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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Urgent Last request of the year (not for us)

Okay, with 2012 coming to an end, I have to make one last post.  My heart has been burdened for this Christian family that I do not know.   Proverbs 24:12 If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,"does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it?  Will he not repay eveyone according to what they have done?  I have a complete understanding of the dire need the orphaned child has to gain the love of a forever family and I also have an understanding of the financial burden adoption can cause to a family.   I am a walking testimony that many of us adoptive families begin an adoptive journey on complete and total blind faith that funds will be provided to allow our children to be united with us -their forever family.  Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  We are able to afford raising another child but the high costs of adoption cause the burden.  

Yes, we are still trying to find where God has placed the funds for our adoption and we have a very short period of time (less than 65 days) before we are to unite with our daughter; however, our family is not the only one in financial need!  BUT this post is not about us but about LOVE - love for the orphans and others! Our daughter is not the only one needing her forever family!  We have little time but this family only has SEVEN DAYS (yes, you read that right 7 days).  

I'm asking for one last good deed from you for 2012 - to donate any amount to this family to bring their daughter home!  God is good and His heart is no doubt for the orphans.  With all the hurt, bad, & evil in the world, let us turn it around with one small deed at a time.  I feel like I ask a lot from you but I'm never asking for me - it's for the children to find the love they deserve and need!  I wouldn't ask if I didn't think you cared too for these precious treasures! 

If you donate $25 or more to this family tonight/tomorrow, message me to let me know and I will send you a free silver plated charm bracelet - no joke!  I believe in every child deserving a home and I believe in you!  If you cannot donate $25 or more, donate a smaller amount today/tomorrow and I will deduct it from a photo session from GiGi's Light Photography©  if you live in our area! 

I'm in prayer for this family and ask you to please pray with me.  I praise God for adopting us into His family!  I praise God for allowing these children to have forever families!  I praise God for placing a heavy heart on those willing to bring the orphans into their home as their children and I praise God for those willing to help families trying to bring home these precious and wonderfully made children!

How will $5 affect you?  How could $5 affect the life of an orphan?  .............................Think about it
Together we can all make a difference; it just takes a little from each of us to accomplish great things!  
End 2012 with giving and make a 2013 resolution to do more for others and make a difference!
Here is the family blogspot and there is a chip-in at the top of the page:
"I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


How often do you feel ashamed for doubting, questioning, feeling sorry for yourself, or something similar?  Honestly, there probably aren't many days that I don't see the "big" picture for a brief second. It may even be something small like burning the toast or the spilled milk.

In my last post, I wanted to be honest.  I was bummed that everything wasn't "perfect" like I wanted it!  GiGi is sick and the rest of us are fighting sickness, Guan Ya isn't with us, Christmas was slim to say the least, & we were hoping to help others more this Christmas.  

No sooner than those thoughts filled my heart I felt guilt!  How could I feel sorry that things were not perfect in "MY" mind.  I quickly thought about 
*all the families that are going through Christmas without loved ones 
*the families that know they have limited time with their loved ones 
*the orphans that have NO family to spend Christmas with nor have anyone to hold them while they are sick
*the less fortunate that are cold, hungry, or without clothing or shelter
*our military men and women that have to not only spend Christmas without their family, but often go months without their family
*the list could continue with those not as fortunate as I this Christmas!

The thankfulness continued to flow in throughout the night with more messages from our precious daughter! I praise the Lord that He has opened a door for communication between us and Guan Ya!  I praise Him for trusting us with these precious children - to me, the grandest gift is children!  There is no other greater Earthly pleasure in my opinion and to think the Lord has trusted little imperfect me with these treasures is sometimes confusing!  Why would I be blessed with so many treasures?  
I'm flawed but I love these children with everything I have in me!  I may not be able to give them many earthly possessions, but there is not another person on this earth that loves their children more than I.  I do feel I can give them something more important than material possessions.........love and the knowledge of God's love and word!  That's all I have but it's enough for me!

I'm lost for words on how I can explain how proud I am of my treasures!  My sister-friend from China call my children "honey kids" because she thinks they are so sweet!  I love that thought and the love that they demonstrate (when they aren't fighting among themselves).  Colt, Macy Jade, and Guan Ya (GiGi is too young to understand this deep emotional connection yet) love each other and they've never met!  They don't just love each other, but they love each other as siblings - they have a bond that I believe will never end!  How/why was I so blessed with such loving children?  

You can read the letters Colt and Macy Jade wrote to Guan Ya here .  Last night, I was blessed again to communicate through many messages to Guan Ya.  I sent the messages from Colt & Macy to her yesterday since it was Christmas.  Guan Ya responds back to their letters saying what a dear brother and sister they are to her.  Ya was very excited to get a message just from them.  She told them she was ready to be with them and thanked Colt and Macy for accepting her as their sister.  She also told them how much she loved them.
Wow, what a blessing!  Tears rolled down my face to think of how loving and accepting all my children are of each other!  

I've read of many other children that were adopted of older age and it sometimes takes years for the child to say I love you or call the parents mom & dad or to accept their siblings - some never do this.  We knew this prior to accepting Guan Ya as our daughter.  However, we knew she was our child and if she never accepted us as her family, she was still ours.  Her acceptance, love, and reaction to us had no bearing on our feelings for our daughter!  We were/are prepared for emotional distance and bonding to not be automatic.....it's not a warm fuzzy feeling to think about but we try to be honest & know this is likely. It is very understandable why emotional connections can be hard with older children!  This age is hard on all teens with so many changes! I cannot imagine the courage these children face to leave everything they know to have a family!  
Again, I'm praising God and in complete awe that He has picked flawed me to be this precious child's mother! I knew there was something special about her before we started her paperwork.  Yes, all children are special, but there is something different about Guan Ya!  I cannot wait to see all the things the Lord has in store for this exceptional child! 

Thank you Lord for entrusting me with such treasures!  I praise You through the storms and the sunshine!  I pray you will continue to open doors to allow our union with our daughter!  Please protect our precious children until we can unite!  I know this is your will and that you will continue to provide!  Thank you for all the faithful people you have provided along the way to help fulfill your will for us!  Thank you for trusting us with your most precious treasures!  I praise only You for it all!

For great is His love toward us & the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord.
Psalm 117:2 NIV

I'm one Proud, honored, & blessed Mommy that is PRAISING my Lord!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Christmas summary..........

GiGi was sick running fever and in bed for the very first time since we adopted her and it was her first Christmas. :-(
Colt and Macy Jade both have terrible coughs. 
And since I'm complaining, I miss my Guan Ya!

This Christmas we have been blessed by people we do not know and some we don't know well! 

We have GiGi at home and in less than 70 days we will have our newest daughter in our arms. 

We've No illnesses we cannot get over. 

I have been blessed to correspond in many emails with Guan Ya since yesterday. She is already calling us mom and dad/father, has sent us several pictures, says she is excited to come home and tells us she loves us. Thank you so much to those of you that donated money to help bring her home as part of your Christmas giving! Every bit adds up and nothing is small to us!  Thank you also for the many prayers.  We continue to ask for prayers  especially for the following 3: 

-Paperwork & timing
-Bonding with Guan Ya & for her until we unite
-Financial Fees from adoption  

We have a warm home, plenty clothing, plenty food, more love than many could imagine and we have Christ at the center of our home. How can I complain? We have been blessed!

So many things I'm thankful for, but I have to mention the  happiness & gratefulness my children bring to me knowing the true meaning of Christmas!  Both said this was their best Christmas ever because GiGi was home with us!  They were grateful for love!

 I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

GuanYa updates

I hope our nation finds comfort & love after the devastation of one person’s actions in CT a week ago!  I wouldn't even know where to start talking about what happened that day!  I cannot allow myself to think what if…………..  It’s too heartbreaking & I cannot even imagine the pain that 20 innocent children’s parents, friends, classmates, teachers, mentors have felt since Friday!  As time will move it off most the front of our minds until it is mentioned again, there are some that will live with the daily loss!  My heart hurts and our nation hurts for all these involved!  My prayers are with each and every one as I know many others are with them!

We cannot let the fear over take us from this senseless tragedy!   Likewise distressing, an average 125 children die each day from cancer!  Each one of those children has families, friends, teachers, etc. that hurt daily from their loss also.  I say this not to minimize the losses from CT in any way!  My point is that we do not need to live our lives in fear as we do not know the days, hours, minutes we have left on this earth.  In fact, each day we live, we are dying!  There are no do overs in this lifetime and once a day is gone, we do not get to add another day to our lives if we do not live it accordingly!  Make each day one that you are proud of!  Love more, do for others, smile more, and pray more! 

The Monday following the tragedy  my kids did not attend school.  Not because of the shooting (however, it would have been easy for me to keep them home in fear) but because it sounded like I had seals living in my home barking all night!  I’m so glad Christmas break is here!  I love having our family all together!  Many tire of each other, but we really don’t and always look forward to our time together!  Our family time is our most cherished time!  Christmas is quickly coming up & as many look forward to gifts giving/getting & other traditions we just don’t find as much joy in that as our time together! This year, each of our kiddos has 1 main present and 2 smaller gifts – for main presents, Colt -a watch, GiGi - a doll of her own, & Macy……that kid has really not asked for anything so she got smaller items.  They know they aren't getting much and they didn't ask for much of anything. I’m so thankful our kids understand the true meaning of happiness!  Sorry I’m having a mommy bragging moment!  I guess we are easily pleased and our happiest moments are together! The only thing that could make this Christmas better is if our precious GuanYa was joining us this Christmas.  However, as I told her in the last letter I sent “It hurts that you are not able to be here with us this Christmas, but it brings great joy to know we do not have to spend another Christmas apart!”   

I brag on my kids often on Facebook and you are going to have to hear more bragging soon!  Our GuanYa is just a priceless, beautiful & precious soul!  We've gotten more emails from her the last 2 weekends.  As soon as I yell “We've gotten another email!” Everyone is crowding my computer before I can even translate her email.  In her last email she stated that she received our letter and was very grateful of it and the pictures we sent to her! She told us she loved us and wanted us as her family!  It was cute because she wanted to ask us about Scout.  I’m not sure what she meant but it translated that she asked if Scout as TongArm?
 And she ended her letter with
 “Lifetime Love you” 
Wow, talk about melting our hearts!  I’m thinking she was asking if Scout was a military dog but if anyone has a different translation or insight on what she might have meant, please feel free to share!

I think she enjoys our letters because last Friday night (her Saturday morning) she sent us an email -as usual, I got it my Saturday morning when I checked emails.  I was super busy & did not respond to her immediately as I usually have in the past.  I've only gotten message from her on Saturday mornings so I didn't know if she was even seeing the emails I sent until almost a lapse in time of a week.   I was in the middle of writing her a message that Sunday night when I got a message from her.  I opened it up & it was completely blank.  I giggled a little because I think it was her way of saying.... Mom, why haven't you responded to me?  I never want her to feel I'm not here with her every step, but I have to admit I got a really warm feeling to think she really longs to get messages from us!

Our biggest concern with adopting GuanYa was not our love for her or bringing home an older child & not even the fact she was deaf-mute!  We see her as our daughter so all those issues were not issues of grave concern - of course loving her was of NO concern!  Our biggest distress that we've prayed the hardest about was that she would not want a family.   We only wanted what is best for her from the very start & of course we longed for her to want a family!  From her messages, I’m pretty confident that she is excited about us as her family and the joy it brings to our hearts is indescribable! 

We all still ask for lots of prayers for paperwork, fiances, timing, & bonding!  I couldn't imagine bonding being any better at this point but we want to keep on progressing!  We need lots of prayers for the other areas because if something doesn't work out with any of these 3 area, we would not be able to bring her home.  Her time to be adopted ceases March 9, 2013.  We need your help & as you can see, she wants us as a family!  We do not want to have our hearts broken & cannot imagine Not bringing her home to her family - my mind cannot go there!  And GuanYa is excited to have us as a family!  This is her ONLY chance to be adopted to a forever family!  I cannot bear to think how it would tear her heart apart to think she has a family & for something to fall through!  However, the fact of the matter is that we have 77 days to get all the paperwork completed & funds raised!  Yes, in a few hours that will be 76 so we have NO time to spare!
I want to leave you with 3 things - 2 letters written to GuanYa (1 from Colt & 1 from MJ) and the latest picture from our precious daughter. 
 I hope your Christmas is 1/10 as blessed as our Christmas!  Thank you for continuing to support & follow us!

I want you to know I love you & you’re my favorite big sister.  You’re always in my heart.  Even when you are in China, I still love you!  I bet you’ll love me too! You’ll love our silly family & will never feel adopted; you’re just one of us!  We have lots of fun with our animals.  You should know that we love you with all our hearts.  I cannot wait to have you home!  I make mom let me see everything you send us.  I’m so excited to have a big sister!  You must know that your sister GiGi wants a big sister & wants you here really soon too.  You are the perfect big sister for us!  Do you want to know how I know that?  Because I can feel it in my heart!  You are so beautiful – you could be a model.  I want you to show me how you get so beautiful.   I will share all the stuff I have with you & I think you will love it!  Everything we do I see you with us!  It feels like I’m already hugging you; I can already see it!  You will be the best big sister ever!   We will have things waiting on you & love you with all our hearts!  You will love it here!
Macy Jade
(age 7 years old) 

GuanYa, I’m so excited to have you in our family!  I know you will make our family better and more complete!  When you get here we can play my video games together.  I know we’ll have the grandest time!  You’ll always be with me in my heart & soul!  I’m so glad that you love us & I’m thankful for every message you send us!  It makes me happy to know you are typing to us!  Thank you so much for accepting us as your family! 
Your brother,
 (age 9 years old)

Monday, December 10, 2012

New traditions

Can anyone else relate?

Maybe a better question for this time of year is can anyone NOT relate?

Well, Phil & I have made a decision in our family this year to make new traditions for Christmas.  Our focus (each member of our family) will not be on WHAT will we get for Christmas but what we can give to others.  No, we aren't talking about giving toys (unless they come out of our children's EUC stash) but we are giving necessity items or we will give with a purpose (supporting someone/some cause).  Our kids have never experienced a Christmas like they will have this year.  We've said in the past we aren't doing much for Christmas & we aren't getting wrapped up in the materialistic side of Christmas.  Well, after our visit to China this summer and seeing the orphans with out a forever home,  we cannot go on acting like we don't know where real value lies!  Our decision for Christmas is good for us & I realize it doesn't work for everyone.  Many enjoy the hustle & bustle  that comes with Christmas, but it stresses me to the max!

This year I have purchased NO presents for Christmas.  Nope, not a one!  The kids have been told they will get 3 small presents and we will put littles in for the stockings.   It's pretty easy to focus on the greater things in life when you have no other choices.  No, my kids don't need gifts & we will be giving small packages with essential items to others instead of gift giving.  Wow, this is a change for our regular Christmas, but the kids don't seem to mind at all!  When others have asked our kids what they want for Christmas, they say that they don't need anything.  If they other are persistent, our kids will ask for money to go get their sister.  No we've not told or encouraged them to do this, they have decided this on their own.  They see how much more important and how God is calling our family to give GuanYa a home.  She is our daughter & their sister!  They ask about her everyday & GiGi points to her pic & calls her by name.  We are honored to have children that love their sister whom they've never met.  They put everything they want on hold to have their sister here.  How blessed are we?

I wanted to draw your attention to another site.  This family has bless us already more than they could know.  Check out their 3rd annual 24 days of Christmas Giving http://www.afamilyofsix.blogspot.com/2012/12/24-days-of-giving-families.html 
Please take a look and prayerfully consider donating to one of these families if you are called to. Yes, our name is on the list but I ask you to listen to God's calling about where you should be giving!  All children deserve the love of a forever home - not just GiGi, or GuanYa or just the children in China, or just the children in the US, or xxxxxxxxx.  ALL children deserve the love of a forever family!  Can you imagine not having someone there to teach you about Christ, clean & kiss your cuts, teach you about the trials of life & how you can deal with them, tuck you in every night, tell you you are loved & you are important, show you that you are loved, guide you, help you, and the list could go on forever - and that's all these kids need --a family that will forever be there for them.  Don't get me wrong; these kids bless our lives more than one could imagine!  However, if people aren't willing to follow God's calling & trust in blind faith, many children might still not have a forever home.  I feel that our calling to adopt these precious children is no greater than the calling He has for you!  God calls us all & has an individual plan for each of us!  It's up to us to follow His lead!  

Please continue to hold us close in prayer and especially GuanYa!  I know she said she is happy but this is a major change in her life!  Please pray God will mold us all together.  Pray He will show us the places He has stored for our financial needs to adopt.  Please pray we will know how to help others & love more as He loves!  We ask for your prayers and each one means more than you could know!  Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for following in our journey.  We pray you will find God's calling for your life each day & we pray you will also find the strength to follow His plans!  God Bless & we love each of you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And this is our story.......

We know some of you have been following our journey for over a year but we've gained some new followers.  To keep you from reading all of our posts for you to know more about us, we thought we'd tell you a brief summary (sorry it's long) of our story and where we are now.  :) 

And this is our story.......We’re Phi & Niki Smith & have been married for  14 yrs December 19.  We have 2 biological children - Colt, 9y/o, & Macy Jade, 7y/o.  We thought our family was complete.  However, God had other plans & strongly led us to adopt from China.  We did not approach God with this mission; He approached us. This is a very challenging idea to understand when you are searching for your purpose in life & we thank Him daily that we found GiGi & GuanYa (named Eliza on the shared lists & avocation sites) to expand our loving family.  Our life-journey has just now gotten on track.
 On July 16, 2012 our beautiful 31 month old daughter (diagnosed with Moderate to Severe Scoliosis & missing ribs) was placed in our arms forever.  Once we visited China we knew that our journey was not complete & we left part of our heart behind!  The Difference In A Month will show you pictures of our GiGi while in the orphanage & a video of her a month after being placed in our arms.  The pictures could never portray what a vast difference a month has made in all of our lives!   I think the pictures alone are a testimony to why we knew God would guide us to adopt again!

What we did not know is how quickly God would lead us back to China!  Yes, we'd only been home a little over 2 weeks from China & God had placed our GuanYa in front of us & in our hearts!  We are overjoyed that He would entrust us with another daughter & we are already in love with her as our other 3 children.   At the same time, following His will is the biggest leap of faith we have ever taken! 
Our newest beautiful daughter is 13 years old & will age out of the system March 9th, 2013 YES we ONLY have 3 months from now to get all of our paperwork & money together & get to China. Honestly I feel overwhelmed at times.  Nothing makes sense on paper so we just have to trust in God to provide a ways when it doesn't seem possible!  We know that He would not call us adopt GuanYa as our daughter and not provide a way.  Think about it?  It doesn't make sense He'd call and not provide!  We just have to have trust, faith, & love to override our human sense.  Many may not understand it and it's o.k. because we would not have understood it until He called us!  Our role is to trust and obey our maker; He knows better than I!
GuanYa is deaf-mute and such a sweet, smart, & talented girl! She loves to dance and swim, is a straight A student and leader. Even though she has basically nothing, she gives small amounts of money she has to others less fortunate on the street!  She helps care for others and is so thoughtful by doing things as making cards for others and cooking if anyone is sick. 
I continued to think "Why in the world is this precious child - soon to age out of the system- still in an orphanage without a forever home?  Why in the world has someone not grabbed up this precious, loving girl?" Then it hit me like a brick wall what I already knew.......because she is our daughter!  My heart sank at the thought of God placing our daughter in our hearts and then us walking away from her.  In 3 months (did you hear that because I had to say it again......yeah like 12 weeks), she will age out of the system & will no longer be available for adoption & the love of a Forever Family!  How could one not love her?  How could we bear the thought of our daughter aging out & being on the streets of China?  With our divine GuanYa being both deaf & mute, no one could even communicate with her on the streets!
Well, you can see why Not adopting our daughter was NOT an option!  All the "common sense"reasons why we should not adopt her didn't matter.  What would you do if your child was on the other side of the world without you?  What if you didn't have resources but if you didn't get her in a few months, then you could Never bring her home?  REALLY think about that.....what would you do?  All we can do is trust our Lord to provide when we don't see a way.  It's a heart wrenching thought & we are sweating bullets with the time constraints of her aging out.   
We were in love with our child God had led us to so nothing else mattered!  At the same time, following His will took a lot of blind faith from us.  You will need to read our Blogspot and see all the challenges we faced financially while in China – including staying a week longer & United Airlines charging us $4,000 to CHANGE flights. We changed flights as soon as we knew GiGi’s visa was delayed due to a glitch in the US system which was over 48 hours before the flight. That extra week cost us over $6,000 & we had no choice but staying in China.  We were definitely Not expecting this additional fee. 
Most adoptive families struggle not with the love, dedication, neither paperwork of the adoption but with the cost.  We are no different as my husband is a MS school teacher & I have a small online business.  We may not be wealthy but our hearts are with these precious children!  If you visited the orphanage, you could see the looks of terror, hopelessness, & abandonment in these children without a family.  It would tear the heart out of anyone with a pulse and anyone could understand why God doesn't suggest but commands us to care for the orphans & less fortunate!    Families may not think they need more children but Children Need families! There are 143MILLION  orphaned & defenseless children in our world.
These are actual pictures of some of the orphaned children my husband captured with his lens while we were in China this summer.  I think the pictures say more than I could in words!

2012 has already provided lots of challenges for us financially other than the $6,000 delay including thieves, pay cuts, surgeries, & an auto accident caused by an uninsured motorist - along with a host of other unexpected costs.  Even while we face these challenges, the devil will not discourage us from doing God’s will!  Matthew 6:26 tells me that God will take care of us
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
 I understand that everyone may not be in a position to adopt a child but you can help!  There are many ways to help the orphans!  You can help an adoptive family with choirs, babysitting, food, &/or financial needs.  Most all adoptive families struggle with the fees associated with adoption and fundraisers.  You can donate your time, items, etc. to an orphan or orphanage.  Many places have sponsorship programs where you can sponsor a homeless child.  The fact is that we must all join together to help these children whether it is through adopting them or helping others care for them!  The pictures I showed were in China, but there are orphans all over the world needing homes!
 I know on top of the debt we are in from GiGi’s adoption, the fees/cost from GuanYa’s adoption, and cost of sign language class for our entire family accompanied by the medical costs & devices associated with both adopted daughters, we need support!  I know God will lead others to help us provide & He will show us ways to provide!  We have to raise the funds to bring home our precious GuanYA within the next 12weeks or she ages out of the system.  No amount is too small & adds up!  We are much more powerful in number! 
Will you help bring our wonderful GuanYa home?   We would be eternally grateful if God is calling you to help & you follow His call!  If He is not calling you to help our family, please be prayerful He will led you to another family or other ways to help these precious children! 
 GuanYa has so much potential & I cannot wait to see God excel her to her utmost potential!  I'm not sure why God chose us to bless with such a wonderful, beautiful, smart, sweet, giving, & talented girl!  Help us give her that opportunity, love & forever home she deserves!
 Matthew 25:40 :   “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Please keep us & GuanYA in your prayers until we are united as a family like God has planned!
If you feel led to aid us financially to unite with our daughter, we have several ways for you to donate: 
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

We have a fund set up at GoFundMe http://www.gofundme.com/longroadtochina  (this link is also at the right hand side of our blogspot along with a "Donate"button)
At our GoFundMe site, we have a "wish list" you can donate any amount you feel led to donate.  We just wanted to show some of the fees we will incur with just GuanYa's adoption.

We had no idea the challenges we would face in 2012 & no clue God would call us to adopt only 2 weeks after being home with our first daughter.  We did not get any  grants, or interest free loans with our first adoption mainly because we do not like to ask for help but we'd rather give to others. We did not know that flights would be at an all time high when we flew to China in July nor did we know we would be held over the extra week costing around $6000 extra. When we could fill out for assistance with GiGi's adoption, we felt we should allow others to have them. 

 We have not been able to fill out for any grants, interest free loans, or any other type of assistance for GuanYa's adoption because we have not gotten our home study updated.  We have one of the best social workers so I know it will be completed soon, but all this takes time.  With the time constraints we have to  complete our adoption,  I'm hopeful but unsure if we will be able to fill out for grants because most all of them state you cannot fill out for the grant once you are home with your child.  The grants givers take a while (due to the volume of requests) to pick the grant recipients.  It's honestly time GuanYa does not have.  Please, please know I don't tell you this for sympathy but these are the facts of where we are at now!  We have been BLESSED more than we could ever imagine!

  If you feel led to donate to our adoption, please follow your heart!   Please share our  blogspot & GoFundMe.
 If you do not feel led to do either of the above, please pray for us and our daughter!  We feel so grateful for everything!  
To God be the glory!  Blessings to all!

This is our GuanYa if you missed other pictures of her:

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm so so so excited!!!!!!

Oh my, oh my, oh my!  I'm so so so excited!!!!!!  We just got an email from our daughter (GuanYa).  This is the first message we have gotten from her & we didn't even know if she had gotten our packages or letters!  We didn't even know if she knew she was getting adopted. 

Since last Saturday, we have not gone to bed one night before 2a.m. (and as late as 5am) trying to get pictures edited, paperwork completed, adoption "stuff"done, etc etc.  We have been past running on fumes.  We are completely human & some days I'm just like "what are we doing?  We run nonstop!  Is this all worth it?" Not referring to our daughter but just everything.  Needless to say we were dragging and getting stale.  

This letter has more than lifted our spirits!  God's timing is perfect!  If you were within a 30mile radius, you might have heard me screaming with excitement & I almost caused a flood with tears of joy.  The letter was short, but she said that she was happy & had gotten our letters.  She also was excited to hear of our enthusiasm for her being our daughter!  

I'm so proud of her!  Can you imagine being 13 years old and getting a forever family?  To know she is excited was all I needed to hear to put that extra spring in my step!  You might want to put on sunglasses tomorrow because my smile tomorrow might blind ya!   

I guess tonight's sleep schedule might be no different.  I don't think there is anyway for me to sleep now!  Just had to share!  :) 

I've not been on here in a while but I want to invite you to our photography page.  Check it our and see the talents God has blessed us with!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Praising Him..........

Happy Friday!
I hope you all saw our post on FB about our photo fundraiser which profits will go toward our adoption expenses & 20% will go to a cancer survivor that is having a hard time & needs help paying for medical bills.  If you missed it, please view it here & pass the word PLEASE ;0)

(Please pray for this cancer survivor!  She has fought hard & has a lot of decisions to make!)

I read a very inspiring blog.  Linny is such a giving person that wants only to please our Maker!  She inspires me on the days I'm "wandering".  A few days ago she wrote a blog about praising Him.  Well, yes, I praise Him but I should praise Him more and stop worrying about things such as Where is this money coming from for the adoption?, Is my house ever going to get clean?, How can I get xxx or xxx or xxx finished?, etc., etc.  I responded to her blog to praise Him & would like to share with you.  
I could have posted for days (and I did post 3xs - Sorry Linny), but I wanted to share with you

Wow, Praising Him! As I started to respond, I got to thinking how do you define "Praise"? I think there are many definitions to this word, but I believe the emphasis is simply giving God the recognition He deserves. As this should be easy to do, I am overwhelmed at where do I even start? How do you truly give God the recognition He deserves? I could write until my time is up on earth & never praise all He has done for me!
I would like to first thank Him for His uttermost sacrifice of sending His only son to die on the cross for me, for you, for us!
I praise Him for
*Always loving & forgiving me
*Never leaving my side - faithfulness
*Sending me a Christ-like husband more wonderful than words could describe
*All of our precious children (1 living with Him, 3 here & 1 in China)
And the list could continue until I take my last breathe here on earth!

My daily prayer includes that He help me put Him first in all I do, love others & put their needs above my own, & listen for His direction in my life.

“For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4)
(post 2 & 3)
Okay, I just posted but as I'm praying for how to ask for prayer (this is a harder one for me), I felt the tug to give praise for something specific that has unwrapped itself this year.  I praise God for giving my husband & me the talent of photography.  I feel strange saying it this way as I don't want to seem like I'm bragging but He has giving us this talent! I so give Him all the praise & glory for this!  This may seem like a strange praise - right?

Let me explain - I've had a passion for photography for over 20 years when I took my first class.  My husband didn't dislike but didn't share a passion like I for it.  Our Father has melted & molded Phil (hubby) & I together over our almost 14 years of marriage.  We were complete opposites in a lot of our interests
Phil – much more urban than I, loved writing, poetry, music, constantly cleaning,  much more social
Me – very country, loved my boots, way more inclined to science & math, loved getting dirty (like in mudding, outside activities), don’t feel comfortable I crowds

You get the point – right?  Our interests were that we did enjoy our time together & never got tired of each other.  And most importantly, we both loved our Lord.

At the start of this year, I decided to take another photography class.  Since I don’t feel comfortable in crowds or people I don’t know, I invited Phil to take the class with me.  He wasn’t necessarily excited about the class, but joined so we could spend time together.  Long story short, he found the same passion after the class & is an unbelievably talented photographer! 

I praise God for giving us photography that we are both passionate about; it is wonderful to be able to get help, opinions, etc from each other.  It’s wonderful that we have something to spend our time together with.  I believe God has given us this talent to help others.  We have been able to give professional pictures to some that could never afford it.  We have been in deep prayer about how we can use this for our Father.  We are now shooting pictures to go toward adoption expenses.  We are announcing today a Halloween special.  With it, we are also donating a percentage to a lady that has cancer & needs help with medical bills.  My husband is a teacher in MS (lowest paid in the country for teachers) & I’m a stay at home mommy that makes a little extra with crafting.  We do not have the money for the adoption we are working on, & did not know how we are going to pay for it (as well as financial debt from our previous adoption).  However, we began the adoption process again on FAITH!  The extra money from photography will not fund our adoption but it is one avenue God has given us a talent to help fund it as well as help others through our pictures! 

So yes, I have to give all the glory & praise to God for the talent of photography for many reasons!  The more we photography, the more we are in awe of God’s glory!

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers. 
36 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.”  Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning.
(Exodus 35:30-36:3)

What do you praise our Lord for?  Are you using your gift(s) for His glory?  

Photography may not completely pay for our adoption but it's something we love & we can help fund it!  Who knows the person/people we might meet or touch?  God has ways of providing when we didn't even know it as an option! Thank you for all those that have supported us! 
I think KNOW I've been too worried about doing this or doing that to raise funds & thinking how are we going to raise the money that I forgot to ask Him.  God where are you wanting us to find this money?  If God has lead us here, He will provide if we listen!   
Thank you Linny again for reminding me of this!

Sunday also reminded me of this when our preacher preached on  the feeding of over 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread & 2 fish .  Do you remember what the Disciple Philip said? (Ironic that his name was the same as hubby).  Philip was confused at Jesus when he questioned him about the bread & stated that it would take more than 1/2 a year in wages for only a bite of bread.  (I have to smile a little here - such a familiar story with a little different situation.)

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
 John 6:5-9
Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15 
Oh and don't forget that there were 12 baskets of leftovers after the feast.  ;0)
All I can hear in my head after all this is Jesus saying to me
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.(Matthew 8:26) 
I praise His name!!  I'm praying, asking & listening!  I don't have the answers, but I don't have to - my pilot (Lord) knows the way!  God will not bring us to adoption & then not provide for us!  How silly are we not to think God has control over EVERYTHING (including $$$????)
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” 

 Acts 20:35