Monday, March 26, 2012


I just had to post this picture because it shows one of the many sides of Arella's budding little personality.  She is so happy and apparently LOVES wearing sunglasses and swinging.  Definitely the coolest baby at the park!  Of course, we were the only ones there...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Time to Trust

I hardly ever have a problem falling asleep, but for some reason tonight I found myself wide awake in bed, mind racing through all sorts of randomness.

After about an hour, I was more awake than when I laid down, and I just couldn't shake the thought that I needed to come write a blog.  Makes total sense, I know.  So I got up.

But I sat down in front of my computer at 1:00 am and did what I do best: procrastinate.  I spent a few minutes going through email, mostly getting rid of spam, then kind of yelled at myself inside my head, "You sat down to write a blog, so start writing a blog already!"

Of course after laying in bed for an hour, I had several things I wanted to write about that seemed like completely awesome ideas in bed, but when I sat in front of the computer they all seemed stupid and trivial.  So instead of starting, I procrastinated some more.

I decided to go to my home page and see what new blog posts I needed to read and catch up on.  The very first one that popped up was actually a local family that I had been talking to my husband about earlier today.

This couple has an almost 14 day old sweet baby boy that just began to breathe on his own a little more than 24 hours ago.  His short little journey so far has been a crazy ride, but one that God is obviously in the driver's seat of.

The simple fact that this little guy is breathing on his own, is evidence of God's glorious handy work, but to me what is truly glorifying God's great name is the faithfulness of this little boy's parents.

Letting go of the handrails of this world and reaching out for and trusting that God's invisible hand will be there to catch, guide and support me is something I struggle with daily.  I have had times in my life where my faith and trust in Him has been so strong, it seemed easy.  Today it feels hard. 

I try remembering those times it seemed easy, and my first thought is, "Wow, I was like a naive little child, believing in things I shouldn't have believed in!"  Oh yeah, Matthew 18 talks about that.  In many ways we need to be like little children- namely for me right now is trusting.

Trust makes me think about my 10 month old daughter.  She trusts me without reservation or hesitation.  She is never worried I'm going to drop her.  When she needs something, she immediately looks to me, knowing without a doubt that I will fulfill that need.  When she hurts, she cries for me, trusting that I will make her feel better.  And when she's happy, she smiles at me with her whole face as if she's trying to show me exactly how happy she is, and she wants to share every bit of that happiness with me.

Now, why don't I trust God so fully and purely like that?  And when I do trust Him, why am I not fully living for Him?  These two go hand-in-hand, but I find myself at odds with this.
"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members." Romans 7:22-23
 I guess I'm not totally alone in this battle since Paul put it so eloquently above.  And I'm pretty sure I've just figured out why I'm up writing this blog in the middle of the night.  I've been craving closeness with God but feel so rushed during the day and so exhausted at night, that I've just pushed Him aside.  I've been praying for Him to continue to press this desire to know Him more in my heart and to help me desire to want to spend more time in His word.  Well, it's now 3:54 AM and for the last 3 hours I have been praying, reading scripture and dwelling on my relationship with Him.

It's not always rational to us when or how or why He calls us to do certain things, but I'm really glad I answered this call and got out of bed.  I have a feeling I won't be as tired today as I should be with this lack of sleep, because I'm resting in the Lord tonight.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dedicating Arella

Last month Church Project had a baby dedication.  If you're not familiar with baby dedication, it's basically where the parents have the opportunity to stand before the church and dedicate themselves to raise their child to know, love and live for Christ.  It's also an opportunity for the church to pray over and support these families on their mission to raise their children for Christ.  So, it's for the baby, but it's definitely for the parents, too :)

When you decide to dedicate your baby, they suggest that you pick a life verse for your child.  A life verse is a verse or passage in the Bible that is significant to you.  It may define your life, give you inspiration or direction, or it might be something that you hang onto as you face difficult circumstances.  This was a doozie for me.  How in the world do you pick a single piece of scripture that you want to somehow define, help or guide your child for her whole life?!  But you know me, I never back down from a challenge.

Getting dressed up for baby dedication

I had no idea where to start or what to look for in terms of this all important life verse.  So after flipping around aimlessly for a while and doing a bunch of random word searches, I closed my bible and just started thinking about my sweet girl and her beautiful name.  

She obviously has a different name- Arella (pronouned ah-ray-luh).  We wanted something a little bit different and with meaning.  Arella is Hebrew, and it's basic meaning is messenger.  Her middle name is Joy because that's what she is to us.  So we have Arella Joy, our little messenger of joy.  And that's been something that I've prayed for her since the beginning- that she would live up to her name, grow up to be a messenger of joy, a messenger of the good news, the freedom, grace and mercy found in Christ.

So I searched again with this in mind, and I found it almost immediately!  The life verse we chose for Arella Joy is Romans 10:14-15.
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!""
I will always pray that she come to know and passionately love Jesus Christ so that she might go out in the world and have beautiful feet, spreading His good news!

Here are some pics from the baby dedication.

On the left is our childrens' pastor, David, and on the right is Church Project's lead pastor, Jason.

Some of Arella's peeps also getting dedicated.

Arella enjoyed clapping for her each of her friends.

 I love our church!  They are so supportive, encouraging and fun!

I think she likes her life verse and is really taking it to heart.  Just yesterday she was trying to see if she had beautiful feet yet...

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Waiting China Baby

As we've been navigating the foreign waters of adoption, I have heard and read so many different scenarios, perspectives, passions, heartaches and triumphs.  And as we wait, agonize and try to figure out who our little Zoe is and when she's coming home, there is something that warms my heart- it's not just Eriek and I that pine and pray for her.

Friends and family are always asking for news and updates on Zoe.  It hurts getting asked over and over again when I have no news, only day dreams of where she is or what she looks like and questions like is she being fed enough or being held.  But it also makes me smile, knowing that so many people love, pray for and are concerned about my little Zoe, too.  She hasn't been forgotten.

We started our journey for Zoe long before her conception.  Her conception in our hearts was our 7 year anniversary- September 7, 2009.  That's the day we signed our agreement with our adoption agency and began dreaming about her.

After 7 months of chasing papers, medical visits, background checks, finger printing, and home studying, we shipped our precious dossier (fancy word for "your life on paper") across the ocean to China.  We got our log-in-date (LID) on March 19, 2010... the day our "waiting" officially began.

Your "waiting" period ends when you receive a "referral" which is basically a picture and brief medical history of your child.  About 6 weeks after that you travel to China to pick up your baby and 12 days later you are legally a forever family and back home to start life anew.

When we first logged-in, the waiting time was a heart wrenchingly long three and a half years.  Today, it's five and a half.  Tomorrow it might be seven.  I'm partly convinced this is just another Chinese torture technique.

We really want Arella and Zoe to be close in age and that just doesn't appear to be happening on this ever lengthening road.  But we know Zoe is in China, of that we're certain.  So we started exploring another option- the Waiting Child Program.

A child is classified as a Waiting Child in China if:
  • The child is between the ages of 8-14, with no diagnosed special needs.
  • The child is up to the age of 14, with any level of diagnosed physical, medical, or developmental special needs.
There are many things about adoption that are difficult and trying on your mind and heart, and signing up for this program was one of them.  It's one thing if God hands you a baby with a special need of some kind.  You know then that He will equip you to handle it.  But to have to choose it?  That's a whole other ball game friends.

We had to be really honest with ourselves and ask tough questions.  It was almost like starting the adoption process all over again.  We talked to our pediatrician (who also adopted from China!) about all the different diagnoses and her recommendations.  We prayed a lot.  Then we began to check off boxes of ailments that believe we can help little Zoe handle.

Tough part over?  It's only just begun folks!

So I mentioned earlier that through the normal waiting route, once you receive the referral for your child, it's about 6 weeks until you travel to pick her up.  Well, lo and behold, when you are matched with a waiting child who generally needs medical aid, it's going to be 6-9 months before you can travel to pick her up.  This. is. going. to. break. me.

I read through every detailed little step you go through after being matched to figure out why it takes so long (mostly bureaucratic stuff of course).  There are, however, a few things we can do to help speed the process along.  We have some paperwork that has expired, so we have to refile and get re-finger printed.  But of course to refile for the re-finger printing, we have to redo our home study.  (We're waiting to hear if we can just update the home study or if we have to completely redo it.)

If we can get all of the paperwork on our end up to snuff, when we get matched the wait might be a little less, maybe 3 or 4 months.  So I've asked them to hold off trying to match us until we can get our paperwork redone.  I know Zoe is in the orphanage whether I've seen her picture or not, but once I see her face, I know I won't be able to wait long.  My heart is fragile over Zoe; it aches constantly. 

I love that I have my sweet Arella to keep me busy while we wait, but sometimes she makes me yearn for little Zoe even more.  I'm beginning to see how God is knitting my family together, and I just long to see His masterpiece in full!

Maybe one day our girls will look a little something like this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Feeling Blue?

After our horrible drought here in Texas last year, we are totally soggy now.  While I didn't enjoy feeling stuck in the house for so long, it's good news for our state flower- the bluebonnet!  They have come out early and in force this year.

In Creekside (a village in The Woodlands, Texas), there is a big park with a playground, pavilion and wide open field.  At the end of the field where it slopes up into a small hill they have a huge pocket of bluebonnets.  I'm so happy they planted this little bluebonnet paradise because the only fields you find worthy of plopping your child in for a picture tend to be along the curb on a busy road or in the median of a highway.  Not exactly safe or good for pictures with cars whizzing by.

We took tons of pictures, so here's a photo bomb of my little bluebonnet...

After lots of clapping and fun pictures, Arella got scared of a bluebonnet and as you can see, our time was up!

We got some great pics of Arella with Mimi & Pops too!

And some great family pics... we had no idea she was making some funny faces- it was a great surprise when we looked at the pics last night!

Can't feel blue with this little bluebonnet around!