Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gift for Graci

So you probably read in Christi's last post about Heavenly Father's gift for Graci. Graci knows about it now, so Christi said I can let you all in on the secret...:)

A couple of months ago, Graci heard a speaker in church talk about the importance of daily scripture study. On her own, Graci decided to do something about it in her own life. She made a promise to Heavenly Father that she would read every day, no matter what. She promised to read at least 5 minutes, and she has been true to that promise. Some nights she has forgotten until she climbed into bed, but even then she has said, "Oops! I need to read!" Then she will stay up an extra 5 minutes to read the word of the Lord. Christi and I knew about her promise, but what we didn't know until last week was that she had made a "deal" with Heavenly Father. She had promised to read 5 minutes in the scriptures every day if He would do something for her. A very specific thing. Something our whole family wanted, but that we could do nothing about (besides pray ourselves).

This special something could have happened anytime over the last 2-3 months or during the coming month, but it didn't. It happened yesterday: August 4, 2010. It happened on Graci's birthday. I have no doubt that He carefully orchestrated the timing to let one of His cherished daughters know just how much He loved her. So what was this big, crazy, wonderful, magical something? A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, so here you go:

Several months ago Christi found little Dang Qing Yin's profile on CCAI's waiting children list. With those haunting, beautiful, plaintive eyes, she absolutely cried out to us. At first we just looked at her and hoped she would someday find her forever family. We prayed that the right family would find her profile and fall in love with her as we had. We could just see the joy she would bring to a family somewhere. We were already enamored with our little Lexi:

We are so excited to bring Lexi home. We love her so much and can't wait until the fall when we can go and get her. But with Lexi already on the way, there was no possibility of bringing Dang Qing Yin into our family. Certainly not right now. Until the day it hit us: Why Not??? Here is a beautiful daughter of our Father in Heaven. A beautiful daughter, born without arms, and therefore somewhat harder to be placed in an adoptive home. A beautiful daughter with a spirit so strong and good that she could make an impact on us through a picture and half way around the world! A little angel waiting to bless someone's home in unimaginable ways. And then we knew.

First we decided we needed to talk to our children. This is a big decision. One that will certainly impact each of them. They had seen Qing Yin's picture. They had asked us if we were thinking about adopting her. At that time we had not been, so we honestly answered that we were not going to adopt her, but had fallen in love with her anyway. The kids were similarly smitten with her, but given our comments, they did not even consider having her as a little sister. Once Christi and I found out it was right for us to adopt her, we talked to each of the children. All of the kids were won over quite quickly. Although they (and we) had concerns (eg. our bedrooms aren't quite as big as you'd like them to be for 3 kids, we'll need a bigger kitchen table, etc.), each one of our kids was excited to adopt this precious little child. Xander, of course, did his hyper little crazy thing and was excited that there will be even MORE family for our family! Taylor was mature enough to say, "If Heavenly Father says it's right, then let's do it!" Parker and Jesi both think she's the cutest little thing they've ever seen. Elli can be convinced to answer "yes please" if you phrase your questions right, so we think she's on board. But Graci. Graci. Graci was the most excited of all. She loves babies. And although Qing Yin is almost 2, she will be close enough to babyhood that Graci will have her appetite for mothering fulfilled.

We contacted CCAI. They told us it was possible, but not for sure, that China would let us bring both girls home in the fall. They promised to do all they could to make it happen. Not once did they hint at being skeptical of our decision. They were so happy for us and for Dang Qing Yin. What a blessing it has been for us to have CCAI at our sides through most of our adoptions! We all prayed and prayed that Heaven would pour out blessings on us. That China would give us permission and that we would be able to bring this little angel home. We waited and waited for "the phone call." Graci was the most consistent with her prayers. She really wanted little Qing Yin in our family. And eventually, she made the "deal" with Heavenly Father. And He, in His infinite wisdom, has kept up His end of the bargain in grand fashion.

I am grateful today for so many reasons. I am unbelievably grateful for my sweet wife, who is the key to all of this. She gives so much of herself to our family. She sacrifices so much. Without her, I would be lost. I would not be half the man I am today. She did indeed take a "wicked young man and reform him." Thank you, sweetheart! I am grateful for all of my current children. Without my amazing Taylor and Parker, we would not have been able to grow our family as we have. Jesi brings incredible joy to me and to everyone she meets. Xander is as adorable as he can be. I learn more and more from Elli as time goes by. There is a great little person locked up in there. I look forward immensely to the day I get to know her. To REALLY know and understand my sweet Elli Mei. I am grateful for little Lexi. Her sweet videos are adorable. She will also bring great blessings to our family. But today I am especially grateful for Heavenly Father's answers to the prayers of two special girls. Graci's prayers for a little sister and Qing Yin's prayers (albeit unuttered) for a forever family. It is a great privilege to have stewardship over these sweet children for a short time. Life is good. WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!! This little girl has captured and will continue to keep a very special place in our hearts.


P.S. We have the cutest video of Qing Yin eating crackers with her toes and playing with toys the same way. Adorable! We will post the video soon.

P.P.S. We haven't decided for sure on an American name for Qing Yin yet. We are down to two choices. I'll share them with you on one condition: you promise not to offer any comments about which name you like best. Promise? OK. It's either Sophia and we call her Sophi, or Olivia and we call her Livi. Aren't they cute? (You can only comment on that question with an answer to the affirmative:)

P.P.P.S. Did I tell you we are SO SO SO SO EXCITED? :):):):)


  1. Oh guys - it didn't take you any time at all to get that posted....I'm thinking that ya'll are a little excited? :) We did a little snoopy dance at the news - and couldn't be happier for you guys! Or excited - or maybe even a little green with envy!

    On the practical side - it may go without saying but that means it should be said - as always, anything you might need, all you have to do is ask!

    Graci - Happy Birthday Sweetheart! You may have only faint memories of us - but you will always be written on our hearts!

    Jess - Happy Birthday to you as well! We haven't had the pleasure of meeting you - yet - but Marie and I were talking about that again last night. There will come a time when we will venture to your part of this wonderful country and we'll be able to get and give those hugs we're hungry for!

    The rest of you guys - those that we have met and those that we will - ya'll are awesome - I mean - just wow - to open your hearts, home and family is just so cool!

    Jer and Christi - Thanks for sharing your family with us in such a wonderful way - ya'll are one of those things I'm thankful for everyday!

    Snoopy dance - and love and hugs around -

    aus and co.

  2. I am so so so happy for you guys!!! The Lord has truely blessed you!!!

  3. Jeremy and Christie,
    You two are the most AMAZING and unselfish people I have ever had the privelage of ever knowing. What a most precious and beautiful daughter of God. I have to say that Sophie is about the cutest name ever!
    Jess, Happy B-day! I always remember when your is because you were born just days after Gabe. I hope you have a WONDERFUL b-day. Graci, happy d-day! We never have had the privelage of meeting, but someday I hope to. I am very impressed with your decision to read the scriptures everyday. Heavenly Father will bless your life in ways that are unimaginable. What a sweet and thoughtful girl you are.
    Jeremy and Christi, one day amongst all your world travels, you need to plan a trip to TN, to let the rest of us meet your wonderful family. WE love you guys and are SO happy and excited for your family.

  4. That is some very exciting news! I love both names, but especially Sophi. She is adorable! Thank you for sharing your life and testimony with the world!

  5. Congratulations on the most incredible news. What a precious gift for sweet Graci and to think you get to travel once! It's like twins almost!!!
    Love to you all and thanks for being such wonderful examples of faith and obedience to the rest of us.

  6. Wow! Congratulations! We're currently paperchasing for a little boy in Yunnan province! We hadn't done a lick of paperwork, weren't even planning on adopting again right now, but we saw his picture in an agency newsletter, and that all changed!

    CCAA gave us a deadline of 90 days to get all of our paperwork done and to China. I got up from the desk yesterday to clean the kitchen and my kids all yelled, "WE'LL clean! YOU do paperwork! Don't stop!"

    We have a lot of excitement going on in our house too!

    Congratulations! Both names are lovely. My kids (ages 16 down to 4) have chosen the name Owen for their new brother. I objected at first, but I have to say, it's growing on me! Maybe he'll be Owen after all!

  7. Hooray! I knew everything would work out perfectly, but the fact that is was Graci's birthday present is truly of those tender mercies that are showered on us. I am so happy for our family and these two incredible daughters of Heavenly Father.

  8. Congrats! What a beautiful story!
    Jeremy-I wanted to talk to you more about it yesterday but my mind was clouded with things with Lincoln....
    Anyway, we couldn't be more happy for you! I think it's a great idea to get two at a time! The adjustment time for your other kids will be shortened--and travel time as well! And yes you're gong to need a bigger kitchen table! :-)

  9. Wonderful news and I love both names. She is just beautiful!

  10. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! What a great day for a new Grandmother. I always dreamed of ending my own family with twin girls. Though we were blessed with six amazing children, my "twin girls" never arrived. But now, all these years later, I am delighting in anticipation of my "twin" granddaughters. Thank you Jeremy and Christianne for making my dream come true . . . and for being angels on earth. You guys are the best! And Gracie, I am weeping over your beautiful example of faith and goodness. I am humbled to be your grandma.

    I love you! Grandma Rose

  11. As a father of two, with one on the way this portion was especially touching - "It is a great privilege to have stewardship over these sweet children for a short time. Life is good."

    Thank you for that.

    Congratulations for the privilege to bring home 2 at once, both beauties.

  12. How wonderful! I saw her awhile back as well, and thought she was the sweetest! We used CCAI too, and I so wish we could return to China to adopt again!

  13. Thank you for sharing such wonderful news. Congratulations to you and your family-- especially Graci! I vote for Olivia, only because it was going to be the name for our child if she was a girl-- but we are having a boy! Our short form was going to be Liv or Livi.
    All the best to you!

  14. Wow, congrats, we're waiting for TA ourselves. Good luck to you!

  15. I have been secretly following your blog since you brought Graci that's a pretty long time already without any comment from me! Just want to say today that my heart is touched with gratitude that God put it on your heart to open you arms once again to a beautiful child who needs a forever home, and I'll be watching as you bring home both these wonderful children. (I'm grammy to two SN children from China)

  16. Congratulations!!!! Your family is so special and now it will be even more special. How wonderful (o: I'm pretty sure that before you die, the two of you will be sainted!

  17. Congratulations!!! You guys are so blessed! She is the cutest little girl.
    What a sweet girl Graci is...tell her we said Happy Birthday!
    I couldn't stop thinking about you a couple of weeks ago so I text you just to say hi and I love you...I am not sure I still have your correct cell number. I have got to call you, this is so exciting!
    Love to you guys!
    Miss you!

  18. Just catching up with you guys and I'm SO excited to see that China has once again said "YES" to the Greene family! I can't wait to see each of your precious girls HOME with their family!

  19. Both names are lovely as are both waiting daughters. Congrats! Wow! :) You have indeed been entrusted with several treasures!