Friday, May 29, 2009


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

I started my day off wonderfully. I was able to sleep in because today is a holiday in China. Of course, there is always way too much going on outside my windows for me to sleep much past 7: the fan starting in the kitchen around 5 am, ayis coming over to get the food, ayis bringing the garbage over, the gate guard who goes for a walk and sings. :) It's all good. I was up but I didn't want to take a shower right away so I went to check my email. I started out with such exciting news.

I stared down at the list and saw two people wanted to know more about my house. If I am to return here next year, I need to find new tenants. For those of you who are my pr*yer warriors, please be pr*ying for me to get the right tenants. I also need a home for my two cats. Anyways, I was so excited to know that two people wanted to know about my house. As a matter of fact, my mom is showing one of them the house later today. Those were two things that continue to give me hope even if they don't decide to rent the house. That started my day off praising Him and put a big smile on my face.

Then I scrolled back a little further in my email. My jaw hit the floor. I leaned in closer just to make sure I was reading it correctly. I got an email from my family coordinator at AWAA with the subject title "PA HAS ARRIVED"! For those of you in the adoption community you know what this is but let me fill the rest of you in. This is the FIRST paper you need from China that says they are considering you for a specific special needs child. This one tells you that they have preapproved you for your child. Yes, check one! Jade is one step closer to coming home to rest in her mama's arms. I was floored! My agency told me that since my paperwork has already gone through the review room that it was possible that I could get my PA as soon as the beginning of June. Last I's not June yet! Twenty one days and I received my PA! Woohoo! Thank you G*d! I love how you love me and I love how you long to give the fatherless a home. The day is coming soon that my daughter will no longer have to be known as an orphan. I know she is already mine though she doesn't even know I exist. I can't wait for the day that I can send her a little care package with pictures of me in there. I can't wait to show her all the love that I have been saving up for her! He has been busy making me into the woman I needed to be so I could be the best mom for her. This in itself would have made my day wonderful, but He didn't stop here!

Friends of mine are in the process of moving back to the states after living here for 7 years. Their children range in age from 15 years to 15 months. They have six children and just fostered a little girl who is only a few weeks older than my daughter is. I went over to visit them and they walked me through the house to see what I needed. They blessed me BEYOND measure! I have a highchair, clothes, shoes, a chalkboard easel, playdough, tinkertoys, bouncy balls, arts and crafts things, a special needs Mr. Potato Head (he's missing some parts), a Christmas Tree, Duplo blocks, musical instruments, a child's sized chair/table set and the list goes on. I suddenly got overwhelmed while there. I cried tears of joy on Renee's shoulder. He heard my heart. I never realized until that moment that I had wondered what I would be able to afford to buy for her once I got her home. What would we play with? I kept thinking of all the things I had in the states and wondered if I would be able to bring them back with me. He heard all those thoughts, those questions but never once did I ask HIM to provide them for me. Ye of little faith...I love that He knew what I needed, heard my heart and gave them to me anyways. I can't wait to get playdough stuck in the carpet! I can't wait to stub my toe on her stuff in her room that I forgot to put away before I put her to sleep. I can't wait to draw on the chalk board with her. I can't wait to feed her in her highchair as she wonders "what is this food she is feeding me? Where's the rice?". What an amazing gift today was. Thank you L*rd that every good and perfect gift does come from you. You are providing for me and her in ways that I never dreamed of. Thank you for loving the two of us that way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Race Day

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Last week, Zack decided that he wanted to race the girls in the office. This was a major accomplishment for Zack. Zack tends to follow his twin brother's ideas and often doesn't trust his own ideas. Last week, Nate was home sick for three days. It was during that time that Zack came up with this idea. I told him that if he wanted to do this, he was going to have to ask the girls to do this. He was game. This brings joy to my heart. When I started here in September, Zack didn't say much. He has alot of sound errors that cause his intelligibility to be effected. At times, this will also effect his confidence when talking to others.

He decided who he wanted to ask. We went over to the office and I "spoon fed" him the words that he needed to say to ask each of them. His and Nate's two favorite office girls are Sara and Shelby. He likes to joke around with them, almost like he would with his sisters. It is cute to watch. We also asked two of the therapists who like to run: Iris and Laura. Needless to say, the girls were extremely confident that THEY were each going to win. Zack was also just as confident that he was going to beat the girls. We decided to wait until Nate was fully recovered and up to racing. Now...onto race day!

In addition to the boys, there was a family with 3 boys who also raced with them against the girls. In the first race, Zack's confidence paid off. He did win.

Nate, Zack, Gabriel and Iris

Not all the girls got into this one. So we had to let them recover and held another race. Sara is going to race the boys next week as she had errands she needed to do for work. This time, it was Shelby, Laura, Iris, Nate and Zack. I started with On your mark, Get set, Go. This didn't work for the Chinese ladies. Well, I should say...two of them. As you can see, Iris is the only one who ran (in bare feet too!) against the boys. Shelby and Laura were still back at start! This worked for Iris's advantage! She won!

Zack, Nate and Iris

This one wore Nate out! He didn't even make it to the finish line. Here's where he ended the race.


Shelby asked if they could do it again and this time count "1, 2, 3, go". This time, Shelby and Laura did run against the boys. However, Zack wasn't going to let his "big sister" beat him. Remember how I said he treated the "girls" like his sisters? Well, this time he truly did treat them the same way he would have if he had been racing them. He was NOT going to let them win at any cost, even if it meant he lost too!

Nate took full advantage of this opportunity! With two opponents out of his way, he was able to finish first! Nice job Nate and you did it fairly!

(pictures to be added after I can get back into blogger!)

Zack on the other hand was now going to have to deal with a "big sister's" need to retaliate! As any big sister would do, Shelby ran after him, put him in a head lock and wrestled him to the ground! The picture I wish I caught was off all the nannies at the Inn sticking their heads out the windows and doors, watching this all happen! It was quite the funny afternoon!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two boys, one dog and lots of dirt

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

If you haven't heard, Shepherd's Field is in the process of putting in the foundation for the our Vocational Center. It will be the biggest building on the grounds, almost twice the size of our biggest building presently on the grounds. As you dig a hole for that, the dirt that came out of the hole has to go somewhere. A large mound of dirt will not go unnoticed by two 12 year old boys for very long. Today, they decided to climb it.

Nate and Zack

Yes, you see it correctly. It IS as high as the roof of the building next to it! Their faithful sidekick and one of our orphans is Stevie, the dog. They lovingly call her "Ugly Doggie" but today she became "Dirty Dog". They thought she would also like to climb the mountain of dirt with them. I don't think she liked their idea too much.

the boys and Stevie

Even though she likes to go into the stinky, mucky water across the road from Shepherd's Field, being on the top of the dirt pile was not her thing. Needless to say, a bath after that wasn't such a bad idea.

Zack, Stevie and I

The boys liked using lots of soap. I bet their mom goes through shampoo like it is water in their bathroom! Stevie had enough on her that I think if that cats would have let us bathe them, we could have shared it. You know how children shape their hair in the tub when they have lots of shampoo in it? Well, it works for dogs too! That much shampoo works really well to make Stevie have a "Shampoo Mohawk"! Poor Stevie! It is a good thing she knows we love her!

Stevie's Mohawk

I don't think the boys have ever washed their dogs on their own. Poor Stevie had a face full of water, wet ears and water up her nose. All the staff that walked by found this quite a humorous sight and you could hear them chuckle as they walked past us. Remember that mucky water across the street I told you about? Well, she headed that way right after we let her go. The boys laughed so hard because she nevers runs that fast unless she is chasing something. She went running across the street but decided the garbage pile was what she wanted to roll in instead of going in the mucky water! It took her at least 30 minutes to come anywhere near us and forgive us for making her smell clean.

Two boys, one clean dog and their favorite orphan cat, Blackie

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boys and their bikes

This is the day the L*RD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I wish I carried my camera around with me in my pocket. You would think by now I would remember to do that in the morning. Yesterday was a wonderful day. I wish you could have watched it. It started in the morning. Right next to building I am in is a cement driveway. It is perfect for riding bikes and trikes and anything with wheels! Now that it is paved, the nannies love to bring the children over to this side in the morning. They get the shade from the fence and the children can play. Unfortunately, all the bikes had been taken back to the houses so Zack and I made it our mission to get them all and bring them back for the children. As we pulled cars and bikes and trikes and motorcycles across the lawn, the boys immediately got up and came running to us. It was so cute to see. No matter what country you are in...boys love their bikes! Give them something that moves and they are happy! The more we brought over, the more children got up to play with them. It was such a joy to watch them playing with all the stuff. It was even more fun when I looked out in the afternoon and one of the nannies was on the tricycle peddling with the children! They too want to have fun!

The fun didn't stop when the little ones went to bed either. Later in the evening, I could hear Ling Ling outside my windows. Ling Ling is 16 years old and developmentally delayed. She has the most precious heart! Many have fallen in love with her. She adores Stacy, our oldest girl her at Shepherd's Field and many nights she can be found walking the grounds and chattering at Stacy. Last week, she was following Stacy on a bike...a two-wheel bike with training wheels made for a 4 year old! It was precious. I just found myself smiling (and laughing) as she rode by. I'm not sure whose smile was bigger, hers or mine! Last night, she decided to try the tricycle. Ling Ling has waist length hair and it kept getting in her way. I think in the 9 months I have been here, this is the first time I saw it down. It is almost always braided. She would peddle along and then stop and flip her hair out of her way. She kept doing this, flipping her hair from one side to the other. I think my favorite was the Little Tykes black truck. You know the traditional orange bottom car with the yellow roof that the kids get in and use their feet to move like a Flintstones car? Well, we have the same one but also trucks that have the part in back like a pickup truck would. Ling Ling couldn't climb in it so she got in the back and pushed it backwards. She was so much fun to watch. I tried taking pictures but she caught me and started telling Stacy what I was doing so they both stopped. (I should say I THINK she was telling Stacy that since I still don't understand lots in Chinese unless I know the context!) I just wanted to share the joys I had yesterday. For those of you who have met some of these children, I hope you can picture all of this in your own head. Maybe soon I will get some pictures of this and post them for you. Until then, use your imagination. Better yet, start planning a trip to come and visit us here! I like that idea best!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Adoption

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

I sent out a letter to friends of mine via email and Facebook yesterday. I got a response back from a friend who asked if she could post the letter on her blog so I got to thinking, "If she is posting it, why am I not posting it also?" That is where we are my tell Jill thank you for the wonderful idea of sharing this with our bloggy friends. It is because of her that you are now a part of my adoption in a way I never would of thought of.

Dear Friends and Family,
What an exciting time this is. In November 2004, I started my adoption journey. I had no idea it would take me this long. G*d knew though. He has spent every day of the last 4 ½ years preparing me to be the mother I needed to be for the child He had chosen for me. My papers arrived in China on Christmas 2006. What a gift that was. I remember thinking a few months before my papers were done that maybe my papers took so long to do because she wasn’t born yet. I now can say, yes, one purpose for my papers taking so long was that.

My daughter, Wei Mingcong, was born on October 22, 2006. She lives 1 ½ hours from me but I won’t get her for a few months. Now comes the time to finish raising the funds for her adoption. If I was living in the states, I would be selling my glassware, doing garage sales, selling candy bars, doing whatever it would take to raise the $11,500 still needed to get her home. However, G*d had a different plan. He has me, in Ch*na, and my wait time is short before my daughter is in my loving arms. My agency expects that I could be traveling to get her by the end of the summer. Praise G*d! My time to be a mother has come!

Since my time is short, I am coming to you and asking you to help bring my little one home. I know the challenges many of you are facing on a daily basis because of the US economy. Fortunately, I am trusting in HIS economy. Things don’t always add up the way we would like it to, but fortunately, when we trust in the L*rd with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, HE provides what we need. This past year living in Ch*na on a salary that was less than 1/8 of what I was used to making has proved that HE does provide when we trust in Him. I work for an organization that daily trusts in HIM to provide and they have seen HIS miracles related to financial needs occur time after time.

One of the things I have had to learn to do this year was humble myself and ask for help. That is why I am coming to you. My Adoption Association, America World, has a program called the "Eternal Family" program to help bring my daughter home. The Eternal Family program allows friends and family to participate in charitable giving towards the adoption of my child. Of course, I present this to you as an opportunity and not an obligation. Checks are made out to America World Adoption and sent directly to the office at: 6723 Whittier Ave., Suite 202, McLean, VA 22101. On the memo line, please indicate “Eternal Family.” I’ve included a separate sheet that should be completed and included with the check when it is sent to America World. You will receive a receipt from America World for tax purposes at the end of this fiscal year. Time truly is short and I will need to receive any donations by July 1st.

My adoption journey has been one of faith. I have been blessed by the changes in my life that have come from it. I humbly ask you to join hearts and hands with me in this journey and pray for this little one as we become a family. Every little bit counts and I thank you for considering this.

Love and blessings,

Eternal Family Adoption Assistance Program

Name of Adopting Family you are requesting to support: _____Dawn Rittenhouse_________
Please record your name, or organization’s name, full address, phone number, and the amount of your contribution in the box below. Be sure to include this form with your check. Checks can be made payable to America World Adoption. America World is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; therefore, all donations are considered tax-deductible contributions in the year they are given. The funds donated are not refundable to the donor or to the family. The maximum amount of donation money for a family’s adoption expense is determined by household income (with a cap of $10,000). Any amount above this will be used to fund other families or America World projects. In order to fully comply with the law, America World retains discretion and control over the use of all donated funds. Contributions become part of a fund used to assist families with their adoption expenses. While we cannot guarantee that all funds donated by you will be made available to your designated family, America World does work to honor the wishes of donors.
Name: ____________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________
City, State, and Zip Code: _______________________________________________
Phone Number: ______________________________________________________
Please indicate the Amount of Contribution:
$20 $50 $100 $200

$300 $400 $500 $750

$1000 $2000 $3000 $5000

$__________ Other

___Please check here if you do not wish to receive future information on how you can partner with us in the mission of serving the world’s orphans.

AWAA • 6723 Whittier Avenue • Suite 202 • McLean • VA • 22101 • 800-429-3369 •
Fax 703-356-8973

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Traveling to Chengdu

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah Psalm 46:2-3

Last week I had my first break from teaching since Christm*s. It was awesome! I went south with one of my friends here, Sara Zhou. She lives in the Sichuan province in a town called Renshou. We started our trip by grabbing a train and traveling 31 hours to get to Chengdu. If you have never traveled by train I suggest you experience it. However, take my advice, don't take a 31 hour ride on a hard sleeper! Yes it is much better than a hard seat, but my back is still recovering!


As we traveled south, we got to see the beautiful scenery of the Qinling Mountains. It was beautiful, even though it was overcast. It felt more like home. Though I don't live in the mountains, I was seeing more trees like we had at home...a much wider variety than we have up north. I was blessed to have a window seat to be able to view it all.

As we traveled, we saw homes that from a distance reminded me of our two story homes in the states. In the north, houses are only one story to keep the family warmer in the cold months.

Some of my favorite pictures are ones that I are in my memory. When traveling by train, you quickly lose the picture that you want to take or it ends up blurry. I loved seeing people working in their fields especially working in the rice fields with the farmers wearing the traditional Chinese hat.

My camera just can't do this area justice. They use every area possible. They cut into the land, into the mountains so they can farm on flat lands. The Chin*se are very smart and let nothing go to waste. We could learn some things from them in that area.

The dirt was red. It stayed that way all the way into Renshou. Clay dirt where ever you looked. I can't imagine how hard that must be on the oxen as they pull the plow through it. I was able to see that but not fast enough with the camera.

This is a local burial site. Up north they cremate the bodies and bury them in a large mound of dirt. Down south, they dig into the side of the hill and bury them in their. They place a door that looks like it could be the entrance. They have festivals in the early spring where family members go to the place where their dead is buried and bring them things. This is so their family members can do well that year in the after life. They will bring fruit and offer them money. They will burn the money as an offering to them. Before all this, they will light fireworks to warn off the evil spirits.

In the center you will see a blue tent. We saw several of these in this area. This was in the upper area of the earthqu*ke region. We saw large sections of rock that had fallen off the mountain sides and it made me wonder if it was from that or not. You saw many people working on building homes near these tents.

If you ever have a chance to travel through here, I recommend it. It is definitely His country, created by Him.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Can you guess who is going to be a mom?

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, [and to be] a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 113:9

I would like to share some wonderful news with all of you! Many of you know that I started my adoption 4 1/2 years. It has finally gotten to the point where I can say...I AM GOING TO BE A MOM! Yes you read it right...a mom! She is 2 1/2 years old. She is from Tianjin. She was born on 10-22-06 and was abandoned on 11-1-06. She has albinism. This means she will be an albino.

I would love to post a picture but at this time, I can't. Part of my process is that I sent my paperwork in to Ch*na requesting Wei Mingcong. Now I wait. It is in their court. We wait for them to preapprove me and then send me a Letter of Confirmation. This will take a few months but I expect to have her by sometime in the fall.

This has happened faster than I ever expected. The week before I left on vacation, I had finally submitted my Special Needs Application to AWAA. The first time I reviewed the application almost a year ago, I was overwhelmed by the special needs listed. I thought "Oh, I couldn't do these. This is more than I can handle." After working here, I sat down to fill out the application and my thoughts were so different. As I looked at things that caused me fear previously, this time I saw faces. As I looked at each condition, I saw faces of the children here that have that same condition. They are children...children that need a home. How was I to say no. I was putting it in His hands to choose who was best for me. Isn't it amazing how He can change our hearts to match the plans He has for us when we are open to it?

On Monday night, I called my agency to go over some questions they had for me re: my application. As my family coordinator and I spoke, I shared with her that Bea (Dong Hongcui) had been on my heart since last June but I was open to whatever child He had planned for me. If it wasn't her, I just wanted Him to give her a family. Since she has a repaired lip and soon to have a repaired palate, she would be easily adopted. After sharing this, they informed me they had a few referrals they were considering for me. I sat speechless. (WOW! He has made me speechless many times here. I guess it is a good place for me!) Around midnight on Monday, I received Wei Mingcong's pictures and paperwork. She is precious. As I sat and pr*yed, I was initially shocked and then started to doubt myself. Why then had Bea been on my heart since June? I love when He answers us in that still small voice. He reminded me that if I hadn't asked about her paperwork, there is no telling how long it would have been for her orphan*ge to realize her paperwork and that of 3 others was missing. Because I asked, they have now restarted the paperwork necessary for those 4 children to be eligible to have a family. I did have a role in her life...but not as her mama. He has someone else planned.

I am so excited! I finally feel "pregnant"! And believe it or not, I'm not showing one bit! :) I guess Sunday is going to be a Happy Mother's Day after all!

More May Birthdays

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40

That is my hope and pr*yer for all the children here, on their birthdays and everyday. This week we have celebrated 4 birthdays here at Shepherd's Field. Let me introduce you to our birthday boys and girls.


Fred (Fu Kangzhen) from Jiaozuo was born on 5-5-08. He has cleft lip and palate. His lip has been repaired but I don't believe his palate has been yet. He truly enjoyed his birthday card. He has grown in the past few months since he arrived here. Isn't it grand how lots of love and help a child grow? Guess that may be why they put him in the House of Love.

Aubrey (Rao Xiachen) is from Shangrao. She was born on 5-5-06. She has a genetic syndrome. Aubrey also lives in the House of Love. I ended up interrupting her at preschool so we could give her the birthday card the boys made. Fortunately, Cole was there too.

Cole (Fu Liangling) is from Jiaozuo. He was born on 5-8-06 and came to us on 6-2-07. Cole lives in the House of Peace.


Connor (Xiao Jie) is from Anhui. He was born on 5-8-08 and arrived here a week before I did in September. He has respiratory problems. He lives in the House of Blessings. He's a munchin and so adorable.

Celebrate their birthdays with me. What a blessing they are!

Monday, May 4, 2009

May Birthdays

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Isaiah 43:1

May 2nd was a special day. Not only was it part of the May Holiday (May 1st is Ch*na's Labor Day and so it was a holiday weekend) but it was the birthday for two special little ones here at Shepherd's Field.

Joelle (Ling Wanshu) turned 1 year old on Saturday. She has been with us since July. She has tumors. She lives in Samaritan House. She smiled at Zack as he gave her the card he made for her.
Part of the min*stry I have asked the boys to participate in is celebrating each child's birthday with a card made by them. We deliver them in the afternoon and we sing Happy Birthday in Chin*se as well. Zack has gotten really good at doing this. This is still not Nate's favorite thing. He is very uncomfortable in new situations and people he doesn't know well. He is at least now comfortable enough to hand the cards to the children. Singing will eventually come along. One baby step at a time. :)
For those of you who have met Moses (Dang Shanbei) , you would agree he is quite the "pistol"! Although he is a dwarf, is deaf and has a heart condition, there is no stopping him! He is learning Chin*se Sign Language this year at the School for the Deaf in Langfang. This has been a wonderful opportunity for him to be able to learn a more consistent way of communicating. What is amazing that although up to this point he has not learned a language, he has been able to successfully communicate his thoughts and feelings through gestures, facial expressions, body language and vocalizations. I remember my first week here. I sat next to him and he was telling me through gestures. vocalizations and facial expressions how he could hear the rain and he showed me that he didn't like it, it was going to get him wet and that it was loud. Imagine how much he could do with a consistent language and way to communicate! Moses lives in the House of Peace and has been with us for 3.5 years. Celebrate his 9th birthday with me!