Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snow Day Fun

"Snowmaggedon" hit Nebraska last week. Jim Cantore (from the Weather Channel) even came to Lincoln to broadcast updates on "Snowstorm Q" from Q Street. We ended up with 2 extra days to hunker down and just have fun.
Dayna built a big fort and wanted all to know they were welcome.

The Mega-Fort

She closed her eyes...but she had everything she needed inside her fort (notice the lamp on the left?) and we let her sleep all night under the tent.

Daddy's Little Valentine and the Fine Arts Festival

Dan took Dayna out for their annual Valentine's Day Daddy-Daughter breakfast date. Don't they dress up well?

Dayna also entered the Ashland Fine Arts Festival again this year. The date was earlier than anticipated, and she had less than a week to learn her song. But learn it she did! Dayna was awarded a purple ribbon and Best of Show for all instrumentalists!

I love the little feet that don't come anywhere close to reaching the floor.

She didn't really stop long enough for me to get a picture of her cute little bow.

Her artwork also received a purple ribbon. Well done, Dayna.

Wilson Family Fun

Dan's dad was getting a little sleepy after all the LEGO madness, so we had a little fun with him. It was also a fun round birthday for Katie! (But we won't say how round it is.)

Lego Mania

Dan's parents took us to Lauritzen Gardens to see their LEGO exhibit. These were incredible!

Chinese New Year - FCC Style

Once again, we celebrated Chinese New Year with our friends through Families with Children from China. The Lion Dancers are always a hit.

A fun family tradition

Here comes the lion tamer

Colorful lions

Of course, the orange one is my favorite

The kids get to be lions

The tail

With her buddy Eli

...and the head

Dayna asked to sing her Chinese New Year song. Well done, sweetheart!

Chinese New Year - Wilson Style

When our friends, the Peng family, were living in Nebraska, we were able to sample many of Cailian's famous dumplings. Before they returned to China, I was able to get a photograph of her recipe in her own handwriting. So for Chinese New Year, we gathered with friends and tried our hands at making Cailian's dumplings. Who would have guessed the secret ingredient would be sauerkraut?

We greatly missed the Pengs, but were able to share some great memories together.
Assembling the dumplings.
They're getting the hang of it, but Ted won't look at the camera.

The dumplings look pretty good. Of course, they turned out REALLY big, so we had to photograph them on a huge platter to make them look more normal-sized.

Kid tested - and approved.

Waiting and Watching

We're entering the phase where we simply sit and wait for THE phone call. The one that gives us permission to travel. We've started a "launch pad" of things to pack, we have checklists ready to go, and our hearts are prepared.

So now, we hurry up and wait. I had my first dream about Annie last night. It was on Gotcha Day, and she was wearing the sweetest little navy blue dress with white polka dots, with a white straw hat on her head. In my dream, she came right to me and snuggled into my shoulder.

I remember waiting for Dayna and having a dream about her. God used that dream to reassure me that Dayna was being well cared for and loved.  It's amazing how God can use a dream to still my heart. It's kind of odd dreaming about someone you are madly in love with, but you haven't yet met.

And so...I will continue to wait. Taking each day one at a time until I get that little girl in my arms. (Because she's already woven into my heart.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time for Tea

To follow up with my fundraising post, we are coming off the most amazing two weeks. My neighbor and friend, Tina, is a consultant for Tealightful Teas. She offered to help us with an amazing fundraiser, that's very close to my heart. Last Saturday, we held a large tea party at a local church. This is a church we don't attend, but they donated their space to us. Tina and I found 5 different hosts (plus my mom who is selling via catalog in Oregon) for this tea party. One of the hosts doesn't even know us, yet felt she wanted to help out. Tina generously offered to forgo her commission from all sales and give them to us. (And when I discovered this was the biggest party she'd ever done, I knew this was a gracious gift indeed.)

While she was working away and planning her party, Tina found two other friends who also have businesses with direct sales. Victoria lives in Iowa (and we're pretty sure we're somehow related on my grandmother's side) and drove here with her Scentsy and Norwex products. She also offered to give our family a cut of her sales. And Danielle is selling Miche bags on our behalf. I'm absolutely stunned that complete strangers would go to such lengths to help a little girl come home.

So on Saturday, dozens of us gathered in a small church basement, drinking tea and eating scones. If you know me, you'll know that I'm a complete tea snob. I'm extremely picky about the tea I drink. The Tealightful products are wonderful. I spent a day surrounded by people who love my family and supported us through something I love. I honestly don't know how God could have tailored a more perfect weekend for us. It was one of those moments when I just sit back and watch God work.

We are blessed indeed to have the friends we do.

If you want to give back to Tina and the other ladies, I would strongly encourage you to check out their businesses and support them. You can make inquiries in the comments and I'll hook you up with them.

The Fundraising Dilemma

I continue to be humbled and amazed (although I shouldn't be) at the way God continues to provide for our adoption.

The issue of fundraising can be a sticky one in adoption circles. On the one hand, it can give the impression that you are "buying" a child. (There's a big difference between buying a plane ticket and buying a child.) There are those who believe if you can't afford the adoption, you can't afford to have another child. Some believe that those who help with fundraising might feel they have some sort of ownership of the child, a "look what I did" mentality. It seems those who are against fundraising are quite vehement in their stance.

On the other hand, some people feel led to give generously. They know they are not called to adopt, but can help the orphan by helping offset a family's costs. And who am I to forbid someone the blessing of giving as they see fit? And the reality is, giving birth often involves something called insurance. I don't want to make light of the medical bills a family incurs when a child is born to them. I know that this can be a very real issue. But a family's deductibles and out-of-pocket insurance maximums usually don't come close to the total figure of adoption fees, background checks, travel expenses, post-placement visits (China now requires 5! Several hundred dollars each time), etc. Most families choosing to adopt are average run-of-the-mill families like ours. And we often don't have tens of thousands of dollars lying around.

So after some prayer, we have taken the following course when it comes to fundraising: we are not asking anyone for money, but we are making the giving opportunity available as people ask. This summer, my parents and their friends generously threw a yard sale on our behalf. We have also found creative ways to raise money as a family. Dan is selling a bunch of LEGOs. I'm teaching piano lessons. We're taking advantage of Facebook and local online garage sales by selling off some of the things we don't use anymore. Dayna is even collecting the seeds from her apples so she can grow seedlings and sell apple trees (bless her for the idea!)

We have applied for grants, and we have been able to set up an adoption account through Lifesong for Orphans, where people can give on our behalf. We receive 100% of the donation (unless Paypal is used...they keep a small cut), and donations are tax deductible.

It's been really fun the last 6 weeks watching God throw open the floodgates and bless our family. Often a few dollars at a time. Somehow, I know He will provide. And He will provide abundantly. We are SO excited to see what's in store the next few weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Commands and Callings

Mommy Wars. We have them over everything: education choices, whether or not to seek employment, breastfeeding. It seems that there is so much judgment and so little conversation. (And I confess, I'm probably guilty myself. I do hold some pretty strong opinions.) At the end of the day, what's really important? I believe that it's whether or not we've lived our lives to glorify God and do what's best for our family.

So I was quite happy on Sunday to hear our pastor address the fact that God's universal commands are not the same as an individual's calling.

Let me give an example. We are ALL commanded to care for orphans (James 1:27 among others). This isn't a "cause". It's a command.

But does that mean that all of my friends should go out and adopt just because we did? Of course not. Caring for orphans and adopting a child are not the same thing. I have one friend who uses her background as a music therapist to travel the world and offer her services to orphans and underprivileged children. Other friends take their gently used clothes to the local foster care closet. Another friend offers to pray for my family as we prepare to meet Annie. There are a multitude of ways to care for orphans. Adoption is just one of them.

God's universal command to care for orphans is not the same as my family's call to adopt two of them.

So why..why...why do so many Christians feel that what is right for their family is what every family should do? This has really filled a lot of my thoughts the past few years as I struggled with working full-time outside the home. I felt there was little support from my church for moms like me who tried to keep everything balanced.

I stumbled across this blog tonight and absolutely loved what she had to say. Please let me know what you think.

Let's celebrate the fact that God calls us in different ways to achieve His ultimate glory.