Monday, November 22, 2010

Starfish Calendars...

Hello everyone! Starfish has created a calendar with my precious babies pictures on it to help raise money for their medical expenses. If you are looking for a meaningful gift idea for Christmas, look no further!
If I can't physically be there for my precious Starfish family than I think it's the least I can do to financially support their wonderful cause from the State side!
Stop what you are doing now and go buy a calendar. (or two)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pictures of my babies... or toddlers now...

So an AMAZINGGGGGG volunteer has been sending me pictures of my sweet babies and I could not be more thrilled to show off how beautiful my babies are.

Karl had his cleft surgery!!! YAYAYAY!! After 3 tries he was finally healthy enough. This was him right after coming out of surgery.
Karl and his precious nanny.
Noa and Karl rocking out their bottle styles.
Thomas is WALKING or at least pulling himself up on stuff. Can you believe it?
Sweet Carmen. Walking.
Antonia giving kisses away for free. If this doesn't melt your heart, nothing will.
She was adopted this past week to Canada.
Look at how big my baby Aaron is on the nannies lap! I took care of him when he was 4 months old! I feel like an old lady.
Stewart being a stud.
This is probably one of my favorite pictures. The nanny is just precious.
Julia and Nadia getting into trouble.
Brian enjoying the slide. I love all of the other kiddos watching at the bottom of the slide.
Handsome Nick.
My JAMES is walking!!! *crawling in this one but he's walking now*
Antonia decided to make the drawer a chair.
Tim was adopted too this past month.
The caravan of my babies on a walk.
Nick, Antonia, Clara & Noa.
Nick with his rocking comb over.
River being a big boy.
COMB OVER. Love it! Love him.
Tim must have played hard that afternoon.
Can you imagine, an apartment with 20+ toddlers?
Thomas and Noa schnoozing
Brian having a melt down. Bless his heart.
He was also adopted this past month.
This butt would belong to Clara.
Karl already picking up the ladies phone #'s.
MY BABIES ARE WALKING. It's so bittersweet!
Tim again. Play hard, nap hard.
Karl being a cutie.
Look at those faces. Antonia and Brian are both with their forever families and they will be missed by their Starfish family.

**Again thank you so much for sending me these pictures!**

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2.5 months later....

2.5 months later and every time I get on my computer, his face is the one I see...

I don't know if anyone even reads this thing anymore, but I've gone to write in this blog SEVERAL times since I've been home.
But every time I sit down and allow myself to think about how badly I miss my precious babies I leave the computer crying and without a blog post.
So now, I have the strength and so far the tears are being held back.

Since I have been home, I realized how much these precious children and China changed my life forever. I truly did come home a different person.
Better in some ways and more broken in others.
I knew what to expect upon coming home but even when you try to prepare yourself for the emotions, they still take you by surprise daily.

After being home for only 2 weeks I was standing in a lunch line at a local sandwich and soup restaurant. I hadn't really cried at all since I had been home at that point. I was happy to be home with my family and grateful for every moment I had with them.
But there was a young man standing with his back towards me in the ordering line, and there I stood with my mom and grandmother.
After the young man ordered and paid for his lunch he turned around to go and find a seat in the restaurant, and that's when I saw his face.
He was probably 18 years old and he had scars from a cleft lip operation.
And that's when it hit me. I felt my eyes swelling and burning with tears.
And yes, I started sobbing in the line for a sandwich.
I was the crazy lady, crying in the lunch line.
(I resisted running up to the young man and tackling him with a giant hug. That would have made this story a little more awkward)
And the reality sunk in, that I truly was now living across the world from the babies that stole my heart and taught me more about myself than anyone else in this lifetime probably will.
Now looking back, I can laugh with tears in my eyes. I embrace the inner "crazy emotional lady" because it reminds me that I was blessed enough to love such amazing little people.

*Words of advice to any and all readers: if you know anyone that is living across seas doing "missions" or humanitarian projects. When they get home, allow them to talk about what they've seen and done. It truly has been therapeutic and refreshing every single time someone sits down with me and says "tell me everything". (even if they don't want to know about it all)
You will bless someone's socks off my just sitting there and listening*

But after my melt down in the restaurant, I have only had a few more melt down moments since.
Luckily for me, none in such a public setting. :)
But I am just now working through the grief of loosing so many of my little babies.
I thought I had processed their deaths while living in China but looking back I realize I had just scratched the surface. The human heart and mind is such a testament to how complex and intricate our Creator truly is.

Those little adorable Asian faces and smiles are forever locked into my heart and soul.
I still believe that I have never been so close to the Living God as when I had one of His precious orphaned children sleeping in my arms.
They forever changed my life in more ways than one. But they taught me how to love without hesitation and without holding back. And what a blessing that has been in my life. I have never cried so much, but I have never been more grateful for every warm tear running down my cheeks.
And besides RADICALLY changing me internally, my precious babies have inspired me to become a nurse. So now the Chrissy Adams that had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up, I now know.
I want to become a nurse so I can bless others as much as I have been blessed.
And I have a lifetime to try and give myself away through service and love.
Because that is truly when I feel the most at home and the closest to my Jesus.

I may never see the precious babies that stole my heart away ever again. But I have the faith that they will have amazing lives at Starfish without me and that they will be placed in amazing, loving homes. And that is what I'm praying for them daily. Even if my eyes never look directly into theirs ever again, I can cover them in love and prayer even if I am living half way across the world.

*If you want to see pictures of my babies, you can check out the blogs listed in my blog roll. Starfish Foster Home/Starfish Cleft Home*

Friday, November 20, 2009

God creates beginnings and ends...

Well I have now been home for 4 days. After 4 days of traveling (yes that's right, 4 days) I made it home safely.
I now feel like I've earned my gold star in international traveling because I missed my first international flight.
What was suppose to be a 36 hour travel period turned into 4 days.
Due to airports being closed due to snow and fog Julee and I missed our connection from Xi'an to Beijing and we had to be "travel savvy" to find our way back home. But even with all of my "savvy", God took very good care of us. My "savvy" only will get us so far.
It was an exhausting and stressful few days but the moral of the story is God was gracious the entire time.
I know I've said it before but I could feel your prayers through out the entire traveling period so thank you so much for being so faithful to pray for me.
If it wasn't for your prayers I might have ended up in a Chinese jail due to having a frantic breakdown in an airport. I had a great laugh at myself because at a few moments while Julee and I were waiting in the VERY stressful AIRPORTS I had the urge to just run down the gateways and jump on planes. And we all know, that would have ended up badly for everyone involved.
But I had a great laugh at myself because we all hear stories of "crazy eyed travelers" doing the most irrational and crazy things in airports and rail road stations and I found myself joining their "crazy eyed" club. I just laughed so many times to myself because I finally understood how people can become so irrational when moving.
But my bed had never been so welcoming when I finally rolled into Tulsa! EVER!
It was magical. Simply magical.

Obviously leaving my babies in China was gut wrenching. But my Jesus is so faithful to me.
I cried and felt overwhelmed but I also had a peace and a joy.
I've been postponing writing in my blog because I truthfully just don't want to relive or focus on how badly I miss them already.
Culture shock has shown it's face in unexpected ways since I've been home but for the most part I have had an easy transition so far.
I've missed home so badly and my family and friends so badly over the past 9 months so I've been so thankful to be back home.
But I don't think I have truly grieved leaving my babies quite yet. But when the grieving does come, My Jesus will be waiting with me.
And He is the best shoulder to cry on and He is the provider of unspeakable peace.

But I wanted to share just a few photo's we took our 2 to last day in Xi'an. I have more to share and more pictures but I don't have the words quite yet. But I wanted to let all my readers know I'm still alive and thank you again SOOOOOO much for your prayers.
I still find myself in awe of how blessed I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

With a heavy heart....

This is going to be a short blog post but I wanted to let you know that I will not be blogging anymore until I return back home to the States in less than 2 days now.
My heart is broken about leaving my home here in China and my babies.
So I've decided I'm going to be a sponge for the last short days I have with them and soak up every moment I can.
To think 9.5 months ago I set out on a plane to work with orphans in China.
I thought I had an idea of what the future held for me but I was in for the ride of my life.
If you had told me all of the heart ache and changing of plans that I would encounter I would have hesitated to get on the plane. But thankfully God chooses to keep us in the dark.
But I can assure you that when I stepped on the plane 9 months ago I had no idea how deeply, madly in love I would fall for these precious children.
I feel like while living here I have worn many hats for these babies.
The big sister, the friend, the crazy aunt and the play mate.
But right now my Mommies heart for them is breaking into a million pieces.
I will be giving them kisses in a few days and they might be the last time I ever get to kiss their little faces in this lifetime.
And that breaks my heart.
I wish I could have kept count of the kisses that I have lavished on my precious babies.
The numbers would be staggering. Truly, in the thousands.
But I wanted each one of them to know that I believed with all of my heart that they were a beautiful, desired, and loved child. And that I was genuinely thankful for them.
I constantly think to myself about how I wish everyone in my life could come to this place.
If you could only come to this place and meet these children, then you would completely understand. You would meet these children and your life will be forever changed.
And I will be FOREVER grateful for these children.
I truly believe that the world would be incomplete without each one of them here.
God created them and I am so thankful that He did.
I've always been fearful to love.
It's been a life long struggle of mine.
I watch peoples hearts break in every area of my life and I've always been hesitant to give my heart away to anyone.
But at first glance, I gave these babies my heart on a silver platter.
And I have never once regretted that decision.
Not because they have loved me back or that I feel fulfilled by their love.
But because I find delight in the Lord through loving them.
When we love those that He called us to love, we delight Him.
And His delight is contagious and soul consuming.
So even though I find myself crying and my chest aching, I embrace the heart ache.
And I am thankful for the heartbreak.
Every time my eyes fill with warm tears or my arms ache for a little body to cuddle I will sing praises in my soul for these precious little souls.
I have no doubts that God has big plans for them and I wish I could be a fly on the wall to their life stories.
But I'm hopeful that one day years from now when I am walking side by side with my Jesus that I will make eye contact with a familiar pair of eyes.
And I will be able to spend eternity with them as we praise the Creator together.
Because in the end, we are all but orphans.
And He promises to not leaves us orphans, but He chooses to adopted us into His forever family.
To be adopted into the family of Christ is my prayer for each and every child in this place.
And every time the tears begin to run down my cheeks or my heart begins to ache I will choose to pray for their forever Father to sweep them off their feet and that they would spend their entire life falling madly and deeply in love with their Creator.

Monday, November 9, 2009

We're back with new smiles....

Well friends, I know you have been waiting to hear about our trip to Beijing.
And we are finally back.
I say "finally" but in all reality I was only gone for 4 days.
But those 4 days were a long, rough, emotional, sleepless, foodless and chaotic but beautiful.
We started off the journey with an hour and half flight to Beijing with 12 babies and 12 volunteers.
I was in charge of taking little Mr Karl.
After we arrived in Beijing we started a day full of tests on our babies.
Tests, tests, tests.

*Cameron and his wonderful nanny waiting in line to take another test.*

In traditional and typical life in China, when we arrived at the clinic for our babies tests, the electricity was out. So imagine having 25 babies and families in a hospital ward waiting to take tests and having the electricity out.
But thankfully all of our babies tests came back ok and we were given the thumbs up for surgeries.

*Karl getting blood tests done. None of the babies were very fond of the blood tests. But who could blame them right?*

We did a lot of waiting in rooms and finding new and interesting ways to keep our babies entertained in the spare time.
I constantly thought about what people would tell me as a teenager when I went on youth mission trips.
I remember my youth pastors always saying " You need to be prepared to hurry up and wait".
So thankfully to the many trips I took in high school, I had already acquired the skill of "hurrying up to wait" so we were in luck!
And the babies caught on to this concept very quickly. We have the most amazing babies. So smart.

*Julee and Olivia found another way to stay busy during her down time.*

*Sadie and Sara waiting in the hospital.*

Finally after a long day of tests 4 of us were given the go ahead to head back to the hospital and wait to have our surgery.
Sadie, River, Karl and Jasmine.

*Jasmine and a really sweet Chinese nurse.*

We were VERY blessed to have amazing nurses while we stayed in the hospital.
Both Chinese and American nurses.
I now have a new appreication for nurses and their constant assistance.
Amazing women and men, let me tell you.
The Chinese nurses loved our babies and were constantly taking pictures of their cute little smiles and trying to play with them.

*Jasmine and a Chinese Doctor and Karl and our Chinese nurse all patiently waiting for our surgeries.*

To make a long story short, after waiting in the hospital for about 24 hours with Karl I was finally officially told that he would not be receiving his surgery.
You can imagine, I was heart broken.
Apparently Karl's liver is very unhealthy and we had no idea.
The American nurses thought that poor little Karl might have Hepatitis or Malaria by the looks of his little liver.
Throughout rest of the week we found out that Jasmine, Aaron and Karl were all to unhealthy to receive their surgeries.
But the good news is that the rest of our babies all receieved their surgeries and I have learned that even thought things don't go as planned, I can find plenty to be thankful for along the way.
So thank you Jesus that River, Sadie, Olivia, Tim, Cameron, Tina, Sophia, Hosea and James all received their operations.

*Here is River and his volunteer Tina minutes after River was rolled out of surgery.*

If you've ever seen a baby come out of surgery you know that it can break your heart.
But thankfully all of our precious babies had very successful operations and came back to us with completely different little faces.
We were so blessed to have an AMAZING group of American doctors and nurses that did a FANTASTIC job with all of our babies.

*Precious little River.*

They brought all of the babies back to us naked besides their little diapers.
So we had to cuddle them up in their nice warm blankets and monitor them through out the evening.
Lets just say that there wasn't very much sleeping going on. Every hospital room had atleast 2 babies in it. Which meant a lot of sleepless nights for the volunteers.
But our volunteers were awesome and handled everything like true mommies and professional non sleepers.
But as I wrote before Karl didn't get his operation but shortly after receiving that news I was given the responsibility of caring for James instead. Since Karl needed to return home for further tests.
So from that point on, it was James and me.
The cuddle duo.

*This picture was taken the day after James surgery.*

I was a little occupied when he first came out of surgery as you can imagaine so I didn't manage to take any photo's. But James came out of surgery around 8pm and him and I had a VERY long night.
James was having severe breathing problems through out the night so I had to stay up and care for him. And in China, things are done a little differently, so when I informed the night nurses that he was having breathing problems they hooked up the oxygen mask and told me to hold it on his mouth.
And then left the room.
So I stayed up with James all night, praying over him and trying to make him as comfortable as possible.
At that point my maternal instincts kicked in and I was going to do whatever needed to be done to make sure my little man made it through the night.
And I can truthfully tell you, I felt your prayers through out that whole evening. I never once had problems keeping my eyes open or struggled. I felt like God had reserved all of your prayers for when He knew I was really going to need them, and then He just poured them all over me and my James. So thank you for your prayers. I remember thinking "someone somewhere is praying for us and I can feel it".
Isn't our God just amazing? The ways He shows us love just leave me speechless.

*James, Sophia and Olivia partying in our bed.*

All of the babies have to wear "no-no's" on their arms for a week after the surgeries. The "no-no's" will help keep the babies from hurting their little mouths. And will help prevent the babies from acceidcnatally opening up their stitches.

*Here is James and our AWESOME American nurses Jessica and Matthew.*

These two were so amazing to me, after about the 3 night in a row of no sleep, they were my support system. They were inspiring and such support systems for me and James.
James had a very rough time in the hospital and they both were very mindful of him and patient with us both.
And what we even more encouraging, is that Matthew had a cleft lip himself. He had the same exact cleft lip as James. So of course when he saw James, his heart melted.
But whose doesn't?

*Olivia sleeping.*

But after 4 sleepless days. We finally jumped on the plane with our babies and came back. Not all of our babies are back yet but the majority of them are now.
And when I say "jump" on the plane I mean stumble, crawl and sleep walk our way through the terminals and gates.
It was truly a comical sight. And we were all so exhausted instead of breaking down and crying we decided to laugh until we thought we were going to throw up.
I told Sara and Julee that if we could pick up men at that moment, then we would never be able to loose them.
We were looking pretty rough.
But the babies didn't seem to mind one bit.
And after all, they were the whole reason we were there. So just seeing their sweet little faces made the chaos strangely enjoyable and entertaining.

*So James nose looks HUGE in this photo but it's truly not that big.*
All of the babies have stitches but they should fall out over the next few weeks.

*River in his no-no's.*
I think all of the babies were relived to be back home. And Julee and I were equally relieved.
But now Julee and I only have 3 more days. 3 days people.
I'm in shock. I so completely thrilled to be returning home to family and friends and food. But I'm going to miss my babies so much. I told my mom last night, that I will most likely cry every time I talk about my babies for the first few weeks when I get home. So if I cry when you ask me a question don't be alarmed. Just try to understand that I stutter and hyperventilate when I cry so it might be tricky to understand what I'm talking about.
To be so blessed to live in place like this for 6 months not just blows my mind when I stop and think about it.
These babies truly are God's gift to us and they have forever changed their Auntie Chrissy's life.
And I will miss their smiles and laughs and hugs like they could never imagine.

But you can imagine our delight when we received 2 new babies into the Starfish family yesterday!
Julee and Anna, Me and Matthew.
And Matthew has a cleft lip and Anna has a broken arm.
(I was tickled when I heard our new baby was named Matthew because I just met such an amazing Matthew I knew he was going to be equally amazing)
Living in this place you learn how truly evil people can be but you also see the pure beauty that this world has to offer.
Little Anna was found in a trash can with a broken arm.
To imagine that days before she was seen in a trash can makes me want to fall to my knees and cry.
To grasp the idea alone is mind blowing. But the even more mind blowing reality is that our little Anna was created in Her loving, eternal Fathers imagine and that He said "it is good" after creating her. She was never a mistake and was never undesired by Him. That He placed every hair on her head and every limb on her body. And that He created Her to delight Himself with her relationship with Him. That her Savior is eager to have a personal relationship with her.
And in the end no matter what circumstances that our new little Anna will find herself in, that she will never find herself alone.
She has her Jesus at her side and He has been gracious enough to place her in an amazing place that is full of love and joy.
She is now home at Starfish and we couldn't be more thrilled about having 2 new family members.