12.24.2010

emerging

Everyday the fog is continuing to clear -- we are doing well -- healthy and happy!  Here's a picture post (I'll get back to word posts soon):

Last morning in Guangzhou...



After 20+ hours...two flights down, one to go...


We're HOME...




Calisthenics with KC...

First bath together...

12.17.2010

we're home!

Well...at least in-body...our minds are still somewhere in la-la land! Exhausted does not even begin to describe our family! And thanks to our friend jet-lag, Judah was up at 1:30 am...and he stayed up all night! Fun! Our precious SIL, Kim, took over at 4:30 am so we could sneak a few hours of sleep.
I took Micah to the DR this morning--double-ear infxn, and serious junk in his lungs. Judah goes to the Int'l DR on Mon & Ped on Wed--he has Micah's same cough, and now a low-grade fever! Plus, another tooth broke the skin today...poor thing is so miserable!

Thanks for your prayers!! We're hanging in there!

Sent from my iPhone

12.16.2010

We made it to Detroit! Judah Fuxue is officially a US citizen! Waiting to board our flight to B'ham! We are beyond exhausted--we've been on the move for 24 hrs!!

Sent from my iPhone

Meet America's newest citizen!!!

12.12.2010

over-due update!

We made it G'zhou late Fri night, then had Judah's medical exam on Saturday.  Sunday morning we did a little shopping, and then had really hoped to hang-out with some friends from Hunter Street who live in G'zhou...but, those plans got canceled.  Micah had a low-grade fever and nasty cough on Sat night, and then on Sun afternoon the fever came back and the cough got worse.  By Sun evening Micah's temp was 102.  We've talked with two Drs in the US, and both seem to think it's a viral infection -- so not much we can do, other than lay-low in our room & keep his fever down.  We do have some Bactrim for him, but both Drs have advised holding-off on using that.  And I concur, Bactrim is nasty stuff!  I've had terrible side-effects from it! Yuck!
 
Meanwhile, Judah has started coughing and is refusing to eat.  He doesn't really have fever, but he does have a mouthful of teeth coming in.  Good grief!
 
Judah seems to be content with us.  He was obviously very spoiled by the nannies at his orphanage!  He wants to be held all the time -- oh, and not just held, we must be standing too.  He's also becoming a picky eater.  I can't tell you how much formula & baby food I've wasted because he wasn't in the mood for whatever option he was given.  I've got my work cut out for me when we get home!!
This afternoon we have our Consulate appt/oath taking ceremony.  Tomorrow we're supposed to go sight-seeing -- I really hope we can make it!  We're also supposed to see the Bunches tomorrow night, which we're really looking forard to, since we missed them on Sun!!
Sorry I've not posted many pics on the blog -- they've been easier to upload on facebook.

12.09.2010

We're headed to Guangzhou to finish up our trip -- a much warmer climate.  Our time in Lanzhou has been great, but it's been very cold -- which has meant too much time in our hotel room!  We're trying to keep both the boys healthy.  Micah is a little stir-crazy -- us too!  But, we're all hanging in there!
We're also the only adoptive family in this province from AWAA.  We had a free day yesterday to walk the streets.  Let me just say, we are VERY conspicuous -- lot's of stares!  The people are friendly enough, but we do feel a bit out of place. We haven't seen any Westerners -- maybe they're more visitors here during the summer months.  Although, we did meet an adoptive family from Holland.  We're ready to see our American friends & do some shopping!

12.08.2010

darkness

We've been in Lanzhou since Sun night.  Lanzhou is the capitol city of Gansu province, the province where Judah was born.  And abandoned.  Lanzhou was a primary city on the Silk Road, and is home to representative populations from most of China's ethnic groups.  The Silk Road was also an open-door for Buddism and Islam to penetrate this area. 

Sun night when we exited our airplane, and walked into the Lanzhou airport -- we were quite surprised to find it completed packed with Muslims (identified by the white cap that the Muslim men in this area wear).  They were waiting to greet and celebrate with friends/family who we're returning from some type of Muslim pilgramage.  Lanzhou is home to many Buddist temples and Islamic mosques -- there's even an autonimous region in this city where Muslims have certain freedoms from government regulation.  However, according to our guide who lives here, there is no Evangelical presense.  She herself (28) claims no religion.

That said, I have found it interesting to walk into almost any type of business here and see Christmas decorations.  Christmas trees, Santas, bells...you name it.  Oh, and the Christmas music that is usually blaring over the speakers.

But more than interesting, I find it so very sad.  And I've been filled with an angst since we've been here.  There's nothing more sad than to see a copy-cat, pagan celebration of Jesus' birth.  The Christmas decor almost magnifies the darkness.

And even more sad still, is the missed-opportunity that the Western Christian church has had to celebrate and share Christ during this very sacred time of year.  We've, instead, traded the Truth for Santa...and traded God's glory for the glory of ourselves and our children.  And we have taught our practices even to people here in China. 

We've pretended for so long that we, as Believers, can ride the fence...that we can taint our Savior's birth with pagan practices, and yet not deny His renown.  But I see here, now, in this city that we have denied God's renown -- especially as I watch the spiritually-dead hang garland on trees and wear stockings on their heads -- all the while, remaining under God's wrath. 

There's Christmas everywhere, yet no understanding or knowledge of God's redemption and grace, nor His holiness or glory.  As I watch millions upon millions walk around this city, dead in their trespasses, I can't help but feel a deep call to repentance.  And I can't help but wonder if the church were listening, would we hear God calling us to a collective repentance as well.

12.07.2010

Hello, again, from Lanzhou!

The Martin-4 are doing well!  I've been trying to upload photos, but the dsl is too slow.  Thank you all for leaving comments--Vince & I really enjoy reading them!
Judah is doing great!  He has warmed-up to us--especially Vince!  I think he's going to be a daddy's boy!  Micah is doing well with the transition too!  He was so sweet this morning...Judah was crying, and Micah said 'he misses his family'.  What insight for a 2-yr old.  I told Micah that we're Judah's family now, he 'oh yeah'. So sweet!
A little about Judah...he is a porker!  Vince & I just can't get over that!  I brought him size 2 diapers...but his thighs are too big!  Now his length, on the other hand, is only between a 6-9 mos old.  And his gross motor skills are way under-developed--he cannot even sit up.  But I'm sure he'll catch up fast.  He's also still on a bottle -- we've tried some baby food, but he's going to have to learn to eat with his palate-challenges.  We may wait to tackle that at home.
I also cannot believe how long it takes for the 4 of us to get ready in the morning!!  Seriously!  Crazy!  I cannot even imagine going somewhere by myself with just the 2 boys...um, play-dates at the Martin's for the next 8-12 months! :)
Oh, and Chinese people love Micah!  Everyone talks to him--and of course he likes to show-off the Chinese that he's picked up--they love that!  All the girls take pics with him, and even feed him while we're out to dinner!  I'm loving it!!
Thank you for your prayers!  We are blessed and healthy! 

12.06.2010

Gotcha!

Quick update!
 
What a crazy 30 hrs!  We had a busy day in Beijing (church, Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square) yesterday, then took a 2+ hour flight to Lanzhou, and met Judah at 10pm last night!  Both of the boys slept great, then we had our civil affairs appointment today to finalize the adoption.  Finally at noon, we returned to the hotel and crashed for several hours.
 
Micah is doing great!  And Judah is a sweetheart -- a very easy-going baby.  Who likes to eat, I might add!  He is a total roly-poly!  I couldn't believe it!

God is most gracious!

12.03.2010

We're here!

We made it to Beijing! Micah did awesome! We are so proud of him!
Now...time for bed and sight-seeing tomorrow!
Grace!

--
Follow our adoption journey at www.vinceandalisa.blogspot.com
Ethiopia: home with Micah Yoseph since 3/28/09
China: waiting for Judah Fu-Xue in Qingyang, China

12.02.2010

China-bound

I'm sitting on a plane, headed to Seattle, to catch our flight to
Beijing...thanking God for all who helped this journey a reality!
Funny how before we headed out to bring Micah home, I couldn't blog
enough -- but this time around I am finding myself at a loss for
words. I guess instead of channeling my anxiety into words, I've been
channeling it into cuddles with my sweet Micah. Even as I watch him
sleep next to me on the plane...it's hard to let him be...I so want to
hold him close!
Yet we're so excited to be united with Judah -- but anxious as well.
We've not seen a pic of him or had an update since July. I have no
idea what to expect!! Is he still small, or has he grown? Crawling?
Walking? Talking? What will we find? What will we see when we look
into his eyes?

My stomach is in knots!! But soul is calm...you're prayers are felt!!

Sent from my iPhone

11.24.2010

Jesus

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together- Colossians

I could (and probably should) name the laundry-list of blessings from God that I am thankful for.  But, it is easy for me to get lost is the blessings of God...blessings of stuff and people...and omit the Ultimate Blessing. 

Jesus Christ.

If it were not for Christ--fully-God and fully-man, yet slain for me--everything in my life would be utterly meaningless...completely devoid of any purpose or value.  Though I was once spiritually dead to God, I am now alive in Christ.  I am a new creation in Jesus.  And I am being liberated from the deceptive desires of my selfish flesh, and am now able to know God...rest is His grace...and walk in freedom!

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodya and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them- Ephesians


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
 
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed- 1 Peter
 
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
 
Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord"- 1 Corinthians


So tomorrow (and everyday for that matter), I will sing from the mountain tops what my God has done for me in Christ Jesus.  And I will declare that His love is better than life!

11.16.2010

tickets purchased!

Our consulate appointment has been scheduled, and 3-going/4-returning airline tickets have been purchased!  And, they were less expensive than I was expecting! 

Wish I had more to share, but my mind is a mushy-mess right now!

11.15.2010

travel approval!!

We got it!!
Today!
We're going to China -- Judah will be home for Christmas!!
Right now, we're waiting for our agency to confirm our consulate appointment before they can issue us concrete travel dates...but...it looks like we'll be leaving in about 2 weeks!!

For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

URGENT! children in Haiti need our help!!

via Lifeline Children's Services:

URGENT ACTION CALL - We have just learned that the International Adoption Simplification Act - S. 1376 and the Help Haiti Act of 2010 - HR 5283 will be put on the suspension calendar early this week and maybe as soon as Monday afternoon. We must act now. Call or email your U.S. Representative today (no need to contact your Senator at this time).


Please contact your House member to ask them to support the International Adoption Simplification Act -S. 1376- and the Help Haiti Act of 2010 HR 5283. To pass this bill, we will need a total of 290 votes. Currently, there are 255 Democrats and 178 Republicans so please contact both your Republican and Democrat Representatives. Again, please do not mail anything but fax, email or call your Representatives and if possible, speak to the adoption staffer. Please also have your family and friends call as well.

All house members and office numbers can be found at www.house.gov

A brief reminder of the International Adoption Simplification Act - S. 1376
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include in the definition of "child" a child adopted under the age of 18 (16 under current law) who has been: (1) in the custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent of parent for at least two years; or (2) battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the adopting parent of a family member residing in the same household.
Includes in the definition of "child," and thus in the exemption from required admissions vaccination documentation, certain children who have been adopted in a foreign country that is a signatory to the Hague or who are emigrating from such a country for U.S. adoption.

and

Help Haiti Act of 2010 HR 5283.
Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to adjust to permanent resident status an alien who: (1) was granted parole admission into the United States pursuant to the humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans announced on January 18, 2010, and suspended as to new applications on April 15, 2010; (2) is physically present in the United States; (3) is admissible as an immigrant; and (4) files an application for adjustment not later than three years after enactment of this Act.

11.12.2010

a boy and his...

...old, worn-out Basset Hound.







book give-away WINNER

Thank you to everyone who entered to win Carla's book!  We had entries from China, Mexico and Canada!!  Wow!  What a blessing it has been to read your verses...especially as we're endlessly waiting for our China travel dates!
And, as you can see, I broke-out my crystal for this very special occasion...um, the second time it's ever been used! 

{drum roll, please}

The winner

 is


Jamie is a fellow-adoptive mommy -- you can meet her family here: Mom on a Journey
The verse that Jamie shared is:
1John 3:1 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."
Amen, Jamie!


Need your own copy of Carla's Parenting Moment by Moment, click here!

Follow these links to keep up with Carla's mentoring ministry!
http://www.parentingmomentbymoment.com/
www.facebook.com/momentbymomentministries
www.twitter.com/mbmministries (@MBMMinistries)

11.09.2010

"parenting moment by moment" GIVE-AWAY!!

A dear friend of ours, Carla Maclachlan (from our church family in Springfield, MO), has recently published an amazing book:
Parenting Moment by Moment, Training Your Children to Apply Biblical Truth
We are rejoicing with Carla regarding this project because we know how deeply her mentoring has touched our lives -- and we are so excited about all the new families who will be blessed by her wisdom and Biblical-parenting approach.

In celebrating with her, I'd like to give-away a copy of her book!!   Here's how you can enter:  leave me a post (don't forget your name), with one of your favorite life verses about being a child of God!!  Anyone one can enter!!  I'll draw a name on Friday morning!!

You can read more about her book here!

11.06.2010

china travel update

I've been waiting to post an update, in hopes of having exciting news
to share -- but since we're not sure when to expect our travel
approval, here's an update, before the update :)

Our agency felt like we might receive our travel approval from China
at the end of last week -- but they now think we could be waiting
another 1-2 weeks. And depending on when consulate appointments are
available, it could be mid-Dec before we leave.

We are eager to get to China, we're eager to hold Judah, and eager
just to have solid dates -- but that said, our hearts are at rest in
the Lord. He has shown our family immeasurable kindness throughout
this process...and we trust fully the He will complete His work in
pefect timing!

Sent from my iPhone

10.31.2010

October 31, 1517

Blessed Reformation Day!

Today we celebrate Martin Luther’s nailing of his ninety-five theses to a church door in Wittenberg, setting in-motion the Protestant Reformation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:8-9

10.21.2010

a little about Qingyang, Gansu province (China)

China is one of the most remarkable, beautiful places that I have ever traveled to -- the rich culture and breath-taking landscape are unlike any other place in the world!  We are so proud to have a son from this region.  And although we've never been to Gansu province, I have been reading that it is even more enchanting.  Our little boy is from Qingyang City (which means celebration), however when we travel to his province we will stay in the capital, Lanzhou.  This is where we will have our Gotcha Day.  With a nanny and the orphanage director, little Judah will take a 6+ hour van ride from Qingyang to Lanzhou...and, then be plopped into our arms.  I expect it to be a traumatic day for him.


(images courtesy of...the internet)

All of our paperwork should finally be the hands of China's adoption officials, who will submit to us our approval to travel!!

10.18.2010

monday's call to worship

Jesus Paid it All
Elvina M. Hall (1865) / Kristian Stanfill

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Lord now indeed I find
Thy power and thine alone
Can change the lepers spots
And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
It's washed away! All my sin! And all my shame!

And when before the throne
I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead 
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

10.16.2010

adoption rocks :)

We had a great time last night with our African Fellowship families...families home with their children...families waiting for court dates...families just starting the paper-chase!!  We are so excited about the new friends that we've made -- we look forward to all the new families who will be joining us next month!!
Pic: Ben, Micah (holding a pic of baby Andrew, his mom is waiting for their court date) & Gizatu!

10.14.2010

Ethio-Africa Fellowship, 10/15!!

Tomorrow night we're hosting an Ethiopia-African Fellowship at our home!  There's no agenda for the evening...just the opportunity for our families to hang-out!  We meet the 3rd Fri of every month (so mark your calendars)!  If you'd like to join us and want more info, email me here.

Also, a {big} congrats to our silent auction winners!  And Thank You to all who participated! 
We raised $500!!

10.11.2010

updates {travel & auction}

I've had tons of questions about when are we going to China!!!  Well, that is a great question!  But, here's what we know:

-our I-797 Notice of Action (this is our US visa approval to bring Judah to the US) was forwarded to the US Consulate in China last week
-the US Consulate in China gives our paperwork (Judah's visa application) one, final stamp of approval -- then they forward the papers on to the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs)
-once the CCAA receives our paperwork from the Consulate, they send our travel approval to our agency
-with travel approval in-hand, our agency begins coordinating our travels to/in China -- we will leave for China 2-4 wks after travel approval
-the above process should only require a few weeks!!

Our silent auction is going well!!  You can scroll-down, or, click here to check it out!!  Bidding ends tomorrow night at midnight!

monday's call to worship

Be Thou my Vision
Written by Dallan Forgail (8th Century)

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

An Orphan's Ticket Home

An Orphan's Ticket Home
Click here to Donate Today!!!