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? :):):):)