Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Ava Grace!

I just realized its already Christmas Eve in China, as they are 12 hours ahead of us here in the US.  I want so much to tell Ava Grace "Merry Christmas"!  Our hope in YOU is the best Christmas present we could ask for this year.  I can only imagine now what life will be like next Christmas at our house, with bellows of laughter from all three kids.

We have faith that we will bring Ava into our home by this summer.  Please pray with us that all goes quickly so we can do that, as its difficult to know that she's in an orphanage without us, her family, this Christmas.  They do not celebrate Christ's birth in China, as there are few Christians there.  Sometimes they even persecute Christians in China, so also pray for the country to be reached for Jesus Christ.  Pray for the safety of missionaries there.

Our fingerprint appointment is January 11, and those will be sent to the US Immigration Service to apply for a visa for Ava.  That's the last step we have to take!!!  Praise the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures forever.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We have a name!!

So following much prayer, indecisiveness, and more prayers and talks with Joey and our boys, we have picked a name for our daughter!  We can't wait to welcome Ava Grace to our family.  I think of you every day, Ava Grace, and can't wait to squeeze you.  Collin is here with me this morning and says, "I can't wait 'til we get her so we can give her a new bear and blankie.  She'll be able snuggle up in her bed."

We are making Christmas cookies today, and this will be our last time doing this without her here with us :)  Thank you, Lord, for guiding us to Ava Grace.  We love her so much already .... 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's soon to be Thanksgiving ... in fact I should be in the kitchen cooking now :)  But this holiday season, I am reminded that this is the last Thanksgiving for our family to be a family of 4.  Next year we will have a little girl's voice (and cries)  in our home ....and we are so very ready for that.  I feel a bit sad tonight, because I know our little girl is most likely in an orphanage in which they do not celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am not sure if she'll have enough to eat, or if she'll be held or picked up quickly when she cries, and that makes my heart  feel broken for her.  Some of you have asked if we know who this little angel is yet, and the answer is, "No, but God does".  Do we know how old she is or what her medical condition is yet?  "No, but God does."  We do not get our official referral, which comes with information and pictures, until we are fully approved by China's Immigration Service, and we sent that application in today with our official home study.   There are alot of little steps to make all of this happen, but by God's grace, everything has gone smoothly so far.  We feel so blessed to be on this journey.  Please continue to pray for our adoption to be guided by God, and for our daughter's protection and love until we can squeeze her and give it to her ourselves! 

May God bless you all this Thanksgiving!  Mandy

Monday, November 8, 2010

I think I can safely say our life has gotten pretty easy.  Our boys sleep in, get dressed on their own (for the most part), they can play outside alone, I have free time ……then about one year Joey and I started feeling a nudge.  This little nudge was from God, and He was laying a burden on our hearts to DO something.  Something more than singing, missions work, praying, reading our bibles, going to ballgames ….The phrase kept popping up here and there, “How do you save 147 million orphans?? ….ONE child at a time”.  “No, Lord, I don’t think we can do this.  We surely can’t afford it!  Our boys sleep through the night, are independent, life has begun getting easier,” we kept arguing.  But once your feel that tug from the Lord, one MUST be obedient to the calling.
We began working through Children’s Home Society to become foster parents, as we knew there were children right here in NC that needed help.  It made sense to us one year ago.  We jumped thru hoops, took a 30 hour parenting class, became licensed in May 2010, and then waited.  I even got a little girl room ready for her. 
Through prayer, we realized this was not what God had in mind for us.  I am a pediatric nurse practitioner, and see children every day, well and sick in a local office.  In the month of August, God placed several families who recently adopted from other countries into my path at work.  I heard their stories of joy, saw their sweet faces, and heard their stories.  I started mentioning these children to Joey.  We were both moved, but scared.  Then we thought, “How will we pick the right agency”? “Where would we get the money?”  Within one week at work, I saw three different adoptive families and asked which agency they used and if they would recommend them and ALL THREE families used Gladney Adoption Agency in Texas and NY.  (Thanks Lord for your guidance in all!!)
We then looked at countries, and were both drawn to China, but the wait for a healthy baby is FOUR years.  So we called Gladney and spoke to their Asia coordinator who talked to us about the “Waiting Children” in China.  These children have a range of medical needs, from minor to more complicated, but are considered “unadoptable” because of it.  How awful!!  Either one of my boys could have been born with cleft lip, palate, club foot, heart murmurs, and I would take care of them and love them, so why should this deter us from getting this little girl??  These children’s entire adoptive process is usually 9-12 months!!  This was it! 
Through much prayer, soul searching, scripture reading, tears, arguments (ha ha), we know this is where our daughter is……China.  So pray with us for her safety until we are able to get her.  Pray for a speedy process, so she will not have to wait to get any medical attention she may need.  And please follow our journey with us….

Legacy of An Adopted Child

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember,
The other you call mother.

Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one,
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,
And the second taught you to live it.
And the first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality.
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seeds of talent,
The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.

One gave you up,
It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me through your tears,
The age old question through the years.
Heredity or environment, Which are you a product of?
Neither, my Darling, Neither,
Just two different kinds of love.

                                                              Author Unknown

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh my, I know I know

Ok, so I know I don't know what in the world I am doing....and, I know that I don't really have time for a blog. I don't even have time to do laundry and clean the house, and, I know that there isn't a whole lot that I really have to say right now----well, I do have alot to say, but I am not very articulate when saying it. Plus, I swore that I'd never have a blog.....BUT, what I DO know is....that my heart has been touched by a blog or two and that God has used those blogs to further remove some 'scales' from my eyes about orphans and adoption and if there is even a teeny tiny glimmer of hope that our experience could somehow touch someone else's life like mine has been touched, then I know that BLOG, I MUST!! This is the very, very beginning of our sweet leap of faith and I have to say that we are super excited about what God is up to!!  I will try to summarize our journey so far to adoption soon, as we can't wait to share what the Lord is doing in our lives.  This experience is so surreal.  We are officially PAPER PREGNANT!!  Yay, no stretch marks!!