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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Birthday dear Katie... happy birthday to you....

My Facebook status a few hours ago:

"Can I just ask prayers for my heart? I've been on the verge of tears all day. Right now, it's already January 1st in China and so today is Katie's birthday. I can't "go there" emotionally right now-- the pain of picturing her on her special day without her mama. If you know me, I'm BIG on birthdays, she has no idea what an enthusiastic mama she's getting! But I seriously just want to crawl in bed and wake up on January 2nd-- I won't! We'll do something to celebrate later. Just please pray for my heavy heart."

That sums it up. I felt the tearful floodgates coming and they sure did. Doug hugged me, and watched Cara while I took a shower and cried sobbed wailed and prayed. It happens every six weeks or so and I knew it would happen today. While I was crying, I was thinking how desperately I wanted someone to understand me, to empathize.... (as Doug is just different than me and just doesn't process these things the same way at all). 

I knew that the Lord understood me, but then He brought to my mind ONE other woman who, even more than me, most likely, feels a dread of this day... a lump in her throat when she knows the date's approaching, and perhaps cannot make it through the day without retreating to a room alone to weep. Katie's birthmom. 

(They estimate that she was 2 months old when they found her, and so the Chinese government picked January 1st as her official birthday.) I'm sure it was very close to this date. As for Katie's birthmom, I don't really know how exactly she felt about Katie, and I will probably never know, but each year on her birthday, I have NO doubt she remembers a warm, alive baby girl taking her first breath, and wrapping her up, holding her close, feeding her for the first time, and the huge floods of emotion over her special needs they hadn't expected-- unanticipated realities. Perhaps they didn't even know she was going to be a girl. 

But I guarantee Katie's birthmom hasn't forgotten her, nine months in her womb, labor pains, the miracle of life, and a living piece of herself, a sweet baby girl in her arms. I'm sure she and I would both agree that these past four years were not our dream for our daughter. Four years without a mama. 

To Katie's Birthmom, Thank you. Thank you for choosing life for Xiatong. I promise you I'll always love her.

Cara made a Play-Dough cupcake for Katie and we sang Happy Birthday to her tonight. 

Next January 1st will be AWESOME, epic. There are tears, many, tonight, but soon
 our mourning will turn into dancing, our grieving into rejoicing! 

Happy Birthday, our DEAR Katie, happy birthday to you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From the food bowl to the cross... and how He can sympathize.

Yesterday I read the Nativity Story to some little children in our town. I explained how "the manger" wasn't a cute wooden bassinet with fresh yellow hay but really more similar to their dog's food bowl, in a sense. The Son of God in a food bowl. The One Who Holds Eternity and "in Whom All Things Hold Together" in a stinky stone or clay bowl. Emmanuel, "God is with Us." He humbled Himself to be able to save us. 

Photo Credit:

But today I'm pretty bummed... one part of our adoption process that was supposed to take 3 days is taking weeks, and therefore pushing back our estimated travel time by weeks... and I'm thinking of Katie. I truly appreciate all the sweet words from friends but it is true that until you have your child separated from you, not by an umbilical cord, but by an ocean, I'm not sure you could totally understand. But Jesus does. I can be sure He knows heartache and suffering... because of Christmas and Easter... From the cradle to the cross. God sent His Son to leave the Throne Room of Heaven to go to a dirty, stinky animal barn and to experience pain and hardship and disappointments and evil... so that, according to Hebrews: 

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Are you hurting right now? Jesus has "been there, done that", and can sympathize. He came down from heaven on High, to " be one of us" so He could represent us, in His death, to pay our debt of sin, and reconcile us to God. The Gospel in a nutshell. 

He's able to sympathize with a mother's aching heart. He's able to sympathize with the orphan crying herself to sleep-- or the situation I fear the very most-- the orphan who does not cry because she learned years ago that no one comes to comfort her anyways. 

He's able to sympathize with those of you hurting because of family disputes and quarrels, or those of you today feeling alone and full of sadness. I had a sweet friend come by yesterday to bring me a Christmas card and a thoughtful handmade gift. I simply looked her in the eyes and asked how she was doing. A river of TEARS came, and her shoulders shook, and pain and grief spilled out... grief over losses, grief over family situations, true grief... at "the MOST wonderful time of the year"-- (as the popular carol ironically promises). I hugged her tightly and thought... WOW! So many people must be hurting this time of year. He is ABLE to "go there" with us... and He WANTS to. When we know Jesus, He INVITES us to "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Is it your time of need? If you know Jesus, He is the mediator between you and God. Because He is fully God and fully man He is the best mediator. You don't have to be in a sanctuary or in a confession booth with a priest to be forgiven or find mercy and grace. You simply need to come to Jesus. He makes us right with God. 

He has been one of us. The INCARNATION changed EVERYTHING. Jesus Christ=God Incarnate. 

If you've never felt that you have received mercy and grace from God... I invite you to come be with us, celebrate His Incarnation with us, tonight, at our church at the candlelit Christmas Eve service. And find me or Doug there... we'd love to give you a hug! More Info:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Let the Words (Signs) Fall Out...

I'm grateful for LANGUAGE. Just the fact that I can sit here in my living room and not just THINK, but express myself, from a thought to my fingertips on my laptop's keyboard keys, to words showing up on the screen, to your eyes reading this right now. You may not understand my heart, but because of the gift of LANGUAGE, you can become aware of and comprehend what I am thinking and feeling.

Now, rewind. That's right, before you reading this, before me typing it, to just me thinking about how I feel, but imagine with no words attached, just fuzzy concepts that have never been discussed with another human.


I'd feel so... separate, severed, different, disengaged from the speaking, communicating world. Imagine seeing lips moving, people seeming to respond to others' lips moving but when you try to move your lips, no one even looks at you and never responds. It's crazy to imagine.

But that's the world my daughter lives in. 

And I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to give her the GIFT of language. Remember, not only is Katie profoundly deaf, but she is not being taught any sign language AT ALL, and if she was to remain in China, would not go to a school to learn some sign until around the age of 8, as far as I understand.

She has NO language.

I mentioned earlier today to a friend that my end goal for Katie is not speech. My end goal for her is not even necessarily sign. (I imagine in the next several years, she'll do both to a degree, depending on many factors). My goal for Katie is COMMUNICATION, however best she finds to express herself and engage the world around her. I have this constantly on my mind.

I've heard this song before, (and realize it was written with a different meaning in mind) but I wept tonight as I heard it, thinking of Katie's "history of silence", literally, and how I can't wait to see "the words (OR SIGNS-- just SOME language) fall out"... and see her world of silence shatter open and her to sign something, ANYTHING to her Mommy and to see the look on her face when I understand her, and respond back with sign.

Oh, the GIFT of language, how we take it for granted! Katie, we're working hard, baby, to get you home and to teach you how to express yourself. You have SO much history, SO much on your mind and in your heart sweet girl. I want to help you get those very valid thoughts and feelings out of the cage of silence and brought into the light through sign language/ speech/ communication. This journey together won't always be easy but I promise I'll be brave, and I'll keep trusting Jesus to help me every hour. You will always, always, always have an audience with me and Daddy! Mommy and Daddy love you, Katie Grace!

Here it is:

(You can go to the YouTube link here if you need to:


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Joy in Dishes?

Don't you ever wish you found as much JOY in an ordinary household task as a toddler does?!?!?

I mean, just consider how overjoyed Cara is at washing dishes! 

Although I often procrastinate doing dishes, Cara takes DELIGHT
and JOY in the task, she will gladly wash the same plastic cup for 30 minutes if
you'll let her.

But it was THIS little picture someone posted that got me thinking:

LOL! Now, don't get me wrong, I only do laundry like that (by washing it and then not folding it or putting it away), maybe 6% of the time. But occasionally, this happens in the Becker home. Samantha from Bewitched or June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver would be shocked:
June Cleaver might make this face if she heard my laundry or dishes confessions:

"Why, Jamie, no! Say it isn't so! You don't fold and iron ALL the clothes immediately?"

It's true, June! I really dislike when that happens, it's usually on a week with too many ministry meetings and work deadlines, but I never lose sleep over it.

Regardless, I saw this and came to a realization, although I'm guilty of this form of laundry disorganization 6% of the time now, with one child, and so come this Spring, I can GUARANTEE, the frequency of such horrid housekeeping habits will probably... (gasp),


(Deal with it, June!) When I thought of the extra laundry that will be coming, I smiled. I can't wait to fold 18 Month sized ruffle pants again (Katie will be 4 years old when we get her but is only 24 lbs. and currently in an 18 month size. Our Cara is not yet 3 but is 37 lbs. and is wearing a 3T or 4T)!

I WANT to be reminded in thankless household chores, that when I'm doing piles of dishes (which my awesome hubby usually does for us!), I'm SO GRATEFUL that I have dishes to clean, that means I have mouths that have been fed, mouths who belong to the people I adore.

And when I fold shirt after shirt and load after load (even though we are only at about 6 loads a week now), 
I can be SO GRATEFUL that I have a husband who is here, (and not serving in the military, like so many other wonderful, sacrificial people), but who is actually here and able to work here and care for us and tuck Cara in every night. 
And I'M THANKFUL while folding those jammies that I have a little girl, our dream come true, asleep in the next room. MAN, if my 26 and 27 year old self (who was suffering through infertility and dreaming of a baby) could have seen our darling Cara for just ONE SECOND, just a glimpse, I would have folded a hundred laundry loads. 
So the thought of the extra dishes, extra laundry, extra stress, extra bills, extra exhaustion, and extra chaos that inevitably our extra family member is going to add to my shoulders in the Spring, it spells ONE thing out for me...


..extra giggles, extra snuggles, extra mischief, extra memories, extra LOVE to give and to receive from our other 
dream come true.

extraordinary blessings.

can't wait.

(I know I'm human and prone to procrastination and even laziness; complaining and grumbling instead of choosing JOY and choosing a GRATEFUL heart. That's why I posted this on the blog, so I could remind my own grumpy, grumbling self of it! :) )

Ephesians 2:14-15
"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure... then you will shine among them like stars in the sky."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

To Make You Feel My Love...

I think I found "OUR" song. Me and Katie's.

One of my dear friends, who is also adopting a deaf child from China, was at a fingerprinting appointment when this song came on in the waiting room.  Yup, we sure are going to the end of the earth for our children.

For BOTH my girls, Katie and Cara, I DO want to hold you for a million years... and I PRAY they will feel our love! So perfect for adoption, especially the lyrics in bold:, remember this one by Bob Dylan (Garth Brooks covered it and Adele).
When the rain is blowin' in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When evenin' shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met 
No doubt in my mind where you belong
I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawlin' down the avenue
Oh, there's nothin' that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are ragin' on the rollin' sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowin' wild and free
You ain't seen nothin' like me yet
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothin' that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
I listened to it and ugly cried for half an hour... once I get started... it AIN'T PRETTY, folks. Doug kept staring across the living room at me, not knowing what to say, he finally figured he had better hold me, even being the hot mess that I was. :) I kept just PICTURING Katie walking in the living room and me wrapping my arms around her, I would want to hold her for a million years.
Cara is almost 3 (hard to even admit that number), and she is letting me hold and cuddle her less and less and it breaks my mommy heart. She felt cuddly this day at a Jazz Festival in August:

I can't wait to find room in my arms for both of them!!! 

Here's the song, Adele's version:

I think I'd better start learning it in ASL: 
American Sign Language is so beautiful... This girl's rendition of the song is so poetic (so much better than my very literal ASL translation attempt... and according to my limited understanding of ASL, she is signing it for her mom for her mom's birthday, and is thanking her for always supporting her, and saving her. LOVE it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Plans for medical fund and Princess pictures!

WOAH! $17,634 raised in less than a month!?!?
Okay, I know, you probably think I'm crazy or kidding. But SINCE yesterday's Facebook post, we received 2 more generous donors AND a generous grant from a church we used to serve at years ago.
LITERALLY, we have received $4,227 since YESTERDAY. My head is spinning.

What does that mean??? We've been graciously given through 49 donor families and 3 grants, $17,634, in less than a month. We seriously only need to raise another $5366 to finish our adoption fees/ travel fees.

What is going to happen IF you raise over that amount??? Well, we checked with Lifesong for Orphans, our fundraising 501 c3 company. We know we will be able to obtain receipts for at least $9,000- 10,000 of the amount we originally fronted ourselves to the homestudy and placement agencies , all from my job last year with Joey. Since we can show proof of payment of those fees, Lifesong will allow us to receive tax-deductible donations up to that full amount. ALL of those funds will be put in an account for Katie's medical expenses.

So, our goal, after the $5366 is met, will be to save up another $10,000, through the same Lifesong account, towards her medical hearing expenses: tests, therapies, and treatments.

We discovered a couple weeks ago that NONE of the Blue Cross/ Blue Shield private policies include hearing coverage. ?!??! There is a discount program but most likely her hearing expenses over her childhood will cost between 40,000 to 200,000 for us. (lol, don't remind Doug!, it's a scary thought!) We are exploring different private insurance options. This is part of adopting a special needs child. We don't know if she's a candidate for BAHA (bone anchored hearing aids) or cochlear implants of some kind, but we know we will want her tested and attempt to give her the most communication ability and most independent future possible. We still have the Katie's Fundraising Vendor Night/ Silent Auction Dinner coming up November 9th, 7-9 at our church. We hope to raise a few thousand that way!

By the WAY, HERE's our Princess! My sister helped us order a care package for our sweetie, including a "Forever Family" celebration cake and princess crown. We got the pictures today!!! :)

How we LOVE you Katie Grace!!!

Her foster brother from the same orphanage: Qiu Xin (Choo- Shen), an orphanage worker, my daughter, and her older foster sister, age 14. The baby is a friend or neighbor.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

They WERE easier to ignore...

This quote says it all for me:

"“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – from Radical by David Platt.

I remember hearing this song:

(Sara Groves: I Saw What I Saw:

...when Doug and I were really working hard at bringing awareness to our community about the realities of international sex slavery. We planned and held a documentary viewing event, in conjunction, with the International Justice Mission, a non-profit organization that works tirelessly in several nations to crack down on owners of child brothels and free and rehabilitate the child sex slaves there. My little sister interned for a year with IJM in Mumbai, India helping the fight there. (I was so proud of her!) We played this song at the end of the awareness event we held in November 2009. It was DIFFICULT looking into the face of depravity, and the victims, (statistics say nearly 2 MILLION children are held as sex slaves worldwide) and seeing a NEED for abolition and not being able to erase the imprint it left on my soul...The reality of children victimized.

Little did I know how "FULL CIRCLE" this awareness would take us.  Little did I know my own child, who could have been another statistic, was less than two months from being born.
I remember when we first saw Qingge's picture (the first little girl we had chosen and lost), and we heard she couldn't walk. I asked an adoption advocate friend what would happen to Qingge if she wasn't adopted. She told me that because she was in a wheelchair, when she became a teenager, she'd be out of the orphanage and in a home for all the elderly and mentally insane, etc., men and women, of all ages, with little supervision. You don't have to spell out what her bleak future would be like. Victimized.

It was then that the NEED for special needs adoption was REAL and in my face, and The Lord pursued my heart relentlessly about this little girl. And I felt Him saying, "I dare you to move like today never happened." Because it did.
Then my Katie Grace Xiatong, she's deaf.... her future? Not a mental/ disabled home. As far as I understand it, at the age of 13 or 14, she would have been turned out of the orphanage, and since her last name and all her official documents indicate that she's an orphan... and because of her inability to communicate verbally, and unfortunately even because of her visual deformities, she most likely would be discriminated against getting a job. What's left as an option for her and children like her? You don't have to spell out what THEIR bleak future would be like either. :/
That's why this is a "full circle" moment for us. We are stepping out and giving a precious child a chance for a FUTURE and a HOPE.

She's not just some statistic.
She's not just an orphan without a face or a name.




And my PRAYER is not that I've upset you or disturbed any of you but that YOUR soul was imprinted forever by another person's soul, another person's existence, nearly 7000 miles away. And that you were changed for the better. We CAN'T all help everyone. But we CAN all do something. And my prayer is that you could start to ask what "small thing with great love" you might be able to do for someone you know. You never know whose life could be changed as a result.
I'm continually humbled and amazed at the small things with GREAT love people are doing to help bring Katie home. They seem BIG to us because they mean the world to us. THANK YOU. We feel your love, tremendously. I've never cried so many happy tears in one month before!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

YAY! Matching Grant COMPLETE! Halfway through Fundraising!


I am reminded of the verse: 
We ARE one giant step closer to being able to go to her!!!
WOW! In only three weeks time... you all graciously gave $5091 to help bring Katie home!
as a reminder: our TOTAL ADOPTION COST (paperwork, court fees, translations, visas, travel, everything is:$35,000 . We have already put in about $12,000 (all the income from my nanny job last year), which left us $23,000 left to fundraise and save with my new nanny job.
We started fundraising 3 weeks ago, and raised the $5091+ $4000 (matching grant) + $2000(direct grant) = $11,091.Wow, we are so grateful, that only leaves $11,908 for us to still save up/ fundraise. HUMBLED AND THANKFUL does not begin to describe how we feel! We have added the names of the 38 AMAZING donor families to Katie's keepsake house! :)

Our biological daughter, Cara is SO excited about her sister. I told her that we are one step closer to being able to pick her up from China-- her reaction:

Our Sign Language learning is still coming along and I was MORE than thrilled to get to chat today with the Director of the Lake Drive School for the Deaf , our dream school for Katie, 4 miles from our home. She is scheduling a meeting for me this month with her and the pediatric audiologist. Pray with us that our school district, after evaluating Katie, will recognize the obvious, they do not have enough resources for a profoundly deaf child with NO language base in-district and will send her out-of-district to Lake Drive, the award-winning school!

A few people have asked now how to give towards the $11,908 left. Exactly the same way... Lifesong is our tax-deductible vehicle for ALL of our fundraising, until we are done. So, 

If you would like to help us bring Katie home: please know all gifts are TAX- DEDUCTIBLE and 100% goes towards bringing our sweetie home.
You are humbly invited to ...



Now, I want to share something special with you! One of three videos we have of Katie from this past April. This was the first video I ever saw of her, I saw it on Doug's birthday, May 22nd, and wept the whole way through it-- having NO CLUE she was MY daughter. She is three years old, in an alley, and there something so sweet and curious and innocent about her. Something about her touched my soul. I love when she rests her head on the tricycle seat at the end. We love you, our sweet Katie Grace Xiatong Becker, and can't wait to hold you in about 6-7 months! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

3 Weeks to Fundraise for our Matching Grant!

Blog Readers, Please share!

Okay, I'm feeling the urgency. We have 3 more weeks before our goal date to fundraise for our $4000 matching grant to bring our Katie home from China! As I told you all, we were so blessed to be awarded a $4000 matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans, meaning they will match dollar for dollar up to $4000, what we fundraise through our family and friends. If you would like to contribute, we have been given a fundraising goal date grant of October 21st. Last I checked we weren't even a fourth of the way there! Please share this blogpost through Social Media as you are able (there's a "Share This on Facebook" and a "Twitter" button to the right. :) We are SO grateful for the support!

We know people fundraise for all sorts of worthy causes: anti- animal cruelty, environmental causes, humanitarian efforts, mission trips to orphanages. We are thinking of this as our trip to an orphanage, only we are BRINGING one child home, to live in our home, eat at our table, be welcomed in our community, be tucked in every night, be held when she's crying, and be loved unconditionally as OUR DAUGHTER. She is 100% worthy and will be just as much a Becker as our Caraline Faith is. We feel the Lord adopted us as His children and He deeply loves every child, no matter his or her social status, skin color, or disabilities.
We are stepping out in faith to fundraise the second half of our adoption fees and
if you would like to help us bring Katie home: please know all gifts are TAX- DEDUCTIBLE and 100% goes towards bringing our sweetie home.
You are humbly invited to ...

Give Online-- even $20 helps!
2. Select Give to an Adoptive Family
3. Complete online form and fill in "Family Account Number: #4016" & "Family Name Fields: Becker Family"
(Sometimes it is difficult to get the website to work well on a Phone. A computer/ laptop works better.)
*Please note that PayPal will charge an administrative fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee. 


Give by Check
Please make checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans.
In the memo please note your gift preference with Family Account Number: #4016 andFamily Name: Becker, so it would read: "Acct # 4016, Becker Family"
Please mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744
Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all US administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the need...helping orphans.

Note from LifeSong: 
Individual donations $250 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax- deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $250 will gladly be sent upon request.
Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.

Note: Doug & I will be able to see in our Giving Report next week who gave what, so if you would like it to be Anonymous, I believe you may mark it as such. 

------ We ABSOLUTELY cannot thank you enough!!! 
P.S. If you just stumbled onto this blog, we are adopting a little girl from China who is 3 1/2 years old, completely deaf, and completely precious. Here she is:

and here we are, normal, ordinary, quirky folks:

and we are slowly learning sign language so we 
can teach Katie- although she's deaf, no one is 
teaching her any there.
Here is a picture from a care package we
sent her, with us making the ASL signs
for "Mommy" and "Daddy" so she can learn
to associate the signs with us: 

UPDATE: For those who contribute: 
Our "Bring Katie Home" Keepsake has been started. I had been trying to think up a creative way to thank the amazing supporters we have, both in financially bringing Katie home from China, and ALL those who are watching Cara while we take our Sign Language course, and who help us with fundraisers. Katie will always have this, and will see the names of ALL the amazing community members, friends, and family who believe she is worthy! My heart is so full! Tears! I've been blown away by the response. We've had over 2100 blog views, and dozens have shared this page. Thank you. Speechless. Xoxo

AND since it is "Throwback Thursday". I thought I'd share a priceless video with you... this is the ONLY video we have of Katie at the age of 2 or younger (we have more recent ones), it's only 24 seconds long:
 Video of Katie from March 2012:

Love, Jamie, Doug, Cara... and Katie Becker

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mercy! I cannot compartmentalize forever!

Mercy. Today I spoke with a friend who told me how she would be interested in adopting as well but she knew herself too well and was afraid the wait would be too emotional for her. I explained that I have good days and bad days. Life is rushing by so quickly. I told her how I remembered back in February when we thought we were choosing the other little girl, Qingge, I was sitting in a playgroup. Friends of mine were chatting and discussing sales at Target and nail salons, nothing I hadn't cheerfully discussed before. But I had just heard about the particularly horrible circumstances of Qingge's abandonment and everyone's chatter seemed too much for me. I almost stood up and left the room. It was then I first really learned to compartmentalize it all. Men seem to be fantastic at it. I've often been jealous how well Doug or my boss are able to focus on a task at hand so well despite a stressful day, because as studies have shown, men actually tend to be more skilled at putting aside a disturbing emotion and dealing with it later (or never!) This skill can be good or bad! 

So, the majority of the time I'm pretty good at compartmentalizing everything: I can get things done, focus on my family here and my ministries and my jobs and my endless to-do list. But tonight, I did something I actually avoid doing. I was working on our support letter and this picture of Katie was zoomed in across my whole laptop screen. 

 I stared at her face, her little button nose and sweet mouth and perfect, folded ears-- (they are PERFECT to me) and I started to very quietly cry. I didn't want to bother Doug and I didn't feel like talking about it at the moment. But Doug was sitting two feet away and leaned over to see what was on my screen. He teared up too, and whispered, "We're coming for you soon!" April/ May cannot come soon enough. He went off to bed and I cried in our quiet home for another hour. I'm a mess. And that's just how it is. 

BUT I'm grateful. It's midnight here and in Hebei, China it's noon. I can't see what she's up to, maybe she's sitting down for a lunch of noodles. But I CERTAINLY know WHO can see her. One of my absolute favorite names for God is from Genesis 16:13. Pregnant Hagar had fled into the wilderness, after continually being mistreated by Sarai. The Lord spoke to her and heard her cries. She exclaims, "You are the God who sees me." THE GOD WHO SEES ME! 

The Lord has always seen me. Every moment, through every struggle, He's seen me, even when I couldn't see or hear Him. Since I started following Him, He's never left me or forsaken me once. I believe that He sees Katie too. He was there the moment she was born on January 1, 2010. When there was undoubtedly a gasp in the delivery room when they saw her ears: He was there.

He never left her while she waited, wrapped in that red quilt on March 9, 2010. It was a Tuesday. I was at work a world away in Chicago, in the trenches of infertility, on our last round of Clomid, oblivious that I was going to get pregnant with Cara 11 days later. Six thousand, nine-hundred, and fifty miles away, Katie was wrapped in that quilt outside a village for perhaps many hours until someone found her. I KNOW HE saw her, and His angels guarded her that whole time. That's how I can trust that He sees her now, eating her lunch, just as He sees me crying in my living room. He's the God Who Sees. And that's enough for me tonight. Jesus, be with my baby.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why in the world are we adopting and other FAQs!

WHY are we adopting? The easiest way to answer this is by a Frequently Asked Questions format...
Questions we have often been asked:

"So, you are adopting, does that mean you're infertile?"
Hmm, that's rather private but sure, we'll answer it! No, we are actually not infertile! We used to be, I (Jamie) used to have PCOS, stemming from my celiac disease but once we discovered I was allergic to wheat gluten, I eat gluten-free and we are now, as far as we can tell, 100% fertile. Here's the part that seems so hard for some people to accept, we are actually CHOOSING to adopt an orphan who needs a family RATHER than trying to conceive. We absolutely, positively believe adoption is really not the right choice for everyone, but we absolutely believe it's a great choice for us and we want to! This was a dream for us. I remember EXACTLY where we were 10 years ago, while we were dating, walking past our college in Chicago, and first expressed to each other that even if we could have our own children biologically, we'd also like to adopt as well.

"But WHY adopt?"
There are 143 MILLION orphans in the world today-- that's 143 million reasons "why" for us. Every DAY 15,000 new children become orphaned. We absolutely cannot help all of them, I know. But we started to search our hearts and realize we could help ONE. Maybe just one. And instead of WHY, we started to ask, "Why not?"

"Why NOW though?" I have many answers to this, and interesting ways God made it clear that He wanted us to pursue this now.  I will leave it at, we felt, "There's no time like the present", and with huge, scary decisions, sometimes it's, "Now or never!"

"Why did you choose international adoption when there's also 500,000 children in the U. S. foster care system?"
Well, many reasons. We love and support foster families and foster-adoption but really didn't feel it was the right fit for us at least at this time for many reasons. I had a discussion with the DYFS officer in our area and we truly are limited by Cara's age. They strongly advise against putting a significantly older/ larger child from the foster system in a family with young children for many reasons and in NJ at least, a birth mom gets the legal chance of getting custody back until around the age of 8, so over 92% of the children available for us to legally adopt would be much older than Cara.

"Why did you choose "China: Special Needs Program"?"
Again, many reasons. Most of you know about their One Child Policy, they have had for decades which has created a major humanitarian crisis. The gendercide is staggering. Because of the cultural preference for boys, when a pregnant mother learns her baby is a girl, many millions of girls in China are aborted just for being a girl and never get a chance at life. About 60% of the children being born in China are boys. Most families have only one child, so an entire generation of sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. are missing. An enormous crisis is already underway, as the each elderly person now only has one person each to care for them as they age, instead of several.
As for children who ARE actually born, if they have ANY "special need" for medical care at all, even a missing or extra toe, they are unfortunately often abandoned at birth, because there is no healthcare assistance in China, as well as the social stigma against a visual deformity of any kind. My heart goes out to Xiatong's mother. She saw her severe ear deformities and may not have even realized that she was deaf. Katie Grace Xiatong was estimated to be born on New Years Day 2010, and her mom waited until March 9, 2013, when she was 2 months old, and it was warmer out, to wrap her in a red quilt, with a bottle and a bag of powdered formula, and leave her right outside a busy village, where she hoped she'd be found quickly. Abandoning a child is a criminal offense in China and there are no "Safe Haven" laws as we have here, as far as I understand. Katie's birth mom cared about her, I believe, and perhaps she knew she couldn't afford to help her medically. I am UNBELIEVABLY thankful that she chose LIFE for her, and that she gave US the gift of a wonderful daughter to love!
As for special need orphans in China, their future is very bleak. At the age of 13, they are no longer legally eligible for adoption. At the age of about 15, most orphans are turned out of the orphanages and since all their documents indicate that they are orphans (AND because of their special need), they are usually discriminated against getting a job. Their futures are heartbreaking unless they are adopted. Our Katie was available for adoption for over five months and no one was interested in adopting her but us because of her special need of deafness and ear deformities. The older they get , the less likely they will get a family.

"Isn't this going to be hard on your family and marriage?" Yes. We are not naive. We realistically realize, having watched many friends adopt children with special needs, that this WILL BE the most challenging thing we have ever done. But Doug and I have never made one decision in our lives based on what is or isn't "easy". We've often chosen the road less traveled and we have never regretted it. We do not think of ourselves as extraordinary people but as ordinary people who are strengthened and blessed by an extraordinary God. We believe that "what the Lord calls you to do, He WILL equip you to do", or as a friend mentioned, "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called". Our ministry here in NJ is a testimony of His goodness and grace to us. We want our daughter Caraline Faith to learn from Mommy and Daddy this principle: that things aren't always easy that are worth fighting for: AND we believe with all our hearts that Katie Grace is worth it!

"WHY is the adoption process from China $35,000?!?!? Who are you paying all that money to? Is anyone making a profit? "
:) Ah, the favorite question we get asked. Well, I'll say this, the whole process is non-profit. The majority of the adoption fees are on the state and U.S. side of the adoption, not China. There is SO much paperwork, legal fees, forms, red tape, applications, education, translation involved it's mind-boggling. BELIEVE me. I'd be more than happy to show you the dollar for dollar breakdown. The $35,000 also includes: our travel expenses, our airfare to China for Doug and I (Cara is staying with my parents in TX for two weeks ), a translator and guide, court fees, document fees, I could go on and on. No one is stuffing their pockets at all. Chinese adoption is a well-oiled machine, but it is an expensive process because of all the paperwork. 

and: "How on earth are you affording this as a pastor of a small church?
ALOT of hard work AND a leap of faith!
Friends of ours, also pastors, the Despres family, adopted a sweet girl in 2011 from China and they took a leap of faith. They saved and fundraised and we all saw God provide. That was HUGE for us, we saw that God's plan does not exceed His supply. When we made the decision to pursue adoption instead of conception in July 2012, I (Jamie), decided to become a nanny in our home. I babysat a four year old boy, Joey, for a year, full-time, and it was a journey of faith in itself. That job funded the first $12,000 of our adoption and was a tremendous blessing. We love our Joey, he is like a big brother to Cara, and he started pre-K this week. I start nannying a little baby girl in our home in a couple weeks, as we continue to save.
As for the other $23,000 left in adoption fees!?!? Well, we are PLEASED to announce that we received a $2000 direct grant, from Lifesong for Orphans, a couple weeks ago as well as a $4000 matching grant, meaning they will match dollar for dollar up to $4000, what we fundraise through our family and friends. If you would like to contribute, we have been given a fundraising deadline for that matching grant of October 21st. 

We know people fundraise for all sorts of worthy causes: anti- animal cruelty, environmental causes, humanitarian efforts, mission trips to orphanages. We are thinking of this as our trip to an orphanage, only we are BRINGING one child home, to live in our home, eat at our table, be welcomed in our community, be tucked in every night, be held when she's crying, and be loved unconditionally as OUR DAUGHTER. She is 100% worthy and will be just as much a Becker as our Caraline Faith is. We feel the Lord adopted us as His children and He deeply loves every child, no matter his or her social status, skin color, or disabilities. 

We are stepping out in faith to fundraise the second half of our adoption fees and 
if you would like to help us bring Katie home: please know all gifts are TAX- DEDUCTIBLE and 100% goes towards bringing our sweetie home. 
You are invited to ...

Give by Check
Please make checks payable to Lifesong for Orphans.
In the memo please note your gift preference with
Family Account Number: #4016 and Family Name: Becker, so it would read: "Acct # 4016, Becker Family"
Please mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all US administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the need...helping orphans.


Give Online
1. Go to
2. Select Give to an Adoptive Family
3. Complete online form and fill in Family Account Number: #4016 & Family Name Fields: Becker Family
*Please note that PayPal will charge an administrative fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee. 

Note from LifeSong: 

Individual donations $250 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax- deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $250 will gladly be sent upon request.
Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. 

------ We ABSOLUTELY cannot thank you enough for your love and support! Please pray for us and our Katie as it's still about a 7 to 8 month process of more paperwork and red tape until we have her in our arms forever!!! The wait is EXCRUCIATING!!! THANK YOU for your beautiful love and support!

Thank you for reading! 

FINALLY time for an announcement a year in the making!

FINALLY time for an announcement a year in the making!!! WE ARE EXPECTING ANOTHER DAUGHTER! She's 3 1/2 years old, completely deaf, and completely precious, and SO loved! She lives in China and we are Lord-willing going to China to adopt her and bring her home to us FOREVER this April. Meet our princess, Katie Grace Xiatong Becker! We got our long-awaited official Pre-Approval from China today. She doesn't know any sign language yet but we do!!! We started going to a Sign Language class and we live 4 miles from one of the best deaf schools in NJ. Cara is THRILLED to be a LITTLE SISTER and this is our dream come true-- a dream a decade in the making!!!! 

:) Whew, been holding in that secret for over a year, since we made the decision and started saving up! I'll give you the basic timeline and facts and THEN go into WHY in the next post.


Winter 2012- Completely weaned off my medicine for my gastroparesis, a condition in which my stomach's digestive nerve became paralyzed because I have celiac ( the medicine wasn’t safe for pregnancy)

May 2012- Got the “okay” from my GI doctor that we could try to conceive Becker child #2

July 2012- Decided to against adding maternity insurance to our policy and instead to follow our longtime dream to ADOPT (see the next post about WHY). Met with our Adoption Agency in PA and submitted application, we decided on CHINA, "special needs adoption"!

September 2012- Started my in-home babysitting of Joey, (a four-year old boy), full-time, in order to save up for adoption. Saved up the first $7000 in contract/ Homestudy fees.

February 9, 2013- Saw 4 year old Qingge’s picture for the first time. Doug and I fell in love with her sweet smile! Started researching arthrogryposis, her condition. Spoke to orthopedic surgeons, interviewed physical therapists and a school, and ordered a detailed report from the orphanage through an interpreter. She was in a wheelchair. 
March 1, 2013- Received the video of Qingge: we want her!, informed 
our Adoption Agency

 that we definitely wanted to request her to the Chinese officials- CCCWA. We officially contracted with both 
our Adoption Agency
 and with our state Homestudy agency
March 2013- Sent out reference letters
March 18, 2013- First Homestudy meeting with social worker
March 25,2013- Discovered that although 
our Adoption Agency

 had asked China for Qingge, another family had somehow intercepted the file and were trying to decide whether they wanted her.
April 2, 2013- Homestudy, social work home inspection
April 11,2013- Found out the other family chose Qingge. We no longer could have her as our daughter. We were HEARTBROKEN and grieved losing her, as if it was a miscarriage.
April 15, 2013- Started online adoption education for Homestudy
May 13, 2013- Found out our Homestudy was almost done BUT the Homestudy agency would not release it until we paid all our post placement fees first- an additional $2500 to save up.
May 22, 2013- Doug's birthday: Jamie first saw a video of Xiatong, a 3 1/2 year old deaf girl, and wept the whole way through the video.

July 2, 2013- Fingerprinted for criminal clearance for the Homestudy
July 2013- started specifically praying for 3 children on the waiting children list: Xiatong, Shane, and Yukun, and asking God for wisdom in which to pursue

July 22, 2013- Paid the last $2500 to the Homestudy agency so they would release the Homestudy, it is complete, drafts waiting on final review
August 14, 2013- We received our signed, sealed, and approved Homestudy (our approval to adopt, from the State of NJ) We immediately asked to read Xiatong's file, which a different adoption agency had, applied for our USCIS approval (approval from the U.S. to adopt), and sent out our application for a financial grant from Lifesong for Orphans. Lol: FedEx/Kinkos was my second home that week!
August 15, 2013- We prayerfully made the HUGE decision to choose to adopt Xiatong specifically and the next wrote up our Letter of Intent to adopt her and we also had our social worker at 
our Adoption Agency

 request that China transfer her file to us.

August 30, 2013- We got confirmation that Xiatong's official file was LOCKED to our family and that we could send our Letter of Intent to China the next day to wait for Pre-Approval.  An hour later, we ALSO got a call that Lifesong for Orphans had expedited our application (which they rarely ever do apparently) and had awarded us both a $2000 direct grant as well as a $4000 matching grant, the highest amount ever rewarded! Hallelujah!
September 11, 2013- WOW WOW WOW! We got our Pre-Approval Document from China. Statistically, there is a 99.5% chance that Xiatong is going to be OUR DAUGHTER! She will be Katie Grace Xiatong Becker. We will now announce our adoption pursuit and start fundraising to finish paying the adoption fees! Our travel to China is estimated to be this April or May, Lord willing!