Monday, March 27, 2017

"If-Then"


I mentioned in our last post that I had more I wanted to share, but I didn't have time right then.  This will be a long post, so go ahead  get comfortable.  As we drove home from our Spring Break trip recently (March 17, 2017), I was enjoying the view out my window and thinking.  I was thinking about March 17th, 2003- fourteen years ago. We lived in Albuquerque NM and Adam and I had dropped Hannah and Brooklin off with a friend and driven to the hospital, where I was scheduled for a D & C. It was the same hospital I had delivered both the girls at.  We had not planned to have a third child, but we were thankful.  We had gone in for an ultrasound and I knew pretty quickly that it did not look like it was supposed to.  So here we were, facing the loss of our unborn child. I remember laying in pre-op, hearing people chattering around us and just feeling so sad and alone.  Even though Adam was so sweet and he was right there holding my hand.  It was so hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we had lost a baby. It was surreal.  During that same time-frame Adam received a phone call for a job offer back in Texas.  We had interviewed only a few weeks before that.  He accepted.  10 days after my first D & C, late at night, we headed to the hospital where I would have to undergo a second D & C, the first one was incomplete.  A week later we were pulling out of Albuquerque, moving to Texas.  Our heads and hearts were reeling. Happy. Sad. Busy. Old Chapter. New Chapter.  Hellos.  Good-byes. So much in such a short period of time.  God was faithful through every single thing!

After getting settled in to our new city and job, we knew our family wasn't complete. After several months of trying and praying, fear and doubt began to creep in.  Would we be able to have another child?.  I then remembered three little outfits I had packed away back in 1997.  Three little boy outfits that we didn't need since we found out our bundle of joy was going to be a girl (que Hannah).  I found those three little outfits.  I placed  them on three little tiny baby hangers. I hung them in the front of my closet as a reminder of God's faithfulness and I began to claim the promises of God's Word that spoke of His faithfulness and health.   November 2004 brought huge exciting news-we were pregnant.  We were excited, but I felt fear as well.  I chose to be like Sarah-to judge my God faithful. And He was.    July 28th, 2005 our sweet baby Jack made a grand entrance and our life has  been so full and blessed by all three of our children on this earth.  We know we have a little one waiting for us in heaven too.  

So, back to my looking out the window and thinking, as we drove home at Spring Break.  My mind went to "if-then".  If we had not lost a baby, then we would not have Jack.  If we did not have Jack, then we would not have been sponsoring Fang Tao.  If had not started sponsoring Fang tao then we would not be adopting him........ God is in ALL of it.  We know that.  My mind was blown.   He took a hard, sad situation and He has brought beauty from it-all these years later. March 17th, 2017.  Three beautiful children who love and serve God.  And one we are working hard to bring home soon.  OH, I know God loves writing these stories.  He carries us through the dark times, and dances with us through the good. He provides what we need through each and every season.  

Maybe you are in the midst of a full on happy dance or in the throws of the deepest, darkest storm.  He is there.  Judge Him faithful Who promised.  He will not leave you.  Do not forget Him in your joy or curse Him in your sadness.  Grab hold of Him and DO NOT LET GO-He's got you.


God Bless,

The Harris Half-Dozen



Sunday, March 19, 2017

LOA Please!

And thank you so much!  Yes!  We have received the official Letter of Approval or also know as Letter of Seeking Confirmation from Adopter!  This means we have been approved to adopt Fang Tao!  There are still a few steps ahead, but this is a big deal and we are rejoicing.  We received word over Spring Break and boy did that just add to the fun!  I have some more I want to share, however, I need to go get things organized as we head back to school and "normal" routine this week.  I will leave you with this line from Need To Breathe's new song Hard Love-"But there's a reason that the road is long, It takes some time to make your courage strong..."  This entire song is awesome, but those two lines really got me.  This has been a long road, but it is paved in faith and trust and lots of prayer.  We all know that some of the best things in our lives were not easy, but well worth it.  God is faithful and good.

                                                                           ~LOA~

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Translation Please!

And thank you!  Today (02/09/2017) we received an email from the adoption agency saying that the dossier has been translated and is awaiting review.  Woohoo!  It's always nice when I decide to sit down and blog to have a new update. Speaking of translation-Adam has been working on Mandarin lessons.  I am so impressed, it is NOT an easy language to learn at all.  We obviously want to be able to communicate with Fang Tao and others when we are in China.    It hit me the other day as we entered the month of February that Fang Tao has just spent the last January of his life without a forever family.  That was such a deep and wonderful thought!  Thank you Jesus.   Since we haven't received any photo updates from the last one a couple of weeks ago,  here are a couple of pictures from when Fang Tao was a little fellow.

 Isn't he just adorable?

Our adoption journey story continued: At the very beginning of last year we made a cautious inquiry about adoption.  We also, very casually, mentioned it to the kids.  Nothing in concrete, no promises, just feeling things out a bit. God knew that we were about to hit a bump in the road to adoption. We knew that what we were facing meant any talk of adopting was on hold indefinitely.   We both continued to pray, read, ask questions.  And God continued to have our paths cross with other adoptive families.  So thankful for how the Lord works.  We found out in May that Bethel was going to do a huge Find My Family push for all their sweet kiddos throughout the month of June.  Each day for 26 days in June a different child was going to be featured.  At this point, God had done a major work and we were back to seriously seeking God for clear direction about adopting.  We were also praying that God would provide a family, the right family, for Fang Tao.  His feature day came and went, we persevered in prayer.  It became pretty clear that God had found the right family for him-US!  We talked to the kids and our families and in August of last year  we crossed the YES line and began the process.  We had peace and we were in agreement.  So thankful God took us through this process, we have seen His hand all over it.  We trust Him to continue to provide.  So there you have it.  You are up-to-date with how we got here!


                                                         Look at his chubby cheeks!

Interesting Info: I have started an Introduction to Braille class.  I am not reading with my finger pads, but learning the "sighted" version.  I do hope to progress to where I would be able to read with my fingers.  It is a six dot cell system that blows my mind at the simplicity and yet the complexity of it.  Thank you Lord for helping Loius Braille invent this gift all the way back in 1809! It has gone through many varied updates throughout the years.   UEB (Unified English Braille) was officially adopted in the US in 2012.  It includes, letters, numbers, math, computer codes. So far I know all of the letters and numbers.  I need to work on the punctuation.  I am learning Uncontracted Braille right now-which is the simple alphabet, numbers, punctuation and some special symbols.  I've got a long way to go, but I love the challenge and I have always loved learning something new.

If you have a moment and want to watch something interesting (and clean and overall wholesome) simply click this link.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fTBsW7kdo4


Ways to pray for the Harris Half-Dozen:
*Please pray for God's perfect timing in the review of the dossier.
*Please pray for God to continue to keep Fang Tao safe.
*Please pray God be preparing each one of us for this life change.
*Please pray that all we need financially will come in.

Thank you so much,
The Harris Half-Dozen


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Progress

Well, I must first start with some very exciting news!!!  On January 12th (Adam's birthday) we received an email that the agency had received our last two documents from the Houston Consulate-completing our 13 page dossier.  On January 13th we received an email saying our dossier was on it's way to China and now we needed to wait for our official Log in Date (LID).  January 16th-China received our dossier and on the 17th we were officially logged in!!!!!  Things got a little bit loud in the car when I read the email to Adam as he was driving.  We thought we would be waiting about two weeks from the time our dossier arrived until the LID.  We are in a waiting pattern for the dossier to be translated and read over and approved so we can take yet another step towards bringing him home.Then, we received the most precious photos of Fang Tao.  Oh my!! That smile.  He is opening Christmas presents that we sent On December 4th!!!!



In the last blog post I began the story of our adoption journey, today I will continue.  We had been sponsoring Fang Tao for a little over a year when Adam said he dreamt I had a baby.  Like I was in the delivery room having a baby.  I jokingly said something about Fang Tao.  A few nights later, as I was doing the dishes, he asked me how serious I was when I said that.  I told him that "it" came unexpectedly for me. We both prayed for him on a regular basis individually and  I remember the moment in October that I felt I was praying about him not just for him.  It was a bit scary, honestly.  What did that mean?  And for Adam, he had wondered when we started sponsoring him, if this might be the road for us.  Regardless, we knew God was up to something far bigger than us.  We initially sent an email-carefully wording it so as not to raise the hopes of anyone,"we just wanted more information." WOW!  We talked and prayed and read and prayed and talked to a couple of families that have adopted.  We just weren't sure about crossing the YES line just yet...to be continued.


Interesting bit of info: If you are wondering what a dossier is, well, let me tell you.  According to Miriam Webster Dictionary, Dossier  -file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject.Our dossier contained 13 documents all about us!  I gathered the necessary documents over the course of 2 months. Marriage license, birth certificates, police records, home study, physicals and a physicians detailed report, financial documents, passport, 8 photos showcasing our family, fingerprints, immigration and citizenship paperwork....I think that was it??!!  Our home study actually required all of that plus more. Then, once you get all of the originals, etc everything must be notarized.  Then, everything that is notarized must go to the Secretary of State office (Texas for us) to be certified.  That office must verify every notary is legal and up to date.  Then, all of that must go (via courier or personally walked in) to the Houston Consulate to be authenticated-they must verify that the SOS is actually true and correct.  And many of the documents have a shelf life of 6 months-meaning you need to work hard and fast.  So, now that you know about that process-you can go take a nap.There may not be physical labor involved in bringing this child home, but there is a different type of labor. And it is well worth it!!!



We are so thankful for every dollar that has been donated towards Fang Tao's adoption.  We are also very thankful for everyone who is praying.

Ways to pray for The Harris Half-Dozen:
*Please pray for peace over Fang Tao.
*Please pray that God is preparing his heart, mind, and body.
*Please pray for God to lead us to the right and best resources.
*Please pray for God's timing in the paperwork and the travel date.
*Please pray for God to prepare all of us for this transition.

Thank you so much,
The Harris Half-Dozen



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How Did We Get Here?

I thought I would take the opportunity to share the beginning of our adoption story.  This seems like a good time as we are waiting on more paperwork to go from point A to point B.

We began sponsoring Li Fang Tao in August of 2014.  Adam selected him from a picture and description on Bethel's website.  Bethel is located in Beijing. He felt like he sounded very similar to Jack~very exuberant and full of lots of energy!  Perfect.  We sent monthly support and began praying for him regularly.  We received a few updates here and there for the first year and a half.  And then...... to be continued.  

~Here is a little bump for sponsoring children in need.  When we not only look at a child's picture and profile, but really SEE them- experience true empathy and dare I say even feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit!! To answer by sponsoring is an answer to prayer and fulfilling a great need-education and food and medical, etc.  Sponsorship coupled with prayer makes so much difference, an eternal difference!  I know that our prayers are being heard by our loving Heavenly Father!   Please take time to consider sponsoring a child. There are many wonderful organizations out there. Take time to pray and think it over.   See if this is something that the Lord is leading you to do.  I'll step off my soapbox now.~

What a difference sponsorship has made in Li Fang Tao's life!!!




Apparently he really, really likes bubble wrap!!!

He's such a joyful boy.  I love seeing his smile.  We can't wait to hear his laugh and see his smile for ourselves.  

Interesting bit of info:  According to Google Maps: Bethel is located approximately 7,100 miles away. That is really far away.  So glad that our Heavenly Father is watching over Him.

Ways to pray for the Harris-Half Dozen:
*Please pray for health over Li Fang Tao-mental, emotional, physical.
*Please pray for his transition into our family, that it be smooth.
*Please pray over the grants we submitted, we should be hearing back fairly soon.  (And again THANK YOU to all that have given!)
*Please continue to pray that God prepare each one of us as we take this new journey.  Pray God prepare us individually as He knows we need and as a family unit.

Thank you so much!
The Harris Half-Dozen



Saturday, December 31, 2016

He Has Our Heart


Oh my!  So much has transpired since our last blog post. Every day that passes is a day closer to our son.  We submitted paperwork for our last set of finger prints and we had them done on Friday, December 16th.  Then on Friday, December 23rd we received our I800A approval.  That means nothing to most of you, however, it is a very important document and the last one we needed to secure in order to begin the last steps for all of the paperwork that will be heading to China sometime in January.  That is H-U-G-E.  He has our heart and the Heavenly Father has all of us!

I must stop here and say THANK YOU to those of you who are standing with us in prayer.  We know it is paving the way.  We'd also like to say THANK YOU to those who have so generously given of your finances.  We are humbled and so very grateful for everything.  We did reach the matching grant goal of $1,000.00 on Reece's Rainbow-thank you!  God is providing, however there is still more we need.  (If you still need to make a year end tax free donation, please click on the Donate button there to the right.  It works best on the computer -mobile devices seem to have issues- and goes directly to Edward/Harris account and you will receive a confirmation email indicating that.)  THANK YOU so much!

Here are a few pictures we have received from the adoption agency recently.  They are like gold to us, each one a treasure.






I have to share a funny story that we received with our update.  Fang Tao attended a concert and "During the concert, an acapella group sang a slow, solemn version of "Silent Night."  Fang Tao got really excited because he knew the song and he shouted out, "Oh, SILENT NIGHT! YES!" in English. It was pretty funny."  Oh my word, that story makes me laugh every time I read or think about it.  And it made me tear up when I first read about it because that is a song I sang to my kids often before going to bed.  I cannot wait to sing it to Fang Tao.

I will leave you with a few ways you can lift up the Harris Half-Dozen in prayer.
Please pray for:
*God's continued financial provision.
*God's hand on these last important documents and their timing in going to China.
*Fang Tao to have no fear, but rather a determination and courage as his world changes in a few months.
*Fang Tao to have health, spirit, soul, and body.
*For decisions and resources we need here

Thank you again, from the depths of our heart, for every prayer prayed, every dollar given, every encouraging word.  You are part of this journey with us.  HE has our hearts-let us thank HIM above all.


Blessings from the Harris Half-Dozen

Monday, December 5, 2016

While We Wait

Two things are true about adoption: 1.) There is a TON of paperwork and 2.) There is a TON of waiting.  Adam and I both catch ourselves checking both Facebook and our emails hoping for a new picture of Fang Tao.  I told Adam yesterday that I will be so happy when I don't have to wait on someone else to see him, because he will be here!  I am so thankful for our wonderful agency that does a fabulous job of keeping us informed and send photos and updates.


From March 2014

Our family would also like to express our sincerest appreciation for those who have donated to Reece's Rainbow to help us reach our matching grant goal.  We have a few weeks left to reach that $1,000 matching grant.  Please note that by clicking the button to the right (on the blog) ensures that you are donating directly to the Harris/Edward fund.  You may also access the following link and it too will go directly to our fund: http://reecesrainbow.org/112995/sponsorharris-4 .  For some reason it does not seem to work on mobile devices correctly.  Again, thank you so much for your generosity and all donations to Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible.


~Ways to pray for the Harris Half-Dozen this week:
Please pray for:
*God's continued financial provision for the adoption.
*God's hand to be upon every document that needs to be processed.
*Patience as we wait.
*Fang Tao's heart to be made ready to join a family.  Although God did create us to belong in a family, pray for  the transition as being part of a family will be new for him.


God bless,
The Harris Half-Dozen