Monday, August 31, 2009

The magic of giving.....

8.27.09: I have been privileged to work with a beautiful group of people at Holy Family School Inner-City Foundation. I have been blessed with friendships and encounters with students that touch my heart deeply. Holy Family School is supported in part by the generous donations made to school's foundation and offers children grades K-6th grade education and a spiritual education grounded in the christian faith. The school represents families from all parts of the world, from Asia to Africa. When I attend the school assembly each May--as I look across the sea of student faces--it's like gazing on a little slice of the world all in one place. It's such a special place--and the children are amazing.

I have been involved in the "angel card" project at Holy Family for 4 years now as the designer of the angel card series each year. I thoroughly enjoy this project as it goes straight to the heart of me, as it involved children, art and inspiring people all over the world. Each year the children submit a creative angel art project to be considered for a spot on one of the prized 12 cards printed and sold as a fundraiser and awareness campaign for their school. The 12 artist chosen to have their art published receive a full scholarship to the Art Center Art School and the pride of having their art published in that year's set of cards. I can not tell you the excitement in that gymnasium the day the winners are announced each year. You'd think someone just dropped the winning basket as the buzzer went off in the last period to win the game! It sent chills up my spine to think--these young budding artist--would get recognized for their art skills and gift. All too often, in these days of tight budgets the art programs are cut or disabled. Not at Holy Family School-the art covers the walls of the hallways of the school creating a colorful place to learn and grow. I just love visiting just to see all the art!

Today we sent this years card series to press--and they are by far the most beautiful cards of all. I say that every year--but truly they get better every year. On the back of each card we feature the thoughts and inspirations, in the child's own words, about their angels. They will touch you deeply, make you giggle with glee, and reflect in a way that you remember from your days as a child. You can order these cards online at Check it out.

How all this relates to Izabella! Some of the board members and the very special and gifted office administrator at the foundation office have been incredibly supportive on this journey to Izabella. They have cried with me, dreamed with me and prayed daily for us and our Izabella. I shared our good news last week and they again cried for joy and praised God with me. I can never thank them enough. I have been trying to figure out a way to raise funds for Izabella's orphanage--and realized I might be able to give back to Holy Family School at the same time. So I contacted the foundation office about purchasing previous years sets of cards that did not sell and giving them to anyone that gives a donation to the orphanage. They were thrilled to know the cards would be used for a good cause and offered to donate them to help US! I am blown away by this very generous offer! So if you'd like to donate to her orphanage fund--I will happily share a box of these amazing cards with you. I am sure you'll be touched by their school, the children's art.

About her orphanage--They really love this little girl--and are clearly working in the best interest of the children in their care--as best they can. I can never thank them enough for taking care of our girl. And look forward to meeting her caretakers soon. Hopefully we'll be able to visit the orphanage--what a treat that would be! I can not wait! And I pray for them--as I'm sure as happy as they are that these children's find families to love them--they are very sad to say 'good-bye". The job they do is not an easy one--and I for one am indebted forever to them for their care of Izabella for these early years of her life.

This is a picture of where our Izabella is living right now! I've heard very good things about this orphanage and am so comforted by knowing she is in great hands. Doesn't look like a big pink castle. Amazing.

This is a picture of the inside of her orphanage...She is likely sleeping on a crib like this...I can just see her sleeping here--not knowing what's about to happen to her. Her whole world is about to be turned upside down. I pray that God will whisper in her ear--that we love her--and that she will be happy and safe with us, and not to be afraid. I so pray! She's been through so much in her little life--I wish it could all be less traumatic for her. I pray she can sense how much we've wanted her in our family, how we've dreamed of her for years--and how loved she is even before we meet.

Prayers for all those waiting to fill their homes and grow their families with a child that doesn't have one. I pray you have peace while you wait--and that you see their faces soon! Very soon! But not a second before God intended--so that it will be as it should be--and it will be glorious!

Every year I have a favorite--but two years ago--the summer we got our paperwork to China and logged in--this card just about brought tears to my eyes. She is the most adorable little thing--and her comments about her angel are beyond precious! Out of the mouths of babes...I love it. I wanted to share that with you!

Our agency anticipates we'll travel in November sometime. Of course that's a huge guess--but it gives us a general timeline. Every day that goes by, I grow more and more anxious to meet her. Now I need to get going on the room! I think it will be even more real when that happens. It's still feels much like a dream. :) A dream come true to be exact! :) I'm so thankful.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Izabella!

8.26.09: I saw her face! And it's adorable! Precious! Absolutely incredible.

It's with a heart overflowing of love that I announce we have received a referral on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 12:16pm (CST) to our little Izabella. And as of today we have "pre-approval" (PA) from China. So at last, I can post the news!

She is the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. And she has an amazing beautiful inner light in her that jumps out of the pictures through her eyes and her smile. It is undeniably precious--and melts your heart the minute you see her! I wish I could post her pictures for you to see--but we can not until we receive what's called, referral approval (RA) from China which could be anywhere from 1-4 months from acceptance (8.13.09). But as soon as we get referral approval I will post immediately.

She will be 27 months tomorrow. She was born May 27th, 2007 and according to her file written in December of last year--she's a tiny little thing--at 19 months she was just 20 lbs. and 30 inches tall. She loves dolls and likes to sleep with them, loves brightly colored books, has several words in her vocabulary, pulls herself up to a banister and stands, drinks from a sippy cup and over all is a very happy little girl. They describe her as rather shy and introverted, which will fit right in with her Dad--who is very bubbly and happy when you get to know him--but very shy and introverted until he knows you.

As you know we have been in the Waiting Children Program since January 9, 2009. From the minute we found out our agency merge would make this program available to us--we were almost certain she would come to us through this way. And indeed she did! And oh how blessed we are! She had a couple special needs when she was referred to us--but one God has already taken care of in the most miraculous turn of events (I will share more on this in a later post)--and her heart defect has already been repaired and she's doing great! God sure does love this little girl and so do WE already!

So, we are blessed, beyond words! We accepted her referral on August 13, 2009 at 12:59pm (CST)--just in the knick of time. What an amazing day that was!

A word for those still waiting--I can not tell you how much my heart aches for you. I know your pain--as do many, many others. But I want you to know--trust that God will unfold your journey exactly the way it should--and it will most likely NOT be the way you envision it. It will be MORE amazing than you can ever imagine! Our referral day and the days to follow before acceptance day were not as I had envisioned at all--they were so much more amazing, humbling, and miraculous than I could have ever dreamed. Keep the faith, trust in His timing, but do all our can today to prepare. Your day will come--when you least expect it.

I am so honored that God has chosen us to be her parents! And I am absolutely, positively sure she is my Izabella--and as I look at our the timeline of our lives (hers and ours) it is so clear to me--that He was preparing her and us simultaneously for us to meet.

I will post more--as I can. For now--our prayers are with Izabella--that God continue to hold her safe in the palm of his until we meet. I pray that she will not be too frightened when she meets us--that God would help her know she is safe with us. That we have speedy "A's" and can travel to bring her home before the snow fly's so that we can have some time together as a family at home, before Dan has to work all those overtime hours plowing snow. And finally--I just pray God will continue to show us the way to her--the timing--the finances--the preparation of her room and our home for her--the travel, every detail is as it should be.

I have fallen to my knees with a deeply grateful heart, praise and thanksgiving several times throughout this last miraculous couple weeks. And I continue to be deeply, deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends, from near and far. And even some we've never met. I don't know how to thank you all you've done for us. But most importantly for all your prayers. God has listened, heard you and answered, over and over again. I am truly and deeply touched and moved. There are no words.

Forever Grateful. And so happily waiting to meet her--in God's timing!

I just have to close with this turning point post with the title of our blog--"Hope, Faith and Izabella"!!!! Finally Izabella!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So sad....

8.9.09: I probably shouldn't be posting today--cause it's not a very good day. August waiting children list was released on Wednesday and yet again we did not get a call. I didn't know that until today, as our old family coordinator has resigned and our new family coordinator is on vacation this week--just our luck. In addition, although they say it doesn't matter, I don't feel like anyone at our agency really knows our family, so I am at a loss to figure out how they would match us over one of the other 100 or more families in their program. I know they tell me there is a process, I'm sure they have it all charted out and set up for fast matching the best they can--based on statistics like LID (Dossier Log-In-Date), Through Review Room Date, Applied to WCP Program Date, Families Identified Needs List....etc. But, I don't see how they can do all this in the split second time you have to locate, match and lock a child--in a world where there are too few children and an abundance of waiting families. I know they tell me they pray for our familie and all families, and I'm sure they do (love them for that), they tell me I have to be patient and wait for God's perfect timing, I know they tell me to have faith, and not give up hope. I know they tell me their doing everything they can--I tell myself these same things everyday--yet every month this simply gets harder and harder and harder. The oxi-moron in all this is everyday I feel sooooo blessed with my life. My studio is so busy and fruitful, my marriage gets better with everyday, if it's possible, I fall deeper in love with my amazing husband everyday. Of late especially I look at him and am completely perplexed as to how I was so blessed to find someone like him.
(this picture of him is a picture of the amazing guy I the ballon festival with some friends on Thursday night). His wisdom, strength and support have been beyond any expectations or dreams. Our summer is FULL of family and friends, new and old. I'd say, "what a full life, what more could you ask for?" But this woman's heart has one very empty place, and it's so hard to ignore. I wish I could, and sometimes I manage to not feel it so much--but it's the "once a month" disappointment that is that painful reminder that yet another month will fly by us--and we will not be parents--I will not be a mom...yet again. I don't say this to elict any sympathy--or feel sorry for myself--it's just a completely honest place that I wish would stop. I am feeling today--like it will never happen for us-that there is some mysterious thing we're not doing right--that I can't seem to figure out--that frustrates me. What more do I need to do? What please what? I wish I knew. I see so many families (all deserving for sure) getting referrals, bringing home their children, growing their families and although I am elated for them--It makes me question why not us? When will it be our turn?

I have been feeling this way for months--hence the lack of posting--so forgive's so hard to write when you're feeling so crappy.

A note to my Izabella: Your face eludes me, they don't deliver the news of you month after month, the wait gets very depressing and very long, we get very weary, weary indeed, my heart physically aches for the day we see your face and finally hold you and bring you home. Yet, we keep putting one foot in front of the other, as hard as it can be some days, we try to keep a smile on and our heads up. We can't give up on this journey to you, at times it seems like it would be the easiest thing to do, as we know the stuggle you too are going through as you wait for us to find you--wait for a family to call your own. Your struggle makes ours so pale in comparison--and that gives me strength to have faith and hope that it will be our turn soon, very soon. Until then, ...we will wipe the tears away, push past the empty place in our hearts and keep moving and preparing for you. Love, Mom.