Saturday, September 24, 2016

Will We Adopt Again?

Will we adopt again?
It is the question that everyone is asking next to wanting to know how Chapman is doing.
And I ponder it each time it is asked.  Children ask.  Parents ask.  Strangers ask.  Inquiring minds want to know!
The short answer - who knows what lies in store for our family.
The longer answer - well, lets begin at the beginning.
Adoption has forever been a part of my heart.  I even tried to convince my parents to adopt a child when I was still a child.  I even called a caseworker to inquire about a little girl who was in foster care....I was maybe in early high school.  I spent countless hours playing adoption center.  It was a dream that I never ever would have thought to come to fruition in my real life.
And fast forward many years.  Two happy, healthy, gorgeous boys....two excellent pregnancies, two crazy fast deliveries.  But we wanted more.  And the pregnancy route was not to be.  I remember a traveling singing group came to our church when I was very young.  They sang a song with the lyrics "when God closes a door, he opens a window, a window, he opens a window so I can see...."  And at this moment in my life, a door had been closed and a window was opened.  And a possibility of making a lifelong dream of mine come true came to fruition.
MK was our first.  She was our first girl, our first adoption.  And because of the whole adoption experience, the paperwork, the travel, the friends, the expenses....I distinctly remember saying I could never imagine adopting again from China because a second experience would never be the same as the first.  It was kind of that feeling of "how can I ever possibly love a second child the way I love my first" that some mothers tend to wonder.  And, financially, no way could we have ever imagined being allowed the opportunity to adopt a second time.  So, we said MK would be our first and last adoption.
And then came Maddox.  Our sweet, sweet Maddox.  Oh, how this child came to us with such hesitation.  How my heart ached for her.  Again, I remember thinking "well, this is it!" and I almost cried as we went to leave the hotel to begin our journey home....I just knew she would be our last adoption.  And I was just growing to love this country that gave me my daughters.
And then a nudging here and a heart to heart there.....and we were back in the chase for Maryn.  Maryn was, for sure, going to be our last.  The process was different, the wait times were longer....we waited and waited and waited.  And then finally we found her!  And we traveled so quickly and our trip home was AWFUL - and I said to Ryan, "Please, please remind me of this stress when I suggest we adopt again!  We are not going to do this again!"  This, as we walked through the airport back and forth between this counter and that trying desperately to get on a flight, any flight home!  Though my sweet Maryn is truly a gift to all of us, I, as well as the rest of the family, declared that she would most definitely be the last.
A whole hand.  We had a whole hand.  Not an even number like I like but a whole hand.  We were full.
And then that cold December morning when I saw Chapman's face appear on my computer screen.  We were the first to know of her.  The only to know of her.  And I knew she was ours yet I couldn't grasp adopting again - the cost, the paperwork, we were just finally feeling all settled in.  Yet, I knew. At the end of the day, when I look at Chapman, I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8 which states: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways declares the Lord."
At the end of the day, only He knows the answer to everyone's favorite question of whether or not we will adopt again.  Truthfully, I will tell you, no, we won't.  But,  that is my answer, not His.  Only God knows what is to come.
In the meantime, there is much work to be done.  Children live too long in settings that are less than desirable conditions and without the love of a family.  This makes me beyond sad.  I want them all to have a home and I want them (orphans) all to know that they are worthy of life outside of the sterile walls they wake up to day in and day out.  Where people truly do not understand why we do what we do, I find it hard to grasp why others don't do more!?  It is by far the most mind boggling thing to me.  Host a child, sponsor a child, help a family financially who is adopting, offer words of encouragement to those who are waiting, pray for the orphans, pray for the children who will never have a chance to be adopted, pray that families will continue to come forward and adopt - trust me, all of the above is needed.
"Adopting one child won't change the world: but for that child, the world will change." - unknown
And I promise, whether you adopt or support an adopting family, not only will a child's life change, but yours will too!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Our First Week Home in Pictures

These two sisters wasted no time at all getting out the dress-up clothes and the make-up before the sun was even up!  So thankful for them and their love for each other!  
 We tired to get a pic with Gran and Pop....and it was somewhat successful but we are still going to give it a few more tries real soon!
 The outtakes are always my favorite:)
 So I am really not a great souvenir giver....I just have a hard time spending money on something I am not totally sure someone is going to love!  But we wanted to give my father and the boys a gift they would not forget....insert, train food.  Ha.  We took a train from Beijing to Taiyuan.  On the train, we were given these cute little boxes with mini bottles of this vinegar stuff that was believed to be a means of Chinese medicine to ward off cold symptoms.  
 We gave them each a bottle and told them "bottoms up!"
 And their reactions were much like we anticipated.  Bless.
 In the midst of the taste test, these sweet girls were settling in nicely together.  
 And then Gran decided to give some of the train baked delights a try....
 Her face was hysterical but then she had a change of heart and said it actually wasn't that bad!
 And the baby made her rounds to the next big sister!
 Colin was a bit delayed during his tasting....but he finally gave in and gave it a shot!  Ha!
 This site warmed my heart.....five of my six hanging out together in the basement.
 Our second morning home, a sweet friend brought donuts to us for breakfast.
 Chapman did not hesitate to dig in!
 The girls had fun showing Chapman our playset.
 And then we tried a riding toy.....she is a busy little one!
 And then there are these moments....she really is the cutest little thumb sucker ever!
 She loves to climb on the step stool beside our bed and just sit and hang out!
 This picture just makes me laugh!  She was so proud of herself!
 She is just the happiest and we are so thankful!
 Ryan took five of the children to church this morning while Chapman and I stayed behind and had some sweet one-on-one time together. Then when they all returned, much to their dismay, it was picture time!
 The children all made posters for us when we returned home....
 And our neighbors did too!
 We are so thankful for our family and for our friends who joined us in bringing this little miracle home!
 Chapman seems to enjoy her carseat.
 There was a big football game on so I took the little girls to the pool for a bit....Chapman allowed her feet to get wet and that was about it!  She will get there!
 Meal time is a favorite for this little one....and she is eating very well.  She finally humored me and at broccoli!  And she LOVES bananas to the point we have had to hide them from her sight - bless.  I told the children tonight that I imagine she was quite a fussy baby when she was ready to eat....the minute she sees her food, she is ready for it to be in her mouth.  Stat.  
 Sweet moments with Maddox....
 I just knew these two would be friends.
 And Friday we took her out to eat for the first time....a local favorite, Sunrise Grill.  The boys and I used to go there every Friday morning....and now we have a cute little tagalong!  
This little one is doing great!