Jul 31, 2012

The Seat Next To Me

As we were leaving St. Louis heading for Chicago, I was thinking to myself, "If we have to be on a plane going somewhere, I would much rather be on a long flight so we wouldn't have to take-off & land so many time." You see I LOVE to fly, I just don't like the take-off & landing part.

But this Chicago trip, although only an hour, was one of the best flights I had. Sitting next to me was a petite woman. She was on her side, looking out the window when she looked over at me and moved over a seat and started a conversation. She asked where we were going and we explained our journey to China to get our son. She mentioned over and over how amazed she was and asked what made us choose to adopt. I explained to her the Bible verse James 1:27 where it states to take care of widows and orphan. I told her how God had placed adoption on our heart and made it possible for us to adopt our little boy.

She looked at me and said, "so you're a sister?" I was a bit confused and then she said, "you're a sister of, " and pointed up to the sky. I said yes, I am a sister in Christ Jesus, a Christian. She went on to tell me how she had friends who were sisters, Christian friends. I asked her belief, she told me she was a Buddhist.

She asked MANY questions, "How were we sure we were supposed to adopt? I answered God placed it in our hearts and she commented how when she made decisions, she was never REALLY sure what she was supposed to do. She talked about her 4 sons and about how one, ate 21 was mentally challenged and it was so hard and she spent so most of her time wondering what had caused it and what would I do if I had a mentally challenged child. I told her to stop wondering what had caused it because that could not be changed, just accept the person he was and the attributes he has and build them from there.

We talked about SO much in the first 30 minutes I felt I knew her forever (ok, those of you who know me this isn't a surprise is it, I never meet a stranger). She told me about her friend and said how much I reminded her of her because of my belief and assuredness in my beliefs. She asked how I learned and I told her from reading God's word, the Bible, it's all in there, all the stories, all the knowledge given to us by God. She said her friend told her just to visit a church (which she said there are some Christian churches in Japan) and just listen with an open mind and heart.

She asked me the same and I told her the same except I told her to look at a Bible (unfortunately I didn't have a hard copy with me, only the one on my laptop). She said that if she went, she would have many many questions. I told her that all she had to do was ask and she would be told the answers.

She explained she had 4 days in Chicago to tour and then she would be traveling back to Japan. She said her oldest son is in St. Louis attending Lindenwood College for business and has only been here 6 months. She said she Skypes with him and I told her we had set-up Skype in order to talk with friends back home while in China.

Well, the flight was over and she again told us how wonderful it was to talk with us and as we were waiting for passengers to depart the plane, she quickly wrote on a piece of paper and gave it to me. She explained it was her Skype address and asked if I would be willing to Skype with her. I said of course and she couldn't believe I said yes. She smiled as she walked away and said, "I will have MANY, MANY questions, I would like if you could answer for me after I go to this church."

My eyes teared up and I said I definitely would try and prayed right there for God to give me the words for my new friend when we do connect, because we will.

The take-off & landing doesn't matter anymore, it's what happens in between. Thank you God for the person in the seat next to me because it was Jesus. Please pray for my new friend Koyama.

Blessings Everyone,

We're Off!

Well we are off or should I say sitting at St. Louis International airport getting ready to be off. Yesterday was a whirlwind of packing, packing & more packing. Last night trying to sleep was a cough-fest between Carmen & myself so as you can imagine, we didn't get a lot of sleep.

This morning at 4 am as the alarm went off I was very angry at it, I just wanted to sleep and then I thought about seeing our little boy in just 24 hours and was up and atem. It was quite a production at our house, we all have such different personalities in the morning. Tim is an extremely quiet person in the morning, Carmen & I are loud and raring to go. Richie is a middle man, half quiet & half a bit rowdy.

As I was blow-drying my hair, with Tim trying to brush teeth and comb his hair, it was a battle over the cord in the way. Then when he left for some reason I looked up and there was one of my best friends, at 430 in the morning mind you, fully dressed, hair done, etc. She said she just so happened to be up so she came to see what was happening at the Verbeke household.

Well, she got quite a show with all or us in our glory, bantering back and forth, then trying to get out the door. The airlines tell you to be at the airport 3 hours early for international flights and me, as the literal person I am, was bound and determined to get us there 3 hours early.

Now it's one hour from our flight and we should've waited another hour UGH! At least with this trip to China we aren't bringing any carry-ons, we checked it all, which is so nice not to have to worry about toting rolling luggage everywhere.

Well Zander, here we come, ready or not! We can hardly wait to meet you!

Jul 27, 2012

Well, this is about how I was feeling before going to bed last night. Our home resembles that reality tv show called "Hoarders" because we have bags from every type of store around with things to pack. Oh, did I mention nothing is packed yet? We first had to pack to go out of town this weekend for the swim championships. If everything goes well, we should arrive back home around 11 pm Sunday night. Did I also mention Sunday is Carmen's 13th birthday and I have still yet to find "the" card I wish to give her? I have one more day right (believe it or not I have looked several places and nothing grabs my attention). I was feeling VERY overwhelmed yesterday, trying to fit in everything, make everyone happy, and just plain going in all directions. 

After doing laundry I fell into bed and Tim asked, "Oh, is it time for your 10 minutes of sleep?" I know, as many BTDT (been there done that) adoptive parents probably do, that the last few days before you leave there are so many things running through your head that it's hard to sleep.

This morning I got up early, packed for the weekend out (Carmen was already at champs, she went the night before with wonderful friends so she wouldn't have to get up at 430 to leave). I was dreading the 2 hour drive to Carbondale because I don't like driving by myself long distances on 2-lane roads. But this morning was so different, why? because I noticed after driving about 15 miles that I wasn't alone at all.

I was listening to our local Christian station, Joy FM (99.1) and they were talking about peace. It was very early and the sun was just starting to come up and I could see the mist rising and the sun rays through the mist and the trees. I started laughing! It had been a while since I had taken the time to just "enjoy" one of God's biggest gifts, PEACE. 

Then I had to admit....my overwhelming feelings  didn't have anything to do with juggling many different things, I was purposely, not consciously, filling up my time so I wouldn't have to think. Because if I had time to think, I had to admit....I was scared! Not scared of flying for 18-20 hours with a teen and a 10 yr. old, not scared knowing that when I get back home that 2 of my families I cared for will not be there, not scared of seeing our daughter move to NYC when we get back, not scared of traveling all over a foreign country for almost 3 weeks.

You know what scares the heck out of me? That this little boy who has only known one way of life, one family, one routine, one mama....will be scared of me. I have read all the books, read and reread people's blogs, heard horror stories and harrowing stories, but this time it's not them, it's us, it's our turn.

After acknowledging this while driving, I was most blessed with the feeling of peace and happiness because I asked God to take away the fear, to take away the doubt, take away all the negative feelings and He did. I "let go" and surrendered because I know I have to have the faith that He knows exactly what He's doing and that's placing our son in our family. 

When I arrive back home on Sunday evening, I can't promise I won't be freaking out about getting all our stuff packed and together, but this time there will be a difference. The only thing I will be filling my thinking time with is, Zander, here we come, ready or not!

Blessings to you and thank you for reading.

Jul 17, 2012

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.

There are so many things to post since my last update. Our travel approval has come, we have a date set to leave, we are over the top with being so close. But how can we leave when there is SO MUCH LEFT TO DO! It seems you wait FOREVER for this time to come, some days the wait seems like it will never end...Then one day you wake up and Oh Crud! We are leaving in 2 weeks from today!

Today is that day for me, 2 weeks from today we will be on a plane heading to Beijing to meet our son. But there is so much left here to do, so many loose ends to tie, so much DRAMA happening in our lives and we have no idea how we can leave with things the way they are, there are so many more donations that I want to gather to bring over to Zander's foster home, but just don't have the time to gather....and then....


i am really totally, 100% at peace with everything. God has granted me this peace because I am staying focused on Him, His word, His promises, His direction, His everything because I know He has it all worked out and if I trust in Him, He will keep me where I need to be, when I need to be, and give me the wisdom of His words when they need to be said, and lead me down the right path. Without malice I will speak, without judgment I will give fact, and with the love He shows me, I will give in return. 

I will update again tomorrow, but tonight my heart and mind are tired with everything going on in our family. Please pray for peace and guidance over our daughter and our grandchildren's father''s families. They are really struggling right now and we hope Peace for them also.


Jul 1, 2012

Nesting Nuttiness!

We have been through 3 biological pregnancies, all with their different types of "nesting". 

Brandy - Our first daughter came while I lived with my parents. With Brandy, the last 2 months of my mother's home was scrubbed from top to bottom, I drove my parents NUTS with constant scrubbing.

Alex - With our second daughter, we were under so much pressure in the military, our nesting went out the window since Tim was supposed to leave before Alexandria was even born and ended up being discharged 2 weeks after she came!

Carmen - With Carmen, the nesting was very smooth, calm and very calculated. I was older when I had Carmen, knew what to expect, excitedly decorated, had her name picked out from the moment we knew she was a girl and looked forward to every doctor's visit. We knew from conception (In Vitro Fertilization) she was there so this pregnancy was a VERY long one.

Zander - Although he is not our biological son, the nesting and pregnancy anxiety are very real. International adoption in China is longer than an actual 9 month, pregnancy. By the time we hold him in our arms, it will have been 8 months from seeing his little face and knowing he was our son. How much closer can you get to actual pregnancy? 

Rocking with Rosella - Our Both Hands Project

This morning I went to take final photos of our Both Hands Project. As I pulled up, Rosie was sitting in her new white-wicker rocker reading her Bible study for the day. The freshly painted porch with bursts of color coming from the new flowers planted could now be seen since all the weeds of the hillside were gone. I sat with her for a while, rocking with her, as she talked about yesterday and what it meant to her to be blessed by God through our team.

Yesterday had to be one of the MOST humbling, rewarding, spiritual times during our adoption process for me. When we decided to adopt, we had a rough idea of cost, but as we went on and our savings dwindled, our minds started churning for what we would be doing in order to raise funds for the remainder of our journey with as little debt as possible.

We prayed, we filled out grants, we worked second jobs, we are STILL fundraising! Just know that we do NOT like fundraising! If we ask for something, we wish to give something in return, it's just in our make-up. We had to get over it....because as we were reminded, the greatest gift ever given us is free, right? God's gift of Salvation.

We heard of the Lifesong Both Hands Project through friends that are also adopting. This project is based on the Bible verse James 1:27

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Through this project, we, the adoptive parents, form a team of friends & family. We identify a widow/widower in need of repairs on their home. Due to circumstances, they do not have the financial or physical ability or close family to do many necessary repairs on his/her home. Our team then meets and sends out letters to ours & their friends and family requesting sponsorship for a day of working on the widow/widower's home. We visit area businesses in the community explaining our project and ask for material donations to complete the many projects identified. We then set the date, pray for good weather, and when it's time, we, along with the widow are blessed.

We will be sharing our video tomorrow evening so you can watch for yourselves the amazing work accomplished by our wonderful team.