Monday, April 29, 2013

New Global Fundraising Site Up and Running!

We can now receive donations to Benjamin's adoption fees from almost anywhere in the world!  Please share and encourage other's to share as well!  Help us set the record for fastest adoption ever!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Faith vs. Fear

The past 24 hours have been, for me, a lesson in faith and in fear.  You see, I have a son half way around the world who has a very, very serious heart defect.  Actually heart defects (plural).  It is honestly a miracle that he is alive today.  I can not say what occurred but just know that in the last 24 hours I have been an emotional wreck, just wondering if he's alive and if he's ok. 

When we were in the adoption process for Madeleine my worries centered around her emotional well-being and comfort.  Was somebody cuddling her when she cried?  Did someone get up at night with her when she had a nightmare and speak reassuring words of peace to her heart?  Does she know what it is to be cared for?

With Benjamin, it's different.  With Benjamin I wonder if he's breathing.  What is his oxygen saturation level?  Was he able to eat enough today without having a "spell"? Is his little fighting heart still beating?

Last night when I was feeling the most overwhelmed with worry, I saw a post on Facebook posted by Kay Warren.  Kay Warren's son committed suicide on April 5th.  Since the news broke about Matthew, her son, I have followed along as Kay and her husband, Rick, have dealt publicly with this tragedy.  They have been posting consistently on Twitter and Facebook both words of encouragement and requests for prayer.  Yesterday's Facebook post by Kay was significantly longer than any of her other posts had been and dealt specifically with the issue of fear and honestly about what she is facing each day as she navigates the repercussions of her son's death. (I have reposted her status update below.)
Reading the words of this grieving mother brought to surface all the fear I have been wrestling with when it comes to Benjamin.  Her vulnerability helped to move my heart to the place where I could then pray that prayer along with her.

You see, I believe in God.  I believe he is sovereign.  What is hard for me is hearing from other Christians the exhortation to "not fear" because perfect love casts out fear, God has not given us a spirit of fear, God is in control, everything will be ok if I just trust God.  My spirit just wasn't buying it.  I've seen far too many feared possibilities become realities in my life and in the lives of those I love.  I want to trust God but the fact is that doesn't mean everything will be ok.  Shit Skubala happens.  It does. And telling myself that God is in control does not stop those things from happening.  So what do I do with that?  I refuse to bury my head in the sand and pretend that everything is alright.

What makes the difference to me is not the (although good-intentioned) suggestion that I just "not fear".  It is the underlying promise (not possibility; promise) that whatever happens...whatever happens, it will be for my good and His glory.  That is something I can hold on to when I'm wondering if my son will live.  Not that God will "make everything better" but that God will take the skubala and redeem it.  He doesn't promise sunshine and rainbows.  He does promise that he will cause all things to work together for my good. (Romans 8:28 ESV) And even though we might not catch a glimpse of that good while in the midst of the suffering, we can be "fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised." (Romans 4:21 ESV) 

So today I am relying on the God of Joseph, who suffered much at the hands of men but God redeemed his adversities in order to save many lives.  I am relying on the God of Abraham, who in hope believed against hope that God would do what He promised.  I'm holding my fear up to my God, the God who redeems... the God who does what He promises... for my good and His glory.

Where is your faith/fear struggle today?  Is there a particular promise from God that helps you through those times of crisis?  Share it in the comments!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How do I help?

I've heard that question quite a few times in the past few weeks as we've begun this journey to bring Benjamin home.  So, for those of you who would like to contribute to a specific step in the adoption process, here is our fundraising goal page which breaks down most of the remaining costs we have left to fund.
Bringing Benjamin Home
Please feel free to "share" this with anyone you think might be interested in helping to bring Benjamin home.


Tonight I sit with tears streaming down my face as I write this post in the comfort of my warm living room and regret the times I have remained silent.  Times I haven't said what needed to said.  Times I haven't done what needed to be done.  Times I've pretended not to know.

Scripture says: "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." (James 4:17; NIV)

This evening I watched the documentary, "Stuck".  I don't know what I was expecting.  I have always been passionate about adoption.  I have always spoken up for adoption as a perfectly normal way to have a family.  I have always promoted the cause of the "unwanted".  But I'm not so sure now that I've done enough.  What have I really sacrificed?  When have I really given until it hurts?  The faces of the millions of children who are currently institutionalized all over the world broke my heart in new ways.  Their stories resonated with me in way they never have before at a depth I didn't realize they could. 

Perhaps it is because we are trying so hard to get to our son, Benjamin Li, right now and have been discouraged by all the red tape and hoops we have to jump through to get to him.  It's more real to me than ever before because the need to get him home and get him treatment is so very urgent.

I challenge you.  I challenge you to join me in knowing.  Watch. Learn. And then do something.  I'm not saying everyone is called to adopt.  Write letters. Share the documentary.  Spread the word. Increase the awareness.  Support the adoptive families in your community. Sponsor foster care for an institutionalized child.

This my Madeleine.  She was "Stuck" until December 2005.  Today she is "unstuck" and is with her forever family.

This is Benjamin.  In the hospital after he contracted pneumonia in the orphanage.  Benjamin is still "Stuck".  I will not sit back and casually wait for this process to unfold.  I am going to bring my baby boy home.

This is "STUCK"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye...

Today has turned out to be a pretty tough day.  We are preparing ourselves tonight to say goodbye to Little Bear who has been our family dog for about 10 years.  He has been a special part of our family and especially to Emma.

A Bridge Called Love

It takes us back to brighter years,
to happier sunlit days
and to precious moments
that will be with us always.
And these fond recollections
are treasured in the heart
to bring us always close to those
from whom we had to part.
There is a bridge of memories
from earth to Heaven above...
It keeps our dear ones near us
It's the bridge that we call love.
    Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Please keep Benjamin in your prayers over the next few days... for both our adoption process and his health.  We are praying that God will continue to open doors, like He has been!  He is so faithful and knows us so very well...what kind of encouragement we each need, how much each of us can handle...  I'm elbow deep in paperwork right now so I will post more after is where we are right now:
4/9/13 - Melissa's physical appointment for her new life insurance policy; pick up physical reports from our primary care physician; more reading and more online courses
4/10/13 - go to the notary with the forms from our home study as well as a couple for our dossier; Social Worker is picking up the bulk of our paperwork today
4/12/13 - We will be cleaning our house like mad! :-)  (and then the girls and I have Peter Pan rehearsal)
4/13/13 - Peter Pan rehearsal till 3 pm and then our home study visit which will last approximately 4 hours!!!!  (individual interviews with us and our kiddos; house check; paper check etc)

Thank you for your prayers!

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.