Ladybugs & Adoption

Over the last 3 years and 10 months of officially being in the paperchasing & waiting process of our adoption, I have read several (okay...many) blogs of families adopting from China. It didn't take long to catch on that ladybugs had some sort of significance in the adoption community.

Other than being one of the least scream-inducing bugs, ladybugs are actually cute (in my humble opinion), but what made them so consistently appreciated by adopting families? It turns out that in Chinese adoptions ladybugs have come to be associated with "good luck."

According to several websites I looked at, in the late 1990's adoptions from China began increasing. It seems that this coincided with a slow down in referrals coming out of China. One day a number of parents from different parts of the country started reporting that they were having ladybug infestations and sightings. Not long after that referrals began coming out of China in rapid fashion. In addition, one fall the ladybug population grew unusually large in Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou is a necessary stop for all parents adopting from China as this is where much of the final paperwork must be completed. This seems to have cemented the association between ladybugs and "good luck" or "happiness" in the adoption process. I

Interestingly, Lily's Chinese name, Li Ji Han, means "lucky or auspicious" and "to contain or to hold." Since the Chinese place names in the reverse order of Westerners (first name listed is their surname & the last name listed is their first), as I see it her Chinese name means "to hold or contain luck."

Now, I do not believe in luck...good or bad. I do not believe in chance, fate, coincidence. Scripture doesn't bear that out. But a large number of Chinese (and Americans, for that matter), who do not know the One True God, do. That is what they hold on to and desire good luck.

What I do believe in is God's sovereignty and divine and perfect control. That is why this blog is called Adopted & Appointed. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." (Jeremiah 1:5). "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16) "He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." (Acts 17:26) "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." (Proverbs 16:33) "From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." (Isaiah 46:11) Even ladybugs are under His control.

Last summer, God sent me, not a ladybug, but a sparrow. Our son had just left for a 6 week mission trip in Peru. He had never been away from home for so long, never flown by himself, never been to a foreign country, never traveled without us...and he was going to do all of those things...for 6 weeks. Needless to say, this momma's heart was doing some serious praying!

A few days after he left, I was sitting in my dining room reading my Bible and praying for our son when I heard a tapping at my window. At first, I ignored it, but since it persisted I got up and went over to the window. I was amazed by what I saw. A little, brown sparrow was tapping on my window! Immediately, the words of Matthew 10:29-31 flooded my mind:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

What sweet reassurance from the Lord that was! He knew my heart and so tenderly and concretely reminded me of His truth and His care for my son. I remember praying, "Thank you, Lord! I hear You, I understand what You're saying. I will remember the sparrow." Imagine my surprise when the next morning the very same thing happened again! And the next morning...and the next! That sparrow came tapping at my window morning after morning to remind me of my Father's care for my son. Let me tell you, that sparrow visited me every morning for 3 weeks! It has not returned since.

So are ladybugs a sign of good luck? I don't think so, but I can totally see the Lord sending them as an encouragement to the weary hearts of adopting families, just as He sent me a sparrow.

As for my "Lilybug," it was not by fate or good fortune that she was chosen to be in our family. She was created by a sovereign God who, knowing the choices her biological mother would make, appointed her to be adopted into our family. And through her adoption story (and I pray her whole life) to bring Him glory.

In Him,


So these are adopted, too?

We had a first tonight at Wal-Mart (yes...don't fall over, I was in Wal-Mart, not Target...however I went there tight afterward!). I've heard from fellow adoptive moms that this day would come, but I hadn't expected it to come before Lily was even with us!

The girls and I had gone to the formerly-blue-now-tan box store to pick up Lily's car seat which I had ordered online and decided to pick up in the store to save on shipping. After struggling over whether or not to take the car seat they shipped to me due to the condition of its box, we bought two more bottles and some ketchup (aren't you glad I shared that!) and went to the register.

Can't really remember how the conversation with the cashier lady got to the place where I told her the seat was for our daughter we will be bringing home next month (Lord willing!), but she seemed quite interested. She asked how old she would be and then looked the girls up and down and said, "So these are adopted, too, then?"

"They are biological." I answered. I finished paying, thanked her and headed for the car. As we were walking out, my oldest daughter chuckled and said, "She thought we were adopted, too!" That will probably be the first of many conversations we will have like that with strangers, I said. It was a good one, I think. I have heard from friends that some people can say rude or thoughtless things even when children are obviously listening. I have been praying that the Lord would give me the appropriate response in those times. Tonight, He let me dip my toe in and test the waters. He is good.

On another note, no Travel Approval yet (you probably guessed that!). What is interesting, however, is that our agency got 2 batches of TA's this week whereas they had been getting them at what looked like an every 11 day rate since June! So our prayers for speedy TA's are blessing several families out there! Keep praying!

James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

In Him,


You have not because you ask not!

For the last several days I've been praying about whether or not to post this prayer request. My reluctance has been that I know with a deep confidence that God has planned, appointed, and ordained the exact date on which He will put Lily in our arms. He's been walking us step by step closer to the day He foreknows and "no plan of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2)." He's going to do what He's going to do and His ways are so wonderful that I want what He wants even if it isn't what I originally think is best, but...

So, very often He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4)!

This morning, as I read Jon Courson's devotion A Day's Journey, the Lord spoke to my heart: "Post the prayer request. You have not because you ask not [let others pray,too!]" I've been praying privately and have mentioned it to some friends and family, and I believe the answer is on its way, but I think He wants me to ask all of you to pray, too. He has a purpose in asking each of you to pray with us. I believe He has something He wants to say or show to you, too, as you pray with and for us. And He has something for me and for my family in the answer, as well.

Pray. For as you grab the lever of prayer with the hand of faith, one of two things will happen: blessings, healing, the working of God will come down upon you--or else the lever will yank you up into heaven where you'll hear your Father say, 'Now that I've got your attention, I don't want you healed because it is in your weakness that My strength will flow through you.'

Brothers and sisters, pray 3 times, 30 times, 300 times until you either get the answer you're asking for or you hear the Father say, 'No, and here's why...' Don't settle for anything less.
A Day's Journey, July 19

So, what is the prayer request? The plan for some time has been to have our two oldest children with us when we travel to China. We have been told that the trip will take place "in August." Our son is scheduled to begin his college classes on Monday, August 23rd. These will be his first classes ever in a collegiate setting and everyone we've spoken with advises against his missing the first few. As the days go by, the likelihood of our being able to go and be back before his classes start seems to be fading.

The specific request is that, if it is the Lord's will, we would be able to travel and be back from China before Aug. 23 so that our son could go without missing any classes.

That means we would have to get Travel Approval ASAP (today, this week). In human bureaucratic terms, that is highly unlikely (if not impossible). The average wait would put it coming between July 26 and Aug. 9 which would put actual travel beginning between Aug. 9 and 23 (by my calculations...I could be misunderstanding something!), which would not get us back in time for him to make classes.

But with God nothing is impossible! And as Job said in the beginning of Job 42:2: "I know that You can do all things..." Kevin and I watched a movie called Faith Like Potatoes a few days ago. In it the main character says: “The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is not difficulty, but impossibility.”

So I am praying for a miracle...perhaps a great miracle...Travel Approval this week, but I am also praying for not my will but His will be done and that He would get the glory always!

Would you pray, too?

In Him,


15 years!

Yesterday was our 15th wedding anniversary! They say time flies when you are having fun...and I must say, time truly has gone by quickly! It has been an amazing decade and a half! Yet, at the same time, we both remarked that it seems longer (in a good way!). It is almost like we've never been apart. The two are definitely one. Praise God!

Whenever we go to a wedding we find ourselves remarking, "Boy am I glad we are where we are in our marriage and not where they are!" I can't even imagine being back in those newlywed days...the learning curve is just too great! And we thought we knew each other so well then! Ha!

But, oh the difference 15 years make! My how we've grown in knowledge and understanding of each other and what it means to be married...and to be married to the glory of God! I am so grateful for how the Lord has grown us each individually and then in unity. And as I type this, I must not only thank the Lord for creating us for each other and growing us together, but also thank Him for the people He has brought into our lives who have prayed for us and with us and been models to us of godly married life.

To our parents...thank you. Your faithfulness to each other and to us has been inspirationally bedrock. Thank you for loving each other, us and the Lord! What a legacy!

To Aunt Judy and Uncle John...thank you for faithfully praying for us and supporting and encouraging us for almost 2 decades! (By the way...if you are not familiar with Judy's Marriage Bible study Enhancing Your Marriage I would highly recommend it! God has used it multiple times to enhance ours and I've witnessed Him build others as I've been privileged to teach it. There is a version for couples, too, which we are using in our home group, that is excellent!)

To our old college home group (many of whom we've lost touch with)...thank you for accepting us with open arms and modeling redeemed marriages to us, and helping us fix our eyes on Christ in those baby believer years.

To John and Melanie...you all have walked with us through so much! The value and impact of your friendship...truly your brother and sisterhood...cannot be measured. Thank you for always standing with us.

To our children...we love you and pray that you will see the great mystery of Christ and the church modeled in our marriage. We pray that our love for one another gives you security, peace of mind and heart, and a picture of what you want in your marriage. We pray that one day your Loving Father will bring each of you the spouse that He has fashioned for you and that you, too, will enjoy the blessing of the truth we are living out..."two are better than one."

In Him,


Ouch!!! ....Yea!!!!

Yesterday, July 12th, was a day I had been counting down to for about 2 weeks.

First of all, it was the day Kevin & I were scheduled to get several of our travel vaccinations. For those of you who don't know me well, I have almost no phobias and don't consider myself a fearful person at all. But that all goes out the window when it comes to needles.

I am not really sure when my aversion to needles began, but it goes as far back as I remember. It was the reason that I pursued natural childbirth (& succeeded 4 times). No, I'm not kidding. And, yes, labor pains are more painful than most shots, but in my mind labor is natural...it should happen. Someone poking you with a needle just does not seem to register as natural and normal in the fight or flight portion of my brain.

As a child, I seriously contemplated kicking the shins of anyone with the intention of piercing my skin with a needle and then running like crazy. I never carried out the plan, knowing my mom would drag me kicking and screaming back in, but I mentally rehearsed it and planned escape routes! (My son actually tried half of this plan when he was five, but that's another post).

Most people seem to outgrow their childhood fears, but I have had a difficult time shaking this one. The fact that I have impossible to find veins only reinforces my "this hurts, run for your life" mentality every so many months! Yesterday I went in knowing I would have to get 3 shots. I've had the appointment on the books for at least 2 weeks. Hours before the appointment (okay, I'll be honest, even at the appointment) I was looking for loopholes to get out of taking them. We'll be in the city...I'll avoid all potential risk factors...maybe I got the vaccine as a kid? No, no, and no. The rational part of my brain scheduled the appointment so I would have accountability (no ditching and going to Panera!). Kevin's appointment was at the same time. I listened and accepted the doctor's reasoning for non-avoidance and even smiled once or twice. But that doesn't mean I could control that part of me that just hates it. A physical reaction is a physical reaction. Sweating. Looking away. Forgetting to breathe. Causing my poor husband to think I might pass out. Yeah, I did great.

And, by the way, just a little tip. Never, never, never trust a nurse who says, "This won't hurt a bit." Who's ever heard of a tetanus shot that "didn't hurt a bit?!"

But it's done and she still has her shins and I do believe I've been stuck less for Lily than I was for any of my other children. That's a praise.

The second thing to which I was counting down was the Article 5...the next piece of paper we needed to have before we can get Lily. It was scheduled to be ready for our agency's Guangzhou office yesterday. After not hearing anything yesterday, I called our agency and found out that it did indeed arrive!


That means that now we are down to the last significant thing before we board a plane for China...Travel Approval! I am so excited to be this far! I will post some specific prayer requests regarding this in the next several days.

Finally, yesterday we made the blog public. No more signing up or in. I pray that the Lord will use this to glorify Himself and encourage other adopting families and families whom the Lord is calling to adopt (even if they don't know it yet!).

Praising Him,



Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial.
Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary.
Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.
~Rita Laws, PhD

In Him,


Happy 9 month birthday Lily!

Lily turned 9 months old! Although we'd love to be celebrating this milestone with her, we are praying that we will be with her when she turns 10 months old. Somewhat of a long shot by man's standards, but we know that "nothing is impossible with God."

Even though the youngest member of our family was not with us today, the girls and I found our own way of celebrating...clothes shopping for the baby! We found some cute...small...outfits. It appears our little Lilybug is smaller than I was thinking. Turns out after doing some looking, she would be wearing 3-6 month size! We all are looking forward to dressing her and up and making her look girly!

One closing thought for Lily Rose...a quote from I-can't-remember-where...that seems to fit today:

You don't have my eyes...but you have my heart!

In Him,


6.3 kg and 64.5cm!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay...can you guess what that title means?!?

If you said it's the body length and maximum weight of an adult Red Panda (which by the way is an animal native to central China that looks nothing like the Giant Panda, but instead resembles a reddish raccoon or even a fox)...you are correct...sort of!

(Just in case you're wondering how I know so much about the Red Panda, Anna Grace did an oral report on the Red Panda last week! She did a great job, by the way!)

But as you probably guessed, I'm not really going to post about the Red Panda.

No...6.3kg and 64.5cm are the height and weight stats of our little Lily Rose! We got updated info on her this afternoon (for those of you keeping track...yes, Daddy was the one who found yet another very important Lily email and had to call me to let me know!). Not only did we find out that she:

weighs 6.3 kg or 13lbs. 14oz (for we Americans),
is 64.5 cm or 25.4 inches long,
having a head circumference of 42 cm,
and her chest circumference of 40 cm
and is judged to be healthy....
but we also got another picture!!!!!!!!!!!

You may not be able to tell on your computer screen, but the little cutie's tongue is poking out from between her lips! How adorable!

We are SO thrilled and grateful for another glimpse at our little girl! Just last night I was expressing to Kevin how desperately I was longing for an updated height and weight on Lily...and then this afternoon the Lord provided! He is SO good! Can't say that enough...

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103:1-5 (one of my personal favorites!)

Rejoicing again in Him,


Where is Lily?

Okay, there's the obvious answer to that question...China...but, more specifically she is in the Guangdong Province, which is in the southeastern corner of China, in a city called Shantou City (pronounced shan-toe). It is on the coast and is supposed to be a "gateway" city.

TravelChinaguide.com says, "Bordering on the South Sea, the city is one of the most important open-to-the-world harbors both in the Guangdong Province and in China. As one of the five special economic zones of China, it uses its convenient geographic location to its advantage and has accepted many foreign investments. It currently has economic relations with 165 countries. Over 50 multinational corporations and 11 of the world's top 500 enterprises have investments in Shantou, giving the city the seventh best rate of commerce among all cities in China."

Below are some scenes of Shantou City. The second picture is of the harbor.

The orphanage itself sits in the middle of the city, along some busy streets. Below are pictures of the orphanage. The first is the entrance and the second is of the windows to the baby room. The third picture is taken from the baby room window and is of the orphanage gate. That one is particularly special to me as that is Lily's "finding place," the place where she was abandoned when she was 2 days old and subsequently found.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are so grateful to the Lord for placing Lily in the SWI (Social Welfare Institute=orphanage) that she is in. It is receiving aid and training that so very few in China receive. We got word a few weeks ago that the Shantou City SWI has received another stamp of approval. The info said: "Shantou just went through the IAF International Accreditation Review for orphanages, and they are part of the only 10% who are reviewed who got full accreditation and the highest review." Praise God!

Below is a YouTube video of the traffic in Shantou! And we thought we had it bad around here!

In Him,