Since tomorrow is National Orphan Sunday
it’s the perfect time to officially introduce you to
Charlie Mae
our 5th child, our second daughter from China, and our sweet surprise…

Isn’t she adorable??? I’m in LOVE!! Those pics were taken when Charlie Mae was around 9-10 months old.

This is her at age 2 1/2…
 I would be just as happy with two oreos in my hands, too!!
This is Charlie Mae at age 3 1/2…

And then this is her turning 4 years old on September 26… we sent her a cake… I love how excited she is about her cake!
Be Still My Heart!!!
You have now seen our sweet and beautiful 5th child… and now I want to share with you our story on how she came into our lives…
Early May 2014… Emmalyn came in a woke me up at the crack of dawn saying, “Mommy, I hungry and want juice” and so I went straight to my coffee pot. After I tended to her…I opened my email inbox and all of sudden I see this new email with a little girl’s face at the top of the email and it immediately caught my attention. It was an email from our agency that was showing all the new kids that were added to the waiting list. (they send these out every few weeks) I stopped what I was doing, sat down and clicked on the link to view her profile. You see I look at these waiting kids all the time and I love them dearly, and I would bring or take any of them home… but I know deep in my heart that it’s never really a possibility at that moment in time and so I will look at their sweet pictures and delete the email and go on with my day… BUT when I saw this sweet little girl’s profile picture and read the excerpt about her, my heart stopped. I knew that it was crazy thinking going on in my brain. I knew that this was not gonna become a reality… but my wheels did start turning and my heart was already beating fast!!
       Immediately I emailed the social worker that was in charge of these new kids posted and asked for her file. She called me a little bit later that day and I ended up putting her file on HOLD!! I had fallen into the “insane” category very quickly!! Next step, in between being a momma to my four and doing my wife and mom duties for that day, I sat down to go over her file. I read and reread it a hundred times. I googled any medical info that I was curious about. I was seriously, head over heels, in love with her already. I had not felt this way, this same gut feeling, about a child since I first saw Lucy’s file. That night as Chad and I finally sat down after all the kids were in bed, I took a big breath and mustered up some guts and told Chad about her. (at that time her file name was Daisy May)
He, at first, looked at me like I had had gone completely loco and “who is this woman sitting beside me?”, but then he decided that yes, this was his wife because this girl he married has always been this crazy!
I gave him the whole speech that I had practiced in my head all day. I poured my heart out to him and I totally expected him to just say, “Lauren, there is no way.” You see, Lucy had just had her big reconstructive hip surgery and she had some heart complications while in the hospital. She was in a big spica cast for the next 3 months. She had another surgery coming up… I was a crazy person to think that we could possibly process in our hearts and minds bringing another child home.
BUT Chad did not say “no”… He said, We need to pray about this. He is such an amazing man of God and husband!! I am one to JUMP very quickly at what my heart feels passionate about… but Chad is my strong tower and pillar of stability and he draws me back to reality and practicality and says… We shall pray…. and he didn’t say no! 🙂
        So…. we prayed…. and while we were praying we asked for updated medical info on this sweet precious baby girl. We prayed some more and we prayed some more… finally Chad decided that even though we had nothing to start to this adoption with… we would take a leap of faith. We both strongly felt that God had put this girl’s file in my inbox for a reason that day. We both felt like she was supposed to be our daughter. We were both scared and excited. We both had no clue where the money would come from. We both knew that our parents and family and friends would most likely think we were and are completely nuts!! (We kinda are… but in a crazy-love-for-Jesus kind of way)
 The thing we did know is that God was calling us to trust Him like never before. You see friends, when God calls you to do something, He doesn’t just pat you on the rear and say, “Go get’em!” He leads us and guides us through every step. I know this is something most of us “know” in our heads… but to live it out in our hearts… it is not easy at all. Chad said that once you go through this process of bringing home a baby girl from China and you see how much it changes your own life and the lives of others around you… how can you not do it again??
(Where her name came from: Chad has always wanted to name one of our girls, Charlie. So I told him that this little girl definitely looked like our Charlie and Mae is a family name on both sides of our family lineages.)
      We applied for Charlie Mae on June 13 and received Pre-Approval for her on Lucy’s 1 year Gotcha Day!! How amazing is that?? Our God is in the details of important dates in our lives!!! We started our home study process and jumped off the cliff of FAITH!!
(Chad and I both had the thought that we could  and would apply for every adoption grant possible and hopefully get most of the money that way for the adoption fees & expenses…still a gamble, and I know what you are thinking…)
       Let me tell you JUST HOW GOOD OUR GOD IS…. two weeks after we had started the journey to Charlie Mae… some AMAZING friends (Ryan & Amy Abell) sent us $5,000 to our adopt together account. They face-timed us and told us that they had it left over from their fundraising to bring their little boy home from China and were just waiting on God to tell them who to give it to. God impressed upon their hearts to give it to us for CM!! I was speechless and BLOWN AWAY. God provided the initial payments for our adoption without us having to do anything but trust Him! To read that whole story go HERE.
         When we were half way through our home study and I began to get anxious about where the money would come from… adoption is so expense but SO SO SO worth it!! There are lots and lots of grants to apply for but they all have deadlines. We were approaching some big deadlines at the end of July and I was hoping, wishing, and praying that our home study would be approved and ready so we could apply and hopefully receive these grants. But at the end of July, no home study near approval, no way to apply for these big grants… I was so sad, because I just knew that we would fund our adoption this time through grants… BUT ONCE AGAIN we get blown away at God’s goodness. A very good man found out that we were adopting again and he wanted to help. I don’t even know how to put into words how blown away we were by his gift to our Charlie Mae, but he wrote us a check for $7500 !!! To say we were blown away and speechless is an UNDERSTATEMENT!!! This man had just heard that we were going through the process again and told us that he wanted to help. To this day, it still blows me away that God had brought $12,500 of the adoption expenses and we were only 3 months into the process. People, our God is in that kind of business! He likes to take our faith and fill it full of HIM and His goodness!! The simple fact that I was so upset because of grant deadlines we had missed and then the two amounts that were given to us… it totally comes down to the simple fact that if God puts a calling on your life and your follow and trust with abandon, He will guide and provide for every. single. step.
        Since August, another amazing family has given us another $500. His grace abounds in deepest waters… I can’t say that enough!!
          Where are we in the process now?? Our home study is finished and we are awaiting our biometric fingerprint appointments which will lead to I-800a approval. This is the preliminary immigration approval to adopt a child from another country. I hope and pray that we get to travel and bring our sweet baby girl home by Spring 2015!! We have started out Tshirt fundraiser!! We still have a ways to go to fund this adoption. I’m so excited about our new “Loved and Spoken For” design. Click HERE to check them out and order.
         Adoption is hard and good and broken and beautiful!! One of my new favorite quotes by Francis Chan (from his new book, You & Me Forever)- “Why not assume you should adopt kids unless you hear a voice telling you not to? God has told us that true religion is to care for the widows and orphans” (james 1:27) 
The journey to Lucy (our first adopted one) was quite the journey of faith, enduring trust, leaning on God like never before, and persevering through the hard times… but that is the Christian life and God has not called us to live complacent. We are so excited to be on this adoption journey again and so very excited to bring our Charlie Mae home!!! Our kids are excited about Charlie Mae, too. I think that there lives will be forever changed because they will see the gospel lived out before their very eyes. God took us in while we were still sinners, He adopted us and made us His very own. He wants us to love Him and to give Him back our lives. I pray that you would follow us on this journey! I know and believe that God will bring every single last dime to help us bring Charlie Mae home! I trust that He put us on this road and He will provide. It may seem so completely nuts to so many people that we would start another adoption not knowing where the money would come from… but our God knows… We are worth so much to Him… buying back our lives cost our God His very own son… these orphans are so so worth it… I’m so thankful that I’m adopted into the family of God. 
 
Thank you for hearing my heart and reading the beginning of our journey to Charlie Mae! 
 
More to come as our journey moves forward… ——>
 
In a later post, I will share more about Charlie Mae’s special need. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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