Apr 25, 2012

Sharing a God Story

If anyone followed our journey as we went on mission as a family last summer (hint: www.verbekefamilyonmission.blogspot.com), you will know how we fell head-over-heels in LOVE with a set of twins from the Chenzhou SWI. There names are Lingli & Lingyi. One of the twins was healthy as could be, while the other was on an IV drip every morning and lacked muscle tone in her movements. But boy could she eat!

After we came home I was on a quest to adopt these girls, they were our girls, they had our heart and it killed me to leave them in that orphanage. Long story short we tried everything in our power to start their paperwork, got all information on them, contacted everyone we knew that might be able to help, etc. All to no avail, we weren't meant to be their mommy and daddy. This was an extremely hard reality to face. Then we found Zander and the world was right. He was the one meant to be our child, chosen by God to be our son.

This didn't mean we forgot about the girls, only that we had to pray that somehow we could be a part of their journey. Every month I would email their SWI asking questions, or we (via a friend, Shannon) would receive photo updates and we could see they were growing and looked healthy, but they were still in an orphanage.

Well a few days ago we received an email asking if we knew anything about the girls. We didn't reply right away, in fact we didn't reply at all, I just needed more information from the person asking about the girls. Then it came, an email with a request to contact the new mother who had accepted a referral for the girls.

Please bear with me as I draw this scene, children from China are placed all over the world, Europe, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Italy, Canada, England, etc. and I had the phone number of their new mother (I can't give names in order to protect their adoption). I called and left a message and within a couple hours received the return call. There family has 6 children (we were told at the beginning that twins were only placed with couples with no children, God working here the sign should read). They have 5 bio and 1 adopted. She was very worried about Lingli's special need and said I helped her calm fears she had.

Then came the blow (good one!). The family only lives 2 hours away from our family! Only God can orchestrate such a blessing. The girls are also almost the exact same age as our Zander. We plan on seeing them when they are home.

Remember, nothing, NOTHING is bigger or above God's power.


LOA - Waiting Update

Well, there's not much to post regarding our agonizing patient wait for our official Letter of Acceptance from China approving us to be Zander's parents. We have seen this go anywhere from 37 days to 176 days. When I have questioned what determines the number of days for approval, no one knows, it's just a gamble in a huge pot of LOAs.

We are officially on day 58 of our wait. Each day is a bit different, there's an anxious exhilaration on some days, just anticipating that "TODAY" is the day our LOA could come. Then by the end of the day I'm deflated. Then other days so much is happening it doesn't even cross my mind once (ok, who am I kidding, it crosses several times, I just to dwell).

Our contact from our agency just notified me that we are being transitioned to another agent. I thought it was because each agent has their own specialty and we had "graduated" from her class, which was meaning to me  we were getting much closer. NOT! Today I found out that our transition was due to our current agent leaving the company. Not in a bad way, she has decided to stay home with her own children, which I relate and admire also. It just bums me out because we really loved her. On with change right!

Tomorrow is a new day!

Sophia Lyn Verbeke

We have a new addition to our family. Our 4th grandchild and 3rd granddaughter, Sophia Lyn Verbeke was born Saturday, April 7th at 3:48 pm. She weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz and was 17.5 in. long. She has a full head of black hair and is the most beautiful little girl. She looks just like her mom, Brandy, when she was born. Big brother Richie and sister Savannah are extremely proud of her, sister Kalya who is only 14 months older doesn't know what to think of her except she likes to take Sophia's bottle, blanket and pacifier and Sophia doesn't talk back. Here are some pics of our newest beauty.

Mom, Brandy with Baby Sophia
Dad, Nathan, with Baby Sophia

Big Brother Seth (Richie) with Sophia
Big Sister Savannah with mom & Sophia

Baby Sophia wide awake

Big Sister Kalya with Sophia, she doesn't quite know what to think

All Roads Lead to God - Just Travel With Him As Pilot

Every Road Leads to God - Our GPS is just put on Scenic Route Sometimes

I have sat down several times with my computer just contemplating (big word eh?) on what to write about. There are so many things happening to so many people in our lives that I want to journal about each journey, but that would take days into weeks, into years...you get the picture. But what I have been thinking about the most, is each of us has to travel our own road, and each road will have it's hills, curves, potholes, smooth straight-aways, and rocky gravel. But the end will always lead to God because of our free will and choices. It doesn't mean everyone will choose Him, in fact, some will deny Him, some will ignore Him, some will deny He even exists, but in the end, we all will face the end of the road, our own mortality, and then come face to face with our Lord and our final destination. It's how we are traveling that matters and if we choose the correct road.

Many people I dearly love are going through such rough times. I read a dear friend's blog who is traveling a road of breast cancer while praising the Lord for her walk, a young teen girl, not even with her license yet has been traveling a road filled with pot holes and just learned yesterday her teen brother has taken his own life, she sits with the other youth supporting her this evening, praying for her. Another friend living in another state battles with a multitude of cancer riddling her body while her main concern is how her husband and daughter are traveling their road, another dear friend loses her beloved nephew of only 18 in a motorcycle accident and she watches as her brother tries to gather the tools to put together a way to navigate the new map of his life. 

What is our role in all the highway and bi ways of others traveling beside us. I believe that the biggest support we can have for anyone going through anything is as our youth pastor said tonight, "Just show up" you don't have to say a word, just be there.  Be there with prayer, with a hug, with food, with love, but be there. 

Please be in prayer for the many people in my life that are facing such challenges, I could name them, but God knows who they are, I just ask for their salvation, for peace for them and their families and miraculous healing if that is His will. Most of all I ask that you pray that in every instant that His glory shines through.

Apr 5, 2012

Heeeerrrreee's Zander! Starring Zander!

UPDATE: We are now 39 days into our wait for our Letter of Acceptance from China. We have been following many other families during their wait and most are at 70-76 days. If that's our case, we're over half-way there WooHoo!

We have been blessed once again by our friend, Lori Printy, with this video of our little boy. He doesn't seem too troubled by anyone there, just very curious as to who everyone is and why they are there. It was nap time and there was a lot going on at the time Lori got to visit. I have watched this video over and over and over again. Here are a few of the things I've been able to pick up in conversation.

They call him Jin Jin (I believe because his Chinese name is Jien) Lori told him "I know your mommy, you have a big blonde sister, you'll have to get used to blondes." He was brought to the foster home in February, a very sick little boy, the mom here said she didn't think he was going to make it. One hospital wouldn't admit him, then the international hospital admitted him, but they had to have payment up-front. He had his heart surgery and soon after he came home he started fattening up :). He had his club feet casted last summer and has them off, but he is very wobbly on his feet. Many children who have club feet have very tiny feet and learning to get their balance for walking takes a while, so it may be a while before he's walking.

He can say mom and dad and he knows several words in sign language that he has picked up from teaching the home teaching 2 deaf children to sign. The thing we were extremely happy to hear was that his asthma has improved so much, that he isn't on a daily breathing treatment any longer and has stayed very healthy since being off of it! God is so amazing! I will quote Lori verbatim here, "It was minutes before he went up for a nap. I checked on him a little later and he was in his nanny's arms getting a bottle. No propped bottles there. They are so well cared for. BY FAR the best care I have seen in the 15 orphanages I have visited. Cant wait for you to bring him home." I don't know about others adopting, but I can imagine, these words to us meant nothing short of tears of happiness and gratitude for his caregivers.

There's been a lot going through my mind this week. Heavy things. I was blessed to watch the journey of a friend bring home her daughter from China. I cherish her frankness and real-life adoption story because it wasn't sugar-coated, she told it like it was, and for her, it was a hard 2 weeks in China with her newest little princess. This made me start thinking of "What will it be like for our family?"

Zander has only known one home, a wonderful home with a foster family, a loving home, lots of attention and one-on-one care. Whereas our friend's little girl suffered in one of the poorest orphanages, not even knowing how to speak at age 3, then she was moved to a wonderful orphanage where she started to learn, but it was still an orphanage, without a mom or dad to call her own. But now she is adjusting and settling into her new family. She and they are so blessed to have one another and for us to call them friends.

Recently my oldest daughter quoted, "It takes a village to raise a child." This title was given to a book written by Hilary Clinton. But the proverb comes from African decent. There are others variations of this proverb in Africa, "A child does not grow up in a single home", "A child belongs not to one parent or home" etc.

This made me think of moms from the US. I truly believe it takes a "village" to raise a child. But the child must have a caretaker where they will learn to love, they are wanted, they are cherished and will always have someone, and the most important - about God who will always be there for them.