Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Kiss

Today at school, the TA in Sophi's class observed an interaction between Sophi and a boy named Eli.  Apparently Eli said, "Sophi, you are so beautiful!"  Sophi responded by smiling and then leaning over and kissing him on the cheek.  She then turned to her TA and exclaimed, "I want to sit in Eli's row!"  You go girl!


-Jeremy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Girls' weekend

These three friends have been my safe place for the last 15 years.  We have laughed and cried and talked and traveled and strengthened each other in ways that I couldn't have lived without.  We have survived numberless trials together and learned so much along the way.  Between the four of us, we are raising 24 amazing children and four sweet husbands!  These girls know pretty much everything about me and still love me perfectly.  In every up and down, they are there.

Oh how I love my dear best friends!!!






















Oh the comfort,the inexpressible
Comfort of feeling safe with friends
Having neither to weigh
Thoughts, nor measure words,
But to pour them all out
Just as they are
Chaff and grain together
Knowing that a faithful hand
Will take and sift them,
Keeping what is worth keeping
and then with a breath of kindness
Blow the rest away

He hears our prayers

 The family hoping to adopt Haden has received pre-approval from China-- which means that I can finally share that 

HADEN HAS A FAMILY!

The Miller's seem like a wonderful family who will bless Haden tremendously, as I know he will bless them.  They wanted me to convey how much they have appreciated the love and support felt here and at the fundraising page.  They have experienced a lot of hardship and negativity during the last few weeks as they have sought to become Haden's family and have therefore been even more grateful for the positive comments, prayers, and financial support.   (:  You can continue to help support them financially HERE.  Let's lighten their burden as much as we can.  As a community of people, we can do a lot if we each give a little.   I want to personally thank our friends and family and followers that have helped change Haden's life.  You should know that the fundraiser page was very instrumental in the Millers going forward with Haden's adoption.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who wants to see a picture of Haden's beautiful new family????  




Monday, December 1, 2014

Haden update and three more angels!

First off, my apologies!  I've had several people email me wanting to know the status of Haden.  I'm so sorry I'm just now sharing.  Life has been incredibly busy-- but even more than that, I've been waiting to find out more information before I posted and it's been a little tricky…

I told you that we had friends who wanted to adopt Haden but finances were standing in the way.  I also told you there was another family interested.  Both of these families are already in the process of adopting girls from China and both have been doing all they can to save and raise money for those adoptions.  Well, the first family I spoke of (the ones we are friends with) are not going forward with Haden's adoption.  They have spent a LOT of time in prayer and don't feel like they have the answer to move forward.  The other family went to their agency three weeks ago asking to adopt Haden.  This particular agency is very careful/wary about letting families adopt two at once.  Unfortunately, they are also very SLOW.  We keep thinking that this family is going to get their final answer and then the agency comes back with more questions and no answers.  Last week the family was given a final set of essay questions to fill out.  Those will be turned in today and they should have a final answer very soon.  Time is running out and they need to be proceeding NOW if they are to make it work, so please pray that this agency can answer in a more timely manner than they have been recently.  If this family is turned down, Haden does still have one last hope.  There is another family who recently returned from adopting in China who would also love to bring him home!  I have been in touch with them and they are just waiting to see if the other family gets a "yes."    There would have to be some pretty good size miracles happen in order for them to pull it off time-wise, but we know that our Father in Heaven is a God of miracles.  So we continue to pray that somehow, one of these families will be bringing Haden home.

Int he meantime, I have extended Haden's fundraiser until Christmas.  I did this at the request of the family who is trying to adopt him so that if they get the go-ahead, they can inform their friends and family and be able to direct them to the site.  I want to tell you how extremely grateful this family has been to know that there are funds to help them make this whole thing possible.  They have worked hard to raise money for their current adoption.  They have baked up a storm, sewn quilts, etc… all to help bring their daughter home.  Because of the generous donations so many people have made and the fact that the orphanage has waived their fee for Haden, finances will not stop them from being Haden's family.  What a beautiful thing!  And if their agency does turn them down, the money in Haden's fund will bless the other family who wants to try.  So once again, THANK YOU for your generosity.  And I promise to keep you posted as soon as I know anything more!!

It's December, which means we're going to go back to blogging more about our family (it's our way of keeping a journal) and less about adoption advocacy.  But since I missed so many days in November, I'm going to close this post with three more beautiful kiddos.  (:  As always, if you want more info, please let me know!  There are so many children who desperately want families!!!!!!!!!      

Meet Joseph:



Oh man, this kid has my heart!  He is perfect.   There are some photos where he looks so much like Xander it's just crazy!  Please, someone see him!


Meet Andy:


Andy has KT Syndrome-- which is what Xander was initially diagnosed with.  Their legs and feet look similar.  PEOPLE!  KT Syndrome does not make him less deserving of a family!  It's a need that will most likely NOT take a lot of extra time and he is worth it!!!!



Meet Yi:


Like Cali, Yi has spina bifida.  This is what her orphanage had to say about her:  

Yi is a very shy and bashful little girl. She is affectionate towards those she knows well, and Yi is very well behaved. She loves to watch people, cars, and animals in the neighborhood outside of the orphanage. Because of Xuan Yi’s spina bifida, her lower limbs are paralyzed. Yi can say simple sentences and words. She is a fast learning! Yi loves to play with others, and is extremely clever and well behaved. We hope this smart and beautiful little Yi finds her home!

Pulls It Off Well

Parker decided he was tired of the same old school pictures.  Awkward smiles.  Forgettable faces.  Etc.  He went with this:

Love that kid!

-Jer

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mr. Basketball

So this is not an adoption post.  But I just had to give a quick rundown of Taylor's first high school games today.  Taylor is a freshman.  After basketball tryouts, he was assigned to the JV team.  Yesterday at practice, coach told him he would also suit up and get some playing time on the varsity team.

Tonight was their first game.  Taylor played almost the entire first three quarters of the JV game.  He scored 10 points, pulled down a bunch of rebounds and played stellar defense.  They were up by a lot in the fourth quarter, so Taylor left the game and went into the locker room with the varsity team as they prepared for their game.

He played just a little over a quarter in the varsity game.  He scored 6 points, but what was really fantastic was that he had a team-high 10 rebounds.  His coach pointed out that leading the team in rebounds with such relatively little playing time showed great effort.  

Way to go, son!  I'm so happy for you!  You scored 5 times more points tonight than I did my entire freshman season:)

-Dad

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Luke 2

Ok, so we've gone this whole day without any additional donations for Haden and I just KNOW there is someone out there who is wanting to change that!  (:  Click HERE to make it so Nov 19 is another promising day for Haden.

I have had THREE very interested families contact me about sweet little Luke!  That is about the most exciting thing ever!!  I am hoping that if one of them goes ahead with his adoption (it sounds promising!) that they will let me post their family picture here with a link to follow their journey because I know you all just love him!   (:  Having families email me about these kids makes me even more determined to keep advocating!  I'm thinking that after November we will have to keep it a regular part of our blog somehow.  If just one child finds a family from us taking time to share then of course it is so important share share share!  

One of the biggest questions that prospective adoptive parents ask is, "How will adopting affect the kids I already have?"  It's an important question that has to be heavily considered.  Of course we are obligated to take into consideration those children already under our care.    I remember well how nervous I was for Jessica when we decided to adopt Graci.  Jessica was "the princess" of our family.  We worried about her needing to share her room, her things, and most importantly, our attention.  

Well, tonight I randomly came across this video we took during Conner's baptism.  I usually don't separate in my head our biological children vs our adopted children.  They are just all our kids.  But when I watched this, I was immediately struck by the beauty of our sweet, blonde haired, blue-eyed beauty surrounded by four raven haired, almond-eyed sisters who she loves with all of her heart.  I thought of how different Jessica's life would be without adoption.  For her, these amazing sisters have changed her life in the best possible ways.  Yes, there have been sacrifices.  Yes, there has been arguing and jealousy and all of the normal sibling stuff.  But her life has been enhanced exponentially by having these beautiful sisters in her life.  Today I am so grateful for what my incredible Chinese daughters have done for my darling biological daughter.

I LOVE ADOPTION.

If you choose not to watch the whole video, watch the very end.  You will hear sweet Elli chime in with her own "I will!"  The Spirit warmed our hearts as we listened to her express in her own way what we know her Spirit wants to communicate.  We love that sweet Elli of ours.




And now to advocate for another sweet orphan who needs a home.  Since we're having luck with Luke, let me introduce you to another "Luke."  And let me tell you, get ready to fall in love:




Click HERE to see his precious video (password is luke1).  There are several more videos available if you are interested!


Sweet Luke was born with club feet.  You guys!!!  There is surgery for this!  He can have his feet fixed in America and can have a totally normal, wonderful life!    When I watch his video my heart literally hurts to see him walking on those feet, but his smile is so contagious that I can't help but smile!  I just know that there is a wonderful family and a bright future for him.  Did you hear him call out, "Mama" at the end?!!  Oh my heart!!!  I plead with you to consider if he is calling out to YOU!

Luke was found at the age of three and it was said that he was very sad and had a hard time adjusting but that he eventually grew accustomed to orphanage life.  Ugh.  This is what a very recent (November) update had to say about him:


He has been pretty healthy and doesn’t get sick easily. He can’t walk yet. He is shorter than other kids and his speech is not quite clearly. His mental development is normal and he is very smart. He can’t stand without holding. He can walk by holding something. His fine motor skill is very good. He can write some letters and numbers. He can play toys and blocks well. He can have daily communication with people during daily life. He can sing some children songs and he can read some English words. He understands instruction and can follow them well. Sometimes he is kind of stubborn. So you need to keep him calm by comforting him first. He likes to play cars, blocks. He likes to watch cartoon and play games with other children. He is not potty trained yet so he still wears diaper. He sleeps well and shares a bed with another boy. He is a sweet boy and likes to chat with caregivers. He plays well with other children and wants to share all the time. He is outgoing and likes to laugh and talk.


Let's find "Luke 2" his family!

--Christianne

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sweet Alia

So remember that aching to get in bed that I talked about?  Yeah, that ended up being strep.  Which I only tell you to explain my absence on the blog for a few days.  It was pretty miserable…


HADEN HAS $5,000 TOWARD HIS ADOPTION!  I am doing a happy dance here!  We are halfway to our goal and still have five solid days left.  I think this can really happen!!!  If you've meant to donate but just haven't gotten around to it, now is a good time.  (:  Any amount will help!  And to give you a little added incentive, I am posting a link to Haden's sweet video.  Doesn't he just seem like a stellar young man?  Parker watched it and talked about how well he thought Haden would fit in at school in America.  The two interested families have not committed yet and I know that this fundraiser can boost those chances.  (:  Time is running out.  Let's get Haden a family!!!

Translation of Haden's video:

"Hi, my name is ZYL and I am in 6th grade.  I like sports very much.   I play basketball every day after school.  During weekend I like to ride my bike to places far from city.  Sometimes I ride for 1-2 hours.  I like to study too.  My favorite subject is math as I feel it is a very interesting subject.  I like to read and I read a big book recently about Chinese history.  I think it's an amazing book.  My dream is to become an astronaut so I can solve the mystery which we don't know yet.  I really want to have a family-- to have Dad and Mom.  I know they can give me their love and care.  And I can do so much with them too- we can go for walk after dinner, ride bike, play sport.  I will love to be around them all the time.  I pray I have a loving family soon."


To see Haden's video, click HERE.  Password is haden

To donate, click HERE.

Again, so grateful to ALL who have donated and shared!!!!!!!!


Now, on to another sweet girl that has captured my heart.  Oh my, isn't she precious?!!!

 

Here is what I know about Alia:

When our staff first visited the Yuxi orphanage in Yunnan province, one precious little girl stood out from all of the other children.  Perhaps it was the way she hung her head, as if in shame.  Quiet, and shy, there also appeared to be a deep sadness held within her spirit.  
Heartsent Adoption's orphanage partnership with Yuxi is brand new for the agency and for all of the children at this orphanage, as well.  Previously, the children in the Yuxi orphanage were in foster care homes and smaller centers in the area. Alia has recently turned 6 years old. She has glaucoma of her left eye, which has progressed to the point that it will surely need to be removed. She is embarrassed about the appearance of her eye, and in constant pain due to the increased pressure within her eye.
Alia is known to be gentle, and loves to sing and dance. Alia needs a family who will help her receive the medical care she so badly needs, and will help her blossom! With proper care and preventative measures, we hope her remaining eye will be healthy. Alia is a sweet and loving little girl, who wants a family of her own.  

It breaks my heart that she is embarrassed of her eye and even more that she is enduring constant pain.  I know that someone has talked about the possibility of raising money to provide surgery in China-- but others have suggested she wait to find a family here in America so that her health care could be the best possible!  Getting her matched with a family could change this girl's life in miraculous ways.

Is she calling out to you?  (:

--Christianne


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Haden update and precious Luke



I am sniffling and sneezing and aching and wanting my bed, but I figured that this post was more important than my beauty rest.  (:  First of all, I am blown away by the tremendous response we've had so far to Haden's fundraiser.  We have received close to $3,000 in donations in about 30 hours!  It is such a beautiful thing to watch.  I am so grateful for every single dollar that has been donated and for every person who has shared the fundraiser.  Thank you all so much!  Please continue to share and donate as you feel led!  (:
Just click HERE.
As I peruse the sweet children waiting to be adopted, my heart is definitely pricked by some more than others.  Sweet little Luke has recently done this to me!  Doesn't he remind you of someone?
Luke at his orphanage
Sophi at her orphanage



Practically twins at that age-- in fact, his birthday is just one day apart from hers! (She's three years older.)  I have to tell a cute little story about Luke.  Sophi calls her little "shoulders" her "nubbies."  This is because of Tisha Unarmed-- Sophi's favorite youtube sensation and personal friend (Tisha has skyped with Sophi and was ever so sweet with her.)  When Sophi saw this picture of Luke without his shirt on, she looked very confused and exclaimed, "Oh!  Is that what boy nubbies look like?"  Ha!  She then said, "I like my girl nubbies better."  I was glad for that last statement because I thought she might be jealous that he had the starts of arms-- a fact that I'm sure will be an asset to him.  (:


So tonight I'm going to leave you with little Luke's profile.  Surely there is someone out there that needs a "Sophi" in their life!  (Sophi calls any kid without arms a "Sophi.")  He even has a leg discrepancy like her.  What a little rock star!



Luke, born in September 2012, is now an absolutely adorable 2-year-old! Despite his physical limitations, he is creative and persistent. It is amazing what Luke has been able to accomplish; can you imagine what he could do with the support of his forever family?
On an early September day in 2012, police received a report that there was a male baby left on the back road to a local temple. After an unsuccessful search for his birth parents, Luke was taken to the orphanage. His initial physical notes say he was 1 day old and was missing his upper limbs and had a club foot. Even at such a young age, it was also noted that he was in good spirits.
Luke has spent his first 2 years in an orphanage.  Under their watchful care, he has developed well physically and intellectually. At three months, he could roll over, track objects with his eyes and make babbling sounds. At 5 months, he could control his head well, laugh loudly, and loved to look around. At 8 months old, he could crawl, knew his name, and could understand facial expressions. Luke is an active, restless little guy who loves to be cuddled and has a great little smile!
The official diagnosis for Luke is missing forearms, shortening of the left lower limb, left little toe deformity and spina bifida occulta. In a September 2014 update, his caregivers say Luke can sit without support, crawl, and stand with support. He loves colorful, sound-making toys. He uses his arm and foot to hold a bottle. He also uses his neck and shoulder to hold an object. Luke can use his feet to play with a toy and pinch his food. He can even use his forearm to wipe his own tears. But you know, he really should have a mama and baba to do that for him!


If you want to learn more about little Luke, leave a comment or send me a private message at christi405@yahoo.com.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Help Haden!

Ok, so this is the deal.  I've spent to last few days mulling over what to do.  I have received a few messages and comments from people who want to help Haden get a family.  I've been talking to our friends who would like to adopt Haden but are unable to because of finances.  With their permission, I have set up an online fundraiser.  Woo hoo!!!!  I know that we can do this with the Lord's help!  

Please consider donating to this very worthy cause.  I will be personally responsible for the funds and you can be sure that 100% of your donation will go directly toward the adoption fees.  ANY amount will be appreciated.   If you can't contribute, consider sharing.  If you can contribute, consider sharing.  (:  I know that the key here will be to share the fundraiser with as many people as possible.

Click HERE to go to the fundraiser site.

I love you all for your kind hearts!

--Christianne



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Someone PLEASE see this boy!

Tonight I wanted to share the profile of a very special young man named "Haden."  



Haden is 13 years old and will "age out" this January.  In China, there is a strict law that a child cannot be adopted once they turn 14.  In some places, the kids can still have hope for a future, in other places, aging out basically condemns them to a very hard life.  Watching kids age out is one of the hardest things for adoption advocates to do.  I am pointing out his age first thing because I want people to realize that if Haden is going to get a family, that family needs to come forward NOW.  As in, yesterday!  (:  It can be done, but it will take an extraordinary amount of effort to complete his adoption by January 17.  Haden wants to be adopted and his orphanage wants it for him.  They have offered to waive his "orphanage fee" and have asked that we let people know that there are not many older kids there and that Haden won't have many friends to be with if he ends up staying in the orphanage.  UGH.  Breaks my heart.  Here is the information I have on him:


Wonderful Haden is 13 years old and listed as having torticollis.  According to his orphanage, Haden’s orphanage adoption fee has been waived!
This sweet boy is described as a very bright and kind child who likes to play basketball, draw, and read comic books.
Haden is said to be very social and have many friends. When he grows up, he stated that wants to be a pilot and see the world.
 The children in the orphanage did a talent show and Haden did a fantastic hip hop dance in front   of everyone!  He seems to have a fun personality.  His teacher says that he is a great student.
There is a family who recently adopted a girl from Haden's orphanage.  Her name is Lily, and she wanted to advocate for Haden.  Her family set up a video conference on Skype where she "interviewed" him.  This is what Lily's mom says:
Lily thinks he is a nice boy. He has not been in the orphanage very long, maybe 2-3 years. He came after his biological father passed away. His mother had left their family soon after he was born. I first “seen” him while watching a video of Lily’s going away party that the orphanage had for her. I picked him out specifically and asked about him because he had such a pleasant demeanor. He just seems like a really good kid. Here is what Lily says about him: “He is really smart. Every test is 99% or 100%. He is run really fast. Every race he is #1. He is nice.” If you would like more specific information, you are welcome to ask her and she will help you out as much as she can. She would really like him to have a family. When I asked her if he would be good for someone’s family, she thought a moment and then said, “I think maybe our family!” I say that to tell you that’s how highly he comes recommended!
“When we agreed to help advocate for a couple boys from Lily’s former orphanage we decided to try taking a video of them from a FaceTime call. Of course we would have all preferred to do it in person, but FaceTime is free and tickets are NOT! So… you will have to try to look past the quality of the video and see the heart of this boy. Below is the video of “Haden”. 

Ok, so did you watch the video?  Is he not the sweetest young man?  Do you want to know what's just so agonizing?  There is a family (an amazing, absolutely wonderful, INCREDIBLE family) who is already in the process of adopting from China.  They would love to bring Haden home too, but their issue is MONEY.  Ahhhh.  The one thing I just despise about adoption!   It is devastating to me that there is a family that is so great and so willing and that there is all kinds of money floating around out there in this world, and yet because it's not floating in their direction, this young man may have to remain an orphan for the rest of his life.  Lily's new family has offered to pay $500 toward his adoption.  Wow!!!  His orphanage fee has been waived.  And this family will already be in country, so their in-country expenses won't increase a lot.  You know, if just 500 people gave $20, or 100 people gave $100 or 20 people gave $500, this young man might have a family.  It just KILLS me. So maybe I'm needing to do a fundraiser?  Thoughts????

--Christianne

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Anyone who said money can't buy happiness never paid an adoption fee.

What would we do without:

-Sophi's hugs?
-Elli's laughter?
-Lexi's singing?
-Conner's music?
-Graci's storytelling?
-Xander's exuberance?
-Cali's smile?

So much happiness!




-Jeremy

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How it all started...

Many people have asked how we came to adopt in the first place.  This is the story of  the very beginning of our very first adoption-- our beautiful Elizabeth Mei.  It tells the first of many sweet "signs" and tender mercies that let us know that we were indeed to go forward with her adoption.  Elli has been our hardest child by a mile, and so I'm especially grateful for all of the special experiences that helped us to know it was right to adopt her.  We love our "Little Ladybug!"



And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.       These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”  Isaiah 42:16

The pinwheels started spinning as soon as we pulled up alongside the grave.  I jumped out of the van and started unbuckling the kids.  Taylor and Parker ran toward the headstone, pausing for just a moment to blow a kiss before taking off to play their usual game of hide and seek.  I hoisted 2 ½ year old Jessica onto my hip and walked slowly toward the place where my babies laid.

My heart was heavy today, but not with the grief of their death.  I had a decision to make, and it was perhaps the hardest decision I had ever faced.  It involved a little girl who lived across the ocean in a two-room home covered in cracked blue paint.  A home without any sign of toys.  A home with an old metal crib, which she was tied to with little ribbons for most of the day so that she would be “safe.”  A home where she had spent the last year after being found alongside a road at the age of six months and then bounced from orphanage to orphanage.  A home where she was taken care of and even loved, but not the way I knew we could love her.



I had found her photo on a list of “waiting children” from China.  After two stillbirths spaced just over a year apart, we had learned that I had some medical conditions that were not conducive to another pregnancy.  Losing our precious Jacob and Emily had left us devastated.  I loved them fiercely and wanted with all of my heart and soul to have them back.  But as we tried to make sense of their short little lives and the purpose in their deaths we began to feel a tug at our hearts.  As we studied and prayed and fasted, we decided that this tug was coming from China.  We were to adopt, and we were elated!

As we began the adoption process, we made the easy decision to go the “healthy infant” route.  After all, we had three young children, and Jessica had some medical issues that kept us extra busy.  There was no way we could handle any kind of special need, medical or otherwise.  Still, just two days before—and just two weeks into the adoption process—I had found myself perusing the waiting children site and finding “her.”  This sweet little girl who was doing her best to wriggle her way into my heart.  There was just one small issue.  This girl was blind.

Blind.

The word seemed so huge and ominous and something I was completely incapable of dealing with.  Blind!  How in the world could we parent a blind child?  It seemed impossible.   It seemed downright crazy!  So what was it about her that didn’t let me just skim past her face?  I had called Jeremy when I saw her photo—mentioning as casually as I could that there was a sweet little blind girl on the website who I thought was pretty cute.  He barely even replied before moving on to another topic of conversation and I had thought “that was that.”  Until yesterday.  Yesterday, when he had called me, crying, telling me that he had just had an experience that led him to know that we were indeed supposed to adopt that little girl.  He was sure of it.

What?!!!  I had never felt so overwhelmed in all my life.  How could we do such a thing?   We were already barely keeping our heads above water with the three precious children we currently had.  Surely, there was someone out there more capable, more prepared, more worthy of such a task.  How could I be the kind of mother this sweet girl needed?  There was just no way it was meant to be, and yet Jeremy insisted that it was.   And so I had prayed.  I prayed like I had never prayed before.  I prayed for strength and wisdom and clear direction.  I felt peace every time I prayed, but that was not enough.  I wanted more!  I needed to know that this was the right decision for me, for my family, and for this sweet little orphan girl.

So here I was.  Sitting at the graveside of my two tiny angels.  It was a place I often came when I needed clarity.   I closed my eyes and I talked to them.

“Ok, Jake and Emmy, this is the deal.  I need help.  I know I’m not supposed to ask Heavenly Father for a sign—that I’m just supposed to have faith--so I’m asking you instead.  (:  See, there’s this little girl in China who is calling out to us and I don’t know what to do.  I am scared.  No, I am terrified.  You see, she’s blind—and to me that seems like about the scariest thing to deal with in the whole world.  I need help.  I feel peace each time I pray about her, but I want more.  I want to know in a way that I’ll never doubt—even in the darkest and hardest of times!  Please, help me!”

I opened my eyes.  The sun was shining brightly and the pinwheels above their headstone were spinning faster than before.  I looked around at the other pinwheels in the cemetery.  They were still.  I knew they were there to visit me, my two precious angels.  I felt their strength as I stood up to leave.  I loaded the kids up in the van and I turned the key in the ignition.  At that point, five-year-old Parker asked, “Mom—how far have we driven in this van?”  It was a strange question, and I asked him to clarify.  “How many miles have we driven in this van?”  I asked him why he was asking that—we had never talked about mileage--  and he replied, “I don’t know!  I just had this thought in my head that I needed to ask you.”

I looked down at the odometer and read to him, “127,301 miles.”  I looked over once again at Jacob and Emily’s grave as we pulled away.  The pinwheels were spinning again, this time like crazy, while all of the other pinwheels remained still.  And I had the distinct impression come to me that the number I had just read was important.  I tried to talk myself out of it the whole drive home, but the thought would not go away.  I turned the number over and over in my head.  “127, 301.  What could the significance be?  I must be crazy!” 

Then suddenly, a warmth started to spread in my heart as I recalled that 301 was the hymn number of one of my favorite songs, “I am A Child of God.”  I sung the words in my head,

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

The words to the chorus, “lead me, guide me, walk beside me” took on a new significance as I thought of this little blind girl.  My heart swelled with love for her. I felt warmth envelop my body, but I tried to push it away.

“This is silly,”  I thought.  “I’m making things up.  That number didn’t mean anything.  And 301 is only part of the number anyway—so I must be imagining things.”

Again, I felt a voice in my heart, “No, the numbers do mean something.  You need to figure it out.”  And so I told myself that I would go home and look up hymn 127 in our hymnbook.   If it seemed to have any ties whatsoever to adoption or blindness or this girl, I would believe this “prompting” or “sign” I was having.  If not, I would accept that I was certifiably crazy and hearing strange voices in my head!  I started to get excited.  What if the hymn held an answer for me?  What words of wisdom might it hold?  I could hardly wait to see, and the second I walked for the door I made a beeline for the hymnbook.  Hymn 127—“Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” 

What?  I had never even really liked that song and the lyrics had nothing to do with the answer I was seeking.   Ugh.  I shut the book in frustration and put it back on the piano.  This whole number thing was just silly after all.

And then the impression, “Read the second verse.” 

“I am going crazy!”  I thought to myself.  “My son asks me how far we’ve driven and I totally am trying to make something out of this random number and well, I’ve lost it!”

But I opened the book anway.  Verse two.  My heart started burning before I even began to read the words to the second verse.  I knew my answer was going to be there.  As I began to read, I felt as if this precious little girl from half way around the world was singing it to me:

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.


And I knew.  This little girl, blind and defenseless and without a family was MY little girl.  My very kind and loving and compassionate Father in Heaven was entrusting her to me at that very moment.  I couldn’t leave her alone.  I wouldn’t leave her alone. 


Meeting Elli for the first time

--Christianne



Post Script:  As I was writing this, I looked up the lyrics to "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" just to make sure I had them right.  In our hymnbook, only two verses are listed and that is all I have known.  As it turns out, there are three more verses-- two of which are as follows:

  1. Wilt Thou not regard my call?
    Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
    Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—
    Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
    Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
    While I of Thy strength receive,
    Hoping against hope I stand,
    Dying, and behold, I live.
  2. Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
    More than all in Thee I find;
    Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
    Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
    Just and holy is Thy Name,
    Source of all true righteousness;
    Thou art evermore the same,
    Thou art full of truth and grace.




    In honor of Elli, today I want to feature another child who is blind and needs a family to call his own.  Meet the cutest little three year old boy in the world:


    At nine months of age this child was brought to the orphanage and was blessed with a wonderful nanny who is responsible for the amazing little boy that he is today. He does not exhibit any of the typical body rocking/hand flapping traits that are often seen in blind children who are institutionalized. 
    He recently started attending classes, and when I “quietly” walk into his classroom, he always speaks English and says, “Good morning.” 
    Because of his age, he is no longer under the care of his nanny. That means he is lacking the hugs and kisses and physical contact that made him the special boy who he is today. 
    Next month, this little guy will turn four-years old and will have yet another birthday that goes unnoticed and not celebrated.

    Please watch this short video and see what a blessing he could be to your family.