Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fourteenth Birthday............Again!

I know it is a strange title but I will explain. When we were in China last December we were a little surprised to see that Selah's birth date was different on her personal social media account than what we had been told. Although she denied it was anything but the "official" date, we had our very strong suspicions that her QQ account was more accurate. 

After months of the secret we have confirmation that her actual birth date is November 24, 2000. Even though we had a very small poor excuse for a birthday celebration while in China, we had another 14th birthday one week ago.

At first Selah was not very happy that we discovered her secret. We waited a few months before pursuing the subject. Jeremy hunted and searched down some people from her first orphanage. Two months ago he finally found and  contacted one of the nannies from Selah's first orphanage. She did not speak English but her daughter was visiting at the time and she was happy to share Selah's story with us. Selah asked us what China would say and was definitely unhappy about a party. We clearly understand she was aware of her actual birthday but was told not to say anything to anyone. She was scared.

Selah's history is not what her paperwork states. In fact, Jeremy and I have both shed tears over what we learned. But it was confirmed to us by from three people that her birthday was definitely not January 4, 2000. Selah was brought to the orphanage the day she was born. There is no doubt that her birthday is November 24th.

We invited several friends of ours and our other kids from church (all girls).  Selah was struggling with the entire idea of a party for her. However we pressed on. We only had three girls not able to make it! We had 14 kids here. Pizza, chips, pop, cake, and ice cream were on the menu. Then a movie. She had so much fun at her very first birthday celebration! 

Her cake made by a friend, Hannah, in youth group.
First time to blow out candles.
It took three tries.
Let's eat!
Typically when given a gift in China you never open it in front of the giver. This was a tough one for her.
Trying to hold in the laugh.
More joy!
Something was funny.
Movie time with all of the kids.
Our birthday celebration on Monday. New clothes.
She does love Olaf. So why not?
She needed a new dressy coat. I think she liked it!
Of course, Mariah had to try too.
The day of her party was terrific. It has been difficult ever since. I am thankful that she could at least let go of some of the pain and hurt she has experienced and allow herself to have fun if only for a few hours.

She had her very first birthday cake!

She opened her very first birthday presents!

She smiled and had so much fun!

We pray that she will allow us to share in her life. We also pray that she can accept the unconditional love that our family is pouring into her each and every day. 

Selah, if you only had any idea how much we desperately love you.......

We pray that God will give you the peace in your heart that He desires. We see glimpses of the woman God has designed you to be. We pray that you will allow God to work a miracle in your life. That is our prayer.

As we watch and experience the daily struggles here at home we are reminded often of Bible verses. This verse is what we also pray for our new daughter. Our hearts break as we watch her struggle. We would appreciate your prayers for our family. 

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Giving Thanks

I have read several blogs recently that have hit home for us. Of course most of them involved adoption. This is where God has burdened our hearts. So while we find other causes admirable we cannot ignore the burden we have for orphans. 

I had a virtual friend (a friend of a friend and.....well you get the idea) message me and ask if I would like to join her for dinner with two other "China moms". I was thrilled with the opportunity to swap stories and just eat a meal that I didn't prepare. The timing could not have been better. 
The four of us sat and talked for hours. I have been the only one to travel to China yet so it was neat to hear their excitement as they were talking about travel. Between the four of us we have 26 children! It was very much what I needed. All four of us Christian women seeking support from each other.

Jeremy and I felt it was very important to take all of the kids to vote. Selah was trying to wrap her mind around our form of government and our democratic process. We wanted to show her that it is a distinct privilege to vote for our country's leaders. All four of my grandparents served during WWII. My dad served stateside in the Army during Vietnam. Jeremy's dad served in the Air Force on a secret base in Thailand. He is one of the many men who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffers the lasting effects of that. Men died for us to have this right to vote. We do not take that lightly.
We waited until Jeremy got home from work and loaded everyone in the car and took them to the polls. Little did we know that they would not allow Kyle to go back with us since he is over 14. We also were not allowed to take any photos. Let's just say I was not about to delete this photo after I was scolded. Oops!
Jeremy's radio station had a "share-a-thon" this past week. I took the kids in one day to see Jeremy. He had been working very long hours and we all missed him. 

Anyone who knows Jeremy will verify his long held desire to never be in front of an audience. However, radio was a different story. He can speak easily on the radio as there is no one watching him. Along comes the television station. Well that problem was solved by him directing and editing.......still behind the camera out of sight! This, however, he never saw coming. Yikes!

Our church live streams all services via the internet, Roku, and our cable channel. I turned on the television the other morning and saw this.....
Poor guy! He did fine though! 

As I took the kids in to see him they were put on television and radio.

Can you tell Mariah adores her daddy?
Then Jeremy put Selah "on air". Maybe that was not the best decision. He asked her to read the telephone number to the listeners. She has a very strong accent! Let's just say it was funny but even I didn't understand what she said.
Photos like the one above help me realize our progress. But we still have so far to go. 

As we are approaching the holidays I am made painfully aware of all that Selah has missed. As joyous as these couple of months should be, it actually brings much hurt to the forefront. She struggles with us talking about the holidays before she came.

This is the month that we will be celebrating Selah's real birthday. I know she has mixed feelings. She always made a point of keeping her life in China a complete secret from us. Finding out her true age and birthdate was not her plan. But I do believe she will enjoy the celebration. Her first ever birthday!

Selah grew up without love, nurture, instruction and direction. Not one person took the time to invest in her life. It truly is a daily battle. The choices she is making are based on survival in an orphanage for many years. Those choices hurt others. Children from orphanages learn to become master manipulators who control everything they can at a very early age. We are fighting for her heart. There are days I believe we are so close to seeing her accept our love. Then other days we feel like complete failures. Yet I am assured that God is faithful. 

He has called us to her. What a privilege! But it is an assignment we cannot possibly do alone. I long for hugs. I long for a relationship. I long for communication. I long for her love. I long for her to have a personal relationship with Christ.

I have to remind myself that it is all in His timing. All of this helps me realize how much God loves me when I act ugly. Jeremy and I have finally accepted that this may be as good as it gets. We must remain constant. We must show her the love that she doesn't believe she needs or deserves. Yet we know God is still working.