Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween

From my crazies to yours!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Punkin Time

New Do

Finally found time to get my hair chopped off!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Cutest Four Eyes Ever

Here she is sporting her new look! Isn't she adorable?!? Here's hoping
they really work, I have no idea how to know if they really make things
clear for her now. How in the world do you know if your little can see
better? I sure hope the doctor knows what he is doing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ian's Story (the Finale)

If you missed Part 1 click here to read first., then read More of Ian's Story (Part 2)

So as you may recall, Sunday night came and went…nothing.

Come Monday morning I decided to text CJ and I told him that obviously God had not laid it on his heart to adopt Ian, as I had felt it in my heart.  I told CJ that the easiest thing to do would be to just drop the idea, and find Ian a family.  CJ replied, “The easiest thing isn’t always the right thing to do.”

Even with that, I told CJ it was too much for me to keep dwelling on, so I would just start trying to find him a new family. Even though I felt as all the doors were being KICKED wide open, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. 
I let CJ know that I was in no way mad at him, I was truly just mad at God at that point for putting Ian on my heart so heavily.  I wondered why in the world God would do that to me…maybe it was just to find him another family. So I started the search, even here on my own blog.

It was a long day, but I moved on the best I could.  We made no mention of Ian the rest of the day, night, or the next morning.  But then it came, THE text…

“Bring home the paperwork and show me where to sign”

Just out of the blue, that was the text I received from CJ about 1pm the next day.  Obviously I was shaking at this point wondering what in the world?!  I call him and it is apparent that something has just happened to CJ.  He starts with, “You are not going to believe this tow I just went on!”

He goes on with the story.  He took a call from an 80 year old woman (who just so happened to have been his very first random customer months back).  CJ went to pick her up and this time the lady decided CJ was “safe” enough for her to ride in the cab of the truck with him.  The first tow, she had her friend drive behind the tow truck since she didn’t want to get in the truck with a strange man ;)

Anyhow, while inside the truck she goes on and on about why she doesn’t understand why her car broke down since she just had it fixed (last time CJ towed her).  This woman was on her way to her ladies Bible study when her car broke down.  The lady starts asking CJ about his family/kids/etc.  CJ mentions to her that we have 5 kids and that the girls were from China.  The lady pipes up to say how her son in law is Asian too, and she goes on and on about her daughter traveling to Asia etc.  Then she asks CJ if we are traveling to China again anytime soon?

Well CJ tells her that it is funny she asks.  CJ briefly mentions to the lady about Ian and that we were talking about bringing him home.  The lady turns and looks CJ straight in the face and says, “Well sometimes you know sometimes God closes doors, sometimes He opens them, and sometimes...


Yes, this verbage came right out of an 80 year old woman’s mouth.  The exact same words I had been using all along to describe this journey to Ian.  The woman then tells CJ that this must be the reason her car broke down, for her to be able tell CJ to go and get this little boy from the orphanage.  She was insistent that CJ know that she felt that this little boy was his son, and as CJ dropped her car off she said again… “Now you better go get that little boy, don't you tell God no!”
And so it was, Xiaofeng became Ian Straight :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seeing Clearly

Looks like my Baby Faith will soon be sporting some new rims soon.  Her teacher mentioned to me that she was concerned about Faith's eye sight.  (I know I am a terrible mom for me not noticing myself) But she said Faith would get her eyes right down close to her work when she is trying to write her letters.

So (like a good mom) I took her to the pediatric opthomologist to discover that indeed she does need glasses!  She has bad astigmatism in both eyes, and will need to wear glasses all the time.  Since I am so hip and fashionable My sister will be picking out Faith's new glasses this weekend. 

The doctor said for me not to worry about her keeping the glasses on, as he thinks he won't take her long at all to realize how much better she can see with them.  So hopefully she won't put up a fuss about them and will soon see things clearer soon.  Sad she hasn't seen clearly for 4 years, yet happy that she will soon see the world in a new light soon. Stay tuned for new pics of my cutie in her new rims :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Talent Show Tonight

Starring the cutesy little actors in town!

More of Ian's Story (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1 click here to read first.

So one by one the doors were opening, I mean being kicked open one after another.  But adopting an 8 year old boy?!?  That just sounds crazy. 

I decided I would not think about him anymore.  Too risky, too expensive, too hard, too ridiculous to consider a sixth child, too much work.

God had already made the decision.

Late that evening I was cruising my blogs and stumbled upon this post.  So it looked interesting and I clicked around to this page.  I came to the bottom of the page and staring back at me was the lady, Kelly Raudenbush, who had sent me Xiaofeng’s file 15 hours earlier.  Coincidence or a whisper?

The next day, CJ came to take me to lunch.  I couldn’t get Xiaofeng off my mind, so I knew I had to just tell CJ about him.  I started with, “Don’t say anything, just listen to the whole story.”  I rattled off about everything going on in my head and how the doors were opening, and actually I kept using the phrase the doors were being kicked open one by one. 

We both agreed to just simply pray and think about it over the weekend, and that we would talk Sunday night.

Sunday night came and went…nothing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 Bugs in a Rug


I just viewed a horrific video of a toddler being run over and completely IGNORED by several people.  The statement that some need to do some "collective soul-searching" is the understatement of the year.  Horrible, if you want to be forced into bad reality click here to view.

And this friends and family, is why it is SO terribly hard to have a child waiting for you in China that you cannot protect.  I can only pray that Ian is kept safe and sound until we can get there. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Pic

Just received new pic of Ian, he looks so sweet :)

Monday, October 17, 2011


Looking forward to seeing the third team player next year!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paperwork Party

Well now let's just recap what all has been done in just 3 short weeks...
  • Copies of birth certificates- all 7 of us
  • Copy of Marriage License
  • 3 Personal Reference Letters
  • New Financial Statement (oh and all 50 pages of "proof" of said financial statement)
  • 2 Local Criminal History Reports
  • 2 Complete Medical Evaluations
  • Employment Letter
  • 2 Child Abuse Clearances
  • CPA Letter
  • 2 New Sets of Fingerprints (cause you know the last 6 sets the state has weren't enough)
  • Septic Tank Letter
  • 5 Immunization Records
  • Cat Vaccination Report
  • 2 Updated Bibliographies
  • 1 Social Worker Home Visit
  • 4 Additional Hague Training Hours
  • 1 Adoption Petition
All this equals.........
One Completed Homestudy!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More of the Story (Part 1)

I first viewed Kelly’s post about Xiaofeng and I was intrigued by this young boy who had touched the life of a teenager who only knew him for one week.  I thought, “Wow, must be an extraordinary teen or an extraordinary child for someone to go this far to find his parents.” 

I later discovered that both were true.  An amazing teen, Rob, had indeed met an amazing boy, Ian.

Something triggered inside my heart, so I asked for more information.  All the while I was thinking in the back of my mind how would I find this ONE child in all of China.  This “random” child who attended a one week summercamp.  There was no telling where his adoption file would be or how in the world I would ever be able to find it.  Needless to say, Kelly had already done that leg work, and into my inbox dropped Xiaofeng’s adoption file. W.O.W.

A lot of hurdles would have to be made to even consider another adoption so close to Elise’s, mainly the money hurdle.  So I called my current agency to see if any discounts were being given to the new “reuse your dossier” option that China just started.  I got an email back, stating no, no discount.  Ugh.

I then remembered someone mentioning another agency out there that was very inexpensive for folks Reusing their Dossier option.  I sent an email to CAWLI.  Lillian with CAWLI quickly replied back with a quote that was less than half of what my current agency had quoted for agency fees. W.O.W.

So then I called the USCIS to find out about another little loop hole I had heard about.  They confirmed, another $1000 savings.  W.O.W.

One by one, doors started opening.  No, I mean doors started being KICKED wide open, one right after another one.  My heart started melting and my mind started wondering if we could really add this child to our family...

Straight Towing Success

A lot of folks have asked how CJ's new job is going. It is going great! CJ is home WAY more than he has ever been, and believe it or not-that is a good thing! We are almost like a normal family now (well as normal as a family of almost 8 could be). We actually eat dinner all together, get the kids off to their 4 different schools together, we even actually spend time together as a couple too.
Amazing I know. Oh and yes, he is even making money.

Here are a few pics of CJ hard at work. See he can haul anything! Don't forget we could use your business too. If you ever need his services, just give me or him a call at 770-591-0557. Remember...

Now you have a friend in the Towing Business

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How He Came to Me

Kelly just did a wonderful post that explains the "beginnings" of how Ian came into our life.  She is a very talented writer, so I will just simply repost her words here:

Adoration and Advocation

He is holy. The Greek word we read in English as "holy" is agios or hagios, literally meaning without earth or separated from earth. And, He is indeed that, somehow elevated in being and purpose above the mundane and common affairs of earth, as Aquinas would put it. And yet, somehow, though His ways are not our ways, He uses us in His work in spite of ourselves. He uses me in spite of myself.

About a month ago, I was emailing with a young man from Dublin, Ireland. He had recently come home from a trip with Bring Me Hope to serve Chinese orphans. And, his life was changed. This Holy God revealed His heart to Rob and showed him that He could use him in spite of himself to serve children, children forgotten by many, children precious to Him. One of these children had been made paper ready for adoption--and this child happened to be the one Rob couldn't stop thinking about.

Kristen, a young woman who lives locally to me who has poured herself out for the cause of orphans, was with him on that trip. She emailed me.
I have a question for you. There's an 8 yr old boy who came to our camp in Xi'an this summer. He's 8 years old and missing a few digits on his one hand. . . . He's got one of the most loving, gentle hearts I've ever come across. He's absolutely adorable, his smile golden, sweet, sensitive, and athletic.

I can't shake the desire to help him get a family, and so I've been praying about it and feel more conviction I should step up and take that on myself - to be really proactive about spreading the word.

Just today I found out he is actually paper-ready. . . . It's such a miracle, as so many of the kids who come to our camps don't have paper work in at all.

So I wanted to ask if you would consider doing a post on We Are Grafted In about him, and/or sending out an email to your adoptive friends to help. I know he would be an absolute blessing to any family. I feel like right now I'm trying to convince people to take a gift that's really going to be more of a blessing to them than they could imagine.

I know this is all a bit unconventional but I'm just so anxious to see him adopted. :)

And, so, we went to work. Rob sent me pictures and wrote something up. I edited and formatted and scheduled it to post. I requested his medical file from an adoption agency who very willingly sent it to me in full. And, God was all along at work in spite of ourselves.

On September 14th, I posted He's Ready For His Family right here on my blog and He's Ready on WAGI. And, we all waited.

A few emails started to come in, and I started emailing his file out. Someone saw a link to my posts that I put on an online forum and commented on my blog:
I would love to find out more about who has this little one's file right now.
And, she included her email address.

Donna was moved by his story and posted a video Rob had made about him to her own blog. And, God was at work in their hearts.

Today, there's a very special post on Donna's blog -- One Less.

And, now, a special post on my blog because our Holy God has invited us into His work of creating families and redeeming loss in spite of ourselves--Kristen, Rob, me--to see ONE MORE child with a forever family and ONE LESS orphan in the world.

Head on over to Donna's blog and check out the handsome young man who already has a new name - Ian Jesse Xiaofeng Straight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Less

Meet the new addition...

Ian Jesse Xiaofeng Straight
Born August 2003 
Xi'an, Shaanxi China

Advocates Hard at Work

Fellow orphan advocates Kelly and Rob have really gone the extra mile to find this adorable 8 year old a home!  Don't you think he deserves a family to call his own??

He’s Ready

He loved to be picked up, especially to be put on our shoulders (where he must have spend half of the week!!) and on our backs. He quickly picked up on the fact that I couldn’t speak Chinese, so we played a lot of charades. When he wanted to go on my back or shoulders, he would point and pat at his back and say something like “ba” in an attempt to say back. And, of course, I had to oblige.
I want to tell you about a little boy called Lei Xiao Feng (lay shou[t - without the t] fung). He is the most amazing boy that I have ever met, so joyful and energetic. I had the joy of spending 5 short but incredible days with him. Each day, I felt myself loving him more and more and, at the same time, realizing that I would have to say goodbye.

My translator and I met him on the Monday morning when we were introduced to a timid 8-year-old boy. He didn’t say much at first, but it must have been a scary experience – being taken out of his orphanage and meeting a Westerner! We can be pretty scary. But, he soon warmed up when we had lunch – his favorite, as he said – dumplings and noodles (they say food is the way to a man’s heart, right?). We played some games, like football and basketball, and watched him come alive. This boy’s got a real talent for sports. Throughout the week, he even took to some new sports like volleyball and badminton.

We asked him if he would like an English name since a lot of the older kids do. He eagerly said yes, and we started thinking of one that would suit him. I went through heaps of names but none of them seemed to work. We even thought of putting my name (Rob) with my translator’s name (Jeremy) to make a new name — Jerob. Someone gave the suggestion of Jacob, and I knew instantly that it was the one! He was a Jacob! By the end of the week, he responded so happily to Jacob — perhaps it made him feel more a part of us to have a new name with us.

When I think about Jacob, two special memories come to mind.
We were on the basketball court. He noticed the net, and other kids attempting to score. He made a few feeble attempts, but it was obvious to all of us that jump as he may, he was just too short to get it in. But, he kept trying…with no success. I scooped him up and put him on his favorite spot–my shoulders. After a few tries, he got it. He made his first basket. We were all laughing and smiling, enjoying his thrill of success. I know I will remember that moment for a long time — but I’m pretty certain that Lei Xiao will remember it longer.

During the camp, we took all the kids to a water fountain show. Picture a wide open space with water shooting up from the ground, synchronized to music. It looked amazing to us. And, the orphans who were with us were maybe even more amazed, having never seen anything like it. The image still playing in my head of Jacob spinning around in the water and simply dancing with his beaming smile is one I think about all the time.

Likely, because two of his fingers on his right hand are different, he became an orphan. But, what some may call a “handicap” has not handicapped him at all. He does everything an 8-year-old boy can do–except hold the hands of a mom and dad.

His name–Lei Xiao Feng–means something along the lines of “thunder of a small mountain peak.” We were told that it’s a very strong name, given in hope that he would be outstanding and find himself on top of the world. Yet, he waits. Alone.

I have no doubt that he would strive in a family, having people to love him, care for him. He is such a joyful, lovable, amazing kid. He really is a joy to be around. I miss him. I pray his family will find him soon. He’s ready to meet them.
Please visit here to see a video Rob put together about Lei Xiao

This was written by Rob: Rob Molloy is from Dublin in Ireland. He recently graduated from Secondary School and will be starting University shortly. This past summer, he spent 2 life-changing weeks in China with Bring Me Hope serving through summer camps for orphans. He fell in love with China and Chinese orphans and feels God has put these precious children on his heart for a lifetime.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Puurrrfect Princess


The most important things in life, are not THINGS!

Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:19-21 MSG)
The real secret to becoming content is to focus on the things that have eternal value. It may be a familiar teaching to you, but Jesus said we should store up our treasures in heaven, not on earth, “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV).
Focus on Things With Eternal Value

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011