Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ups and Downs

We all have those days. This isn't the most uplifting post I have written, believe me. So if you don't like to hear about sadness, continue reading this at your own risk.

Update on Garrett and this LONG journey we are on....

We heard from CIS several weeks ago. We have been waiting for 12 weeks for the 171H to arrive in our mailbox from OUR OWN federal government. It is basically the one piece of paper that gives us permission to adopt our son internationally and bring him home. It usually takes 6-8 weeks to receive it once a family has been fingerprinted. Like I said, we were on week 12 several weeks ago. The envelope and letter from CIS arrives FINALLY, and to our dismay, it says that our adoption homestudy agency had left out some wording in the homestudy and that the homestudy is considered incomplete. So, we contacted our homestudy agency, and they sent the addendum to CIS. Mind you, this is the SECOND time something has been incomplete with our homestudy report. VERY frustrating. But what can we do? Not much. We also contacted our state representative, Tom Davis' office, twice. I have not heard back from them. I left very detailed messages twice. They could expedite this matter for us IF they chose to get involved. I also wrote the one lady in charge, Ms. Bone, at CIS to beg her to expedite our paperwork. I have not heard back from her. Meanwhile, our friends that live across the highway from us who were in the same position as we were/are and who are bringing home their third adopted son from China received their 171H in FIVE weeks just the other day. YES, FIVE WEEKS!!! How does this happen? How is it that one family who lives less than 10 miles from us is able to get through the process so quickly, and we are left to sit and wait even longer...Now it has been 14 weeks. I don't know. God knows. So, we are waiting. BUT our problems and our frustrations are merely grains of sand in comparison to what others are facing these days. We are waiting to see our Garrett and be united with him as a family. Others are mourning the true loss of their children knowing and praying that one day they will be REUNITED with them in Heaven. I keep reminding myself that God does not give us more than we can handle. He has the plan. He is in control. This miracle will take place in His time, not ours.

These pictures speak for themselves. Many orphanages in the areas where the China earthquake occurred have been forced to move the children in their care outside into tents to keep them safe. It breaks my heart trying to understand the harsh realities of this situation, but at the very least, I know these children are safe and that they are being cared for. And I know that Garrett is safe right now, and he is in good hands. And I find comfort in that.

Also, many of you have probably heard the very uplifing music by Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, Stephen Curtis Chapman. He is one of the greatest advocates for adopting and taking care of orphans all over the world. He and his wife have adopted their three youngest daughters from China. Here is an article from that explains the family tragedy that has occurred. They have lost their youngest daughter, Maria Sue. In knowing the love we feel for our own daughter, Gracie, this tragedy has hit us pretty hard. We are praying for the Chapman family and we hope that you will join us in lifting them all up in prayer. Stephen Curtis Chapman has given so much love and so much support to people in need through his music. He puts into words our deepest feelings about our children. His music has touched the lives of the adoption community for many years. Many of his songs are played on adoption blogs because they are so beautiful. He speaks to our hearts and souls. Here is the article:

"'With laughter and tears, Grammy-winning Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his family said goodbye Saturday to their 'cuddle bug,' daughter Maria Sue. The 5-year-old died three days earlier after being accidentally struck at their Franklin, Tenn., home by a reversing SUV driven by her brother. In a two-hour memorial service at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville that drew more than 700 mourners, Maria was remembered for her love of drawing flowers, playing in the water, snuggling with her family – and doing dishes "buck naked." She "loved, loved, loved to be naked," laughed her mother, Mary Beth. Maria, the family's youngest, was one of three daughters adopted from China by the couple, who formed the charity Shaohannah's Hope ( to help other families wanting to adopt. The couple, along with their three older biological children and their two other adopted daughters, Shaohannah, 8, and Stevey Joy, 5, were all barefoot during the service as a mark of reverence to ground made holy, they said, by the loss of Maria. Standing in front of the tiny white coffin covered with pink flowers, they took turns holding the young girls in their arms and embracing the son whose car hit Maria. Tears streamed down the 17-year-old's face and he wore Maria's pink security blanket around his neck throughout the service. In a letter Shaohannah had written to God and her lost sister that her father read aloud, she asked for prayers for her brother. "He has been sobbing," she wrote. The family raised their arms as they sang songs of worship and sought comfort in their faith. "We had talked [with Maria] about what it meant to be with Jesus," Chapman said. "I had no idea how soon it was going to be, but we know she is in His amazing house, playing in the water."

Take a minute to listen to one of Stephen Curtis Chapman's newest songs. It is a song written especially for his daughters, and in this circumstance will bring you to your knees knowing what this family is going through. It teaches us to cherish every single second with our children because they are only young for a short period of time. They grow so fast. It is a beautiful song called, "Cinderella".

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