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LSC? Check!

August 23, 2017

More great news from China today!
Our LSC is here. And it arrived in record time.

We were told that we could wait as long as 3 months for this piece of paper to arrive. Instead, it arrived in 3 weeks. BOOM. Our initial hope was that we might be able to bring River home by Christmas. Now, there’s a good chance that we could bring him home by Thanksgiving.

We’re blown away.

God is good.

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An Unexpected Treat

August 23, 2017

Yesterday morning, I woke up to find these images on my phone.

What a treat!

They were sent to me from an angel named Tammy who volunteers at River’s orphanage! She said that he was recently moved to a beautiful new orphanage in Shenzhen, and that he seems so much happier there because he isn’t confined to his crib nearly as much as he was in the old facility.

The pics say it all!

She said he is spunky, and so precious. We can totally see his personality starting to shine through these photos, and we just love it.

Gosh. We can’t wait to meet this kid! 💕

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Looking Down

August 21, 2017

Took a break from looking up today,
and decided to look down for a little while.
Saw a landscape of a different kind at the edge of our pond…

#eclipseday #beautyiseverywhere #everyday#choosetoseeit

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Eclipse Day!

August 21, 2017

Why buy new shirts for “Eclipse Day” at school??
Because total solar eclipses don’t happen every day.
(And because Target had these babies on sale for $5!!) 

#NASA #MoonPhases #HappyKiddos

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An Eclipse for Gracie

August 21, 2017
So, in light of the big day tomorrow, I have a solar eclipse fun fact to share!  A total solar eclipse occurred in the Chinese sky on the day that our Gracie was born.  Other than the time of her birth, that total solar eclipse is the only detail we have to share with her about that day.  But, it’s a pretty cool detail, if you ask me. God created something magnificent in the Chinese sky that day.  But, He also created something magnificent on Chinese soil.  Our girl!!  As she watches the eclipse unfold in the skies tomorrow, surrounded by her classmates, I told her to be sure to think about that.
I know I will be.

A River of Broken Hearts

August 20, 2017

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It was the day after Christmas.  The year was 2015.

On that day, in a large, bustling metropolis located along the Pearl River in Southern China, a baby boy was found inside of a children’s hospital.  He had been left in the radiology department.  His parents were nowhere to be found.

He was taken to the local police station.  Then, he was taken to the local orphanage.

Upon arrival, they estimated that he was about four months old.  So, they chose an August birth date for him, and they gave him a name.  A name that means “strong hero of our country” or “strong hero of our ancestors”.

They discovered that he had a heart defect (Ventricular Septal Defect, or VSD), and he was suffering from minor anemia as well. A few months after his arrival at the orphanage, he had heart surgery in an attempt to repair the defect.  The surgery was successful.

He spent thirty days in the hospital recovering from it.

THIRTY.  DAYS.

Without parents.

Without a mom and a dad to be his greatest advocates…to push the call button when his pain level increased…to stroke his hand and his forehead when he got upset…to calm his fears…to hold the medical personnel accountable…to insist that he get the best care possible…and to smother him with love during what must have been a painful and scary situation for a child of his age to endure.

He was forced to truly live up to his given name during that time.

He had to become a “strong hero”.

He had to be a heart warrior.

He had to be a fighter.

After spending thirty days in the hospital, the boy with the broken heart was released and sent back to the orphanage.  He re-entered the familiarity found within those orphanage walls, and resumed waiting for a new family to come and claim him, and his broken heart, as their own.

Thankfully, as of a few weeks ago, his wait is over.

A new family has claimed him as their own.

Our family.

A few weeks ago, we were overjoyed to learn that our adoption agency had matched us with the boy with the broken heart.  A boy whom we have lovingly named “River”, whose birthplace just so happens to fall smack dab in the middle of the Pearl River Delta.

We fell in love with him as soon as we saw his photos, and excitedly accepted the referral.

Not long after being matched, we shared River’s (short) life story and his photos with our five children.  Not surprisingly, we had very few details to share with them.   Not surprisingly, we know nothing at all about his birth parents or what his life was like before he entered into the orphanage.

The kids soaked up each tiny bit of information that we shared with them, and asked some good questions about their brother’s life story.  Their excitement was genuine.  And their excitement level was through the roof.  Their concern for their little brother’s well-being was also evident.  And it was beautiful.

I’ve loved listening to their observations, insights, and thoughts about this adoption process – and adoption in general – over these past few weeks.

One of the most poignant observations came from our 11-year-old daughter, Sidney.  A few days ago, as I was driving her home after school, she said, “I’ve been thinking about River.  I’m pretty sure that his heart hasn’t been fixed.  I mean, I know that you said the doctors fixed his heart, but they haven’t healed it all the way.  His heart is still broken because he doesn’t have a family.”

Good grief.

She was spot-on.

His heart is still broken.

And we desperately want to see it fully healed.

Adoption is many things.  It is a miracle.  It is redemption.  It is a journey riddled with sweat and tears.  It is a roller coaster ride.  It is love without boundaries.  It is hard work.  It is an exchange of grace.  It is the gospel made visible.  And it is a river of broken hearts.

Broken hearts of birth parents who have had to make such heart-wrenching decisions.

Broken hearts of orphaned children who are yearning for the love of a family, and yearning for the assurance that they are worthy of that love.

Broken hearts of adoptive parents who are troubled by the amount of trauma that their child has experienced, and troubled by the knowledge that they have gained something beautiful that another set of parents has lost.

But, there is healing to be found when we follow the river’s path to the One who specializes in healing broken hearts, and binding up the deepest of wounds.  When the river of broken hearts collides with the river of Christ’s living water, a confluence of healing can be found.

For birth parents.

For orphans.

For adoptive parents.

For all who are trying to remain afloat in a river of broken hearts.

~~~~~

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)  

~~~~~

China & Cheerios

August 18, 2017

It’s just a simple breakfast cereal.
But, it holds special meaning for our family.

Grace spread Cheerios all over our hotel bed a couple days after I met her. She snacked on them, played with them, put them in cups, dumped them out, and threw them. As she did, I saw her personality start to shine, and I saw her start to come out of her shell.

The first food I ever handed to Haven was a bowl full of Cheerios on Gotcha Day. He loved them. Scarfed them right up.

Earlier this year, Bryan created a Chinese flag out of Cheerios on our kitchen counter. It was his way of surprising me with the news that he was ready to adopt for a third time.

Cheerios and China continue to coexist in our family’s unfolding story. So, when I found out that Cheerios was offering free t-shirts, thanks to a recent promotion, I took advantage of it right away. Excited to pack up my new shirt, and take it with me to China in (hopefully) a few months! 

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