7.29.2010

angels

Vince & I just spent an amazing evening with two Chinese men...angels...who walked us through Judah's adoption papers. There are so many words in Chinese that don't translate well to English, so they were able to express in greater detail the thoughts and facts included in the reports.

It was a blessing, as well, because they are believers. And it was very obvious they were touched by Judah's story...we shared several sad, sweet moments of silence as we thought about our little boy far-away.

Both of these men and their families are involved in a local Chinese church, and we look forward to getting to know their congregation...and, for Judah to get to know them as well!

Maya's Story - a 'must watch' for families considering special needs adoption

7.28.2010

judah!

Well, it's official...kind-of anyway!!
We are not Judah's family just yet, but today we submitted our EA (electronic acceptance) letter to the CCAA, requesting to pursue his adoption!!

I can only share a little about him for now. When we receive our RA (referral acceptance) from the CCAA, then we can share his photo, Chinese name, birth region, etc...it could take anywhere from 2-4 months to receive our RA.

About Judah...
He's almost 10-months old and has a cleft lip and palate -- both of which are unrepaired. He is beautiful...but, oh, so tiny! It's obvious from his measurements that his cleft palate is making his feeding very difficult. But that said, he's not too much smaller than Micah was as the same age.

We're working with The International Adoption Clinic here in Birmingham -- and there is also a Cleft Clinic at UAB Children's Hospital here as well, which will handle Judah's surgeries. We feel confident (and blessed) to have such wonderful resources right in our backyard!!

How soon could we go get him (assuming we're approved)?
We hope before the end of the year!

We were able to get the Chinese version of his adoption paperwork -- and two wonderful men (Malaysian & Chinese) are coming to our home tomorrow night to share their translation of the reports. Actually, the one doing the translation is the Chinese gentleman, who is also an research doctor!! He's already reviewed Judah's report and said everything looks good, but is still coming to discuss it in-person. I hope to get it on video for Judah!! He also told us that Judah's Chinese name is very special...we can't wait to hear the meaning!! I'm not sure who gave Judah his Chinese name -- possibly someone from his orphanage. We look forward to sharing it with you in the months to come!!

7.25.2010

back in Birmingham...AL, that is

We're home! We flew in to the ATL airport then drove back to Birmingham. That ride was by-far the hardest part of the trip...we were SO tired. Micah did OK on our return flight -- the first 3 hours were a bit hellish, but he finally fell asleep.

Would we travel, again, with only a lap ticket for an almost-2-year old? YES! It was a little inconvenient, but so worth it to save the money!

Would we take an almost-2-year-old on an international trip again? YES!! It definitely adds a new dimension of mental exhaustion -- but the experiences we shared as a family were priceless (even though Micah won't have memories, only pics).

I'll share more about our London trip/my observations in the next several days as well!

About our China call...I will share more this week, once we've officially accepted our referral. Our family would cherish your prayers as we move forward in the process!!

7.22.2010

...thoughts on prayer

Here are some thoughts from my time alone this afternoon...

Re 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,
Re 8:4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.
Ps 141:2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!


Your prayers and our prayers are acceptable and fragrant to God on His throne! There are symbols in Heaven that represent our prayers from the outer courts here below!

This is from Matthew Henry:
1. All the saints are a praying people; none of the children of God are born dumb, a Spirit of grace is always a Spirit of adoption and supplication, teaching us to cry, Abba, Father. #Ps 32:6, For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee.

2. Times of danger should be praying times, and so should times of great expectation; both our fears and our hopes should put us upon prayer, and, where the interest of the church of God is deeply concerned, the hearts of the people of God in prayer should be greatly enlarged.

3. The prayers of the saints themselves stand in need of the incense and intercession of Christ to make them acceptable and effectual, and there is provision made by Christ for that purpose; he has his incense, his censer, and his altar; he is all himself to his people.

4. The prayers of the saints come up before God in a cloud of incense; no prayer, thus recommended, was ever denied audience or acceptance.

5. These prayers that were thus accepted in heaven produced great changes upon earth in return to them; the same angel that in his censer offered up the prayers of the saints in the same censer took of the fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth, and this presently caused strange commotions, voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake; these were the answers God gave to the prayers of the saints, and tokens of his anger against the world and that he would do great things to avenge himself and his people of their enemies; and now, all things being thus prepared, the angels discharge their duty.

God hears His children!!
Amen!!

7.21.2010

a day of touring

Wednesday was our touring day of London. We visited St Paul's, London Bridge and Churchill's War Room. All were very fascinating and full of history!! Micah did great!! We were out from 8am til 8pm. Thurs & Fri we will "walk" again, and then return home on Sat.

Here's the bridge where we rec'd the call about our referral!! Will share more about that next week. We are very excited!!
London Bridge

London Tower - where many were martyred for their faith!



River cruise on the Thames!
Thank you for your continued prayers!! We are all tired...the next two days will be long, but we're up for it!! Grace!!

7.20.2010

pic update from the UK

Here are a few pics so far! We're having a blessed time. Micah is doing great (with a few tantrums here & there...but who can blame him!) We are meeting lot's of people...most are very friendly...some, not so much (not everyone is a fan of the US).


The CALL!!! Last night on Millennium Bridge!
Primrose Hill

Look! It's Superman!
We've made some wonderful connections with Ethiopia people! One of the ladies in this pic is engaged to the owner of an Ethiopian restaurant in Atlanta...can't wait to connect with him!!

Church was very international -- we felt right at home!!


Micah 'praising Jesus' as the praise band preped for morning service!



Splash pad...London-style! A great way to connect with local moms!!



A little late...but showing our World Cup-love just the same!


St Paul's Cathedral (where Princess Diana & Charles were married)

Entering London City



7.16.2010

what is prayer walking?

Prayer Walking is...intercession on location, with information, in cooporation, against opposition, for glorification.

Intercession...Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.- Luke 18:1

On Location...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.- Matthew 5:16

With Information...But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”––
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
- 1 Cor 2:9-10

In Cooperation...All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer- Acts 1:14

Against Opposition...For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.- 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

For Glorification...For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.-
Micah 4:5

(taken from A Journey of Faith, Prayer Walking- Crawford & Miller)

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7.15.2010

oh. we. must. be. crazy!

Well, at least I've felt that way a few times this week. Today...as Micah pitched a royal fit in Target. Last night...as Micah pointed and called out China, London, Bill, Frank (executive and missions pastors at our church) as our London Team was being commissioned during HSBC's Wednesday evening service.

We leave tomorrow night for London, and I am convinced in my heart that going as a family (ie-taking Micah) is right. But, the logic portion of my brain says we're doing what??

I know Micah won't remember this trip, and that's OK -- but I do want him to be able to always have memories of our family serving God together!

We're excited about the week and the work God has prepared for us! It's going to be a long, exhausting seven days...prayer walking from early a.m. to late p.m...but we trust completely that God will sustain us...and especially Micah!!

I hope to update our blog during the week - so check back for stories & pics!!

You're prayers would be greatly appreciated!!

Romans 10
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 But how are they to 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?
15 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!”

7.13.2010

funny little boy

Thought I'd share with you some of Micah's latest, cutest happenings!!

We participate in Dolly Parton's book club (free books each month), and a favorite of Micah's is a book about brothers. It's actually photos of real brothers...doing all the silly things that brothers do together. We read it and talk about how he'll get to do all the same things with Judah. However, one of the pictures shows two brothers picking flowers for their mommy. Well, guess Micah has realized that's one activity he doesn't have to wait for Judah to do. So now he loves to pick flowers for mommy from a vase in our hallway filled with artificial flowers.



In the photo below you can see an oil painting that we purchased while in Ethiopia. I fell in love with it because of it's vibrant colors, and because it captured so well the streets of Addis Ababa...lots of people, cabs, and buses! Some how Micah realized that there is a yellow bus in the scene (I don't think we ever pointed that out to him). Well, in his little almost-two-year-old mind, he's decided he wants to drive the bus. Yes, the very bus in the painting. So, he pushes a stool to the wall...climbs on...and...drives the bus. Of course I explained the painting to him -- that it's a bus on the streets of Ethiopia (he has some comprehension that he was born there) -- so here he is, cruising the streets of Addis Ababa!



7.07.2010

7.04.2010

a day outdoors

Neighborhood Lake...
come on, mommy





Botanical Gardens...
all the world is a stage...and everything is a microphone (even pine straw)




7.01.2010

finding birth family

This is a much-debated topic in our home. When we received Micah's referral, we were fortunate to receive a good amount of biographical info. When we were in Ethiopia we did not meet Micah's birth family -- however, we did have a surprise opportunity to do so the day we departed for the US...but long-story-short, a meeting did not take place.

Since then, I have thought often about Micah's birth family. But, my thoughts are often more burdened by the questions Micah may have one day about his adoption. It's a little easier for Vince to be naive about future conversations that Micah might need to have, but, not so easy for me. My mom and dad (birth) divorced when I was very young. I stayed in contact with him until I was about 12, but we fell-off each other's map (so to speak) soon after. And, to make another long-story-short, I had questions. But, there wasn't really anyone to help me process or answer those questions.

My heart aches to think Micah may face a similar journey.

But, then again, he might not. Vince and I know several adoptees who sincerely could care less about their birth family.

Regardless, I feel a deep conviction to at be able (if need presents itself) to walk that journey with Micah. And to be able to provide as much grace and information as possible.

So, that conviction takes me back to the topic of finding birth family. I recently stumbled across an Ethiopian company that will do a birth family update, via photos & video, for adoptive families. I think we may have enough info to find someone from Micah's Ethiopian family, but I'm not sure. But I feel like the clock is ticking. By the time Micah is old enough to do his own research, his birth family could very well be dead or missing.

Vince is becoming a little more open to doing some research now, but he's very adamant that we do it ethically - not violating any inter-country adoption laws.

So, I'd be very interested to know if families have located birth-family once returning to the states. How did you find them? Who did you use? How much did it cost? Do you have any regrets?

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