Monday, December 31, 2012

Before the new year...

As the final hours of 2012 tick away and resolutions and promises are being made for 2013 I needed to take a break and think about this past year. I want to remember my God's faithfulness, his unexpected blessings, and his plan that is so much greater than my own.

I remember this time last year as we were waiting and praying for Jaelynn. Our hearts longed for her to be home during the summer. As with any adoption there was a roller coaster of emotions as we waited. And waited. And then waited some more. It became so easy for doubt and fear to creep in as we waited what seemed like an impossible amount of time for a match to be made.

God's timing amazes me. Just when discouragement would come he would send blessings our way reassuring us that he was in this and his ways are higher. My brother received an unexpected gift from a sweet anonymous person as a gift toward our adoption. A complete stranger took my parents out to lunch where she said she felt led to help in a "small" way with the cost. Sweet friends (many of whom we have not even met in person!) were a constant encouragement to my mom. Grants were received. New friends were made. After months of crying, praying, and waiting, Jaelynn's file came in and we were matched to be her family. The timeline started to speed up and things were happening faster than expected. All little miracles from God.

As I type this now I can hear Jaelynn's sweet laughter in the other room as she plays with Abby and my heart is overwhelmed. She is home. Words will never do justice to explaining the miracle of her little life, the miracle of the Altman family being called to adopt, and God providing in mighty ways.

I want to remember this year, for the high times and the low times and God's faithfulness and great plan through it all.

Ephesians 3:20- "God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!"

Jaelynn in her mama's arms for the first time! This picture makes me cry every time. 

Jaelynn Hope Yuelin Altman- Forever!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Here Lately

The past couple of weeks have been busy in the very best way. I am so thankful for the people in my life.

Last weekend I took my baby brother's senior pictures. There is just no way that he is a senior. I am so proud of the man he has turned into. He is funny, creative, and sensitive. I love his heart for God and passion for others. His plan is to attend Clearwater next fall and do something with missions. Here is a few of my favorite pictures.

Later that day I was able to spend time with 2 girls in Southside's student ministry. I have been been teaching the girl's Sunday School class and loving every minute. Youth ministry is hard. These girls ask tough questions. They wear me out. And on some days it is hard to get into it. But it is so worth it. There is such a hunger for the Word and I am blessed to have a front row seat of it all. I love spending time with all of them and building relationships. And what better way to do that than through hair and makeup!

This past week was also our missions conference at church. It is one of my favorite things of the whole year at church. In fact it was during our missions conference 2 years ago that God began working on my heart and eventually led me to China. This year was different though. I kept telling my mom, "I'm just not getting into it this year." I can make a list of excuses about all the other stuff going on in my life but the fact of the matter is I wasn't focusing on Christ. I am so thankful that His grace is sufficient and He can get my attention and make me aware of my faults while at the same time reminding me I was chosen by Him and He loves me enough to die for me. I fail. Everyday. But His love NEVER fails.

Yesterday we had a shower to celebrate Jaelynn coming home so soon! I am so thankful for everyone who came. Friends, you have been such an encouragement while on this journey. Thank you for loving us and Jaelynn.

We are just waiting on travel approval and then little miss sassy is coming HOME!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dear Jaelynn,

In just a couple of short months you will be HOME with us! I get so excited every time I think about it and I can't wait to see your sassy little grin.

I pray that you are beginning to understand just how much we love you. I pray that you will know you are a treasure and were perfectly meant to be part of our family. I pray that you will learn what a family is and that your mommy, daddy, brother, and sisters will always be here for you. 

I pray that your little heart will completely heal.  I pray that the scars of your past will continue shape you into the bright and beautiful girl you are. 

Most of all I pray that you will know the love of our heavenly Father.  I pray you know he created every part of you to be just the way you are. I pray you grow in his love and seek after His heart. 

Sweet girl we are counting down the days and we are so humbled that God would chose US as YOUR family. 

See you soon!

With Love to China and Back, 
JieJie Katie

Thursday, August 16, 2012

He is faithful...

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of excitement with events including: my cousin having her second beautiful baby girl, I moved back to my Sebring home, worked with my mom on painting the playroom for the girls and getting the room ready, and oh, WE RECEIVED HER FILE!!!!!
On July 9th around 5:30 I pulled out some fabric that my mom and I had picked up to make a small quilt to send to our girl when that time finally came. I even joked with my dad and said, "I'm starting to work on this hoping it means we will get our referral soon." We cut the fabric and I started to sew away. Just a few minutes after 6 the phone rang and time stood still. I watched as my mom's eyes filled with tears and I knew that was it. The agency was sending us a file to review although we all already knew the answer; this girl was no doubt meant to be part of my family, we had known that for months, she is my sister.
Now that we have pre-approval for our sweet girl we have a sort of timeline to follow and it looks like we could travel between December and January.
The most exciting part of getting to this point is that we were able to send her a care package. So right know on the other side of the world there is a little girl who knows she has a family. She is beginning to understand that she is longed for and belongs in a home. And that my friends makes my heart very, very happy.
I continue to be overwhelmed with His faithfulness as He provides little miracles all along the way. He is in it and He will always be in it.
My God is greater!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Year

One year ago today I woke up in a foreign country very early in the morning (thank you jet lag) and walked down a few flights of stairs to a nursery where I scooped a little one up and for the first time I looked into the eyes of an orphaned child.

That trip held a lot of firsts for me. It was my first plane ride (I figured go big or go home right? ). My first time in a group of people where I knew no one. My first time struggling to communicate in another language. My first time catching just a glimpse of God's heart for orphans.

One year later I sometimes find myself daydreaming about being there. The team I was with are some very dear friends to me today. The places I visited are some of the most breathtaking scenes I have ever seen. The children I played with are some of the most precious in the world. The joy I felt was unlike any other time in my life. And the heartache? The heartache was and still is the worst feeling I have ever experienced. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

It's funny because I remember in the days leading up to the trip I never once thought that pain would be an emotion I would experience. I never thought the trip would be hard or emotionally draining. It turned out to be the hardest and most emotional 10 days of my life. And for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for the many nights since I came home that I was heartbroken, crying, and desperate for peace. I am thankful for the days when nothing felt right or fair because those precious children were so heavy on my heart. I am thankful for those moments that remind me of my pain there and leave me still feeling pain now. I am thankful for those nights and those days and those moments because it is in the times such as those that I cling to Jesus more than I ever have before holding a tight grip on the promises He has made. I am thankful because those moments mean I am beginning to see what it means to have my Father's heart, and those days remind me this world is not my home and nothing will ever be made completely right until we reach Heaven, and those nights teach me that He is still working on me. He is creating in me a new heart. One that breaks over what breaks His and one that finds joy in the things that bring Him joy.

But today, a year later, I am most thankful for hope. The hope of my sweet Jesus wiping every tear from every eye and knowing He saw the exact moment when each tear fell. The hope of more forever families being called and the orphan crisis beginning to be solved. The hope of heaven where some of those sweet little faces have already gone on to be. The hope of more children being loved and cared for all over the world.

Yes, I am very, very thankful for hope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


If you were to ask my mom what the hardest part of our adoption journey has been so far easily her answer would be: right now, the waiting. The dossier is complete and translated and we are waiting for an official log in date right now. But what is so hard to wait for now is a referral. It could come tomorrow or it could come weeks from now, we simply don't know.

But what I do know is this: my God is a God who hears and listens to our cries and desires of our hearts. I know I can boldly go before Him and make my request known. So I am boldly going before my Jesus and voicing my desire. My prayer is that THIS month we will get the referral.

I fully understand that God's timing is perfect and if His will is that we don't receive the referral this month  that He still heard my prayer but is just preparing my family for the perfect time. I also fully understand that He loves when we cry out to Him from the deepest part of our hearts and He will act on it.

Will you join with me in prayer? It is a powerful communication when we call out to God and He is faithful to respond.

Please pray with us that this month we will receive news that we have our referral.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When Waiting Isn't Enough

Have you ever been waiting in a line to check-out somewhere and the person behind you is getting impatient with the speed of things and eventually they walk out without even making a purchase? I saw this happen just the other day. Now I realize that this person most likely had somewhere to be. It was lunch hour and they probably had a job to get back to. But it got me thinking. 

I consider myself a pretty patient person. I am good about waiting my turn. I don't mind if a lot of time goes by before I get an answer. Usually. 

In the adoption world it has been a couple of months of just waiting. And honestly it has been frustrating. But I can put a smile on and say "Well I am waiting on the Lord."

And it's true. I am waiting on Jesus to work in His time to accomplish what steps need to be done next. I am waiting because there is physically nothing I can do to speed the process up. I am waiting because that is very literally my only option. So I can pretend to be super spiritual and talk about waiting on the Lord or I can be real. 

I think my God would chose for me to be real. And waiting isn't enough. 

Over and over again in scripture we are told to wait on the Lord. But I am convinced that this is not a complacent, sit-back, and watch kind of waiting. It is a full force trust in the Lord and being on my knees in prayer for His will, His timing, and His perfect peace. It is knowing He is working on every little detail and He will continue to work out every need. It is hoping for the things to come. 

So today, I am really waiting on the Lord. With all my trust, hopes, and prayers. 

Waiting to be matched with a little princess that will be my sister. 
Waiting for the next step we can take. 
Waiting for our dossier to be sent to China. 
Waiting for her to finally be home. 

Lord, I will be still, and wait on you.