Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Updates on Channah!

Yesterday morning I received a most pleasant surprise in my email:  an update from Channah's orphanage.  They gave me updated measurements and five recent pictures of her!  It was just the boost this momma needed to keep on moving forward.  We have all of our paperwork completed but we are being held up by one background check for Eric from D.C.  If you can, please pray that D.C. would get their rears in gear so we can move forward.  We really need to move on and apply to USICS so we can hopefully be DTC (Dossier To China) by December 18th.

We learned that Channah is back in school and enjoying herself.  From what we were told it sounds as though Channah is in a school much like the school Dima attends here in the States.  Eric and I are so grateful that she has the opportunity to learn and interact a little with the outside world.  She lives at the school during the week and then the orphanage on the weekends.  We also learned that Channah just turned 11, not 12 as previously thought!  In China the day you are born you are counted as 1 since you are in your first year.  So all of this time we thought we were on the verge of the teenage years when really, we have an extra year.
Channah's measurements are as follows:

Height: 137 cm (almost 4 1/2 feet)
Weight: 27 kg  (59 1/2 pounds)
Head: 52 cm  (20.4 inches)
Chest: 65 cm  (25 1/2 inches)
Feet: 22 cm  (about 8 1/2 inches)  

From what we can tell by her measurements she is the same weight as our Elijah who is 9 and in between Jeremiah and Elijah in height.

I also received five pictures of Channah with some friends that I would love to share with you all (and there is still the longer video I have of her from August of 2012 - she was 9).  The pictures make total sense and are ironic but I am not going to be so quick to share them.  We are still rather short on meeting our total goal of $5,720 by the end of November.  As of right now we still need to raise $4,050 to meet our agency fees and apply to USICS.  In my previous entry I offered to share the video if we raised $500 by October 31st and with the 31st being two days away we are nowhere near that goal, either.  I am willing to compromise, however, and will offer this challenge to you:

Visit my Etsy shop, Chicken Momma's Change, and for every 5 items I sell I will share one of the pictures from our update.  When a total of 10 items have sold from my shop I will not only share the pictures, but the video as well.  And let me tell you, the video is awesome!  

I have my Thanksgiving necklaces on sale for $6.00!  There are some lovely Oriental necklaces that I've made in honor of Channah, and some bling rings that are very unique and can be matched to just about any outfit.  Come and see!!

There is a special someone missing from this picture....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Holding Our Girl Hostage (A Video, That Is)!

This afternoon there was an absolute blessing awaiting me in the mailbox.  The family that provided the recent pictures that I have posted of Channah burned a DVD for us that contains a video of Channah!  It is from when she was nine years old.  It is over a minute in length and is focused on her the entire time.  It would be fantastic to share the video with the world but I see this as an opportunity to benefit our adoption.

Our family needs to still raise $4,080 by the end of November. $720 of that is for our USICS application and the balance is for our agency fee.  If we raise $500 by October 31st be it from our fundraisers or flat out donations I will post the video for all the world to see right here on this blog.  You may donate to our Paypal (not tax-deductible) or participate in one of our fundraisers:

In the meantime please pray for her continued health, safety, and protection.  I received an update from the agency this afternoon and Channah is back in school.  So far she is doing well and has good marks in her classes.  The video, however, did show that she needs a family.  I truly believe that it would give her the confidence, happiness, and medical opportunities that she would not otherwise have.  Channah is 12 years old now and will be unable to be adopted by the age of 14.  At age 16 she is turned out onto the streets with no way to earn an income, care for herself, or even have a place to live.  Our family is willing and able to provide all of that for her and more!  Will you join our family in being part of her life's story?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor...

Looking for some new jewelry that has been made by a mother frantically working to earn money for her family's adoption? 
Want to help fund someone's adoption but just cannot choose from all of the various fundraisers?
Well look no further!
(insert cheesy commercial music:  dun dun dun...la la la...)
I have JUST the place for you!

That's right, folks! You can purchase unique, lovingly made jewelry at a fair price all while helping to bring THIS girl home!

How about a lovely antique bronze Chinese Pagoda necklace?
Or maybe a bright and cheery pair of ladybug earrings for good luck?
Maybe a Happiness necklace?
Or maybe some "Peace".

100% of the profits from the sale of each item goes directly towards agency fees and USICS application fee.  

There are four little boys (im)patiently waiting to have a sister!
And two nutty folks that have lots of love to give (and great senses of humor!)!!
So act now!!  Operators are standing by!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our Budding Artist

Yesterday I joined a Yahoo group for those who have or are in the process of adopting from Channah's orphanage.  Suffice to say that I am so very glad that I did as I was in contact with some mommas who have met our sweet girl!  Even more exciting is that one mother in particular was able to send three photos to me from August of 2012.  Channah was 9 in the pictures and I will TREASURE them until I finally get to meet her face to face.  In the pictures Channah was in the orphanage director's office and was showing off some of her artwork.  I was amazed!  Channah has Cerebral Palsy yet look at the beautiful artwork she created!  This only goes to show that she has potential to do something with her life!

This precious girls longs to be in a family... deserves to be in a family!  

Again, we have several fundraisers going on thanks in part to the generosity of others who are donating their time and effort to our adoption:

*My Etsy shop, Chicken Momma's Change.  100% of the profit goes directly towards our adoption and gets sent directly to our adoption agency to cover fees.

*Channah's former Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Warrior from last year, Ginger on a Mission.  Order from her and she will donate 50% of her profit to our adoption (specify our family at check out).

*Discovery Toys!  An ardent advocate is hosting a Discovery Toy fundraiser for our family that is running until we raise a bit of money.  Purchase some fantastic, educational toys and help and orphan come home!

*Scentsy!  My dear friend, Marion, has reopened our Scentsy fundraiser for our family.  Scentsy products make fantastic Christmas gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, etc...  

*Our youth pastor's wife, Denise, is hosting a Premiere Jewelry party for our adoption, too (access code: dcpd7)!  While the actual evening of this fundraiser is November 3rd, you may order online ahead of time to benefit our adoption.

I sent the last of our paper work off to our agency yesterday and we are about to apply to USICS.  Our Dossier needs to be off to China no later than December 18th so we are getting down to the wire! Let's get this girl HOME!!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Progress

It feels so good to be getting more Dossier documents sent off to our agency!  Yesterday Eric's new letter of employment arrived from his company's corporate offices and then we received a call late Friday afternoon that our local police clearances were ready for Eric to pick up on Monday.  All that is really left is to apply to USICS and have some family photos taken.  YAY!  Step by step!

In terms of fundraising and such we have $1600 out of the $5720 needed.  Please do not forget about our Discovery Toy fundraiser, my Etsy Shop, Ginger on a Mission, and starting on Friday, November 3rd you can please an order through Premiere Jewelry (access code: dcpd7)!  Our church's youth pastor's wife, Denise, is having a fundraiser party for our adoption both online AND in person at my house.  That is four different ways that you can help us get Channah HOME!  Eric is working overtime and I will happily make jewelry until the cows (or Channah!) come home.  Our Dossier must be off to China no later than December 18th which really does not leave us much time.  All fees that are currently coming up must be paid before the Dossier gets sent.

Channah desires to be adopted and be a part of a family.  She just turned 12 and has never known the love of a family, not even a foster family.  Here she is being asked if she wants to be adopted.  She answers, "yes".

Will you help make this young lady's dream come true?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not an Emotional Response

A few weeks back I was speaking with someone who I love and respect.  He knows our family fairly well, but not as well as he thought.  This gentleman has known my husband since he was a toddler and has seen my husband grow into the man he is today. Based on that fact alone this individual really should have thought more carefully about our conversation.   We were discussing something completely unrelated to our adoption when out of the blue he brought up Channah.

"Have you even met her?"
"What about your other children?"
"You cannot save the world!"
"It seems as though you made an emotional decision."
"It is bad enough you adopted that boy with Down Syndrome."
"You will be stuck with these children forever!"

I confess that I just allowed the gentleman to keep on with one reason after another as to why we should not adopt Channah.  It truly caught me off guard and I could merely thank him for his concern and end the conversation as quickly as possible.  Typically I am ready with a witty response or one that would at the very least cause someone to stop and think about what they are saying, particularly if they have no experience with adoption.  But I said nothing.

Over the past few weeks I have thought about what this person said and in my mind I have come up with responses.  While I am certain that this individual will never see my blog I still feel as though I need to share a little bit more as to the why of embarking on yet another adoption.  Not to justify it for myself, but to share that there are of course always a million reasons why someone should not do something; our family, the boys included, seek God's direction in all things, even if they are difficult decisions.

"Have you ever met her?":  No.  I personally have never met Channah though I have spoken to two individuals who have.  One is a fellow adoptive mother who spent some time with her and advocated for Channah for two years.  This mother would have adopted Channah if it had been the Lord's will but it was not.  WE were called to be her family.  When I spoke with this adoptive mother I asked very direct and difficult questions.  Questions that could have very easily had answers leading to reasons as to why we should not adopt Channah.  I also contacted a missionary couple that run a foster home located directly next door to Channah's orphanage.  They were so happy to answer a bunch of questions I had and were able to give me a little more insight to Channha's day to day life.  They see her almost every day.  Not once did they give me a reason to second guess our decision.

"What about your other children?":  What about them?  They are SO excited about the prospect of having an older sister.  The boys fully understand what is involved thus time around since we adopted Dima and they will be the first to tell you that adopting Dima was one of the best decisions we ever made.  Often times I see a completed writing assignment from school and they have composed a story or narrative that is either centered around Dima or mentions him.  It is all positive.  All four boys are happy, well adjusted young men who see the world through different eyes because of Dima.  They have told me more than once that Dima has made them better people and they love him very much.

"You cannot save the world!":  That is absolutely correct.  I, Jenny, cannot save the world.  That is why Jesus Christ died on the cross.  What I can do, however, is make a world of difference in a child's life as a result of the love of Jesus Christ.  That includes my four boys, Channah, and any other child with whom I come into contact.  Without the Lord I can do nothing of value.

"It seems as though you have made an emotional decision.":  That comment sounds as though one assumes that I just saw Channah's picture, cried, and immediately signed on to adopt her.  Not so much.  I saw her picture back in January and yes, felt drawn to her.  But there was no way at that time that our family was in any position to adopt.  We prayed.  We sought the counsel of Godly friends.  We spoke at length with our social worker.  I spoke with other moms who have children with Cerebral Palsy.  We prayed some more.  Emotional decisions are made on the fly, quickly and without much thought.  Our committing to Channah did not happen until June.  So do the math - it took us six months to commit to her and begin the process.  Hardly emotional.

"It is bad enough you adopted that boy with Down Syndrome.":  Is it?  Because we sure do love him and please refer to my previous response about how much his brothers love him.  Just because he has Down Syndrome does not at all mean that he is a monster or some horrible burden.  I can only assume that you said that because you personally would never desire to have a child with Down Syndrome.  As we say here in the south to ignorant statements, "Oh bless your heart!".

"You will be stuck with these children forever.":  Praise be to God for that!  Adoption is forever and I am so happy, humbled, and blessed that I get to be Dima and Channha's mother forever.  Quite frankly I cannot imagine my life any other way!  But if you meant that Dima and Channah will be living with us forever, well, then you truly do not know our family as well as I had thought or hoped you did.  Dima will be in school until he is 22 and yes, living at home.  But then he gets to be off on his own with the help of the Key Training Center where he will live somewhat independently, have a job, go on trips with his friends, and lead a very fulfilling and productive life.  Eric and I desire for Dima to be as independent as possible!  He is able to do so much with his life now that he has a family and education.  We want for Dima what we desire for ALL of our children.  As for Channah, well, I hope that she continues to do well with her studies here in the States (she is in school right now with math being her best subject!) and is able to go onto to college.  As far as we know she is not mentally deficient and there is no reason why she cannot have a secondary education, a job, get married, and have a family!  How is that a burden?!  Eric and I will push Dima and Channah just as we do Jeremiah, Elijah, and Sammy.  And what if something were to happen to Jeremiah, Elijah, or Sammy where they had to live with us due to unforeseen circumstances?  We would never view that as a burden, rather, it is always a blessing to have them with us.  

Bottom line, we chose to adopt again because that is what God has for our family.  What may be good for our family may not necessarily be good for another.  While we certainly advocate for adoption, we advocate for an informed adoption.  In other words, we encourage families to do their homework before diving into the adoption pool.  No, it is not easy and our family, boys included, know that adoption is lots of work, patience, tears, and smiles.  What we are certain of is that God guides our family each and every day.  

So if the gentleman was sitting with me this morning having a cup of coffee and we were ending our previous conversation I would say to him this, "You know, thank you for your concern.  It is kind of you to be looking out for us and I know you would never want anything bad to happen to us.  It is really quite easy to come up with a million and one reasons why we shouldn't do something because it may be difficult or cause pain.  It is my sincere hope, however, that you see what a blessing Dima has been to our family and that while life is not always easy, we are happy.  Jeremiah, Elijah, and Sammy are happy, well adjusted, excelling in school, and have become such kind, caring, compassionate, patient, young men because they see life a little differently than most young people their age.  Eric and I are certainly not perfect parents but we seek after a perfect God who is all wise.  Life is meant to be lived and it is messy.  But when one walks in obedience the blessings are immeasurable.  I only wish you could walk one day in our shoes to see that."

How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.  Psalm 127:5

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Psalm 128:3

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gloriously Ruined

Last evening on Facebook I saw a friend post a video about a family's adoption journey.  It was a beautiful story very much like many others I've seen but there was something about this particular story that stuck with me.  The mother said, "Our lives were gloriously ruined!".

Gloriously.  Ruined.

Two words:  One that is positive and one that is negative.  Put together, however, it describes the essence of adoption so perfectly in a way that I had yet to hear.  I thought about our adoption of Dima and how our lives were turned upside down from the moment we said, "Yes" to adoption.

It was amazing to finally be able to hold him, hug him, kiss him, love him in person.

It was also amazingly difficult at times to graft Dima into our family.  But worth every painstaking moment. He has been with us for two years now and is thriving!  He is happy, healthy, well adjusted, has straight A's in school, and has done a complete 180 with his behavior at school.  Dima loves us and tells us at least 100 times a day.  He has bonded to us and is truly part of our family.

It was during those difficult times when Dima would be in a frenzy, hurting, not wanting to fully accept our unconditional love that it made me love him all the more.  Ironically I would also wonder, "What did I do to my family?".  God obviously did not call the equipped (Eric and I), rather, he equipped the called.  When the going got tough, the momma fell to her knees and would pray for guidance, wisdom, and help.

With the experience we had with Dima's adoption we were absolutely open to having our lives "gloriously ruined" once again.  It is not going to be easy (it already has been difficult) but we know that God is walking just a few steps ahead and can even see the end of the road.  Eric and I are also fully aware that the moment we get to meet Channah in person it is not the end of our journey, rather, it is really just beginning.  There will be many more bumps along the way once she is finally with us.  Oh but what an amazing God we serve!

So as I allow the words gloriously and ruined to marinate in my heart and mind I ask the Lord to continue to equip our family as we continue along in this roller coaster of a journey.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. 
Joshua 1:9

Monday, October 14, 2013

Paperwork Progress = Fundraising

Today I send a batch of Dossier documents to our agency for them to check over and have authenticated!!!  What a HUGE load off of my mind.  Eric and I spent the better part of Saturday going through everything to make certain that we did everything correctly.  We are only missing our local police clearances and a new letter of employment from Eric's employer.  Our local police clearances were done back in May before we committed to Channah but they have expired.  Then Eric's letter of employment was not done correctly and we are at the mercy of his company's corporate office in Tennessee!  Yikes!  Please pray that it is done correctly this time and that they do not drag it out too long for us.

With paperwork progress there is of course the "F" word.  Fundraising.  In the coming weeks we will have $3600 due in agency fees, $750 due for Dossier fees, and our application to USICS which is $720.  That adds up to $5,720!!  Out of that we have saved/raised $1,550 which leaves us needing to raise/save $4,170.  This also means that we will be doing some serious fundraising over the next few weeks.  So here are the various ways you can help if you choose to do so:

As always I have my Etsy Shop, Chicken Momma's Change, up and running with some lovely new items such. I have European charm bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces, and even a beautiful keychain.  With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas coming up I have some adorable items for each occasion!  If you do not see what you are looking for please feel free to ask.  I have had some success in making custom pieces and the customers have been satisfied.  You can see some of my items in my shop's preview on the right-hand side of my blog.

Second, we have a Discovery Toy fundraiser!  This is a fabulous opportunity to get some Christmas gifts with a percentage of the purchase going towards our adoption.  The toys are high quality and educational so you cannot go wrong.  There are toys for infants all the way up through age 10!

If you wish to purchase from my Discovery Toy party, please click HERE.

And finally, Channah's Angel Tree Warrior from last year has an Etsy shop called Ginger on a Mission.  She makes beautiful handbags, lunch bags, business card holders, etc... that are durable and stylish.  These would also make great Christmas gifts for your friends and family!  If you wish to order from her shop to benefit our adoption, just make sure that you indicate that in your order.  She will donate 50% of your purchase to our adoption!

It is exciting to be at this stage though overall the process is longer than adopting from Ukraine.  So many people ask us when Channah will be home and quite simply put, I truly do not know.  God knows, however, and His timing is absolutely perfect in all things.  While our family would love for Channah to be home yesterday, we are trying to enjoy the anticipation of welcoming a new family member.  Please continue to pray for our family as we walk in obedience.  Most importantly please pray for dear Channah.  We know that she is in the throws of school and we pray that she is diligent in her studies, enjoys the time with her friends, and that she continues to have good health.  While she is happy she does desire to be in a family.  Never once in her 12 years has she experienced family life.  Not even with a foster family.  Thank you all for your words of support, encouragement, prayers, and generous donations/purchases.  We are both grateful and humbled.