Friday, February 18, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

The last month or so I have been mulling over what has brought me to the point where I want to adopt two more children with special needs. How did I get here? This question has taken me on a trip down memory lane back to my childhood. I believe there are lots of things both big and small that have brought me to the point where I think this is a good plan for our family and what God is calling us to do. I don't have time to share all the things but I wanted to share a couple memories that I feel made a difference for me.

One thing that made a big impression on me as a child was our family sponsoring a child from Bolivia. We didn't have a lot of money but my Mom really wanted to sponsor a child because it was something her family had done. The child my family ended up sponsoring was a boy around my age named Alex. We prayed for Alex and talked about Alex and his picture was on our refrigerator. I knew that Alex's family was very poor and they lived in a one room house with a mud floor. I vividly remember getting letters and even gifts from Alex's mother in Bolivia. One time she sent a picture of a bird that was made out of real feathers and another time we received a small weaving with little people and objects on it made out of embroidery thread. I remember telling my Sunday school teacher that Alex was part of our family and I almost considered him to be a brother to me, albeit a distant one. Alex made a big impression on me and he opened my heart to children who live around the world. Alex gave a face and a name to children around the world who live in poverty and it made me want to do something to help kids like Alex. When I was 13 years old, I decided that I wanted to sponsor my own child with money I earned babysitting. I think it cost $13 a month to sponsor a child back then and that was a lot of money considering I was lucky to make $2 an hour babysitting. My first sponsored child was a four year old girl from India named Marufa. I sponsored Marufa through my time in highschool, college, and on into my married life. Eventually Marufa aged out of the sponsorship program and I was matched with another child to sponsor. All those years ago, I never would have imagined that some day I would travel to China to adopt three different children who had all been sponsored by people who wanted to make a difference in the life of a child.

There is another memory that I feel also had a big impact on me as a child. When I was around 9 or 10 years old, my Mom had taken my brother and I to a local state park that had a beautiful lake. We loved visiting this lake to go swimming and have picnics. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve spending time at this lake as a child. Well, on this one particular visit to the lake, there was a group of people who had brought children from some kind of children's home in our area. There were a number of kids and most of them were laying on a blanket that was laid out on the grass. The kids had some pretty significant special needs and the people who brought them were trying to feed them all lunch. My Mom is a very outgoing and friendly lady and I don't know what made her think to do this but she got up and went over to talk to the people caring for these children. She asked if we could help since our blanket was close by and they said we could take one of the little boys and help feed him his lunch. He was such a cute little boy, around two years old, and he had hydrocephalus. He could not sit up on his own and he could not feed himself so we propped him up and my mother fed him from a spoon. After we fed him, we spent some time playing with him and then my mother brought him back to his caregivers. This whole interaction involved maybe a half hour at most. I remember after returning home from our outing, my parents actually discussed the possibility of adopting that little boy. They felt it would be too much because he had such high level special needs and would always be completely dependent for all his care. We prayed for the little boy and found out a few years later that he had died from his health issues.

I share these memories just to show that it is not always big events in a person's life that can determine the life choices they make when they get older. As a parent, I want to follow my parent's example and sprinkle my childrens' memories with small actions that show our family's love for Jesus and others. Not everyone can adopt children with special needs internationally, but everyone can do something to make a difference in the lives of children who are in need.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We Got Our 2nd LOA

This afternoon we found out we received our Letter of Acceptance for Levi. This is very good news, although there is still some more paperwork to do before we get our final Travel Approval. We are getting closer to our boys every day and we can't wait to meet them!

Monday, February 14, 2011


A sweet little boy needs a family and his time to find that family is short. If a family doesn't come forward to adopt him very soon, then he will be transferred to a mental institution for adults even though he is not mentally impaired. He is listed on the Reece's Rainbow website and that organization is raising funds for him to be adopted.

You can read more about him at one of my favorite blogs, Micah Six Eight. Julia, the author of this blog, has a son who was adopted from this mental institution. This a place that no human being should live in. You can read about it here and here.

Please keep little Jonah in your prayers because he deserves so much better than spending the rest of his childhood in a mental institution.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting Ready for Big Changes

We are busy busy here getting ready for our trip to China and our two newest additions. It is hard to believe that soon we will be a family of six. Isaiah and I have organized his closets and room so we can fit in clothes and beds for three boys. My Dad is going to make us some sturdy bunk beds which he has done a couple times before. My family certainly knows what to do with lots of boys which is a very good thing! We are on the look out for a Toyota or Honda van that is in good condition with less than 100,000 miles on it. If you know of anyone selling such a van close to us, please let me know. I will be sad to give up my Camry which I love but we will definitely need some more room. My parents want to buy our Camry so finding a buyer for it is one less thing to worry about.

We are also on the look out for a wheelchair that folds up a bit and an extra backup walker. Levi can walk with the help of a walker but he gets tired if he has to walk for too long so we think having a wheelchair just in case will be a good idea.

My wonderful youngest brother James will be coming with us to China to help out with crowd control. Aaron and I thought that having four kids to two adults in China might be a little overwhelming. Uncle James is an awesome uncle who my kids love to play with and who can also lay down the law if need be.

Right now we are waiting on the USCIS to approve us for two kids instead of just one. I know they have our paperwork because I got a receipt in the mail yesterday so hopefully it won't take them too long to process it. Our agency was really quick about updating our home study that approves us for two kids.

Besides all the China preparations, our life is all about homeschooling, homeschooling, homeschooling. We started our school year last summer and have taken very few vacation days. If I keep on the current schedule, we will be officially done with our year at the end of April with 175 days of school. That will make things so much easier once the boys come home and we can focus on getting used to being a family of six, doing fun learning stuff together, and starting on all those doctor's appointments.

Here is a picture of my kids with my parents and Uncle James. My Mom has volunteered to be my substitute homeschool teacher when we need to go for all those medical appointments and she has also volunteered to provide one-on-one tutoring for Levi if we need it. My family is the best and it is because of their support that we feel we can manage adopting two boys with special needs at one time. I thank God for giving me such a think outside the box, not afraid to be different kind of family!