Friday, July 31, 2009

Because I miss China

As promised a few weeks ago, I am posting the video of Jamison, Greg, and Seth singing Jesus Loves Me. It gets me every time. I hope Jamison is getting along great in his new home. Continue praying for him and his new family. I hope you are blessed by this video.
In Him,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Quest

So in my last post I said there was a reason why Chad and I visited both Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium. We both love going to baseball games and have made a goal to visit every MLB park at some point in our life. So far we have been to ATT Park (The Giants), McAffe Coliseum (The A's), The Metrodome (The Twins), Angel Stadium, and Dodger Stadium. Five down, at least 25 more to go. We know this may be a never ending quest as teams continue to build new ballparks all the time. For example, the Twins will open their brand new stadium next year so we will be making another trip to Minnesota at some point to visit the new park. Of course I never mind going to Minnesota, then I can see my family at the same time! We also decided that we would buy a baseball at each park and write the date that we were at that specific park. We sure are going to have quite a few baseballs as the years go on! Anyway that is our quest, and we cant wait to experience all of the parks in the country (and the one in Canada)!
Let the good times roll!

Hubert H Humphry Metrodome

The Coliseum

ATT Park

Dodger Stadium

Angel Stdium

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back from Vacation

Hello all!
Well it has been well over a week since my last update, and for good reason. Chad and I took our vacation last week. This year we opted for a smaller, more cost effective vacation. We drove to Las Vegas and spent three fun filled days there and then we made our way to Victorville to visit family and catch a few ball games. We had a great week together. Its funny because when you think of Las Vegas I know a lot of people think about gambling, drinking, and clubbing. Chad and I do none of these so we went to Vegas to soak in everything else. We had our anniversary dinner on top of The Startosphere at a restraunt called The Top of the World. It was amazing. You had a view of the whole city. The tables actually moved around so by the end of dinner we had roated around the entire building. The view of the strip was spectacular! The food was amazing and because it was our anniversary we got a free dessert. From there we walked the rest of the strip all the way back to our hotel The Luxor. We got caught in a thunder strom, but the rain felt great! Other things we did in Vegas were see The Titanic exhibit, The Ferrari/ Masarrati exhibit, saw the Cirque de Solie show KA, and visited the In-Out-Burger right off the strip. In-N-Out was complete with company store so we didnt leave without dropping a few bucks on some shirts and Christmas ornaments :) Other than that we walked the strip and visited the shops and hotels. There is so much to do there and I was sad to leave without seeing the lions in MGM or tasting the cokes from around the world in the coke store. Oh well, I guess we will have to go back one of these days!
After Vegas we made our drive to Victorville to visit with Chad's family. Both of his cousins have had babies, both of whom we had never met before. It was good to see everyone because we havent seen most of them since our wedding two years ago! The babies were fun and we didn't escape without a few suggestions about moving down there. Chad and I went to a Dodger game on Friday and then on Saturday most of the family joined us at the Angels game. It was cool because the Angels were playing the Twins, unfortuntally the Twins lost but we had a great time. We did visit these two ballparks for a reason, I will blog about that later.
We had a great week but we were both ready to get home and see our Milo girl. She was happy to see us too as she chewed us out the entire night for leaving her. I told her we wouldnt do that again for quite awhile.
Now I'm home and dreading the fact that I have to go back to work in two weeks. UG summer is just not long enough. Oh well I guess I'm lucky to have this time off at all.
Well thats all for now, I should be able to blog more this week. Take care!
<3 Vanessa

Anniversary dinner- Top of the World

Us at the Belliago

Chad at the Vegas In-N-Out

Me with Sammy and Jackson

Friday, July 17, 2009

We are Weak but HE is Strong

I know I have shared with a lot of you that one of my favorite things about the orphanage was listening tot he children singing Jesus Loves Me. I have not told you about the way that a special boy named Grady sings it. Grady is in the picture above. He is 14 and has Scoliosis. As a result he walks with crutches, but he does not let them slow him down. What is special about the way that Grady sings Jesus Love Me is that when he sings the part "we are weak but he is strong," he throws down his crutches and puts his arms in the muscle man position. This boy knows he is weak by himself yet knows he has strength in Jesus. It is probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I wish I had a video of him doing it, but I do not. I was able to get video from one of my other teammates that shows two younger girls singing it as well as Jamison and Gregg singing while on the swings. I am so glad this was captured on video. I am going to post the one of the girls singing and save the other one for a different day. Please pray for Grady. He does not have much time left to be adopted. Anyone who adopts this sweet boy will be blessed immensely.

*Sigh* I miss China very much! I hope you were blessed by this video.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today Chad and I got married. I really can't believe that i am saying we have been married for that long, it hasn't felt like two years at all!
We spent most of the day in San Francisco. They have recently redone The Academy of Science Museum so we took a drive on over to Golden Gate Park and had a look. It was pretty neat. They have a dome inside which houses a mini rain forest. It was cool to see some interesting creatures from the rain forest, however, I was not too keen on the butterflies that were flying all around you once you reached the top floor! We saw an albino alligator named Claude, some South African penguins, and felt what an electric eels prey feels right before it is eater (a weird shock). After the museum we made our way to China Town. I think I was way more excited about this than my husband was, but he did it for me which meant a lot. Basically we walked around and checked out all of the shops. Things were a little more expensive here than they were in China, just a little bit. Luckily I have had a recent shopping spree in China so there was no need to buy anything. Just a little browsing.
The original plans were supposed to include us going the The Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco, but we found ourselves wiped out after walking through China Town. We decided to go back to San Jose and eat at The Cheesecake Factory by our house. So after a short detour to our house for a short nap, we had a delicious dinner followed by some awesome dessert. It was a fun day spent together.
So what really has changed since we got married? Well not a whole lot. We still live in our cozy little condo, which has accumulated more stuff than we had two years ago. We got Milo the cat in November making her our first baby. The same queen bed that we have been sleeping in for the past two years seems to have gotten smaller. But most importantly we have grown to love each other more than the day we married. It really is a deeper love, one that only grows stronger each day.
We both said that our honeymoon by by far the best thing we have ever done together. It might take a lot to top a vacation alone in The Bahamas. But we have enjoyed other trips to Mexico, Hawaii, and Tahoe to name a few. We talk often about buying a house, having kids, and job situation but we know that when God wants something to happen, it will. Praise the Lord for making plans for us that are far better than the ones we have planned for ourselves. Of course after this China trip, adoption is really on my mind but we will have to wait and see where God takes us on that road.
For right now we are just waiting to see what does come next. It will be fun to see what God does in our lives over the next year. So I guess there is only one thing left to say.......BRING ON YEAR 3!

Vanessa and Chad :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Praises From the Orphanage- Jamison is Going Home!!!

We received some fantastic news from the orphanage. Jamison is on his way to his forever home! Jamison first caught my attention on our first day at Philip Hayden for a couple of reasons. For starters he was one of the oldest, and two, he had suffered some very obvious burns. Later on that day as we played with the children on the playground, Jamison swung high on a swing while belting out "Jesus Love Me" in English. He was the first child I heard sing the song in the orphanage and I was taken aback. Coming to China I did not expect to hear children singing Jesus Love me and in English no less! His teacher said to me "Jamison loves to sing, in both Chinese and English." What an amazing boy! I wasn't sure if he had the ability to see but he was so carefree, happy, and singing praises to the Lord. Can I have that attitude please!?
Later I found out Jamison's story. Jamison had a home at one time with a mother and a father. His father was a welder until one day there was an explosion. The explosion killed his father and landed him in the hospital with sever burns, mostly to his face. His mother abandoned him in the hospital because she felt she could not care for him. I cannot imagine going through what Jamison has gone through, yet he is joyful and loves life!
While at the orphanage we were told that Jamison would soon be going home. He was being adopted into a family where the father is a firefighter!!! Not only that the family has three boys who are all younger than him so he will be a big brother. Usually China does not let a family adopt an older child if they have younger children, but in this case there was an exception! What a blessing! This family who looks fires in the face on a regular basis take in a boy who endured a horrible fiery accident! God is SO GOOD!!!
Jamison left the orphanage on Sunday morning so they could return to his home orphanage so his adoption could be finalized! But he did not leave without a farewell party. At the party Jamison took center stage and sang "Take me Home" and then proceeded to play on the electric guitar "Jesus Loves Me", a concert that he put together for his new mom. During the party the other older boys at the orphanage took turns hugging him and said goodbye.
Please join me in praying for Jamison as his adoption is finalized and he leaves China for his forever home. Jamison is a very special boy and his new family is so lucky to now have him as their son!
Now if that isn't proof of God's almighty power and awesome plan, I don't know what is!
To Him be the glory forever and ever!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Beautiful Video

So I got home tonight to a message in my facebook inbox. Teura, my teammate from China, had a friend of hers make this video. It's beautiful and it makes me want to go back to China so bad. Oh how I miss the kids and my teammates. I wonder if Chad would be open to being missionaries in China! Enjoy the video, it had me sobbing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Comes Next and Being Like Lingling

Lol, so obviously I haven't done a great job blogging since I got home. As I said in my first blog post I am not great at sitting down and just writing away, when I'm at home at least. It has been about 10 days since I got home and I am still not acclimated to the time change! I find myself up until 3 or 4 in the morning and then sleep well into the early afternoon. part of the reason is because I really have no where to be. I think if I were getting up to go to work everyday it might be a different story. Oh well, hopefully this will all be fixed by the time we go on vacation in two weeks.
It has been hard being home. For quite a few months I prepared for this trip with great anticipation. Every single detail of my trip was amazing from my teammates, my roommate situation, the children, the country, and the way my view of life was changed. I spent a week loving on children who have no parents, no place to call their own. Suddenly I'm home and it has left me with a lot of questions. The big question is, what comes next? Do Chad and I continue to work on buying a house? Do we start to have children? What should my next step be in regards to my heart for orphans, particularly the orphans of China? Do I make other big changes in my life? Each of those questions lead to more questions in themselves. Obviously I know what I need to do, I need to be patient and wait on the Lord. That's so much easier to say than do especially when you find yourself awake in the middle of the night. I miss the kids so much. I posted a lot of pictures on my facebook and have been trading comments with my teammates. They are experiencing the same emotions that I am. It helps to not be the only one feeling this way.
The team has created a saying to help us through each day. It is "Be Like Lingling." Lingling was an orphan that we met at the orphanage and she is one special girl who will turn 17 in October. Here is her story which I copied from the Philip Hayden Journal.

During the National Day holiday in 2005, our resident physician, Dr. Bill Moody, was walking to the office when he saw a little girl at the entrance to Langfang Children’s Village (LCV). He said, “Hi” to her, and she followed him through the gate. As she held his hand and walked to the office, he didn’t think anything was unusual until she didn’t leave. He then realized that she was alone. Dr. Moody called Christina Li and PHF founder Tim Baker for help. It became increasingly clear that the little girl was intellectually impaired and that she had been abandoned.

As we’ve always done when a child has been abandoned at our gate, we first called the local police. While waiting for them to arrive, we learned that her name was Lingling, and she was eleven years old. When the police arrived, they questioned her further. She told them that she was from a place called Dikou in Langfang, and even told us her father’s name. The police were hopeful to find her family based on this information, but it was late. They asked us if we would keep her until the girl’s family could be located.
Knowing we had no extra room in our children’s homes, Tim called his co-laborer Risa Tramel. He prayed that if Risa would agree to take Lingling into her home, then he would know Lingling had been brought here for a reason. As soon as Risa arrived, she took one look at Lingling and said yes. Lingling spent her first night at the Tramel’s house where they cooked for her, helped her take a bath and gave her clean, warm clothes to wear. She seemed quite content to be there, exploring and asking about everything she found. She also repeated nearly everything said to her.
The next day the police returned and brought Lingling’s father, who was from a village called Caoci in the Wuqing district of Tianjin. It’s about 15 km from LCV. He claimed that she had wandered away from home by herself then said he wasn’t even Lingling’s real father. She had been found by his mother-in-law abandoned on a train when she was very little. He told us that his mother-in-law had cared for Lingling all these years and was known as “Grandma.” Her “grandma” now feels that she is too old to take good care of Lingling anymore; Lingling had wandered away from home a number of times.
Her foster father asked the police if they knew of someone who could take care of Lingling and asked PHF, after seeing how well-treated she had been, if they could take care of her. Tim said they’d be happy to help if the foster father thought it was best, but a legal way to give custody to PHF would have to be found first.
It was decided the foster father would take her home until the proper paperwork could be found and completed. Two days later, with all the paper work finished, Lingling moved to our children’s village in Langfang; she would stay there until our first home, House of Blessings, was opened at Shepherd’s Field Children’s village.
She is happy. As big sister in House of Blessings, she loves doting on the little kids, occasionally bossing them around. As younger sister to Stacey and Wendy, she loves following them around and asking all the time what they are doing. She attended preschool, but she was recently graduated through kindergarten to a classroom of same-aged children at Little Lambs. She is thriving and takes full advantage of the space, spending hours on the playground each week. When an assortment of puppies and kittens were abandoned at Shepherd’s Field, Lingling was quick to participate in caring for them, making sure they are fed and cuddled.
Lingling’s situation is unique to the work of PHF. Unlike most of the children in our village, she will require a lifetime commitment of care. We are privileged to be in a position to provide that.

Lingling has a mental delay and as a result doesn't have the ability to let things get to her. Nothing bothers her, she never lets the pressure of daily life get to her. How nice would that be to not have ANYTHING bother you ever! While most of us do not have a mental delay like Lingling we can strive to live a life like her. The team has encouraged each other to be like Lingling which seems to keep us going on some days. On our last night there Lingling gave me a big hug and a kiss, what a sweet girl. Even though Linling will spend her whole life at the orphanage she is going to live each day in a happy carefree way. Who doesn't want to live a life like that? So remember when you are having a bad day or it's hard to get going in the morning just try to be like Lingling :)
I hope to write more stories and feelings soon! I will keep you posted!
May you days be blessed with joy and happiness!

Lingling hanging out in our room

Lingling with Peaches the puppy