The Family

The Family

Friday, December 31, 2010

Counting Our Blessings-- The Year 2010 in Review

Well folks, today is the last day of 2010.  Yet another year has come and gone so quickly, but I would be lying if I said I was completely sad to see it go!  It has been a year of blessings for our family for sure, unfortunately many of those blessings were received into our lives because of some great struggle we were enduring at the time!  Still, our family is grateful for all we have experienced this year because it was through these struggles that God's love for us shone the brightest.  He has helped us power through, and through His mercy and everlasting grace we have made it to the end of another year, and honestly come out of it better and stronger and more faithful than before.  You know how preachers always tell you that when you ask for something, God's answer might be yes, it might be no or it might be later?  And how they tell you that He might very well fulfill your wishes in ways you have not planned for?  Well we certainly got to experience all of that first hand this year, and boy was it a doozie!

Well, where to start?  Most of our friends and family members know that Tim lost his job this past year.  It was a struggle to say the least, but we are so thankful for the love support of family and friends through that time.  Something like a job loss really helps in teaching you humility.  God's lesson #1.  When you have to pull out a Medicaid card at the doctor's office for your child's appointment because you don't have regular insurance anymore, it will knock you down a few notches to say the least.  But you know what, that's ok.  It reminded me to be even more grateful for the privileges I have when things are going well-- like insurance-- something many do not have or can't afford and something we all take for granted.

And I think I have posted on here about how Tim's unemployment came to an end right?  It was when we decided to take a leap of faith and try to commit to adopting a new son from China-- our soon-to-be son Gideon.  Tim was thinking right about that time that he might just have to be self-employed for awhile, but 4 days after we called the agency and told them we would like to try and move forward with an adoption, Tim received a call offering him the job he had really wanted, but had applied for FOUR months prior.  Coincidence?  I personally don't think so.  After seeing clearly how the hand of God has continued to work in this adoption since that time, I think that was just the first of many divine interventions with God showing us clearly that He was in control and that He was laying out the path before us.

Jump back to the summertime-- we were on our way to visit my husband's parents at the beach for our annual Jersey Shore vacation.  NC to NJ is a llllloooooooonnnnnngggggg trip.... about 12 hours with stops.  Well, our Suburban picks THIS time to decide to quit.  Not just run poorly.  Not blow a tire.  Not just run out of gas, no.  It out and out quit.  Something was wrong with the electrical system and the car just shut down.  But you know what the miracle was??  We didn't break down on the highway, we didn't break down halfway there.  We broke down on a small road in Jersey only about an hour from the beach house, and right across the street from a pizza parlor!  The Chevy dealer, as it turned out, was only about 10 minutes away and thanks to Tim's mom's annual gift of AAA we were able to get our car towed there for free.  To top all this off, the guy who owned the pizza place was a Christian who let us stay at his restaurant way past closing time-- like until midnight!!-- until Tim's brother and father could get there to get us.  He said he just couldn't go to church the next day (it was Saturday night when this happened) and have a clear conscience if he left us alone out in the parking lot.  Again, praise God for His grace and mercy!

Then of course, we have my husband's little softball mishap.  Poor Tim ended up breaking his leg while playing softball this past September with our church's team.  He slid into home plate but unfortunately his foot did not slide with him the way it should have do to muddy conditions on the field.  He ended up breaking his tibia and fibula and having to have surgery where they placed a metal rod the length of the bones into his lower leg.  That turned out to be a blessing too though in comparison to him having to have worn a full leg cast for the next three months.  He ended up recovering much more quickly I think than he would have with the cast and is now back to walking 3 miles a day at a good speed and contemplating another marathon in about a year.

God blessed us in this situation, and abundantly so again.  He gave us friends who brought us meals, and showed us the love of Christian brethren through people we did not even know-- some from other churches softball teams-- sending him cards with well wishes, and some even with money because they found out that his new insurance from his new job had not kicked in yet.  People we had never met sent him hundreds of dollars to help out with his medical bills!  And thankfully most of those bills ended up being covered in the end.  God was watching out for us.  In the middle of this crisis, He had it all covered for our sake.

Of course, we have also been in the midst of two adoptions this year, the finalization of Kierstyn's and the start of Gideon's.  Neither one of these have been easy peasy.  Kierstyn was adopted through the foster care system, and anyone who has dealt with that knows the ups and downs of how all that works.  There were troubles to take care of with her biological family, court appointments to attend and appeals to be heard.  But in the end, it all worked out as we had hoped and we were allowed to finalize her adoption.  We feel so blessed to be her family!

Gideon's adoption from China was something that I think most people thought we could never accomplish... we had so many strikes against us!  First Tim's unemployment, then the lack of time because Gideon is aging out in January when he turns 14, then the general lack of money to start, let alone complete, an adoption.  But God has proved them wrong.  He put this overwhelming desire to help this specific child in my heart and would not let it go.  Others tried to keep us from moving forward, but we would not give in.  We weren't just going to roll over and die because some person said it couldn't be done.  I knew deep in my heart that God wanted us to do this.  And it is only through Him that it has been made possible.  After our first social worker did not work out, we went and found a social worker who has been an absolute angel and got our homestudy done in a matter of weeks! In addition, our agency has also been excellent working their fingers to the bone to power through and get the paperwork done, our USCIS officer Nina has been an INCREDIBLE blessing helping us move forward faster than we though possible and encouraging us every step of the way, two different grant agencies awarded us grants to help us fund the adoption, countless people-- both friends and those unknown-- have donated to our adoption to enable us to continue to move forward, some friends from our church bought our plane tickets for us outright as their part in helping bring our son home, I could go on and on and on and on! 

And yesterday, we received our Letter Seeking Confirmation from China!!!!  China has approved us, and so we take another baby step forward!!  I cannot believe it is just TWO WEEKS until we travel to get the newest member of our family.  I know I sound like a broken record, but we really are so blessed.

God has shown His face to us in each of these trials.  And you might be thinking.... whew, what a year it has been for them!  Well you know what, that isn't even all.

The day after Christmas, at 1:30 am, there was a fire in our home.  Luckily I woke..... silly me, it wasn't luck!  Again, God was watching out for our family and I woke to the faint smell of smoke.  I was almost tempted to ignore it and go back to sleep.  I was so comfy and so tired from the past couple days of festivities.  But this smoke smelled different.  And we had burned a fire in the fireplace the night before, so what if an ember had shot out and lit the carpet on fire??  So I got out of bed, walked to the living room and looked around.  Nothing.  Then I walked to the office where the fireplace is.  Still I saw nothing in the dark, but the smell was stronger.  I saw my 7 year old still lying on the daybed next to the fireplace where he had fallen asleep the night before while we had all hung out in there reading and playing with Christmas toys.  I thought, I better turn on the light just to be sure, and boy am I glad that I did.  What I saw was thick dark smoke billowing out from the chimney and heading straight up to the ceiling.  There is a peaked ceiling in that room and the smoke was filling the top third of the room.  I rushed back to our bedroom and told my husband he better come take a look.  By the time we got back the smoke was down about another 3 feet.  I scooped up our son and moved him to the living room while Tim tried shooting the fire extinguisher up the chimney.  We thought the chimney had caught on fire inside.  The extinguisher did nothing so I called up to our eldest son and told him to gather the girls together and get shoes and coats on, (it was about 16 degrees out) and I called 911.  Everything that happened from the time I got out of bed until then took only about 3 minutes and by that time the entire room was filled with smoke.  Praise God that I woke when I did and that our youngest son did not inhale any of the smoke.  Who knows what might have happened to him if I had been even a few minutes later!  I shudder to think about it.

The kids were awesome, including my friend's little girl who had slept over the previous night.  They followed our practiced drill perfectly and got themselves, and all our animals, out of the home and to the top of the driveway.  I grabbed a jacket and our firesafe box as well as my adoption file folder and jetted out of there.  I for sure was not going to leave our passports and all our adoption info in the house!

Neighbors up the drive from us took us in out of the cold.  The poor kids were freezing out there, and even though we were allowed to sit in a police officer's car, it would have been hard to keep them and the dogs in there for the next 4 hours until all the fire crew left.  And even then we could not have gone back in because all the power to the house was cut and it smelled horribly!  Those people were so kind to us, bringing Tim coffee outside while he watched the firefighters and waited.  They made cocoa for the kids and set up sleeping bags for them in their bonus room.  They stayed up all night with us and then had to go into work in the morning!!  And again, these were people we had only ever waved to before, not friends.  They were just doing what God would have them to do as they said, and loving their neighbor.  We are so thankful to them!!

Luckily, to make a long story short, the firefighters found that it was an electrical fire under the crawlspace that had caused all the smoke.  They were able to put it out without much damage to our home, with the exception of that office.  Our fireplace had to be torn apart and the floor and carpet will have to be replaced, but that is so minimal in comparison to what could have happened, and most importantly our family all survived.

So what is the blessing from this latest catastrophe you ask?  Well, because of smoke damage our entire house is getting a good cleaning.  Everything, and I mean everything, in the house is being washed, scrubbed, mopped or vacuumed.  All the clothes, shoes, blankets, purses, etc were brought out for specially cleaning.  All the furniture, rugs and drapes are being cleaned.  My house will be cleaner now than the day we moved in and if that is not a blessing then I don't know what is!!  Gideon will come home to a supremely clean and fresh home in a few weeks.  Boy I hope he doesn't get any funny ideas and think it is that way ALL the time!  :)

We have to be out of our home for about the next week or so while they do all this, which is a blessing in disguise as well.  We are getting a little mini-vacation at a local hotel.  We are all enjoying a scrumptious breakfast buffet every morning and the kids are loving the pool (and not having to make their own beds).  I am enjoying a break from cooking and cleaning as well and using this time to rest up before our long trip to China.  And luckily for us, all this is covered under our insurance.  We have also had some loving friends sign up to cook us meals or take us out for dinner.

So what is the over all lesson from this terribly long rant about our family's last year of life??  God's blessings oftentimes come disguised in the craziest of ways-- turmoil, trials, tribulations, accidents..... they all offer a way for Him to show us that He indeed will provide.  That He is the master of all things, not us.  That He will take care of us and carry us through the darkest of storms.  That He will use his people to bring His blessings to us.  That He is an Awesome God!

So here is to a more uneventful 2011, but yet another year filled with God's love!!

"Be still and know that I am God" 
Psalm 46 vs 10

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Update and Birthday Wishes

Wow-- so much going on and so much to be thankful for!  I just wanted to put up a quick post today to give everyone some updates on our family and our pending adoption.

First off I want to make sure I send out some birthday wishes to my wonderful hubby Tim......

Where would I be without him?  He has been my love and my support for the past 19 years and my husband for the last 15.  He is such a sweet and giving man, someone who steps in to help without even being asked.  He is a devoted family man-- a caring husband and father who tries his hardest to please his wife and dotes on his children.  Every single one of them have a special place in his heart, and I am sure that will be true for the children to follow.  Happy Birthday Tim!  Thank you for being the loving, hard working man that you are and for your place by my side as we go through this next adoption together adding to the blessing which is our family.  We all love you!!

And now for an update on our adoption of Gideon.  We have our plane tickets!!!!!!
We are so excited that they are finally booked!!  A HUGE thank you to our friends David and Christine Gilley who helped make this big step possible by their awesome and generous donation of their airline miles as well as extra money to cover Gideon's trip home.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  We are so blessed to have such amazing and loving friends who are willing to help us with this adoption and its funding.  God has been and continues to be SO GOOD to us!

Evan and I will be traveling to get our new son and his new brother on January 13th.  Please pray that we have a safe flight and that everything goes well while we are in China.  Tim will be staying at home to be with the children and also so that he can continue to work since he just began his new job a few months ago.

And last but not least, for another update in our family.......
We would like to warn the people of NC to be extra careful on the roads from now on now that our son Evan is officially out on the road!!  Our oldest son Evan completed his Driver's Ed course today and will now have his permit to learn to drive!  Watch out everyone!!  Haha!

We are excited of course and proud of him.  This is just one more step in his life on his road to becoming an adult.  He is growing into such a wonderful young man who loves his family and strives to please the Lord.  We couldn't be more thankful and we pray that he is safe now and always while out on the road.  A momma has to worry you know!

We have so many blessings to reflect on during this Christmas season-- good health, a home, beautiful children, a loving family, a wonderful church family, the list goes on and on.  We hope that each of you take time during these last days of hustle and bustle before the big day arrives to take a quiet moment alone with your Creator and thank Him for all He has blessed you with as well.  Life is so precious and it can be over in the blink of an eye.  Let us be grateful all of our days here on this earth and always be looking for ways to help others and do good.

In the words of Tiny Tim from Dickens' A Christmas Carol.......

"Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one!!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lean Not on Your Own Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct your path.
Proverbs 3: 5-6

I think we as human beings find it so terribly hard to give up our control.  We want so badly to be the ones in charge of our own lives, forging our own paths, heading down our own road, deciding on our own direction.  Usually not until much later in life do we realize how little control that we actually have.  Plan as you might, you never truly know what tomorrow may bring, you never know what twists and turns your life-path might take until that day when you are confronted with a specific situation or decision.  The question is.... when that day comes will you follow God?  Will you trust Him and not only yourself and your earthly brain?  Will you give it all over to He who knows what is best for you?

So many times when we do make the decisions God calls us to make, people deem them as unwise.  They tell us we have poor judgement.  People are even called crazy.  Why?  Because our decisions are not made with earthly logic?  Because they are not made with earthly gain in mind?  Because they are not the "norm"?  Yep. 

When a family steps out and says they are going to travel halfway across the world, leaving most of their possessions behind, to be missionaries in a foreign land-- some say "oh I could never do that!" 

When others decide they want to step out and adopt that special needs child people think "Well how will that impact their other children??" 

When a family feels lead to adopt their 10th child people say "My goodness, don't they have enough?"

Our earthly mindset is what drives each of us to respond in this way, our "logic" is kicking in.  But do you think this is how God would respond? My opinion is that He wants us to follow His guidelines, not the world's.  His guidelines as stated in the Bible, tell us to be selfless.  They tell us not to look for earthly gain.  They tell us to put others first in all things and to be humble.  They tell us to care for the little children of the world, the orphans and the widows especially.  They tell us to go out to all the world and spread His Word.

"Whatever you do for the least of these you do for Me"

Perhaps when the time comes to make a decision this is why we feel a little flustered or debate on which way to go or what we should do. We wonder, do we want to be considered outside the "norm"?  Do we want to go against the grain as to what society tells us is right and OK?  Or do we have more concern with fitting in, caring more about what others think than about what God thinks?

 That is when we need Proverbs 3 vs 5-6 the most.  We only need to look to God's word to know that He has a plan for every one of us, it is simply our choice as to whether we follow what He would have us to do.  If we trust in Him, if we pray and listen to Him, He will guide us.  He will help direct our lives in the way they should go.

In addition, the part about leaning not on our own understanding is what really makes me think, especially at this time of the year.  It is Christmastime and the stores are bustling with shoppers and families like ours are having fun continuing our annual traditions like going out to see the beautiful light-filled villages, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories before bed.  Yet all around us and all over the world, there are grown-ups and children alike who are suffering.  Some have never heard of the joys of Christmas, let alone been able to celebrate its fun.  Why?

This is something I find so hard to understand, but as the verse above says, we are not to lean on our own understanding.  There are many things in life that are not for us to figure out.... the whole "why do bad things happen to good people" saying fits right in here.  Proverbs does say though that He will direct our path, and to trust in Him with all our heart.  That is what we CAN do even when we don't understand the why of it all. 

My heart and the hearts of my husband and children have been opened to the plight of the poor and defenseless children around the world.  We may not be able to understand why they are in the situations they are in, but God has directed the paths of our lives in the direction of going to help them. 

So if you and your family are like ours, and during this holiday season you think about and pray for the many people out there, especially the children, who find themselves without a warm loving home, without food, without family to surround them........ ask yourself what path God has in mind for you.  Is it the path of adoption?  Is it stepping out to help through a monetary donation?  Is it going out and spreading the Word?  Is it simply praying for or advocating for those who need a home and a family? 

Whatever it is, don't be afraid to follow the path you feel lead to travel.  And please remember to encourage those who are trying to follow God's will in their lives too.  Build them up don't tear them down.  Offer encouragement and prayers so that the path they are following might be a smooth one. Don't allow your own understanding or lack thereof be a deterrent to the good work others are trying to do.  Support them, love them, encourage them and pray for them.  You might not understand why they are following the paths in life that they are, but they do, and that is what is truly important. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fingerprints.... and a NEW NAME!!

God continues to move mountains for us in this journey!  Oh how grateful we are!

On Friday we got the wonderful news from our USCIS officer that our actual I800A documents had been received!  They were sent in before Thanksgiving, and usually end up sitting in a lockbox for awhile before they are received and processed.  We had seen that our check had been cashed, and on Thursday received the receipt in the mail so we knew they had them, but they had not been logged in yet.  Finally, on Friday morning, they were there!  Our USCIS officer continues to be so gracious and helpful towards us.  She knows that we are in a race against time and is truly sympathetic towards the plight of this child who needs to be rescued before it is too late.

So, on Friday, after she saw the I800A was finally there, she faxed us our fingerprint letter and off we went, with only moments to spare before their office closed for the day at 4pm!  Tim had an appointment downtown at 3pm and we knew we were cutting it close, but we made it!  Fingerprints are DONE!

There is still more paperwork... an I800 to process, other papers to get verified and authenticated, but things are moving.  Our agency is speeding ahead for us and we are so grateful for their help.  According to them we should be planning to travel on January 15th, and we will get our son on the 16th.  I am beside myself excited as well as very nervous.  Are we really doing this??  We are!

Please pray that things continue to go well and that we don't hit any proverbial bumps in this already treacherous road.  We still have lots of fundraising to do to get all our travel expenses together.  Please pray that the funds for that come together in time.

Also pray that we can get one of the two consulate appointments we are requesting for the end of January so that we can return home the 29th.  If we are not granted one of these appointments we will have to stay in China for an extra week because of Chinese New Year being on February 2nd.  If that is the case, we would not return home until Feb 10th.  This would be a long time for me to be away from my children, as well as adding more expense to the trip.

But God is mighty and He has shown us in so many ways and through so many people that He is here with us, helping us every step in the way.  I have no doubt that He will provide for the remainder of our needs.  What a great story this will be for us to tell of His provision and His glory when all is said and done.  It already IS a great testament to what God can do if His people just have a little faith.  We could have accomplished NONE of this so far without His help and His guidance and the love and generosity of His people. 

Lastly, but definitely not least, I wanted to share with you that our son also has a new name!!  One of the other forms that had to be filled out and sent in was the visa form for our son.  On it they ask for his given name and the new name by which he will be called if it is different.  We have been talking for awhile now about what this name should be and have finally come to a decision.  Zou Lie will be officially named.....

Gideon Sage Lie Rowe

Gideon is from the Bible and means warrior, and Sage means wise, so he will be our "Wise Warrior".  I really felt strongly that he should have a Biblical name considering the path to this child is completely one that God has designed for us.  It is only because of Him that this boy will be part of our family.  "To God be the glory, great things He hath done."

Please continue to pray for our family and for our son Gideon as we work very hard this next month to finally bring him home!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kierstyn is now OFFICIALLY a Rowe!

This precious little girl is now officially:
 Bridget Kierstyn Faith Rowe! 

It has been a LONG two years to get here, but the adpotion decree has finally come through.  She has been the child of our hearts for all this time, but we can now say that she is our daughter! 
Thank you God for the blessing of adoption.  Thank you for bringing this child into our lives.  She is sweet and sensitive, good natured and fast to forgive.  She is silly, funny and dramatic.  Most importantly, she is ours!!  Our daughter.

Psalm 127 v3 and 5
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord."
"Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preach on!

I just wanted to post a big THANK YOU to our church's wonderful preacher Mr. Tommy Poarch for preaching an excellent sermon on helping the orphan today!  I have been asking him to do this since about October when I realized that Orphan Sunday was coming up and, as he told our congregation today so emphatically, I loaded him down with tons of information!  But today was finally the day he chose to preach on this topic and he did a great job. 

There are 40-something verses in the Bible, most in the Old Testament, that talk about the widow and the orphan and the way God wants us to treat them and care for them.  That is a lot of verses, and he went through quite a few to emphasize his point that God does not take the plight of the orphan lightly.  He wants us to be His hands and feet on this earth, taking care of His children and being physical fathers and mothers to them since He cannot be here in the physical form.  He expects them to be looked after by His people, and Tommy did a great job of expressing that.  I am very grateful to him for speaking on this subject today and making others in our church more aware of the needs of so many across this world who do not have a loving family!

As a result, I have had others ask me about how to donate to our Lifesong matching grant, so I wanted to put the physical address in this post.  You may mail checks to this address below or use Pay-pal as I mentioned before on their website by  going to their donate page and putting Rowe family in their purpose line.

The physical address is:

Lifesong for Orphans

PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744

You can put Rowe Family Grant in your memo line of your check.

Thank you again to everyone who is supporting us, physically and emotionally on this journey!!!!  And thank you to our wonderful preacher for trying to further open the eyes of Christians to this incredible need across our world!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Matching Grant!!

I wanted to share some more wonderful news!  Our family has gotten approved for a MATCHING GRANT from Lifesong for Orphans!!!  Woooohoooo!  This is bringing us one step closer to being able to get our son!

What does this matching grant mean you ask??  Well it means that Lifesong is willing to match ANY DONATION given to our family up to $2000!  This means if someone donates $100, it will turn into $200.  If you give $1000 it turns into $2000!  This is such an incredible blessing to our family and will help move us ever closer to our fundraising goal. 

We are really working on getting together the $5000 to $7000 needed to travel, and this money will be so instrumental to getting us most of the way there!

But it can't be done without your help.  Lifesong will only donate to us when another donation is given.  They won't just give us the money, they will only match the incoming donations.

This grant is also tax deductible to the giver, so this is an added benefit!

To donate, please visit and click on their donate button towards the bottom.  It will pull up the Pay Pal screen (you do not need a Pay Pal account to donate, only a credit or debit card). 

In the area where it asks "purpose" please type in that it is for the Rowe Family adoption fund.  This way the funds will be deposited directly to our grant fund and matched accordingly.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to this cause and continues to keep us in your prayers.  And if you have any cause to wonder why our family feels so strongly about adopting orphans and this road we are on, please click on the You Tube video below.  It is amazingly moving!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Things are continuing to move along, and for that we are truly grateful!  We go back and forth between focusing on paperwork, then fundraising, paperwork, then fundraising.  Trying to juggle both those balls in the air successfully and never let one slip is a challenge.  Luckily women are good at multi-tasking, or so they tell me.  I am trying to hone my skills.

By far the biggest piece of news thus far is that our paperwork is at USCIS!!  Praise God that they are willing to review the digital copies of the paperwork that we sent, with the help of the Joint Council, until they get the actual paperwork (which has been known to sit in their lockbox for a week or more).  Time, as usual, is of the essence so this is a big deal.  After they (hopefully) approve it all, we will be on the lookout for our fingerprint appointments in the mail.  We need to pray that the fingerprinting office will allow us to get these done before that scheduled appointment and not give us a hassle.  I have heard of many people doing this before, usually without complication, so I hope that will be the case in our situation.

The next exciting piece of news has to do with our fundraising.  In the past week alone we have had one family-- friends from our church-- donate $300 to our chip-in, and then another woman whom we do not even know donate $1000 to our Sacred Selections fund!!  Thank you God for the generosity of these people adding to our fund and bringing us that much closer to getting our son home!!  I have said it before and I will continue to say it-- people's generosity towards us and this child has amazed me and continues to amaze me every day.  It has been such a blessing to watch everything gradually falling into place as it has and I know it is the hand of God at work.

I would be lying however if I didn't also acknowledge my nervousness in all this as the time draws nearer.  Although we have been making good progress, we are still far short of the money needed to get this child home.  Most of the money we have collected so far is going to pay for our homestudy and  the agency fees for this adoption.  Very little, if any, has been able to be set aside for travel.  Our agency tells us that we will need between $5000 and $7000 to pay for our tickets, facilitator, visas, etc and all that needs to be raised in about a month!

So to all those who have donated to us, we offer a huge THANK YOU!!  And to those who have been considering it but have not yet done it, we ask a big PLEASE??  Every little bit adds up in a big way, as we have seen.  Someone on the Yahoo group I belong to for people adopting from China offered up a $5 challenge to the group a month or so ago. She asked each person in that group to simply donate five dollars to our account, and that was what got our chip-in rolling.  And look where it is at now!!  And just think....just $5 from each person who has visited my blog so far could have pretty much funded our entire adoption! 

I know that with the holidays quickly approaching it is difficult to find any extra funds for your own family, let alone ours.  But if you can donate to our effort to bring Zou Lie home, even by just sparing $5, we would be so grateful. Also don't forget to check out my "31" fundraiser on the sidebar.  All proceeds go towards our adoption and they have some wonderful products which would make great gifts!  All orders are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas, and you can get your gifts monogrammed just for that special person.

So, at this point we just keep on moving forward, keep juggling those many "to-do" things in the air, and keep praying that it will all turn out well in the end.  We are making good progress and hope to continue to do so in the next month.  We just need to keep a positive attitude and remember that if it is God's will, all this paperchasing, fundraising and nail biting will be over in a little more than a month and a half.  Until then, I will keep reminding myself of these words which I have posted before and which are a good summary of our experiences so far.....
Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face.  If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In Thanksgiving...

Although it is officially the day after Thanksgiving, here at our house we are still reflecting on all the blessings we have been given and all we have to be grateful for.  There is much, and we are humbled by the way God has taken care of our family yet another year.

~ We are thankful for a home... many have lost theirs this year due to the economic crisis, storms, fires, war, etc.  We are grateful we have a warm, comforting place to return to each day.

~ An income... many people have lost this as well this past year, my husband included for awhile, and it makes you grateful each day that you have a way to make a living and provide for your family.

~ A wonderful church... they are like our second family-- always there for us, supportive and loving, and it means so much.

~ Our faith... I hesitate to think where we would be without it.  I don't know how others make decisions without God in their lives.  I know I would personally be a mess without the knowledge that He is there guiding my path and easing my burdens.

~Our health... After my husband broke his leg a couple months ago we all began to realize firsthand how important one's health and mobility really is.  It is difficult to be unable to do all the things you once could do with ease.  We take our good health for granted so many times, it is just one more thing to thank God for each day!  Thank you Lord for my health, my husband's recovery and the health of my children.

~Last but not least-- FAMILY.  There is no greater joy in this world for me than loving my husband and children and having them near.  I cherish being a wife and mother and know that this is my main purpose in life.  I love always knowing we are there for each other, one complete unit, through thick or thin and that we will lift each other up and support one another no matter what.

We are doubly thankful that we have added one new member to the family this year through the adoption of our daughter, and that we are taking the steps to add another son, hopefully at the beginning of next year.  "Children are a blessing from the Lord."

Our family is also extremely grateful for all those people out there with kind and giving hearts who have supported us both emotionally and financially throughout this latest adoption.  Your love shown towards our family is incredible and we are so THANKFUL!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Aaah the blessing of it and the dread of it all at the same time.  Paperwork.  There is so much of it and it all must be completed so quickly, that half the time I dread just thinking about it.  Yet at the same time, it is such a blessing because it makes all of this even more real.  We are really doing this!  We are really moving forward with our adoption!  I have to focus on how amazing this is and instead of considering it drudgery, I must look at all the nit-picky, time consuming stuff in a positive light.  All of that paperwork paves the road we must take to get to our new son.  And with its hills, valleys, rocks and all-- it is a road worth taking.

It reminds me of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken--
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." 

Those are his final lines to this poem and the basic summary of his thoughts.  I have been reminded of those words many times in this process so far and they are very meaningful to me.  Frost took a different path in his own life by choosing to pursue a career as a poet rather than a more conventional job, and as a result was considered a fool. He could have taken the easy way out, finishing college and continuing on to be a businessman as everyone expected he would.  But instead, he followed his heart which lead him towards writing poetry and of course as we know, this brought him overwhelming success and more importantly-- joy. 

In comparison, our family is going down the road we have chosen- the road towards an older waiting child.  We could have kept our happy little family as is, and continued on content with our lives instead of leaping by faith into the unknown. We have no idea what the future will bring with this new child, but are choosing to follow our hearts and go where God is leading us.  It is not a conventional path, it is not a path for everyone, and it is not a path we have traveled before.  We have relied much on other people's guidance and wisdom in this, as well as in their encouragement, and we just know that it is the way we are meant to be going at this time in our lives. 

In adoption there are no guarantees, and there certainly is no easy road that I know of to get there.  But there aren't many easy roads to travel towards what is really important in life anyway.  Anything in life worth having requires work and dedication.  Adoption is no different, and it is definitely one of those things in life worth doing.  After all, even the birthing and raising of biological children is a time-consuming, difficult and oftentimes a heartbreaking road to follow as well, though I think we would all agree that the joys and blessings we are rewarded with far outweigh the momentary bumps in the road that we must endure.  Adoption is no different.  We are beginning the process in a unique way, but in the end there is still a new child in your family who needs love, nurturing, support and guidance.  Another child to call your own.

So, to the paperwork I say "Bah humbug!" but it won't get me down.  This is a momentary, fleeting time of struggle, but it too will pass.  The paperwork, with all its annoyances, will only bring us closer to our son and so I will continue to look upon it as a blessing and pray that it all arrives to its destination safely and with great speed.

And when my husband and I finally look into the eyes of our newest son on Gotcha Day we will know- with certainty- that when we chose to follow the road less traveled, to this one child it will have indeed made all the difference.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


These past few days have been so humbling for us!  It has been an incredible faith booster for our family to hear from so many of you encouraging us along during this adoption, and to watch with awe and amazement as our chip-in has grown from $0 to over $2200 in just the past 4 days!  Wow is God ever at work!

This has been such a great testament of Christian brotherly love to both to us and our children.  Nothing has delighted me more over these past few days than when our 12 year old daughter came into the room last night while I was on the computer, and upon finding out that our chip-in was over $2000 she exclaimed "What?!  Well you see Mom, I knew that God wanted us to adopt this boy.  Now He is making a way for it to happen." 

It makes me cry just to know the lessons that my children are taking away from all this-- greater than any homeschool lesson we could ever learn!
1--  It is the knowledge that God is greater than any one person or thing or obstacle.
2--  It is also that His people, when coming together for the greater good, are a mighty force to be reckoned with.

Our children have now seen firsthand the supreme generosity shown towards strangers by the way you all have supported us in phone conversations, emails and donations.  It is my prayer that they will carry these lessons forward in their own lives and remember to put people first-- not things-- and sacrifice for others when they are in need.

No words can adequately express the joy, the humility, the blessings that we are feeling right now.  The fact that so many people would put their time, money and energy toward helping us bring this boy home continues to wow us.  We are truly humbled and thankful that you care enough about trying to help him through helping us in our adoption of him.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and look forward to seeing what else God has in store.  We are getting closer to our goal, but still have a ways to go.  Still have a lot of paperwork to get processed in a short time frame as well. 

Please continue to pray for us, that we might be successful in getting it all done! Ask God to lead my hands and feet in the right directions and not to allow me to tire in this process.

Also, I mentioned before that I would have a fundraiser up and running soon and that I would post it when I did.  Well here it is-- our newest fundraiser through Thirty-One Gifts posted now on the right sidebar of this page!  You can visit their catalog through the posted link-- all proceeds from this fundraiser will go straight to our adoption, and there are some great gift-giving ideas just in time for the holidays!

Thank you again to everyone for your support!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

We're Going Forward

Oh my goodness what a challenging last couple weeks it has been!  I am so drained but yet determined.  Our family is moving ahead with our original plans of trying to adopt a special needs older waiting child from China!!  The same boy we had committed to before-- Zhou Lie-- is still waiting for a family.  We have gotten approval from our agency to continue forward, despite our previous setbacks, and try to adopt him!

We have gotten a new homestudy done through the grace of God and a wonderful, kind social worker who has a heart for orphans.  We have compiled all the necessary paperwork for our dossier so that we can submit our information and hopefully be approved for this boy. We have gotten our medicals done, our passports, our items notarized.... the list goes on and on.  Anyone who has done this adoption thing before knows it is A LOT of work.  But oh, so worth it.  We long to have that precious boy home, safe and here with us.

I know the odds are against us, I have to be logical, but I also know that with FAITH all things are possible.  God can move mountains.  And right now, only He knows what the outcome of all this will be.

With that in mind, I beseech you all for your prayers.  Storm the gates of heaven, let the requests be made known to the only ONE through whom all things are made possible. Pray that we can do everything we need to do on our end in the short amount of time we have left.  Pray that our agency will continue to allow us to move forward without difficulties.  They are already skeptical that we will not be able to raise the funds needed to bring this child home, even if we do get all the paperwork sent in and approved.

I admit, I understand their concern.  We are concerned as well.  We lost valuable fundraising time after we discovered that we needed to switch homestudy providers and thought we would not be able to continue moving forward with this adoption.  We were stretched time-wise already at the beginning of this journey.

This is why we know we must ask for the generosity of others in order to make this happen.  I have already made up fundraising letters and given them to every member of our church family.  We have made our needs known before the congregation as well in hopes that they will step forward and offer some support.  I have also given these letters to other churches in our area hoping that their mission groups might support us as well in this endeavor. 

We have had one fundraiser in the past couple weeks which brought in $300-- my Premier Jewelry show-- and I now have jewelry from that show to offer here on my blog in a donation give-away as well.  That info and pictures of the beautiful items being offered will be up soon! 

We are also going to be having a "31" fundraiser which I will post more about on here as well.  Great ideas for the holidays coming up!  As well we are looking into having a pancake breakfast in our area through Applebees' program, and I am offering my baking services making cakes, pies and cupcakes for the holidays which are quickly approaching.  I am also going to organize a "Shopping Nite/ Nite Out" evening for people in our area who want to drop their children off at my home for a couple hours while they get their shopping done, or simply enjoy an evening out with their spouse.

So, you can see we are trying to brainstorm and act upon any idea we can that does not take a huge amount of time to coordinate, because obviously, we don't have a huge amount of time to work with.

 But I know that even with these fundraisers planned, we will still need more money in order to get this child home in two short months.  Zhou Lie ages out on his birthday just two months from yesterday.  Yesterday!  Please, help give this child a chance.  Help us give him a family. 

If you would like to donate you can do so via our chip-in at the top right corner of this blog.  Refresh your screen if you cannot see it.  If you would like, you can also donate to our tax deductible fund, you can go to or call them directly at 916-770-0336. If you choose to donate to them online, please still contact the coordinator- Dana- and let her know the amount of your donation, and that your donation was specifically for the Rowe family.

We thank you for your generosity and your loving kindness towards orphans.  We are humbled by the help we have received already-- some from friends, some from others we do not even know. We know there are so many people who have a true heart for orphans out there, and we are so grateful for your help and your prayers.

 We know that Zhou Lie would thank you too if he could.  He would thank you for giving him the opportunity for a home, a family, and a life full of opportunity-- things he will never get if he is left to age out in China.  Please help him have a future.  Please help him come home.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November is Orphan Awareness Month

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.

But once you do, everything changes."

~ Anonymous ~

Here is a post from a great, great blog.  You can find the original at

This posting truly exemplifies how I feel about adoption.  I have said it before and I will say it again, if people always think someone else is going to adopt these children, but noooo, not them..... these children will never find homes!  We need to step out of our comfort zones.  TRUST GOD!  He will provide the way.  He will provide the love, the patience and most importantly He will multiply the blessings that these children will bring into our lives-- yours and mine-- if we only let Him.
Let's take special care to remember to pray for the orphans of the world this month.

November 8, 2010

reckless abandon

It’s Orphan Awareness Month. Again.

Another month set aside for the church to show orphan related videos, hear testimonies relevant to adoption and orphan care, and an opportunity to listen to sermons where orphans are [possibly] mentioned.

I must confess. Many times I ask myself, “What’s the point of it?” “Is having another time set aside to create an awareness of the orphan crisis even worth the effort?” Is it? Will it make a profound difference?

Perhaps I have become somewhat cynical, or weary of the battle that rages for the lives of millions of children, or frustrated that help seems so slow to come, or desperate to see more and more who are willing to go. I don’t know. I only know the sinking feeling that I feel each time I look into the faces of our four adopted children and remember the millions that are left behind. The ones who are literally without hope, without life.

We’re the Christians doggonit! We’re God’s beloved church. His beautiful bride. We’re the ones He has already called to take care of the orphans.

Yet sadly, we wait.

We wait for God to speak to us in an audible voice, telling us to “GO!”—sometimes He does that audible voice thing, you know.

We wait for the perfect job to come along—orphan care demands a whole lot of money.

We wait for the bills to be paid—can’t be taking on more than we can handle.

We wait for the larger house—because adding children requires a large house.

We wait for a few kids to leave the nest before we add more—can’t be having too many children in the home.

We wait for confirmation with the perfect scripture to drop into our spirits as a sign that we need to act now.

We wait...for someone else to go.

We wait, we wait, we wait.

And while we wait—they perish. The statistics are staggering. I can’t even look anymore.

This is the horrendous reality...

Why do we find every reason under heaven and earth why we should not go? The Bible is as clear as daylight—“care for the widows and the orphans.”

It’s a lot like missions. My heart aches when I see how many churches don’t have a fabulous missions program. God’s Word says to “Go into ALL the world and make disciples of all men.” It’s a command! It’s non- negotiable. Taking care of the orphans is a command too. We’re commanded in His word to care for them—however that may look.

But still we wait for “the call” to come. Kind of like, “I am SO glad Mrs. Jenkins is called to lead children’s church, because that is DEFINITELY NOT my calling.


God hardly ever calls us to do things for Him when everything in our lives is just grand. He never calls us to walk on the water when our circumstances are sweet. When I look in the Bible, I see people doing things for the Lord in the midst of impossible circumstances. Tougher than what my circumstances have ever been in my entire life. Yet, they did it. In obedience. The Lord commanded them--and they went. They accepted the tough task that lay before them—come what may. They never asked the Lord for a re-commission.

So why in the world do we? What makes us so different to the people God gave us to learn from in the Bible?

Why are there so many uncared for orphans in the world when we’re commanded to care for them?

We would be wealthy if someone paid us every time we have been told that we were “called by God” to adopt our four children who have special needs. Or for the many people who have told us that “There is no way we could do what you do.”

I disagree.

You know what that does? It diminishes God’s sovereign power to do the impossible through each one of us, His people. Comments like that tell the Father, “Sorry God, but you don’t have enough power to give me the ability to parent a child who struggles in life.” “So sorry, God. Just go and call someone else.” “Oh God, and that mission field thing? There is no way I could ever do that!”

That’s perilous ground to walk on.

God’s power is absolutely made perfect in our weakness. When He commands us to do something, He equips us with everything we need to fulfill the calling with excellence. Even people like us--ordinary sinners saved by grace who are just average Joes. He does it for His glory! To make Himself famous in the earth. It has absolutely nothing to do with us. Everything God does is for His glory, not ours.

I believe with all my heart that God is raising up an army of crazy people to do the ridiculous. Many believe we are living in the end times. We agree! We sense that more than ever God is looking for those who are willing to do the impossible. Just WILLING! God is seeking out those who will serve Him with reckless abandonment, no matter where that takes them or what He tells them to do in this life.

Reckless abandon for the sake of His orphans. Our answer will always be "Yes!" Come what may.

Good News!

Oh again I say, so much to blog about and so little time!  Time truly is the enemy sometimes and it has really gotten away from me lately.  I might have to put a few new posts on here in the next couple of days just to catch up!

For right now though I wanted to share some great news.  You know the Premier Jewelry Show I recently posted about?  Well it was a great success!!  With the help of Amy-- our wonderful friend and Premier saleslady, and some great friends coming to the show and supporting our cause, we were able to raise $300 to go towards our adoption!!  AND I was able to get over $400 in free jewelry to raffle off here on my blog!!  So please stay tuned.  As soon as I figure out how to coordinate that I will be posting pictures of the beautiful jewelry and you can donate to our Paypal account to buy a ticket (or tickets... Hint Hint) to enter yourself into the drawing to win a necklace, or earrings, or watch..... the list goes on!

So a big THANK YOU goes out to Amy for her generous Christian spirit in donating all her profits from our show to our adoption fund!  If there were more people out there with such a giving heart, there would be many less orphans in the world.  And a huge thank you as well to all the ladies that attended my show.  We appreciate it greatly.  Through your purchases you have helped to make a difference in the life of a child and we are tremendously grateful for your support.

This money, in addition to three private contributions to our fund, brings us up to $600 set aside in just the past couple weeks.  We are getting there slowly but surely!  And once our raffle gets going I hope to be able to say that that number will continue to grow.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for sweet Zhou Lie, the 13 year old boy we first committed to and then were not able to continue on towards adopting.  He still needs a home and his time is running short.  He will age out at the ripe old age of 14 on his birthday in January.  He deserves a home, a family, someone to call Mom and Dad.  We still wish we were able to give that to him, but because of circumstances beyond our control, we need to wait a while longer to complete our homestudy and by then it will be too late for us to go and get him.

Please, if you are a homestudy ready family, would you consider Zhou Lie?  You can find out more about him from Lynne at the WACAP agency.  Her email is  He has a lot of grant money going towards his adoption and only has minor special needs.  Please prayerfully consider if he might be your son.  If we cannot be his family, we want to still do all that we can to ensure that he gets a family soon.  His time is running out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Buddy Walk for Reece's Rainbow-- the video!

Check out this great video made by Andrea Roberts, founder of the organization Reece's Rainbow!!  Our family was priviledged to be able to participate in raising awareness for RR at the Charlotte, NC Buddy Walk this month.  There were 60 Buddy Walks across the country where Reece's Rainbow's mission was shared, bringing awareness to people across the country about the need to find homes for children with Down Syndrome and other special needs.  We hope to make our participation in this great effort an annual outing.

The kids and I are towards the end of the video, so watch the whole thing!!
(Make sure to turn off my music at the bottom of the page first)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Keepin' On Keepin' On...

It's been a rough past few days since we discovered last week that the sweet boy in China whom we had committed to would not be able to be our son.  Got our passports in the mail today.  Yet another reminder of where we won't be traveling this January.  Heartbroken is really the only way to describe what our family has felt.

And as much as we are broken hearted for ourselves, we are more-so for that child who might never have the ability to find a home of his own now just because of his age (and because of an agency that would not allow us to proceed quickly enough to get him).  I know that all things happen for a reason, and I do trust-- as I have mentioned many times-- that God has a plan for all His people, but that does not make us hurt any less both for ourselves, and that sweet child.

All children deserve a home.  A place to grow up in, to call their own.  A place to bring their friends to play, or when they're older... "hang out".  A home is a place where holidays are celebrated, birthday parties are put on and memories are created.   But most of all, home is where your family is, waiting to love you, rejoicing in your victories and lavishing you with hugs and kisses when you feel defeated. 

All I want for this precious little soul is a home.  One to call his own with a mommy and a daddy and people to love him and guide him through life.  We will continue to pray for him that he might find this before it is too late.  We will try not to lose hope.  We will try not to be angry at what has happened but rather turn towards God for His guidance in this as in all things. 

If you are homestudy ready and might be able to move forward where we couldn't in adopting this wonderful boy, please contact  It would mean such great happiness for our family to know that even though we could not go and get him, that someone else could and did give him the family he deserves.

With that said, we will not lose hope for our family either as we stay firmly on this journey towards adoption.  I keep referring to it as a journey because it really feels like one to me.  You begin with the discovery of this path you are really feeling lead to travel-- that being the adoption of a child-- and along the way you encounter so many twists and turns, hills and valleys that you fear you might never get to the end. 

Well, after having already traveled one path to adoption so far and now being within sight of that destination, I can affirm that the end will come and we will look back at that journey as being the bittersweet road you must take if you want to adopt.  The time it takes to travel that path and the bumps along the way are so worth it! 

So with that in mind, we will keep on going down this next adoption road knowing that it will lead us to another child, one who needs a home and a family just as much as that other precious boy.   There are so many children out there who need a home!  In most every country there are orphans waiting to find their families.  We have foster care here in the US, orphanages in other areas of the world.  There are just SO MANY children.  We can't allow this one unfortunate event to bring us down and dissuade us from making the difference in the life of another child.

Please keep our family in your prayers.  We are continuing to fundraise so that once we do get our homestudy completed we can commit to another child quickly.  Our first official fundraiser is this next week!  A dear friend of mine who is a Premier Jewelry associate has agreed to do a show at my home with all the proceeds going towards our adoption!  She is not only sacrificing her commission for this but has also offered to donate 20% of the profits of all shows booked from my show to our adoption as well!  And as an added bonus, all the jewelry I would normally get to keep as a hostess benefit will be raffled off here on my blog in the near future, so stay tuned!!

Unfortunately, Premier does not have an online catalog but I know their product is popular and fairly well known.  Anyone who would like to request a catalog, or if you have seen the product before and would like to place an order to benefit our show, you can contact my great saleslady Amy at  She would be happy to mail you a catalog or to take your orders!!  And yes, your jewelry can be shipped directly to you!!  Great timing for the holidays too.

So, as the title of my post suggests, we are keepin' on keepin' on.  We know that there are many more children there are in this world just longing for a family, and to that yet unknown child out there just waiting for a mommy and daddy to call his own we say, "Watch out world, because we're coming to get ya!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Deciding to take the LEAP!!

"Would you take that first step, into the unknown?  You know that He won't let you go" 
Britt Nicole

As most of you know if you have read my blog before, our family truly has a heart for adoption.  This has come about mostly at my urging and I will readily admit that I have been the catalyst for this adventure and transformation of our hearts. But I must say, I am thankful that my husband and my children have been very quick to follow.  They too have had their eyes open to the needs of orphans and are desiring to help too.

 My husband originally saw this need of mine to reach out to orphans and children in need over 3 years ago when I approached him tearfully.  I had always wanted to adopt and had expressed this desire to him when we were dating, so I think he knew it was only a matter of time.  I had approached him previously too, but we were still in the throws of creating our "biological family" and he asked me to wait until we had finished having our own children.

Well at this time 3 years ago when I approached him again, we were finished having children, settled in a new home, and we both decided that this was the time to take our plunge. We wanted to become foster parents and take in children who had possibly never experienced the love of a family or a stable home life. So after completing our homestudy and training, we got our foster license.

This is how Kierstyn came to our family, and we are so overjoyed that she is on her way to becoming a permanent member of the Rowe clan!  Hopefully her adoption will be finalized next month and we are so excited for that little piece of paper to arrive in the mail which decrees that she is legally our child!  Big party to follow!!  (And she is super excited about that!)

So, with all that said, many might think-- "Wow, well.... 5 kids.  Surely they are finished with their family now!"  We however think that God has other plans.  As I have posted here many times before, I have only recently come to recognize the plight of special needs orphans around the world and the immense need there is for people to come to their aid.  Over 140 million orphans is a huge statistic to ignore.  So we are not going to. 

We will not be a family who chooses luxuries over the needs of children.  We will not be a family who tries to forget the orphans we have met who desire the love of a family.  We will not try to fool ourselves into believing that we can't make a difference.  We will not let something like money get in our way, because we believe that if our hearts are right and our motives are good, and we truly strive to follow God's will, He will provide.  He can move mountains.  He will make a way.

With all that said we would like to announce that we are on the road to adopting a special needs child from China.  We never had intended to go to China, we actually had several other countries in mind that we felt lead to adopt from instead.  But China came to the forefront of our minds because of one particular boy.  One 13 year old boy who is aging out of the system in January on his 14th birthday.  We wanted so badly to rescue him from an uncertain future where at only 14 years old he would be declared "unadoptable", taken from the orphanage and put out into the countryside to fend for himself with no means of making a living and no family or resources to rely on in times of trouble.  So we thought we had to try to become his family.

But in this unfortunate instance, we have simply run out of time.  Our international homestudy is not complete. There would be no way for us to act fast enough to have all the paperwork to his country in time for us to get him before his 14th birthday.  We pray for him earnestly and hope that God guards him for the future.  We know that God has a plan for this boy and have to trust in Him and that plan, even though it is not what we wanted.

However, we know God has a plan for our family too.  He did not lead us down the path of discovering more about children in China with special needs for nothing.  We believe He still wants us on this path, and will lead us to the right waiting child in His time.

So with all that said, at the request of some I have added a chip-in to our blog.  Any money donated to this fund will go directly toward the adoption of a special needs child.  We have not found that child yet, but after Kierstyn's adoption is finalized we will begin looking again at all those precious faces needing a home.

The children we have found have different needs ranging from cleft lip and palate, to missing or deformed limbs, to blood disorders.  Things we might not look at as severe in our country, but things which make these children get looked at as second-class citizens in their own country.  It is for these "deformities" that these children are sent away, forgotten in orphanages and aging out because no one wants them for their own.  We want them.  We want the opportunity to give them a loving home in which to grow and flourish, to know God's love for them, and to become the individuals He intended them to be.  We want them to know they are special, cherished, loved people.

We pray that people's hearts will be opened to helping us in this endeavor.  It is definitely not a journey we can make on our own.  Everyone's support, prayers and love as we travel down this new road of adoption are appreciated.  Pray that we can complete our homestudy in a timely manner, and that God will lead us to the child intended for our family.  Please donate above to our chip-in if you can!  Feel free to send us fundraising ideas!  And please participate in our upcoming fundraisers if you are able.  I will make sure I post about them on here.

What a difference we can make in the life of a child if we only try!  Thanks to everyone in advance for helping enable our family to make that difference-- to be the change we want to see in the world.

There are a few favorite lines I have from the Nickleback song "If Today Was Your Last Day" that I have playing first on this blog, but the following ones I think are most appropriate for what I think about when looking at adoption--

"Against the grain should be a way of life.  What's worth the price is always worth the fight.  Every second counts 'cause there's no second try.  So live it like you're never living twice......... Don't take the free ride in your own life."

That is my motto when it comes to adoption.  It might be against the grain, but sometimes we have to forge our own path, make decisions that don't always follow the norm.  And if we wait to long, if we second-guess ourselves, if we focus too much on the "what-if's" and don't take action, it will be too late.  We need to be brave and step out in faith like the quote at the top of this post.  We will trust in God, step out in faith, know that nothing worth having comes free and nothing worth doing can be done without effort. 

 I don't want to take the free ride.   

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Strength for Today

"Be still and know that I am God.  I am the one who calms the storms and fears of life."

Wow, I needed to hear that today.  Such a timely message for what I am feeling right now.  I took a few minutes to read the latest blog post that a friend sent me, one that inspired her as well as she too leads a hectic life and races through her day as a mother of four.  Here is the link to the blog post.
Take a moment out of your day and read it, so encouraging and so true.

Life for us has been full these past few weeks.  Soooo much going on, lots I have not put here.... yet.  But I have felt very overwhelmed at times.  Between our regular homeschooling schedule, our co-op on Fridays, activities for the kids, and the normal running of the household, our days are pretty full. Tim breaking his leg added another whole new dimension to that as well, with the kids picking up his "chores" with the dog and the chickens, and me becoming the sole taxi driver of children hither and yon to their activities, medical appointments, guitar lessons, etc.

Now is a great time for me to remember that quote above, "Be still and know that I am God."  Just reading it makes me relax a little.  Truly knowing that it is true relieves some of my stresses.  I know I am not in control.  I know that He is.  He will see me through these hectic days.  He will provide me the strength and confidence I need to do the things I have to do.  Even when no one else appreciates or encourages me on my way, He is there, always guiding with love and knowing those things which I do in His name.

I need to make sure I look upon this life with gratitude.  Every crazy day, every chore to be done, every activity to run to, every lesson to teach-- these are signs that we are alive and we are blessed!  How incredibly blessed I am to be on this journey as a wife and a mother, to have children-- healthy ones at that-- who need to be taught and who can participate in those activities and who are able to make those messes that we need to clean up after a long, busy day.

 I need to look upon this season of life with that "attitude of gratitude" and remember, like everything else, it is fleeting.  If I just rely on Him, he will lead my steps and direct my path and before I know it we will be out of this proverbial "woods" and off to the next chapter of our lives.  He will be ever-present with us there too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Thought for the Day

"The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~

WHAT????  I know right now you must be thinking...."She can't be serious!  What does she, or rather Ralph, mean that the purpose of life is not to be happy??  Or maybe you're not wondering that, I don't know.  But I do know that to most Americans, perhaps most people in our modern world, this thought that we are NOT MEANT to be happy might come as quite a shock.  After all, our world, our culture, bombards us daily with the notion that life is ours for the taking, grab the bull by the horns darn it and do everything in your power to make your life as happy and content as possible! 

We have commercials aimed at getting us to buy products that supposedly will make us happy-- from fashion to travel, makeup, weight loss programs, depression medication and online dating sites promising us the perfect partner is just right around the corner.  We have gadgets to make us happy. Things that do everything for us in the blink of an eye so we can have more time to........ relax and be happy!   You get my point.

So for many of us, surrounded by this notion of happiness being an entitlement, the idea of not doing things to make ourselves happy, or better yet doing things that do not make us happy, seems absurd.  What is Mr Emerson really trying to get at here??

Well first of all, he  is not stating that being happy in and of itself is bad.  Rather he is saying that this happiness is not and should not be our main goal or purpose in life.  When we allow happiness to be our end-all and be-all, we turn into nothing more than self-serving snobs.  It's true isn't it?  Who of us can think back to someone we knew, or know, whose main priority is themselves?  Not usually the first person we think to go to when we are in need.... is it?  When we make happiness our goal, we tend to skip things that are uncomfortable, or things that cause us pain.  We tend to miss out on some really valuable lessons in life and really valuable contributions we could have made to the lives of others because we never considered anyone else's needs, or how we could fulfill them.  We were too concerned about ourselves.

So although happiness is not bad, it should not be our focus or our main priority.  So what should??  Well according to Mr Emerson in his infinite wisdom, it should be to be useful, honorable and compassionate, and to have our lives show that we have lived and lived well.  Useful.  Honorable.  Compassionate.  NOT selfish.  Self-serving.  Uncaring.

We need to show that we have lived well.  What does that mean exactly?  That we have lived lavishly.... or that we have lavished affection upon others?  That we have gained material wealth...... or that we have gained a wealth of knowledge about others and their needs?  That we have put our faith in ourselves and what we want... or that we have had abundant faith in God to turn us into the people we need to be and to give us what HE wants?  That we have been served.... or that we have humbled ourselves to serve others?

If we choose to listen to and live by Mr Emerson's statement and ignore the hedonistic ways of our culture, how will we do it?  How can we show others that our lives are not ones devoted to ourselves, but rather to the needs of many?  We each have our paths.  We each have our passions.  We each have our own talents and gifts.  How will we use them to life "a life worth living" as he says above?

Well I can only tell you my way.  It is not everyone's way but I feel it is mine.  It is through adoption.  It is through trying my darnedest to change one young life at a time.  It is by stepping out of my comfort zone, perhaps giving up some (or a lot) or what I want and focusing on someone else's need.  Trust me, this is no easy task.  I am certainly no perfect person.  I love material goods as much as anyone else, and I am certainly selfish with my time and energy more than I'd like to admit.  But I am trying.  And this is all any of us can do.  This is my way to do just that.... try.

Here is a post from another blog which pretty much sums up my heart.  This is a post from the blog "The Journey" which I have a link to here on my page under "Blogs I Like" and which I highly encourage you to read:

"And every single day, it is worth it. Because ADOPTION IS GOD’S HEART. He sets the lonely in families. Adoption is the reason that I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day, it is not what I am doing to “help these poor kids out.” I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. I adopt because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for HIS sake will find it."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Which One Are You??

Here is a great You Tube video I have not seen before.  It really makes me think..... what do I want people to remember about my life after I am gone?  How do I want them to think of me-- as a "Hugger"?  Or as a person who tentatively, carefully but ever so bravely balanced on that beam of Life??  I would personally like to strive to keep my balance, even though it is more difficult, more scary and sometimes more painful.

The Hugger or the fearless Gymnast??

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Doozie of a Week.... and Lessons Learned From It

Wow what a week we have had!  I tell you what, there are times in my life that I wish for a little something different, a little excitement you know?  But NOT like this!

My poor hubby was playing a softball game this past Tuesday night, and as luck would have it my kids and I were able to attend that one.  Oftentimes we aren't because I am running one kid or another to soccer, scouts, etc.  But not Tuesday.  It was a later game and soccer and scouts were over by then, so we all trekked up to the ballfield to watch Daddy play. 

He did great too!  Ended up on second base, then the next batter was up.  Crack!  He hit the ball into the outfield.  Tim ran to third, the guy in the outfield missed the catch but quickly recovered the ball.  "Run to home!" they shouted at my hubby, and dutifully he did.... right as the ball was thrown that way.  He poured on the steam to get to home plate and decided to slide on in to make extra sure he got there before that ball did!  Well, the ground was wet since it had rained previously, and he didn't slide so well.  Rather, his foot stuck in the ground more than he expected while the rest of his body continued forward.  Unfortunately then, there was yet another crack.  This time it was the audible sound of both bones in his lower right leg breaking-- clearly heard by one of his teammates.

The next bit of time seemed to go by in slow motion.  All the players, from his team and the other, were surrounding him and helping.  Luckily one of our friends is a chiropractor, and another of my husband's teammates has a wife who is a medical resident.  They were both on hand that night, by the grace of God, and helped my husband stay still and calm until the ambulance got there to take him to the hospital.

The rest of that night turned out to be a very long one.  After the ER he went to the OR to get knocked out so they could repair his leg.  He was in way too much pain for them to realign the bones with him awake!  Sadly the cast they thought would do the trick-- one up to his hip at that-- was not enough to keep the bones straight and together, so his orthopedic surgeon said he would have to have surgery instead.  Not what I wanted to hear of course, and my husband was still unconcious on the table so he would not know about this new decision until he woke up. 

They determined he would need a titanium rod the length of his lower leg to be inserted from the kneecap to his ankle, and several pins put in there too to hold it all in place.  Lovely.  But I must say, the resulting bandages and "boot" he has to wear for several weeks are a slightly better alternative to the full leg cast he would have been in for two months or more!

Nothing was more lonely or eerie than me having to sit in that big and EMPTY waiting room that night waiting for my hubby to come out of surgery.  From midnight until 5:30 am I waited and worried.  Not very fun!  But a huge thank you to my friend Karol's husband who brought me snacks and stayed with me until 2am.  That was so kind of him, especially when he had to get up for work the next morning!  But I have come to find out over the past few days, that you know what...... that is just some of what good friends do when you are in need.

My husband and I were talking today about how things always happen for a reason, and how sometimes bad things happen to us so that a greater good might come from them.  He has been wonderful through all of this.  Never uttering a "why me?", never really complaining at all.  He is a strong man, and this experience has served to deepen his faith, and his love of his friends and bretheren.  And we have come to find out that in just three short days since this accident, many good things have happened as a result.

As my husband has been unemployed for some time now, we do not carry health insurance.  We were informed today that people were taking up a collection of money to donate to him to help a bit with our expenses.  You know who gave the most??  A member of the other team they had been playing that night!  Word had spread of my husband's injury and he had been added to their prayer list at their church.  As a result, they were lead to give.... give to a man they never met.  My husband was just about moved to tears when I told him.  He really couldn't get over their generosity and was so humbled with gratitude.  Amazing.

We were talking today and I told him this is just one of those things that renews your faith in the human spirit and reaffirms that God is still working in His people!  It takes things like this to happen every once in awhile to remind you of the love of your friends.  The cards, many phone calls and meal we received tonight from some wonderful ladies remind me, and him, of how incredibly blessed we are, and we are beyond grateful for their love and support. 

And this is an excellent reminder to US as well.  We shouldn't sit back and be complacent when there are others that need our help.  Don't leave the burden of helping your bretheren in need to fall on the shoulders of others.  If we are always too tired or too overcommitted with our "fun" things and such, we won't be able to give back to others like they have given to us.

Our friends, and even those others we do not know, have been wonderful Christian models for us to emulate.  Help those in need, give freely of ourselves, and give our time and our funds when we can.  And that should be often.

In the words of our Savior in Matthew 25 verses 35-40 :
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me." Then the righteous will answer Him, "Lord when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and invite You in or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?"  The King will answer and say to them "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me"

AMEN!  A big thanks to all those who have taken these words to heart and applied them to serving us this week.