Friday, November 5, 2010

What If?

Hope enjoys a pony ride
Petting zoo

Swinging in the back yard!

I can’t believe it has been almost five months since I have posted an update! We have been very busy helping with a new orphan ministry with our church called Children’s Hope. The focus is on providing different avenues for our church members to become involved in reaching out to orphans and vulnerable children through adoption, foster care, and orphan support. We are so thankful to our church in embracing this new ministry.

As Hope continues to grow and experience new things, I am constantly reminded of what a blessing it is to be a part of her life. Lately, thoughts of “what if” keep entering my mind. If the Lord had not called us to adopt or if we had not obeyed, what would Hope’s life be like? This got me to thinking about all the seemingly guaranteed privileges and blessings that we take for granted . When you look at life through the eyes of a child that may never have set foot out of an orphanage until she was 16 (only to be faced with a harsher reality), you really see everyday occurrences with a different perspective. For example: What if...

Hope never knew what it was like to celebrate holidays with a family?

Hope never had a big sister to braid her hair and teach her how to dance?

Hope never had a daddy whose face lit up at the mention of her name?

Hope never got to cuddle on the couch with her mommy and watch tv?

Hope never knew what is what like to receive her first “pink” Bible or be loved

by Sunday School teachers?

Hope never experienced the awesome taste of gummy bears?

Hope never had a big brother to tell good night and give her a bear hug?

Hope never got to eat rice at Zoe’s or chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-et?

Hope never got the chance to drive two dogs crazy?

Hope never had the opportunity to steal her grandparents’ hearts?

Hope never got to ride on a boat and say “faster, faster?”

Hope never knew that God loved her and created her for a purpose?

Of course, I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the picture. I am so thankful Hope gets to experience all of these things and so much. My heart breaks for the millions of orphans around the world who will never have a family. While not everyone is called to adopt, all Christians are called to be involved in caring for orphans. God’s Word is very clear concerning this mandate. Please ask yourself this question, “How does the Lord want me to be involved in reaching out to orphans?”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hope is Three!

Elmo cake made by Beth

Hope is helped by big brother and sister

Youth Choir shirts - "I'm Adopted"
Back of shirts

On June 13, Hope turned three. This was her second birthday to celebrate as a Birchfield. Hope has been part of our family for just over a year now. We really can’t imagine life without her for it seems as if she has always been a part of our family. To see her now and to remember how she was when we first met her shows how much a child needs a loving and healthy family. She doesn’t even recognize herself in pics from the orphanage. In fact, she thinks the pics are of a boy!

Back to the Birthday. We only had a small celebration with our friends, the Colees. We enjoyed Domino’s Pizza and an Elmo cake compliments of Beth. Hope is still not sure what all this birthday stuff means, but she sure knows how to open presents.

Our good friend, Chip Colee, is the Minister of Music at our church. Each year he takes the high school choir on choir tour/mission trip. This year he took 78 high school students including Dow to Dallas. Chip was led to have this year’s theme on adoption. The pictures above show the choir’s shirts which read ”I’m adopted,” and on the back are the words “by the King.” Chip included the song, “Orphans of God” and many key scriptures into the program as well as some adoption stories including ours. Our family along with so many others were blessed by the choir’s Homecoming Concert on June 13 (yes, Hope’s B’day).

Hope is taking a tumbling class and learning her letters. We tried swimming lessons, but she just isn’t ready to trust in the water yet. Of course, Beth has taken this task on and is doing a great job with her. She loves to go to the lake and now likes to ride on the wave runner. When we are in the car, she often says, “go faster Mommy (or Daddy).” She likes to call Beth, Sister or Bethie.

Hope has certainly been an inspiration to us. We have been led to start a church orphan ministry at our church that we expect to launch this fall. We sense the Lord leading us to reach out to foster care children in Montgomery, adopting families, and orphans overseas. The Lord is really bringing this all together as our church seeks to obey His Word to take care of orphans. I not only think about how different her life is but ours as well. We are excited about where God is leading and the mighty things He will do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jesus Loves Me!

Hunting eggs
Hope in her first Easter dress

Precious in pig tails

Hope enjoyed celebrating her first Easter. She was very curious about dyeing eggs, but enjoyed every minute. She really loved putting stickers on one particular egg, but hunting for eggs was her favorite. She immediately got the hang of it and placed them gently in her basket. The highlight of her Easter was spending it with her cousin, Matthew (Hope says Mashew). She adores him!

I couldn’t help but remember last Easter. We left for our first trip to Moldova immediately after the morning church service. I had such a hard time leaving Dow and Beth. When I think back, I can hardly believe we made not only that trip but the second which brought even more difficulties.

It is so true that when the Lord gives us a task, He provides all that we need. There is no way we could have even made the first step to adopt without His strength much less have faced all that was ahead of us. If you sense the Lord calling you to do a certain job, task or assignment , but feel that you just can’t do it, you are correct. You can’t do His work on your own and have the results that He desires. However, you can do anything according to His will through His strength and power.

Hope has really started to sing songs like the ABC song and Barney song. However, today we heard her singing “Jesus Loves Me.” That was really music to our ears!!! She is also counting to 10 and knows all of her colors. Her eating has even picked up a little. She is loving these beautiful days and playing outside. We have never been more convinced of how important a family is to the growth and health of a child. She i

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Suv You!

Beth and Hope in the snow
Snow Angel!
Hope's first beach trip

Hope has had many adventures since our last posting. She had RSV and fluid on her left lung in January but recovered quickly. The five of us went snow skiing in February to Park City, Utah. While Hope was too young for ski school, she enjoyed making her first snow man. She spent a weekend with her Daddy and big brother in March while I chaperoned Beth and some friends for Honor Choir weekend. We purchased our first trampoline which Hope loves to jump on with Beth. In fact, we make sure we have a good block of time when we let Hope jump, because it is so hard to get her off!

In March, Hope also returned to the International Adoption Clinic for a follow-up. She is almost on the growth chart! Spring Break brought our first beach trip with Hope. Even though the weather was cold and windy, Hope enjoyed the sand and waves washing over her feet. She acted as if she had been visiting the beach every day of her life. She reminded us a crab crawling all over the beach. She also went on her first bike ride on the back of Andy’s bike. She did really well on two long bike rides.

Hope’s adoption story was recently published in a Dothan magazine. Our good friend, Christy Colee, wrote the story that ran in February.

In the past couple of months, she has started to say , “I suv you!” with such meaning and emotion.

It is the sweetest sound. On the beach trip, she started saying, “I suv you guys.” Well of course, we all just melt no matter what she was doing two seconds before that. Her most recent words have been the question “what time is it?” Hope continues to bless us in so many ways and we are so grateful to God for allowing her to become part of our family. We suv you too, Hope!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Christmas and Family!

Dow, Hope, and Beth

What a joy it was to teach Hope about the Christmas story and hear her point to the baby in our Nativity set and say the word, “Jesus.” She had a great Christmas and it was so fun for us to have a “little one” in the family to enjoy all the wonders. She quickly learned who Santa was and how to open presents. As we visited with extended family and good friends over Christmas, I was reminded in a very vivid way of how important these relationships are. By watching Hope interact with others and the outward love that was displayed toward her, I experienced just an overwhelming sense of humility and thankfulness for all the special people in our lives. Family and friends are so important and now Hope is surrounded by them.

Hope’s language continues to develop to the point of putting words together. She is learning at an incredible rate including colors, numbers, and letters. I received an iphone for Christmas and Hope is enjoying learning by using the “baby apps.” Her weight is still so low at 20 lbs. She eats very little but has lots of energy. She doesn’t miss a thing and is very bright as well as tenacious. One of her favorite activities these days is to crawl around on the floor like a dog, panting, and wanting to be petted! Having two dogs in the house provide good examples for her. She has a pair of pink snow boots and usually the first words out of mouth in the morning are “boots on.” She wears them all day everyday. I am afraid her feet will sweat off!