Psalm: 90:09- We spend our years as a tale that is told


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Talia's first view of Christmas morning! Thank you to everyone that made her adoption possible through prayers and support...thanks to you this once orphan now gets to celebrate the wonder and joy of Christmas morning!

"For unto us a child is born" Isaiah 9:6-7

"All Good things come from Above" James 1:17


Friday, November 9, 2012

Helping Orphans-My Opportunity

Well a lot has happened since my last post. Here are a few of the main points rather quickly:
  • We did not end up being the family God had created for Candice. I am so amazed at His faithfulness and the wonderful and most perfect family He hand picked for her though! More on that story in a couple weeks! 
  • Talia is adjusting so well and is doing fantastic in preschool.  Her language is just exploding! She is still a tiny peanut with no body fat but I think eventually she will want to eat more then just vegetables!
  • Harper likes having a sister when she feels she is the "Big sister" and Talia is the baby! Otherwise, she doesn't want to share her toys, food or her mommy and daddy. 
  • We have had every cold illness possible the past month and a half and I am starting to wonder what impact this has placed on Harper's little heart. We have an appointment at CHOP soon so please pray for her. We were hoping her heart would heal but since that is not happening we think we will need medical intervention by the summer, if not sooner. 
  • Todd and I are so blessed to have found and be a part of an amazing church community. The Lord clearly guided us to a new church and the friendships we have made with others while worshiping and attending small groups has been life changing. I was a small group bible leader for the first time this fall. What a wonderful experience!  Our bible study group of Eighty women covered Kelly Minter's book "No Other Gods". I need to do a whole post on that bible study to even begin to tell you the impact it had on my life. 
  • Personally, I have struggled to find the time to blog, help fundraising families, prospective adoptive parents and to work on my daily mission of saving children's lives! I know I demand a lot from myself but my heart aches for any child that has to do without food, shelter and a loving family. It seems many of us in the adoptive community have found a niche and I think mine clearly is to help fundraising families. I have lived through the stigma of "fundraising" or "raising funds". I have cried thinking my sweet child would have to wait another month if the funds would not come in and I have witnessed the beauty of human kindness and generosity. I don't think I can ever explain how wonderful last year was for us to witness the hand of God work through His people. So with that said I felt I had to hone in on my skill set and help inspire others. My biggest quote to my Talia girl was "I never want to have a child die with blood on my hands due to finances" and I don't want to ever hear any family say I can't due to finances. It may be hard, uncomfortable and scary but when God has laid it on your heart to adopt one of His children I promise you He will provide. I prayed and prayed on how I could best help others while doing something I love and something that was flexible with my current mommy schedule. I also tried to find something that would appeal to everyone and you all know I am a big proponent of "shopping for a cause"!!! In fact quite honestly Todd and I buy the majority of our items and gifts via fundraisers. I can not tell you the countless times someone will comment on something my girls have on or something in my house and I can proudly say, "Oh yes that was from a fundraiser!" After we fund raised I began to think about everything so differently. Now I need to find someone who sells gas for my car!
    So the company that I picked was Stella & Dot and I am already helping families. If you never heard of Stella & Dot well get ready to fall in love! Stella & Dot has given me the opportunity to donate my commission to help other families and children in need! With every purchase from my online boutique throughout the year you can feel good knowing that a proceeds of every order goes to orphans around the world or families fundraising to bring home a child. I am currently running a fundraiser now that Harper picked with Love without Boundaries. You can shop for this cause here...

    LWB has been asked to do a very special project for a rural, mountainous village in southwest Guizhou Province. ChaYing village, home to a Buyi ethnic minority group, is one of the poorest villages in Guizhou. We have been asked if it would be possible for us to provide a new coat and warm thermal underwear to every child in the village. There are 105 children who currently live in Chaying. For every order placed for this online show we will be donating a set of thermal underwear and a coat for an orphan. No matter the amount you spend Harper and I will match it and make sure every child gets this set.

    I know my fashionista friends will just love Stella's stylish scarves, wallets, jewels and more. You will help us warm up a child's life while shopping for some fun celebrity-coveted jewelry! You may have seen the line featured in InStyle, Lucky, People and Glamour. From delicate necklaces to statement pieces Stella & Dot has something everyone will love! Christmas is just around the corner and with 50% of our line under $50 you will find some fantastic gifts and how sweet it would be to include a note card letting the recipient know that this gift helped keep a child in China stay warm this winter.

    I am so excited for this opportunity as I was deeply saddened that I could not help every family that needs monetary help but now I can! It is such a perfect fit! With that said I will be doing local Charlotte events for ladies that want to earn and reward themselves with some fabulous free jewelry. From these parties and orders on my online boutique we will start saving for Harper's heart surgery. I plan on featuring 1-2 fundraising families every month where the majority of the proceeds and all the jewelry goes to them. I also look forward to venturing out into other community fundraisers or causes that mean so much to my hostess. I want every fundraiser to be a success. So if you are interested in a fundraiser or yearn for some girl time with your friends please e-mail me at and we can talk about getting you on the schedule! Our exclusive styling events are so much fun, super easy and laid will be hooked! Plus hey you all can help this mommy get out of the house!

    So this is not only my opportunity to help people but it gives me a focus to shine the light of Christ and spread His call to all of us to care and love one another. Someone kindly asked me, "Well what do you get out of this?" and I kindly answered, "More then you can ever imagine"! In this season of life this is how I can use my past experiences, my hopes for children around the world and my admiration of fashion to build families. I am starting slow and steady and then after Harper's surgery and depending on the type of care she needs we will go from there but for right now my cause is right in front of me and I won't ever stop fighting for the fatherless.

During National Adoption Awareness Month and time and time again I go back to the Starfish Story to remind myself that we all can make a difference in the life of a child. 

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

    Doesn't that story just make you melt? We really can make a difference. Find what your niche is and do others, love one another, build people up-don't tear them down and most importantly ask the Lord what you can do and how you can use your life to help His causes, not yours. I promise you when you pray to Him, He will answer and clearly direct you to what you need to be doing. 

    Lastly,  I have to share with you all too a picture of my precious Harper taken last Saturday! She is so full of life and I can not imagine any other plans God has for her then being here with us and taking in the suns rays but I know I also have to trust His relationship with her first and foremost. For she was His before she became ours and His.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Torn in Two

     I have not had much time to blog this past summer but the long and short of it is we have had an overall blessed transition. As we set boundaries we are dealing with some expected behavioral issues with Talia as well as some sibling rivalry issues with Harper. Even when the days are long I feel really blessed that God has entrusted us to care for  these two precious little girls. Talia's adjustment into our lives has almost been too easy and with that well I go back to the verse that first brought us to Talia. "For those that have been given much, much is required in return" (Luke:12:48). I had that as my Facebook status the day we received Talia's file a little over a year ago. You would not believe how many sweet and concerned friends messaged me or  to see if I was okay.  Little did everyone know we were given Talia's file and that our lives were about to be blown apart in a very big and amazing way that only God himself could have orchestrated. I know many people, like myself not so long ago, thought of the words "given much" in terms of financial security, properties, cars, 401K's, stocks, loaded emergency funds,  etc. The verse has more to do with being good stewards with all the blessings bestowed upon us then financial security in today's society. That is something we created, not God. We all have been given much, whether God has blessed you with a bigger portion of His money or with many gifts from the Holy Spirit it is just how we decide to use it and are we doing it in a cheerful manner set forth by the Lord. We are accountable for our resources, knowledge, abilities that He has given us so in return He asks us to follow Him and do everything through Him (notice I didn't say through us!)

    In Talia's adoption we were clearly called to be her parents and He clearly chose to heal her heart to bring Him glory. He literally shined through our daughter in such a miraculous way! Sometimes what God is asking us to do is not so clear. In fact, we may think that we are walking the right path with Him and then all of a sudden the carpet is pulled out underneath of us and we say, "What Lord? What was that for?" As my dear friend told me sometimes events in our lives or circumstances presented to us are tests. Yes, tests! Something that is so good can actually be bad and the closer you get to Jesus the more He will ask you to walk a little faster and keep up with His ways. Now I hope I am not losing all of you already! I was right where many of you were a few years ago. Sure I believed in God and yes I believed Jesus died for us but I was nowhere living the life of a follower...nothing in my life pointed to, "Yes I am a child of God" and "Yes He is living through me daily in every decision" and "Yes I will follow Him no matter the cost". So my personal relationship with Christ grew by leaps in bounds when we took Talia's file and we let Him ride the course of our lives and boy did His provision come through!  I don't think I will ever experience a year like that again! As we became more open and shared our story the clearer it became why He chose us to be her parents.

   Anyone that is friends with me knows I live for adoption stories. I advocate for aging out or hard to place children. I am huge proponent for adoption and helping the children that are left behind and where ever I go I talk about the plight of orphans around the world and the care they are receiving in orphanages. The poor mailman has literally left with an adoption packet! It is just my way of educating others about orphans because as David Platt says it is easy for forget about them! So you would think I would tell everyone that they need to adopt (okay sometimes I try! ha!) However I have become increasingly aware that not everyone is called to actually bring home a child not born from their belly. I use to think wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone adopted? Well honestly although a wonderful thought that would not really solve the root of the orphan crisis. We live in a fallen world where there will always be orphans. There will always be someone needing our help. Some people are called to adopt, some people are called to financially support children coming home and some people are called to sponsor children. No matter the act I believe we are all called to pray and help orphans. At first that was a hard pill to swallow why would someone not want to adopt a child that needs life saving surgery?  I guess because I always wanted to adopt it seemed like everyone else would want to help a child in need, right? Well what I have come to realize in my little world is that even when we have the best interests at heart it may just not be right even though that child needs a warm bed at night and a blanket to sleep with. But I know my blog followers will say " But Mary Jane you jumped out when the timing was not right, you jumped out when you had no money to adopt and you jumped out when nothing made sense medically in her file, in fact it sounded horrific"! And my answer is "Yes" to everything it didn't seem right at all but there was such a strong conviction that this was my daughter and God left no margin of error on our decision. He really made the decision for us. So it was more then just jumping out in faith and it was more then saving a child's life. 

   We get asked a lot of questions...there is probably a top ten list of questions we get over and over again so I plan on tackling them one by one in a separate post. Here is the main one from adoptive parents: "How do I know if this child is mine or if I am being called to adopt?" It just so happens this past week we were face to face with a picture of a child that we thought could be ours ( I know take a deep breath Talia has only been here 2 months!) Let's just say in the past I have seen what it looks like when a person is suppose to leap out in faith and when a person is not. It looks very different and the outcomes are very different. In fact, they can be devastating, That is why if you are believer you need to ask the Lord to help guide you in your decisions. He wants to be a part of them just let Him in. 

    A few weeks ago I heard about China's new living relative program. Before this program children were not able to be adopted if they had a living relative but now if the parents relinquish their rights the child gets placed in a social welfare institute and can get placed on an adoption list. My Facebook friends will attest that I do post many pictures and profiles of children that need their forever families to come forward. I pray over each one and never have I ever been attached to a picture as I was of this one beautiful young lady named Candice. Candice's father can no longer care for her as he is disabled due to a traffic accident and her mother is no longer present in her life so he placed her for adoption this year. She is 12 1/2 years old and will age out of the system at age 14. I knew there would be a lot of inquiries about her and when I heard she was matched with a family I was delighted! And then last Friday I was told that the family adopting her backed out and she was available again. For some reason my heart sunk for her and Todd and I prayed and kept her in our intentions throughout the weekend. It was like I could picture her in every errand I ran last weekend. It was all I was consumed thinking about. So many things were running through my mind. Was God calling us again? And why does He keep calling us so soon after every adoption? And how in the world did He think I could handle parenting a 12 year old? I know nothing about that age group except for what I went through in middle school! I went from one extreme to the next she wouldn't like it here, our house is too small, she will want privacy, she will dislike being the only older child around, our girls won't like her, etc. I spun it around and around and around and then I saw the video of her and heard her voice and I cried. So angelic and the course of our lives was about to change once again. We were actually considering her! My 10% chance of her being ours quickly jumped to 60%! I should preface this and tell you that Talia's baptism was this past weekend and as I wrestled over this decision my parents were in town, my brother and my best friends. All people that I could have talked this over with and confessed our big secret but I didn't want anyone else's voice. I wanted to hear the Lord's voice because at the end of this life it doesn't matter what others thought of our decisions. I am more concerned with what He thinks of how I answered his calling for me. I woke up the day of Talia's Baptism and as I got ready I think I had my revelation in the shower. You see this was all starting to look very much like how we got Talia's file. Things just fell into place, I could picture her here, I could see my future with her. We were open and willing to bring her home. Another older child from the same orphanage in the same video was being adopted by our new friends right down the road. What are the chances of that? Everything pointed to having her here!  I felt like I could not go on another day without her but something in my told me to stop and just let Him speak to me. That is always everyone's advice and I never understood what firm Christian believers meant when they would say, "Chat with God. Listen to His voice. Find Him in your decision". First off, how can I chat with God? Is he really going to answer me? With Talia's file it was crystal clear with a date this time there was no date so that didn't help matters. I have to tell you it is SO VERY HARD to find God's voice in the constant chatter of this world. Nothing points to Him. It all points to us and what we want. It was at that moment I begin to think how selfish I was. This child needed a home and I could be a wonderful mother to her but I didn't like how it looked. I wanted her to have her own place to hang out with friends, a bigger house to give her privacy, a Suburban so that I could fit her and all her friends, a bank account that would allow us to give her anything she wanted and so deserved right? (side note here no offense to those that drive Suburbans-you know what I mean it could be any car). I didn't like how it looked because that is not how I pictured my life. It didn't add up to what I wanted and I felt she deserved so much more then what I could provide her with. I was weeping, weeping from the despair of wanting her so bad like I had wanted so many external things in this life. I spent my first 34 years being selfish is that how I really wanted to spend the next 34 years?  Even if this adoption through off the course of what I had planned for our lives? I wanted to break free from it all! EVERYTHING! The torment and the anguish and the remorse I felt as the water streamed down my face. I was ripped apart and the layers peeled off of me like an onion...and God was rocking me to my core!  So in the shower I made the decision okay Todd and I need to sit down and fill out that Letter of Intent it doesn't look right but this is the right thing to do and she is ours! Amen! 

Wrong!!! Totally wrong! 

A minute after that revelation it hit me like a ton of bricks literally my head hurt and the Holy Spirit was just moving inside me.  I realized I wanted her. I wanted her to be my daughter in the worst way. I loved her and did not want anyone else to submit that Letter of Intent until I did. I was weeping, weeping from the despair of wanting her so bad to be my daughter and for it to look different. I wanted, what I wanted and I wanted it now! I was always a firm believer in you want something then go out after it. The world is yours...well did that sure slap me in the face! When I laid out my intentions to the Lord I asked for discernment and clarity and for Him to be clear. It seems the decision was never clear until that moment when I realized I wanted her and I once again was being selfish. He knew how bad I would want her and He asked me to follow and trust His plan for her not mine. My way although seemingly good as I would be bringing home a child that so deserves a home is bad because it was me, not Him. I think this is so important to realize especially for people that have adopted. We long to help the children that are waiting. But to those that have not adopted this pertains to you as well.  I pray for you all in your daily lives to try to clear the chatter and clutter and try to find Him. There are so many things society says we need or must have because we work hard and deserve it right? We fool ourselves into to thinking this instead get lost in what He has in store for you and your life. It will be so much more fulfilling then you ever imagined. It will no doubt be a harder walk but in eternity is where your soul will lie with Him and that is better then anything that this world has created. 

    My heart ripped was torn in two that day and as I celebrated Talia's baptism in my mind I wondered if Candice will ever come to know the Lord and surrender her life to Him? Will show know the real love of a family? A family that sticks together no matter how tough things get. A family that does not break apart due to a fallen world and its lies. A family that can love on her and handle all the grief and loneliness that she will no doubt experience. Will you pray for her and for her family to come forward soon. At this point I do not believe it is us so I am letting her go even though every ounce of me wants to hang on to her. She has already made her mark on our lives and for whatever reason she took my heart and maybe God is preparing us for something else or maybe He was testing me to see if I was going to be obedient or only follow Him so far. In the meantime I pray for the desires of His heart to be in my heart because His ways are not my ways and I long for them to be. We do not have a dime to start the adoption for Candice but we have one room left in our house and for us that was enough. It wasn't the finances that stopped us for Candice or the crazy looks or concerns that our family and friends would give us when we said we were adopting a 12 year old it was the fact that God has asked me quite clearly to be one of His sheep and to listen to His voice, not mine. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)

    I know this post was pretty personal but I live my life openly. I think that is one of my gifts and so I want to share what I have experienced in hopes it answers the question: "How do I know when God is calling me to do something vs. me wanting to do something?" Seek His voice. I bought a new bible the other day and guess what verse I read as soon as I opened it up. "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6).

    I am going to do my very best to advocate for her and see if she comes back to us or goes to the family that God intended to be hers. Here is her sweet and beautiful face and she is with Living Hope on their individual list. I do not want to ever see her on an aging out list. She has a year and a half before she ages out and Living Hope has promised a fast time frame to her even if you are starting from scratch on a dossier. Are you her forever family? Please strongly consider praying with your spouse about lovely Candice. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The 8 Week Miracle!

     I think I blasted this story everywhere now but I had to pop it up quickly on this blog as well. What a way to start my morning! This is a prime example how God moves people in today's times to help other people, His children who need help!

    This was the family that I hosted a Matilda Jane fundraiser for last month. The family had leaped out in faith to adopt two girls that are clearly theirs...the only problem was money! Just days ago they were $30,000 short and only had a few weeks before their child would age out of China's adoption system. Well today they are almost fully funded thanks to an amazing selfless couple.

    Well my friend has some amazing news! Over the weekend she received an email from an anonymous young couple who had decided to give their entire proceeds of the sale of their house to bring home Diane's two aging out girls! They described in their letter how God had called them to orphan ministry, how they had come to read her blog, and how God made it clear to them through scripture that they were called to give to bring her girls home. Can you imagine that type of reckless abandonment (as David Platt would say!) to help someone else? Brings me to my knees!

   This was the verse in their bible study class last Sunday!

"With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need" Acts 4:33-34

    Yes God could not have made that any clearer to them. If you seek for Him you will find Him, I promise!

    Can you just take a moment today and Thank God for moving mountains to bring home two children whose lives will now be saved and they will come to know Him. Can we just be thankful today for His abundant love and His provision for this family. After reading this story nothing should bring you down sorrow or regretful thoughts, no worries, no anxiety...just happy, loving thoughts and prayers of Thanksgiving for the McCaslin's. Thank you Lord for your provision and being where we seek you, always!

    Here is their blog link to keep up with the family and their two daughters who are about to become a part of an amazing loving family in America!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Georgia Grace trunk show

Okay time for a little back to school fun! I am hosting a virtual Georgia Grace trunk show. This release is pretty small but there will be another release soon! In order to prevent sell out's and to get everything on your wish list we are asking to have all orders in by Monday.The colors of this line are gorgeous and match a lot of lines out this season.

We’re so very excited to introduce Alouette, our Georgia Grace Fall 2012 collection! Alouette will be available for purchase starting August 25th. This collection has been almost a year in the making and led us on a journey larger than we imagined. It’s a collection of sweet girly details, adorable color, and funky styles. Before placing an order, please visit for more information on our ordering policies.  If you have any additional questions or concerns please contact me the hostess Mary Jane (, or the Georgia Grace Trunk Representative, Mary Sammons, at ( or (602-576-8006). You will need to provide your Trunk Representative and Email with the items you are interested in purchasing. Please include your phone number. Once the items are in uploaded your Representative will call your for payment information. Once your order is placed you will receive an order confirmation email. Please review the order and contact (Mary Sammons) if you need additional help (please reference your order number found in the confirmation email). Thanks so much and enjoy the show!

Mary Sammons will be posting pictures on her blog tomorrow late afternoon of her beautiful girls decked out in the new Georgia Grace line. Her blog can be found here! As always please keep her dear Ivy in your prayers!
Thank you all and have some fun! Back to school is right around the corner and I know the little girls in your new life will just love something special!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sister fun!

Sorry I have been MIA if you don't already know me on Facebook- come find me-"Mary Jane Postiglione"!

I post pictures daily and all my updates are on there. I plan to keep blogging but most days I am breaking up toy temper tantrums between my "virtual twins:!

I just had to share some of the pictures from the girl's first photo shoot! Our dear friend who sang in our wedding gifted us a session and it was so much fun for the girls to get all dolled up!

"Sugar and spice
 and everything nice
 that's what little girls are made of

Sunshine and rainbows
 and ribbons for hair bows
 that's what little girls are made of

Tea parties, laces
 and baby doll faces
 that's what little girls are made of"

She did these poses all by herself! Such a ham!

Don't let this sweet face fool you...ha!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fundraiser for the McCaslin Family

Thank you everyone this fundraiser is now closed but you can continue to donate on their blog the next couple of months!!! Let's bring these girls home! This was so fun for me to give back even if it was in a little way!
    Calling all moms that love Matilda Jane clothing! A friend in the adoption community needs help and I have a way to combine fashion, fun and donations all in one!

    If you have not heard about the McCaslin's story now is the time to take a few minutes out of your day to read about their amazing calling to adopt not one, but two, aging out girls. My friend's blog did a wonderful post on the family and it was her post that got me stirring to stop what I was doing (yes very busy with my new "virtual twins") and do something! Instead of my insight to the story read this blog post about how their story is inspiring everyone in the adoption world to do something! You might need to get your tissues:)

    Do you want to be a part of the 8 week miracle? They need $34,000 in 8 weeks in order to prevent these beautiful girls, their daughters, from being put out on the streets of China. If they wait one day past their 14th birthday they are no longer eligible to be adopted. Evangeline and Eliza are waiting in China for the Mama and Baba and the only thing standing in the way is money!

    I have two ways you can help be a part of the 8 week miracle. You can donate directly on their blog via their chip in button here:
or you can shop for your daughters on the online McCaslin's Matilda Jane trunk show until August 3rd. 10% of all orders will go directly to the McCaslin's adoption fund and they will also receive the hostess benefits so let's get this party total high so they can get some new cute clothes for their beautiful girls!

    Thank you to Katie Faucher for hosting and offering to do an online trunk show benefiting the McClasin family! View all of the beautiful clothes on the MJ site 
and then email your wish list to who will give you further instructions on how to purchase and can also answer any questions about the product and sizing! How fun and lets remember what we are shopping for!

    Let's do everything we can to help save these two girls lives! This is their last chance for a family and instead of sitting back you can pray for them, donate and help spread the word about this fundraiser.

    Thank you everyone! Eliza and Evangeline are so grateful to know that their family is coming soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Miracle Girl-Part Deux

     Are you ready for this? We just received Talia's hematology blood work results and she does not have a blood disorder! So my beautiful Talia girl not only does not have a tumor in her heart, she  also does not have a blood disorder that will require transfusions! As your may remember, her file said she had a G6PD blood disorder. Talia has not been able to have soy products, legumes or berries for two years. Today you better believe I am going out and buying her some strawberries! We were told she would have a severe reaction and if she had any of these items and would need to be hospitalized. Todd carried a note with him in China for this and was so careful (as were her foster parents) the past few years. Through God's grace and the power of prayer Talia is a healthy three year old little girl with no medical needs! Isn't that unbelievable?

     China has a few different adoption programs that children fall under. There is a traditional program for children with no special needs or conditions. Unfortunately, these people have been waiting close to seven years for referrals! I don't advise signing up for that program unless you're comfortable with a child with special needs because many people are still coming home with children that have medical needs -- and really seven years?! The next program is the special needs program which Harper was a part of. You fill out a medical needs list with things you feel comfortable with or have medical teams nearby that excel in those special needs you have listed. They can very from very minor to severe needs and you can also list the age you would like to adopt as well as the sex. The next program is called the Special Focus (SF) program. This is for people like us who were reusing their dossier. Typically, this is the more severe needs list as well as older children or children with more then one special need. Talia automatically received the "SF" label due to her G6PD and the severity of her heart condition plus a number of other SNs listed on her file which were minor including speech delays. Low and behold she should have never been on that list! We are still in shock that all her major special needs (her G6PD and her heart condition) have either healed spontaneously or have been proven to not exist! This means her file was inaccurate and she really could have been on the traditional list as a healthy child! The only medical needs Talia has is a scar on her buttock from her surgery she did not need and eczema which is cleaning up thanks to Aveeno moisturizing cream! She is such a joyous, girly, happy little being and we are so blessed to be her parents. We are so in love with her and amazed at how well her adjustment has been.

     Now I know what you all are thinking -- those that are waiting in line for a referral -- man I hope that happens to us! Let me tell you our first daughter is our biggest blessing and she has a long road ahead, medically! The expenses are great, the time at doctors (she alone has nine appointments just this month!), the energy it takes to parent a special needs child (especially a physical need), the ups and downs emotionally for both the child and the parents as you hear good news then disappointing news, etc. You see it doesn't matter what special need your child has; It just matters how you handle their uniqueness. When you sign up for a special/medical needs adoption you should not be asking yourself, "Can I handle this need or is that one too hard to manage?" What you should be asking yourself is, "Can I love a child unconditionally?" I can honestly say now that this has now happened to us twice, where we received referrals that were way off base. I don't care what you put on your special needs checklist when filling out that form. I also don't care how many doctors and specialists you talk to before you "feel comfortable" accepting a file. The child that is meant to be yours, will be really is just that simple.

     Case in point -- when we filled out our first medical checklist we were so exact and it had only two medical needs listed (we were nervous first time parents!) We accepted Harper's file knowing that she had a 6.6 mm hole in the upper chambers of her heart. We knew open heart surgery was an option should the ASD too large and it is indeed large (the most recent measurements from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia had it at 10mm)! The team of specialists as well as the updates on Harper all sounded fantastic and that she just had a simple ASD.  I am going to be very honest here: I know we would not have taken Harper's file if her other needs were listed or even known! We also would not have taken her file if we thought open heart surgery was a necessity! I can not imagine a day without my smiling, spunky Harper girl and if all those things were listed we would have missed out on her. You see when you get your child's file you aren't in love with them yet -- at least we weren't. We knew Harper was our daughter, but we really grew to love her when she was placed in our arms and we did what we had to do to take care of our child. It is only when you're home and spending time together do you begin to realize this child is with you forever and she is yours to love and keep safe. I guess I safeguard my feelings or at least try to while I am waiting to bring them home!  It is really a unique way to come into parenthood for first time parents!

     We took Harper's file based on a date that was meaningful to us. We also took her file because there was just something about her that seemed a good fit for us when we looked at her picture. There was a certain sparkle in her eyes that we couldn't ignore. Her file had to say what it had to say in order for us to take it. Remember, with God there are no coincidences. This was His best laid plan in our lives. It didn't make sense at the time why our child had so many needs and she looked so healthy! Little did we know how her life and list of medical needs would change the course of so many other orphans' lives. She opened up prospective adoptive parents hearts and minds! Harper came home and we spent a solid 8 months, sleep deprived and living at hospitals and doctors offices. Harper has scoliosis (wears a hard brace 23/7), chiari brain malformation, a benign tumor on her forehead, ASD, pulmonary stenosis (may need a valve replacement) and has severe milk allergies. If that was all listed out on her file she definitely would have been on the Special Focus list. I can tell you many of us reading this would not have accepted her file. Let's be honest -- scoliosis alone is a scary medical need and there are hundreds of kids with scoliosis sitting on the China lists for years until they age out of the adoption system. When you look at Harper and you meet her everyone wants to gobble her up (yes we are biased here) so I urge you all to look past those "scary" medical terms and just accept a child into your home that needs a home. I promise you that you will never look back and that child will bless your life over and over again as both Harper and Talia have done for us.

    Our Harper bug led us to Talia. She taught us what we can really handle which is nothing by ourselves, but everything through God who strengthens us. It took a 18 month old child for us to learn to fully rely on God's plan for our lives, not our own plan for our lives. Talia's file, in turn, had to say what it had to say in order for us to accept it. It really did! That night I got her file I was totally stunned and then reading it and seeing her face I just knew God was asking her us leap but I can tell you that if I read her file and everything was perfect I would have thought to myself well another family will adopt her. What a beautiful baby girl with no medical needs! She will definitely not wait long. However, her file was not picture perfect. It was the hardest file our cardiologist said he has ever seen! I, too, see a lot of files and try to help others when I can that are waiting to hear back from doctors and Talia's file was really rough. Her medical needs sounded incredibly scary and it was definitely incomplete and lacking blood work as well as a heart ultrasound. She waited on the SF list for a family to love her but no one came so we stepped up to the plate! It was again the date that made me think she is meant to be ours (even if it meant that we only had her for a few years). It is so ironic to me that Harper and Talia's files were so opposite. One file only had one need listed and we came home to find out much more and the other file had so many big needs listed only to come home to find out that she has no medical needs. It breaks my heart to think about Talia getting lost on the shared list and not being adopted because her medical needs seemed scary.

    Through this journey to Talia we had no clue how it would all work out from her health to our financials to bring her home but it did work out and it turned out better then we ever could have imagined. But that is what God does! He shines through the darkness and He does the impossible.

     Talia, in turn, showed us everything we knew to be true. God surely loves us and God loves us even more when we rely on Him and leap out on faith. Our journey to Talia and back demonstrates His goodness and Talia demonstrates that miracles do happen everyday and He used her to bring people closer to Him. How awesome is that? Just think of how many people reading and following our story from almost every country around the world. I look at my blog stats sometimes in amazement...close to 80,000 hits in 6 months! I mean, really? God is shining through the weak and humble. His grace has been plentiful in our lives and I pray that you too can feel it and if you ever have a single doubt in your mind about what He can do just sit for a moment and contemplate Talia's story! She has been through hell and back and almost died on a table in hospital in China only to now be in America with a wonderful life ahead of her! I do not know a better testimony then hers and to be able to witness God's powerful ways first hand is even more amazing!

    Both girls were clearly meant to be our daughters and He knew exactly how to have those files read in order for us to say "Yes"!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Talia's First Holiday-July 4th!

What a day! Our little firecrackers spent the day mostly outside playing with the water table and enjoying the Carolina sunshine! We also attended a Forever Family Day Anniversary party. How fitting for Talia's first party! A sweet little girl, Alana Grace, has now been home a whole year and yesterday she celebrated with her close family, friends and families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting. It was a wonderful celebration of our blessings-independence and family!

And I'm proud to be and American,
 where at least I know I'm free.
 And I wont forget the men who died,
 who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
 next to you and defend her still today.
 ‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
 God bless the USA.