Part of Me Blog

adoption

one month home • lucy fei

Adoptionlissa-anglinComment

We've been home from China a little over a month and it's time I do an update on our Lucy Fei. 

All in all, she is doing excellent. I have consistently been surprised at how well the transition has gone. The little girl we received on April 16, 2018 is so different the little girl who lives in our home today. Her eyes are brighter. Her smile is more authentic. She is beginning to really show us her sweet and silly self. That's not to say there haven't been many rough spots. 

I'm writing this so that I will be able to go back- but I also have a few other purposes I want to be clear about:

1) I want others in the adoption process to get a real-life picture of what one family's experience looks like. It comforted me so much to read others' accounts before Lucy came home.

2) I want others who may be interested in adoption to find some answers- possibly to questions they didn't even know they had. There is nothing special or extra brave about our family. God called us to care for orphans and this is just simply how we have responded.

3) Please, please don't miss the God-story in this. Without Him, this would be a very different story. He is THE reason we have/had hope- the reason our girl is home with us now- the reason we are functioning as a family!

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Physical Health:

If you've been following along for a while, you know that we adopted Lucy through China's special needs (sometimes called "waiting children") program. More on that here. So, we knew that Lucy would have some type of special need (one that we had pre-determined we were ok to consider) when we first viewed her file. We had a 72 hour review period to consult doctors and then make a decision on whether or not to pursue adopting Lucy. We consulted with 3 doctors- two who are international adoption specialists and review files like this all the time, and our pediatrician, who was also familiar with the process and had reviewed children's files for adoption as well. Their opinions were extremely insightful and helpful. Each one went over every detail of her file, which included documentation of hospital visits, blood work, and a statement on her finding place. 

Our Lucy was born prematurely and was diagnosed with two forms of Congenital Heart Disease- PFO and PDA. Beyond that, she seemed to have been a very sick baby- there were many hospital visits listed during her first year of life. Of course we googled her heart defects, and it seemed (from our uneducated perspective) that they weren't a huge deal- the internet (where everything is true, haha) even said that both of these types of defects can heal themselves.

We did have one problem- we had no updated photos of her- just one mug shot style photo of her head at 1 year old. So there was no way to tell how she was developing with her heart defects. We requested updated photos from her foster family but our agency told us that we may not get any photos before we needed to make a decision because of the city Lucy was in (updates apparently did not come quickly from there). So we waited and prayed. 

Miraculously, we received updated photos and videos the very next day- and they showed us a beautiful, smiling, running, walking, playing little girl. It was amazing! After sending the new photos and videos to our doctors, each speculated that Lucy's heart conditions had already healed themselves. So, we felt much more confident and chose to pursue her. 

I have not shared about Lucy's heart condition until now, because we wanted to have her looked at here at home first. In many cases, there are additional, non-documented issues that a child may have, and we were prepared for that. 2 weeks after arriving home, we took her to the doctor where she had a thorough well-check. You guys, there was NO HEART MURMUR. Our pediatrician said that there was absolutely no indication that she has any heart issues at all at this point. Of course, we are going to keep monitoring her- I am fully aware of all the signs of cardiac distress and I'm sure it will always linger in the back of my mind- BUT all we know is that God did a miracle- again! Praise the Lord!

I can't finish this portion without saying, though, that even if she hadn't received a clean bill of health, it would have been ok. Seeing her now, in our home, as part of our family...we would do whatever it took for her. And we will! 

Language:

This is the number one question we are asked about- so much that it makes me laugh a bit. My sarcastic self wants to respond, "well, is your 2 year old quoting Shakespeare?!" Ours sure isn't.

She IS, however, speaking really, really well. We have been told by several speech paths that this is the perfect age to learn a new language. I would say she understands about 90% of what we are saying. We don't speak to her any differently than we do our other children, and having them around has really helped her put together what is going on. There is a lot of monkey-see, monkey-do at our house right now. We do also use the few Chinese words we know, and turn on Elmo in Mandarin from time to time. Knox and Liv love watching it too.

We began with some simple sign language in China and that has really helped us bridge the gap. At this point, she can communicate to us when she wants food or drink, or when she wants something else- and she is even putting together a few small sentences. Granted, we may be the only ones who understand at this point. :)

She loves to sing, and so it has been fun to hear her pick up songs/words in English. The "L" sound is unheard of in Chinese and of course every female in our house, including the dog, has an L name (no, I didn't do it on purpose!). But, she's even started forming that sound in the past week or so. This video isn't great (there is something going on with the microphone on my phone so the sound is awful!), but you can see that she can really say a lot! 

Sleep:

This has been one of the toughest battles we have faced- but even still, we've seen so much progress- it's no longer a huge deal. On the surface, Lucy sleeps great. She has never been super cuddly- which is fine. Chinese culture is not one of tons of physical affection. We have also been careful to leave her her own personal space, so that she doesn't feel violated or overwhelmed. And we were, at first, on high alert for any sensory issues she might have. When we received Lucy, she did not want to cuddle, be held or rocked before bed. Her foster mother told us to just lay her down, and she would go to sleep- which is exactly what happened. Lucy had several "ticks" she uses to put herself to sleep- rubbing her blanket on her palms or chin, for example.

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While we were in China, this was fine- but when we came home, my heart began to break over it. We had figured that Lucy would co-sleep with us for a while just to promote bonding and attachment- but she wanted nothing of that- and we really didn't either, as she turned out to be a wild sleeper. I noticed her "ticks" were getting more extreme in her new home- and she was fighting to stay awake longer and longer at bedtime. 

So one night, I just knew that this was going to need to change. I knew in my gut that this was our biggest opportunity to bond. She had really attached to Shawn (attaching to the father first is very common and great, but can be really tough for adoptive moms like me!), and I just felt like I needed to help her fight this battle. 

I realized that her "ticks" (flinging her arms and legs, tossing and turning, rubbing her chin and hands) were not really helping her go to sleep, but helping her stay awake. I observed her fling her foot over the side of her bed, hitting the metal bed frame and actually hurt herself. There was no reaction- she stayed silent and just rubbed it. My heart broke again. This habit was not ok. We don't hurt ourselves to feel better, or to cope. 

So, I started rocking with her before bed. She hated it at first. We spent a good two hours rocking pre-bedtime for at least a week. It felt so backwards. With Knox or Liv I would have been so excited to lay them down and have them go to sleep on their own. But Lucy needed to trust me enough to fall asleep safely. 

At this point, rocking before bed is something she is happy about. It still takes a good hour most nights. But I love my alone time with her, and she will sing with me to our sleep playlist, which has been a huge blessing. At some point every night, her fight-or-flight kicks in and she fights to stay awake. I have seen her be asleep for a good few minutes and her body literally jolt itself awake. Because of some research I did pre-adoption (the Whole Brain Child is awesome for any parent, adoptive or not!) I know that this is just her brain kicking in to fight, and that it will just take time to re-train her brain. 

It's been a battle for me to not take it too personally. I can't let myself believe that this is about me. She's been through more than I know and it's because of the fight in her that she is doing as well as she is today. So we do a lot of rocking and praying, and crying. I spent a lot of nights in that rocker with Liv, praying for our other daughter across the world- so God's done a lot of work in that rocking chair, and it's not hard to remember His faithfulness while sitting in it.  

Likes/Dislikes:

Daily, Shawn and I shake our heads in amazement at how well Lucy has fit in. God has clearly placed her in our family- in His good, pleasing, and perfect will. We are so thankful. Before we were even matched with Lucy, we received the advice to not make any judgements about your child until they have been home at least 6 months. This has been such a wise and relieving piece of advice- because it has allowed us to just relax and be accepting of her in the moment. I forget constantly that every day, she is experiencing all-new firsts. We can see her get a little burst of joy every time we return to our home after an outing. She is so glad to be back, and she is clearly comfortable in her home now. 

From what we can tell right now, Lucy loves music, singing and animals. She is an excellent traveler and has done really well riding in a car seat. We did take a road trip to Dallas and she screamed the last two hours, but she's also a two year old so we didn't worry too much. :) 

She is still getting used to dirt, grass, being wet, etc. Her big sister LOVES to get dirty so as Lucy follows along it has been funny to watch her look questioningly at Liv as if to say, "you're doing this on purpose?!". 

Lucy is brave and will pretty much attempt whatever her big brother or sister are doing, which keeps us on our toes. This also means that she has acquired quite a few bumps and bruises- but it's all in the name of fun. 

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Food:

On of my favorite memories of Lucy will always be carrying her on the street in China while we ate sweet steam buns together- this girl loves her carbs, just like her mama!

She has eaten pretty much non-stop since we have been home. I've attempted some Chinese dishes that she devoured- but then again, she has devoured almost everything we've put in front of her. In China, she was still taking a bottle, which is normal for her age in that culture- but she didn't seem too attached to that practice, and so we were able to stop once we found she could feed herself and drink from a sippy. 

We have had to help her slow down a bit while eating- but all in all, this has not been a point of struggle for us. 

Transition and Siblings:

I've been writing another blog post in my head entitled, "Things International Travel Taught Me About My Children" because ya'll- I had insights on them I never would have had we not taken them with us- but until then, I have to say that Knox and Liv have been great. 

Knox seems to only dealt with a slightly heightened level of "annoying little sister"- which he has handled pretty well, except for a few outbursts. Once we got home we realized it was important to make sure we were giving him time to communicate to us, and that we were checking in with him as much as we could. Being older (he's 7), it's been really easy to push him to the side while we take care of the screaming 2 and 3 year olds. So we've both had individual outings with Knox, which we plan do continue. It's good for us, too!

Liv has had a harder transition, for sure- which we expected, going from the only girl and baby to the middle girl with a sister. She's also 3, which I would argue is harder than 2. Most of the time, she is either playing the Mommy role (taking care of Lucy) or being the baby (having ALLLL the needs). She has been a really great helper, but has thrown her share of fits. However, I have been so thankful for the way she and Knox have welcomed Lucy. They have never questioned her belonging. The only issues we have observed are all things that we'd encounter with any new sibling. They love showing her off to people, which is a little funny and awkward at times. This is ok because Lucy is generally outgoing and friendly. 

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We can already see special relationships building between them all and it blesses our hearts. These little people will be our biggest accomplishment and greatest work.

Shawn and I have had our good days and our bad days in the past month. On our good days, this family-of-5 thing feels totally natural and we love watching our kids just be kids. On our bad days, we are tired of the constant needs to be met, work to be done, and wonder if we will ever have our own personal ambitions (outside of our kids) again. I think that's normal. I can't say that anything we've experienced is any different from adding a biological child- except we are always considering whether or not what we are dealing with (with Lucy) is adoption/trauma related, or just a 2 year old being a 2 year old.

That being said, I am really grateful we had the experience of parenting before we adopted. There have been several moments that I have been reassured that her fits are not the result of bad parenting, but the fact that she's 2 and exploring her boundaries like every 2 year old does. I did a lot of second-guessing myself with our first child, and so I can only imagine that a first-time parent with a newly-adopted child would have a tough time dealing with some of these issues. So, if you know of an adoptive parent who is also a first-time parent, PLEASE go to the extra effort to reassure and support them. There are so many layers of guilt that parents have to wade through- and this brave group of parents need all the encouragement they can get! Ain't nothing more confusing and frustrating than a toddler throwing a fit because you gave them exactly what they asked for. :)


This turned out to be a little long- so if you made it this far, thanks so much for loving on our family! We know that so much of the beautiful parts of this process have been a direct result of God's great love for us and the prayers of our tribe. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts! 


if I'm honest...I'm totally afraid.

Adoptionlissa-anglin2 Comments

A couple of months ago, I asked my Facebook friends what they wanted to know about our adoption. Their questions were genuine and curious and I was happy to answer most all of them, because I truly believe that sharing our story will not only help educate people on international adoption but communicate the value and worth of these children who, by none of their own doing, have found themselves without a family.

Most were easy answers about processes and travel procedures...but there was one question I did not want to face.

"What are you most afraid of?"

At the time, we had just received our referral (had been matched with a child). I was so confident (and just plain excited that we finally had a darling face to look at)- I could have responded, "I'm not afraid of anything. I know God will work it out."

But in the 8ish weeks since- and in the interest of full disclosure- I've slowly sunken into a deep sea of fear, anxiety, and worry. And if I'm being honest, I'm scared shitless.

I don't say that term to be funny- I'm saying it because it is the complete and literal truth. I have actually had intestinal issues due to my stress level in the past several weeks, which I'm sure you wanted to know. I've also developed this reoccurring eye twitch, which is the most annoying physical ailment I've ever had. It's like a tiny stress meter that sits just under my right eye, pulsating at the presence of every anxious thought. Which, if you're me right now, is about every 3 to 4 minutes.

I've had moments where I just burst into tears. Moments where I become filled with anger and even vengeful (ugh, so embarrassing). I've melted into depressive states and ignored my husband and children for the perceived safety and darkness of my bed. Some of this is stuff that's normal-ish for me to experience on a monthly basis (if you know what I mean)- but what I want you to hear is that lately, it's been much worse. 

I don't say these things to gain sympathy- if I'm being real, my pride doesn't want you to feel sorry for me.  I'm sharing this, though, because it's therapeutic for me to write- and if by chance there is anyone reading this who wants to know what the "not fun" parts of this adoption journey look like, now you know.

So I'm finally tackling the question. What am I most afraid of? Here we go...

 

I'm afraid I'll have an emotional breakdown (or two or ten) during our trip to China.

I'm afraid that our new daughter will hate or resent me for taking her away from everything she knows.

I'm afraid that my child's special need will be more than I can handle.

I'm afraid that I won't be able to do three kids.

I'm afraid that my bio kids will have a difficult time adjusting or feel ignored.

I'm afraid that we will find out our child has additional special needs once she is home.

I'm afraid that I won't know how to respond to people's comments.

I'm afraid that I won't get any sleep. 

I'm afraid that it will put stress on our marriage we won't be able to bear.

I'm afraid my child will not bond with me.

I'm afraid that we won't have enough in our bank account to travel.

I'm afraid that I will be completely debilitated and overwhelmed with anxiety.

I'm afraid that I'll lose friendships, business, or sanity because any amount of free time I have is about to be obliterated.

I'm afraid that people will see our long, messy story and choose not to adopt.

 

Some of these things will actually happen, and we will figure it out when they do. Some of these will not. Much of this is completely out of my control, which only makes my anxiety amp up that much more.

Most of the attacks I've experienced lately (which I do believe are spiritual warfare) have been specifically targeted at my abilities as a mother and my mental and emotional health. It's been tough to weed through the tall grasses of my mind to understand what is worth paying attention to, and what is just an attempt by the enemy on an already vulnerable space. Somehow, even though I've mothered two biological children, there is always that exception...I've never done this adoption thing before. 

Targeting the lies and replacing them with truth has been a very slow and ominous process- one that sometimes I simply don't have the energy to pursue. But it's the only way out, and it's worth my effort. 

We aren't finished with this journey yet, but here's what I do know:

God knows. Especially when I don't.

He has prepared a way. Every minute, tear, and dollar has been worth it.

He sees our girl. He's planned our future.

My daughter- though I have not met her yet- has helped me understand the gospel of Christ better.

Scripture says that He has overcome! Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Not money. Not time. Not anxiety. Not physical, emotional, or mental sickness. 

From the weakest and strangest place, I can tell you that this is a story of victory. Amidst all of the unknowns, I have a peace in my gut that says, "this is right". 

So yeah, I'm totally scared. But I'm also incredibly excited. I can't wait to meet her. To love on her. To tell her she belongs. 

There's nothing about me that's "handling" it right now and I'm expecting breakdowns (on my part for sure, plus at least a few from my counterparts). Dear reader, I need you to see that there is nothing extra brave or special about what we are doing- except the God that has orchestrated it all. 

However, I can tell you that we'll be stepping onto a plane in a few short weeks, and doing the thing we've wanted to do for 5 years now. I don't know what it's going to look like necessarily, and that's killing me. I'm hoping I'll find some relief when we are actually GOING. But until then, it will be a day-to-day battle- replacing lies with the truth of scripture. Saying out loud the things that threaten to take away my peace and repenting from my unbelief. Hoping in Christ and practicing thankfulness.

 

Some scriptures I am holding on to:

John 9:3 (one of my favorite stories in the Bible)- "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 

John 16:33- I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Deut. 31:8- The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Psalm 68:6- God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. 

Psalm 119:133- Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Psalm 118:14- The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.

little "I'm faithful" reminders

Adoptionlissa-anglinComment

When we first began the adoption process, I was an adoption blog sponge. Meaning, I would stay up till 2 am reading people's stories of their own adoptions- with tears streaming down my face- as I cried and laughed and wondered what it would all look like for us. 

Gorgeous view from our room!

Gorgeous view from our room!

I'm still wondering that, frankly- but what I can tell you right now is...it's happening

The Bible talks a lot about signs and wonders- little "tells" that the wise will know that the coming of Christ is close. Without over-spiritualizing this, I noticed something as I read all those adoption blogs: there are always signs. Signs that the call is coming. That meeting their child is just around the corner. That God wants to let them in on a secret- this adoption you've been waiting on is almost here

One family had a prophetic word spoken to them in a phone call from a friend they hadn't spoken to in years. One adoptive momma had a dream her son was born on the day he was actually born. One heard audibly their new child's name. These things are something I've treasured hearing about the past few years as we've waited. I've wondered if we'd experience similar. 

Friends, it's happening. And it fills me with HOPE.

There have been many little things recently- but I want to tell you the "signs" from the Lord we've experienced just in the last few days. Shawn and I are currently in Houston, having come to photograph a special New Year's Eve wedding. New Year's Eve is also our anniversary (12 years!), so we decided to spend an extra couple of days just for us. 

Bethel's song "Take Courage" has been my prayer for our adoption lately- if you haven't heard it, you must stop everything and go listen. So full of truth- especially for those who find themselves in the midst of transition:

So, you can imagine my emotions (read: rollercoaster of feelings) when the beautiful bride yesterday chose to walk down the aisle to this very song. Upon hearing it, God whispered to me, "I'm still here. I'm still taking care of this whole journey".

Later at the reception, I got to catch up with a sweet friend who I haven't seen in a few years. God's used her in my life's story more than once to encourage me, and of course, He did it again last night. It just so happens that this friend is also an adoptive mom. Seeing her there with her daughter was a wonderful reminder that the wait actually does end at some point. Her words were thoughtful and positive, and I know she's praying specifically for this. I couldn't be more thankful.

Our "Happy Anniversary" toast :)

Our "Happy Anniversary" toast :)

This morning, on New Year's Day, Shawn was reading Isaiah 43:5-7, which says, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and I will gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." (Emphasis mine)

Of course, for a couple like us who are adopting internationally, these words have extra special meaning. But the really amazing thing for us is the east and west reference. We've known our daughter's name for a few months but haven't announced it publicly yet. But what I CAN tell you is that in Mandarin, her name means "journey west". 

You guys, this is a big deal to me. God's timing is never off. My understanding of His timeline may be (and usually is, haha), BUT His promises are true, and I'm so thankful we have a God who lovingly sprinkles these little "I'm faithful" reminders during a trying time. 

It pumps me FULL of hope. The promise that the wait will end. The realization that every moment we wait (and she waits!) is a moment He wants us to spend waiting- because HE knows best. But the icing on the cake is that in the midst, He's lovingly giving us signs that we are nearing the end. 

Praise the Lord!

it's 'doption day! • carissa and heavenly

lissa-anglin2 Comments

Today is a day to REJOICE! My wonderful friend, Carisa, has been in the process of fostering-to-adopt sweet Heavenly for several months now.

Carissa's heart and her story are incredible- and she encourages me in so many ways. After she decided that God had been leading her to adopt, she said "Yes", and waited without knowing anything about her future daughter. I want to have that kind of trust in the Lord! 

You can read more of her story at her blog, HERE.  It's a beautiful one, please don't miss out.

I had the pleasure of photographing Carissa and Heavenly a few months ago, and wasn't able to share the images because of foster care law. But today, I get to show you what a lovely family God has made! 

Congrats you two! 

who broke africa?

lissa-anglinComment

The longer we are in this adoption process, I realize....

It's not our daughter we are helping, it is she who is helping us. She is giving us a gift. 

Every day, our perspectives are challenged, and though it is uncomfortable, I am so terribly thankful.

I saw this on photographer and adoptive mom Jennifer Verme's blog today and couldn't help but repost it. 

"But brokenness belongs to us all, but hope- only to those who come together, before God."

home study done! • ethiopian adoption

Adoptionlissa-anglin4 Comments

**NOTE** I wrote this blog post a couple of weeks ago, but am just now getting to post it because it's taken that long for me to get some photos to go with it! There's a little update since then at the end. :)

I am excited to say our home study is finally DONE! It took waaaay longer to get here than I'd originally thought, but...it's done.

When I originally read that the paperwork process should take 4-6 months, of course I thought, "Pssshhh....but that's not our timeline!" Haha- little did I know- it would most definitely take at least 4 months. Getting the paperwork ready that was necessary for our home study proved to be a bit more difficult than we expected- and thankfully with the help of several helpful people and our social worker, we were able to get it all ready. (Just FYI- when we applied with America World, we were given a family coordinator, who is our connection point to the agency during the entire process, and a social worker, who coordinates the home study and follow-up visits- so there are two people we have been constantly in contact with during the paperchase.) 

Our social worker was (and is) amazing. Because AWAA is a larger agency, they have social workers in every state they work in- and ours lives in Dallas. Initially we inquired about having someone local do our home study, so as to save the travel fees (we were quoted 500.00- Lubbock is about 5 hours away from Dallas). Our social worker assured us that she would do her best to keep travel costs down- in fact, her sister lives in Lubbock and she would stay with her to save us the hotel costs. She also ended up allowing us to pick her up for interviews so as to save money for a rental car. In total, we were invoiced 169.00 for her flight. It was an incredible blessing- and after visiting with her, just the tip of the blessing iceberg!

I had stressed over the cleanliness of my home, taken on several "extra" house projects in the midst, and had to compress my normal work week into a few intense work days. Let's also just say that my family didn't get gourmet meals last week. :) I refinished and painted our old dining room table, and during those late-night hours of working on it (and realizing how in-over-my-head I was with this very detailed project), I imagined Shawn and I talking peacefully with our social worker over coffee around it.

Well, there was peaceful talk and coffee, but we never sat at that table. :) In fact, it was much more a shoes-off-feet-on-the-couch kind of thing. Throughout our discussions, our social worker was accepting of our weaknesses and doubts, and so encouraging about every little thing. She was a wealth of knowledge, and Shawn and I both left with the feeling we'd been affirmed and aided with new, helpful information. 

One of the first questions she asked us was, "Why international adoption?". This was something I partially answered in a blog post a while back- but she gave us some info that will change our answer the next time we are asked. Our simple answer initially was that we'd always felt we would adopt internationally, because we'd seen orphanages with our own eyes. 

She validated our answer and then gave us some information that really encouraged us. She told us that for every 1 infant that is available for adoption domestically, there are 40 waiting couples. Because we have 1 biological son and have the possibility to have more biological children, we are not as likely to be chosen by a birthmother over a couple who is infertile and has no children. It made sense to me- and I can totally see why a birthmother would choose a couple with no children over the couple with 1 and the possibility for more. 

She also shed some light on the Ethiopian orphan crisis. Currently, there are over 5 million orphans in Ethiopia. According to the U.S. Inter-Country Adoption site, there were only 1732 adoptions in 2011. This is such a tiny dent in a huge need. Most if not all of the orphans in Ethiopia are at the orphanage because someone recognized that their lives were in danger for lack of food, shelter, clothing, or other BASIC needs. 

We have a home. We can provide food and clothing. Why would we NOT go half a world away to get the best gift ever?

When all was said and done, we were so appreciative of our social worker and her wise advice and encouragement in all the different aspects of inter-country, trans-racial adoption. She reminded us why, despite the difficulties, it all makes sense: we ourselves have been adopted by Christ. Completely and lovingly accepted, regardless of our unwillingness to love back, our struggle-stained past, and finicky nature. He chose us and continues to choose us every day, even though we might feel half a world away.

"Even before he made the world,

God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes." Ephesians 1:4

And to end this post, I thought I'd share a few of those "house projects" with you! As we wait, I am learning to REALLY appreciate all the little things that I already have and that make me smile as I pass by them day to day. So I made a point to go around yesterday and photograph some of those things. 

Lola made a cameo in this image. I finally hung some new art- including an old letter A a family friend scavenged for us, this Texas artwork by Molly Mattin, some old photographs from my college photography class, and of course, some of our babe.

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This table was a labor of love! It took waaay longer than I thought it would but I love it so much! Now to work on those chairs...

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Ever since I first saw this "decorative object" chain-thing at Target, I wanted it. Lucky me, they put it on clearance! Whatever it is, I love it. 

This crazy table was a Craigslist find and I spray painted it. It was so unusual I just had to have it (and at $30 it was worth it)!

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Shawn hung a door I'd painted in college on the wall behind our dining room table. My Mom bought me these fiestaware canisters and I have loved seeing the color on my countertops! This bicycle print hung in my Dad's room growing up, then in our laundry room at my parent's house. I'm so glad they let me take it!

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This mid-century desk was another Craigslist find, as was the chair. I have 3 more, I just haven't found a place for them yet. Washi tape. And a friend found this mason jar and sent it to me- it's hard to see, but it says "Knox" on it!

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My Mom found this awesome paint-by-number at a garage sale for me. The framed quote came from Promise Tangeman.

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Our guest bedroom, soon to be baby girl's room! I found a bunch of quilt squares at a thrift store and pieced together this quilt. Haha- it's definitely not perfect, but we like it! And I fished out the floral prints from the Goodwill pound store- where you literally pay for things by the pound. So, for 5 pieces of paper I paid about 30 cents. :)

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Mason jar + buttons. These are some of the books we've been reading. The Connected Child is super amazing, and I recommend it for all parents, not just adoptive or foster ones! God Found Us You was given to us by a sweet friend, and is hopefully the first of many adoption-related kids books that will go into our library.

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**UPDATE  Yesterday was a bit discouraging. We found out that the list of requests for a toddler or infant girl (which is what we're requesting) for our agency is 104 families long- longer than it's ever been! While this is wonderful, it's hard knowing that there are children waiting...and families waiting...with a lot of paperwork and protocol in between. 

Will you pray with us for referrals? Referrals are when a family is matched with a child. The families at the top of the list right now have been waiting since February of 2011. That is a long wait. Please pray with us! God can make this list much shorter!

the 10,000.00 mountain

Adoptionlissa-anglin2 Comments

I have been meaning to give an update on our adoption process, but have been quite busy with wedding inquiries (which is a huge blessing- many people getting engaged this time of year!). All I can say about it is WOW.

WOW #1: I am now, officially, a crier. I have cried more than I have in my whole life. When I hear a story, a song (most recently this one- isn't our God good?!?), or see a t-shirt order come in. I have been constantly reminded that God is doing this.

We have been extremely blessed and completely overwhelmed (in the best way) at the amount of support we have received by friends, family, and even strangers. To be honest, though- it has been an inner battle for me to accept all of these gifts without pride. The other day my Dad texted me this scripture:

                  "...don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed." Matt. 10:10

I had shared with him how I struggled to accept all of these very generous gifts without my pride taking control and screaming, "No thanks, we've got this covered!". I wanted people to know that we are willing to work our tails off to make this happen- but even still- the truth is- we don't have this covered. We need help. And it's humbling to watch help happen. 

WOW #2: People. Most recently, help has happened through people- from all sorts of backgrounds, influences, and means. In those moments where I am discouraged by the long wait I know we will have to endure, I get to hear some incredible stories and God reminds me that He is making our wait WORTH IT.

One day, a total stranger came into the store because she'd heard we were selling bracelets to raise money for our adoption. She told us that she and her husband had decided to start the adoption process, but never completed it because of different circumstances. Then, one day, she received a call from a friend who said she knew a woman who'd just given birth and did not want the baby. Did they want the baby? Oh yes. And the next day they were adopting. 

Another day I received a message from a friend we'd met many years ago at college. She has been a great encouragement to Shawn and I in the past few years as we have pioneered our own businesses, being a successful business owner herself. She asked if we were doing any fundraising, and about 20 minutes after responding to her, we received a $1,500.00 donation. Needless to say, we had another crying-shocked-thank-you-Lord moment.

When we ordered our first batch of Love Africa tshirts, the bill was $450.00. The same day we received a donation for- you guessed it- $450.00.

My friend Alex called me one day to say he wanted to work his tail off for us- and offer up 5 photo sessions at a special rate. All 5 were booked THAT DAY- and it will add another $1000.00 to our fund.

We have received other generous gifts from people we've never even met, just wanting to help out- or people who have adopted themselves. We have already had to make a second order of tshirts, and we are also getting some toddler sizes this time!

WOW #3: The wait and the mountain. As I said before, I almost hesitate to answer the question "so when will you get the baby?". I still hate vocalizing that the current wait is 24-30 months AFTER we submit all our paperwork (which takes 6 months in and of itself). Will we grow tired and weary? Will people forget about us?

But in His way, God is showing me that every second of wait is one that He planned, and I need. Already, he has set a fire in our hearts to give as we have been generously given to. We have met so many people. Our faith has been strengthened.

Right now, we are staring down a $10,000.00 mountain. That is around the amount we will need to do a home study, and finish the dossier (paperwork). As of today we have about $4,000.00 of it. In total, we have raised a little over $7,000.00- some of which has gone to help us make our initial agency payment, and get required physicals other documents. We fully understand the feeling of blessing as we have been able to just write a check for those things. Because we are committed to doing life debt-free, we plan to wait until we have the funds for the next step before we proceed. 

So that is where we are at right now. If you are one of those very kind people who have prayed for us, bought a bracelet or tshirt, or donated your time or money- THANK YOU. You have been a true reminder that God is faithful. 

And because no blog post is complete without a photo, here are a few pictures of the things that we have been selling!

You can buy them at Culture Clothing (1717 Broadway, Lubbock, TX) or online at:

And, you can keep up with the adoption at our ADOPTION PAGE. We now have a link to where you can make a tax-deductible donation directly through our agency.

UPDATE:

Whoa, literally minutes after posting this, I come across this blog from Give 1 Save 1 Africa: God's Will For Your Wait. So exactly what I needed to hear! 

life we live 4 • kings & queens

Adoptionlissa-anglin1 Comment

Hi everyone! Just wanted to let you know to head over to my friend Laura's blog, Life We Live 4!

She has generously offered to give a reader a FREE copper bracelet or art print to help support us in our adoption. The giveaway ends Friday- that's right- in ONE DAY!

I also wanted to share this amazing song with you all- if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I had a good 'ol cry-fest when I first heard it. :) Such a beautiful reminder of how God is working in our lives right now.

One last thing- if YOU have a blog or website, would you consider adding one of our mini-banners to it? You can check them out below, and download them for your site from our adoption page.

the wright family • dallas, tx

lissa-anglin3 Comments

Oh my- how I love this family! We have known the Wrights for a very long time and here recently have had the honor of getting to see them go through the adoption process. Throughout the waiting, the praying, and the setbacks- God has provided the perfect little addition to an already wonderful family. Shawn and I were so excited to meet Miss Hadassah- she fits right in and the excitement on each family member's face was something I won't forget. Here are some images from our very playful session!

 

Miss Olivia's personality seemed (to me) to be perfectly captured running through the grass in a sundress. 

And baby Hadassah- what a beauty!

Good-lookin' guys!

And a pretty Mommy. Shawn may or may not have been doing a silly dance behind me in the shot on the left. :)

Psst- The story of Hadassah (also called Esther) in the Bible is one of my favorites! Click HERE to read it. There is also an amazing movie called "One Night With the King", which is perfect for a girls' night. You can watch the entire movie online at the link!