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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!