Monday, March 5, 2018

Rest for My Heart

How do I prepare my heart for what's about to happen? In a whirlwind of tasks, chores, paperwork, phone calls, and preparation, is it even possible to consider my heart? I've decided it's more important than anything right now, even more important than packing or the hundreds of other things waiting to be accomplished before we board that plane. All of that can wait. My soul can not.

The anxiety that ensues upon preparation for such a trip can be overwhelming. The vast gambit of emotions can be taxing. There are 7 of us leaving for China in 4 days, each with a unique soul rhythm. In a household where Mom and Dad have to "hold it all together" for all these little personalities, it's hard to consider my own heart. But I must. So today I am pondering, praying, putting all (well, most) tasks aside, despite the urgency.

Maggie is half way around the globe, going through the motions of her day, clueless over what is about to take place. In 7 days, her world will be rocked. She will be ripped away from everything and anyone she knows. While her circumstances may be less than desirable, it's what she is comfortable with. Gotcha day is hard. It's like Christ hanging on the cross, in a sense. Everything is given up, separation occurs (again), and pain becomes fresh. Tears all around. Tears of sadness for what has already, unfortunately happened. Tears of fear. Tears of the unknown. Tears of confusion. Please pray for mercy all around.

But God. On gotcha day, those tears will also be tears of joy. Jesus bore great pain but he didn't stay there. He rose and secured redemption. That redemption is for Maggie too! So on Monday, while we grieve everything she's lost in her little life, we also rejoice. We give God praise for choosing her and for rescuing her. We will be reminded of how we, too, were rescued from the pit, pulled from the grip of shame and into the light.

This is a time we could be led to believe so many lies from the enemy. Our family of 7 traveling to a far off land, on a mission to bring home a sick child, with so many unknowns. Safety, health, comfort... but we must focus on truth. Truth tells us that we are children of God, ordained for a mighty purpose, never promised safety or comfort but always secure for His perfect plan. We embrace whatever that plan is, even if it's not what we hope for. God's plans are ALWAYS better than our own. I rest in that. I trust Him.

So as our trip approaches, and the biggest day of my life (again) rears its head, it is well with my soul. I am sure of God's hand laying over every moment of my life. I am sure that the anxiety occupying Maggie's heart, our hearts, will be overcome with a peace that surpasses understanding. Our God is a promise-keeper and He is faithful in bringing all things to completion. Today I sit still, reminding my heart of these truths and I choose to hold on to them until our return home... and way beyond.

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." (1Peter5:6-7)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Miracles for Maggie

It's been almost 2 months since I've written anything here but that's not to say big things haven't been happening.

Since our immigration approval, we received our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China. In previous adoptions, this step took 60-70 days. It was a surprise to hear of our LOA only 25 days in to our wait! Today, our 800 immigration application will be overnighted to USCIS. This is asking permission for our specific child to immigrate to the U.S. This step should take about 2 weeks. After that, there are several little steps (and lots of paperwork) that happen in order to complete the process. We are pretty confident that we will be traveling in March but hopeful it could actually be sooner. Travel time after LOA is generally about 10 weeks out. We'll be on our way to get Maggie before we know it!

In addition to a quick timeline, God has worked other miracles on our behalf. We shared on Facebook that we received a couple large donations recently, leaving about $4,000 left to raise! Talk about close to goal! Once we raise the total amount, our plan was to help our 5 kids fundraise for their travel expenses, which will total about $12,500 for all of them. That leaves us at about $16,500 needed in order to get Maggie home. We have a short time to make this happen and have been praying about how it will come to fruition before we are supposed to travel. We had no doubt God provides in all that He calls us to but we just couldn't see how He was going to fulfill this. Well, as of a couple days ago, a true miracle has transpired.

We received word from a precious family that they feel led to help us with the finances needed. Not only are they feeling led to donate but they want to bring this journey to completion! They have written us a check to bridge the gap for all adoption expenses plus every penny needed for the entire family to travel! Y'all. We are obviously overwhelmed and at a loss for words.

God has gifted this family with financial means and they have obediently said "Yes!" to Maggie, the same way we have by using our own unique gifts. Seamus recently shared with them, "We are eager to get Maggie home so we can introduce her to Jesus and let her feel His love forever." As authentic believers, they were moved by our desire for her life. Their response has left an imprint on our souls forever, "All done in Jesus' name for his glory. Go get baby Maggie and bring her home to know and love Jesus forever. We are all so blessed... Maggie is already bringing us closer to our Lord and Savior! All glory to God."

We send a special thank you to this family but truly, we have so many to thank. From the first $10 donation we received in August, to the larger gifts of over $1000, each one is making this happen. Every single gift, every fundraiser organized, every prayer lifted up on behalf of our family... and I mean EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. has made an impact for the Kingdom of Christ! There's a zero percent chance we'd ever be able to bring Maggie home, had it not been for each of you. We are giving God praise for his mighty work through you! Thank you for letting Him have his way with your gifts. We are eternally grateful.

We humbly ask for you to remain in prayer for our family. Let's get this angel home, safe and sound!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Immigration Approval

One of the most exciting parts of journeying through an adoption is being able to witness to God’s faithfulness. For those who have adopted, it’s clear that this life is a war zone, that the ministry of adoption is a raging battle between the unseen, spiritual forces among us. It’s real. I could literally tag a hundred people in this post who can witness firsthand to everything seemingly going wrong as they seek to bring a child home (can I get an amen?). When the evil one sees our good, good Father bringing precious children out of slavery and into a loving home, he rages. And God allows much of it, for now (Job is a great biblical example of this). He allows it because it reminds us that this is not our home and it magnifies His grace! His faithfulness is always bigger than the evil that the prince of this world would have us fall under.

Today, a little of this warfare reared itself. While I won’t share details, I can say that we were reminded of the people among us who don’t support what God is doing through our family. While they may never admit this, their lack of faith becomes undeniable and is revealed in disturbing ways. Our village is an incredible testimony to the love of Christ, but there are some who discourage. 

In the middle of this, where resentment could easily rise to the surface, we chose to worship instead. If I choose anything other than worship, I’m essentially admitting that the Lord is not faithful. We don’t rely on man for the completion of God’s good work. We trust Him! I prayed. I sang. I gave Him thanks for what I KNOW He will do in Maggie’s life. I was almost in tears over the goodness of God when this pretty picture popped up on my phone. Our Immigration approval letter finally arrived! In a moment of worship and repentance, Jesus spoke back and reminded us of His unfailing love.

We believe you, Lord. We trust you and know that nothing will separate Maggie from your love!

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Worthy to be Loved

I've been thinking about this post for some time. How do I passionately yet delicately express the burning in my heart on the topic of adopting a child with severe special needs? While it is my desire for grace to meet truth, most of you know that I am shamelessly authentic. That being said, I am unapologetic for the fervor you may encounter here (a-hem).

Seamus and I are currently in the process of adopting a little girl in China who has Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Entering this journey was not taken lightly. Adopting a child with DS has been on our hearts for years. Much discussion and prayer has centered around this matter. We finally came to a place of knowing that God wanted this for our lives. The struggle has been real, the one where our flesh recounts all the reasons it's not a good idea.

Do we know what we're getting in to? What will life be like with a "mentally disabled" child? Are we aware that she will likely live with us for the rest of our lives? How will this affect our current children, now and after we are gone? How can we afford the therapies and heart surgeries? How do we know that God is really "calling us" to this? Every day life will look so different. I'm not sure I have the patience or stamina to deal. You see, all the questions that are being asked of us now are questions we first asked of ourselves. The doubts were real, but God's revelation is always greater.

First and probably foremost, this child is WORTHY. She doesn't deserve to know love any less than another. She's as deserving as any of our 5 children at home. She happens to have been born in China, with a serious disease and an extra chromosome. The story of her abandonment is tragic and the world says she's not valuable. But I'm here to tell you... she was made in the image of her creator and He has chosen her as royalty. God-willing, she will come home soon to a family who adores her, and she will wear a beautiful crown, because in the eyes of God she is a flawless princess. She deserves a loving family, and she deserves to know the love of Christ, simply because He says so.

Second, my life is not mine at all. It was given to me by a gracious creator who commands that I lay it down while carrying a cross, and promises eternal joy in return. I ponder the sacrifice of Christ's own life for me and I am immediately overwhelmed with gratitude. There's nothing more joyful than being able to share that miracle with others. The most tangible way to live out this gratitude is to give my own life for another, only a miniscule example of God's true love for us. Will this new life be hard? Will I likely shed tears on a daily basis? Will I lose my dream of retirement and a chance to spend my last years alone with my husband? Undoubtedly. Will it be worth it? Sure as heaven. This life is only a vapor, gone too quickly to hold on to anything meaningless. Moths and rust will destroy everything this carnal life offers. But when we breath our last, a new life awaits. And what WILL come with us are souls. Souls are what matter here and now. So until the day I travel home for good, God, please give me the strength to surrender my life for the sake of others, gripping to the reality that we will soon be in glory where there are no tears, no pain, plenty of time for rest and comfort.

(By the way... While I believe my life is not my own and happily lay it down, I simultaneously happen to know that the choice we are making will actually result in a life more fulfilled, more full of joy than ever before. Harder than ever, but worth every moment. I can't wait to testify to that joy first-hand, once she's home.)

Third, my God is a promise-keeper. It really all boils down to one simple consideration. We either believe God or we don't. We can ask all the questions we want, but at the end of the day the only reason we are able to adopt this child is because we believe that God is who He says he is. "I am." The truest statement that ever was. The great "I am," the One who created this universe and knit Maggie's soul together promises never to leave or forsake us. He promises a life of hardship in this world but a world He has already overcome. He promises that His plans for us are good. He promises power to the weak and strength to the powerless. He promises that nothing can separate us from the love of God. He promises that we need not fear, for He goes before us. He promises eternal life as a free gift. He promises to be a Father to the fatherless. He promises that victory is ours!

He also promises that His word is true. Scripture is our test against whether or not we are doing what He wants. We know He has called us to this adoption because His word reveals it. Our default is to step forward in faith, through His command to care for the orphan and ask God to close the door if it's not His will for our life. If the Bible urges believers to mimic God's love for us, that's exactly what we are "called" to do. When we pray regarding this adoption or any ministry opportunity, we ask God to halt our progress if it's not His plan. He has done this many times in our lives. But as for Maggie, well, the Bible tells us to love her unabashedly. So we will, until the Lord tells us otherwise.

Our questions have proven shallow, while God has given us a more courageous vision than we had before. We are now able to step forward in faith, confident in truth, remembering that there is no fear in love. While it is unimportant (and frankly unbiblical) for me to defend our path, I do hope, through this post, that someone will realize God's unconditional love for us and believe it so bravely that His compassion would be materialized throughout this hurting world He so dearly cherishes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Travel to China... Third Time's a Charm?

I wish this was the "TRAVEL APPROVAL" post but we are still many months away. We are currently (still) waiting for immigration approval (sigh). Our best guess is that travel will occur in March or April. That doesn't mean, however, that we haven't spent hours talking, contemplating, praying over the details that involve travel. Specifically, who will go this time, what is the best scenario for our family?

China requires that we are there for about 2 weeks. There's no way around this and in some ways we are grateful. During our time there, we take every opportunity we can to immerse ourselves in the culture and retain as much as possible to share with our children later. The trip is not easy though. It's long and exhausting. The jet lag alone is enough to make a person sick for weeks. The emotional toll of meeting your child and dealing with her trauma is intense. The paperwork, site seeing, meetings with government officials, all while being clueless about what day it is and what time of the day it is... It's a lot. Then there's the cost of the trip in dollars. For each person traveling we must account for an additional, approximate amount of $2,500. As you can imagine, consideration of travel plans is not taken lightly.

When we adopted Emily in 2014, Seamus and I traveled, bringing our oldest son (who was 8 at the time) and leaving our two youngest kids behind with friends. The experience was amazing and I was thankful that Brady had that extra time to bond with his Mei Mei. Anna and Bryce were definitely in the best-case-scenario for staying home. They stayed with friends who are more like family and they took amazing care of them for us. When we returned, they were both excited to have us home but we noticed our four-year-old seemed very affected by our separation. He was sad and clingy, just not himself for quite a few weeks. While we explained what 2 weeks looked like and left them with a calendar, we believe he was probably too young to really comprehend what that looked like. It was extremely hard to watch and after that journey with him, we decided any future adoption travel would need to look different.

When we adopted Samuel in 2015, the decision was made that I would go alone or bring a friend. This way, Seamus could stay at home with the kids, maintaining their normal routine with daddy close by. We were so grateful to sweet Ms. Suzi who agreed to walk that long and arduous trip with me. The 4 kids did very well at home with Seamus. Our community of friends rallied around us (as usual), provided meals for them while I was gone, carpooled, babysat, and loved us well. I grieved, those many thousands of miles away. I missed Seamus and the kids so very much. I wanted Seamus to be loving on Samuel with me. I hated sharing "gotcha" through pictures and texts. It was hard on each of us for different reasons.

Third trip approaching... what to do? We've talked and prayed over several options.

We could bring the girls with us and leave the 3 boys with friends. The boys stick together naturally and we know our older boys would help care for our 3 year old son. But would we be repeating the separation anxiety with the youngest? He is still a tad vulnerable from his trauma as a baby and we can't be sure that he'll handle the separation well.

One of us could go (not ideal for reasons already mentioned). We ran through many scenarios.

What if we all went to China? SAY WHAT?! Yeah, that was my initial reaction too. We began adding up the financial expense, considering what the luggage and Customs check points would look like, imagining our baby and toddler screaming on a 15 hour flight, and knowing full well that with eight people, each immune system greatly compromised, SOMEONE will be sure to vomit at any given moment. What a fun prospect this is!

But we also saw a different side. God has always provided the finances when it's His will. No one would be separated. All of us could experience welcoming Maggie to her forever family. It would be hard but oh-so-rich. We spoke to many families who have traveled to China with 5 or more kids. Not one of them said they regret it, and each encouraged us in this possibility. More prayer, more discussion, and lots of revelation. We've decided the whole family should travel to get Maggie!

The kids are beyond excited and we can't imagine a more fruitful trip for each of them. We've always seen this trip as a mission opportunity in so many ways. For our kids to experience the richness of this multi-faceted trip... the prospect overwhelms me. Being there for Maggie, visiting an orphanage, loving on those babies, seeing Mom and Dad share the gospel with guides and others who may never hear it... we are so grateful that God would consider letting this happen for our children.

The older ones want to be involved in raising the funds needed for travel so we are brainstorming about that now. I believe we will continue fundraising for the adoption itself. Once we have raised the total needed (approximately $31,000), we will continue fundraising specifically for travel expenses. This way, your giving is not muddied. We will be very clear about what fundraisers will go towards travel. If you feel led to give one way or another, you will have that opportunity. I should reiterate here that every dollar currently being raised is being put aside for our adoption expenses. We will make it very clear when (God-willing) we've met this goal and will move on to fundraising for the kids' travel.

Maggie's, Seamus', and my travel are already factored in to the original amount needed for the adoption. After examining past travel and speaking with our travel agent and social worker, we have estimated the cost to be about $2,500 per additional person. That's an additional $12,500 needed in order for our entire family to go. While our immediate reaction to this amount was fear, we now feel settled knowing that this is what God wants for us. We have been encouraged by so many of you and are thankful for your support in this decision!

There is no perfect plan for this sort of journey. It's hard. It just is. No matter what. But we are super excited about being together as we embrace and bond with Maggie as a family!

Load up Lomans! We're going to China!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Handmade, with Love, for Maggie

It's incredible to ponder that our friends have raised $6,000 for our adoption so far. There's no way we could be where we are in the process without this help. There are few words to explain how grateful we feel. THANK YOU, precious friends!

It is with great excitement that we kick off our next fundraiser to help bring home our baby girl! We want Maggie to have something personal and handmade when she comes home and we would love for you to be a part of it. Our idea is to have a quilt made in a very unique way, and a local friend has offered her quilting expertise as a gift!

Here's how it'll work. We have chosen material for the quilt, and squares have been cut. Our idea is to sell a square to anyone who would like to be a part of her homecoming quilt. Each square sells for $50. You will receive a permanent, black, fabric marker to write anything you want on your square. It can be a Bible verse, words of love and encouragement, anything to make that square personally yours and filled with love for our daughter. After you complete your square, you will return it to us and the squares will be sewn together to make a beautiful patchwork of love! If you are an out-of-towner, we will happily mail the square to you.

Our goal for this fundraiser, based on fees due over the coming weeks, is $4,000. We would love to hit this mark by selling 80 squares. Will you please help us do this? Beyond the fundraiser itself, it would be such a gift to have lots of love branded all over her quilt!

We are selling the squares now and will continue over the coming days. I'll let you know when we get close to our goal of 80 squares sold. Once this has happened, we will let our friend begin sewing the quilt together.

You can pay for a square through PayPal (please click "send money to family and friends" to avoid fees) to, or you can mail us a check (email me to request address), whichever is easiest. Please put a note on your payment that it is for a quilt square.

We think this quilt will be such a treasure for years to come. We look forward to reading her the names and notes of so many who helped bring her home. It will be a constant reminder of how cherished she is! Please, please purchase your square now. You'll be helping to bring Maggie home and it'll be a great way to show her she's loved!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

We Haven't Forgotten

We were so blessed to attend our local "Run for One" event last night. Wonderful people came out to support Lifeline's ministry and specifically to rally for "Rafe," the little one we continue to advocate for. The Pounders family organized the entire thing and it was a huge success! You can read more about "Run for One" HERE. If you weren't able to join us last night but would still like to register, in order to support the work of Lifeline and receive a really cool t-shirt, you can click on "run where you are" and sign up.

As I mentioned, last night's run was in honor of Rafe. This is an opportunity for me to share, again, who this amazing child is.

Rafe is a little boy who lives in an orphanage in China. He has no one to call "Mama" or "Baba." He was born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect, left abandoned, and remains in this circumstance with little hope. The Lord put his precious face in front of us last year and has called us to be his voice. We pray for him often. We beg for a family to step out in faith. Until a loving home is a reality for Rafe, we trust that his little life is in his maker's hands. Please read about him HERE and share with anyone who may consider praying for or adopting this child of God.

Because no family has chosen to pursue him, his file has returned to the shared list in China. There are many implications for this but notably that Lifeline no longer has his file and there is not a designated agency who can be a voice for him. We are, essentially, the only ones putting his face out there. His file sits with thousands of others, going unnoticed, the same way Fuyi's did. We can't stop posting about him. We can't stop praying for him. We can't stop telling the world that there's a dark truth about too many kids silently yelling for help. If you are interested in learning more about this child, please contact me. I have his medical file as well as some (adorable) recent videos of him.

We have been asked why we aren't adopting Rafe. Why have we chosen another child to adopt? Our answer is not simple but we want to try to give some clarity on our decision.

When Seamus and I knew we were being called to adopt again, we prayed many times over Rafe and the possibility of bringing him in to our fold. God made it very clear that His plan for Rafe was not one that included our home. It was the same message we received when hosting Fuyi. It was confusing because we adored her and truly fell in love with her. We knew she needed a family and we had one to offer, but we just knew Fuyi wasn't our daughter and that God had other plans for her. The same is true for Rafe. He needs a loving family. We have one. We are willing. But again, God is making it clear that He has other plans. We can't rely on God's plan being one to suit our desire... to find Rafe another family, the way He did for Fuyi. Nonetheless, we know God's plan is perfect, that His will is always better than ours and that His sovereignty over this child's life should never be doubted.

So, we move forward. We begin a new journey to bring home our own child, a different child with Down syndrome and a sick heart, one who was also going unnoticed. But we never forget Rafe and what God has called us to, on his behalf. We continue to pray. We continue to advocate. We ask you, once more, to please consider the joy that would come from embracing this child.

"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." (John 14:18)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Where We are in Process

You may be wondering where we are in the process and when we expect to travel.

We are wrapping up our home study this week! The home study is always the longest part of the process but we have a rock star social worker and we are pretty familiar with all the paperwork and checklists. The past few weeks have looked a little like this...


This week we will be submitting our Letter of Intent to China, asking for pre-approval to adopt this particular little girl. God-willing, they will respond in a couple weeks telling us we can proceed. It's at the point of receiving pre-approval that we will be able to share her picture!

While we are waiting for pre-approval, we will submit our I-800a application to Immigration. This is requesting permission to adopt an international child. The entire 800a approval takes about 2 months from the time of application.

A little side note on funding... When we receive pre-approval, we will have fees of $1,210 due. Part of this goes to the orphanage and the rest to another department in China for a liaison fee. We also have to submit $945 to USCIS (US Immigration Dept.) with our application this week. That's a total of $2,155 due over the next couple weeks.

Will y'all please help us reach this amount by purchasing raffle tickets HERE? We were so amazed yesterday when our friends called to say they had set up a fundraiser for us! The love we are feeling is incredible. And y'all. The raffle item. It's a Mom's fantasy... dinner cooked and delivered for your family for an entire week! AND! There isn't just one winner. There will be 5 winners picked on August 25th! So get your pony in the race and let's bring this baby girl home as quickly as we can! Y'all are the bestest.

If there aren't any major snags in the process, and we raise each fee in time for the due date, we could travel in early spring!

Prayer warriors, please pray for protection over our girl while she waits. Pray for her heart and for miraculous healing before she comes home. And if you would pray for our family, we'd appreciate that too. The process can be taxing and we truly need endurance, perseverance and patience only given by the grace of God.

More fun news... We'll be sharing her name soon! EEEEEK!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fundraising Information

I'd like to make a few points about our fundraising goals, in order to be clear and transparent.

This adoption will cost approximately $35,000. This includes all agency fees, immigration, China fees, legal documents, required post-reports, and travel expenses for 2 people.

We had a balance from previous adoption efforts and were able to use it for our immediate fees due. We paid $1,200 for our home study update and $2,812.50 for our first agency fee. Praise God we had that left over and didn't have to wait to start the process! This leaves a balance needed of almost $31,000.

We have created a thermometer on this page so you can see our progress. We will update it often and will share on FB periodically. It shows the $31,000 still needed and any donations we've received.

If you feel led to give but would like to donate directly to our agency, on our behalf, you may do that. Unfortunately, the donation still is not tax-deductible but you may prefer to give through that route and we will still receive the benefit. If you choose to do so, our agency is Lifeline Children's Services. Please indicate "Seamus Loman family adoption" on payment (check memo, etc.).

Any funds that we are able to set aside and save will go toward our adoption expenses and these amounts will be reflected on the thermometer as "raised."

We will share soon about our first upcoming fundraiser, as soon as the details are ironed out! Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the encouragement we've already received! Please let us know what questions you have along the way. We are so grateful for your willingness to help and we want to be completely honest and open about everything we do!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I'm so eager to get my heart on paper, yet I fumble to find the right words. My only goal for this blog, beyond simply releasing my emotion through writing, is that God would receive glory and praise for His wondrous work. Our witness of His gracious saving of souls is never to be hidden. Lord, let these words never be my own, rather your Spirit testifying to the love you so freely offer to a hurting world. God continues to work so mightily through us and we never grow weary of giving thanks for such a humbling privilege. We are entering a new season of ministry, another call that is so clearly from the Lord. My hope is that through my writing, through your reading, only Jesus would be given all praise due.

Our hearts burn for the orphan and God has been so faithful in using us to be His hands and feet for these vulnerable souls. He has accomplished so much and continues to work in amazing ways. I can't wait to share some of the "smaller" things He's doing! But for now, we have some pretty big news to share. And while everything He calls us to is exciting (and sometimes overwhelming), this definitely tops it all. We are beyond excited, nervous, and completely relying on the grace of Jesus. He's calling us back, y'all. Back to China. Back to those precious faces that are forever imprinted on our minds and our hearts. We have begun the process to adopt another. There are too many waiting. There are just too many who don't know love. There's too much room in our home. There's too much joy in bringing the gospel to another nation. There are so many more who need to learn about our adoption in Christ. No, we can't change the world, but for the child who will soon enter our home, her world will change forever. God seeks one lost, while leaving 99 behind (Luke 15:4) and we are humbled to be His feet that go for that lost sheep. He has called us and we answer, "Yes."

There is an image-bearing, child of God who lives in an orphanage in Jiangsu Province, China (the same province our Samuel is from!). She is only 1 year old and to no fault of her own, was born in to circumstances that would change the course of her life forever. She was born with Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect. The story of her abandonment is tragic. It has wrecked us and drawn us to love her all the more. God can and will use her story and that extra chromosome of hers to shed light on His overwhelming love for us (Romans 8:28). We will be her voice. We will go for her. We will adopt her. God-willing.

We don't know how any of it is going to happen but we know a great and powerful God who says that all things are possible in Him. We think about our current life circumstances... our 5 children, keeping a home, schooling our children, our careers outside of the home, our lack of time to adequately care for a child with special needs, our depleted savings account, and Jesus faithfully reminds us that this journey is all His. We have a hundred reasons why this doesn't make sense. But God. There's nothing more important than living out His word through a life that reflects His love for us. We may not have the future figured out (or even today, really) but we know God is faithful and always provides through His will. I never, in a million years, thought I'd hope for a child with a sick heart or Down Syndrome. And now I find myself wanting more and more to see through the same lens God sees through. I find myself praising God for the many ways I know He'll bless us through it.

That being said, we need our village. More than ever. We have learned over the years to ditch our pride and let people help. We have learned that this ministry of orphan care is OURS, meaning yours and mine. God has given us all different gifts to live out His command to care for the orphan. We are so thankful for our gift to GO, to open our home, and share life-saving, Gospel truth to the weakest on earth. By design, God hasn't given us every gift, and what a beautiful design that is! We rely on the rest of the body to see this through. Without our community, she will never come home. We are taking one more step forward, remembering all the support we had through and after previous adoptions. The meals, babysitting, prayer, financial gifts and encouragement... these make it possible for us to go again. Your gift and your role in this adoption is not less important than ours.

If you would begin to partner with us by praying for our family, we'd be grateful. Please share our story. Please share our need to raise approximately $35,000. Everyone can be a part of bringing her home! We will be aggressively fundraising over the coming months and taking one step through the process at a time, as we raise funds for that particular step. Fortunately, we did have a small balance from our previous adoption efforts so we have been able to pay for our home study and first agency fee. We are planning our first fundraiser now and hope to announce it soon so we can make our second agency payment and send fees due for immigration approval. For now, if you feel led to contribute, please do that through the "donate" button on the right side of this blog (if you are on your phone or tablet, you must click on "view web version" at bottom of page to see the link). We could potentially travel to get her in 6-9 months but it will depend on how quickly we are able to move to the next step.

Thank you for your prayers and for considering a donation towards bringing this baby girl home! We are forever blessed by this community and know that together with God's provision, we can do this. We look forward to sharing more soon!