Monday, February 4, 2013

Gotcha Day

Monday, January 28th 2013 a day we will never forget.  It will forever be etched in my mind along with Sunday, 04/14/02, Monday,09/20/04 and Monday, 08/13/07 the day I gave birth to my precious babies. 

We woke up early, we were so nervous and excited.  We got ready, had breakfast and met our guide in our hotel lobby for the 30 minute van ride to the Civil Affairs Office in Changsha.  My heart was pounding as the van came to a stop and our guide said "We are here are you ready to meet your new baby?"

We walked in the building and made our way to the 5th floor.  We were then told to wait in a room with another family. I immediately, along with the other mother who was with us, went to the window to watch and see if I could see his car pull up.  And then all of a sudden there he was...............



I knew it was him as soon as I saw him. I thought they would never make it in the building and up to the room we were waiting in, it was the longest 2 minutes of my life!  We watched as two women made their way into the room with him.  I didn't know what I was allowed to do, could I take him from her immediately like I wanted to or did I have to wait? They arrived earlier than expected so our guide was not back in the room with us yet.  No one gave us directions or rules so I just went for it and as you can see in the video I obviously wasn't supposed to take him from her just yet!

 
 
 
 

 
I was very surprised when he didn't cry when I took him from his "care giver's" arms.  I kept waiting for him to start screaming and to see the look of fear in his eyes.  Minutes went by and still he was calm and there were no tears.  All I could think about was the many prayers that have went up on our behalf for him. I was so in awe of God at that moment, He was there and he had us in the palm of his hand. You see only God can connect a child to his two parents that have lived a half a world away from him for all of his life.
 
I can't even begin to put into words what it was like to hold Adler for the first time.  This is the child that God had placed in our hearts more than 5 years ago.  This is the child that we have prayed for, longed for and shed many tears for.  This journey was not easy but oh was it worth it. When I looked in his eyes for the first time I saw his future, his role as the little brother in our family of six.  Our family is so blessed to call him ours. 
 
 
 
 
 
Psalm 68:5-6
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We made it to China!!!

Wow, what a whirlwind the last 48 hours have been.  I never dreamed that we would ever be halfway around the world from our 3 babies and all of our family and friends.  I never thought I would have any reason to, but when God calls you answer, and that is why I'm sitting here at a desk in room 3015 at the Dolton Hotel, Changsha, Hunan, China.  Tomorrow morning we get to meet our precious baby boy, Zhi Yuan Lou.  We have named him Adler Lou Browning.

 
 
We left Marion airport Thursday, January 24, and flew into St. Louis, Mo. The next morning we flew into Chicago and then boarded a 13 hour flight to Beijing, China. 


Last picture as a family of 5.
 
 


 
Once we landed in Beijing we then flew 2.5 hours to our final destination, Changsha, China.  We met our guide Amy at the airport and drove by van to our hotel.  Changsha, is huge......5 million people!!!! The smog is HORRIBLE, I have no idea how they breathe this air day after day.  Our hotel is very nice and our room is very comfortable.
 

 
View from the lobby.
 



We took a walk after breakfast this morning and it was interesting to say the least! HA We had to walk about 6 blocks to get some bottled water.  Here are some pics from our little adventure. 
 Leaving our hotel.
 

 Tons of people ride these scooters...you have to be very careful our you WILL get ran over.

Yum Yum
 

 
We spent the rest of the day unpacking, getting ready for tomorrow and sleeping.  We had dinner in the hotel restaurant.  Once again, that was an adventure.  First of all, no one can understand us so ordering was a hoot plus we had no idea what to even order.  All of the waitresses just stared at us and then went and got what looked like a manager to take our order.  She spoke very little English but we all managed. 
 
 
It can all be very overwhelming at times but I just keep praying and we can feel the prayers from everyone back home.  There is no way we could do any of this without them.  Tomorrow morning we meet Amy our guide in the lobby at 9:30am (Sunday, 7:30pm central time) and make the 30 minute drive to meet Adler for the first time.  I can't even put into words the emotions we are going through right now.  Please pray for Adler, I'm sure he is going to be scared and confused.  My heart breaks for him right now, yes this is an amazing experience for us but he has no idea what is about to happen. I know God is in control and will take care of all of our needs.  Since we left Marion on Thursday I keep hearing the words to Chris Tomlin's song "Whom Shall I Fear",
 
 
I know who goes before me,
I know who stands behind,
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
 
 
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring but God does, He's already there and orchestrated everything.  I know He is preparing Adler to meet his parents He has already given us the same love for Adler that we have Aden, Amelia and Ava. Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement. Time for us to go to bed, tomorrow our lives will be forever changed.





Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let the wating begin!

It’s been 5 months since I wrote my first blog and so much has happened since then.  We have officially started the process of adopting our baby boy from China.  The first of January this year we turned in our application with Lutheran Social Services and February 1st we began the process of our Home Study.  A process that we were told would take 3-4 months to complete only took us a month and a half.  WOW, we were off to a great start!!! I have Kyle to thank for that.  He has been amazing at tackling the crazy amount of paperwork and phone calls.  I joke and tell him that if I were married to someone like myself (I have no organizational skills and I am a major procrastinator) we would have not gotten past the application process.  When I tell you that there is A LOT of paperwork it is an understatement!!!! We’ve had numerous amounts of doctor’s visits, blood work and our first round of fingerprints (yes, I said 1st round of fingerprints).  Oh, and now I can say I actually know my Body Mass Index, whatever that means!  After we completed our Home Study, our Case Worker from LSSI sent it to Lifeline (our adoption agency) to review.  It passed with flying colors and this last Friday, April 13th it was officially sent to the State of Illinois for approval.  SO NOW WE WAIT!!!   

We are not far into this process but I can tell you it’s already been a roller coaster of emotions.  Since we made the decision to surrender to the calling to adopt, God has started a change in me and my family.  He has shown me that things I once thought were important are not so important anymore.  We have had to watch what we spend and be more aware of where our money is going cause let’s face it this adoption is not cheap.  From the beginning I’ve had a hard time with the financial part of this process.  It’s hard to ask God to provide for us in this manner when we have not always done what He would have us to do with what He gave us in the first place.  Yes, we are fortunate that we both have great jobs and make a comfortable living but unfortunately we’ve made some bad decisions and racked up some credit card debt. Yuck, there I’ve said it WE HAVE DEBT (whew, kinda freeing to get it out there).  So, not only are we trying to save for this adoption but we are busting our butts to pay off this debt and use what God has given us in  a way that is pleasing to Him and not us.  I’ve figured out that God does not care how cute I look in my $100 blingy jeans, nor does anyone else for that matter.  So Dillard’s is now my enemy and I refuse to  buy anymore ridiculously expensive jeans.  But hey, I’m still gonna wear the ones I have because I mean seriously what good would it do to let all that money go to waste??? Right??? (Did I mention how cute I looked in them!) He also doesn’t care what kind of cars we drive or house we live in.  He’s been so good to us and we are doing our best to use what He has given us to glorify Him.  We have faith that He is going to provide the money for this adoption.  To us we feel like we are asking a lot but my Father owns a million mansions and to Him this is so small. 

He is also giving me a heart for service.  He has opened my eyes to so many needs around me.  I’ve been reading some pretty amazing books about how I can better serve my family, my church and my community.  I’m thankful that God is using this adoption to show me that it’s not all about me.  People are suffering all around us.  I may not live in an area that has homeless people on every corner or prostitutes walking the streets but there are people that need Jesus just as much and they are out there.  They are at Target, they are at my kid’s school and they are even sitting in the pews at my church.  God is showing me that I can make a difference in those places and I’m so excited to be working on a project that I know God is going to bless. 

My prayer through all of this has been that God might use us to help other families answer the call to adopt.  We are as ordinary a family as they come and if God can use us I know He can use other families just like us.  I recently ran across this information in a book I read:

             “143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.  The truth is that if only 8% of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.”  Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie

 Wow, pretty amazing, huh! If that doesn’t make your stomach hurt, I don’t know what will.

 We recently found out that some good friends of ours are adopting a little girl from China.  We are so excited to have someone to share this journey with.  I know that God put us on this path together for a reason and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for our two families.  It’s things like this that I know only God can orchestrate so thank you Mark, Heather, Mason, Marlee and Maksim Mayhew for joining us on this adventure 


So like I said earlier all we can do now is wait for our Home Study to be approved and continue to work on our Dossier.  Please continue to pray for our family, I can tell you the waiting is not easy!  It’s still hard to say when exactly we will be traveling to China to get our little one but according to our case worker Logan it should be around June of next year.  I just keep trusting that it is all in God’s timing and He will work it all out for us.  He is so faithful!! Hopefully it won’t be long until I’m blogging again to let you all know that the State of Illinois has approved our Home Study. 





                                                                             

Monday, November 21, 2011

I choose to follow Him!

So, let me first start out by saying that when you read my blog you will see that I will probably not put my commas in the right place.  My grammer will be lacking and more than likely there will be more than one run-on sentence per blog (or as Kyle just said "per paragraph").  However, what you will see is my heart poured out onto these pages.  This isn't something I just decided to do because I'm bored.  I've been praying about starting this blog for a little while now and feel strongly that God is leading me to do so.  So, here it goes!

Some of you may know that before our youngest daughter Ava was born Kyle and I decided God was calling us to adopt a baby.  However, after one meeting with an adoption agency I found out I was pregnant.  For a long time I questioned whether or not that calling to adopt was from God.  Why would He call us to adoption only for us to find out we were going to have another biological child???  To do this day I still don't have a complete understanding.  Ava was born in 2007, and for the last four years I still felt God leading our family down the road to adoption.  Through much prayer and consideration Kyle and I have decided to start the adoption process.  We have so many questions and fears, but we know that if God is leading us to this He will most certainly lead us through this. 

I wish I could say that I was obedient from the beginning but that is so not true.  I fought God on this from day one.  I questioned our abilities to raise three kids let alone four.  Would we have enough money? Would we have enough time to devote to four kids? You wouldn't believe some of the things I made up in my mind as to why our family would never be good enough to do this.  And let me tell you, the devil has been right here the whole time making sure I am doing a good job at doubting myself.  I've been doubting my capabilities as a mom and a wife.  Do I yell at my kids too much?  Do I spend enough time with them?  Do Kyle and I have a strong enough marriage to with stand this?  I could go on and on, but none of that matters because of what I do know.  I know that God will provide! 

I truly want to know and do His will.  I know there will be moments when I have to let go of the fear of what that might mean.  I'm trusting that God is calling our family to start this adoption process, whether or not this journey will end with a child.....I choose to follow HIM!

"When we are at our wits' end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer.  But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?" ~Karl Barth~