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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reminder.....Mustard Seed Faith

In Matthew 14, it starts out with the tragic beheadment of John the Baptist.  However as we continue to read that chapter some things of “amazement” (I’ll use this term as we are guilty of little faith & not completely trusting all God can do) happen!

We see in the rest of Matthew 14 this “amazement”:

**Feeding of 5,000 with 5 bread loaves & 2 fish-- Matthew 14:13-21
The disciples in their wildest dreams could not imagine either as they asked Jesus to send away the crowds to get something to eat.  Even after Jesus said for the disciples to feed the multitudes they doubted they had enough food.

***Jesus Walking on the Sea  -- Matthew 14:22-33
Even the disciples were human & didn’t have complete faith.  Peter doubted Jesus by asking for signs that it was He walking on the water.  Even after Jesus provided Peter’s wish by allowing Peter to walk on the water, He doubted & had fear.  One of my favorite verses on faith said by Jesus:
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him,
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

***Touching  of Jesus to make the sick well -- Matthew 14:34-36
They asked & received
35 ………..brought to Him all who were sick, 36  and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

Who is to say to that if we have FAITH then we will not be provided for today as well?  Who is to say that “amazement” cannot happen today?  Is it said there are no miracles to be performed after those days?
 Actually our Food (the Word) says the opposite to me if we have the Faith of only a mustard seedMatthew 17:20  - So Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; (little faith) for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Do you know how big a mustard seed really is????
“The seeds are usually about 1 or 2 mm in diameter.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_seed)
There are 25.4mm in an inch!  I think you get the point that a mustard seed is really small!

Oh how I feel my faith is so weak & I need so much work to grow closer to my Maker!  People often tell me how wonderful it is that we are adopting an orphan & how we have so much faith, strength, etc.  I so cherish those comments & thank you for the words.  However, to me, I see so little faith in myself!  I think the deeper I draw to God, the more work & faith I realize I need!   Will we ever be perfect????……NO not on this earth as we are human!  However, I pray my faith will grow as I continue to LISTEN & FOLLOW my FAITH in God.  Thank you Lord for your unconditional love even with all my imperfections! All the Glory to You in the good & hardships I face!   I trust you to move the mountains & I know nothing is impossible with You in the plan!

Corinth Pizza Inn Fundraiser

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why do we find things odd/strange when we have faith???

I just got an email from our adoption agency.  We did not get  travel approval (TA) yet (which I had expected to have before now).  It stated that they believed our TA should be in 1-3 days.  They have tentative dates of us leaving around July 11 and returning somewhere around July 27-28. However, when we checked flight schedules last week & cost of staying a few more days, it maybe cheaper to stay a until July 31 & to fly out of Hong Kong.  Nonetheless, we hope to leave in less than 2 weeks to get our beautiful angel!

Our GiGi is calling us to come get her & it will be soon!!!! 


Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for [NKJV: do not worry about; RSV: do not be anxious about] your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought [NKJV: worrying; RSV: being anxious] can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for [NKJV: So why do you worry about; RSV: And why are you anxious about] raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought [NKJV: do not worry; RSV: do not be anxious], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow [NKJV: do not worry about tomorrow; RSV: do not be anxious about tomorrow]: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself [NKJV: for tomorrow will worry about its own things; RSV: for tomorrow will be anxious for itself] . Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof [NKJV: Sufficient for the day is its own trouble; RSV: Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day].

I have to continually remind myself:
……….Why worry?  I canNOT change anything by worrying………worry changes NOTHING!!!!  It only ADDS more problems to what we are facing in our life! 
In our wildest dreams we cannot imagine the things God has in store for us!  It is up to us not to worry but to LISTEN to Him!  Then, it is up to us to FOLLOW His will & not what WE THINK is best for our lives!  Trust in Him in FAITH!!!! 
Listening + Following = FAITH

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

As you know, we will be traveling to China, the Lord willing, in a few weeks. We have a fundraiser at Pizza Inn on July 2nd starting at 5:00 pm and ending at 8:00 pm. I can’t express how much they have helped in our adoption adventure. They are great, and please support them by eating there every chance you get- you won’t regret it! Great food and excellent service. They donate a portion of the register and we wait tables and take tips/donations. It will be a lot of fun!

And at the onset of this post I want to tell each person that has contributed to our mission, either in monetary donation or prayer, or both, how indebted we are to you. Without your support, this mountain would seem impossible to climb. If you know much about me, you know that I’m a very private person so it has been so awkward to be in the position to ask for help. God has really been with me through this process and I have the comfort of knowing that we are simply doing his will and following his purpose for us. I’m so lucky to have found what I’m supposed to do in this life while I’m still a young guy (Ok, that is a relative term. I’m sure some of my students are reading this and thinking “is he really talking about himself!?” LOL!) So, this is our last fundraising push before the trip. Hopefully, we will have some other things also- garage sale, Green Market, etc., to help bring GiGi home.

Ok, I think it is important for you to know what this journey costs. This goes against my natural privacy, but I want to give a peek behind the curtain to let you see what is involved in this adoption process. All of these figures are pretty good estimates: $6000 agency fee, $5500 orphanage fee, $2500 upfront post adoption expenses, $2000 home study, $1000 biometric fingerprinting by Dept. of Homeland Security, $1000 visa/passport/clearance, $800 in Fed Ex fees (seriously), $250 medical clearance, $500 in courier fees, $20,000 travel, -fights in China, hotel, etc. for a grand total of about $40,000 (give or take a few bucks when it is all said and done). Plus the medical cost of whatever it may takes to have a possible couple of surgeries per year for several years + the cost of a never ending supply of Tagament for my soon to be fully developed ulcer! Just kidding (sorta).

So, ok that is a realistic look behind the curtains of adoption. Does the cost worry me? Sure, no doubt! I truly believe that God will provide the way and means, but he has never promised that it would even remotely resemble easy. It is easy to sit back and say, “Ok, that is a load of money, why don’t you just NOT do it? I mean we don’t do things we can’t afford… right?” A few years ago, that is probably what I would have said and I still think it totally applies to mansions and climbing Mount Everest (unless God has called you to do this).

I did not approach God with this mission, He approached me. I know that is a very difficult thing to understand when you are searching for your purpose in life. I thank Him daily that I have found GiGi and my life-journey has started. I know that this is not the end of our adoptions and God has many other plans, but I must concentrate on this now. Yes, I’m a private person and I didn’t throw those figures out because it is easy for me to be open. I did it to help show that I am going to follow what he has laid before me, but this is not a couple of thousand dollar deal. You don’t go to the bank and borrow $40,000 with a cute little Chinese girl as collateral- You scrape, totally forget about ever being in the black and constantly seek donation and prayer. It is what they call an “upfront, non-refundable, out of pocket expense”. Which is probably no big deal if you have deep pockets, but we, like most people who adopt, start at ground zero (or a little below!) I’m gonna post about the other side of the adoption process pretty soon. It doesn’t involve money, but it is probably as stressful. I know that I will have to one day stand before my God and give an account for everything I have done in the flesh, and when you adopt, you get to rehearse that speech before the powers that be in both US and Chinese governments a few times! Thank you so much for all you have done for us! God will Bless you!