Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meet Jiao Jiao

 It's easy to become numb when you hear the statistics...

"Over 153 million orphans in the world..."
"Every day over 5,000 children become orphans..."
"Every day over 38,000 children age out of the care provided to them
because no family has stepped forward for them..."
"Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out
with no family to belong to and no place to call home..."
"Studies show that over 60% of the girls become prostitutes
and 70% of the boys become criminals..."

And the list could go on and on.  But did you know that there is an amazing adoption community who is praying, hoping, fighting to help children find families?  It was through this community that I "met" this precious girl...

Meet Jiao Jiao.  She is not just a number.  She is not just a statistic.  This little girl is compassionate, smart, resilient, and a true friend.   And now she will also be a precious DAUGHTER and SISTER to her new family who is running the race to bring her home.

And God has blessed me with a front row seat to see how He makes beauty from ashes.  She will have opportunities here that would never be available to her in China - school, therapy, the support and love of a FAMILY.  Best of all, she will have the chance to know the God of the universe who has loved her and been by her side through all that she has been through...things that no child should ever have to go through.  

Are we all called to adopt?  No.  But can we all do SOMETHING?  YES! 

Jiao Jiao's family, whom I have been given the privilege to know, are needing help in raising the funds for her adoption.  PLEASE take a moment and read their amazing story of heartache turned to hope here...

Please join me in sharing her story.  Join me in prayer for this precious child and her waiting family.  And please consider if you can GIVE to help bring her HOME.
Together, we can ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


Sunday, July 5, 2015

If We had Not Adopted

     Two dates that mean a lot to our family are approaching.  July 5...Hudson's 3rd birthday.  And July 29, Hudson's "Forever Family" day.  I find that I am pretty emotional around this time (more so than usual - poor Nathan).  The following quote pretty much sums up my feelings around his birthday...

     In the crazy business of every day life I must admit that many days can go by without thinking about her.  But today I do.  I wonder who she is.  What does she look like?  What are her likes and dislikes?  Is she married?  Does she have other children?  I think my biggest question is this...does she think about Hudson?  Especially on today's date, July 5.  And I constantly pray that our merciful God has answered her questions.  I pray she knows he is healthy and full of life.  He is a son and brother.  That our family would not be complete without him.

     And so where would I be today without Hudson in my life?  Probably less stressed, a little more financially comfortable.  Maybe the house wouldn't be as messy or there would not be as many doctor's visits.  And most likely my relationship with God would be where it was before all of this began.  Predictable and lukewarm, at best. Has it been easy?  No.  Would I change a thing?  Never. 

       These are some of my favorite adoption quotes...

     Adoption is God's heart.  It's what He did for us.  Having Hudson in our family is my daily reminder of this.  If my sinful, broken heart can have so much love for Hudson, just imagine His great love for me and you?
     So what if we had not adopted?  These are just a few of the things that we never would have known...

-it is possible to love someone you have never met
-family is not defined by DNA
-what "the power of prayer" really means
-with God, we can do more than we ever imagined
-God does not call the equipped; he equips the called
-His timing is perfect
-He truly does "make all things beautiful in His time"

     Our lesson in Sunday School today was found in 1 John and focused on Christ-like love. 

   For me, adoption and orphan care are the picture of Christ-like love.  And sometimes I get so  frustrated because shouldn't everyone feel just as passionate as  I feel about this?  But today I came to the realization that while God wants everyone to have such a passion, not everyone's will look like mine.  It might look like caring for widows, foreign missions, or teaching preschool Sunday School.  Maybe it is feeding the hungry, local missions, or church planting.  But whatever it might be, be on fire for your passion.  I know what it is like to go from luke warm to on fire.  I know because God used another family's adoption story as my spark.  And with Hudson came the flame.
     Happy "3" today, Hudson.  We are so blessed to be your family.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy "Forever Family" Day: One Year With Hudson

     I wish I could bottle up time...where in the world has this year gone???  Oh, we definitely have had days where I wish we could speed through these toddler years.  But at the same time, it seems as if we were just in Zhengzhou, China, spending our first days with Hudson. 

     Coming back to this blog feels right.  I so had hopes of keeping up my ramblings...using this as a place to encourage others to explore God's commandment and perhaps be the voice used to encourage others to enter into the journey of orphan care or adoption.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
 to look after orphans and widows in their distress
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." 
James 1:27
But life with three kids happened.  We have been EXTREMELY blessed that Hudson's attachment to us went pretty smoothly.  I hear of so many children having a difficult time bonding with their new family.  I credit his smooth adjustment to the wonderful care he had at Little Flower and at his other foster home.  And all things considered, Henley and Griffin did pretty well too.  Of course there were (and still are) times when they just don't understand why he gets so much of our time and attention.  Part of this is his age, and part is his high-energy curiosity (along with the fact that he has no off button, is into EVERYTHING, and has no fear).  Surprisingly to me, the one of us that has probably had the biggest adjustment is MYSELF.  Juggling three high-energy kids and working has not been an easy road.  And I don't say this for anyone to feel sorry for me...just to say that it surprised me!  Another unexpected part of this journey has been the loneliness.  Loneliness that comes from keeping a low profile so that Hudson could really bond with only us.  Loneliness that comes from having a child that came to us in a different way than most children do.  Wondering if a behavior is adoption related or age related, and not knowing many people who can answer our questions.  But God uses our loneliness...we seek and find him more in the hard places.  And it is the during the smooth sailing that we often forget his constant presence.  My verse for this year has been 2 Corinthians 12:9...
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.     
     I cannot count the times when I have had no "power" left in me, when I have been so weak that the only power I could count on was His.  I don't think I have truly understood the depth of His grace until this chapter of my life.  But one thing that has stood out to me, even on the toughest day, is that I never question the decision we made to adopt Hudson...I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was God's will for our family.  And I think I thought that the burning desire to do something for the "least of these" would be satisfied after adopting Hudson.  But if possible, this fire is bigger.  As David Platt said,
"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. 
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. 
It is easier to pretend they are not real before you hold them in your arms. 
But once you do, everything changes." 
     So lets get back to Hudson...after all, it is his special day:)  Hudson is brave, bold, and determined.  He is cuddly and strong-willed at the same time.  And he is funny.  All of these traits that can make him a trying toddler will work to his advantage in the future.  This child who once would never let us cuddle him or read to him now insists on being rocked and read to every night before bed.  His loves are food, all things with wheels, and his teddy.  As we wrap up this "Gotcha Day" anniversary, my prayers are that he will be confident in his life story and be brave, bold, and determined for Christ.  We love you, Hudson MengQiu Beddingfield!!! 
A Look Back...









Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sweet Home Alabama - Two Months with Hudson

I am so guilty of starting things and not finishing them.  A dress sewn for Henley, behavior charts for the kids.  I am determined to follow through and complete this blog!!!  I have to remember this is not just for me...this is something I hope Hudson will read and treasure one day.  I don't know if I will keep up with our "ever after" part of the story.  My main two reasons for starting this blog were...
1.  To record this adoption story for Hudson and our family
2.  To hopefully be a voice for orphans, and to ignite a spark in the reader's heart for the fatherless

"Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed. 
Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows."
Isaiah 1:17

We arrived home on August 9, Griffin's 6th birthday!  After more than 24 hours of travel (and no sleep for mom and dad) we arrived at the Birmingham airport around 9:30 pm.  We were so surprised to be met by our family and some members of our Sunday school class.  Everyone there to greet us also made Henley and Griffin feel very special - that meant A LOT to us.

Getting off the elevator to be greeted by friends and family

Happy Boy!

We missed Henley and Griffin SO much!
Finally, our family of five is together.
I can't lie and say that life at home has been a flawless transition.  I always admire the bloggers who tell it the way it is, even life's messy moments.  But I can say it has been ok, and getting better each day.  Thankfully, Hudson's transition has been pretty good.  Getting a sleep schedule worked out took a while, but he is finally sleeping through the his own room!  I was completely prepared to co-sleep with him for a while, and he did sleep in a crib in our room for the first two weeks.  However, he wanted to wake up and play with us for about two hours each night.  I do know that part of this was from having to completely flip-flop his nights and days.  However, these little "play times" did not last as long if we were not in the room with him.  After a couple of nights of Nathan in the guest room, me on the couch, and Hudson in the master bedroom all by himself, we decided to try him out in his bedroom (which is very close to ours).  A few nights later, and he is sleeping through the night!  At first I was sad, thinking we had totally failed at the co-sleeping for bonding idea.  But hey, each child is different and you have to do what is best for your circumstances.  At least that is what I am telling myself:)

The change has been hard at times for Henley and Griffin.  A lot of it has to do with the timing...a new school year started only one week after we came home.  But the good thing is that they are totally in love with Hudson, and love showing him off.  Jealously comes when he gets a lot of attention from others.  On one particularly hard day I was trying to explain to Henley that all babies get more attention for a while, that they are more dependent on the families for a while.  She said, "But he's not getting attention because he's a baby.  It's because he is different!"  Ouch.  That really opened my eyes to how they are feeling.  And I couldn't deny this statement.  It just means that I have to reaffirm daily how much I love them, no matter how they came to be in this family. 
The kids are not the only ones having to are Nathan and I!  I had always heard that going from 2 to 3 kids was difficult, and to that I can say "Amen!"  On one particular hard day I made the following comment to Nathan..."How is it that I can manage a classroom of 20 students, but I can't seem to manage my own three kids!!!"  I just have to keep reassuring myself that the "picture perfect" life does NOT exist...and I have to stop looking at other people's lives on Facebook:)  It is so easy for the enemy to whisper words of doubt into my heart.  This experience has kind of lately been a battle of spiritual warfare for me.  Satan is definitely real, and battling against God every second!  Questions of doubt such as "is your home really the best for this child" and "wasn't life just easier before?"  It embarrasses me to share these things, but I want to share the truth.  Adoption is not easy, it is not a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after.  It is moments of such joy and awe that you did not believe were possible, and it is sad, low moments that just take your breath away.  My verse of comfort lately has been...

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;
 He will never leave you or forsake you. 
 Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8
One of the most amazing things is to witness how many milestones Hudson has mastered in such a short time!  When he came to us two months ago, he was army crawling to get around.  He is now crawling around on all fours, pulling up on everything, cruising around on two feet while holding on to something.  He waves, feeds me some of his snack, and wags his finger back at me when I tell him "no no no."  And the best are his deep belly laughs.  The boy definitely has a sense of humor.  The funniest is when Henley or Griffin are crying, and he mimics them and acts like he is crying too.  It is so funny that it makes them stop least for the moment:)
Here are some pictures of our sweet new son since we have been home.  Thank you tremendously for your prayers and support during this time in our lives.  We are truly blessed with wonderful friends and family!