This is our journey of the unexpected adoption of a princess with Down syndrome waiting for us in China making us a family of 7!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Will You Say Yes?

"Your life was designed for far more than just the accumulation of things or the accomplishment of daily tasks. You were created for an adventure of trust. The adventure begins by letting go, taking a leap of faith and saying YES to the God who deeply loves you." ~Kay Warren 

"You have a plan for the rest of your life. God has a plan for the rest of your life. Are they the same? What if God’s plan for your life is far bigger, far more risky, and far more fulfilling than what you had planned?" 
~Kay Warren 

"Sometimes God will call you to do a work – a work that He has planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). You may not want to do it. You may feel that you are not smart enough, talented enough, strong enough, or bold enough. You may even argue with God like Moses did (Exodus 3-4). You may laugh at God like Sarah did (Genesis 18:12). But if you obey God and depend on Him to work through you, amazing things will happen. People will be blessed. You will be blessed. You may never know the people who are changed by your obedience to speak a word, to lend a hand, or to give a hug. You may never know the lives that are impacted by your obedience to do what God has called you to do. But know this. There will be abundant fruit with your name on it – if you choose to obey." ~Sharon Jaynes

When I think about this adoption process the ways I have been blessed, because we said YES to God, is sometimes overwhelming.  At first, naturally, I didn't really want to say yes.  "We cannot afford another adoption" and "A child with Down syndrome?" were a couple thoughts that ran through my head constantly.  But the more God spoke to me, the easier it was to take the leap and say YES once again.  

Although this is our third China adoption, this process has been totally different than any of the others.  The costs to adopt have increased over the years but I have had such peace and faith that God would be the provider of everything we need.  And boy has He shown up!  We have been blessed tremendously by the love of others who have sacrificed and donated towards bringing Karsynn home.  We have had random amounts of extra money in our bank account after paying our bills that we were able to use for the adoption.  And the thing I am most excited about are my necklaces and Handmade Hope.  Thanks to Matt and Paul, this has been such a huge blessing (a lot of work but a huge blessing) not only to us but to other families adopting as well!  It has been so fun to see it grow and to be able to help other families and organizations raise money as well.  I am very much looking forward to coming home and being able to pick an organization or family each month to donate proceeds to and bless.  It has truly been amazing and I couldn't have done it without the many people who have helped get it going and who have shared with their friends and family! We have also been blessed with a couple adoption grants and I truly believe that God has used my past hurts and how He has turned them into our amazing story to help us earn these grants (we had to write letters with our applications).  Because of all these things, we have been able to pay every fee due and are just a few thousand (out of the, I don't even know, like $28,000 it costs to adopt from China)!  Only God can do such a thing! Are the costs of adopting holding you back from doing so? DON'T LET IT!

Saying YES to God this adoption has also introduced me to so, so many new friends!  I have absolutely LOVED "meeting" these new friends, watching their own adoption processes, and learning about them and their families.  The Down syndrome community has been very welcoming and so helpful to answer any questions and it has been so neat to see all the families stepping up to adopt these wonderful children.  Being involved in these circles has also allowed me to use my past and story to counsel a couple women who learned their child has Down syndrome and were considering aborting.  These women I didn't even know personally, but what a huge blessing!  

I have such an overwhelming sense of peace with this adoption (unlike any before) and I cannot wait to get on that plane to China (even though I am TERRIFIED of flying!)!  I am so excited to meet our girl and learn all about her. I know without a doubt she will impact our family, those around us, and the world...and the blessings of saying YES to God will only continue!  We are waiting to get official approval from China and from that point it is an average of 8-10 weeks till travel!  The country of China is, of course, closed from October 1st through 7th.  There is a very slight possibility (miracle, really) we could travel in September before the closure but it will most likely be right after the closure.  So it's coming quickly!

Is there something God is asking you to say YES to?  You can say "no" because He doesn't force you to say "yes".  You can say "maybe some other time" or "maybe in a couple years when my bills are paid off" or "how about you ask me to do something else God?"  The answer most pleasing to God has got to be "YES"!  Will it be risky? Yes.  Will it require sacrifice?  Most likely.  Will it be scary?  Often.  Will it be worth it?  YES!  Don't wait, you'll be amazed at what He accomplishes! 

If you feel inclined to help get us fully funded, you can click the Reece's Rainbow link to the right of here (the one with Karsynn's picture on it) and donate or we still have about $1000 left on our matching grant (contact me if you want information on donating towards that). Thank you for the continued support and prayers for our journey.  You all mean the world to us! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Yesterday we received word that all our documents are now on their way to China! DTC! Once China receives them we can begin the offical countdown to Karsynn!  Travel can be anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5 months!  So excited!!

Today we also received a $3000 matching grant!  This is great news considering we need thousands of dollars still in such a short amount of time.  If you have been wanting to donate or purchase a necklace or keychain, now is the perfect time because every dollar is matched up to $3000!!  Let me know if this is something you would like to do and I will get you all the information to do so. 

We still have 3 other grants we are waiting to hear back on and should be hearing from in the coming days/weeks.  Praying these come through as well so that we can be fully funded!  Thankful for all of you for praying for us and getting us this far in our process!  
God is so faithful!! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Yesterday we received, finally after 46 days, our approval to adopt a child from China!  There are 13 documents that have to be notarized and then approved by the Secretary of State and the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco and this is the last of the documents we needed.  Once we have the approval from these two places, off to China our documents go (DTC)!  This is always a great relief because this means everything on our end is all completed.  No more going to appointments, having things notarized, filling out paperwork, etc.  Now we just wait.  Once our paperwork is mailed to China, hopefully in a couple weeks, we will then get a date that our paperwork is logged into their system (LID) and from that point travel will be about 4 months!  That means early October is very likely!  Not very far away, really!!

Karsynn's birthday is the end of this month so we had a couple things sent to her.  We sent a photo album of some pictures of all of us so she can get familiar with us along with a letter, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a birthday cake!  When she gets her cake we will get some pictures of her with her cake...can't wait!  Love you, sweet girl!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Long Overdue Update

Well hello blogging world.  My apologies for not keeping up to date on this realm of social media.  Between adoption paperwork, making necklaces, my "regular" job, and the family...this is the last thing from my mind.  However, I thought I would take a second and at least update all you who are curious about where we are with our process to bring Karsynn home.

We are currently waiting for our I800a approval from Immigration.  We took our fingerprints on April 6th and are just waiting for that letter of approval in the mail.  With Brayden's adoption it took 4 days after fingerprints to receive approval.  Great example of how things change in the adoption process!

Once we receive that approval we can send it off to the Secretary of State and the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco for their approvals and then we will be DTC (Dossier/Documents To China)!  This is always a sigh of relief because that means everything is done on our end.  Then we just wait until China says we can come to bring Karsynn home.  Right now, it is looking like October sometime could be when we would travel!!  It snows where Karsynn lives and so I am praying that we travel in October and before the weather gets bad.

I have been working overtime to make necklaces and keychains to raise money for our adoption expenses.  We are so blessed of this opportunity God gave us and the support of so many people making it happen!  We are still needing a large amount of money by October (about $19,000) but I know God WILL PROVIDE every penny!  We are planning on taking Kennedi with us because she is at a point where she is embrasing her Chinese heritage finally (if you know Kennedi, you know this is a huge step for her) plus it is a great thing for the adopted child to have another child around.  Karsynn also lives in an area that requires an extra week in China so instead of 2 weeks we have to plan on being there 3 weeks.  These two things add a huge amount to the costs of this adoption.  We are waiting to hear on a couple grant applications in the next month or so and are praying at least one of them come through.  This would be a huge blessings on this journey.

So can you please pray that we can travel by October and that the grants are approved and the funds keep being provided, if you think about us?  We are so blessed by all the people who have surrounded us with love and support during this journey.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

World Down Syndrome Day!

Today is a day that has taken on a whole new meaning for us in the past few months. World Down Syndrome Day. A few months ago I didn't even know this day really existed. But God, God has been growing in me over the past couple years this love for those blessed with an extra chromosome.  Maybe its because way too many of those in the US who hear their child has Down syndrome feel their only answer is to abort their pregnancy (somewhere between 70 and 90%). Knowing the heartbreak an abortion can cause, my heart breaks for these parents and for the precious unborn child. My prayer is that I can somehow shine a light on the fact that children with Down syndrome are Fearfully and Wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and I have a big feeling Karsynn is going to help others see that.

God has not only placed adoption of a Down syndrome child in my path but He has been opening many other doors as well. I have been asked by the owner of Gigi's Playhouse in Des Moines Moines, Iowa to design and sell some of my Handmade Hope necklaces in their store! Gigi's Playhouse is a nationwide achievement center for those with DS. You can read more about them here. Praying one day we will have our very own local Gigi's Playhouse that I can be a part of! In the past week alone, God has also provided me the opportunity to be moderator of a Down Syndrome Adoption Facebbok page and our agency has also asked me to be in charge of advocating for their DS children they have waiting for families! Do you know China did not feel children with DS were adoptable and so they wouldn't bother using their time and resources preparing their files for adoption? Until recently they realized Americans, and others, will adopt and love DS kids so they began preparing files.  Today there are many adorable DS kiddos ready and waiting for their families.  I couldn't be more honored to have these new opportunities and I can't wait to see what other doors open along the way!!

So as I sit here at the beach enjoying the amazing views and weather I can't help but think of how amazing my life has unfolded to become once I allowed God to lead the way. 20 or even 10 years ago I would not have even imagined I would have 3 children from China and one of them with Down syndrome or that I would be an advocate for the orphan and those rocking an extra chromosome.  I am so humbled God chose broken me to fulfill His purposes!! What is He calling you to be used for? Will you let Him?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I-800a Submitted

I realize for most of you reading this, you have no idea what the title of my post even means.  You'll see many abbreviations like this throughout the China adoption process and for someone who is new to it all, it can sometimes be a bit confusing or overwhelming.  I-800a submitted basically means we submitted our application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine if we are suitable to adopt a child from another country, including a fee of $975.

We should have had this application in the mail last Monday but Katelyn became ill all week and so we just got them in the mail yesterday.  Adoption process had to be put on hold for the week.  What's a week right? Or at least that's what I keep telling myself...

We, along with Katelyn because she is over 18, will now wait for our fingerprint appointment date to go and take our $1000 fingerprints.  Once we receive approval from USCIS, we can get our documents on their way to China.

That's about all the excitement around here.  Waiting to hear on some grant applications we submitted, super busy making necklaces which has been a HUGE blessing, and spending the passing days at the pool at swim meets because it's that time of the year again and I love it!  It has been in the mid to high 70s here...perfect weather to be poolside!  I also went on Thursday to see The Drop Box! If you missed this short showing in theaters, please be sure to look for it when it comes out on DVD!  It is the amazing story of Pastor Lee in South Korea who began opening his home to the many children who were being orphaned on the streets.  He eventually built a "drop box" that the babies can be put anonymously inside the box instead of leaving them to die in the cold.  This man LOVES like God loves.  He puts the needs of these children above his own needs.  Truly a story that will break you and hopefully move you.  You've heard this saying before but "we can't all adopt but we can all DO SOMETHING"!  I hope you get to see it.

Here's your #6 Seeds of Change Devotional, enjoy!

Why do we do what we do for the sake of others?  What motivates us?  How does God view these motivations?  Is the purest motivator a sense of Christian duty to meet the needs of the poor?  Is faith the best stimulus in our doing for the sake of another?  I am fond of Henry Drummond's writing on this matter.  He explains, "We have been accustomed to be told that the greatest thing in the religious world is faith.  That great word has been the keynote for centuries of the popular religion; and we have easily learned to look upon it as the greatest thing in the world.  Well, we are 1 Corinthians 13, Paul takes us to Christianity at its source; and there we see, 'The greatest of these is love'."

It is curious to me that in some translations of the Bible, the word love is translated in English as charity, which many of us today understand to mean financially giving to those in need.  It is therefore important to look at the differences between these two ideas, love and charity.  We find in 1 John that if we see someone in physical need and refuse to help him, then the love of God is not in us.  In this sense it is impossible to love without charity.  But the distinction comes when Paul, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote in 1 Corinthians, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing."  Did he say nothing?  Yes indeed, nothing!  His charity could have indeed returned a blessing to him greater than what he gave, but it did not.  It may have in some way helped the poor recipient, but because it was not out of love, this act of giving was missing the power of God and as a result it profited the giver nothing.

But how is it possible to be assured that love is our true motivation for giving when we are flawed and fleshly creatures and often do not feel loving towards our brethren?  The Word confirms that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it" (Jeremiah 17:9).  Well, I believe that understanding our frailty and the weakness of our hearts is actually the place we must start in order to end up loving as God loves.  We must begin with the recognition that apart from God, we can do nothing!  All things of God, even and especially love, must come back to a complete dependence upon the Spirit of God in order that it may profit our souls now and for eternity.  Only the flowing of the Spirit of God through a man's soul can produce the pure motivation of agape love.

May we consider others better than ourselves; let us make allowances for the faults of others and be quick to forgive and not judge falsely.  May we put gossip and slander far from our lips; there is too much hurtful talk in our churches and in our homes-enough is enough; it is the time for Love.  God desires and promises to impart a full life of peace and joy to those who are submitted to His ways, and He wants to use such souls to impart blessings to others.  We cannot love without love Himself.  May we stay attached to the vine so that we can bear much fruit!  If, out of our dependence on God and His love, we will sacrificially serve and love those in need.  God will perfect His love in us, and we will experience the fullness of God and all the blessings and profit that come from Him.  As Drummond exhorts, "Where love is, God is.  He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God.  God is love,  Therefore love.  Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love!"

~Scott Hasenbalg


Friday, February 27, 2015