Oh God is good!!!!

And just when I couldn’t believe any more...Binky and his family finally get travel approval to go get their baby girl. As they make it to China, they arrive at the office and everyone is very excited. The nannies from the orphanage walk out with this adorable little girl and they say...” Here you go..her name is MaeLynn”! (MeiLin) I was in shock and started to cry. It got really clear to me in that moment that I had a divine appointment to see this show. We had a little girl out there, she was going to get a special Chinese quilt called a Bai Jia Bei and we were to name her MaeLynn!!!!

As the tears started to flow I felt so connected to God. The God of the universe of billions of people know me so individually that he wanted to send me a message...through a cartoon...that he knows me....loves me....knows are daughter...loves her and this is RIGHT WHERE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE!