Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cynthia :-)


Hi!!! We got an updated picture and report today!! We sent some specific questions and got some of those answered, but not all...

We think she looks beautiful!!! Those eyes seem to look right into my heart!

Her development is advancing--walking, interactive with other children, saying simple words--including responding 'no, no'! :)

Some great positives from the report--she stands at the door to meet her foster mother when she comes home--this is a great sign that she is able to bond. It will likely make the transition from foster home to us much more difficult in the short term, but a great sign for her ability to make an emotional connection. She likes her bath--also a great sign that she has someone that is caring for her tenderly. We have heard of many orphans who are terrified of baths for a long time because of the way they are bathed in orphanages--rough, fast, with hoses....not a fun event. Also, 'she could sleep through the night' --I wonder if that means she does, or she 'could' ????

The only thing that caused any concern was that she hasn't gained much weight since the last checkup. Her height also slowed a little. Her head size tracked right along a growth curve, though, which is reassuring. It seems the slowed growth is likely nutritional as they sent her 'usual' daily diet. Here is the list:
Breakfast--congee (rice), egg
Lunch -- rice, vegetables
Snack-- cracker, yogurt
Dinner--small bowl of rice

Thomas said "I would starve!" (says the rapidly growing 8 year old boy!!)
The pediatrician in me also doesn't like seeing an almost 20 month old with a bottle either, but we will let that one slide and visit our friendly pediatric dentist when we get home!!

So, overall, we were REALLY encouraged with all of this and suspect she will do fine once we get her---if only that would happen SOON!!!!!!

Have a great night!
Jennifer

Monday, October 12, 2009

Introducing....

Hello everyone. This has been a long awaited email for us! We are so excited to tell you about our daughter. Today, we received our pre-approval, which means the CCAA has taken our dossier out of the long line and matched it with our request for this specific child. The next step will be when the Chinese government recognizes us as her parents (estimated to be 2-3 months)--then we will wait to find out about travel (another 3 months)....still a long process ahead, but this step came more quickly than expected, especially with the holiday last week, so hopefully, things will continue to move quickly.


Her Story--

She is 19 months old (13 months in this picture, we think), so will be just over 2 when we bring her home if their time prediction is correct. We, of course, would love it if it went faster. She was left at the gate of the Social Welfare office in her province on September 8, 2008 when she was 6 1/2 months old. This is unusual as far as we understand--most girls are left at birth or in the first few months. There was a note with her that said her birthday was Feb 27, 2008, but had no name given to her. Most of the babies have a 'birthday' -- a date assumed by the apparent age when they are found, so we are glad to know her real birthdate and that it seemed she was truly cared for in20the first 6 months of life by her family. It really makes us wonder about what happened with her family--were they trying to keep her but couldn't? She is actually in a 'foster home', but we don't know exactly what that means--it was our impression there are still other orphans with her, so it may be more of a small orphanage than a home.
Her medical condition is excellent. She is a petite little girl, but growing well. She has a cervical meningoceole (spina bifida)--a defect in the formation of her spine. Some of these lesions lead to neurological problems in areas below the lesion, but hers only involves the bone and the covering of the spinal canal, not any nerves. She has a visible lesion on her back, between her shoulder blades. This will likely need a surgical repair at some point--not sure when, yet. Her developmental assessment said when she was first admitted to the orphanage she could sit alone, play with toys, interact with caregivers, giggle when teased. At 13 months, she was talkative, likes 'playing with her little friends', walking with 1 hand held and likes to eat rice cereal, boiled eggs and salty snacks?!?! :) We are of course trusting that what they are telling us is the truth about her development. We have also seen a picture of her back and it is definitely noticeable, but not very large. There was an MRI of her spine and we had a Pediatric Neurologist look at it for us. It didn't seem completely clear if the visible lesion is actually connected to the underlying lesion or just an overlying skin defect that can be associated. He is an elder at out church and he and his wife have adopted several children themselves. So, he took this very seriously and read everything very carefully. I was looking at it with him and we discussed several things that can be associated with the lesion, but that are either also fixable, or very unlikely based on her development and growth. After looking everything over, he said he had no reason to say we shouldn't proceed. Then, he prayed for us and her, saying that we know nothing will happen outside of God's providence--what an encouragement! We will always be thankful to him for his help.

Her name--

On arrival to the orphanage, she was given the name Du Xinti. We wanted to find out what this name meant so we asked a good friend who teaches English in China to translate it for us. Here is his response:

Hi guys...so I did some asking and talking and here’s the low down on her name: her last name, Du (pronounced “Do” in English) is the Du from the Chinese word, “Shou du” meaning “capital city.” That part really has no effect on her names meaning...many last names are simply “names” with no real essence to the meaning. Her first name “Xin Ti” gave me and many others much more trouble...mostly because the word “Ti” is rarely used in spoken Chinese; some friends didn’t know the meaning; my dictionary didn’t have it in it either. We were later able to find and confirm w ith others that the word “Ti” means “happiness.” “Xin” means “new”. When putting the two words Xin Ti together, you get the meaning, “future of happiness.” we pray that will be her future. With the pronunciation of the name in chinese...it sounds a lot like Cindy in english...i guess you could also get Cynthia from that too...but “cindy” sounds almost exactly like the pronunciation of “Xin Ti.”

Needless to say, when reading this email, tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn't even speak. Honestly, I was truly overwhelmed for the evening and just continued to ponder this amazing meaning. I was actually at a women's retreat with our church when I read this. About an hour later, I went to the evening meeting where the speaker began to talk about John 10 where Jesus is pictured as the Good Shepherd. She was explaining how significant it is that Jesus is willing to lay down his life for his people, like a shepherd is for his sheep. She asked the question, why would he do this..what is his motive? She explained that Jesus is willing to do this because it is not an act for some unknown or abstract person or people. He is willing to do this bec ause he KNOWS us and he NAMED us...."I know my own and my own know me, just as I know the Father"...that he NAMES us according to who we are, but also according to who we are called TO BE. OK, of course, I was in tears again!
So, we are definitely considering Cynthia for her name...and I looked up the meaning of that in English. The Moon Personified--back full circle to the holiday last week! Wow! I'm honestly still in awe. We truly feel that God has chosen her for our family and named her as well! What sweet confirmation!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement--what an adventure this has been--and we haven't even boarded a plane, yet!
Jennifer

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chinese Traditions

Hello!
Wow, what a week. It is starting to sink in that she really is going to be ours. It is also starting to sink in that our little girl is on the other side of the world and we want her HERE!!! We have been waiting to hear from the adoption agency about our approval--this says that they have taken our Dossier and matched it with our request for this specific child. We were told it usually happens in 2-4 weeks. We are at 1 week (but still anxious!).
We got an email yesterday from the adoption agency letting us know that there is a holiday in China this week and the adoption authority will be closed. Which of course means all is at a standstill. Initially, we were a little bummed.
However, then we learned a little about the holiday. In adopting a child from another country, we want to make her part of our family, but we also want to teach her about her heritage and customs/traditions. China is an amazing country that is so much older than the United States, sometimes it is hard for us to understand and fully grasp all that is involved, so we are trying to read and learn about Chinese culture.

October 1 is Chinese National Day and this whole week is the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. National Day is a day celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China--like July 4th. This year is the 60th anniversary, so it is a big celebration. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a much much older tradition in China and is a celebration of the moon.

Here are a few excerpts of the description:

Whenever the festival sets in, people will look up at the full silver moon, drinking wine to celebrate their happy life or thinking of their relatives and friends far from home, and extending all of their best wishes to them.

For thousands of years, the Chinese people have related the vicissitudes of life to changes of the moon as it waxes and wanes; joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the full moon is round and symbolizes reunion, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the festival of reunion. All family members try to get together on this special day. Those who can not return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones.


If you are interested in reading more, check this web site (there is an interesting 'folk-tale'):
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/mid-autumn.htm

So, after reading these descriptions, we decided to join in the celebration--with a little variation. Last night, the five of us went outside and, while looking at the (almost full) moon, said our 'bedtime' prayers to our powerful gracious God, the creator of that moon. We did express to him our 'deep longing for our loved one' and our desire that he would bring her home in his perfect timing. It was very moving to hear our children praying for her and to think that she is under the same moon, but more importantly that the same God is just as near to her as he is to us.

If you see the moon this week (or any time!), remember her and if you would, join us in praying for her.

Some specific requests:
We are praying that someone is loving her--that she has a true loving connection with a caregiver. Even though it may make the transition a little harder, she will know true care and love and will be quick to see that we love her in that way.
In her heart, somehow she has a knowledge beginning to grow, that she has a family.
Health & safety
And like all of our children that they would never know a day without the knowledge of Jesus as their saviour.

What a journey this is!!!
Will keep you updated when we hear something!
Jennifer -- for us all