Friday, October 10, 2008

Our Adoption Journey!

I want to start this first post to my blog, by praising our Awesome God! He has blessed us so much, and continues loving us even when we fail Him so terribly. I only want one thing to come out of this website/blog as I share the story of how God is using us, and that is that God gets all the glory He so righteously deserves! He has called us to the miracle of adoption, and truly a miracle it is! Just like when we asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He so graciously adopted us into His family! In Galations 4:5, the Bible explains that Jesus' death bought freedom for us who were enslaved to sin so we could be adopted into God's family. Oh, thank you, Jesus! One of my prayers is that maybe someone reading this, will feel led to possibly look into adopting themselves. The Bible tells us many times that as Christians, one of our jobs is to take care of orphans, such as in James 1:27. So, if God is "tugging" at your heart to adopt, please don't make excuses like we tried to do! One of our biggest excuses was, "Lord, we don't have the money! We can't do this!" Well, you know what, we were right- WE can't do this... but God can! One of my dear friends reminded me of this and I LOVE it: God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called! Oh, how true that is!

I will now share how God placed adoption on our hearts. This will be long, but I do not want to leave any part of this story out. I also want our little guy to know how God brought him into our lives. This is truly God's story, not ours!

Termite and I have been so blessed. One afternoon, September 2003, to be exact, we were talking about our two "biological blessings" and how we hated how fast they were growing. Adoption has never crossed our minds at this point, but I was just saying how I wished we could have more kids. I then just smarted off and told Termite that we should look into adoption. He said, "Yeah, right!" I was really just teasing anyway. Well, two hours later that same day, I went to the mailbox and we had received a brochure from K-Love radio station sharing the adoption story of Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman. For those of you who don't know his story, he and his wife have three biological children, and then adopted three little girls from China. You can read his amazing story on his webpage or on Shaohannah's Hope (which is a foundation he and his wife established to help others with the financial aspects of adoption.) They have a beautiful adoption story to tell and are also an amazing family who continues to serve God and give Him the glory even in the dark times. (You can read more of their story on the previous mentioned websites.) Anyway, I took that brochure into the house and showed Termite. I was still moreless teasing when I told him that God was showing us something. From that day forward, I cannot even begin to tell you all the "signs" God showed us. Our next Sunday school lesson AND sermon at church were on taking care of the orphans. We would see billboards with little chinese kids on them. Treagan brought home a library book from school about an American family who adopted a little girl from China. The list goes on and on! It took us a while (we're kinda slow-), but we finally realized that God had a plan for us! As, we began to pray more about this, we knew from the very beginning that God wanted us to adopt and our child was in China, but we started making excuses and a bunch of them! We kept telling God that we didn't have the money to go clear across the world. We also knew (boy, I hate to admit this) that we weren't quit as young as we used to be. Ouch! That hurts! We didn't want our kids to have to wheel us into this child's graduation. Only kidding! I am certainly not that old!!! Hee hee. We then decided that we would take some classes through Child Protective Services and possible adopt a child through them. We did attend the classes and finished them, but we were miserable and uncomfortable the entire time. Well, duh, I wonder why. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. We were so uncomfortable because that wasn't the road God had for us! The child He had for us was in China. Remember, we are slow! We got very frustrated at this point and decided to just forget the whole thing. Now, it is the summer of 2005. I am a dental hygienist, and one day at work I was visiting with one of my patients while cleaning her teeth. I asked her how her kids were, and she replied, "They are great, my son and his wife are in China right now adopting their little girl." I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU THE EMOTIONS THAT HIT ME THAT MOMENT. I knew it was God. I promised Him at that moment, that I would do whatever it was He wanted me to do to save an orphan. They are all His children, no matter what country! It took a little longer and many prayers to get Termite to agree, but God was in control this whole time, and Termite did eventually agree to go forward with me. We begin praying for the adoption agency that God would have us use. I had requested information about several, but they didn't seem to be the one. I then received a packet from America World Adoption Association. This was a wonderful, Christian agency and we were very pleased with what we had read about them. I find it neat that God sent us info on this particular one, because I didn't request information about this one, so it was truly His plan. The kids and I had a garage sale to earn money for the initial application fee. God provided exactly enough for this fee, so we moved forward. I won't list all the ways that God provided, but I do want to mention some. Every single time, a fee has arose, God has provided in unbelievable ways. He is so good! Truly amazing! When our very first agency payment was due, we prayed and asked God to please provide, because we didn't have it. Two days before this payment was due, we received a letter from the IRS saying we had made a mistake on our 2003 taxes and we would be receiving a check in xx amount. It was the exact amount we needed for our agency payment. When it was time for our home study, God provided that through an income tax return also. When we did have our home study, we had to pay for the lady to come to our home. We were able to split the cost with two other families, so it was much cheaper. The day before she came, one of my dear friends who is also a co-worker, had handed me some money and said she wanted to help with our adoption. Now, remind you, at this time she was a single mother, but out of the goodness of her heart, she followed God's leading in sharing that with us. What a blessing. Another time, when our second adoption agency payment was due, my Christmas Club buddies, came to the rescue! Oh, boy... they were sneaky! They told me we were going to have a couple of fundraisers to help buy food for a barbeque. We sold candles, and had a garage sale. Oh, shame on me, I griped the entire time, because I don't like fundraisers! When the kids were younger, it seems they were selling all kinds of things for different organizations/sports. I hate asking people over and over! I could not understand why we needed so much food for this barbeque! Little did I know, they had tricked me! They handed me that envelope of enough money to pay that next agency payment. You talk about feeling awful, I had done nothing but gripe. God definitely used this incident to humble me! I'm so sorry, girls! You don't know how much I appreciate your hard work! Next time let me in on the secret and I may have sold more candles! Just kidding! Another time, my lifelong friend came to my house to visit. I love this girl! She has been my friend since first grade, so that means we have lots of good stories and memories! When she left, she handed me an envelope, and would not let me open it till she left. She and her family had given us quite a bit of money to put towards our adoption. Oh, what a precious family! I thank God for allowing me to be their friend! I continue to learn so much from them- they are truly an example of Christ! I love you! The list goes on and on of how God has provided. Thank you, Lord. We give you the praise!

It took us about a year to complete the paperwork that is involved to adopt internationally. THERE IS A TON OF REQUIREMENTS AND PAPERWORK! It can be overwhelming, but we just took one step at a time and got through it all! During the paper chase, they call that your "paper pregnancy". Once you finish the paperwork (called your dossier), it is sent to China, and then it is "logged in". This means, basically your number in line. When we started this process, it was about a 6-8 month wait from the time your dossier is logged in to the time of your referral (referral is the child they have matched you with.) The waiting timeframe kept growing and growing, meaning it is now about a 31-33 month wait. We had originally requested a healthy child, age 0-12 mos. China also has a program called Special Needs Program. This means their special needs can be very, very minor to the other extreme- major special needs. I often felt guilty because we did not feel like we were suppose to check deeper into the SN program, until recently. On September 5, 2008 (just last month;o) , I was home all alone and God was really working on my heart to look deeper into this program. It was such a heavy burden all of a sudden. I spent much of the day in prayer, asking for God's guidance. I specifically asked God for "billboard moments", if this was His will to check into SN. God answers prayer!!! He showed me those billboard moments. Three of them to be exact. He reminded me of a family we know, who last spring had a baby with a cleft lip and palate. After our football game, when I got home, I got on the computer to read other adoption stories, which I do on a daily basis. On my homepage, there was a picture of presidental canidate, John McCain and his family. I noticed that there was a girl in the picture, obviously adopted. I clicked on that picture, and sure enough they had adopted this girl from Bangledesh (sp) and she had a repaired cleft lip! Ok, by now, I know God is placing cleft lip/palate on my heart. I did not mention any of this to Termite or the kids yet. I just kept praying. On the following Sunday morning, before church, I was checking my email. Through our adoption agency, we have a "support group" consisting of other parents who were adopting, or have adopted already. We receive emails from everyone sharing ideas, etc. with each other. I receive several of these daily, and most of the time I don't have time to read them all. On this morning, one caught my eye, and I began to read it. Soon, this lady and I became awesome email buddies and she shared her story with me. She and her husband's paperwork was logged into China the same time ours was, but they felt led to go to the SN program sooner. God gave them a precious boy who they brought home from China in April '08. His SN was a repaired cleft lip and unrepaired cleft palate. I knew then, that our child would have cleft lip/palate. I thank God for this new friend and I cannot wait to meet her in person! Thanks, Sharon, for being willing to help me so much! After church that day, I asked Termite and the kids what their thoughts were on putting our names on the SN list. Of course, everyone was game. The next morning, I filled out the SN application and sent it to our agency. They contacted us to let us know that was fine. They also told us that we probably still wouldn't hear anything for 3 to 4 months. Well, remember, God is in control, because one week later, we received a call to review a file on a precious little boy with.......... you guessed it, repaired cleft lip and palate. It was so awesome! Termite actually received the call, and then called me at work. This was a blessing in itself, because so many times I thought he was just going along with this journey, because I wanted it so badly. When he called me at work to tell me about the call, I could hear the excitement in his voice. For those of you who know Termite, he may be excited, but men just don't show it like women. He has since made little comments about his new son, and now I'm convinced, his heart is in this journey, too! Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful husband and father you have given me! He is absolutely the best!

I love surprises! I did not want to know what either one of my kids were before they were born, so they both were a surprise. Well, God granted me this again. Most of the orphans in China are girls, so we have been thinking girl all of this time. We were all thrilled with the surprise of it being a boy! God knew what we needed!

Well, let me tell you all about our precious little Asian Sensation:
His Chinese name is Yang Ling Jun. Yang is his surname, they list that first. I'm not sure if Ling or Jun is his first name. We will rename him Toryn Ling Kendrick. He is two and a half. He is in an orphanage in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China. He is adorable! Unfortunately, we are not able to post his picture, until we receive our acceptance letter from China. We assure you, that when we can, WE WILL, so you can see how cute he is!!!!

We will hopefully be traveling to China to get him in Dec. or Jan. Our prayer is to travel on Christmas break, so Tessa and Treagan can go with us. I cannot imagine making this trip without them, but we will just have to see what God's plan is. Christmas may be a little soon, but a girl can dream, right? With God, anytime is possible.

I have to admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed. We still need to raise quite a bit of money to complete this journey. I have NO doubt God will provide, but I am human so I worry just a little. I'm thinking I'm going to have to change my opinion on fundraisers and swallow some pride and do some. Unless of course, several of you have a large amount of cash sitting around, burning a hole in your pocket! I'M JUST KIDDING! More than the finances to finish, we covet your prayers the most. In my next post, I will list some specific prayer request for our little one and this journey!

Thank you for taking the time to read about this journey God has led us on! And remember, with God ALL things are possible! So don't make excuses......He may call you next!!! Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I have for you, saith the Lord..."

Oh, and please, feel free to follow this blog often. I will keep you posted on anything new that arises, and also I will update each day while we are in China so you can follow along.

God bless!


Carla said...

Very beautiful story Traci! I can't wait to follow the rest of your journey as it unfolds. We truly serve an AWESOME GOD!!

Karen said...

You go guys!! I think it is great that you are taking the adventure I cant wait to read your next blog. Your family is my our Prayers.
Love Ya

Sharon said...

Can I just tell you I am reading this with the biggest smile on my face!!!! You are so right about how similiar our stories also took us a full year to finish ournpaperwork...those teenagers keep us busy don't they?
I feel like I have finally "met" you now!!! BEATIFUL family!
Your blog looks great and I LOVE the title!
So, yes, I will help you with whatever questions you have!!
SO glad your part of the blogging world friend! Going to add you to mine right now!!!!

lduke said...

You that I'm excited for you and I love your site to keep us posted.I have prayed for you and I will pray for you .God is all wise and knows just who He needs to care for these children.You and Termite have proven your parenting ability by the two that you already have.

Jenn said...

What a great story. We too remember seeing those "Billboard" signs from God when we looked into SN. We actually traveled with Sharon and her family in April. Sharon's son Hudson and our daughter Abby Grace were cribmates and both have CL/CP. Isn't it so amazing how God places people in our lives who have such similar stories. If you have any questions please ask. We're all here to help.

Shawna Dobbs said...

I am in tears at my computer at work. I can't tell you how happy I am for you all. Your son will be blessed with such a beautiful family, and you all will be blessed with another darling son. We truly feel like we are the "lucky" ones. It touched my heart that us being in China getting Serena was a sign to you. We will definately have to get the Jaci, Serena and Toryn together when you all get home. I can't wait to follow along on your journey. Your family is in my prayers. Call me if you need anything.