Sunday, November 2, 2014

The morning light

Today is Orphan Sunday, a day that some churches across the nation will use to bring awareness to foster care and adoption.  Our local church will probably not be doing anything special, that I know of, and I'm kind of not okay with that.  But it is what it is right now and I'll keep praying for our church.  And if they do something - I'll be praising for that!

So today, I bring you my little blog post as a reminder that today in churches all around the nation, there are families hearing about other families involved in adoption and foster care, the orphan crisis around the world and children who need families.  As I sit here writing, I'm watching God's glorious sunrise and it seems so very fitting.  You see, God is the only one who can awaken our hearts just like the sun brings light to overcome the darkness of the night.  First, there's just a little glow and the darkness turns from pitch black to gray.  Are you listening? Could God be talking to you right now?

Our answer is usually something like this...."Oh God, I'm happy to help others, but caring for orphans is just not for me.  I do not have the gifts or talents for this.  I'll let someone else do that work".

Then the darkness gives way to more light as God calls even more to the heart.  There's a red sky of love beaming up over the horizon and it's a holy beauty that draws us speechless.  God says "yes, you my child".  "You were put here to care for the least of these.  You." Us. What if He is calling to you right now? Will you say "Yes"?

I know it's scary.  I know there is fear.  When we first thought God was asking us to do more and to adopt, we thought it was crazy! We already had been given six children biologically to care for and raise.  But we gave it to God.  Give it all to God and He will see this through! It's as simple as that! And there will be beauty and joy like the sunrise peeking over the horizon.  His promises renewing each and every morning.

We said yes - and here she is today home seven months! She is no longer a child without a family - an orphan.  But a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend.  Her reality and beginning could have been lost to statistics if God hadn't called to our hearts, changed us, and made her ours.  She was always His, but now she can flourish and thrive with a family by her side.

 The very first picture we saw of Stella Claire when she arrived at New Day.

Home 7 months - she's so loved.  

Please don't wait.  Don't wait for "the time to be right". There are so many children waiting.  They need you.  Now.

So today, on Orphan Sunday, while it may be all around you or it may not be mentioned at all, take a moment to ask God what he wants from you.  Does he want you to support a family in the adoption process, take a meal to the ones who just became first time foster parents, pray for those children who are waiting, or adopt one into your family? It's not something that most people think about on a daily basis, so that's why there is today.  My prayer today is that God will ask "why aren't you doing something?". Let's all answer Him with a "Yes!". And - then GO do it!

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:5

Go be the light.  Bring the light to those who are waiting for it.  And - experience the LOVE and JOY that is waiting for you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First haircut

Stella's hair had grown so much since she came home (almost 6 months now!) so we visited the salon for a trim. She's been great with dentists, doctors, etc so I knew she would do great with her first at home haircut. I know she's had her haircut before when she lived at New Day but this was so special for us! I missed so many of her firsts... celebrating and making memories of her "at home" firsts means so much. 

I'll let the pictures do the talking here:

Enough pictures Mom! She keeps us in stitches our little funny girl. 

Big Sis "Jie Jie" made it to China safely and loves the work she's doing there. We miss her but found a glimpse of her on the New Day blog here:

It's a special time for her! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Four months

It's been four months since we welcomed Stella into our family officially, four very busy months. The first month was spent half in China, half at home in the US, and was a whirlwind of emotions (for both her and us). It came with grief and loss once again, and also a new beginning full of hope and joy. She had her own language, didn't understand what was happening, and couldn't fully express herself because of that language barrier. The second month was spent hunkered down, cocooning at home, limiting contact with others and just spending time as a family getting to know each other. She learned many English words quickly (she's a smart one for sure) and could better express herself as that language grew more. We learned more how she likes things and just how she is as a little person. She has quite the personality! Sometimes completely and utterly sweet, the other times sassy and strong willed. She's completely and utterly two years old! The third month together was spent exploring more and learning how her world now works. She learned to love to sit and read books, although she still doesn't like to watch tv (which is completely fine!) - she prefers to be doing something with her hands and gets bored easily. She loves the pool!  Hello Kitty is a favorite character as are real life kitties! She can talk up a storm, using more and more words, and doesn't get frustrated with that very much. It's amazing how little minds work and how they can soak up a new language so quickly! 

Four months home looks so different than that first month. We've all become more comfortable with each other (yes, moms and dads adjust too!), and while we've always loved Stella, that love has become more real and has changed as we have gotten to know her. The struggles before are becoming less and less now and our hearts are filled with joy over the obstacles overcome. She will cuddle now and climb up into our laps by her own accord, is easily comforted and accepting of loving gestures. The push and pull from before is more a give and take now. Grafting of a child into a family takes time, love, lots of patience, and more prayer than I can say in words. But it's coming beautifully, and for that we are very thankful. 

This past month our family had some time to travel to Austin and San Antonio. Stella got her first Texas history lesson at the Alamo...mostly she and I got very sweaty walking around the city! 

Daddy/Baba is teaching her to say "Come and get it Y'all"! ;)

She got her first real taste of Texas barbecue too at the famous Salt Lick near Austin. She didn't quite know what to do with all that meat! But she enjoyed the ribs the most. 

Some days it feels like she's been with us forever - other days we still see the work ahead of us - but all days we treasure having her home with us.  Happy 4 months sweet girl!