Sunday, August 11, 2013

Josie, Our Joy

As I read over the last two blog posts and thought about all that has happened in the last year, I am overwhelmed.  We welcomed Josie home one year ago today.  I can hardly believe it has already been a year, even though I can barely remember life without her.  

This is a picture of our sweet Josie in China.  Do you notice anything missing?  I do.  This picture is so precious, but it always reminds me of a painful reality, we were not there.  Tyson and I did not travel to China to get Josie.  Of course that was not our choice.  We had no control over the situation.  But we did travel to get Ren, which makes me even more aware of what we missed.  We had very few pictures of Josie in China and very few of her time with her travel group.  My heart ached to know more and fill in the missing pieces.  So, I did what any good, (slighty psychotic) mom would do, I turned to YAHOO.  Yes, if you travel among the adoption community, you know what I am talking about.  A few weeks or so after Josie came home, I joined a Yahoo group for families that had adopted from the Zhejiang province in China.  I wrote a simple post stating something like, "We had adopted our daughter through a dissolved adoption.  We did not travel to China to get her.  Any info about her province would be appreciated."  Time passed and I had heard nothing.  Then one day I had an email from the Zhejiang travel group.  I was totally unprepared for what I read.  The email was from a lady who was in Josie's travel group!  She had all kinds of pictures of Josie and sweet stories of their time in China.  That one email set off a chain of events that I can barely wrap my heart around, much less, write down.
These pictures were taken at our pool on Memorial Day this year.  To the passerby, the pictures would be a normal group of friends.  Anyone looking in would see moms, dads and kids, (lots of kids).  But these pictures represent so much more. They tell a story of God's promises fulfilled and the enormity of His unmatchless love.
In Josie's China Travel group, there were a total of five families including Josie's first family.  Three of the families spent Memorial Day with us.  Did I mention one family drove all the way from Texas and another from Missouri? I was a little worried about having all the families over.  I mean we didn't really know each other.  Wouldn't it be weird?  Just like the rest of Josie's story, I can't explain that day.  It was so easy, so joyful.  These families have prayed for us and given us the link to Josie's past that we would have otherwise not had.
One other family was not able to make it Memorial Day but guess who I ran into at the Orphan Summit? None other than the mom from that family!!

The one other thing that I totally had no clue about was Josie's Chinese town and the orphanage that she came from.  Even though Josie was in China with these other families, she was the only one adopted from her orphanage.  The Lord knew my heart and that I desired to know all I could, but I thought that finding out anything else was unlikely......of course until I got another email from the Zhejiang group.  This time it was an email from a precious lady in the NETHERLANDS!  She was able to tell me about Josie's town and her orphanage.  And guess what else?  Her son and Josie were in the orphanage together!

I could not make all of this up if I tried.  This is just the cliff note version of our story.  There are so many other miracles. It just overwhelms me that the Lord has provided so much for me, but more importantly for Josie.  As she grows up, she may, like a lot of adopted children, struggle with identity or feelings of abandonment.  As she hears her story, there is one thing she has to know:  The Lord, our creator, our savior, loved her and had plans for her.

We celebrated today.  Josie's Forever Family Day.  We went to see Planes at the movies.  We ate at Shogun, (Japanese food, I know:), with one of the dear families from her travel group.  We went to Target and she picked out a Tinkerbell doll.  But the best thing about today was Josie, pointing to herself, telling everybody, very proudly, "MY DAY".

To my Josie:  You are a joy and why the Lord has given me the privilege to be your mother, I will never know.  I love you!

To Josie's travel group:  Thank you for loving our girl, loving our family, and filling the gaps for us!

To my Lord:  I praise you Lord God, the God of Israel, who ALONE does marvelous deeds.  Praise be to your glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with your glory, Psalm 72:18,19.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

6 Months Later

Six months ago, Miss Josie became a member of our family.  When I think back on that day, it is almost humorous.  It wasn't anything like any of our other additions.  We knew for 9 months that Ty and Henry were  each on their way.  We prepared for Ren for over five years.  With all three of them there was the usual fan fare, excitement, showers, visits to the hospital, trip to China, the usual, right?  But Josie.......the whole process took about three weeks.  Our social worker pulled up in her minivan and delivered Josie.  Our boys were extremely confused.  They didn't understand why we weren't packing for China.  The day was so.....uneventful, I guess is the only way to describe it.  But let me reassure you, life since that day has been anything but.....and not because things have been difficult;  absolutely, the opposite.  Life with Josie can be described with one word, MIRACULOUS. She is kind and gentle,  loving and joyful, smart and endearing.  She has grown tremendously in her speech and in her overall development.  She is amazing.

And on to another miraculous turn, Josie's adoption fees were $15,000.  And of course, we had no money.  We haven't had much of a chance to rebuild our savings since our last adoption.  Right off the bat we received three grants that totaled a little over $6000!  We only needed $8600.  By December, we still did not have the money, though I have to say, I wasn't really worried.  I mean my Lord brought my Chinese daughter TO me, I knew He could take care of the fees.  And He did!!!  Our adoption Agency, Bethany Christian Services, has amazing donors.  They had approached one of their donors concerning Josie's adoption fees.  By the end of the conversation, they had committed to paying off Josie's entire adoption!!!  As if that weren't enough, our agency shared with us that the donors were the same donors that had given a $4000 grant to our family to begin Ren's adoption over 7 years ago.  We are not allowed to know personal information about our donors, but I know this; because of their obedience to the Lord, their hearts for orphans, and their selfless giving, I have two beautiful little girls that have forever changed my life.

As I lay in bed and think on all the Lord has done, I marvel at how good He is and how much He loves the orphan.  He calls people to adopt.  He calls people to pray.  He calls people to serve.  He calls people to give.  It is amazing to see how He has so woven our story together with so many of His servants. I hope you will be encouraged by Josie's story.  I hope you can see the hand of the Lord, but also see that He has a plan for you to do your part to "bring justice to the fatherless", Isaiah 1:17.

Here's a video of our precious girl!  You might have to pause the playlist to hear the video:)