Long Road to China - Our Adoption Story

Trustmark National Bank account set up:

Donations can be made nation wide at any Trustmark National Bank through the account:
Phillip Smith or Niki J. Smith's Adoption Account

If you would like to mail a donation, please mail it to
Phil or Niki Smith
P.O. Box 332
Rienzi, MS 38865

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Nervousness. That strange looking word probably best describes my feelings the last few weeks. My personal code typically dictates that I will be carefree and not allow stress to take over; but, man, it has been one of those weeks!!! Colt fell, hit his head, and had to be hospitalized. The doctors ran a CT, EEG, and MRI (everthing came back ok, but he still suffered a concussion and is having to deal with all of the fallout from that- dizzyness, headaches, mood-swings, etc.) Macy Jade has a sinus infection and feels bad. It is pretty stressful to have on child in the hospital and have to take the other one to the doctor. I totally realize that our woes are small beans compared to what others are going through, but that doesn't make it any less stressful. Niki is sick and trying to keep everything together, running on almost no sleep in 4 nights. All of these things make me nervious and stressed. Another thing lurking in the back of my mind the last few weeks is "what if the whole adoption thing falls through?". Believe me, it happens. I love my little girl and I want to get her ASAP. But really nothing was offical. It was totally up to the Chinese government to accept or reject our family as a suitable home for Gi Gi Dahl. And as I mentioned before they don't have to accept. So much was riding on all of the work done to get us to this point. "Should we have done this differently?" "Do all of the numbers line-up?" "What about the wording of this or that?" I think God knows when we are doubting ourselves and he knows the correct timing and order of critical things. I have felt all along that this is our calling and we are following his will for us and on Wednesday Niki got an email from the agency. CHINA RECOGNIZES OUR FAMILY AS THE ADOPINING FAMILY OF GI GI DAHL!!!! Friday, we opened the mailbox to find a packet that on the front page read: Congratulations on your new daughter! At that moment peace filled my soul. We now must finish some paperwork in the States and will soon get the honor of traveling to China and stand before the Courts and getting our little girl. In a way, I feel that one phase of this journey is coming to a conclusion, but the most life changing is just begining. Please pray for us as we travel on.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Trivial Pursuits

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness (or Happyness for you Will Smith fans)." These famous words were written by a very famous person, probably a Madison, Jefferson, or Adams (they were all pretty busy around that period of history). These words are forever etched in our memory as the Declaration of Independence. They form the basis of our "Rights" as Amercians. They are pretty important- even if we don't really realize it. The only hang-up I have with this declaration is in the "pursuit of happiness" part (Life, Liberty- no problem). But, I have finally figured out that to pursue being happy is futile. It is "chasing the dragon", or better yet....like chasing a cat. Now I'm a dog guy, but I have always been fasinated by watching cats. A house-cat is like a miniature lion. Watch one. They move the same. They stalk prey the same way. When I was a little kid, we had a couple of cats (Tom and Jerry). The one thing that I remember about them is that when my brother and I would try to catch them to play, they would run away. Cats are like that. But if we left them alone or ignored them and found something more interesting to do, they would be in our face in a second. They liked to play but it had to be when 'they' wanted. Cats like human contact..... on their own terms. Happiness is alot like chasing a cat. When we desire it so much and focus solely on catching it, it becomes all the more allusive. We "chase the cat". We try to find happiness in all the things that are supposed to make "us" happy. We get a great job with the great education that we have been laboring on. We work harder and longer to chase the dollar, because this will make us happy.....right? When I ask my students at school what they most want out of life, the answers vary a bit but, they are all pretty much "I want to be happy" (even if they don't realize THAT is what they are saying). They say stuff about being a ______ (fill in the blank with any profession that makes over 100K a year). They talk about cars and having a great house and finally getting to make their own decisions, etc. We as adults do the same. We want so much to discover what will make us happy. We read books, go to seminars, get promotions at work, a bass boat, 4 wheeler, a tan, lose 20 pounds, a pair of Keens, pecks, abs, Lucky jeans, a girl's night out, a boy's night out, a smart-phone, a dumb girlfriend, but we stilllllll aren't really any happier than when we began. These things can be fun and who in the world doesn't like to have a good time??? I basically act like a 12 year old most of the time and it is GREAT (for me!) But these things don't bring happiness. Not the happiness that leads to a fufilled life. Not the happiness that we long for so much. We look, but we never seem to find that true inner peace. We find things that satisfy for a while, but boredome soon takes over. If our car has leather seats, we soon want "heated" leather seats. And so it goes with the "Pursuit of Happiness". But during this adoption process I have learned a "really big" (as David Lipe would say) truth: When we try to persue what will make "us" happy, we eventually nose-dive. But when we forget about "us" for a while and find something more interesting and important to do, happiness (like the cat) will soon be in our face. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians at Phillippi- "Each of you should look not only at your own interests, but also the interests of others (Phil 2:4). He was basically telling them that "they" weren't the only ones to be concerned with. Putting yourself and what makes "you happy" first is not the formula for happiness or contentment in life. He went on to write that "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is like to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Phil 4:12). I think this was not only meant to change them, but meant to change us. He (through God) was telling us a little secret that they don't tell you in $230 self-help conferences. If you want to find happiness, stop worring about what makes you happy and give yourself to the service of others. Go out of your way to be a servant. We can all do it and everyone's roll is different. It won't gain you points in the social circles and people will never ask for you autograph, but you will find happiness and peace when you forget you are looking for them. Gi Gi Dahl Smith has taught me what it is to be happy. Funny thing is that I've been so busy, I forgot that I was even looking. -Phil

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God is unbelievable!!! We are So excited!!! :0)

Phil and Niki Smith are proud to announce that they are zealous parents of an 18 month old girl!!!!!!!!  :0)
What can I say, but WOW!  God is so Great at all times, but we are in awe of Him right now!  Our entire family is SO happy!  Her name is GiGi Dahl (silent h - pronounced Dall; not everyone seems to be familiar with this name) Smith.

GiGi is 18 months old and was abandoned when she was 5 month old in the bathroom entrance of a plaza.  She has been in the orphanage since. She has been diagnosed with Scoliosis and is missing a few ribs.  Dr. Marta (our pediatrician) says her scoliosis is moderate.  LeBonheur Children's hospital (about 1 hour from us) specializes in this and does a surgery with titanium rods for children with scoliosis. And every 4-6 months, the rods have to be lengthened since children grow so quickly.  GiGi also may have to have a titanium rib placed, but we will really not know exactly what all she will need until she gets here to the U.S. They sent x-rays and pages of medical information, but until a doctor her can see her and look at x-rays done here they don't know for sure.

GiGi's diagnosis is a little more than we had originally planned on taking with a child & we were going to adopt 2 children with one trip. After many, many prayers GiGi is our child! Since she will possibly  have several surgeries a year, we will  not adopt another child at this time due to time and possible extra finances associated with her medical. I know not everyone understands why in the world we would adopt a child with medical conditions like this and it's not for everyone. A lot of people praise us for what we are doing, but we honestly don't see it as that big of a deal to adopt a child like GiGi. She is our child  and we all take care of our children. It's not exactly a choice and sure you want your kids to be healthy in all ways, but it is our calling and she is our baby girl. We have been blessed with 2 biologically beautiful healthy intelligent children and now blessed with a child born in our heart!  We always wanted to adopt a special needs child that can lead a normal life with the needed medical intervention -> surgery/medicines/therapies/etc. that we can provide for her. This child will be no different than Colt and Macy Jade are to us  now with our love, care, etc..  Did I mention  - We are all excited! 

We still have to get all our information translated in Chinese and wait on approval from the Chinese government to invite us to come get her. This is the HARD part! How do we leave OUR child in an orphanage for months? It breaks our hearts!!!  Colt and Macy Jade cried for her!   However, we knew that we would have to wait on her when we started the road to adoption and it's not in our hands!  Our adoption agency told us that it would likely be 3-6 months before we travel to China to get our GiGi angel once our Dossier is completed - we are so close to being there!  PLEASE PLEASE pray for GiGi!!!!  We cannot stand the thought of our child in an orphanage, but we have no other choices!

I'm so very proud of Colt and Macy Jade!  They were the very first ones to claim her as "ours".  Macy Jade came to me asking about her baby sister.  I tried to explain that at that time we were still in prayer to make sure she was our child.  Colt overheard and demanded she was his baby sister too!  I think this was the answer to our prayers speaking the loudest!  They had never claimed any other child as "their sibling".   They immediately loved her as they do each other even with only seeing her picture!  They talk about her all the time and pray for her each day!  Macy Jade has asked for a Chinese babydoll for her birthday.  She said it would be her GiGi until we were able to physically get her!  Macy Jade explained how she would take this baby doll around and sleep with her to feel closer to GiGi!  They are amazing kids and I know GiGi has wonderful role models to follow in their footsteps!  She is going to be so rotten! 

I think GiGi will fit in perfectly with our family! I've never seen our kids so emotional and immediately in love as they are with her! They HAD to have a picture where they were on the page and GiGi was on the page so they cut and pasted picture of them and GiGi on a page.  I cannot post pictures of her on the web yet until we get clearance from the adoption agency.  Her little face is just precious; we love her so much- of course we do; she is our child! Macy Jade said "Oh mommy she has my nose!" :0) How could she NOT be our child??? We love her; we love her; we love her!!!!!  Praise be to God!  THANK YOU! and Thank you to all of you for all of your prayers!  Please continue to pray; we would LOVE to have GiGi before the year is over!  What better Christmas gift????

I wanted to share to you all our excitement!  Thank you for all of your support!

Love In Christ!

"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

Matthew 19:13-15 (KJV)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talking the Talk

For all of you young, willing writers out there: I have but one piece of advice (this is more or less what they will tell you at every writing conference, in every writing book, etc.). Writing is a verb. Seems simple doesn't it. Every school-kid knows that "writing is a verb". This verb is often confused with the "talking" verb. They seem so different, don't they? Ask any elementary (or high school or graduate class) what they had rather do- write or talk- and I'd be willing to bet that, given the choice, most (as in 100%) would lean toward the talking option. It is alot more fun. But even the serious student of writing has this confusion from "day one". They will most always blend the "writing" in with the "talking". What does this mean? For even the most passionate novelist in training, writing is often talking. Most folks get pretty skilled at telling you (and definately, other writers that share the same passion) what they "are going to write". It is really fun. You talk about the books that you are going to write, the songs you are going to write, the screenplays you are going to write, the articles you are going to publish. You talk about the mood of your novel, the writers you admire, what is lacking in the movies that are at the cinema, your theory on why a certain type of story has been closed out by the main stream, why music stinks today compared with the poets of long ago. But in the end it all amount to a bunch of talking and not much (if any) writing. Converstation between friends fades quickly and is rarely the stuff of historical significance unless it is written. The written word changes everything. If I had done the hard work and written most of the things that I had talked about writing, volumes would be in my collection. It might not be great, but it would BE (as in exist). Talking is great. The majority of my personal break-throughs have come by my talking with a trusted friend, but they have been just that- personal. They have not really benefited society. There is a distinct difference between changing my mind and changing "things". It is probally at this point that you (if you have not fallen asleep) are asking yourself "what in the world does this have to do with this whole story I'm following!"" I'm not some girly poet. I don't need a seminar on geek stuff."

But I have sorta noticed that "doing good" (or charity) is alot like what I've been talking about with the "writer's delima". Have you ever said (something like) if i had a million dollars like Brittney Aguilera, I'd build a hospital or really afordable coffee shop? It is fun to talk about the thing we "would" or "are going to do" if we had tons of cash; but a hospital probaly cost a good bit of money( even if we had a million or so) and while most us haven't developed a lean because of the weight of our wallets, we have more than a few dollars to rub together, but yet a few bucks in the coffers of the homeless is totally out of the question (let's hear it for run on sentences!!!! Faukner fans....anyone?.....anyone?)

Point I'm trying to make is that it is easy to talk about the good we are going to do, the lives we are going to change, the books we are going to write, the person we are going to help- it's a whole different matter in the actual doing of our grand deeds. The doing is HARD, seriously, it is hard. I struggle with this stuff everyday. I dream of making my mark on the world. I wan't to leave this place a better place, but man, Judge Judy is really letting them have it!!!!!!!!!! Where was I? It is really easy to get distracted.

Think about it.


Friday, August 5, 2011


O.k. we need some major prayers!  Yesterday right in the middle of the horrific storm, I get a call from our adoption agency.  They had a 'possible' referral for us; she said they weren't sure because the little girl was a little older (1 1/2) and that she had scoliosis (this was something we marked as we might be willing to take a child with this diagnosis). The reason we marked "might" is because we only have entrances to our home with many steps & any diagnosis that would affect lower extremities and possible mobility could be a potential problem with our house.  Ramps cannot not be built up the steps because they are very steep and the others are winding.  To get to the back, you also have to go up steps.  The only option is to have a drive way cut around our house and make a new entrance in the back.  I'm definitely not opposed to this, but with the fees of adoption, it's not an option we could afford to do for a long time.  We've talked to several people over the years about having this done, but they said it would cost a lot. {If you remember our steps are the reason our social worker couldn't visit until she got off crutches.}  Scoliosis has varying degrees of curvatures. I actually have scoliosis, but it doesn't really give me any problems because it is mild.  However, it can be much more sever and require multiple surgeries, braces, etc.  They also do not know if she has a tethered spinal cord and she is missing ribs.  Some of this might scare people to death, but none of the conditions scare me; ALL kids need love!  At the same time, we have to be able to provide the best care (and I believe that includes our dwelling).  We requested children with mild-moderate disabilities because we have 2 children already and hope to get 2 more in a single visit to China. 

My heart is so heavy and we are filled with so many emotions!  She is precious and I want her to be the right child, but did you hear that? "I"  More than what "I" want though is to adopt the child God has made for us!  And my mind races thinking "What will happen to her if we don't adopt her?"   This is a very stressful decision for us!  We have taken all the files/information to our doctor to look over and we hope she can give us a clearer picture of the severity and possible long term challenges.  I ask of all our faithful prayer warriors to pray for us and for this child!  We can always depend on you!  Much love to you all & I will let you know as soon as we hear something or decide something. Thank you in advance!  Blessings

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We have a job to do today!

O.k.  we have a duty today and I challenge everyone of you to go and VOTE!  I have not gone yet but will be going this afternoon.  I know I've been guilt in the past of not voting, but as I get older I understand the importance and responsibility we have in this matter!  It's our right as Americans and also our jobs as Christians to get the best leaders in the jobs!  I've also felt that one vote isn't going to matter, but guess what would happen if everyone operated that way?  I have the same feeling for a lot of other matters that can be changed if we all work together.  We could all say, I cannot alone make a difference for the orphans, 3rd world countries, etc., BUT what if Nobody did anything?  We all have our parts to play and together we can all make a difference - your part counts!

I've also been guilty of not voting because I didn't do my "homework" or voted and didn't know the candidates.  AND I've been guilt of not voting in the past because I said that I didn't feel anyone was qualified.  NONE of those are excuses not to vote!  In Alcorn County we have some WONDERFUL people running for offices!  I know some personally to be awesome honest Christian people and some I've meet at one of 2 of the speakings we attended.  Not voting because you feel there is no one worth voting for is not a reason at all and ESPECIALLY  in today's election.  I'm very proud of some of the candidates running!  We need good Christian leaders that will help and support our community.   Thank you to the wonderful Christian leaders that have stepped up to run for an office; we appreciate you!

We also have another job to do today (and everyday) -- PRAY for them!  Pray for our leaders!  No I don't think that all of the people in elected officials across the US are wonderful Christian people, BUT they are our leaders and we need to Pray for them and that they will make the right decisions!  It's commanded of us so Go do your jobs and HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!  :0)

 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)