Tuesday, April 29, 2014

HIS Plans

We are weeks away from our sweet Ava and we are getting so excited.  It's hard to believe that we'll have four children by this summer!!!  It's really obvious with this adoption that a lot of people just don't get us...some of the comments we've gotten have been CRAZY.  It's funny to watch mouths drop open when we tell people about Ava!  It really gets interesting when we tell them that she has been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy.

There is no way to explain our heart for orphans and adoption.  It started 15 years ago when Mary Ashtyn was placed in my arms.  I held this 7 month old, 12 pound, tiny girl and knew everything was right in my world.  Adoption for us started as a selfish desire to be parents.  Spending a week in a Russian orphanage as we waited to get custody of our Mary Ashtyn, changed something inside of me.  God broke my heart for the sweet children with their little noses pressed against the window of that orphanage who watched us climb into a van with our dream come true.  I still close my eyes and can see them.  On our first night as a family of three, Trent and I stood on the balcony in the early morning, too excited to sleep, and talked about God's plan for us.  We agreed that He meant for us to do more than just adopt Mary Ashtyn and be done.

Mary Ashtyn's first night HOME

Two years later, we spent time in a Kazakhstan orphanage as we added Reece to our family.  Broken for the orphans we left behind, the ones they wouldn't let us comfort or even touch as they cried in their cribs.  God blessed us beyond anything we could ever imagine with our bigs.  They were the babies we had asked for, the as healthy and as young as possible children that we wanted. Mary Ashtyn and Reece fulfilled every dream, every prayer we ever begged God for during the years of infertility.

Reece, forever ours

Ten years later, God ran us over with Lily.  The minute I saw her duck walk across that room in her Chinese orphanage, I knew without a doubt she was mine.  God has never told me anything as clearly as He did with Lily.  At a point in our lives that we shouldn't have even been considering another child, God gave her to us.  Adoption changed for us through Lily...no more selfish desires to be parents.  God asked us to bring home a seven year old who couldn't walk and He gave us complete peace about making her ours.  Through a devastating diagnosis that should cause a lot of worry and anxiety, God has shown us how to live in absolute joy!

Lily JOY

As we advocated for "Frannie", our hearts grieved for this little girl.  She had a diagnosis that no one would even consider...a diagnosis that changed our lives for the better.  God was whispering that she was ours, but we refused to listen.  As He nudged us completely out of our comfort zone, God was teaching us another lesson through our children...complete and total trust in HIM.  Ava's adoption has shown us how God will be faithful to us if we remain obedient to Him.

Ava, trusting God to bring her HOME!

This post started as an attempt to explain why we adopt and where are hearts are.  Just realized there is no way to explain it.  It took God our entire lives to get us here.  At this point, we are doing our best to follow His perfect plans for us. We don't expect to to join hands and skip off into the sunset as soon as we have Ava...but we know God has huge blessings in store for BamFam6!  

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 
Psalm 147:5

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Almost HOME

TODAY, our Article 5 was dropped off at the Consulate in China.  All of our paperwork will be processed and in exactly 2 weeks, it will be picked up and we will be waiting on Travel Approval (TA).  Once we get this approval, our Consulate Appointment (CA) will be made.  This appointment is the last step before we are able to bring Ava HOME, HOME, HOME!!!  Everything happens really quickly from this point.  Ava's Gotcha Day will probably be in early June.

 Every great work of God, first is impossible, then it is difficult and then it is DONE!

Please pray with us for Ava.  Pray that she feels the comfort of the Holy Spirit over the next few weeks as her life begins to change.  Pray that her caregivers help prepare her to join our family.  Also, pray that all 6 of us stay healthy.  We found out yesterday that Lily has strep, Trent is still recovering from back surgery, the bigs are both starting to cough, and I'm just at that panic point where I know I should have started packing weeks ago.  Just pray...A LOT!

Still waiting to post that we are fully funded, but we aren't there yet.  Whisper a prayer that we'll be able to travel as soon as we get approval.  

Our journey to this sweet girl has been amazing!  We stepped out in complete faith, totally trusting God to bring Ava home.  He has shown us with each step that His plans for us are perfect.  Even when the doubt crept in, He whispered to keep going.  And we're going y'all...all the way to China, to bring her HOME!  

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!