Saturday, June 28, 2014

China Bound

Much has happened since we last introduced you to Miss Vivian. Mostly, it has been a lot of waiting with a side of paperwork thrown in here and there. I'm happy to tell you that the wait is over. We received a consulate appointment yesterday which means we are traveling in the near future to pick up our precious Vivian. Just in case you didn't get that.....WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!! Insert shouts of joy, cheering, celebrating and thanking the Lord!!

We can't wait to hold this sweet girl!



It is no coincidence that the day we get to meet our sweet girl will be my mother-in-law's birthday. They will be celebrating together for years to come. I cannot thank the Lord enough for all that He has done to lead us to our daughter and provide everything we need to get her. God's timing is so perfect. He is a God of detail and every step of the way has been orchestrated by Him. We have asked the Lord for things big and small over the past year. Just to name a few:

1. Love for a child we've never met.- It's a mystery to me how the Lord can put such love in our hearts for this child we've never me.
2. $31,000 needed to complete the adoption- He used sweet friends and family to help us with adoption fundraisers and many of you who gave generously and sacrificially. He even used strangers who would overhear our story or hear someone else talking about the adoption. That's simply miraculous!
3. Letters needed from doctors when we couldn't even remember the doctors name that performed the surgery which led to many calls and a sweet nurse the Lord used to find me in their database and call me back when I didn't even leave my number.
3. Doctor- The Lord led us to a doctor that was also in the adoption process. We had heard she was a good doctor but that's about all we knew. She's adopting a little boy, from China through Lifeline which is the agency we are using. We all got chills when we realized that we came to her not knowing that she was also in the adoption process.
4. Surprises- This might sound funny but I love surprises! On occasion, I ask the Lord for them, you know, things like that our paperwork would be processed more quickly than anticipated or that we would get an update on Vivian. In April, some generous friends gave us some money so that we could request a video and some pictures of Vivian. I contacted the lady that handles these requests and she told me that we wouldn't be able to receive pictures or a video of Vivi until June since our last update had been in March when we received pre-approval. We were pretty sad but there was not much we could do about it. On April 29th, which is my sister-in-law's and late grandmother's birthdays, we received a surprise email complete with pictures and a video. The lady that sent it to us said that she had surprisingly received this from one of the workers at the orphanage. We were elated to have new video of her and I knew who sent that surprise. The Lord loves his children well.
5. Tangible ways to help her communicate with us in country and at home- A friend, who just happens to be a teacher, hooked us up with sensory rich play items and laminated pictures of everyday things, signs, actions and emotions. This was just another way the He was preparing us for Vivi.
6. Services- We knew that Vivi would need services like speech therapy but we weren't exactly sure how to get them. Matthew found out from the school board all that would need to be done in order to get her the help she will need when she gets home. It was such a relief to have a plan in place.
7. Preparation for her to come home- We have a long list of things that have needed to get done before we bring her home things like getting her room ready, getting basic supplies needed for a child(clothes, diapers, toys, etc.), having a plan for what we need to do medically as soon as she is home, preparing a will and trust, preparing for all of us to travel to and from another country and lots of little things. I like to check things off of a list especially when so much needs to be done. There have been times when I would try to accomplish something and hit a road block and other times when I would be able to check something off the list that I hadn't planned to take care of at that moment. I have truly experienced the leading of the Lord to accomplish the things that needed to be done in His timing. It has been a learning curve for me as I often want to do things my way. But He beckons me to bring everything to Him and trust that He will help me accomplish what needs to be done in His timing. So often I want to run ahead or drag behind instead of seeking to keep in step with what He would have me to do. Really it's just a matter of me seeking Him in all things and trusting His ways. Isn't that just the way the Lord works? He's not concerned over all that needs to be done but rather uses those things to point us to what matters most which is that we are focused on Him, pressing into Him, trusting Him, bringing all things to Him so that His name might be glorified and that we might drink deeply of Him who satisfies.

These are just a few of things that the Lord has done for us and Vivi throughout this process. We can't wait for the day that we get to meet her and bring her home. We pray for her little heart that the Lord would be preparing her for all of the transitions: new environments, smells, language, experiences, food and people. Her world is going to be turned upside down by all of these things. We have been preparing for over a year for her but she will be uprooted from all she's ever known in the blink of an eye. Please pray for her in the days to come as she will grieve over the life that she's lost. Even though we believe that this is for her good to be part of a family, she won't be able to see that at the beginning. The coming days will be filled with joy, blessings, difficulty, transition and pain. Our hope is in the Lord that He will provide what we need when we need it and that in all things He will point us to Himself.

I don't know what you may be facing today. Perhaps it's uncertainty over the future, sickness, a broken family, a call to something out of your comfort zone like adoption, a move or a job change. Or perhaps you feel hopeless, unloved or forgotten. Whatever the case may be there is only one thing that can satisfy, comfort, heal and bring hope, that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him(John 14:6). He loved you so much that He lived a perfect life which you cannot live, He took the suffering you deserved because of your sin as He died on the cross and He overcame death giving us the hope of an eternal life spent with Him. Give Him your tired, broken, uncertain, hurt and pain and enjoy the hope, joy, peace and love that comes from knowing Him. Confess your sins to Him and turn from that which will never satisfy or be enough to an Almighty God who loves you. It's the only decision that will last for eternity.

"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32: 1-2


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Introducing....

We realize it has been a long time since we've posted. We admit it, we are terrible bloggers. But we are going to make up for this shortfall with the biggest adoption news yet!!

Last Wednesday, March 5th, nine months to the day that we began this journey, the Lord opened our hearts and showed us who our little girl is. This is no small feat, mind you. I'll be honest, I'm not the type of girl who gets crazy gushy over just any kid. In fact, my prayer this entire nine months has been that the Lord would put His love in my heart for the child that He had for us. Sometimes, I would just beg Him to do it knowing that I couldn't muster it up on my own. When it happened it was so miraculous! Matthew and I viewed her file separately. Both of us, individually, just knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was our little girl. The Lord gave both of us such tenderness and love for this sweet baby. It was truly a miracle!! An answer to nine months of prayers. I've been like a crazy lady showing pictures and telling people about her. I'm in awe of my loving Savior who is so faithful! Praise be to Him only for bringing us to this stage in the journey. We consider it a privilege and honor to have the opportunity to parent this precious child.

It is with great joy that we present to you Miss Vivian Ruth Chun Michalke!!





We think she is absolutely adorable!! We can't wait to kiss those sweet cheeks. 

Most likely the longest wait of our lives has begun. Pray for us because this stage will be very difficult. According to our social worker, it will be around 5-6 months before we can travel to get her. Basically, we are waiting on the Chinese government to translate, review and match review our file so that they can send us a letter of acceptance. Then there are a few other steps after we receive this letter. All that to say, please pray for the Lord's perfect timing and that He would work out the details if we need to travel after Matthew has already started school. 

We want you to know that we are so very grateful for your prayers and support. So many of you have been faithful to pray for us and have given selflessly to help us raise the money to bring our sweet girl home!! We thank the Lord for the love and kindness you have shown us. 

May His name be brought glory through this situation!

Love,
Emily 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Giveaway & Update on the Adoption




Christmas is right around the corner and we know you may be needing a last minute Christmas gift!! 
We will be giving away the wreath and banner pictured above on
Thursday at 5 p.m. 
Purchase a chance to win for only $5 dollars.
Feel free to purchase multiple chances to increase your odds of winning.
All proceeds benefit our adoption.

Delivery of items will be on Friday. 



PURCHASE A CHANCE TO WIN:


ADOPTION UPDATE
 We completed our home study on October 3rd which was a major milestone for us in the adoption process. It was a four month journey of paperwork, more paperwork and interviews. We submitted our I800a (an application to adopt a child) to Immigration Services, had our biometric finger prints taken on November 5th & were assigned a case officer on December 6th. We are hoping to receive approval sometime this week.  Since then we have prepared the documents needed to complete our dossier but are waiting on I800a approval before we can send it to China. Thankfully, the Lord has provided for us to be able to pay our biggest payment yet in the amount of $4500! While we haven't been matched yet our social worker is hard at work to find our little girl. Lord willing, we hope to be celebrating Christmas next year as a family of three. We can't wait!!  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks Giveaway Winner

Chantelle Grubbs won our Give Thanks Giveaway!! 
Thank you so much to all who participated. 

We are so grateful to the Lord for all the loving friends, family and strangers who have so generously supported this adoption. 
We are almost half-way to our goal of $31,000!! 
Praise the Lord! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Give Thanks Giveaway to Support Our Adoption

Thanksgiving is only five days away and who doesn't need some seasonal decor to spruce up your house before the family arrives! We will be giving away the wreath, banner, jars with crosses, "Blessed" sign and wooden block with cross pictured below. Purchase a chance to win for $5; feel free to purchase multiple chances to increase your odds of winning! All proceeds benefit our adoption.

Drawing will be held on Monday evening at 7 p.m.
Decor will be delivered on Tuesday.


PURCHASE A CHANCE TO WIN:
** Giveaway does not include decorative box or candlesticks on the mantel.**

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Theology of Adoption


Over the last several months we have been asked “why adoption?” in different ways and by many different people. I’ve offered various answers, but ultimately I have to admit that adoption is not my choice; it is the choice of my eternal Father.  The greatest   motivation and encouragement to adopt has been that it is central to who God is and what he desires for His people.  Scripture presents three distinct reasons for God’s people to care for orphans. 

The Lord Desires All Children to Have Families

God created with the intent that all children be raised by their Mother and Father.  In Genesis chapter 2, when everything was still “good”, we are told that “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” I think this verse has been read at every wedding I've ever attended, but do we ever stop to realize that for this to be possible a child must first have a mother and father to leave?  God created us all with the need for parents to nurture us, to teach us, to guide us, and then to release us.  We were not made to be orphans.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience to the Lord in chapter 3 changed everything. It changed what we eat, what we wear, how we work, where we live…and it drastically changed the family unit.  Sin has a way of changing things. It always disrupts and it always leaves a path of devastation in its wake.  Sin gave us the orphan. 
Because of Christ’s work on the cross, it won’t always be this way.  A day is coming where there will be no more sickness, death, pain, addiction, or broken relationships.  A day is coming when every orphan will have a father (Romans 8:20-22, 10:9-10, Revelation 21:3-4).

The Lord Directs Believers to Care for Orphans

As the Lord establishes the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, the people of God are given explicit instruction on how they are to act when they enter the Promised Land.  Over and over the Lord includes in these commands for Israel to care for the fatherless (Exodus 21:22-24, Deuteronomy 10:18, 14:29, 16:11-14, 24:19-21, 26:12-13, 27:19).  We may be tempted to view the law given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy as  instructions for moral living given by a God who desires people to live moral lives, but these commands are not merely telling us what to do, they’re telling us who God is. 
We should provide care for the fatherless because by His very nature, God cares for the fatherless.  He is our one true eternal Father.  The psalmist refers to the Lord as “the helper of the fatherless” and the one who provides justice for the orphan (Psalm 10:14-18).  As believers in Christ we should bear the image and likeness of our Father.  As He loves and cares for the fatherless, so should I love and care for the fatherless (James 1:27)

We Have Been Adopted

You are an orphan.  Sure maybe you grew up with one or both parents and have never seen the inside of an orphanage, but you’re still an orphan.  In Paul’s letters he compares the spiritual redemption given to believers as adoption.  We were all spiritual orphans until our Father chose us. 
1st century adoption, of which Paul references, was a little different than its modern counterpart.  Affluent, but childless, Romans would often adopt an adult slave to receive their inheritance.  Adoption was not for the purpose of providing care to a helpless child, but rather to provide a service to a wealthy family.  Never the less, the adopted son or daughter experienced a drastic change of circumstances.  They went from being a slave with little personal rights to a full member of the family with all of the privileges which that entailed.  Adoption through Christ has entitled us to be co-heirs with Christ, enjoying all of the privileges due to one who is a child of the Father (Ephesians 1:3-5, Romans 8:15-18)

We should care for the orphaned and fatherless because we know their plight.  Without the overwhelming grace and mercy of our Lord I would still be a spiritual orphan.  Adoption and other forms of orphan care allow us to offer the world a glimpse at the gospel.  As we seek to care for the helpless and hopeless we may show others that He has already provided eternal hope for those who trust and follow Him.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Confessions of a Craft Hater


 A fun fact about me is that I really hate making crafts. It has always been something that brings more stress than fun for me. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece just happen to be crafty ladies who came up with the idea of making wreaths to raise money for our adoption. Since it was for such a good cause I put my hate of crafting away for an evening. Well at least until I burned myself multiple times with the glue gun and had to get my 11 year old niece to put the sewing machine back together after I had disassembled it trying to fix a problem. Thanks to my sweet family we were able to make some cute wreaths that would make good Christmas gifts or Fall front door d├ęcor.
All for a good cause too!
If you're interested email me at michalkesplusone@gmail.com.
 


Cost: $50
 
 
 
Cost: $40