Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Family United -

During the last year our family has experienced miracle after miracle.  We have grown in ways I never thought possible and have discovered a relationship with the Lord that defies description.

For the last year we have all worked in earnest to bring home our two new children.  As a family we faced many struggles to make this happen and to our utter surprise many of our friends stepped up to share the load.  They took upon themselves burdens which were not their own and carried us on their shoulders until we could walk again without assistance.  There will never be anything we can do to repay those wonderful people except to say that these are your children as well.  Our journey is your journey and you will forever be an integral part of our lives.

It's hard to believe but just two days ago, Mommy, Daddy, Matthew, Caitlin, Luke and Rachel all waited nervously in a government office in the Guangxi province.  It was time, it was that treasured moment; any second now our two newest family members would come around the corner.  We all glanced at one another with nervous enthusiasm as we wondered what they would be like ............. and just like that - they walked into the room.

1st Photo as a Family of Eight!

Mark led the way, with a giant smile and his mouth wide open in wonder and excitement.  Faith was close on his heals with her dimples in full bloom.  All eight of us stumbled over one another as we exchanged hugs in all directions and then ....... suddenly ...... we were a family .......... we were whole ........ we were as God intended us to be.  Papers were signed, pictures were taken, and for the next two days, we would be their legal guardians as our trial period began.

Faith, Marissa (friend also adopted today) & Mark
We sat in the lobby and visited with our new kiddos as the rest of the families experienced the joy of meeting their children as well.  Seven families had been scheduled for this joyous experience on this day and it was a busy office.  We were the only family with "two" new children but we were also blessed with another family adopting a 13 year old girl from the same orphanage.  She was a good friend of our children and it has been an absolute joy getting to know the "Farmers" and their new daughter.

Mark & Faith's Biological Parents
(sadly now deceased)

It was fun to watch our four "resident" children
bond so quickly with their new siblings as the afternoon progressed.  The girls gently took Faith to their room and the boys marched off with Mark to do the same.  Without hesitation they got the kiddos showered, cleaned up and presented them with new clothing.  Everyone was all smiles as we headed up in the elevator to the lounge for dinner.  Perhaps I've been a little short sighted but did you know that it's much more difficult to find a table large enough to fit eight?

1st Family Bible Study

Bedtime came very quickly and the frequent yawns of our newest children spoke of a day filled with more excitement than they were used to.  We opened our family bible study book and spent a very special 10 minutes as a family of eight.  (Having a "Chinese-speaking" daughter came in very handy at this point.)  We explained our love for God and how He teaches us to be kind to everyone around us.  Then we very briefly learned how He created the world and closed the book.  Hand in hand we formed a circle and bowed our heads before our Creator.  The Lord had brought us on this journey and guided us every step of the way.  It is with Him that we ended our first day together.

Day two was filled with more adventures as we got to go visit the children's orphanage.  It was both similar to others we had seen and remarkably different all at the same time.  It was located in the middle of the city behind some larger buildings and we could here the voices of the children as we approached the structure.  Smiling faces greeted us at the gate and we were welcomed into their home.  Unlike so many other institutions in China, this one was adorned with photos of the children themselves.  One wall downstairs had been covered with the children currently in the institution and the other, much to our surprise, was covered with children that had already found their families and travelled home.  Imagine that!  This facility was actually educating the kiddos on what it was like to have a family!!  Remarkable!  We had never seen this before.

Mark and Faith proudly led us around their former home and showed us their rooms.  Large bunk beds occupied much of the space but the nannies clearly had arranged things in a very organized fashion.  Laundry hung by the windows, trying in vain to dry in the intense heat and humidity and there were even a few stuffed animals on the beds.  The facility was old and spoke of decades of use but there was something remarkably different.  These children weren't just problems to be solved - they weren't just mouths to feed ..................... these children ............... were loved!

Our Friends (the Farmers), Director, head Nanny & Us

We met with the director of the facility for a hour or so and everything we had thought was confirmed as we spoke.  To him, this wasn't a job - it was a calling.  He cared deeply for each one of these children and spent much of his time making sure that we would understand the cultural behavior of the children so we wouldn't get angry with them.  He wanted them to be happy, he wanted them to succeed .............. he wanted them to be loved.

Dinner was our next surprise and we were blessed in abundance as we sat down to a meal with all that they had.  As we settled onto our plastic stools, we were surprised to see two new girls we had not known and asked as to their stories.  The director told us that they had just transferred to this orphanage a week ago and would soon have the paperwork completed so they, too, could find families.  We were the first foreigners and the first adoptive
A Loved Teacher!
families they had every met.  He wanted to teach them what things would be like for them in the future so they would not be afraid to be adopted.  We practically choked on our food at hearing this.  Never before had we seen such a caring facility and forward thinking towards the future of the children.  I honestly have no words to accurately describe how impressed we were with our children's former home.   The nannies loved them, their teacher loved them and this director has broken new ground in every way possible.

Mark & Faith donating what little they had!
As the evening came to a close we joyfully watched Mark and Faith hand out all the gifts we had prepared together.  Every child received a gift bag and a few older, close friends even got some extra special items.  The previous day our children owned next to nothing but today they got to share their newfound blessings with all their friends. 

Then it came time to say goodbye and hugs were exchanged all around.  Mark and Faith, however, had one surprise left and it was something we'd known nothing about.  They had been given a little spending money over the last few months and they had saved it up.  With grateful hearts they placed the majority of it into the hands of the head nanny.  "A donation to their orphanage to help with expenses."  Tears welled up in our eyes as we realized just what type of children we had been blessed with.  They had next to nothing but they gave it to help others.  How could we ever possibly deserve children like this?  Only by God's grace could we ever receive such a gift.

I, Wei ShengCheng (Mark) agree to be adopted.

I, Wei JuQing (Faith) agree to be adopted.

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