Growing and growing and growing and...

I’ve had lots of people ask about Lydia so I guess it’s time for an update! I suppose the reason I haven’t corresponded sooner is that the news is simply frustrating and something that at times I don’t even want to talk about because the emotions are so tender.

To state it simply, the wait continues to grow. If we were to calculate our wait based on current activity coming out of China, it would be FIVE YEARS!!!!!!! When we began this process a year and a half ago, we were preparing for our new baby to join us by this Christmas. Now, we are preparing to continue with our lives for many years before we will see our daughter’s face. For me, it is painful. As I have said many times before, I am in love with her as if she is in my own womb and to continually be told that I cannot see her for years to come provokes a deep sadness.

“Why the ridiculous wait?” is of course what we hear so often. To answer simply, no one knows. China sends out referrals (pictures and information on adoptive children) at the beginning of each month to agencies throughout the world. It used to be that in a month’s time they would cover 6-8 weeks of submitted applications. Currently, they are covering 6 days worth of applications; this summer it slowed to an all-time low of 2 days worth of applications per month. China has said that they are working on speeding back up but no one knows if or when that will happen. There has been some talk that China has slowed down in order to refine their adoption process – in essence, a short term loss for a long term gain. But the truth is simply that no one really knows or understands what is going on. As we are reminded by our agency, it is difficult for us to comprehend the why’s of our own government; it is that much more impossible for anyone to really understand what is going on with the Chinese government.

As all of this takes place, I have to rest in the sovereignty of God and that he certainly knows what is best for our family. But that does not always negate the pain that pokes at me. As Micah has reached 2 ½, I have found myself battling to stay positive. Bottom line, I am ready for another baby. We have never had a 2 ½ year old without having a new baby and I am ready for the next one! I can force myself to think of the positive aspects of “starting over” in a few years and bringing home a little baby when everyone is in school, but that was not our plan! And grieving the loss of a dream is exactly that, a process of grief.

So for now, I am sad. Recently I was looking at the list I had made last January for our 2007 Christmas budget and there was Lydia’s name with an amount for her presents. Just as other losses seem so raw during the holidays, her absence has been especially difficult for me these past weeks. And yet, this season also reminds me of God’s perfect plan. So I continue to seek the peace that Christmas promises and look forward to the day that we can embrace our new baby girl and pile presents under the tree for her sweet self.

Thank you for all of your prayers. And thank you for continuing to ask about Lydia. It is always encouraging to me that people remember and are walking with us. Someday, hopefully sooner than 5 years from now, we will be able to share her together.

Christmas blessings,



I always know it is time for an update when I start getting lots of questions about what’s going on! Here is the latest news…

For those who like simplicity…nothing. That pretty much sums it up! We are simply waiting. The wait time is getting progressively longer – our hope now is that Lydia will be home with us by Christmas 2008. It is funny to think that when we began this process in May 2006 we were anticipating her arrival sometime late this summer!

So what has God been teaching me? Lots!

First, God’s timing is perfect.
Had I been welcoming a new child into our family this summer I might also have been committing myself to the psyche ward! Micah, who turned 2 in May, is a challenge to say the least. I haven’t quite figured out whether his age, his personality, or his birth order is to blame (or a combination of the three) but regardless, he wears me out! He pushes me to the edge and on some days, all the way over! There is no way I would have had the emotional or physical energy to care for a new baby this summer. I am so thankful God knew that and has allowed time for Micah to grow up a little bit before Lydia comes.

Second, God will provide.
While on paper we should be saving a tremendous amount of money each month and adding to our adoption fund, it is simply not happening. We have had the most random expenses and our savings is being spent almost as fast as we can put it away. Take the last couple of months - we had squirrels in our attic that had to be removed, we joined the neighborhood pool (my summer sanity!), the bill finally came for Eric’s broken nose, the handle on our van’s back door broke off, we paid taxes for the first time ever, squirrels visited our attic again, our toilet had to be fixed, our church kicked off their building campaign, and we traveled to three out of state weddings. All very reasonable life things but one big ticket item after another that I did not plan for in our budget!! And yet in the midst of my frustration I felt God quietly saying to me, “Ashleigh, I am the one who is going to bring you Lydia. You cannot do this on your own. It will by my provision and my provision alone that delivers her to your family. There will be NO WAY that you can claim this as a feat of your own financial responsibility.”

And He is providing – little by little. We received a completely unexpected $1000 from a family member. We have had people not charge us for services and tell us to put the money towards adoption. An old family friend mailed us a check. And most recently, a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in months told me her family was collecting change in a jar for Lydia and last week her 6 year old emptied his whole piggy bank in order to help pay for Josiah’s baby sister. Oh my!

God is humbling me and reminding me that this is HIS story, HIS journey, and HIS plan for our family. It has very little to do with me! And so we wait…knowing that God will continue to lead us with His peace and His provision. I long for the day when Lydia will be with us, but I am welcoming this journey that has God’s fingerprints all over it.

Please continue to pray with us. We have 4 big areas we are praying for.

1. Lydia. She may or may not be born yet. But in all likelihood, she will be abandoned shortly after birth at an orphanage. Pray for good care and good bonding with her caretakers.

2. Lydia’s family. Somewhere a mother and father will grieve the loss of their daughter. They will never be able to know what happens to her – an incredibly painful reality that almost makes me sick to think about. I am praying that they will know the peace of Jesus in a miraculous way.

3. Our family. It is no little thing to add a new baby to the family. Pray for wisdom in how we prepare our children and ourselves for a huge life change. While it is a ways away, we are talking about it now. Adoption is not over when the papers are signed. It is a lifetime journey for the child and the family – arguably made more complicated with a transracial adoption. We are excited but we are not blind to the challenges.
4. Finances. We need about $10,000 – the vast majority being for travel.
Thank you so much for being a part of our adoption journey! It will be SO FUN to introduce you to our precious little girl!


anxiously waiting

Last time I wrote we were awaiting a log-in date which is just a fancy way of saying what day our file was placed in a huge room along with thousands of others files and officially entered into the line for adopting from China. Last week we finally heard from our adoption agency and were given a log-in date of December 30, 2006.
It is from that date that we begin counting! In January the wait from log-in to referral (the day which you receive information of the actual little girl you will adopt) was 15 months. Now, it is 16 ½ months! So we are looking at about May 2008 when we will hear about our little girl, a couple months after that we will travel to go get her. That brings us to a total of over 2 years that we will have been in this process – you can see why adoption has the potential to be an emotionally exhausting journey. That’s almost 3 pregnancies worth of waiting (at least we don’t have to do the throwing up, gaining weight thing!)
Which brings me to what I find myself most wanting to communicate with all those we run into. For those of you who have carried a baby in your womb – or been a part of that journey – you know that the mom and dad are infinitely in love with that baby long before they ever see her. They talk to her, dream about her, and anxiously await the day they will meet her. It is not so different with adoption. There is no doubt that I am anxiously awaiting the day we will hold Lydia in our arms. I keep a journal for each of my children and she has one too. I write to her, I dream about her, I think about what life will be like when she comes. I am madly in love with her. I don’t feel her kicking or get to see her on an ultrasound but she is as much a part of my being as if I did get to do those things. There is a common misconception that adoptive families just go about their business and poof! one day they get a phone call and then they begin to fall in love with their baby. Not the case – I am as much in love with Lydia as I was with any of my other children before they came into this world.
And so there are days where it is really hard to think about waiting another 18 months before I hold her. Many times I wonder how in the world we are going to wait that long. An eerily similar feeling to when I was pregnant with Micah – laying in the hospital thinking that I could not possibly do this for another day, much less the 4 months that was staring me in the face. But as God did with Micah, he will do again. He will give me the strength to carry on without a shadow of sadness. And if these months of waiting are anything like my last experience – God will speak to me in amazing, life-changing ways.
So there’s an update on my heart and our adoption journey! We would love your continued prayers for our 3 major requests:
1. Lydia’s family. I have shed many, many tears thinking about her parents. Can you imagine carrying a child knowing that you are going to give her away? Can you even think about bundling up your new baby and abandoning her in a place where you hope someone will find her in the morning? Can you imagine giving her away with total anonymity knowing that you will never know what happened to her? The thought of it is almost nauseating. I know that God gave me a vision for the little girl who was to be our own and I am praying diligently that God would do the same for her parents. Somehow that He could give them a clear vision that their little girl, whom they have handed over to the cold dark night, will be safe in America. God’s peace is the only thing that could possibly salve such a gaping wound.
2. Lydia’s health. She is most likely in utero right now and we pray for her development and growth. Like any of our children, we would like for her to be healthy!
3. Finances. A praise!! We received a grant of $3000 from Shoahannah’s Hope and our adoption agency recently instituted a pastor’s discount of $1500! The only expenses we have left to pay are the travel costs which are estimated around $10,000. We would love to find someone who has airline miles that they would like to share as the vast majority of the expense is air travel. We are continuing to pray that God would provide however he sees fit – be it through our wallet or someone else’s!
Thank you so much for being a part of our adoption journey! It will be SO FUN to introduce you to our precious little girl – even if it is 18 months away!!



How can I explain how much I already love you? Though you are not growing inside my body, you are growing in my heart and my attachment and love for you is the same. I am so thankful that I had the blessing of birthing 3 children because I can truly say that waiting for you is so much the same. And of course very different. Instead of praying for myself, I am praying for your mother. I pray constantly for the family who is going to bring you into this world. What agony they must be feeling having to make the choice to give up their baby girl. I wish I could hold them and say to them how much I love them. They have given you to me and I will be forever grateful. I know that God will take care of them. I am praying that they would know Jesus and find strength in Him. You are our precious little girl already. And i know you are theirs too. So I am praying that somehow God could miraculously give them a peace to know that there sweet baby is in good hands. You are precious gift. Grow strong and be patient - we are coming for you. I love you.


All of our paperwork was mailed to China on December 1. We should soon receive correspondence from China giving us a log-in date which is the date at which the wait officially begins. Currently, the wait time is 15 months, so that puts us around March 2008 when we will receive a ‘referral’ which consists of pictures and medical records of our baby girl whose name will be Lydia.

This year will be spent simply waiting. Once we receive information then we will travel within 6-8 weeks to go get her. It is a 2 week trip for Eric and me.
So where does that leave us now? We have lots of things to pray about in these 'silent' months, which is where you all come in. We know that God loves to hear lots of persevering prayer and so we would invite you to join us in this faith journey. Here are the biggies that we are bringing before the Lord right now:
1. Finances. The adoption cost is $25,000. Currently, we have $5000 of that covered and are praying for God to provide the remaining $20,000. One thing we know is that God promised us when we began this adventure that he would provide. We don't know how, but he is going to do it. On the practical side of things and so you can pray fully informed, there are several avenues that God could use for financial provision.

A) Grants from agencies specifically set up to help with up front adoption costs. We have applied and are applying to several of these agencies. In some ways we are great candidates due to our relatively minimal income but in other ways we are very poor candidates. Many people who are adopting have already encountered enormous expenses for infertility treatment, already paid for an adoption(s), and/or are adopting a special needs child who is coming into their family with known medical expenses. We obviously have not spent any money on those things. So we don't really know what our odds are for receiving any of this kind of money but we are game for praying for God’s favor with the deciding parties!
B) Personal donations. As we cross the paths of various people, those whom we know and those who are strangers, it is amazing to see the numbers of people who seem to have a heart for adoption although they know it is not something their family is going to pursue. But it may be that some of these people would be apt for financially supporting us in this endeavor. One specific thing that would be a HUGE blessing would be a donation of airline miles. Airfare to China and within the country (we have to travel to several different provinces) for the 2 of us is an enormous part of the cost. So maybe there is some businessman out there who has gazillions of miles who could help us in this area...

C) Home equity loan. We have this ready to draw on if we need to and we are certainly prepared to do that. We know that part of God's provision is a personal sacrifice on our part. We have trimmed our budget and are currently saving as much money as we can and if we need to draw on this equity line to pay off the costs then we will do that happily. Obviously, this would be our least favorite choice but not one we are adverse to!

So please pray with us that God would provide the needed $20,000.

2. Lydia. We are praying for our little girl during these months and her family. It is hard to explain to those who have not ventured on the adoption journey, but she is already very much a part of our hearts even though we know next to nothing about her. I think about her all the time and am praying for her mom and dad as they make the decision to continue an unwanted pregnancy and then to give up their baby. I am praying for her mother’s health as well as Lydia’s. I am praying for her time in the orphanage which will provide adequate care but not great care. I am praying that her family would know Jesus. I have a dream in my mind that Lydia is the daughter of a Christian family in China and that they would receive some sort of word from God that she will be taken care of by a Christian family in America. I will probably never know if this is the case, but it is what God has given me to pray. We would love for you to join with us in praying for her. I may not be pregnant, but someone is and she is carrying our little girl!

So please pray for Lydia and her family – physical health, emotional security and spiritual peace.

Those are the two biggies right now – finances and Lydia. We would value any amount of prayer you could speak on our behalf. We look forward to keeping you updated on our journey and finally introducing you to our precious little girl sometime in the spring of 2008!!