Monday, December 31, 2007
We are going to do things a little bit different here on Monday Meditations.
You see, I know we are all praying for our sweet babies, those who are caring for them and for God to use them. I am praying for our babies birth families that they will feel Gods presence among them in what can only be a very stressful situation.
Today I want to pray for specific people and I think I will do this each week. I hope you will join me as I am finding that praying for friends and even people I do not know FUN! Really, really fun. To go to my Creator and talk to him directly is just awesome and what a privilege.
1) The Hoffmans. I have spoken about them before. They are okay people. Just kidding. They rock! They are humble and have become spiritual mentors for me, although I know they don't think so. they are adopting from both China and Ethiopia and are certainly on The Great Adventure. They have had hard times. They have had some serious God moments lately.They have shared their hearts with me and are REAL! I love them both dearly and it makes my eyes water to know they are a part of my life. Pray that they stay encouraged and will continue to allow God to lead their family. Lets shower them with prayers today!
2) The family over at The Seventh Diamond. She has made my blogging experience awesome. What an encouragment. She has Saturday morning chats over at her blog so if you are ever awake at around 8am, stop by. There is always someone to visit. I hope she finds the encourament she has given me. Lets also talk to God about my sweet friend!
Okay, I have spoken to you about my new interest with Love Without Boundaries. I am learning more about this organization and fascinated in their work. The love they have for those who can not help themselves.This weekend at work, I spent some time on their website and 2 sweet faces caught my attention. Please pray for babies Le and Chou. The type if surgery that chou needs is one of the types of patient I take care of at work each night. Please take a moment right now and pray they find love today and that the money needed to do their surgeries would just pour in. There is a place on the website to donate if you feel led. No amount is too small!!
1) All Nov 2005 families that were on my blogroll are home from China! WooHOo
2) New referrals should be here soon
4) the awesome friends we have made through this process
5) God is leading people to adoption all over the world
Friday, December 28, 2007
One of the things that was talked about at our Christmas Eve service was change. Craig asked the question "How have you changed this year?", and "How are you going to change next year"? Both excellent questions.
I know that the Christopher family has really changed in our 6 years of marriage and it will continue to change. To grow, I think there must be change. I hate change. I fear change but then again most of the time, I really appreciate change. the biggest change will occur when a) we see that sweet face on referral day and 2)when LynnMarie is placed in our arms. That is once change i am looking forward to.
But we have to wait for that day. What are you doing during the wait? During our First Friday gatherings, Susan and Dan have continued to encourage us to find things to do during our wait. Michael and I have several things to work on.
During our wait we will
1) work on losing weight and becoming healthier
2) building a stronger marriage
3) getting out of debt
4)learn about our daughters culture
5)continue to be encouraged by following others journey
Things that I (Amy) would like to do are
1) Learn more about Love Without Boundaries
2)become a better friend and wife
I can't even begin to share with you how my heart and soul have been transformed this year. Its totally amazing and really is indescribable. The friends we have made during this process have helped me change and grow emotionally and spiritually and for that, I am so thankful to all of you. You have made this process fun! Adoption is fun! Okay so the paperchasing could have been a bit more exciting, but its been awesome. Adoption rocks and we aren't getting a referral for quite a while.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We had a great season and I know that 2008 will bring wonderful memories to the Christopher house.
This Christmas, LynnMarie received a ladybug blanket and crib sheet from her Uncle Tim and Aunt Mery!!!!
Recently, I have been reading the Love's Journey 2 book. This book is a fundraiser for Love Without Boundaries, the organization that helps provide all types of care to orphans in China. The website is awesome, and I am falling in love with this group.
I thought I would share a poem that I read last night
You Are Mine
by Kelly Feichtinger
I love you
Though I have yet to see your face.
You are mine.
I dream of holding you in my arms
My child from far away
You are mine.
I like awake at night
Imagining who you will be.
You are mine.
I prepare our home and my heart
To receive such a precious child.
You are mine.
I pray for your happiness and safety
Until I can be the one to provide it.
You are mine.
I hold my breat
As we wait for the call.
You are mine.
I will the time to fly by
As we wait fir permission to travel
You are mine.
I feel as though my heart will burst
When you are placed in my arms.
You are mine.
You rest your soft cheek against mine
And sigh contentedly.
I am yours.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
This is a newer book by the author of one of the first books we bought for LynnMarie's library, God Gave Us You. We had this one at the church bookstore and I saw it last week and decided it should be the LID book for December. As it turns out, we had 2 copies left at the store when we got to church today and I put one on hold while we went to the early service. By the time I came down to work my shift in the store, the other copy had sold, so we;re glad I put the one on hold. -Michael
Its our 8 month LID anniversary!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Check out the pics below! Thanks friends! You guys rock!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thanks so much. I am so glad participated in this and I am sorry I haven't thanked them yet. LynnMarie got some cool WInne the Pooh stuff and yesterday we got the coolest Christmas stuff. Angela thanks for revealing yourself. You have been too good to me and I hope we get matched up again. Thanks so much. Our CCAI April SP ran for 6 months and our April DTC SP signed up for a year.
THanks again friends!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Why do I compare myself to the Grinch? Most people know I absolutely love the Christmas season. But as in the movie, I feel like my heart doubled in size this weekend. I am so glad Michael shared his thoughts regarding First Friday in the post below.
Friday evening, I had a bad attitude. As much as I love my First Friday friends, I did not want to go. I am going to be pretty honest with you here. It seemed that everyone had great things to look forward to but us. People were home from China, our friends had referrals but the Christopher's had nothing. How selfish was I. One of the greatest parts of this journey is rejoicing with our friends when they have good news. I am so glad that I went. I know with confidence that the Christopher family will grow at the most perfect time and because of that I am going to enjoy this wait.
We all met at La Dolce Vita and I enjoyed the sounds of friends. At dinner were the Ladmans with their new referral for their 2 year old boy, the Hoffmans with their referral for their new son who has the most amazing eyes I have ever seen, Miss Shelby was home from China, Lennah and her family ,the Nolands,and I was lucky to sit near Mr. Sheridan whose presence always makes me smile. As we enjoyed our meal, my nasty attitude went away as I realized I was surrounded people who truly "get us" and for that I am thankful. Even Kim who knows me far better than I thought she did told me later that she realized that Michael and Amy were probably feeling a bit down. Thanks Kim for being you. Oh I had no idea what the night would bring.
As we arrived at First Friday, we visited and socialized with new friends and friends we had not seen in a long time. There was wonderful music playing and then Ms. Carole Ford led the music and God used her to speak directly into my heart. This entire evening was almost a whisper from God. How could I have missed this? My attitude could have prevented me from one of the greatest experiences. During the music, tears fell. Sad tears that made me realize how much time I have wasted worrying about things I can not change. Tears of joy from knowing that one day we will have the family I have dreamed of and tears of happiness of being surrounded from this great group of friends. God pretty much poured His peace upon me.
After Carol sang, Amy Eldridege spoke from Love Without Boundaries which is a ministry that goes to China to help take care of the children by loving them and providing medical care. Michael shared her words but I want to share my thoughts as I listened to her. A song came to mind and I have no idea who sings it or what its about and the words may not make sense to you. It is probably a Steven Curtis Chapman song but who knows.
The words are "What will you do now that you've found me"? You may not understand why these words are important. To me this means a lot. A lot of questions were asked of me that night and the answers were clear. I asked to make me more aware of this desires for me. God speaks to us in so many different ways.
Why are we adopting from China? We want to start a family and there are orphaned babies in China.
Why do we want to adopt an orphan? They need families..Sounds like a win win situation.
SHe mentioed loving the unlovable. We know that God is a father to the fatherless. There are not only orphans but babies with needs that prevent these babies from getting families. As a special needs nurse, I see this and wonder what would have happened to my patients if they did not have the homes that they have.
There really is no reason why we should not go with special needs. For a long time, I have used the " We don't want to go special needs just to decrease our wait" excuse. I am sharing my thoughts here, these are not necessarily Michaels. I have no idea whats going to happen to the Christopher family but I am quite excited about the possibilities. Rebecca, who is a First Friday friend, once commented on this blog, "God is not silent right now". That comment has stayed with me as we have seen Gods hand at work over the past year. This red thread we talk about has just brought the most amazing people into our life. I have said this before that although we are not even half way done with our wait, our lives have been forever changed. Wait til Miss LynnMarie gets home.
Susan and Dan, thanks for bringing Love Without Boundaries to First Friday. I really can't put into words but Amys words meant to many people that night.
Sunday morning we headed to church and the tears fell once again. I am not one to talk about the Holy Spirt moving simply because I am really not good with words but what a service. After the sermon, they played a song and shared videos of the baptisms last week. As i watched the faces of the people as they were lifted out of the water, I couldn't help but cry. To publicly declare their decision was amazing and the expressions were just too much for me. We ended the service with a song that moved me again. I could not tell you the words but it was sung at the perfect time. God spoke this weekend and he was clear and He was loud.
We ended our Sunday with the Christopher Christmas party. That morning I prayed for the people who would attend and we had such a nice time . We had coworkers, church friends, adopting friends, trivia friends and small group friends attend. Thanks to all who came. Hope to see more of you next year.
This season is special. We dont know how many Christmas's will be until LynnMarie comes home. I will use each season to prepare our home and our hearts for her arrival. This has been a year of smiles and tears. It has been a year of wonder, a year of dreams, a year of self awareness. Had we not decided to adopt, I would not have experienced any of this. God is good.
My friends, thank you for being part of this journey.. Thanks for loving us and letting us into your lives. I wish I could put into words what you guys have meant to us.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Tonight we had our monthly First Friday gathering, a support group for those interested in, participating in, or living with the joy of international adoption.
About 10 months ago we started having dinner before the meetings with our friend Karen Ladman, whose husband was, at the time, in Kuwait serving in the U.S. Army. We started sending out emails to other friends and picking a new restaurant each month. Tonight we met at La Dolce Vida, a new Italian bistro located about 2 miles from the church where First Fridays are held and tonight we had about 15 people for dinner! My how we've grown.
We were joined by the Ladman's (Bruce is back), The Perry's (with Sheridan), The Hoffmans, The Nolan's, and I apologize for not knowing all the last names, but Donna with her boys and new addition Shelby (just back from China), and Lenah with her mom and grandmom, so 18 people actually!
This may have been the best First Friday we have attended. We enjoyed socializing for about 45 minutes before the Chapman's began the program. During this time I got to meet the newest natural member of the group, Sophia Radicci, who is precious! Dan introduced Carole, who is one of the praise team singers at North Metro Church. She played the keyboard and sang three songs before leading us in an acapela series of chorus of "O Come Let Us Adore Him." She also told us that while growing up in Macon, GA, the black kids liked to learn and sing French Christmas Carols and then asked us if we were really THAT gullible.
Our guest speaker this month was a very special lady named Amy Eldredge. Amy is an adoptive mom from Oklahoma who has found herself creating and leading a special ministry called Love Without Boundaries. In the past 5-6 years she has probably been to China more times than anyone not in politics.
Love Without Boundaries is dedicated to four key areas of service for Chinese orphans. These areas are medical, nutrition, education, and fostering. You can learn about the ministry at www.lovewithoutboundaries.com.
They send teams to China to perform surgical and medical procedures absolutely for free, especially repairs to cleft lips and cleft palates. They have also done trips to remove tumors and treat cancers. The stories she shared were amazing. Apparently the benefits of foster parenting versus orphanage care are having a great impact. Amy described orphanages where there is no glass in the windows and only plastic sheeting for doors, orphanages with no heating systems, orphanages with mold covering the walls because they regularly flood, and other horrific situations.
The stories that struck me the most have to do with the facts and reasons behind the abandonment of these babies. It is really not an exclusive result of the one-child policy. There are decisions being made for families by the parents of the parents of the babies. When a child is born, the mother is given thirty days of seclusion with the baby to transfer their che and bring luck to the baby and the family. Amy described a situation where a child needed a cleft repair. The baby was too small to treat safely as it was under 10 pounds weight. The mother pleaded with the LWB team, but there was nothing they could do. The mom explained it was her 28th day, and if the baby was not healed, her mother-in-law would make her abandon the baby. With nothing else available, they gave the mother $500 and told her to go and hide, and try to have the baby treated when its weight was up.
I have not been moved by such an experience in a very long time. There is no shame in crying in public, especially when you are exposed to the dramatic needs of those less fortunate than the rest of us, those who don't have the fortune to have been born in the United States. It's times like this that I know we are doing the correct thing in seeking our daughter in China.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
So Amy posted earlier today about people receiving their referrals. I don't get excited in any great manner as Amy does. I realize it's a time of joy for the families getting their matches, but for me I spend time thinking about the math involved.
I understand that batches of referrals are coming out about every 5 weeks. Each batch has about 4 days worth of dossiers processed. There is some variance (not much) as batches may come 4-6 weeks apart and may have 1-7 days worth of dossiers processed, but let's look at the averages.
We were logged in on April 23, 2007. The most recent matches took us through people logged in on December 8, 2005. That is a difference of 501 days worth of dossiers ahead of us. If an average batch has 4 days worth of dossiers, and they release 10 batches a year, then that is 40 days worth of dossiers processed per year. 501 divided by 40 = 12.5
We're being told that the wait should never exceed 3 years, but I don't see how this is possible. At the current rate, we'll be traveling in 2019, IF things don't slow down any more or get stopped entirely. I guess if we look at it this way, it's easier to see why someone told us we will be switching to special needs. Otherwise our daughter may graduate high school when I am roughly 66 years old.
Update - I've been told my math is off, but I was using numbers as I understood them from talking to Amy (my spouse) but Amy (the blog commenter in Virginia) says they are averaging 12 batches a year (though Amy the spouse says it's 4-6 weeks per batch) and 8 days of dossiers processed per batch on average. SO recalculate, 12 batches times 8 days = 96 days processed per year, divided into 501, still puts us well over 5 more years to go. Either way, it's a long time.
Yesterday I spent some time with Miss Rebecca and Sophia and what a joy that was. I always enjoy time with friends and feeding a new baby is also a lot of fun! Thanks guys!
Also, I know this year many people are celebrating their first Christmas with their children. Many people also know this is the last Christmas without their new addition. Many families are also celebrating a "first". A first Christmas without their children. As a nurse who takes care of patients with brain tumors, I ask specific prayers for 2 families. Jenny and Tre who are celebrating Miss Izzys first Christmas but they are also celebrating their first Christmas without Catie who passed away in January. Miss Izzy was born one week after Catie passed away. God has worked in this family and I wish I could share these cool things but I dont thing blogger will let me use all that space. Izzy was placed in this family at such the perfect time. I will not tell you how special this family is to me. I truly adore this family and they have blessed me beyond measure.
Jason and Amber lost 2 girls this year. They lost Aubrey to a brain tumor earlier in the year and Ava was born still born not too long ago. I know their hearts are breaking but their attitude has inspired me and I ask you to pray for comfort for them. Another special family that will be forever etched in my heart.
Many of us do not know how many more Christmas's or other holidays will pass before we bring our children home. I will cherish each moment as we wait for LynnMarie as we pray for her, her birth mom and all who are involved in her care.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Update: Go see the early Christmas present our First Friday friends the Ladmans got! Go, I dont want to spoil it but what an early Christmas present. I so wasn't expecting to see that on their blog today. WooHoo! I am so excited...
Monday, December 03, 2007
-Pray for God's protection over them.
-Pray for your child's health and wellbeing.
-Pray that your child may be comforted and loved each day.
-Pray for your child's eternal salvation.
-Pray for your child's emotional, physical, and spiritual strength.
-Pray that your child will have a passion for God.
-Pray that your child may have a teachable spirit.
-Pray for our hearts during this time.
- pray for those families who have been waiting a long time. Many were expecting to be home from China now this Christmas
- many families will be travelling soon
- many families are having their first Christmas as a family
- adoption has opened the door to many new friends