Wednesday, October 22, 2014

i will be a wall

to my sweet daughter:

you don't know this, but i'm bringing you into a war zone.

there is a war being waged (on women) here:
it tells young girls like you, that your body is not your own, and it is not to be treasured and protected.

it tells us that our value relates to our waist size, doe eyes, soft skin, lush hair, and absence of wrinkles.

the war whispers into your ear that you free yourself by sharing with anyone what was meant only for you and your husband.

the war shouts out our happiness increases with our bank account.

the war proudly sings out, with clanging symbols, the beating of drums, and strumming of guitars: "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die"

but i will be a wall. i will protect you, i will guard you, and i will guide you. i will guide you to Him: the One who created you, and brought us to you. i will guide you to the One who holds your identity. i will sing of His praises over your sleeping head. i will embrace you in my hands because of the nails embraced by His.

sweet daughter, it is a war zone; except the weapons are not of flesh an physical things, but they are of a spiritual nature, and they have divine power to destroy strongholds:

"for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds."--2 corinthians 10:4

i continue to pray in your room. the stains of oil remain on the door post where i anointed it. hours of worship songs play on repeat, welcoming His healing presence into your room.
i walk into your room, and i feel at peace. i feel Him in there, and i feel you in there.

dear sweet daughter, we are building a wall so that all you see is Him and all you feel is a security nothing can rip away.

we will proudly bare our chest as he takes aims, and absorb any arrows the enemy may throw at you, (because) your precious worth is immeasurable.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

what i want you to know

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”--washington irving

i want you to know that when we first knew we were going to become your forever mommy and daddy, i woke up nightly with horrific stomach pains and in mournful tears at the thought that we were going to be pulling you away from the only life you've known for 11 years. i would weap because at some point in the near future i would be holding you as you missed and wept for the foster family you had for the past 7 years.

i want you to know we did not hastily rush into this, thinking we were "saving" you. we spoke with families that had adopted older children from your home's foster system, we spoke with experts, and even "anti-adoption" people.
***prospective adoptive parents: you are not the brave ones, you are not the ones
worthy of the admiration, the children leaving everything they know are. 

we want you to know that we learned everything we could about the possibilities for you if you remained there. we want you to know we learned what life would look like for you past the age of 14 (the age you are no longer able to be adopted) and after you turned 18, and after learning these things and that life, we made the decision to trust in God's direction that the painful journey would end up being a blessing.

i want you to know that even now, i want to collapse and weap at the new adjustments you will have to make. i want you to know that you are so brave and the strongest person i know. i want you to know you were long ago asked to carry a burden no innocent child should ever have to carry. i want you to know that we will carry that with you, but mostly, you have an adoring Heavenly Father who wants to carry all the burdens, pains, and tears for you.
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."--matthew 11:30

and each tear you've cried, since the great injustice had been done to you from infancy, He holds each of those tears in a bottle and knows each sorrow: (psalm 56:8)

i want you to know that we insisted, many times, you must be asked if you wanted to be adopted, we insisted the process was explained to you, we insisted you know in us becoming your forever mommy and daddy, that meant you would leave your foster family--leave the sights, smells, sounds, and people you knew to come to a land where you did not understand the language, the people looked different, the food tasted different, and life was as different as you could imagine.

i want you to know that as your tears fall, and your heart adjusts, and there is so much for you to take in, i will be there wrapping my arms around you and crying with you. i want you to know that i love your foster mother, and i will always have an undying gratitude to her, i will always be indebted for her, and i will always embrace her in my heart as my sister-mommy because she loved you before i knew you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

light of our life

about a month ago, we were able to send a care package to our lucy-girl, which included a cake, a photo album of us, a translated letter, and a stuffed animal. on monday, we received these pictures of our sweet daughter:

i was immediately and powerfully heart-struck at how her light, her spirit, shines through. we are so thankful for God's mercy that gave her such a beautiful and strong spirit. (also, her favorite color is pink, can't you tell :)).

whatever trials, turmoil, and attack this world and the enemy throws at His children, He is stronger.

there's no new updates to speak of, as far as the waiting for the next step goes, we're still waiting on the magical LOA, and then the even more magical TA. please join us in prayer, continually, that we will have LOA by November. and of course, join us in prayer for our daughter. i would be lying to you, and us, if i said it was going to be some magical rescue rainbows, unicorns, and puppy dogs experience when she leaves the only life she's known for 10 years.

if you'd like to help us meet the remaining $5,000 we need, you can donate a tax-deductible donation to reece's rainbow (link on top right side of page), or you can donate through our a place called home site (here), and watch a video of our story (donations on a place called home come with happies!).  in the end, we will be putting $19,000 of our money, savings, everything toward this, we just need a little extra "help", because, we....get by with a little help from our friends!

or you can buy a guacamole t-shirt, we need to sell 20 minimum and we'll raise a couple hundred dollars. guacamole for lucy! :)  (while we are devoted Christians, we recognize not all who would support us bringing lucy home are...but are pretty sure everyone on the planet is a fan of guacamole. and really, how many times do you have to nod when asked "it's extra, is that okay?")
buy the super soft t-shrit here:
"i know guacamole is extra" t-shirt fundraiser

matthew 5:15-16

"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

cheng, chang, chong and "innocent" racism

yesterday was the holy grail of nerd meet ups: comic con.

the hubs and i enjoyed our time together as it was one of the few saturdays the hubs has off (the position of retail management doesn't care about weekends!). we met and fellowshipped with other socially awkward people and ate at a neighbor's new restaurant and later delighted in the glory known as "jeni's ice cream".  i was enjoying my "sweet cream biscuits and peaches" ice cream when i saw the this chalkboard kids draw on:

i remember being young and not (actively) thinking about racism and stereotyping and poking fun at other cultures. kids do it all the time, and parents, who either think it's funny, or are just as ignorant as the close-minds it breeds, laugh along with it instead of teaching and empowering in that moment. take the picture above "cheng, chang, chong"...
"cheng"= orange (color, not the fruit)
"chang" = long
"chong" = insect
(it's completely possible though, that they were trying to pass along a warning regarding a long orange insect lurking about this ice cream shop. but not likely). 
there's actually an entire wikipedia article on "chIng, chang, chong" regarding the racism and "western bullying" it implies. see, read it here. 
and then there's the childhood schoolyard rhyme:
"are you chinese (uses fingers to pull side of eyes and make slant up); are you japenese (uses fingers to pull sides of eyes and make slant down); or are your dirty knees (referring to the rest of the continent of asia)". 
the school yard was full of these rhymes and other equally as racist ones. 
(childhood innocent racism wasn't and isn't solely focused on individuals living in china or japan: 
"indian giver!" (really, do they even know the horrific things that were done to NATIVE americans at the hands of english settlers?)l 
"are you a smart american or a dumb pollock?" (followed by a riddle or silly question).

i think about the "innocent" (and blatant of course) racism our lucy-girl will encounter. the "ching, chong, ding-dong" chants she will overhear, the scenes of children pulling their eyes to make them slant she will glance at, and it breaks my heart. it breaks my heart to think of the damage to her beautiful, God-designed identity it will cause. i pains me deeply to think about her ever feeling less than perfectly beautiful and designed by the hands of God.  

i feel my heart heavy even for the young children missing an opportunity to learn, grow, appreciate, and love other cultures. simply put: racism allows minds to remain simple, and hearts cold. 
what more as parents, can be desired for their child than for them to genuinely love others, to want to understand differences, and appreciate those differences. 

we are here to be blinders for what she need not see and ear muffs for what would pain her to hear. 
and when we aren't physically with her, we trust God's faithfulness to be that. and when racist images and sounds creep in and damage her precious heart, we trust in God's redemption, and healing prayers to build her up and strengthen her identity when all the world wants to crush it.  

we believe prayer moves mountains and lets rivers flow in barren places, so,this is our new prayer manifest; declared on the chalkboard outside our bedroom so that we may see it and affirm it in prayer many times a day. please pray it with us: 
LOA by november
home by februrary

Thursday, September 11, 2014

china just got a huge stack of papers!


we conquered. 
we're still married (and in love).
i'm not completely gray (yet).

our dossier is in china!
***dossier is a fancy word for those eleventy-quadrillion sheets of papers, notarizations, certifications, and authentications you have to have.

now, they will meticulously look at all these (well, after they're translated) and it's a bunch more acronyms from here: 
OOT (out of translation)
LID (log in date)
LOA (letter of acceptance)
TA (travel approval)

it takes much longer than those acronyms would have you believe. 

we are just ready for our sweet lucy-girl to be home, with her forever family, the one she was born in the hearts of.  
i am always astounded at the resilient spirit of these children, their forgiving hearts, the trust and bravery they have to travel to the other side of the world with "parents" they have never met. everything about them is so much braver, stronger, and more loving than any of us! we are the blessed ones and we are the honored ones. 
we mustn't have any expectation, we mustn't believe that we are coming back to america sliding down rainbow, on a unicorn, and into a pile of pillows and soft puppies. (well, there's a puppy, but, he's not soft anymore). 
it's okay for it to be a 90/10, 95/5, or 98/2 give. she's the one with the trauma to overcome, the frustration of the language to learn, sites to familiarize with, etc. 
He is faithful, not only to us, but first and foremost, to her, our sweet daughter. our lucy-girl.

up next: 
fees due at LOA/TA time: approximately $8,000
fees we have to carry on us during travel: a lot, as in 5 digits/walking targets a lot.

we have $3,900 in our reece's rainbow account (that's a lot of love for our lucy-girl), and are counting on about $5,000 between the hubs' next bonus and a few paychecks (total of $8,800). but, God is not a God of half-provision: He can lower bills, motivate raises, bless with success on ebay and etsty, etc. there was also a story in the bible of someone being told to catch a fish and pull a coin from it's mouth. that sounds like a really cool way of His provision, i'm going fishing! :) 

i'm selling some vintage-y jewelry on my etsy shop: 

i'm also making doggie tutus and necklaces on this one:

oh, and my ebay name is: carpre2, i have neat and pretty clothes i sell on it!

or, i can just bake you cookies, if you prefer that.  :) 

Friday, August 29, 2014

the marathon roller coaster

we've been waiting for our agency to receive one piece of paper back from the chinese consulate.

one piece.

then they can ship the 1,000,000,000 pieces of paper (otherwise known as the dossier) to china (this is called DTC: dossier to china), so we can eventually have our log in date (LID) and then our letter of acceptance (LOA) and then our prized travel approval (TA). and then of course, "gotcha day.

until then, honestly, there are days you feel like this:

everything at this point is pretty much out of our control. we're at the mercy of the work ethic, schedule, mood, motivation, official processes of whomever our packet of paper lands on the desk of.

it wears on your heart: the time, the money, the wait, the helplessness of knowing that you would walk on water to cross the ocean to get to them if you could, but you must wait, and this child, this daughter of ours, who has waited 10 years for a family, must continue to wait.

it's a hard wait. a heart wrenching one. if you know someone whom is adopting, and you ask them how the process is going (which is a very common question, and welcome (depending on the mood)), and they reply back they've been waiting "x" number of days for this, and they just want it to be over or to the next step; please, please, please do not respond "it's all in God's perfect timing".

to speak of God's perfect anything would first begin with His perfect will, and His perfect will is NEVER for a child to be orphaned. His perfect will is NEVER for the cultural climate of a country, a race, a people group, a religion to push a mother to abandon her child, abuse her child and them be taken away, etc. His perfect will is NEVER for a woman to be raped and become pregnant from that, or for a child to be born with such special needs the mother knows she can not care for them and thus abandons them or surrenders them to there country/region's child welfare system. all of this is the result of a fallen world where sin and brokenness reign.

His perfect will is for sin of man or scheme of man to be unable to break apart biological families.

we are given biblical mandates to care for the orphan, the oppressed, the widow, the needy, the sick and suffering because we are waiting on Him to restore us to the garden, we are waiting on Him to defeat the enemy once and for all.

the roller coaster of emotions you experience in this process is unmatched: you are always waiting for a exhilarating rush-fall, waiting nervously on the climb, or irritated by the basic chug-along (no one rides roller coaster for those short moments of steady chugging). right now, we are chugging...not even climbing up knowing that exhilarating rush-fall is ahead.

right now i'd settle for a wagon ride down hill. we're coming sweet girl. if i have to walk on water to get to you.

also, we have a new fundraiser page set up; it's humbling to do that. 

i now understand all those mothers who resort to less than desirable profession to provide for their child.  it's so easy to judge them "if they really loved their child(ren), how could they do that?!" "is that the influence they want to be on them?!" "it's their fault they are in that situation, gross."....etc 

trust me, there is no more desperate place that those women are in, who resort to dancing for men to feed their children, out of their love for their child.  (simmer down, i'm not doing that). those women don't want to do that to feed their children, buy them school supplies, pay their bills, etc. and we don't want to have to ask for help to bring our daughter home. but that's where we are at. i love her more than i love my pride. i love her more than any fame and honor in being able to say we did it ourself, because we can't do it ourself. 

i love her more than my fear of rejection, scolding, and helplessness, so i am sharing this here. 
listen to our story presented in this beautiful video, pray with us, pray for us. we have attached incentives/gifts with each donation as well.  

from our humbled hearts, thank you for loving our daughter with us, for the encouragement, for the support, and prayers. 

thank you for helping bring love and freedom to our lucy-girl

Friday, August 8, 2014

alabaster jar

it's a jar i've always kept with me
i've held it close
i've guarded it
i've placed my worthiest treasures in it
i've pretend it's value immeasurable

the more i cling to it, the less i can cling to His feet though

in these days, my spirit has been crushed, i've wept, crippled on my knees for the sweet lives, stolen, in violent manners.  they were children. and now they are children worshipping in His presence.

my "alabaster jar" seems just ridiculous now. what filled mine was not a sweet fragrance or prized oils. doubt and fear is neither sweet smelling nor valuable.

i can't focus on "me" right now. i mustn't deter slobbering, exhausting, knee prints in the carpet prayers for those whom at the moment are passing from our presence to His.

relinquishing the control: fear of provision for our adoption, fundraising, the focus on "me". it's all so silly in comparison to the pain no words can even touch in description families and children are facing right now in a distant land.

i'm going deep in to my prayer closet. the fundraiser auction that ends this saturday will be the last, for a while. He loves these innocent children and their families who exiled themselves just to survive to mountaintops just to await uncertain starvation, and He loves our daughter who is waiting on us to bring her home. He is preparing a home for the children whose lives are lost, and He is preparing our home for our daughter. i can strive and strive to bring her home, but ultimately, it's going to be Him doing it. it takes too much of my focus, which turns into insecurity, which turns into doubt.  when in reality, His love for me, you, my lucy-girl, your child, and these children waiting (un)certain death on mountain tops is great enough to continue on without my fervent attempts.

it's too much to hear.

i will emerge with bruised knees, tear-stained cheeks, and a throat sore from impassioned plea filled screams, and my lucy-girl will still be coming home; but at least i would have devoted the same passion to persecuted children and families exiled for survival.