Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I have so many things to be thankful for right now. I cannot imagine my life without the love and support of my friends, my family, and people I may never even meet.

Adopting has always been a dream of mine. It is something that I have wanted to for as long as I can remember. When Matt and I began dating I was quick to share with him that not only did I want biological children, but that some day I would have a daughter from China. Luckily, I was blessed with an amazing husband that has supported that dream of mine. Through the years after the birth of each of our children, adoption was still there in the back of my mind. But everytime we discussed it, the one and only factor that always kept us from moving forward what the money.

Once Gabe was born due to complications during my pregnancy I knew that I was done having children. To be honest, I was pretty certain our family was complete. Obviously, God had other plans for our family as we are still growing.

When we started the process to adopt Mylee again it was the money that was always the issue. After looking over our finances, we were pretty certain that it was doable especially since the wait was three years (we originally knew nothing about the SN program). So, we started the paperwork and just a few days before we were to officially turn in our application our agency called wanting to know if we would be interested in a SN child. Honestly, it was something that I had never heard about let alone even considered. She was quick to explain to me exactly what "special needs" meant to me in the adoption world. So after giving me more information on a little girl that was about 18 months old and had club feet, I hesitantly agreed to look at her file. Matt was at work so I began reading over her medical information not really understanding what I was reading. I was somewhat familiar with club feet only because my mom was born with it as well as Matt's cousin. Neither of them have any issues today so I knew it was something that was correctable with no long term effects. After reading her file and doing some brief internet research, I opened her picture. What I saw staring back at me was our daughter. I don't know how to explain it and I know this sounds crazy, but the little girl that was staring back at me was the little girl I pictured in my dreams. She was everything I had envisioned, the same silky black hair, the same light brown skin, and the same beautiful almond shaped eyes. I could not wait for Matt to get home so I could share everything with him.

Long story short, despite the fact that instead of having three years to come up with the $25,000+, we only had about nine months. We were petrified because we didn't have it. We had enough for the application and to accept her referral, but nothing else. It was with complete faith that we stepped out and accepted the challenge that was being placed in front of us. It took nine months from start to finish to bring Mylee home. It took alot of trust and faith, alot of hard work, and alot of patience. We were so lucky that Matt's job was working overtime, he was able to get quite a few side jobs, and I was able to to take on a few more day care kids. Between all of that and one grant for $5000, (we were lucky enough not to ask family and friends for help) we were able to have all the money we needed to bring Mylee home. It was because of Mylee's adoption that my faith strengthened. It was Mylee's adoption that really and truly opened my eyes and really made me understand that with God, all things ARE possible.

So, was with complete faith that we once again answered the call to open our hearts and our home to another of God's children. Unfortunately, this journey has not been as smooth as Mylee's. We have hit brick wall after brick wall. We have jumped more hurdles than I care to mention. We have been on a never ending roller coaster of emotions, complete with highs and lows. Our journey to Drew is about to come to an end, and end I welcome more than you know. But, once again, it is the money that stands in our way.

With all of that being said, since today is Thankful Thursday, I have SO many people to be thankful for...

First and foremost, God for not only walking this path with us, but for having enough faith in us to allow us to parent All of our children. Not everyone is called to parent, and not everyone is not called to adopt. But knowing that He chose me to be the mother of 4, almost 5 children is certainly something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband. If it weren't for him, none of this would have been possible. It is his love, his strength, his faith, his patience, and his hard work that has gotten us this far. Adoption was not something he thought about or really even wanted. But because he knew how important if was to me, he helped me turn my dream into a reality. When I first approached him about Drew he looked at me like I had worms crawling out of my head. But it didn't take long for him to come around and for him to once again open his heart to another child.

I am thankful for the family members who get and understand what we are doing and why. Unfortunately we do not have the support of all of our family members, and that is okay. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that not everyone "gets it." Last fall when Matt was laid off I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we were asked if we were doing the right thing by moving forward with Drew's adoption (I admit I asked myself this a few times). At first I would get so angry that they would even ask because I knew that if I were pregnant it would not have been an issue. I have said this before, and I will say it again. In a sense, adoption is very similar to being pregnant. The same emotions are there, the excitement, the worry, the anticipation. The only real difference is from a physical stand point. I don't have the weight gain (well not as much), I don't have the stretch marks, I can't feel my child moving in the safety of my womb, and unfortunately, I don't have to go through the physical pains of labor. The end point is that although two of my children were born half way around the world to another woman, in my heart, they are no different than my three biological children. So to those family members who think we are crazy, who don't "get it," or who simply are not on board, you are entitled to your opinions, but before you judge us remember this;

The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. This most essential foundation of the practice of adoption is found in gospel.
Galatians 4:4-5 is as central a gospel statement as there is: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

I am ever so thankful for my friends who have been a tremendous amount of support. From those nearby to those far away, and to those I may never meet (through blog land). Although most of you think we are "crazy" too, you are the ones who have been there to lend a shoulder to cry on. You have been there to celebrate as we jumped hurdle after hurdle. You are the ones who we confide our innermost fears and excitement too. You are the ones who rally around to make sure we will have all that we need to bring Drew home. You are the ones who say "we may not understand, but we will be supportive in any way."My friend and neighbor was listening to me "gripe" the other day about how it frustrates me that it is our friends who have been the biggest support. Her response was pretty straightforward, "sometimes it is your friends who you need to call family."

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."-- Anonymous

Right now I am so very thankful to all those who have generously donated something to our fundraiser, for those who have left comments, to those who have spread the word, to those who have donated monetarily, and to those who may have nothing other to give right now other than a prayer. I have seen several thousands of dollars raised in a very short amount of time to help bring a child home. So I can't really say that I am shocked my the response we have gotten with our fundraiser what I can say is THANK YOU, thank you to each and everyone one who has in one way or another helped us out. Today, I am SO thankful for you. Because of you, we are 1/4 of the way to our goal!!!

It is because of you that we will soon have this precious boy in our arms, in our home, and in our family.

The above picture was sent along with Drew's monthly update:

Drew is 3 Years 11 Months Old.

Drew’s foster mother wrote this update:

Drew is doing well this month; he is full of energy and absolutely adorable! One morning when he woke up, he told me happily, “Mom, I want to wear my green coat today.” He then went to put on his coat and boots and when he returned, he asked, “Mom, do I look good?” Of course, he looked adorable, so I complimented him, “Drew, you are very handsome. You look just like a soldier!” You could see how proud he was as he continued, “Mom, I want to sing you a song.” He proceeded to wave his arms as he loudly sang, “We soldiers are special, for the green uniforms we wear.” What a super star we have on our hands!

Now, head on over to the fundraiser blog because I just added a new prize and will be adding more soon.


TanyaLea said...

SO much to be SUPER-grateful for!! God is good! He is Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider!! We are short a very large sum of money right now, too. I haven't done a fundraiser, and not even sure how to start. But I'm so glad to see you are being abundantly blessed and I fully trust God will supply all of your needs! He brought you this far and I KNOW He will see you through!!

I couldn't help but think of another analogy in what you wrote about the similarities of adoption-expecting to pregnant-expecting. Where you said we may not have the pysical pains of labor... SO true...but we do have so many other 'pains' that we have to PUSH through (Pray Until Something Happens!) As long as we are diligent and set our affections on the Lord, I know our Father will provide for both of our families! Who knows... maybe we'll still meet in China!?! :)

Love and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Love for Lilly Yin said...

I for one do not think you are crazy at all. Matter of fact, your story is very much like ours. Do not hesitate to call on me for help, prayers, to talk, anything at all, because I have been in your shoes. God does not ask us to wait...till there is more money, more time, he himself did not wait. He acted. You are acting on behalf of God himself, and I am sorry that some people just don't understand that...that part God will have to handle. All you can do is be true to yourself and your calling in life. I donated all I could find for Drew...but if I can find more, its yours. ((cyber hugs for you))

Tara Anderson said...

Mandi, I am thankful for your faith...your diligence...your drive to bring your son home. You have been a motivation and an inspiration to me. At times I have wondered if we would be able to pull off our adoption, and your testimony has assured me that GOD will pull it off!! I continue to pray for you...WITH these final weeks before Drew comes HOME! To God be the glory!!!

*Overflowing* said...

Oh how I wish I could donate financially to your sweet family. We are needing to raise every penny for our sweet, surprise son ;)

I just found your blog through another blog. I can't wait to see all that the Lord is going to do...I will definitely be praying! Hugs, stacy

Anonymous said...

I can relate so much to this post. We have had a lot of people in our lives not support us - but we have had complete strangers rally around us! It is so amazing to see God bring 'family' to us.

Sara said...

Sent you an email to encourage you. Those in the adoption world certainly 'get it.' Adoption is about a child, not money:)


Denise said...

First, I am not supposed to be on here, because I have given up reading blogs for Lent, but since you are trying to get this fundraiser done, I had to comment. I also can't believe that I wasn't a wonder I was in the dark. I just made a post on my blog and plan to donate too! And yes, you have so much to be thankful for...I have no doubt that God is going to provide what you need to bring Drew home...hugs~

Shelly and Family said...

Oh Mandi ~ What truly a beautiful post! And just think within a few weeks, your little boy will be held within your arms....

PS ~ So happy that I was able to be aprt of lending a helping hand in bringing Drew home...Thank you for letting me be a part of it too...