Monday, August 31, 2009
It's here! it's finally here! On Tuesday morning September 1st, I get on a plane to go back to China! this time, I will be going to get my daughter! AMEN! Praise the L*rd! My mother and I leave Rochester, NY around 10:30 am and arrive in Beijing on September 2 at 8:05 pm. What a L O N G day! We will be heading to Shepherds' Field Children's Village first. I wanted to be able to start sorting through my belongings in the classroom and spend soem tiem with friends before I get Jade. We will meet the other families in Beijing on the evening of the 4th. We will do some touring in Beijing and my mother will get to see many of the things I have already experienced. When you wake up on Labor Day, Jade Mingcong Rittenhouse will officially be my daughter! Woohoo! Yes...I am FINALLY going to be a mom! :)
I joined the AWAA Adoption Support Group in our area 6 years ago. Throughout that time, I have seen many families walk through the Rochester Airport with their children that they have prayed for. I have always pictured the day I would finally get to be the parent on the other side of the glass, walking down with my duaghter toward all the people who were waiting to welcome us home. When I started looking at flights, all the flights came in at around 11 pm. I knew there would be very few people able to make it. I love how He hears the desires of our heart, even when we don't ask Him for them. As I gave into the fact that this wouldn't be a dream that would happen, my agent came bck to me and told me he had a new flight and it got into rochester at 6:05 pm. Thank you L*rd! I love how you love me and blessme beyond measure! I know many of you do not live in my area but I would like to extend an invitation to any of you who would like to come. Come witness the miracle of adoption at the Rochester Airport on Monday, September 21st at 6:05 pm (United Flight UA 7388 from Washington) when my mother and I bring my daughter, Jade, home.
Don't forget, I will be blogging in Ch*na! My father bought a video camera because he wants to see my face when I get her. Not only have I been waiting but so has my whole family. I will try and add the videos as we go as well. Things add s l o w l y in China so check Facebook too. I can always upload pics faster there.
Oh yeah...if I haven't told you lately! I AM FINALLY GOING TO BE A MOM! :)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Do you ever have those days when you doubt your abilities? I have been lately. As I prepare my home for my daughter, I keep doubting my ability to make decisions. It is driving me nuts. I can't even make a paint choice decision. How am I going to make the big decisions for her?
I love how He has been speaking to me as I read through Numbers. There are many who have doubted in the promises that G*d has promised them. Why would I not be different? I no longer want to be there though. I don't want to doubt. I just want to trust in Him. He continues to remind me that He has shown me many signs that this is His will for my life. I am to be a mother, a mother of a little girl from Ch*na.
When I was hitting road blocks before my paperwork even got to Ch*na, I asked Him to close the door on this if it was not His will. He not only kept it open, He took me through my depression so I no longer need meds. I still have bouts of the depression but He takes me THROUGH it. He has taken me through so much. Why do I doubt that He is going to do this as well?
I know that as a single woman, many doubt that I should be doing this. It will extremely hard at times but with Him as my husband and her Abba Father, we will make it through. Pray I let this go.
I think what triggered it again today was the little voice of the enemy. I had some challenges painting her room today. I can't even begin to tell you the journey through this. Ladies, many of you will at least sympathize with me as many of you have had thoughts in your head of what your first child's room would look like. You have dreamed about it for a long time. I did too. For five years I thought about it. As a friend of mine assessed her room (it has lead paint in it), his suggestion was to touch up the trim only. Long story on the why but his counsel was wise. That meant I had to give up my dream. I know that the most beautiful thing in her room is going to be her, so why am I having trouble with this?
I finally surrendered and figured I would paint the trim and the ceiling only. My heart is still not completely in it. I started painting the ceiling with a friend of mine, I start to wonder why there are cracks showing up in the ceiling that weren't there before. All of a sudden it hits me! There is WALLPAPER on the ceiling! One of the bits of advice I was given was DON'T paint the wallpaper. What did I do? I painted wallpaper! This is when the enemy came in. That little voice of doubt saying, "See. You got wise counsel on this but you didn't listen. What makes you think you are going to listen to Him when He tells you what to do with your daughter?"
What it comes down to is I NEED PR*YER! I want to spend these next 10 days before I go and get my daughter in joy! This should be the most joyful time in my life! I no longer want the chains of doubt and insecurity wrapped around me. I want to be resting in His loving arms trusting that He is going to take care of everything like He already has. He tells me to "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1 L*rd, restore my soul.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I have been waiting, not so patiently, for my papers to travel from Buffalo, NY to somewhere in New Hampshire. Two weeks ago, I received confirmation that my papers were approved. Immigration (USCIS) said it would take at least a week to get them to the National Visa Center in NH. Were they sending them by bike messenger? As of last Friday, they had not received them. On Wednesday, I called again. For those of you wondering why I didn't call every day to see if they had them, I couldn't live with the disappointment of them not being there. So I waited. I was told they did have them and they had sent them on. My approved home study and fingerprints have been sent to Guangzhou, China! Woohoo! This means I can now FINALLY book a ticket and travel to China!
Jade, your mama is coming!
My plan is to travel to China on Monday, August 31st. This will allow me a few days to return to Shepherd's Field Children's Village and start going through boxes. My classroom was packed up before I returned home as we were moving into the new school in the Fall. A team blessed me by packing up my room. Now I need to go back through each box to locate my personal items as well as items the Baker boys may need back in the states for them to be successful. My mother and I will meet up with the other families in Beijing on Friday, September 4th.
Jade will be in my arms on Monday, September 7th! It will be our Labor Day back here in the states. For me, it will a day of rejoicing as this labor of love finally happens. I wouldn't trade one single minute of this. All the challenges...all the road blocks...all the hurdles...all to shape and mold me into the mom He needs me to be. I don't know how families go through all these challenges without Him. I have thanked Him numerous times for giving me strength when I had none, peace when I was fearful, mercy when I chose my own paths, wisdom when I asked for it and He continues to give.
Wednesday night, I got home from church and started to question whether I should go no or wait. All along, I had planned on using some of my sick time for my adoption. I received notice from work last week that since I would not be returning to work until September 28th, I would not be eligible to use my sick time from this school year. I can only use what I have accrued...which is very little. This would put me without a paycheck for 3 weeks. Due to this fact, I started getting fearful and thinking "well, if I start work, I could go later to get Jade and then I will have sick time to use." I don't know if any one else does this but I tend to sometimes think I need to figure it out for G*d. He must need my help, right? Ha! WRONG!
I knew what I needed to do. I needed some quiet time...just Him and I. I came home and just sat at his feet. I started reading. I read Numbers 11:25 and it spoke of how the spirit came upon them. I needed that. I had a quick decision I needed to make. I needed His spirit to guide me as my wisdom is nothing compared to His. As I read and listened, I could hear Him saying "Have I not provided all that you have needed for this adoption already? Why do you think I can't take care of this also?" As the night went on, I felt stronger. I knew it would be ok. But I LOVE how He doesn't just leave it there. He knew I still had a little doubt.
As I lay in bed Thursday morning, I kept thinking about all the promises He had already fulfilled in my life. I praise you L*rd for loving me that way. Suddenly, He showed me that if I were to start work and use only some of my sick time, I would still end up with almost the same amount of days without pay. Traveling later would mean I would miss 4 weeks of school instead of just three since I am traveling before school starts. I LOVE HOW YOU WORK, L*RD! When we ask for YOUR wisdom, you give it abundantly! Thank you for being such a loving Father that you desire to give your children all they need!
I still don't know how this will work out but I BELIEVE and TRUST that He does. Anything He allows into my life will be used for His glory. This adoption journey has been an amazing story that He has written. What a journey Jade is on. She doesn't even it know it yet but He is stiching together an amazing story in her life...one that started with being born as a precious little child who is an albino, abandoned and an orphan but soon to be a part of a family. May she one day also give her heart to my L*rd and Sav*or, Jes*s Chr*st and know that she has a promise in heaven.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I got up Friday morning dreading making the call to the National Visa Center. I knew in my heart on Thursday, that unless they had received the papers from immigration that day, there would not be enough time for me to get an appointment at the Consulate, schedule a flight, unpack a house, pack for China and fly out by Tuesday am. My heart was breaking knowing that I was going to have to wait longer to get my daughter, but I made the call anyways just to be sure. I was right. They had not received the papers from immigration. I was not to get my daughter...yet.
Why does it take so little time for things to be approved yet a week for them to be mailed? I lived in China and they have so many people employed in so many places. Granted they make very little money, yet the integrity they have for their jobs is so great. So often, people don't want to take that little extra step to help someone else out. I know I had no special reason for them to push my papers through. It is amazing that if you have a reason, they can do things in one day that usually take months. Instead of being frustrated with the system though, I am holding onto the truth that G*d is in control.
I believe He is all knowing and He only wants good for me. Many don't think that having tribulations or challenges in your life as "good." I do know they are as they are what continues to shape and mold me. I am resting in knowing that His perfect plan will come together...IN HIS PERFECT TIMING. As I talked to my pastor on Friday, he reminded me that Abraham had waited 13 years before he took things into his own hands to produce the child he wanted and was promised. He warned me not to do anything of my own will. Fortunately, other than getting on a plane and heading to Ch*na, there is nothing I can do. So I wait.
A friend of me thought I was pushing it when I originally thought I could travel by August 18th. I know that He allowed me to hope for that. I tend to be a BIG procrastinator! Had I thought I had another two weeks, all that is now done would not be done. Because I am done with Ch*na stuff, I now have these next two weeks to allow me to do the mommy nesting thing. I can prepare our home.
I moved back into my home on Thursday night with the help from people at my church. What a gift that was. After they left, I walked from room to room praying over the house and for my daughter. I can't wait to have her in my arms. I can't wait to bring her home. As the men were putting things together, some things weren't perfect. All I would ask was "Is it safe for my daughter? Will it work?". That is all that matters now to me. I think that was why yesterday was so hard.
Yesterday, some friends and my mom came out to help me unpack. What an amazing blessing they have given me. My house is so big and I have so much stuff. I kept telling my best friend that I was just feeling uneasy all day and I wasn't sure why. Little things kept bothering me but I knew there was more to it than I was realizing. It hit me late last night. I don't want all this stuff that we were unpacking!
Thursday night, I walked through my home. It was simple. It was clean. It was orderly. It is no longer that way. I lived in Ch*na with so little and was so content. I didn't need all of the STUFF that I have here and I presently don't want all the stuff here. I think where I am having a problem with my stuff is that it represents money I wasted. Before I was saved, I was a shop-a-holic. I shopped to avoid feeling. I shopped to fill in the hole in my heart. I shopped to procrastinate. Many of the things that are coming out of those boxes are reminders of how I have lived my life. I no longer want them in my life because I no longer want that kind of life. I told my pastor on Thursday night that I would have more than enough stuff here to outfit a new couple that had little to nothing. Let me bless others with my abundance. I no longer need it.
Do you have things in your own home that you don't need? There may be others around you that are in need and you have something you can offer them. It may be something tangible, like the stuff in my boxes. It may be a meal. It may be encouragement. Whatever it is, you do have something you can offer to someone who has less than you. Be willing to give. You will find you are blessed when you do.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Amazing...He is just amazing! I know you have heard me say it before but let me tell you again today...HE IS AMAZING! I started my day out praising Him for all that has happened in the last few months. He opened doors. He closed others. He continued to guide me through the wonder, peace, pain, tears and eventually brought me back to joy! I know that all He has let things into my life that He is going to use to make me into a better mom and woman.
At lunch time, I made a call regarding daycare. It is not always easy to get these things settled when you have 3 weeks notice and your original plans are thrown out the window. His timing however is always perfect! The woman I spoke to today came highly recommended by a friend of mine. This woman sends her pictures periodically of precious moments from her son's day, like his first kiss! I loved it because Jenn would have her day brightened by these and then she would share them with us and we were blessed too! This woman has an opening for the fall. She also only has 3 full time children during the day and two part time. She is also starting a pre-school which will greatly help Jade learn our language. EXTRA BONUS! She used to be an opthamalogic technician so she is familiar with albinos and vision problems. Woohoo! If He had stopped here for the day, I would have thought He was amazing! But He didn't!
Last week, I received notice from immigration that they have approved my homestudy. They informed me that they would mail it to the National Visa Center (NVC) by next Wednesday...two days from now. If I am going to be able to travel by next week, waiting for this to happen is not my choice. My agency said I don't need to wait until Wednesday and I can start calling NVC to see if they have received the paperwork yet. I can't book any flights or set up a consulate appoint until NVC sends the documents to Guangzhou, Ch*na. REMEMBER WHAT HE CREATED IN 6 DAYS? This should be easy! Me waiting for it...not so easy! I have called numerous times today but every time I call, I get a busy signal. I will keep trying. Fortunately, they are open later than most organizations are! In His hands...He can do anything. Last I checked, He is STILL in the miracle business! If He had stopped after this, I would have thought He was amazing! But He didn't!
I can't tell you how much it truly means to me to know that I can tell my daughter that I was able to bring her home through donations from family and friends. Not just a little bit but $11,000 worth of donations. As time is coming close, I added things up and figured out that I needed $3400 to be able to get to China. This is what I told A Child Waits Foundation (http://www.achildwaits.org/). Then I found out I hadn't budgeted in food or spending money. AWAA suggests $500-$700 for that for two weeks. I was on my way home today when I got a call from Cynthia Nelsen. She is the president for A Child Waits Foundation and she was calling with good news. They have given me a grant for $3500. ALLELUIAH! He is so worthy of all our praise! I am floored and amazed at how much He loves me and my daughter. He has provided all of this! None of it was by MY own good deeds. He did this because He can and I will forever tell the world all the GLORY AND HONOR of this adoption goes to Him, my Lord and Savior! He is sooooooo amazing! But He didn't stop here!
I was out looking for sandals this weekend for my trip. My present sandals are "floppy". The straps stretched and are loose on my feet. Bad time of year to look for sandals. I stopped into a store and they told me to bring my sandals in and they could punch more holes in them. I was in the area and was wearing them so I thought I would stop in. They punched them for me but this is not where He did His amazing work. I will tell anyone that will listen that I am adopting. I shared that with the women in the store. I also shared with them that I also had gotten a grant for the last amount I really needed today. One woman said she didn't know there were grants for adoption. I was given an amazing opportunity to share the things He had done for me and others who had adopted. This woman started crying. She shared with me that her and her husband had given up the hope of becoming parents because adoption was too expensive. I gave her some sites to check on and continued to tell her that it was no accident that I walked into this store. He knew...it needed to be on this day, on her shift, right before my adoption, and gave me an opportunity to share this story. Step my friends...step where He tells you to go. As you walk where He asks you to walk, you will be blessed. Blessed in AMAZING ways. As He blesses you, He will have you bless others. I am so glad that I was able to share my blessings with others. He loved this woman this much and knew the desires of her heart to become a mom that He sent me into this store at this perfect time to hopefully restore her hope in that! That is how much He loves us! May you faithfully walk where He asks you to walk so you too can be blessed in amazing ways!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
When you are waiting on news for your adoption, nothing is better than news from Ch*na! This news arrived on Monday. I received my part via an email but the title was "Travel Approval." Yes, my dear friends, it has arrived!
November 2003 Joined AWAA Support Group
November 2004 Sent in application for adoption
December 23, 2006 DTC (Documents to China)
December 25, 2006 Best Christmas Gift of all...documents ARRIVE in China
January 27, 2007 Log in Date
April 22, 2009 Submitted application for Waiting Child
May 4, 2009 Received Jade Mingcong's referral
May 28, 2009 Received PreApproval from China
June 19, 2009 Received Referral Acceptance or Letter of Acceptance
August 3, 2009 Received Travel Approval
So much more fits in between all those lines above but ALL of it is worth it. In two weeks, I could be traveling to get my daughter! Woohoo! What a gift this will be. He has so tested and polished my faith as He does when He has us faithfully (or at times trying to be faithfully) waiting for Him. I am still waiting on some very important documents that will decide if I travel with the next group on August 20th or not.
I can't even make any travel arrangements until I get approval from Immigration. With the most recent changes, I had to change my home study again. They were able to get that done and on Monday I sent it out. If they approve it by the latest of August 17th, I can still make it on this trip. I also have not yet heard from the grants. I am still short $3400 but where He guides, He does provide. He has already raised $11,000 so this is nothing for Him. He will show me exactly what I need to do to accomplish this and it may just mean waiting more on Him. Either way...He will show me and His promise will be fulfilled. She is to be my daughter and there is nothing that is going to stop Him from accomplishing that!
Oh yeah...if I haven't told you lately...I'm going to be a mama and I can't wait! :)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Ever have one of those days when something happens that you never thought would and it changes your entire future? That was where I was at lunch time on Tuesday.
I was checking my email at lunch time. I don't always do that at work but on that day, I had plans to go over to Newark so I could let my employer know that I wanted to request another year's leave of absence so I could return to Ch*na for the 2009-2010 school year. I was scanning through the subjects to see if there was anything I really needed to read. I can't always get Internet reception in the my friends' apartment where I am staying here in the states. I saw one that caught my eye labeled "News from Ch*na." It was from Tim Baker, the father of the two boys I teach and my employer. As I was reading it, I started feeling uneasy. As I continued on, I started having those old feelings I used to have with my anxiety attacks. I have not felt those feelings in almost 7 years. Tim was informing me that he and his family would be returning to the states in December and they were releasing me for my commitment to teach the boys.
Many of you know how much I have not only come to love those boys but the entire Baker family, the women and children of Sh*pherd's Field Children's Village as well as the country itself. I felt my world crashing around me as I read those words. I just kept saying "No! No! NO!" through all my tears. The women I am working with this summer immediately became concerned that something was happening to my adoption. They knew I was waiting for immigration to approve me to raise my daughter in Ch*na for the next year. I reassured them that it wasn't that but they also have seen how I light up when I talk about Ch*na. They have heard me repeatedly tell them that I have seen more growth in these two boys than I ever did in the past 20 years I have worked in Special Education. If you can't see the love I have for Ch*na when I speak about it, then you are blind. They knew how badly I wanted to be there.
As I left the building in tears, I just kept thinking "Did I hear you wrong L*rd? I had peace about returning to Ch*na and was faithfully stepping to fulfill that. Did I not hear you?" I know this email was a message from the Lrd as I received this email only 2 hours before I was going to request a leave of absence. Had it been any later, I wouldn't have had a job to return to this year and would be out on the job search with the rest of the country. I love that He does speak even if people think I am crazy when I say that. I love that when we wait on Him, He is faithful to direct our paths. It isn't always the door we wanted Him to open but it is always what is needed in our life.
I don't understand this. This is another thing I love about our L*rd and Savi*r. He gives us A PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTAND through the gift of the H*ly Spir*t. I don't get it but I am doing ok. Each day is a new day and He IS restoring my soul. For some unknown reason, He needs me here in the states. It may be to keep Jade safe. If may be to keep me safe. It may be that I know have work to do here. It may just be that this where I was always meant to raise Jade yet He allowed me to hope for Ch*na until it was time for me to give it up. Maybe one day He will let me see the reason behind His plans. Maybe He won't. Either way, I am trusting in Him to lead me and guide me.
I am entering into the world of being a first time mother. Many mothers enter into this with a spouse to help them make decisions and someone to make mistakes with. He is just taking me into a place that I have to rely on Jes*s as my husband more and more.
There were so many good things I was involved in at Sh*pherd's Field Children's Village in addition to teaching two of the most amazing boys I have ever been blessed to teach. I ask the faithful ones to keep "my boys" in prayer. They will eventually be reentering the public school system and will be testing out the strategies they have learned over the past year. This will be a VERY CHALLENGING situation for them. They know that "Those who rest in the shadow of the Most High G*d will be kept safe by the Mighty One. "Psalm 91:1. Pr*y they are able to rely on the things He taught them this year. Keep Philip Baker in prayer as he will be having surgery to repair the fistula in his hard palate. Remember Esther Baker as she will start the school year in the states living with another family until her family returns in December. Pray for Tim and Pam Baker as they make decision for their family. The ladies of Sh*pherd's Field, what a gift they are to me...pray they draw close to Him and they are open to being used by G*d to share with their countrymen about the work that Jes*s has done in their lives.
I know He doesn't need me to be there to do the work I was doing for Him. He is a big G*d and can do it all without me. He is our Sh*pherd and they are His sheep. May more in Ch*na and at Sh*pherd's Field come to know Him as their Shepherd. It is so much easier when you are walking where He guides, ESPECIALLY when it is really hard to walk down a path and you DON'T want to be there. When you walk with Him, He lifts you up in ways you wouldn't get when you are choosing your own path. I don't ever want to be there again. I did that for more than 35 years of my life. I am so blessed that my daughter and I are loved by a gracious, merciful and faithful G*d and that He is watching over us.