Saturday, December 28, 2013

In The Moment

I have made a conscious decision to be "in the moment" this Christmas season... to let go of what doesn't matter and cling to those eternal moments that seem to exist outside of time.  Even with our trip to Ch*na coming up so quickly, I have had a strange calm resting within me.  Now, I haven't been 100% successful at this goal but those times when I embrace what is and fully enter into the "now" have reaped many blessings that I could not have anticipated.

Today Larry, Madeleine and I headed out to Ocean Beach.
We walked along Voltaire looking through the windows of the little shops and perusing the menus posted outside each little cafe until we found a new and different place to eat.  After a wonderful Japanese lunch we headed out to the pier soaking in the sun, breathing in the ocean air and laughing at Madeleine's impeccable sense of humor.

Some of you may be wondering about our trip... we are scheduled to leave the morning of Friday, January 10th.  Larry's mom will be staying with Isaac, Emma and Madeleine and Landen will be back up at UCLA.  My mom is traveling with us.  We will fly from San Diego to San Francisco, change planes and then fly to Seoul, Korea on Korean Air.  We will then change planes again and head on to Shanghai.  We will spend the night of 1/11/14 in Sh*nghai and then leave the next morning by bullet train for H*ngzhou, the capital of Benjamin Lilu's province.  On Monday morning, 1/13/14, we are scheduled to meet Benjamin Lilu and take him into our care.  We will finish out the week there as we wait for all of Ch*na's official paperwork to be completed.  We will then fly
from H*ngzhou to Gu*ngzhou where the U.S. consulate is located.  Benjamin will have a medical exam that is required for him to receive his visa into the U.S. and then we will complete all of the visa and immigration paperwork so that when we arrive in the U.S. he automatically becomes a citizen.  Our homecoming will be Friday evening on January 24, 2014.  I am praying that my resolve to fully experience each moment will continue throughout our trip despite jet lag, strange food in my tummy, home sickness etc.  Please continue to pray for us and for Benjamin that our souls will be prepared to recognize one another as family.

Friday, December 13, 2013

And They Ask Us Why...

You’d be surprised at the kind of questions adoptive parents get asked.  Everything from “Oh… is your husband Asian (…black…Hispanic)?” to “How much does it cost?” to “Do you have any of your “own” kids?” to “So, are you not able to conceive?”.  Yes, folks, people, total strangers, have asked about my fertility or lack thereof.   But the question I get most often is “Why?”.  Why are you adopting…when you already have kids or when you don’t have all the money or when you don’t have another bedroom?  Why did you choose China (instead of U.S., Africa, Eastern Europe etc.)?  So, for your reading pleasure I have decided to tackle those “why” questions head on. 

Little disclaimer:  Not every family who is adopting has the same answers to the “whys”.  These answers are unique to the Baldwin Brood and the particular adoption we are going through right now.  In addition, we are not trying to convince anyone or change anyone… this is just what is real and true for our family.

Why are you adopting when you already have so many kids (4 children currently)?
Side Bar:  With all the reality shows focusing on families like the Duggars or Jon and Kate +8, it comes as somewhat a surprise to me that 4 children are considered a large family…

The simple answer:  Because we believe God called us to.

The longer answer:  James 1:27 says that true religion to God is caring for the orphan and the widow in their distress.  God’s heart is for the fatherless and we want our hearts to break with the things that break God’s heart.  We believe that each of the children we have adopted (2 out of our current 4) were placed in our family for a specific reason… that God is redeeming the tragic circumstances that made them “orphans” and is inviting us to participate.  We believe in providence.

Why are you adopting when you don’t have all the money in hand?

The simple answer:  Because we believe God called us to.

The longer answer:  Because over and over we see evidence in scripture that God has a habit of not calling the equipped but equipping the called.  David did not have the stature, reputation, lineage or looks of a King but he is who God chose to lead his people.  Peter was a brash, outspoken fisherman who had a penchant for offending and yet God chose Peter to be the pillar of the church.  Scripture tells us again and again how in our weakness HE makes us strong.  That He uses the things of the foolish to confound the wise.  We do not know exactly why God called US to be Benjamin Lilu’s parents but we know that He did.  In spite of our weaknesses, our deficiencies and our lack of cash on hand.  And, you know what?  There is only one thing to be said:  WE did not do this.  GOD did this.  HE made this happen.  It was nothing we could have done ourselves.  We have been totally dependent on God opening each door, providing each financial blessing, bringing people who want to be a part of Benjamin’s story into our lives… from ALL OVER THE WORLD!  This boy is a true miracle.  And the credit goes solely to God, our/his Father.

Why are you adopting when you don’t have another bedroom to spare in your house? (The answer flows right into the answer of “Why China?”)

Short answer:  Because we believe God called us to.

Longer answer:  Benjamin Lilu has lived in an orphanage… an institution… for all but 6 months of his 6 years of life.  He has lived tightly sandwiched in the midst of a small band of orphans each night.  While here in America the youth dream of (and some insist on) having their own room, in China they can’t even fathom the concept of having their own bed, their own clothes, their own toys… their own ANYTHING!  NOTHING belongs to THEM.  They own nothing.  They belong to no one.  Even their names are chosen simply reflecting where they live and what year they entered the orphanage.  They are not TRULY “named”… named in the sense of being acknowledged as precious, longed for, cared for, advocated for, provided for, protected, loved, fed, comforted, healed… In our western sensibilities we have placed “space”, financial affluence and security, possessions, titles, prestige on the top of the list of our values.  God turns that upside down.  In his kingdom, the first shall be last.  And the last shall be first.  If you want to be great, you must be a servant.  Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Blessed are the meek.  Blessed are those who mourn.  God’s kingdom, to us, seems subversive… crazy at times.  And yet, once one realizes that they are indeed the poor, the meek, the ones who mourn… when they strip all the facades away… this kingdom is the one they can be a part of… not just to live there but as a son or daughter of the King with a full inheritance and overwhelming grace.  In light of God’s kingdom, the number of bedrooms we have in our house, or square footage in our house, or cup holders in our minivan, do NOT matter.  This little life that has burrowed its way into our hearts is what really matters.  No matter what.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Our Article 5 came in which means all we are waiting for now is Travel Approval and then we can schedule our trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are still doing all we can to raise the funds for our flights.  Feel free to shop for Christmas gifts at one of the following sites... a portion of the price goes toward our airfare!