Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Monday, June 22, 2015

In and Out

Well I haven't had much time or energy to post many updates on the blog. Miss Abbi is a ball of energy, and like many kids adopted, have a lot of energy since this is their first shot at freedom and complete one on one attention. She actually slept without her shoes on last night!

 First time since we got her! She also made it most the day without needing a snack in her hand the whole day! This girl is so super brave!!!! No tears at bed time either!
We also made our way to the pool here and she LOVED it this time!
Last Saturday we went to an island called Sheaman Island. A very popular popular place for adoptive families to go walk around and shop for gifts and such. And we also went to a pearl market where they string pearls in front of you and you can get much better deals on real pearls than in the US.
Sunday we skipped going out much so Abbi could have a day of relaxing and rest but we did get some adoption paperwork ready to get Abbi's visa soon,
Today we went to the Safari Park Zoo. They had a lot of animals from all over including pandas. Abbi had a really rough day of seizures so she slept a good bit of the beginning of the trip. But when she woke up she was not sure what to think of all of the animals. She would cover her eyes but then her brave little self would peek through her fingers every once in while to get a glimpse of the animals! The day went by pretty fast and later we went to dinner with another adoption mama and her mama, that I had first met on facebook!

The attaching is coming some moments better than others. From any outsider she might look like she is head over heels in love with me and trusts me completely, but that isn't there yet, and may not be for some time. She cries if I walk away (but then she cries if anyone of us leaves the room, not just me), follows me to the bathroom and back and reaches out for me a lot, all wonderful things, but she will also reach her hands out to anyone willing to give her a hug and deeply deeply loves and craves any and all attention. It is hard to see if you have not walked this journey before, to anyone else she looks like she is all in and adjusting well, and she really  really is, but she also is trying desperately to fill that hole that has been empty for so long. But she is doing awesome! And I completely contribute that to the fact that this girl is SO BRAVE!!

This adoption we ended up with a bigger agency and there are about 7 families who travel a the same time. We all ended up in GZ together and whenever there are appoints and such, we all do it together! Having been on our own last time I LOVE being in a group! There are a few girls Emma's age who she has gravitated too and the girls are having a blast getting some free time outside of the stress of being the sideline of an adoption. (It isn't as bad as it sounds, but imagine how the first child feels when the new baby comes...) Also in this group are a few ladies I got to meet in the facebook adoption groups, so it is fun to finally meet in person! It has been a blessing to share this journey with these sweet families!
Also having the chance to be together almost everyday I get the chance to not only see adoption through my eyes (our adoption process) but through the eyes of the children they are bringing home! Some are little and some are older and just seeing them learn to love, and play and trust and experience life outside of the four walls for the first time, it is amazing! Like I always say I will never tell you adoption is easy...because it is not. With those same looks of freedom I see eyes un-trusting, uncertain, frightened, but I see strength, I see kids wanting to let go of all that held them back and love and play like kids should! There are times when you want them to just jump in head first because you want them to experience and other times you want them to slow down so they can know that this is their lives now, they do not have to experience it all in this single moment!
Friends, these kids need homes. They need people who are not afraid to obey God's call and jump in with both feet to do His will, whatever it is!
I leave you with this quote I came across this morning from a book I am reading...

"We are constantly advised to take care of ourselves (which is important) and to maintain balance (which has value); but it can be tempting to stop when the Holy Spirit is still saying "GO!" Instead of listening to ourselves and knowing our own limitations, shouldn't we listen to the Spirit and heed his direction? Sometimes that might look like stillness when we want activity, Sometimes that means avoiding activities that produce stress and self-importance. Still, sometimes that means working when you're tired, listening when you have other plans, or giving up when you'd rather not, It means understanding that on your own, you cannot help or listen or serve or share or work or accomplish anything of value if it's not done with God's strength, His is the strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy." Reckless Faith Beth Guckenburger

When will we as Christians stop telling God what is too much? He alone created out bodies to do all that He needs us to do to further His Kingdom! And yet many of us sit on the sidelines and cheer on others while they work. I am by no means patting myself on the back, THIS woman has a lot of changing still to do. I know there are things the Lord would have me do but HE is still working on me! Friends, somewhere in a crib, or on the floor , or in the home of a foster family you know from so and so through so and so, is waiting a child, hungry, hurting, longing and worse yet, waiting, for us to rise! We can all some how and in some way give life to a child! Do not be afraid to be that mom who has her kids friends over, some of those kids may never see what a functional loving family looks like yours! All you millions of people who always tell me, "I always wanted to adopt/foster but...", move to action some how! If we as Christians would rise up, so many children would and could have a chance at the same life these children here are being not be afraid to move! All our buts are excuses...our God is so much bigger than that!...Do you believe that to be true?

Please pray for Abbi! Yesterday she had 7 seizures! Her seizures are pretty bad compared to Nina's everyday ones and because she is so wobbly they knock her over! So all eyes have to be on her pretty much all the time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

When the Honeymoon is Over

I start this post off saying Abbi is A-Mazing! She just is! And I want you all to know just how beautiful adoption is!But adoption is also hard! And I do not want my posts or pictures to come across as if adoptions are all rainbows and sunshine, because it is not! But this sweet girl comes from pain! Last night as I was getting her ready for bed she wanted to eat she has been doing since we got her. I set her in my lap to rock her to sleep and she cried. And she sobbed and she sobbed and she sobbed! And I cried with her. There are many reason adopted kids grieve. One theory is they so not want to sleep because they are afraid of waking up and things going back to the way they were. It could be that she just plain misses familiar. At this point she wants nothing to do with the bed! If I am on it, she walks over to the chair and and hits it, wanting me to sit over there instead, and then she will crawl onto my lap.
Another one of her orphanage habits is eating. Eating all day brings her comfort because she did not get as much as she wanted in the orphanage. At one point I was giving her M & M's and raisins. I had seen her putting them in a pile and not eating them so eventually I pointed to the pile and signed eat. I look over again and they were all gone! I looked everywhere for them, then I saw her eating them out of her pocket. You see kids who come from hard places will hide food, so they know for sure they will never go hungry. After talking to many other moms who have adopted from Shanghai, it is very common for children to come home wanting to eat everything they can get their hands on. Because they just never had enough. One mom even told me that girls especially are hungry because they feed the boys first and usually all that is left is broth.
Also when Abbi grieves, she wants her shoes on. It gives her a sense of comfort some how. It is night 3 with her and she cried less tonight but she still went to bed with shoes on, at least they are the red sparkly one we gave her!. MY heart breaks every time. No child should suffer so much loss and change! We can shake our heads and point our fingers at a country whose government has created this mess, but America is no better, only our problem is selfishness, greed and complacency. So many would rather be ignorant of the need in our own country and shake their finger at those who adopt internationally. Mean while, no one moves to stop it. Our world is just so corrupt,,,and children suffer. My heart breaks as I look at Abbi and see a girl so sweet, so happy and so hurt! It could take years to un- do all the trauma, but we will be with her every step of the way!
We took Abbi for her first swim tonight. It did not last long. She seemed to be okay with it but it took away all her comforts. We got out and she wanted her shoes. But she wanted to get back in. It did not last long as she wanted her shoes back on and needed her snack cup in her hand. Once all of those were in place the smile came back.
Love wearing a swim no one EVER!

Today we went to the orphanage and visited Abbi's finding spot, (the place she found after she was abandoned). I was so nervous to visit as I was not sure how Abbi would handle it since she had grieved so hard the night before. But I thought it would be good for both of us. I talked myself into being okay if she saw her nannies and wanted only them and had a hard time leaving because after all, shes only known me for 3 days. We were led back to her room. When we first walked in I could tell Abbi was a little confused and nervous, but she got down and ran to a few nannies but always came back to me with open arms! Yes my heart melted into a million pieces! I saw her bed, empty now and being used to fold clothes (SO HAPPY THAT BED IS EMPTY!!!!) The first face I saw when we walked in was this sweet girl who I have been aching to have a family! She is in so many of Nina's pictures! (And yet neither acted like they knew each other, really non of the kids acknowledged each other.)
 This sweet girl NEEDS A MAMA!!!! She is the sweetest thing! Held on to my hand and smiled real big. My heart was so happy I got to see her in person but I HATED that I was leaving her behind! At one point I looked over in the corner and a little boy lay on the floor. Bug bites all over with no smile at all. I put my fingers through the slats of the wooden play pin to try and encouraging him to come over but he just started at me with angry eyes. Eyes that even as a small baby, seem to say I have been hurt too many times. Finally he got up and grabbed onto my finger. I tried to talk to him and tickle him and I finally got a small smile. I rubbed his back and talked a little more. (My guide told me at this point that I needed to get a job here!) Abbi had made her way over to me with her arms wide open and I had to pick her up, literally ripping my fingers from his sweet hand, a long with my heart! All the little kids were in the wooden pin (minus the one ignored in the crib and the one separated in his own wooden crib) and the ones about Abbi's age were glued to the wooden chairs by their cribs. What they were doing I don't not know but knowing these kids live their days in these walls breaks my heart. I was able to go to a few different rooms and meet some other mama's kiddos that are waiting and take video and pictures for them. A gift I found priceless!!!  Passing teenagers siting in a room reading books may have been just as sad as seeing the babies! To know they have been there this long, living life alone....I can not even imagine!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

She Becomes a Noll

Today Jiang Fei Qin offically became Abbi Grace Qin Noll!!!!!
-Okay funny story behind this picture! You sit in these chairs and they ask you to promises to never abuse or harm your child and to treat them like you would your biological child, They ask you why you want to adopt and all. While I am trying to answer all these questions my oh so wobbly Abbi is in a small space bouncing her head from the counter to the chair and then the floor...yea we are off to a good start!
Words can not describe how full my heart feels! The Lord heard my prayers! Our sweet girl is a ROCK STAR! She is a tough, sweet, funny, SMART, instigating, determined, brave, improvising, a tad OCD, risk taking happy girl!
Today she gave me kisses on the lips TOTALLY on her own!!!! Today she cried when she hurt her toe and ran to me for a kiss, today she let me hold her when she was so tired all she could do was cry, and fell asleep in my arms! Today she laid her head on my chest while I rocked her! Today she came to me several times to sit on my lap! Today she let me feed her a bottle! Today she looked into my eyes People, THIS.IS.HUGE for a child who grew up in an orphanage!!!! We adoption moms can fight years for all of these things! Now I will not tell you she is completely attached to me. She still will go to anyone who puts their arms out, but it is a good start and nothing some major cocooning can not help.
Sweet girl cried herself to sleep...the beginning of grieving for Miss Abbi
Un prompted kisses for mama
Seriously! THAT face!

Abbi LOVES taking something someone else has and running! She thinks it is hilarious! Poor Emma has fallen victim to this many many times! And when she blows some serious kisses at your you want to laugh at anything bad she may have done!
In just a few hours she knows the signs to more eat and all done!
And her sister shared her non decaf Starbucks today and she is IN LOVE!
She had McD's for the first time today...not a fan of nuggets or fries but loved the beef in my hamburger :/ ...moms food is always best!
Tomorrow we go to Abbi's orphanage. Please pray for her heart! I just hope going back doesn't really confuse her and make her think we are taking her back. And I am not sure how she will react to everyone there!
First McD's...not a huge fan
Abii and Startbucks

Serious kisses getting blown in action

Her favorite game-"ok mama, I will squeal super loud and you chase me!"
Ready and full of giggles!

LOVES stickers and coloring!
And loved doing it with big sister!