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Help. Thanks. Wow.

It has been difficult to put into words the conflicting emotions we’ve felt in the past eight days. Extreme joy personally, enduring struggle elsewhere. But after two important milestones last week and coming back from an amazingly special hometown fundraiser weekend, the phrase I continue to repeat: Help, Thanks, Wow (which are Anne Lamott’s three essential prayers).

Help.

First, we asked for help in these hometown fundraisers, and Huntsville, Alabama delivered. Thanks and wow. We continue to ask for help that our gal stays strong as she turned 21-months old last Wednesday. We ask for help that the coming weeks go smoothly so that we arrive safely in April and ensure she spends only one more “birthday” alone, which would be just two days before we take her into our arms forever. And we so eagerly continue to tell the story of the help those millions of other orphans around the world need. So while our personal “help” prayers turn now into “thanks”, our hearts remain pulled in their direction after seeing the need that keeps growing, while international adoption continues to decline.

Thanks.

Where do we even begin? And where does the line blur with “wow”? We’re so thankful for receiving our final, final travel approval last Thursday. The feeling of relief upon seeing that email come through was indescribable: “Dear China Family: We are happy to announce your confirmed travel dates, you may now buy tickets for your adoption trip.” With those dates confirmed, we’re thankful for knowing that we fly out April 9th and will (finally!) become a family of three on Monday, April 14th. Sarah will be sharing more about our trip and itinerary in a blog post soon!

And speaking of thanks: how can we ever, ever thank the amazing souls who continue to join us in this adventure, and become a part of this child’s story? We don’t feel like a “thank you” does enough justice (even as 50+ overdue thank you cards await us on the kitchen table), so for those who have given your time, money, and hearts to us in the last week... please know that we truly consider you a “wow”.

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Wow.

What a weekend we had, and what a feeling to still be on cloud-nine eight days later. My Mom (who can be seen in the photo below “repping” the microphone) tirelessly organized a songwriter showcase fundraiser last Thursday night (thanks to Karen as well!), and our families helped create a massive garage sale last Saturday. The turnout exceeded all expectations, and the funds we raised over the weekend nearly brought us to tears (we’re talking about enough for three plane trips paid for). So while we drove home with a cash box yielding more than expected (including the sweaty dollar bills pulled from a lady’s cleavage at the garage sale), what blew us away the most were the stories, connections, and love that came out of those two special events.

Saturday afternoon as we woke up from a nap following a back-breaking few days of work, Sarah and I took notes of all the moments that made last weekend special. It goes something like this:

  • A beautiful husband and wife – who had just lost their military son in January – who came to our concert randomly because of the headliner, and that headliner dedicating a song to both their son and our little lotus together.

  • The childhood friend’s Mom (who I’ve not seen in 20 years) who donated 10% of her tax refund to our cause, who came to the garage sale to present it personally.

  • One of the artists who had started writing a song about adoption a year ago, but finally finished it for us, who gave us a copy of the lyrics for our baby book.

  • Another of the artists who was adopted herself. What perspective she had that evening.

  • Two different sets (four total) of Chinese-adopted children who came out Thursday night to say hello, along with two other adopted sisters who came to the garage sale (with the youngest only having been home from China two weeks). Plus, another family who shared their adoption story from Ukraine. So powerful to see all six of these precious girls thriving here in the States.

  • The parents of our childhood friend who died while we were kids, who came out to say hello at the concert event. That touched our hearts beyond belief.

  • The memories truly go on and on.

And outside of the hometown momentum, the rest of our support group keeps giving like you wouldn’t believe. A former co-worker in Nashville who is now a professional photographer has offered us a free photo session to capture the little lotus once she’s home. Randomly, our dear friend from Austin mailed us a CD of Chinese children’s songs, and would you ever believe one of them was what’s playing in the background of Baby J’s orphanage in the latest videos? A friend of a friend who I’ve met only once offered to help us with Mandarin language skills before we leave. And on and on...

The fact that all of these things keep happening brings up a special thing about adoption that we’ve mentioned before: a network of love comes together to bring these children home, and we actually feel LUCKY to be experiencing this journey with each of you. People look at the time, money, and complexity involved in adoption and feel like our daughter is somehow lucky. But it’s *us* that have been blessed by this adventure. You’ve made this process a pure joy, and we honestly just hope we’re worthy of all your support. We spontaneously burst into tears at times, just thinking about how each of you has played a part in our world and inched us along what can be a grueling, daunting ride. It will take a long time before the little lotus understands the magnitude of your love, but I truly look forward to that day when we all reflect on each and every story that got us to this point.

You’ve helped us build this foundation, and we’ll do everything in our power to honor your support.

And with that final serious note comes a guarantee that the next two blog posts will be nothing but fun: our travel plans for China and pictures of the (99% complete) nursery! Stay tuned friends. Stay tuned.

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"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”