Monday, December 31, 2007

Still the same...

Oh yes, still no news on Sydney. She is still waiting for us. We are still waiting for her. Christmas came and went without her. It was not easy. I was so confident in my agency's statement that 12 weeks was the maximum wait for LOA. But today is 18 weeks. Today is day 126. The best and the worst part of life is how it just keeps going on regardless of circumstances. My arms ache to hold her. We were blessed with updated photos of her last week. However, she has lost most of her hair and she is much slimmer. The signs of malnutrition are apparent. Holt has agreed to "inquire on our LOA status". They've also sent some questions to the orphanage to try to get some answers to her condition. Although these pics were a blessing, they also were a very somber wake up call. My child is suffering. She is hungry and needy while we wait for a piece of paper. I really want to get angry and depressed over this. But I will not. I will not fall apart. I will not distrust God. I know he knows me. I know he loves me. I know he has a plan for Sydney and my family. I know that he is in control. I know that he is alive and working in this very moment. I will wait on the Lord and renew my strength daily. I have been taken to the Savior's feet many times during this wait. I am ashamed to say that I have not been the best example on how to do this. But my Jesus will not give up on me. He will gently teach me the same lesson over and over again until I get it. My flesh wants to tell me that he has forgot about me and my baby. Satan wants me to wallow in the "unfairness" of it all. But my soul will rejoice in the sorrow. I will come for you, baby, when my Jesus aranges it all. But don't you worry. He will also take care of you and protect you until the time we meet. He will never leave us or forsake us. His timing is perfect. He loves you more than I ever will. He knows all about you and what you need and he will be there for you. When the time is perfect, he will allow us to look into each others eyes and become a family. I love you, Sydney. I will be there soon......

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!!!!!
Hope you all have a wonderful time with family or friends today.
(Just a little rebellious about all the Christmas decorations already being out. It used to be bad manners to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Or maybe I am just getting old.)
I desperately need y'all to pray for a sweet girl in my youth group. Her father was killed yesterday in a car accident. Her mother passed away two years ago with cancer. When I arrived at her house yesterday, she was understandably heartbroken. This child is 17 and the sweetest thing in the world. She has an older sister that lives at home with them and commutes to college. They desperately need your prayers.

Monday, November 19, 2007

.....12 weeks.....

Today is 12 weeks waiting for LOA. We were told by our agency that LOA would take 3-12 weeks to arrive. So I am praying today is the day...........

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Double Baby Shower!!!

On Sunday, we had a double baby shower! Deb's and my family and friends gave us a wonderful shower at our church. We gathered together to celebrate the gift that God is giving our families. We had a beautiful pink cake and lots of other food. Then we opened gifts! So many special things for our sweet daughters. Thank you all so much for all the love and prayers that we received on this special day!

Good News on Faith!!

Deb received her paperwork from Korea! This means her daughter, Faith, will be home within 30 days!!! Thank you Jesus!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bloggin' Buddies need help!

Since I started this blog, I have "met" some wonderful and inspiring people! I have been able to connect and learn from their experiences and my life has been greatly enriched because of them. One one them is Verna! Her blog is . She is raising money to bring her sweet son, Noah, home! If you are interested in starting a blog or want to give your blog a new look, contact her! She is a computer wiz and will design your blog for you! All the money she is receiving is going for her required orphanage donation.

Monday, November 5, 2007


OK, so I have been hearing from some of my blogging buddies about how they enjoy geocaching. I had no idea what they were even talking about. But they got me curious. I began looking into it, and I was shocked to find that several caches exist around my hometown! So we invited our grandson and took off in search of the great treasure. In the back of my mind I was hopin to be able to maybe find one, and then be able to successfully find the Tahoe again. But it was great! We found two caches that day. The woods were beautiful and we have so much fun together as a family. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go to and give it a try. I guarentee a great day with your family!

10 Weeks Waiting for LOA.....

Today is 10 weeks waiting for the much-longed-for-all-powerful LOA. However, over the weekend we attended the required class for all of Holt's parents-in-process. Of course we had to pump the SW for info!! She said that parents generally do not go beyond the "3-12 weeks" estimated waiting time for LOAs. So I am anxiously expecting something this week or next!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pac Man!!

We recently bought a little video game of Pac Man that hooks onto the tv. Of course, it was "for the kids". The sad part is that our grandson did not even know what Pac Man was. So, of course, Wayne and I had to show them how it was done. We have been hooked on it ever since we brought it home. Our family is a bit competitive, but in a friendly way. So fun......

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tough Week

This week has not been emotionally easy. I am longing for Sydney so intensly. I am amazed at the love that I have for this child that I have never met. I know that this is only from God. He is the only one who could write this love story. Beginning Sunday, I started this downward spiral into depression and frustration and impatience and anger. I was tired of waiting. I wanted to get my LOA now. I mean NOW. I am ashamed to say that I felt this way, but I did. Deb and I discussed how it just should not be this hard. This is a good thing, building a family. Why does it have to take so long? I was very bold in my begging God to deliver my LOA. I spent way too much time on Rumer Queen's forum. I checked my e-mail about every 15 minutes. Nothing. Then yesterday, I had a Dr's appt in St. Louis. I spent the entire day alone. But, boy, was I not alone. God met me yesterday and picked me up off the floor. He tenderly nursed me back to contentment. I drove & worshipped. I sat in the waiting room & worshipped. I shopped & worshipped. I ate lunch & worshipped. It was a sweet day with my God. It was a day of sweet surrender. Do I still long for Sydney? Oh yes. But not in a demanding way. I feel peace and contentment along with the longing. I truly would not want to run ahead of my sweet heavenly Father. Thank you, Father, for picking me up, dusting me off, and setting me back on your path. I will praise you forever!

Monday, October 22, 2007

............. is 8 weeks waiting for LOA................

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Adoptions Update

I thought I would give y'all a quick update of where we all are in our adoptions. As many of you know, our friends, Deb & Raymond, are adopting a beautiful little girl from Korea. They have received their immigration papers, and are now waiting on one final document from Korea. There was not a average wait time given on how long they may wait for it. Faith will come home 30 days after they receive this last document. As for us, we are still waiting for our LOA from China. Our agency said the average wait is 3-12 weeks. We have waited 7 1/2 weeks. After we receive our LOA, we wait on a travel approval (TA) to enter China. It usually takes 2-5 weeks for TA. After we receive TA, we leave for China in a "couple weeks". We both hope to have our girls home for Christmas. The wait is getting increasingly harder each day. These girls are our babies and our arms physically ache to hold them. We want them home so badly! We will wait as long as it takes and do whatever it takes to get them. We know that God is the holder of time and respect that. Please pray that we will wait with a humble spirit. Pray that we will complete what ever needs done during this wait. Please pray for peace and contentment for us during this time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Gift For Sydney

Our agency requested that we prepare a photo album to send to Sydney in the orphanage. It will help her become a bit familiar with our faces and hopefully help with her transition. I made her a Raggedy Ann & Andy album. We all posed with Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls, which I intend to take with us to China. I also found some Raggedy Ann & Andy fleece, which I made a blanket out of for her. Hopefully, these pictures will help her to know how much we love her. Here are a few of the pics we sent her.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We have a Merciful God

Last night, we were supposed to have a home volleyball against one of our neighboring schools, Viburnum. When you live in a rural community, everyone knows everyone. We have so many good friends on Viburnum's team, as well as many family members. The Viburnum bus wrecked about one mile from my home. There were 28 people on the bus and it rolled over twice. Again, in a rural community, everyone has to help out in these situations. When I arrived, it was a startling scene. Although no injuries were life-threatening, most of the girls were on back boards. I went around and prayed with them, covered them with blankets, and tried to comfort the upset. God is so good. The accident was terrible and He spared all their lives. Everyone is saying, "They were so lucky". But I know that my God is always present and always in control, and He is merciful. Please pray for these girls. As I slept last night, my dreams were not pleasant. The broken bones and cuts will heal, but there will also be some mental and emotional wounds. Please pray for their peace and healing. God has given me such a heart for teens. This event is one that will stay with me for a long time.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Muffins With Mom

Friday morning, our school hosted Muffins With Mom. They invite all the moms to come before school and eat muffins with their children. Since Bryce is in preschool now, Hannah was there too!

True Love Waits Date Night

Friday night, we took the Cross-Eyed Youth on another True Love Waits Date Night. We teach the study every February, and then for the next year, we take those who completed it and took the pledge out on date nights. We are trying to redefine what dating looks like to teens. God should be a part of every aspect of our lives - not just on Sunday mornings! Last night, we took the kids to see "Game Plan". Some of the kids had to be cool, and gripe a bit about seeing a "kids movie". But those kids laughed all the way through the show! I laughed at them. It was a really cute movie. I would recommend it to anyone. The only questionable part was during the partying time of his life, but even that was mild and portrayed as the life he wanted out of. We then went out to eat. And of course what would a date be without going to WalMart! Yes, we might be rednecks. Seriously, as the kids were loading the bus at the restaurant, they were asking, "Are we going to WalMart?" Too funny. Just part of living an hour from a city, I suppose. I just love these kids so much. They feel like part of my family. Thank you God for leading me into youth ministry!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Black River League Champs!!

Thursday night, Ashlyn's volleyball team won 1st place in our league! Volleyball is a huge deal to my family. My mom and all her sisters played in tournaments while I was growing up. I cannot ever remember not knowing how to play. During high school, my team won the state championship. Now I am watching my daughter play in the same gym. Pretty cool! It was a great night for all of us! Everyone wore school colors and painted their faces with the number of their favorite players. Here's a few pics.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


When God began working on my heart about adopting from China, I thought it was so hard to wait, I wanted her now. When we first applied to the agency, I was ready to get on a plane immediately! When we were wading through the paperwork, I thought it was so hard, just waiting for her. I was so wrong. Now I've seen her sweet face. Now I've seen other parents videos of inside her orphanage. Now I've fallen so in love with her. Now it is hard. I spend most of my time thinking and praying for her or for speedy paperwork. I know myself and I know that I can be somewhat obsessive. I can see how in the last few weeks, I have slipped downward toward the blues! I do not want to cook or clean. I do not want to go to our normal activities. I do not want to do laundry (not that I ever did). I crave for information. I hunger for any updates. I spend hours on the computer seeking any sliver of info. I do not like to randomness of recieving LOAs. But all of this is my flesh. My spirit knows that God is in control. I know that I only want this in His time. I would not want to embark on this journey if my God had not gone before me. If this was not the plan that God had laid for me, I would back out now. I want to wait in a way that not only glorifies God, but that also is a witness to His awesome plan for all His children. I will not walk around depressed. I will not bring dishonor to the name of my Father. I will wait with the grace that He has blessed me with time and again. And I will rest in the peace that I will recieve my LOA when He is ready for me to receive it. I will love my Savior more than myself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My baby!

I am already so in love with this child! I think about her all the time. I pray for her all the time! She was born June 20, 2006. That makes her 15 months old now. She is a SN baby because she is small! She only weighed 5 lbs. when they found her. She is growing and developing just fine though! We received updated measurements on her and she is 26 inches long and 16 lbs. Tiny! That puts her into size 9 month clothes. (YES, I confess, I have shopped.) We visited 3 medical advisors with her files, and have peace about her. We feel confident that this is the baby God created to be in our family!

Here's our stats:

DTC: 7/27/07
LID: 8/7/07
Referral: 8/17/07
LOI: 8/27/07
LOA: ?
TA: ?
Travel Dates: ?

Friday, September 28, 2007

God Is So Big

Where have I been the last 1 1/2 months? Well I've been trying to catch my breath and catch up with all God is doing in our lives. Let me first say that I am married to the most wonderful man in the world. I thought that I loved him as much as possible. However through all that the last weeks have brought us, I now love him beyond reason. He is truly my soulmate and best friend. He has supported me, talked to me, prayed with me, and loved me through the surprizes that God has blessed us with. I love you Wayne!

Now, let me tell you who God is to me. He is my rock. He is the faithful father that has never given up on me even though I sooooo deserve it. He is the reason that I have hope. You see, he sent his son, Jesus, to earth to die for me. Without this happening, I would be destined to hell. Heavy stuff, yes. But it is the one undeniable fact of life. Without Jesus Christ as your savior, you have no connection to God. You have no God if you do not believe that Jesus was his one and only son, came into the world to die on a cross, and rose three days later. He took the punishment that we all deserve because of the sin in our lives. That's it. That's all we have that is worth anything. If you don't know this Jesus, email me and I will be happy to introduce you today. Do Not Wait!! Let me tell you, my God is so big to me right now!!!!!
OK! As you may or may not know, God started working in my heart in Nov/Dec 2005 on an adoption from China. I was scared but excited that this might be in His plan for me. However, my prayer was: You will have to deal with Wayne. I just couldn't see this being something that he would go for. We are neither one all that young anymore, and our children were getting older too. Things were very easy! (MMMMM, sounds like a situation where God needs to stir things up, right?) Well throughout the next year, God moved so purposely in both of our lives. He gave us very clear revelations and signs on a regular basis. For example:

1) Feb 7 '06 - My34th birthday. I asked God for birthday present of clarity on where he wants to see me head in my life. I asked him to speak very loudly and clearly to me so that I would know it was from him. His answer: continual pictures of beautiful Chinese little girls at Dr's office and, when shopping for a notebook for myself, the notebooks in stock were covered with chinese symbols for hope & courage.

2) On March 5 '06 I was praying and worshipping and God audibly wispered to me "Go to China". I have only heard an audible word from God a few times in my life, so this was huge to me. Wayne starts freaking out a bit.

3) I continually see families that have adopted form China and end up connecting with some of them.

I could go on forever about this but I must move on.

God worked on Wayne, in his own special way and soon he was on board. He was only interested in a NSN child, but I was open to what ever God chose. Immediately after he agreed, we tried to apply to the NSN adoption program of a Christian agency. We were told that China had changed the requirements for adoption, and they told us that they would not even accept our application. I was so heartsick and confused. Then, one of my childhood friends came to me to talk about her adopting form Korea. We soon realize that this would be the only way we would be able to adopt. In the Korea program, you can only choose the sex of the baby if you apply for a waiting child. MMMMM Wayne came around and we applied to Holt International on Christmas Day 2006 for an international adoption from KOREA. Things went well on the paperchase, but I could not shake the feeling that China was the "meant to be" in our adoption experience. I knew that we were supposed to adopt, but something was a little off. Finally I spoke to Wayne about this. He felt the same way. In April '07, we had a conversation with our social worker, explained what we were feeling and what we had been told. She said that we would have no problem being accepted into the China program at all. We immediately switched to China. So peaceful, so hopeful, so calm. we finished up the paperwork for China and received a LID of 8/7/07. We were settled down for a 2 year wait. It would give us time to prepare our home for a baby and work out our finances.

However, God had other plans. Ten (that's right, ten!) days later, on 8/17/07 I was shopping at Value City for wicker baskets and I got a phone call from Holt. They had a referral for us to consider. I had to sat down in the patio furniture section in order to talk to her! Ji Xiang Shi was a SN child who was small. She was only 5 lbs when she was found in June '06. Wayne and I told no one about her and hit our knees before our King. Four days later, we accepted the referral. I would love to introduce to you all Ji Xiang Shi aka Sydney Lian Woods!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

First Day Of School

Today begins another school year. Ashlyn is a Freshman this year. I can hardly believe it. She is growing up into a beautiful woman. I still see her as my baby! Sarah is starting 6th grade. She is just so precious to me. She is such a pretty girl. She has the sweetest smile and sense of humor. This year was special because Debra's kids are here with us. Morgan and Dustin are being real troopers trying to roll with all the changes they've endured with their mom sick. They are great kids and I'm very proud of them. Also, my grandson, Bryce, started preschool this year. He lives just 4 houses down from us and when he saw all of us at the road waiting on the bus, he just took off running towards us! Hannah chased him down and got him back to his stop. When the bus appeared, he just started hopping up and down. He looked so little getting on that big school bus. It helps greatly though that my mom is the school bus driver! As usual we had to have pictures with NaNa!