Tuesday, April 8, 2014

BamFam Update

I spent some time this afternoon reading my old blog posts.  Over the past several months, I have done a terrible job of documenting us.  So, I wanted to try to catch up a little....

Mary Ashtyn is in the last few months of her first year of high school.  I am still trying to figure out how this is happening so fast.  In January, she made high school majorette for her second year!!  We are looking forward to her marching for the Purple Pride again during her sophomore year.  Mash is our determined, head strong child.  She sets goals for herself and does what it takes to reach them.  Late nights of homework, hours of twirling to the point of jammed fingers and bruises all while having her phone glued to her hand!!  LOL...she is also a typical teenager!  Some days we're not sure we can put up with her another second, but other days she amazes us with her commitment to Christ and her strong convictions.

Reece will be 13 in June!!!  He is developing his own style and doesn't really care what other people think...love this about him!  Spiky hair, red Converses, anything goes.  He still has the sweet servant's heart and would do anything for his sisters.  Bless him, he's about to have one more and I know he'll be the same way with sweet Ava.  More and more often, we are seeing glimpses of the teenager that he is becoming...can we really handle two???  He's had some major changes in the last few months.  He transferred to a different school after Christmas, something he's always wanted to do.  He now gets to ride to school with his Daddy and Lily.  I have missed him horribly since he was at one of the schools that I do speech therapy, but he loves the change and I'm adjusting.

He is also NOT playing baseball this year.  Although the extra time at home is fabulous, I do miss my Reece man on the field.  Loved watching him on first base and on the mound.  Love this boy and his big heart!

Lily is now serving her second term as the Alabama Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association!!  She has the unique opportunity to meet people from all over the state and help spread awareness for Muscular Dystrophy.  It is such a blessing to be able to share her story and work with the fabulous ladies in this picture to help kids throughout Alabama LIVE with MD.

She is our Silly Lily...still bossy, sassy, and full of personality.  When I tuck her in at night, she tells me "you're the best mommy I ever had...I'm going to keep you forever".  Yep, she still melts my heart and I still have a really hard time telling her no :)

At this point, you know as much about this sweet thing as we do!  You probably haven't zoomed in on every single picture of her or watched her video over a million times like I have :)  I am longing for the day that she is ours and all my questions are answered.  If she is half as sweet as her smile, we'll be fine.

It really looks like we'll travel in early June!!  As we get closer to travel, Ava needs our prayer warriors.  Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to post some specific things that we need you to pray about with us.  The most urgent request is that Ava will remain at the Ningbo City SWI until she is with us.  She was originally in Yu Yao and was transferred to Ningbo around 7 years ago to receive physical therapy.  Chinese policy is for the children to return to the original SWI (orphanage) before adoption.  How scary for this baby!!  She is 9 years old and will be hit with so many changes in the next few months.  We don't want her to have to leave the only home she has ever known until she is in our arms and we can comfort her.  Please pray with us that Ava stays in Ningbo. 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  (Mark 11:24)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Help Lily Win!!

Lily is in a contest to win a wheelchair accessible van!!  It would be such a blessing to our family.  We have a lift on the outside of our van, but we can't always transport her chair due to the weather.  We had an accessible van on Lily's Make A Wish trip and it was so much easier and convenient.  When Ava gets home (SOON!!!), we'll have two little girls to get loaded.  If things change with Ava's mobility, we could be facing transporting two power chairs or possibly a scooter.  WE NEED THIS VAN!!

Please follow the link below and sign up to vote for Lily.  It takes a few seconds to sign up and you will receive your password by e-mail.  You can vote once per day through May 9. 

Thanks for helping our sweet girl!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Beauty

Last weekend, Lily was in a beauty pageant at her school.  She asked for weeks to be in it, so we borrowed a dress and reluctantly agreed.  In her 15 years, Mary Ashtyn has only been in two pageants and I'll admit they aren't my favorite.  Like every parent, I think my children are the the best and the brightest.  It's hard when a panel of judges doesn't agree with me :)  Allowing Lily to be in this pageant scared me.  I wasn't sure I could stand to let anyone judge her...she gets enough of that as she rolls along in the mall or anywhere else she goes.  I was scared for her to be compared to the other girls and be hurt.  I prayed about it A LOT.  As I prayed, Lily talked about the pageant and grew more and more excited.

On pageant day, I took her to get her hair done.  She was so excited!  
She couldn't stop smiling at herself in the mirror...she loves getting pampered!

After arriving at the school and getting Lily's dress on, she looked perfect!

This would also be around the time I realized what a horrible pageant Mom I am...I didn't bring a brush, hairspray, or even lipstick!!  As I left Lily to get to my seat, I reminded her to have fun and we talked about how pretty she and all of her friends were.  I sat down to watch, so worried about my Lily's tender heart.

Then, my sweet girl rolled onto the stage.  Her beauty and grace took my breath away.  She sat up so straight and tall, stared those judges down and gave them her sweetest smile.  I melted.  Lily Joy was absolutely perfect.  I realized it didn't matter what any judge said or who won, my beautiful little girl can do anything!  

Our Lily won First Alternate!!!  It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.  We were cheering and going a little crazy and she just sat staring at her trophy.  It was amazing!! A week later, her trophy is still sitting in the den right beside her.  She tells people that she almost won :)  What a dream come true for a little princess who lived in an orphanage until 2 years ago.  A little princess who walked just as tall as anyone else in the pageant that night and proved once again that wheelchairs and weakness don't matter.

 Love that both my girls were First Alternate in both of their very first pageants!!
 Mary Ashtyn 5th Grade 2010
Lily Joy 2nd Grade 3/21/14

Monday, March 24, 2014


It's official...the long wait is OVER!!  Our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) arrived at our agency today.  Ava Frances will be home before we know it.  There will be several little approvals to wait on now...I800, Article 5 Drop off & Pickup, TA (Travel Approval) and CA (Consulate Appointment).  These don't take long at all!!!  Seriously, y'all...we are almost BamFam6.

I was just about to post my fears about raising the final $8,000.  How I know that God won't let us down, but today has been a day of doubting and fear.  Then, my sweet little Lily says out of the blue, "I'm so glad I have a family".  I realized that's all that matters...Ava will have a family!!  We will have another miracle to love!!  Ava will know the love of a family and most importantly the love of our Savior!!  We are doing exactly what God intends for our family. 

So, we're waiting to see how God works out the last of the financing...fully trusting that He will. 

Pray for Ava as she lives her final months in the only home she's ever known.  Pray that God prepares her heart and mind for the changes that are coming.  My heart breaks for our little girl, adoption is beautiful...but it is born from brokenness.  She'll leave her nannies, her friends, her language, and her country.  So scary for a nine year old.

Pray for us as we prepare for Ava.  We desperately need to raise the last of the adoption costs.  We've had 10 people commit to helping by donating $50.  Some have given much more and some have given less, we appreciate EVERY donation.  We still need 150 people to donate.  Please prayerfully consider helping get Ava home.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 4:6-7)

Ava Frances Fang Bamberg...Coming HOME Soon!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sweetest Voice

We have loved our sweet Ava and her big 'ole grin for almost a year now.  We've seen videos of her doing daily living activities (getting dressed, washing her face) and watched her zoom around with her walker.  We've loved her because we felt God calling us to be her family.  It's been a really exciting time in our lives as we wait for her to come home.

There has been one little doubt that has worried me...we had no clue about Ava's personality. She has obediently completed every task on the videos with that sweet smile on her face, but we haven't really had a glimpse of the real her.  She has not spoken one word in the 17 videos that we've seen.

Today, I fell in love with Ava...head over heels, completely in love.  No doubt, no fear!!  This girl is all Bamberg.  We got a new video and well, WOW!!  There are no words to describe our sweet baby.  You'll just have to see for yourself....

How cute is she???  Ava starts off reciting some poems.  Then she is asked her favorite food.  It takes several seconds to come up with her answer...chips!!!  We also got to ask a few questions.  Her nannies report that she loves her forever family and has no worries or questions about us!  I wanted to know how to comfort her if she is upset.  Their reply, hold her and feed her snacks.  Oh, my girl...just like her Mama!!  Guess we'll be stocking up on lots of chips for Miss Ava :)

As we fund raise and worry about raising enough money to actually get Ava HOME, it was amazing to get this video today.  Perfect timing, God's timing.  Isn't He good, all the time?!?

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So Close!!!

Seven months ago, we made one of the scariest decisions of our lives.  We obeyed God's calling to add a fourth child to our family, making us BamFam6!!  Seven months ago, we knew that it would take around $40,000 to bring Ava home.  Seven months ago, we were certain that we couldn't afford another adoption.  It seemed impossible...it's been difficult...but it's almost done!!!

Our family and friends have been begging and pleading with us through so many fundraisers.  You sweet people have bought over 200 Sassy Frass shirts!!!  You've bought chances on beach vacations, quilts, and free photo sessions.  People we don't even know have called our agency and given anonymous donations, others have generously donated to our fundraising sites, still others have shown up at our jobs and handed us cash.  It has been overwhelming and has humbled us beyond belief.   How good is our God?  HE IS AWESOME!!  The things He has taught us about trust and humility through this adoption are amazing

We could be a few weeks away from getting our LOA (letter of acceptance)!!  From that point, we just have a few more steps to go before travel.  If everything continues to go as planned, we will travel by late May/early June!!!! 

We have watched our adoption debt slowly decrease until now we only need around $10,000 to bring Ava HOME!! 

I am longing for the day when this sweet little girl with the smile that melts my heart is in my arms...sitting between us in our family pictures.  Friends, we need your help this one last time!!  Please, please help us.  I am tired of begging for money and I'm praying this will be the very last time :)

We are asking 200 people to pledge just $50 to bring Ava Frances Fang HOME, HOME, HOME!!  If you can help, please click here to donate your $50.  If you would rather mail your pledge, please email me at mashmommy@bellsouth.net for our home address.

We are so very close, please help us finish this journey.  Pray with us that will be fully funded SOON so that Ava won't have to wait any longer for her family.    We can't do this without YOU!!

All our love,
Trent, Kristie, Mary Ashtyn, Reece, Lily & Ava

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Photo Fundraiser

As we move closer to travel for Ava, we are overwhelmed by the support from our friends and family.  We could not have made it this far without the constant prayers and encouragement.  Last week, a local photographer contacted me because she has heard about Ava.  Although we have never met, she offered to help bring our sweet girl home.  We are so thankful to Misty Beams at Captured Photography.

Please visit Misty's website and check out her gorgeous work.  If you'd like a chance to win, please click on one of the links below, just be sure to mention you'd like to be entered for the Photo Session.