Friday, May 24, 2013

This n' That

This is a post that is all over the place.  It's been too long since I last posted. So be warned....:)
I've been meaning to blog but haven't found the words to express what is happening in our lives in a gracious manner.  We have been incredibly discouraged.  It seems that at every turn we are faced with more obstacles...and less, and less support.  That's not to say we do not have any support.  We do.  However, the support comes from a handful of people...and even then the support is often offered at an arms length.  It has been our experience that non Christians are much more supportive than "the church".
We were recently approved for a grant of $2,000 through ABBA Canada. We are incredibly thrilled to receive this!  However, we have yet to find a Registered Charity that will accept these funds on our behalf.  If we can not find a Registered Charity we will not be able to get this grant.  Normally it is a church that accepts the grant.  My heart is incredibly burdened.  I understand and respect that churches can jeopardize their status as a Registered Charity.  However, it is a direct reflection of the need for churches to have an Orphan Ministry.  I know there is a reason for all of this.  That good will come from it.  I know it without a doubt because that is what God keeps whispering to my heart.
 Assuming we get the grant, we still need about $18,000.  Overwhelming.  This time more so than ever before.  At this time we only have access to this one organization that offers grants.  We have raised over $1,000 through Once Was Lost as well.  That amount blows me away!  (Thanks a bunch Chantal!!  Your hard work and determination is one of the things that keeps us going.) 
Last week was filled with many appointments.  One was another all day appointment at the cleft lip/palate clinic.  I had hoped we would walk away with a definite plan.  That was not the case.  However, we did learn a few new things and a tentative plan is being worked on.  Malia's hearing in her left ear has improved to the point of being almost normal.  Praise God!!
We also discovered that Malia has one 6 year molar that still needs to push through before more work can be done on her palate.  The plan is to extract the stubborn baby tooth in the next week or so.  Once the 6 year molar comes through (hopefully within 6 months) we can proceed with the next step.   This step is the one that scares me.  I try not think about it too much, to put on my brave face, but after the past few weeks it is almost too much to think about.  Thinking about it has me in tears.
Please remember that the following is my understanding of what will happen and is written as I understand it...
Basically what will happen, in about 6-8 months, is that Malia will have surgery to correct her teeth, which are attached to knobby piece of moveable cartlidge/skin (my terms...not the doctors).  A bone graft will be taken from her hip and used to create a gum line to which the teeth can be attached.  Moving the teeth forward and rotating them into the correct position will create a hole in the back of Malia's mouth.  As I've said before, Malia's cleft is a severe case.  Her palate is hard and has a lot of scaring leaving no extra tissue to work with.  This means that a sliver of tongue will be taken and sewn to the roof of her mouth to cover the hole created by moving the teeth forward.  The sliver of tongue will still be attached for about 2 weeks at which time it will be released.  That will mean a liquid diet for Malia...not mention a lot of pain.
At this point we talk openly about Malia's surgery, but do NOT discuss the details.  So for those of you reading this...please do not talk about this to your kids who may then talk to Malia.  We prefer to focus on the positives...talking about how her cleft issues will slowly be corrected and less noticeable.
Recently Malia has been writing notes.  This is one she wrote to Martin.

Martin responded with a note that said  "I love everything about you!"
Being the typical female, Malia responded by writing "What do you like about me?"
We chuckled about this one, but it also saddened us to once again see how incredibly self conscious she is about her lip and nose. 
 Hang in there baby girl!  We'll do all we can to ensure you feel confident about your looks!
Speaking of looks...Malia had her dance recital this past week end and nailed it!  In every aspect!   She had to wait until almost the end to perform her solo piece.  At dress rehearsal she was hardly able to complete her dance, kept her head down and barely smiled.  I began telling her how she would be a star the next day, how much fun she would have, that this was her opportunity to perform like she always dreams about.   On entering the stage the audience responded with "Awww!"  And look at her!  Isn't she a beauty?!!!  Anyhow, she aced her performance and came off the stage beaming! :)

These past few weeks have been a time where I have had to work very hard to look at the good in life and to be grateful for all the little blessings and details in my life.  One day this week God blessed me with an "in your face" moment that I simply could not help but notice and be thankful for.
Raina has been admiring all the dandelions as we drive from place to place and until last week we hardly had a flower on our yard...I wonder why? ;)  Shhh!  Can't let the kids know what we do to their lovely weeds flowers.  :)
A few days ago as I was planting my garden, I noticed Raina walking barefoot into the tree line filled with pokey needles to pick some flowers for me.  She was one determined little girl and picked a handful.  She came to me with eyes glowing and said "Dandelions make me happy!"  I couldn't help but smile!  A short while later, after we had found the perfect "vase" (any guesses on what the "vase" is? LOL!) for the flowers she earnestly looked at me and asked "Mama, can you pray for my flowers?"  Which, translated means, "Can you thank God for my flowers?" 
And I did!  I thanked God for little yellow flowers that make little girls'
 eyes glow and warm Mama's hearts all over the country!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Updated Photos Of Jackson

Yesterday was another day of appointments and I didn't get to check my email until I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office.  I had not expected to find updated photos of Jackson.  What a wonderful surprise!
  We recently sent a gift package to Jackson for his birthday through Gifts To China With Love and they were able to forward these photos to us...with more pics to come with his birthday cake!
This little guy will fit right in!  He's already dragging around a stick... and there's a lot of that happening around here!  I can only imagine how many more precious rocks treasures I will find in his pant pockets.
Love that mischievous grin!
We're not sure about the spot on his forehead, but are guessing it may be from a scab due to bumping his head?

Notice the little habit he has of bending back his fingers.  In the first set of photos we received it appeared he might be missing part of a finger...not the case...just a quirky little habit. :)

We also received a brief update...
"Chen wen-long now height 83 cm, weight 12.5 kg, 14 cm feet long. Introverted personality, he doesn't like to eat apples, bananas, sweets, but he  is not picky for  other food. Favorite toy is a twisting car, he likes to see the wheels turning. Postoperative recovery is very good, now can say two words, such as: "mom, dad, aunt, etc. Pronunciation is clear.
Can't wait to meet this little guy...only(sarcasm intended!) about 9 more weeks!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day to all moms!  Praying you have a very blessed and special day!
At our house Mother's Day is usually filled with all the routine scramble of a Sunday morning...rushing to have breakfast, combing hair, bushing the little ones' teeth...moms you know what I mean.  There is little time to enjoy breakfast in bed.
At our house we have Mother's Day WEEKEND!  Yup!  You read that right!  The entire weekend is dedicated to me.  And I must admit I feel ever so unworthy...but boy is it fun!
I stayed up WAY too late Friday night munching on chips and watching a movie.  Saturday morning the kids (and Martin) surprised me with breakfast in bed!  The kids hung out with me for a bit and then went downstairs to enjoy their breakfast...and I got to enjoy my strawberries and cream, toast, and hot chocolate all by myself!  I LOVED it!  To top it off I got all the usual handmade, warm my heart gifts from the kids and 2 dozen roses!  :)
I am incredibly grateful and blessed to have 4 kids that call me mom.  My heart is so full!  And yet, there's this empty spot waiting to be filled...can't wait for Jackson to be home, in his mama's arms where he belongs!
At the same time my heart is still heavy for the precious baby boy whom we are not allowed to bring home...praying that by next Mother's Day he will have his forever Mama.
I hurt for my kid's birth mom's and wonder where they are and what they are feeling today...wishing I could tell them how much their children are tell them I will forever remember what they sacrificed, what they that I might have my kids.  I saw this on face book this morning and it completely sums up what I feel..."Children born to another woman call me 'Mom.' The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me this weekend."
--Jody Landers
And I wish I could spend another day with my Mom...
A good, but emotional day...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Follow Up To My Prayer Request.

As many of you know I asked for prayer last week in regards to our adoption. I mentioned at the time that I may tell the reason at some point.  I think the time has come.  This story is being told so that all of you can pray for someone that weighs heavy on my heart.

When we started this adoption journey we pursued it with the intent to adopt one little boy.  We did discuss adopting 2 children, but decided to only pursue one.  After our home study was complete and our dossier was being translated, etc, we decided to see if it was even possible to adopt 2 non related  children at the same time.  Miraculously God flung the doors wide open!

Several years ago China began allowing families to adopt 2 children at the same time. One child can be from the Waiting Child list and the second child must be from on the Special Focus list.  (Most adoptions from China are for children from the Waiting Children program...children with a so called "disability".  A child that is not matched with a family within 2 months is then transferred to the Special Focus list.) Our agency said it was "more of an American" thing and they had never heard of anyone in Canada being given the permission to adopt 2 non related children.  However, they suggested we check with our Saskatchewan Government.  We contacted our contact in Regina, thinking the answer would be a resounding "NO".  We were shocked to hear that we would be given permission to adopt 2 children at the same time.  This meant an update in our home study.  The gal that does our home studies and follow up visits was convinced we were wrong. After checking with our contact in Regina she was also told we had permission to adopt 2 children.  We made the necessary changes to our home study and waited.

In February we received  our proposal for Jackson, and we couldn't have been more excited.  The question then became "will we get another proposal and if so when?"  After many emails and phone calls to our agency and to Regina we finally received a second proposal.  I can not go into too much detail about this proposal, but will share a few things. 

Our proposal was for a sweet little boy born 2 weeks before Jackson.  He had, what appeared to be a milder case of Spina Bifida.  We were ecstatic!  Our kids were excited.  We had a name ready for him.  We prayed for him.  And of coarse we accepted this proposal. 

Unfortunately, a few days later we were informed that we could not adopt this little guy after all.  Apparently there had been a misunderstanding.  Canadians can not adopt 2 non related children at the same time.  We are devastated and yet have complete peace.  Our God is in control and we trust Him to make "all things work together for good to those that love God."

This little guy weighs heavily on our hearts.  It is our understanding that most agencies will not give a child with this type of "disability" a second look...which leaves us wondering if this sweet little boy will ever have a forever family.  Thankfully our agency is currently doing their best to find him a forever family. 

This is where we need you to pray...would you pray that this little guy would find his forever family?  That he will experience the love of family and be taught about the love of God?  After all, the only special need he really has is that of needing a forever family.