Monday, November 17, 2014

Seeing the Rainbow

Rainbow (noun)
1. a bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays in drops of rain.

Sometimes, on the hard days, it is difficult to see that there is light at the end of this long and dark paperwork tunnel.  One of the things that keeps me going is staying in touch with other adoptive families who are further along in the process or who have already traveled across oceans and back with their children.  It is a reminder that the end goal of all of this filing paperwork and waiting and filing paperwork and waiting again, is a child's life redeemed and an entire family changed forever.  

Sometimes all I see is the storm.  The whole reason we're doing what we're doing is because Titus, and millions of orphans around the world, have experienced unfathomable tragedy in their short lives.  The very first rainbow appeared to Noah as a beautiful sign of God's promise never to flood the earth again... AFTER nearly everything and everyone on the face of the earth were wiped out by the flood.  And so the beautiful things we are learning through adoption, about God's love for us, are all coming out of tragedy.  Rainbows don't show up when the whole sky is sunny.

 And that brings me to our latest update on Titus!  This week God gave me the blessing of spending a short time with our friends who are newly home from China.  It was such joy to me to see their daughter in their home, already a changing little girl with the knowledge of her parents' love.  They gave me the gift of a new video of Titus.  They were apologetic that it isn't a better video, that he wasn't cooperating, that there isn't much to see in it.  BUT, through the tears (or because of the tears!), I see an rainbow!  The video is a large file and difficult to upload, so I took some still shots of it to share with you!  Just look at all the beauty:
When they came into the room, Titus had been standing at the gate.  He saw them and began running away, then settled down with a toy.  They say he is generally afraid of strangers.   

Here the nanny gently rolls up the sleeve on his short arm.  I sure hope the new shirts and coat that I tailored fit him!  I was happy to see her caring about him being able to use that hand.

Our friends ask if they can see him to get a photo.

Here's my favorite part!!!!  Paul tells the nanny, through a translator, that they have friends (us!) in the process to adopt him.

I LOVE the look on her face and her gestures in holding and patting his back as she receives the news!  

I believe that Titus is well loved!
Now he's had enough of the strangers and runs away.

See how the nanny in the back holds her arms out to him...

...then embraces him?! 
So, although he is crying throughout the video, this video is a treasure for me!  Here is the rainbow I can see here that I haven't seen in any of the other videos we have:

1) He is loved.  When we began his adoption process we did not know what kind of orphanage he was in.  We have found out that he is in a special sponsored area of the orphanage where there is a better ratio of nannies, they have more resources, and the nannies are trained in attachment, bonding, and other necessary elements of a healthy childhood.  I believe I see genuine care in these nannies and that they are giving him love and affection.  I think they're doing the best they can in a difficult situation.

2) He knows he is loved.  He knows who to turn to when he is upset and that his needs matter.  He knows he is worthy of affection and comfort.

3) He knows how to love.  Showing preference for his caregivers over strangers (even at the offer of food or candy) is a really good sign.  I am already hurting for how he will grieve the loss of the nannies he loves.  BUT he knows how to form a healthy bond with adults and he will eventually learn to transfer that bond to us, his parents!  Children who have never had a healthy connection with an adult are more prone to serious emotional and social problems and a much more difficult time bonding with a new family.

Also, not included in the video are some comments the nannies made to our friends.  They said that he is strong and tough.  He can hold on to toys in his little arm so tightly that even bigger kids can't tug them away!  He's gonna need that skill when he meets his new little brother!

We are encouraged by all these things and thank God that he is being well taken care of until we can get him home.  Please continue to join us in prayer for:
1. His health and development
2. Our current paperwork to continue moving along in a timely way
3. His nannies and orphanage directors to have the wisdom and resources they need to provide excellent care

Thank you for sharing our journey!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Shopping

Please see my heart first as I share these opportunities with you.  I am not asking you to buy these things in order to help our adoption*.  I was hesitant at first to provide any fundraisers that require people to buy something because I don't want anyone to feel obligated to buy something they don't really want.  BUT, as people began approaching me with these opportunities, I began to see that the heart of it is that these are friends wanting to help give to our adoption and the best way for them to give is through their business.  Please do not purchase things here solely as a means of supporting our adoption*.  My intent in sharing these opportunities with you is that IF these are things you would be interested in purchasing ANYWAY, this is an opportunity for your purchase to ALSO benefit our adoption.  Does that make sense?  Please please please don't feel obligated to buy!  Now, with that said...

 These are some wonderful opportunities to do your Christmas shopping and at the same time help Titus come home! 

We will keep these opportunities listed on the sidebar of the blog (just below Titus' photo) until the promotions have ended.  Please feel free to share the links with anyone you think may be interested in these products.  -------------->   -------------->   -------------->

Click on each picture below (or the links on the sidebar) to view the page about their products and instructions on how to buy!

Specialty Settlers of Catan Game Pieces by Build3D
Advent and Armor of God Devotional Puzzles

Jamberry Nail Wraps

Pashmina Scarves/Shawls

Thumbprint Trees

*There will soon be an opportunity to simply give to our adoption without purchasing anything.  We are working on providing a tax-deductible method of giving and are praying it can be accomplished before the end of the year.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Glorious Unfolding

Today was another memorable day in our journey for Titus.  My mom's neighborhood hosted a craft and vendor fair and I decided to give it a try with my Etsy trees.  Mom has just arrived home from Egypt and had some handicrafts to add to our table as well.  Even aside from making sales in an event like this, I was excited to simply spread the word about adoption.  I worked hard all week to increase my inventory of trees to sell on the spot.  I woke up today unsure of what to expect, whether all our work would be worth the effort or not.

I got the car loaded to take over to the clubhouse and started the engine and immediately my favorite "Titus song" began playing on the radio.  It makes me cry every single time.  If you're looking for a good cry today, think of my boy, far away in China, abandoned at three days old, a host of health issues, constant change in caregivers, malnourished, without unconditional love, and about to pass his third birthday without his parents.  Now listen to this song... (get your tissues)

Starting my day at the craft fair with that song made me feel like God was going to do something big.  And he did!

I had barely set up my booth and we were still an hour from opening to the public before I had my first sale!
When it was all said and done, I made a little over $200 toward Titus' adoption expenses!  But the blessings didn't end there.  I made many contacts and had several people interested in ordering trees online once they thought through what they want it to say and which options they want.  I enjoyed great conversations with shoppers and other vendors, and was given a generous donation by the vendor whose space was next to mine.

The greatest blessing in all of it was the opportunity to raise awareness about adoption.  I was able to speak with a few couples who have been considering adoption for some time and had questions about how to go about it.  I dispelled some myths and misconceptions about adoption, and most importantly, I got to share WHY we were compelled to adopt Titus, and how God has already worked miracles to bring him into our family.

Please be praying with me that the seeds sewn today will bear good fruit.

There are many blessings unfolding during this season of our waiting.  Some days are just plain hard and my heart aches and I have tears in my eyes all day because my boy's homecoming feels so far away.  Some days there isn't anything I can do but wait.  Days like today are springs of water in the desert to carry me through.  Each day that passes is another day my son spends in an orphanage, but it is also one day closer to the day he comes home!

And now the icing on the cake....

Remember the family I told you about that live just a few miles from me, whose daughter was in Titus' orphanage?  I'm going to the airport TONIGHT to welcome them home from China!  Another wonderful reminder that we do not labor in vain.  Our son will come home and one day many of you will be welcoming us home with a new little US citizen!  Thank you for journeying along side us.  Please be in prayer for our friends as they adjust to their new family life and explore their daughter's medical, emotional, and developmental needs.  And stayed tuned to our blog in the coming weeks for more of this GLORIOUS UNFOLDING!  We have some big things coming...