Saturday, May 21, 2011

March 2011: Our Decision

The following is my journal entry from April 22, 2011 as I wrote about all that had happened over the preceding few weeks....

Sparkling, full of hope and determination. Those are the thoughts that came to me as I opened a picture of a beautiful little orphan that I'd never met.

For the past few months, since before Christmas, I'd felt a tug toward adopting again. It was simple to me, there was just no way we could really think about this! I had many reasons to say no, and as fast as I could, I was presenting God with excuses for why I couldn't. Rob will never agree, We are too old, We have 3 already and 1 is in college, , We just cant afford it... Yet in the midst of all this, I knew the truth, and I realized that God already knew my circumstances. So after weeks of struggling, I had pledged to God that if He was really calling us to do this, I just needed Him to make it so crystal clear that His will would have to eclipse all of my fears. As I began to pray about it, I was amazed to find out that my husband was also thinking the same thing. All of the turmoil through the previous months had prepared my heart for this day.

It was Saturday, March 4, 2011. Throughout this day, my mind was cluttered and my heart was heavy. Late in the afternoon, I sat down to open my facebook page and had a message that there was a new post on Show Hope's blog. A few weeks earlier, I had signed up to be a prayer partner with Maria's Big House of Hope, an orphan care center founded by the Chapman family. I had been thinking that there were plenty of jobs I could do to care for orphans without actually going as far as adopting again. I could pray, give, encourage others in adoption. Surely that is what God would have me do at this stage in my life. This particular blog included a video of a little boy singing along to a Justin Bieber song. As I watched, the video lagged and stopped on the face of a little girl sitting in the floor and dancing/singing along to the music. All of the children were adorable, but she took my breath away. My heart went out to her in a way that I can't describe. I remember saying to myself that I would feel so blessed to be able to adopt her. I clicked out of the video and read the list of names to pray for. The name "Jessica" caught my eye because that is also the name of my cousin that has a great passion for orphans as well. As soon as her page opened, I knew that it was the same little angel from the video. The thought occurred to me that none of my excuses mattered to her. She just needed a family! As I read the information provided, I learned that she was 4 1/2 years old and had been admitted to the center malnourished and suffering from a leg break. She had also been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Through the loving care of MBHOH, she had made miraculous gains. With tears streaming by the time I'd read her story, I committed to God that I would love and pray for her until He placed her in a home. There was something so hopeful and sweet in her eyes despite the terrible difficulties she'd suffered. That night, I wrote her name in my Bible and enlisted the rest of my family to pray for her as well.

Each night that week, I slept restlessly and dreamed of her. One night I saw myself driving the van down the road. In my dream I looked in the rear view mirror and saw little Jessica staring back at me. The next night, our family was standing by her hospital bed as a stranger entered the room and announced there was a family chosen for her. I don't usually think of dreams as anything more than they are, but each day I was left with an extremely troubled feeling. I began to wonder again if God could be calling me to do more than pray for her. By Wednesday night of that week, I was exhausted. I'd been praying constantly, but still didnt know what to do. I finally went to Rob and explained how I felt, thinking he would "talk me down." He looked at me and said, "Well, we will just call and check on her!" I protested and told him that was crazy...people don't just call and check on orphans in other countries!

The next day, I got a text from him that said, "Jessica is available!" My heart almost stopped and I immediately called to get the details. He had tracked down the number for Show Hope at their headquarters in Franklin, Tn. They were very excited that we were interested in adopting and gave us the number to the agency that handles most of the adoptions of MBHOH kids. The agency (CCAI) sent us her chinese name, birthdate and location. They also explained that she should be released for adoption in a few months, but there were a couple other families also on a waiting list to view her medical file once she was released. Rob and I felt that we could possibly be her family. If not, we knew God was using this to prepare our hearts for another child. We committed to adopt that day. I knew that no matter what happened that we had to see this through. The same day, we called our local agency and made arrangements to begin our home study for another amazing adoption journey! All of the fears and troubled feelings of the previous weeks disappeared as soon as we made the phone call. A peace came over me that told me we had taken a step of faith and God had already taken care of the rest.

Disney World 2011

For the last several years, we have hoped to spend a family vacation at Disney, one of my favorite places ever! This year we decided to make it a reality, and spent our spring break there with Kevin's family. We had the greatest time!

We flew out from Nashville on a Sunday morning and arrived in Orlando midmorning. Our room (in Port Orleans) wasnt ready so we met up with Kev, Jill and kids and spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom. The Lion King show was amazing,the kids and adults were scared and thrilled on Dinosaur and Bug's life left us giggling. We ended the day soaked on the rapids! We all slept great that night since we had been up since 3am!

Day 2 was Epcot - We arrived as the park was opening and headed straight for Test track which was our favorite ride 10 years ago. Im pretty sure that J and K agreed since we had to ride it over and over until the line grew too long. The newest ride Soarin was also a hit! Amazing!! That night we had dinner with Mickey and friends at Chef Mickey's! It was a blast. Even Brandon was up and interacting with the characters.

Day 3 Hollywood Studios - Started with a rain delay so it was so crowded by the time that we arrived, we didnt get to do everything. The kids loved the Indiana Jones show, but Fantasmic was definitely the favorite!

Day 4 was my favorite day - Magic Kingdom! We started back behind the castle and enjoyed all the kiddie rides like Dumbo, Magic Carpet and Peter Pan's Flight! then we headed to Adventure land for the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates and Splash! We finished all of the major rides by lunch so avoided a lot of the major crowds! After lunch was Teacups, Lilo, Laugh Floor, and Buzz Lightyear. We also went back to do several of our favorites again!

Day 5 we went back to Hollywood to try some of the things we missed the first time. Jilli was able to realize her dream of riding Tower of Terror which I said I would never do again, but did for her. It was as horrible as I remembered but she didnt even flinch! We all really enjoyed the new Pixar ride.

Day 6 back to reality! It was wonderful vacation that we will be discussing for many years to come!!