Friday, August 31, 2012

The Story of Xavier

Now is the perfect time to share the story of Xavier in China!

I have never met Xavier, but he has had a huge impact on our adoption story.

In the spring of last year (2011), when I was still pregnant with our baby that never joined us in life, one of my friends was advocating for Xavier on Facebook. Xavier was an almost one year old "special needs" orphan in China with two clubbed feet and he was BEAUTIFUL. I was captivated by his face and his story. I started researching clubbed feet because I didn't know much about that condition. I was amazed to discover how the feet can be completely corrected and the child would be able to walk and run normally. After our miscarriage, I continued to see postings of Xavier on Facebook and started to wonder if adoption could be in our future...Could I love a child who was not born to me? What were different special needs? Could I accept a child with special needs? What would my children think about adopting? Would they accept another child in our home? I bookmarked the different websites with postings of Xavier and followed his progress throughout the entire summer as he was admitted to the House of Love to get his little feet casted and corrected. I frequently shared his story and progress with my children to educate them about orphans in the world, to expose them to "special needs," and to see how they might respond to the idea of adoption.

Fast forward to the fall...We had moved from Cherokee County to Columbus, GA in August. I had been bombarded by adoption for months. It was everywhere I, books, magazines, billboards, signs, sermons, was FREAKY at times! There can only be so many crazy coincidences before you start to realize God is trying to tell you something. At that point, we KNEW we were being called to adopt, but had no clue what adoption agency to use and were having trouble selecting a country. I was feeling a strong pull toward lnd!a, but lnd!a seemed to be a dead-end because it was a closed country--it was not accepting new applications for intercountry adoption. It was overwhelming.

One morning in October after weeks of research, I fell to my knees crying and prayed that God would give me some direction in which way to proceed with an adoption. That afternoon, I took my daughters to their first horse lesson at Mrs. Beth's barn. When their lesson was over, a lady came walking across the barnyard with two precious Chinese children trailing behind her. At that point in time, "adoption" would cross my path at least once a day, so I giggled knowingly and thought, "I wonder what God's up to now?" Beth introduced me to Tiffany and her children. I told Tiffany we were considering adoption. Somehow in the conversation, she mentioned that her son had been special needs with clubbed feet. I was excited to see how he was walking so one would have ever guessed that he'd had clubbed feet! I told her that I had recently researched clubbed feet because there was a little boy named Xavier in China with clubbed feet and I had been following his progress. Tiffany said, "Well, I write a blog about a boy in China named Xavier with clubbed feet, but it can't be the same Xavier." I hurried home after the lessons, pulled up my bookmarked websites, found the blog entries that I had been following, and at the top they said "by Tiffany"!!! For months, up in Atlanta, I had been reading about a little boy in China assuming that the blog was being written in China...But no...It was being written by a lady in Columbus, GA who happened to live a few blocks from where I had just moved, and God had placed us at the same barn at the same time! The first thought in my head was that maybe we were supposed to adopt Xavier, but then I saw that he had been MATCHED to a family! I was so excited by that news!

The next morning, Tiffany called me. She said it was unusual for her to call people she doesn't really know, but she had woken up that morning feeling like God wanted her to talk to me about adoption! Within 30 minutes, we were meeting at the McDonald's down the street to talk. She told me about the adoption process, about her experiences, and about the adoption agencies in town. I told her I was interested in lnd!a, but it seemed like a dead-end. She told me about her friend in town who had just adopted two children from lnd!a and connected me to her. We are now using the same agency that she used for the lnd!a portion of our adoption!

I later asked Tiffany why she thought God had placed Xavier in my life the way he did...She said sometimes God will use a child (even if they are not meant to be yours) to tug on your heart to lead you where you need to be. She said these "coincidences" are called Red Threads in the adoption world and that I should write every one of them down. Each adoption is different with its own story...The Red Threads will weave together to tell our own unique story of how God led us to our children. I told Tiffany that I would love to let Xavier's mother know someday that I feel like he played a part in our decision to adopt...and opening our minds to consider "special needs." I don't know what it was about Xavier, but God definitely used him to get my attention, to tug at my heart, and to lead us to the ultimate decision to adopt! What a special boy!

In February, I located Xavier's adoptive mother and got to share with her how God was using Xavier even before his adoption! Reading about their adoption journey on Facebook and their blog throughout all of the challenges has been inspiring. Xavier's mother never lost faith that everything would work out in God's perfect timing. Even their last bit of funding came in just three days before travel...right on time. As I am writing this, Xavier's mother is on an airplane to China to get her SON!!! There will soon be ONE LESS ORPHAN! Please pray for safe travels and that Xavier will bond quickly with his new family! One day, I hope to meet this sweet family and the little boy who moved our hearts! They only live a couple of hours away! Amazing!

To follow this family's adoption journey, click here!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


We first heard about Both Hands Projects (partnered with Lifesong For Orphans) last November and knew beyond a doubt that God was calling us to do one of these projects. It seemed like an overwhelming and daunting task, but just like with our adoption, we knew that if God was calling us to do it, He would provide the means and show us the way. When God creates a need, He satisfies it.

Both Hands Foundation was founded on the verse James 1:27--"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress." The projects provide a means to fund raise for the adoption by blessing a widow through home improvement projects. One hand is for the widow, one hand is for the orphan...and BOTH hands get good and dirty while working hard for a day.

All projects begin with an adoptive family...Us. We locate a widow in need. We walk through her house and yard to determine the scope of work. We form a group of workers and people who are willing to send out letters for sponsorship. The sponsorship works like a 5K race or golf charity event. The only difference is that instead of asking people to sponsor us while we play, we are asking people to sponsor us while we work on a widow's home. All money donated through sponsorship goes directly into the adoption fund which puts two orphans into a forever family. All supplies are donated by local merchants. The team works on the widow's house for a day to fix things that she would not otherwise be able to do. The widow is served, the orphans are brought one step closer to home, and the volunteers are blessed by giving their lives away for a day. It's a beautiful thing!

We have been praying for God to lead us to the right widow since February...the one that we can have the most significant impact on both physically (her house), spiritually, and emotionally. We have encountered a few closed doors, but discovered House of Heroes along the way. House of Heroes is located here in Columbus, GA, and their mission is to honor and thank veterans for their faithful and sacrificial service to our country by doing home improvement projects and repairs to their homes. When we approached them, they were thrilled to hear about our adoption and Both Hands Foundation and told us they had house files for many local widows! We looked through several folders, but were drawn to one special lady, Mrs. Collins. The day that Jeff had contacted House of Heroes, a local church had also contacted them. They had a widow in their church who was in desperate need of help on her home, but the project involved much more than their small church could handle. They wondered if House of Heroes knew of a crew that would be willing to take on Mrs. Collins' house. That would be us! For the first time ever, Both Hands will be partnering with House of Heroes!

On Friday, we met Mrs. Collins for the first time. Two other men from our church care group who have expertise in the construction industry and a heart for being the hands and feet of Jesus joined us as we toured and inspected Mrs. Collins' home to determine the scope of work. Her house is in desperate need of repair, and I mean desperate. We also sat down with her to find out about her life. Her husband, a military veteran of 21 years, just passed away seven weeks ago. I know she is grieving and lonely. I am beyond honored that God has chosen us to improve her living conditions and to pour some love into her heart. She showed us a paper which states the military awards that he had received throughout his career, and proudly showed off a photo of him in his decorated dress uniform in front of the American flag. We found out that his birthday was December 27, 1944...which is the same date that our children were placed in the orphanage in lnd!a on December 27, 2004...60 years later. I just love how God interweaves the lives of people together to create a story so beautiful, intricate, and amazing that man could not make it up. It's all for His Glory, and it's awesome to see it all unfold!

The next few weeks will be busy and exciting as we plan our project and watch it come to fruition. Our official work date is September 29, 2012! More details to follow...

To watch an awesome video from the founder of Both Hands telling about the inspiration behind the project and how it works, click here.

The Veteran...

The Widow's House

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Field For The Fatherless

An inspiring local family who has adopted two of their own children felt led to donate this year's proceeds from their blueberry field to the four "Project 5x7" families that are adopting from lnd!a. We are so grateful and humbled that they chose to share the fruits of their field with us to bring us one step closer to being the forever family to our orphaned children. Turntime U-Pick Blueberries is located in Ellerslie, GA. After a beautiful drive through the countryside, we spent a peaceful morning picking the most delicious blueberries. I could feel the presence of God in the field. As I picked berries, I spent time praying for the precious lives posted on the board that would benefit from the generosity of this sweet family. The Lord abundantly blessed the blueberry field this year, and we received more money than expected. Furthermore, it was placed in our matching grant account, so the money was doubled. What a blessing! It is amazing to watch God provide! Read the story behind A Field For The Fatherless... The Collected Hord.

News Article:

Friday, August 3, 2012

The New Jeeah's Hope Website

The website of Jeeah's Hope is up and running! This adoption and foster care support group in Columbus, GA, has been a tremendous source of encouragement and education to our family before we began the adoption process and now as we are progressing through it.