Monday, April 27, 2015

Waiting for Samuel to Come Home

It's been awhile since my last blog post, I know. While we are working and waiting for Samuel to come home, we are obviously very focused on every day life here. "Busy" doesn't begin to describe my life and although I am incredibly grateful for all God has led me to, I have little time to focus on my personal passions, including writing. ;) Sooooooo... I'm thankful to have 5 minutes today to share just a tad of what's going on.

Where are we in the adoption process right now? As you know, we submitted a letter of intent for sweet Samuel and China issued us Pre-Approval. He is ours, designated solely for our family and waiting for us to come get him. Our dossier (fancy word for our entire life on paper) is in China. It will take a couple months for them to issue us LOA (official letter of approval). So right now, we're in a waiting period. Once our LOA comes, we'll be looking at several weeks that include scrambling and more paperwork before we travel. I'll be sure to update here when we receive LOA. That's a major milestone in the process and always a huge celebration for adoptive families.

We are hoping to receive some updates and new pictures while we wait but this adoption is very different from when we were pursuing Emily. You may remember that Emily was in a special place called Harmony House where we were able to Skype with her periodically and speak directly to her caretakers. Ru was in a similar setting. Both were unique situations that we were very thankful for. Samuel is in a government-run orphanage. While we have been told that this orphanage is one of the better ones in China, we still can't be in direct contact. We can request pictures and information but may only receive one or two updates between now and travel. We'll be grateful to hear anything and will be sure to share with you!

In the meantime, we're exploring some fundraising ideas that may help fund our adoption. We have about $10,000 more to raise in order to bring Samuel home. We know God will provide, as He always has. We have a few ideas and will share them with you as they come to fruition. Will y'all please rally around us and help us to raise the last chunk of change to bring our baby boy home?

One fundraiser that seems to work well is t-shirt sales. We have already placed 2 shirt orders and the response has been great. I recently inquired on our FB page if anyone would be interested in a 3rd order and we feel like it'll be worth it. We will begin taking orders today and will place one big order in a few weeks. This time, we have 4 shirt options! If you didn't get in on the first couple orders, we will still offer the original brown super soft tee. Many of you requested a brighter, summer color shirt so we are adding coral and light blue options. Your 4th option is a V-neck tee in silver. All 4 options will have the original graphic on the front and are the same super soft fabric. Here are pictures of the options (picture of light blue coming soon):

The t-shirts are $20 each. The silver V-neck is $22. If we will be shipping them to you, please add $4 per order. All shirts come in adult sizes XS - 3XL (coral, light blue, and brown shirts go up to 4XL). To place your order, you can pay through Paypal using my email address (or just click on the "Donate" button on the right of this page). Please be sure to enter your color choice with size in the notes, as well as your shipping address. If you'd rather pay with cash or check, that's fine too. You can email me for our mailing address.

Our goal is to sell 100 shirts for this order. I know this is lofty being our 3rd order but we can do it! We would be so excited to meet this goal and be one step closer to bringing home Samuel. If you haven't purchased a shirt from us yet, now's your chance! If you've already ordered a brown shirt and would like a different color or style, we'd be grateful for your second t-shirt order! Another way to help is to share our shirts on FB.

We'd love for you to link in to our journey directly by praying for Samuel and ordering a shirt from us. We'll be sure to keep you updated if we hear anything about Samuel. We'll also keep you posted on our progress in raising the funds needed to bring him home. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all your support!

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Phil.4:8-9)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beauty From Ashes

It's been almost 3 weeks since little Ru went to be with Jesus. This road has been a bit bumpy but we consider it a privilege to have been chosen for this journey. The Lord has already shown great things through His calling for us to be Ru's parents from afar. She will always hold a special place in our hearts. I expect the sad moments will continue to arise when we hear a certain song, land on that dreaded date each year, hear about babies who share her story. We wouldn't trade one minute. God's plan for us is perfect and we are beyond grateful to be right where we are, amidst His amazing story of grace.

God is faithful in His plan. He provides a continuous occurrence of miracles in our lives. We don't stop here, in the midst of grieving a loss. We don't quit because things got hard. We don't close the book on caring for orphans, or ignore the next chapter. No, we press on in the fight to spread His gospel and love the least of these as He commands. He's no less faithful today than He was yesterday. He continues to provide and we will walk wherever He leads us. As we turn the page, while never forgetting Ru, we look forward to what God has prepared next. He is already revealing the next chapter in our story and we foresee beauty coming from ashes.

We can not imagine a more beautiful way to honor Ru's life than to fight for another precious child who has been left to fend for himself. We are thankful God calls us to love these vulnerable children. We have a home and plenty of love to share. There is a need and we are available. Furthermore, our deepest desire is for our life story to tell God's story of redemptive love. Jesus willingly sacrificed everything so that we, as orphans, could be eternally united with our adoptive Father in heaven. We pray that our story of earthly adoption would always point to the gospel, God's story of eternal, heavenly adoption.

We are excited to introduce the newest addition to our family... Samuel Martin Loman!

Samuel means "God has heard" (yes, He has). And Martin is Seamus' middle name. Chosen for his father's namesake, he will know he is loved. :) We submitted a letter of intent to adopt this little sweetie and China has granted us pre-approval. He is almost a year old and lives at an orphanage in Lianyungang City which is on the east coast of China, just north of Shanghai. He has a congenital deformity of the left arm. We believe he is otherwise healthy but thorough medical information is limited until he comes home.

Because we had the first half of our adoption expedited (for Ru), we are that far along for Samuel. Our home study is complete and we have immigration approval. This progress absolutely carries over for any child we choose to pursue. Because of this scenario, Samuel won't have to wait an entire year for us to get to him! We are hoping to scoop him up within 4-6 months from now. Also, the money we've invested in Ru's adoption can carry over for this adoption. Phew!

Needless to say, we are thrilled to be adding a son to our family. You can imagine how excited our kids are, especially the boys. That's a lot of stinky socks, y'all! We will continue to keep you updated. Your prayers are no less coveted now than they were before. Here we go again...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Faithful. Still and Always.

We are humbled beyond words over the support and prayers, hugs and gifts that have been offered for us during this time of healing. That is truly what it has been. Healing. Little Ru went to be with Jesus only 4 days ago and in this short time God has continued to amaze us. We are feeling a great peace and although there are times of sadness, our hope abounds all the more.

There are important details that we need to work through as we move forward. One of the unavoidable matters is funding that has been donated to our cause of fighting for Ru. We'd like to make a few public comments and if you have further questions or a personal concern, please feel free to contact us directly.

Through our t-shirt fundraiser and other donations, we have raised about $5,000 for our adoption expenses. If you have contributed to our adoption expenses, we would be more than happy to return your donation. We don't want this to be uncomfortable for you and we are certainly understanding of the importance that your sacrifice goes to a worthy cause. That being said, if the funds go unclaimed, we commit to using them for a purpose that fulfills our mission to defend the fatherless. We will be praying through how best to use the funds but we are not in a hurry at this point. The money will sit in our savings account until we are ready to address that.

We aren't able to return shirts but we are hopeful that y'all will continue wearing these in Ru's honor. We still plan to wear ours on Easter Sunday as we forget the frock! We do have about 15 people who have paid for shirts for our second order. We'd like to go ahead and place that order now. If you'd like your money back instead, please message us. Again, this is no problem at all! If we don't hear from you, we'll assume you still want to order one and will let you know when your shirt arrives.

If you donated formula for Ru, I think you'll be excited to hear how God has worked through that. We have a new friend whose baby girl just came home from China weeks ago. She also has biliary atresia and is currently on the liver transplant wait list in Chicago. They happen to be in great need of Pregestimil at this time and it brings us much joy to be able to provide for them! This important formula costs about $40 per can and each can only lasts about 4 days. Ack! We have 16 cans that will be shipped to this precious baby girl tomorrow. Praise The Lord!

We haven't had the chance to respond to every text, email, FB message, comment, phone call, and delivery. Please know that not one of them have gone unnoticed. We feel so very lifted up and are grateful that God is providing the strength we need, through each of you. Our deepest desire is that this journey will continue to glorify Jesus. All praises go to Him alone, for He alone is the one who provided Ru with life and graciously provided this community for her. You have prayed, donated, cried, listened, sent, and prayed some more. For that, Ru is forever blessed. This is your journey as much as it is ours and I pray that you will stand with us in giving thanks and praise to God, who remains faithful. Still. Always.

Thank you for you understanding as we work through these details and many others that will face us over the days to come. We ask for your prayers that God will lead us clearly through our next season. We know the fight for orphans doesn't stop here. We just don't know where he'll lead us next. We are certainly excited to continue our healing process and watch how God uses this!