Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Finding Henry

On this day, 3 years ago, a beautiful boy entered this world....a boy who would later be given the name Henry. He entered this world just 13 days before our son, Isaac was born. This year, both of these boys would be turning 3. This year, they are together in heaven celebrating Henry's birthday. Both boys were loved more than life itself. Both boys were desperately wanted. They were treasured sons and adored little brothers. But, both boys did not have the same start in life. While Isaac was born into our family, Henry did not find his family until he was almost 11 months old. But once Henry was chosen, once he found his family, he had their hearts forever. Both Henry and Isaac are missed with every breath that we take. There is a deep, and indescribable pain from being separated from our boys, but there is also a deep and indescribable joy that we feel over the privilege of having them as our sons. They changed our lives forever. You cannot love incredible children like Henry and Isaac without being changed to the very core. They have blessed us beyond comprehension. And, we will never be the same because they lived on this earth. And, I believe with all of my heart, that God is still using their legacy to bring about change in this world.

When Henry left this world for heaven, the adoption community rallied around another little orphan with Down Syndrome looking for his forever family.

People donated to his account in memory of the Henry that everyone had grown to love. They donated so that little Henry could find his family, too. They donated so that one day he would be chosen and loved more than life itself.

And God was at work creating beauty through the through the pain.

Isaac and Henry have not been forgotten. They will not be forgotten. They are still changing hearts and lives.

Loving Isaac, my son that I knew could leave my arms at any time, was life altering. I could never even begin to explain the incredible and immense love I have for him. He changed me forever and taught me how to love deeper than I ever thought possible. He taught me so much in his short life. He taught me to fight for those you love with everything you love even when your heart is being ripped out. He taught me to do hard things. He taught me that every second never take life for granted. He taught me that faith is trusting God even when you don't understand. And he brought me closer to God than I have ever been in my life.

He taught me that every child is worth fighting for.....every child deserves a chance at life!

He taught me the meaning of true love, true faith, and true strength.

Because of the gift of Isaac, his big brother is still with us. When Isaac was born with a very severe heart defect, we had his brother's and sister's hearts checked.....and that is when Koah's heart defect was found and repaired via heart surgery when he was 7 1/2 years old. God used Isaac to save his brother's life.

Because of Isaac, we flew to Ukraine to adopt our incredible son, Ryder...a son who brings so much joy to our family!


Because of Isaac, we didn't turn away when we saw Max in the orphanage. We didn't turn away when we saw how sick he was. We didn't turn away when we saw how blue he was. We didn't turn away when we learned of his complex heart defect, because we knew....we knew that leaving him would have been like leaving Isaac. And, that is something we would have never done. We fought for Isaac until he took his last breath, and we knew that Max deserved that same chance at life.

Because of Isaac, Abi is going to have the sister that she has been praying for. We knew that we could open our hearts up to one another child with special our 13 year old daughter in China.

I could write endlessly about the changes that Isaac has made in our family and in those who knew him. I can honestly never live up to the incredible person that Isaac was. I am just so incredibly thankful that God gave me the privilege of calling him my son.

Well, once again, God has been using Henry and Isaac to change hearts and lives. But this time, it caught me by surprise. On this journey to our daughter Elliette, we were convinced that we were just going to be bringing HER home...only one this time. And we honestly believed that with all of our hearts.

That is...... until I felt a whisper in my heart.

A whisper that said....

There is another one out there for you.....there is another son out there waiting for you.

There can't be....because we are only adopting Elliette this time. We aren't adopting two, remember God? But, I knew it was true. I felt it with all of my heart. And I knew I needed to listen to that still small voice. I needed to listen to what was being put on my heart. I knew that I needed to trust Him.

My prayer was that if there truly was another child out there for us, then I really needed God to show me the exact child He was calling us to make our son.

There were several children that I thought would be good choices for God to pick from, but, I wanted with all of my heart for Him to show us our son...whoever he was. The song "Let Me Find It" became my heart's song. Whenever it came on, I would break down in tears. I wanted so desperately what He wanted for us, but I needed Him to show us what that was.

And, He answered that prayer. One day, a couple months ago, out of nowhere, God used Isaac and Henry to again change our hearts and lives. It was almost as if God was shouting our son's name to me through them.

and that is when I found him.....

that is when I found Henry....

Our Henry!

Our son Henry!

The son God specifically led us to....

a beautiful son who was not even on my list of choices for God to pick from..... 

One of the children that I least expected.

In fact, I thought he was in a completely different country, on the other side of the world. But, God knew....

He knew he was in the same country with our daughter Elliette.

He knew that He was meant to be ours.

He knew He was calling us to him.

He knew that He was going to once again create beauty through the pain.

He knew that Henry's long wait for a family would be ending soon.

Maybe one day I will share the story of how He specifically led us to Henry, but trust me when I say that it was a beautiful story that could have only been written by the God who knew Henry's name long before we ever did. 

Henry has been listed as available for adoption since he was a baby. The picture of him in his file is over 4 years old. Our Henry will be 5 years old in November.

Our Henry has been passed over time and time again.

Our Henry has been discarded as unwanted.

His worth has been stripped from him.

But, now, our Henry has been found.

He has been CHOSEN. 

He is desperately WANTED!

He is worth it all!

And we were led to him by God through Isaac and Henry.

If you are wondering about Henry's family....the Henry who led us to our Henry....

God is creating beauty through their through their pain....

They are in the process of adopting three INCREDIBLE children from Eastern Europe, and they are very close to travel. Please consider helping them out here.....

God is once again creating a beautiful story of love and redemption. And, in His story, LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

Monday, September 9, 2013

She is Worth It

Quite honestly, the only thing that I hate about adoption is fundraising. I absolutely hate begging people for money. I hate it with a passion. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. And, sometimes, when I should be asking for help, I sit here quietly instead, worrying about what other people are going to think when I am constantly asking for money. And then, I received a letter from our daughter in China, and I realized that this isn't about's about her. I knew right then that I needed to push my pride aside, and do what I needed to do to bring her home, even if that includes begging for money.  
Dear loving Baba and Mama, Hello!

Because I cannot write, my ayi at the orphanage is helping me to write this letter. I received the photo album and gift that you sent to me. I was very joyous. The red skirt is beautiful. I like it very much because my favorite color is red. I also like the necklace. Thank you baba and mama. I love you. 

I like to eat strawberries. Strawberries are also red. The sweet and sour taste is very good. I like to taste sweet and sour foods. I also like to eat lollipops. I liked eating the cookies that you sent. They tasted good.

I like the keyboard and piano, and I can play some simple songs. When I arrive in America I would like to play you a song, I hope you like it. I like singing, and I can sing lots of songs. I also like painting, building (with bricks/toys) and playing games with my friends. 

Baba and Mama, Didi (younger brothers), Meimei (younger sister), loving parents, grandparents, great grand parents, aunts and uncles, I miss you very much. I hope you can come to China soon to pick me up. I wish to have life with you. I look forward to being with you. I love you.

Love your "Her Name"

This is a plea from our daughter to please get to please bring her home quickly so that she can have a life with us. She is now 13 years old, and what that means for her is that on the day she turns 14, she will age out of the orphanage system. She will no longer have a home. She will no longer have a chance to have a family. All hope of belonging will be lost for her forever. 

You see, this isn't about us needing more children. This isn't about us wanting to grow our family. This is about us answering a call. We, quite honestly, felt content with our children. We have five beautiful children, with four of them at home with us. Our days are filled with work, play, school, therapy, doctor's appointments, and a whole lot of laughter. There's always plenty to do, and we were content in just living our lives. BUT God....He started placing on our hearts the children who were still out there who desperately needed to know the love of a family. They needed to know the love of their Heavenly Father. They needed to know their worth. They needed to know how special they are. And the only way for them to know is for His people to be His hands and His feet. He places the lonely in families. And so, our hearts were broken once again. We knew that we needed to listen to His calling and open up our hearts again. And, that is when He filled our hearts with such an incredible love for Elliette. He gave us the desire to bring her into our family and make her our daughter forever, no matter the cost. 

But, to our human hearts, the cost is overwhelming. It feels like a mountain at times, standing between us and our daughter. We know that God called us to her. And we know that everything is possible with Him, but in our human minds, there are times when it seems impossible. Yes, we would love to have time to just save up for an adoption, but she doesn't have that time. The 147 million orphans around the world tonight don't have that kind of time. The children who are dying every day simply because they are orphans, and are denied adequate food and medical care, don't have that kind of time. So, then, what is the solution? I know that not everyone is called to adopt, but we can all do something. The solution is for us to all work together....those of us who can and who are being called to adopt, to open up our hearts to His children....and for those of us who aren't being called to adopt, to do what we can to help another family open up their hearts to one of His children.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

So, where does that leave us? We are in desperate need of funds to answer God's call on our lives of bringing His daughter into our family. We will not get anything financially out of this. We do not qualify for Medicaid or SSI for any of our children. We do not qualify for any type of assistance, whatsoever. We have already incurred huge medical bills for one of our two boys that we brought home from Ukraine in October. He had open heart surgery in March, and he will need more in the future. We have paid countless co pays in the last year for our children, and we are willingly taking on the same with our daughter who has Cerebral Palsy. The adoption tax credit doesn't make any difference in our tax return. We have nothing to gain financially through adoption, but we have everything to gain by following God's call on our lives, and our daughter has everything to gain by finally having a place to belong. 

So far, we have personally written checks for several thousand dollars, but that is all that we personally have left. There are so many things that we could have spent that money on, but there is nothing of greater value than a child's life. I know that compared to the amount of funds that we need to bring our daughter home, several thousand dollars doesn't seem like much, but to us that is a huge amount of money.

So, now, I will push my pride aside, and shamelessly beg for money....not for me, but for our daughter who has waited so long for her chance for a family. If you can, would you please consider donating using the top right donate button on our blog? We need your help. We can't do it alone, but if we all work together, I know that we can make our daughter's dream of a family a reality. Every dollar is important!

I leave you with a video message to us from our daughter on her birthday...

Elliette's Birthday Message

It is a little hard to hear her, but this is what she said...

Daddy and Mommy, I love you!!
I love the gifts you mailed to me!
I hope you can pick me up as soon as possible!!

We love you with all of our hearts, too, and we are working as hard as we can to get to you as soon as possible, our sweet girl. At times, the journey to you may seem overwhelming, but we know that you are WORTH IT! You have always been worth it!