Monday, March 16, 2015

He has a name!

First of all, we want to ask that you bear with us a little bit, because we haven't gotten the "look" of this blog updated yet. It still has the very feminine theme that we were using for the girls' adoption. Updating this so that it is more appropriate for our son is on our list of things to do. It just hasn't happened yet.

Now, for the really exciting part of this post - we have chosen a name for our new little boy. Greg and I spent several days discussing options, and in the end, it was Josiah who suggested the first name that we chose. We have decided to name him Jonathan Zechariah. Jonathan means "Gift from the LORD," or "The LORD gives," and Zechariah means "The LORD remembers." We know that there are some aspects of his diagnosis that are uncertain and a little bit scary. Caring for an autistic child might be the most difficult thing we have ever done. In light of this, we wanted to chose a name that made it very clear that we consider our son a valuable treasure and not a burden. No matter what lies ahead for us, he is a gift. It also seems to us that he is very sad and that he feels all alone. We imagine that he feels forgotten, and we want him to know that God has never forgotten him, and has had a plan for his life from the very beginning.

We have been working hard on the adoption process, and we have made pretty good progress. We finished the packet of documents to send to our agency in order to request provisional approval from the Chinese Adoption Authorities, and are hoping to hear back from them any day now. We have also finished the initial application to our home study agency. Once they process that paperwork, they will send us the longer formal application packet. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are thankful for how much we have accomplished already

We also got our first donation! Someone left an anonymous gift for us at church last Sunday. We don't have any idea who you are, but thank you very much! It was nearly the exact amount needed for our application fee to our agency, and it was a huge encouragement to us. We are praying for more donations, because we will need nearly $3000 soon to pay the first of our large agency fees, and then almost $2000 shortly after that to pay for our home study. We don't have any idea where this money is going to come from, but we are trusting God to provide it in His perfect time. In some ways, these early fees are the most difficult, because we will not be allowed to apply for most grants until after our home study is completed, and we have not had any time to pull together elaborate fund-raising events.

We do have our very first fund-raising opportunity running, though. Many of you may remember that we had a store front set up with JustLove coffee during the girls' adoption. It did not bring in a ton of money, but every little bit helps. We contacted the company, and they have given us permission to raise funds through them again. The link to our store front is in the side bar of this blog. Right now it probably still says that the proceeds will benefit Isabelle and Hallie. We will get that updated with Jonathan's name soon. We are also hoping to set up and Amazon affiliate link soon. Stay tuned for more details about that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Big News!!

As the title of this post states, we have some really big news. First though, I'd like to give a quick update on each of our kids.

Josiah (6 1/2), Gabriela (5 1/2), and Matthias (almost 4) are all doing very well. They are healthy and developing well, and the older two are really enjoying their school work. Mikaela is 5 1/2, and continues to amaze everyone. She speaks in complete sentences, or at least long phrases, almost all of the time now. Isabelle is also 5 1/2, and her progress in the last 18 months has been incredible. She doesn't even seem like the same child. A few months ago, she had surgery to correct the alignment of her eyes, and this seemed to improve her vision quite a bit. She has transformed from the awkward, anxious child that we met in China to a beautiful, confident, happy little girl. She and Mikaela are constant companions and best friends, and the keep us laughing most of the time. Hallie is still much more of a baby than the other two, but she is making progress as well. Her eating continues to improve, and her favorite foods are now macaroni and cheese and yogurt. She is not quite walking yet, but cruises everywhere, and often takes half a dozen steps at a time. She still does not talk much, but she is learning some sign language, and has just starting stringing signs together in short phrases. Victoria is now eight months old, and she is a happy, social baby. She eats well and plays well with the kids. The biggest challenge with her is that she still is not sleeping all the way through the night. After eight full months, I would love a night of uninterrupted sleep!! We were able to get an updated family picture this fall, and it really shows how much the kids have grown.

And now for the big news -- We are adopting again! We have just committed to the adoption of a little boy in China who will be three years old next month. That makes him exactly one year younger than Matthias, and Matthias has already announced that this little boy is his new best friend. I can't wait to see the two of them together. The agency is calling him Lewis, so that is the name that we will use until we have chosen his new name. Lewis has an extra thumb on his right hand, unilateral microtia, and possibly autism. His challenges will be very different from anything we have faced at this point, and we are a little bit nervous about that. More than anything else, though, we are excited about our new son and eager to get him home.

As with our other two adoptions, we are starting this process without any of the funds that we need to complete it. We don't have any idea how we are going to raise the $35,000 it will take to bring our son home, but we know that God will provide everything we need to follow His leading. As always, if you feel led to help us with this, you can make a tax-deductible donation to The Shepherd's Crook Ministries. Just be sure to mark your donation for "Lewis Godwin."

Please pray for us as we walk through this process. Pray that we will work quickly and diligently so that we can get through this process soon. Please pray for our son as he waits in an orphanage so far away.