Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things forgotten...

There are things in life that we forget all the time. The small stuff. You forget to buy milk at the grocery, forget to lock the house when you leave, forget to water the plants. Or maybe you forget the name of that guy/girl you dated in high school, the password to your online banking account, to put on socks before you leave for church.

Then there's the stuff like, you forget the pain of childbirth, the joy of seeing your child for the first time, or the extreme heat of the summer. For me, I realize how much I'd forgotten the excruciating waiting of a paperwork pregnancy. You get "to do" lists from your agency of paperwork to be filled out, and fees to be paid, and you rush madly about trying to get it done as quickly as possible so you can get to your child as quickly as possible, but each time you finish the mad dash, there is always a long wait. Wait for the government to do their stuff, wait for the Chinese government to do their stuff, wait for translation, wait for the courier, wait, wait, wait.

During our first adoption journey, one of the most prominent lessons God taught me was that waiting is inevitable, and though it is excruciating, He is there, holding you up when all you want to do is fall down. Waiting is POSSIBLE, because He is there waiting right beside you, holding your hand. So today, as I check, double check and triple check my agency "to do" lists just to make sure there is nothing else I can do to speed things up, I am reminded of Gods great love and His promise to us.

Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for The Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry."
Hebrews 10:36 "For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised."

So with these promises, we wait. We wait on the perfect timing and the will of The Father, who promises that reward. It doesn't make it easy, but it makes it possible. Knowing the joy that He has in our faithfulness brings me hope during these difficult days of waiting! So for now, I will begin to conquer other tasks and work towards other goals. But for those of you who may be waiting too, whether it be for a tax return, an answer to medical tests, or perhaps God to place someone in your life to love, I just urge you to turn your eyes towards Him! He is the great provider, and in Him I pray you will also find strength and endurance for your own wait.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oops, We Did It Again!!!

     My last post was titled Ebb And Flow, because that's what has truly been on my mind. The simple quiet place where there is just the sound of the sea. That's the place I go when I need to listen to God, and that's the place I've spent a lot of time lately. I knew that God placed something within my heart,but I never imagined, that He could trust in me so much! You see God has a plan for each of us, and we may not always realize it, or even believe it, but if we stand still long enough, and become open enough, and earnest enough, sometimes, He will grant us a glimpse of it.

      When we were in China, God changed us. I believe we began changing long before we landed there, but when we truly saw the children on the streets, and later in the orphanages, He gave us a mission. He set a fire in my heart, and a passion in my soul to become a voice for these children. As Americans, it's easy to think that we understand their plight, but truly I say to you, if you have never seen it first hand, you simply can not understand the depth of it.

     We had an amazing travel group, and when you go through such a life changing experience as adoption, you bond deeply with one another. We've been incredibly blessed to keep up with most of the families in our group. We have also made friends with many families in our local adoptive group. Just within these families I can tell you some of our first hand experiences, and even without a word, these pictures can tell you volumes! They were all taken by Niki and Phil Smith last summer.

This was a man and child in Beijing on the streets begging. The child was asleep on the ground .
This girl was curled up on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the Xin Xiang orphanage. We suspect she had lived here and had no where else to go.
Babies were in broken cribs, that were rusting out, with holes gouged into the stone walls.

This girl was eating in a rusted out crib, completely unaware anyone was visiting the orphanage.

     One family has a daughter who was left bundled in a crib for approx 20 hours a day. She had no core strength, and at 1 year of age she could not sit up unassisted. Her hands had been bound, and she had to undergo desensitizing therapy for nearly 6 months after coming back to the states, because her hand were so overly sensitive at being able to finally experience FEELING, and TOUCHING things for the first time in her life.

     Another child was so malnourished that her hair was brittle and her skin was discolored.
Our daughter has had behavior such as keeping food in her mouth for hours. It's called hoarding, and is typical of adopted kids. They are unsure if this is their last meal, so they keep a little for later, so to speak. Even after months with us, it was hard for her to grasp that she would NEVER go hungry again!

In one orphanage a family saw as many as 4 babies in a single crib, and 8-10 year olds curled in a fetal position sleeping in cribs. Another family saw a child believed to be in their very early teens curled up on the sidewalk in front of their child's orphanage. (see above picture.) Inside they saw a baby whom they were told was brought in just a day before who was blue. They didn't know what was wrong with the child, but it's not believed that the baby survived.

     These are not stories I heard through the grapevine or saw somewhere online. These are people I KNOW, people who experienced this with their OWN EYES. I could write for hours on the subject but I will stop here. I just wanted to preface the next part, and leave you understanding the real point of it, the truth of it. God opened our eyes. He molded our hearts. He set a fire within our soul!

     He knew then that we would be back. He was paving the way for us! So yes, here's where my catchy blog post title comes in... We are adopting again! This time, God has chosen for us a beautiful baby boy. Our son is currently living in a foster home in the same province our daughter Annabella lived in. So later this year, we will be traveling back to China, to the Henan province to adopt our newest addition.

     I was humbled that God allowed me to parent my three beautiful sons. I praised Him and thanked Him for them. When He placed Annabella into our lives, I becalmed even more humbled at His love for me. Now that He is again entrusting us to raise another beautiful boy I find myself in awe! I am so unworthy of His great love, of His trust in me. We stressed so much over finances with Annabella's adoption, that when He began calling us back, it was with great resistance that we finally began to listen to Him! But let me tell you, the peace that we've found since giving over to His will, is priceless. How will we pay for this adoption? Through Christ! He will open the doors for us! We have learned to have so much more faith in Him because He has shown us and taught us how!

     I certainly won't say having gone through one adoption makes us seasoned vets at it. I doubt someone who's been through 10 would call themselves seasoned vets! What awaits us on this journey? We have no idea! But I know this. God is with us! He will never leave us! He will never fail us! So here we go again, into the unknown waters, with nothing but faith to guide us. We hope you'll follow along as we again begin on our journey to the other side of the world, to change one child's life forever.

And now, I'm pleased to show you our most recent picture of our precious son, Matthew Gregory Bennett!

"12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14:12-14

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ebb and Flow

To be perfectly honest, I'm more of a mountain person than a beach person. I've never been a "hot weather, lay in the sun and bake myself" kind of girl. I'm much more of a "scenery seeking, chillin' in the cabin hot tub, mini golf kind of girl. But still, there's something that's always calls to me, and draws me to desperately want a beach vacation every so often. There's something that is just mesmerizing in the sound of the ocean, the smell of the salty air, and the call of the gulls. I can sit in the evenings with the ocean waves lapping at my toes and get lost in the ebb and flow of the tide.

Life is like that. A series of movements, like the ebb and flow of the tide. Sometimes you go though the stormy patches, and sometimes you hit the calm, but ever present is the simplicity of the constant ebb and flow of all that surrounds us.

Most of you followed the birth and growth of our blog through the adoption of our daughter, Annabella. You prayed for us, cried with us, felt the frustration, anxiety, excitement, and joy of it all through the words I typed from the depths of my soul as we journeyed though the process and finally reached the ultimate goal, bringing our daughter home.  Much has happened since we came home.

Annabella had struggles with diet, and ear tubes. We had major palate repair surgery, and speech. We came through the dietary struggles, and now have a very adventurous eater, and have completely put the surgery and recovery far behind us. We do still have frequent ear infections, but that is common with kids who were born with cleft lip and palate, and we look for this trend to continue until Annabella matures more, hopefully growing out of it around the age of 10. She is also beginning to make many new sounds now, and as these sounds increase, we are beginning to add a few new words to her vocabulary as well.

We've been blessed to be able to keep up with many of the families who traveled with us last summer, and it seems as if all of our precious children have absolutely blossomed into their own individual personalities, and have bonded and completely integrated themselves into their new homes and families. Our dear friends, Niki and Phil Smith have evn been called to adopt again, and are due to travel back to adopt their daughter, Guan Ya in a matter of days!

I have many times missed being able to share with you on our blog, but with my last post, I found that I could no longer post here without paying high monthly fees. Finally finding a bit of time to devote to finding a way around this roadblock, I am hopeful that we will now be able to resume posting here. Thanks for loving us enough to keep reading as we continue to walk by faith, and follow the path laid before us by our great Creator! Be sure to keep reading...we have lots to share in the coming days!