Monday, March 25, 2013

Toby Time!!!!

Snapped some cutie patootie pics of the Tobster in the hotel this afternoon and wanted to show him off!

If you are interested in his state of AMC, take a look at his wrists, elbows especially the degrees he can bend passively! We are SOOOO encouraged by these!

You may not be an avid student of my children...but that swing jaw is just so stinkin' Shaw!!!!

Here come pictures...






































Thursday, March 21, 2013

Announcing Toby!!!

Introducing...

Tobyn BaoKun Shaw

Tobyn means "God is good"

BaoKun means "Precious treasure"

Shaw means FAMILY!!!!

Born August 13, 2010

Adopted for life March 19, 2013.

Welcome to the family, little precious treasure!! You bring us soooooo much joy!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gotcha Day and Adoption Day Images

We want to share a few pictures from our 2 amazing days...

Gotcha day and Adoption day!

We have some technical limitations from here so I will have to simply add them to the end of this post...but suffice it to say it was an AWESOME and INCREDIBLE experience.

We did not know what to expect when we met him.

We had heard the best and the worst stories.

We knew that we would be in a room with TWENTY EIGHT other families meeting their children! And just as suspected...

It was stuffy,

hot

and the emotion was palpable in the air.

It was very noisy...some children were all out screaming as they were handed over to their new parents. All of us understood.

What was happening for each child was the same: EVERYTHING they ever knew was changing.

Caregivers.

Environment.

Language.

Food.

Even their very names.

It would be a lot for any adult to deal with...but they are all children aged 14 and under!!!!

Our little Tobyn BaoKun came out with his nanny, walking on his own.

I could try to describe that moment, but i'll never do it justice. (You'll just have to do it yourself one day to REALLY know that excitement/ joy/concern/love that fills that moment!!)

He just stood there for a moment...

looking at the face of his new mommy.

It must have been too much, because he looked away.

I held out my arms. He stood looking at me and then away again.

Finally, I made the move.

I picked him up, knowing he could scream and throw himself backwards. (Nope, it ain't my first rodeo!)

He didn't scream.

He smiled.

No camera caught it because he was turned the other way,

but my heart did.

I carried him over to where our things were and the nannies and orphanage director joined us.

We oogled over him and he sat silently, wide eyed at all the commotion.

At some point we began asking the list of questions we had prepared ahead of time.

We were being given a little person and knew NOTHING about his diet, routine, likes/dislikes or what helps him feel safe when frightened.

We began a hunt for these answers as it was all beginning to sink in: these dear souls had loved on Toby since birth and were now trusting US to take over.

WOW!!!

Things felt a lot like when you inform a babysitter how to do their job.

Except we were not babysitters.

We were soon-to-be parents.

China allows you this 24 hour period to just be sure you want to go through with your intended adoption.

Wow. (Again.)

How can I capture all these emotions for you??!?

I cannot.

Maybe you understand why I simply could not sleep for days!!

We returned the next day to officially adopt this little delight. It involved several stops in different government offices, signing and answering questions.

And confirming we did not want to, "change the baby."
(I think they could work on improving that translation!)

Then, a few more red stamps and we had done it: added one more precious child to our little clan.

What a blessing. Oh, I simply cannot find the words to express HOW amazing it all is!!!

Later, after we returned from adopting him, I spent two hours alone with him.

I was just DESPERATE to get away from all the noise--and just love on and be with him.

Oh, what wonderful hours they were!

I watched him play with stacking cups and with Toby Bear. (The very special bear I saw way high on a Hilton Head Island toy store shelf and heard a voice say, "That one, over there," and when I got him down I saw his tag said, "Toby!!!!!")

THe boy amazed me.

Although his AMC (special need) is new to me, it is NOT new to him. He has learned ways to compensate for not having bendable elbows and it is very impressive!

A small yogurt melt I had put into his hand was dropped into my flat palm and he dove down and gobbled it up with his mouth.

An itch on his face was scratched with a toy, brought up to his forehead...with his foot!

He giggled as he showed off how he could raise the toy up to his head.

When he needs to move multiple things to a new spot, he uses his feet almost like hands--quickly and pinches with his toes.

Nope, ain't his first rodeo either!!

He began to smile...and then giggle.

Last night we had an all out gigglefest!

I was so curious to see if he would be stoic and silent all over again today, but he WASN'T!

He sang during breakfast, tried any new food we offered him and flashed that melt-your-heart smile that he is going to be known for.

YESSSSSSS!!!!!

Today he began imitating things we say. He especially likes to imitate what his big sisters say. The boy is going to be speaking English by next week!

Tonight, after flashing his "Baba" (Daddy) another melting smile, I could not help thinking back to the time we had to decide: would we say YES or NO? Would we actually say yes to adopting a special needs child?

My heart told me we MUST. My fears told me I might not be enough, I was too busy already, I was not patient enough and we would never get all the money to do a Chinese adoption.

What a wonderful thing that we did not look at our abilities/inabilities but at the Mighty God who called us to Toby.

HE IS ALL WE NEED.

Shortly after saying YES, the Lord gave me this verse for his adoption and parenting: "May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him." Hebrews 13:21

Amen!!!












































Monday, March 18, 2013

Gotcha,Toby! (And middle of the night musings)

It is silent. Dark. I hear the sound of even breathing. I clear my throat hoping desperately not to disturb the sweet slumber of those so precious to me.

How in the world am I ever going to sleep?!?! This new child of mine doesn't need nursed through the night as the bio ones did...but their momma still loses sleep. Why????

Cause it turns out its dreadfully hard to sleep while your heart is bursting at the seams with joy!!!!

This child we will officially adopt in a matter of hours was once a "waiting child."

He was unchosen.

Unwanted.

He sat on the Shared List month after endless month since he was just 3 or 4 months old. (The Shared List is China's central listing place for children with mild to severe special needs. All agencies that work in China draw from it.)

And no one came forward for him.

Many people advocated for him.

Many people clicked on his picture.

But for one reason or another, he still waited.

Turns out, he was ours.

{smile.}

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but since God has moved so mightily, I've got something to say and I do hope you will stick around to hear it.

Toby has Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. Geesh that sounds scary, but guess what? Underneath that long name, he is just a boy who needs a family.

Just a boy who needs a family.

This time, WE were that family.

And ohhhhhh...if you could have seen him throw his head back and giggle tonight, you would NOT SAY to me, "Oh he is SO LUCKY."

You would say, "Wow, your family is SOOO LUCKY to be chosen to have him!!!!"

(Then I'd say that luck has nothing to do with it. That God alone did this uniting!!)

Let me tell you something.

There are millions more orphans waiting.

MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS.

It is true that not all are eligible for adoption, but many are.

Many, many, many wait.

Who do they wait for?

A Super Family "who can" to come along and say, "I'll save you from that fate!" ?!?!?!?

No. Definitely no.

Such people should shake in their shoes, for they CANNOT save. They cannot rescue.

They can only obey.

Adoption is not about people saving people.

Adoption is obedience.

(No, I do not think we ALL are to adopt. But we are All to have a part in caring for orphans. ESPECIALLY if you say you follow Jesus. You are commanded in Scripture to play some role in caring for the fatherless.)

Adoption is not showing off a calling.

Adoption is not done for oneself.

Adoption is hard, painful and messy. Just ask any adoptee who has or is growing up. The holes in their life story, the ache to know "what if" things had been another way...it is a part of their very fabric. A tension that never leaves.

Adoption is obedience to the Father who did not reject us because of our sin, but gave His only Son up to death so we could be forgiven and then ADOPTED as sons and daughters ourselves...completely made new. Completely clean. No history of our past sins tacked on to us like a tattered, dirty orphanage blanket--COMPLETELY FORGIVEN.

We adopt not because we are amazing, but because HE IS.

Reality is, we are weak. We are selfish. We want comfort, luxury and we want to self indulge. We are completely unfit for this calling.

And that is where the secret lies: when we say "Yes," to God when He asks us to adopt, we acknowledge a call to a lifelong, daily, blow-by-blow dependence upon Him.

A super natural strength is required.

But WE do not have to supply it. We merely have to get ourselves out of the way to channel it.

Jesus calls it "dying to ourselves,", "picking up our cross and following Him,"..."suffering for His sake."

Not our favorite verses, are they?

But something happens to us when we donwhat is counter intuitive. When we obey instead of indulge.

When we say we will trust Him for the "hows" and not even TRY to figure it out ahead of time.

We find joy.

Invigorating joy.

We learn to walk emptied of self (although the struggle daily remains to serve self!) and are given abundance.

We live with purpose. Meaning.

Did I mention joy??!?

We found our Toby because two women, Sarah and Kelly, partnered together to tell his story and do what the Bible tells us to: speak up for those who have no voice.

Toby had NO MEANS of telling us, waaaay over lost in our lives in America, that he needed a family. He had no method to do this. No concept of his need even!

But Sarah and Kelly did.

They didn't adopt Toby, but they advocated on blogs, told his story and therefore played a VERY CRITICAL role in him being adopted.

Many, many MANY of you gave us money to come here and bring him home. You did not adopt him. But you played another VERY CRITICAL role in him being adopted.

And I have no measure of those of you who prayed for Toby while he was referred to as "Bo" on different sites and those of you who prayed for him after we recognized God calling us to him...but you played a VERY CRITICAL role in him being adopted.

This was a huge group effort! I believe all adoptions are.

Are you feeling a tug on your heart? An ache to do something more for orphans?

Don't shush that voice.

Listen.

Obey.

The road is not marked out with nothing but roses anymore than life as a Christ follower is, but there are some very real promises that ARE given.

What is impossible for man, is possible with God.

You will be given abundant life.

Your fruit will always be in season because your strength does not come from your circumstances but from Whom you draw your strength.

My goal in this post is not for you to adopt.

My goal is not for you to become a foster family.

My goal is not that you will finance adoptions, advocate for orphans or anything other than to LISTEN TO GOD'S CALL TO YOU, SPECIFICALLY.

If you do the latter, you may well do (many of) the former. You may do something completely different in regards to orphan care.

But the point is you will no longer sit along the sides and NOT be part of it.

Seriously?? Listen to me: You WANT a piece of what God is doing. You want to obey His plan for your life.

You want meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

Living for yourself gets old and stale. An insatiable hunger that is never satisfied. Stop it.

My life is ├╝ber blessed because of this little orphan sleeping in the crib at the foot of my bed. Tomorrow he will go from orphan to son. My blessing will only swell.

Is the road ahead smooth? Easy? Fun?

Most likely no.

But i never ever want to even think of what it might be like had we not said "yes."

Isn't it time for YOU to say yes too?

(Disclaimer: this post is a stream of consciousness from a 3 am writing on an iPad that has given me fits. I'm not proofreading for fear of losing it all...so i am sure there are mistakes and run on sentences and the like. I apologize for those now but hope at the end of it all you will be moved to ACTION on behalf of the orphan rather than picking and chewing this messenger apart!!)




Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Day in Hong Kong

We are fully alive and well on this side of the globe! Jetlag is a doozey, but not unmanageable. I doubt I'll be saying that on the way home! Going the other direction is notorious for taking a good two weeks to switch the body back!

We had to fly in on Thursday/Friday due to the best rates...which gave us the entire day on Saturday to sightsee around Hong Kong. Can you guess where our girls wanted to go??

Did you say Disneyland??? Or did you say, "Huh? There's a Hong Kong Disney!?!"

YES!! And what a most perfect and wonderful day we had there!!!!

In order to get ourselves there, we chose the adventure of the subway! We had to change trains 3 times, but it really was so simple. A great system to get around...and make friends!

And that is exactly what we did when a bouncing boy of four years old and his jubilant mother came into our cab other second train. They were meant to be our friends and we delighted in their company immediately! Ever meet someone and you realize your happy factor just shot thru the roof because of being with them? Within 3 minutes we were all bursting at the seems with laughter and love for these two!

They seemed to love us back too, evem the sweet mom, Sunni, asked if we would give her Chinese son an American name! Jensi immediately named him Will. Sunni beamed. Then tried hard to learn to pronounce it. They a visiting from Shanghai and had very understandable Mandarin. Although it was killing the girls to not be able to understand adorable Will's questions!!


Friday, March 15, 2013

We've Made It to Asia!!!

We are here!!!!

After a successful flight across half the world that felt like forever...we got thru customs finding all our luggage and found a sweet taxi driver whom took us to our hotel.

Great sleep after the plane--although our bodies woke up starting at 1 am! Feels like we had to wait forever for Starbucks to open at 7:30!!!

No pictures available from this device...but have uploaded several to Instagram (grainofwheat is my username) and Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you to EVERYONE who has joined Toby's story to help him come home!!

Love to all!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Last Night as the 7 of Us

And so...we are here...the final night at home as a family of 7.

We had a wonderful meal together (thanks KM for dinner!) and discussed how differently things will be the next time we sit together at our dining room table.

We checked, weighed and repacked a bag...or two.

We even upsized a suitcase.

(there's always one more thing to add!)

We brushed the Littles' teeth a final time realizing it was the last time they would be known as that to us.

And we gathered for a family prayer time.

I got teary.

Different people prayed for different things...

*safe flights

*health while we are apart

*our Chinese friend and her brand new baby

*Zeb's cow (from a visit to Chick-fil-A he can't seem to stop praying for a cow costume!)

*that Toby would have arms and legs

...and for Zora (amazing wonder dog) who was staying home alone. (not really)

(Okay, yes, all ages pray here...and we've taught them they can pray for whatever is on their hearts.)

DQ prayed that Toby would be able to eat himself. I think she meant eat BY himself. (locked arms means he can't get his hands to his lips!)

Giggles began.

And Anneli has this giggle that is CON-TA-GIOUS.

It's SO GOOD to be together.

I'm going to desperately miss US together.

But we all know this is what God has called us to...

and we will come back together again

BIGGER

and

even more blessed than before!!

Here we go!!




Monday, March 11, 2013

Moyer Family Update

Oh my dear friends...

WE MUST KEEP PRAYING.

My friend Jenny has shared with me that things are NOT going smoothly in their efforts to get Vitaliy out of Russia and into their family.

More than likely, he has been transferred to a very ugly, frightening place. They do know that he was NOT admitted to the monastery where they hoped he would be able to go. :(

They are NOT giving up, but their options are incredibly limited. Their most recent attempt to bring him home was met with a big fat NO.

How would this affect you? I'd be incredibly crushed.

On top of this, their domestically adopted daughter has a half sibling who was about to be born. They were asked to adopt him.

They rejoiced with this news!!

They named him Solomon Robert.

His nursery is ready.

And then...birthmom changed her mind.

Double whammy.

Can you believe it????

Neither can I.

We must keep praying, sweet friends. We cannot let up. This family is under fire. They have their hearts open to children who are in need of a family both domestically and internationally. They have not said no to special needs. They are denying themselves and following Jesus.

And it's gotten messy.

And their hearts are broken and achy.

Jenny said, "I feel depressed, but functional. I am so grateful for the 3 kids here to keep me going."

Please, please keep praying.

She also said like the warrior she is, "Faithwise, I am not shaken. For the first time I'm asking God why but I still know this is for our good and His glory. I just don't see it. It's so dark."

They also have maintained a commitment to continue going to Russia to visit Vitaliy until it is no longer possible.

Will you take on this family to pray for them? My heart screams that we need more prayer warriors on their behalf!!

Maybe you would be willing to send a message or prayer of encouragement to them? You can contact me on Facebook to do this or leave a comment here.




Monday, March 4, 2013

Travel Approval!!!

It's the loooong awaited (most painful) travel approval!!!

In other words: MY WATER JUST BROKE!!!!


Instead of packing bags and running to the hospital...

                         ...we are packing bags and buying flights and going to CHINA!!!

WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!




Friday, March 1, 2013

March Means Much!

There are so many exciting things happening in my life this March!

The BIGGEST of which is adding to our family!! Sweet Toby is going to be adopted in just 25 days! (or LESS if our Travel Approval shows up quickly!!!!)

Other awesome things happening is a sweet friend's 40th birthday, my daughter becomes a teenager this month...and another daughter turns 11.

But I want to talk about something ELSE that happens this month.

I'm celebrating 5 full years of being a Beachbody coach.

Huh? Yep. This actually is a big deal.

I'm a Beachbody coach. Hopefully this is not new information to you...but if so, let me tell you briefly about my story.

I was a regular mom who was trying to lose weight after having kids. But I loved love cookie dough and ice cream and had no understanding of how to exercise. I knew I should be exercising...but every time I attempted to go for a run I was a failure.

Spring 2007
A big, fat failure.

I had a lovely collection of exercise DVD's (and VHS tapes!) and would have streaks where I would use them for a few weeks at a time. But really, I had no idea what I was doing.

What I was doing was having more babies and getting bigger.

Inwardly, I had actually resigned to living my life feeling fat and sludgy. (There was no chance of anything else...right?)

And then...I found Beachbody.

Seriously, it was actually like that! I had a friend tell me about Power 90 and how it was working for her and had heard about another program they had made called Slim in 6. I found out it was $60 and decided I had enough workout videos, what would another one really benefit me? So I forgot about it.

Then one day in June, I went to a garage sale.

There sat Slim in 6. It was marked $3.

I shot up a silent prayer, "Lord, if you'll let me get that $60 program for $3...then I will DO it!" I made my way over to the table to grab it and someone stepped between it and me...and...

...she passed it up! I grabbed it and bought it and made my silent pledge.

This was 2007, shortly after we had buried our son Oskar. I had fed my pain with bread and butter and was not proud of the way I looked.

AT. ALL.

So here I was, each day doing this (incredibly boring!) workout program. I had pledged to do it for the entire time...and that meant SIX DAYS a week for SIX ENTIRE WEEKS! Yes, it about killed me from boredom. (Please don't tell dear sweet Debbie S*ebers I said this about her first program...but maybe she already knows?!???) ANYWAY, I found Beachbody online and joined the community. I found other women who were doing this program too and we collectively supported each other, whined about our sore thighs and got the idea to put our own soundtrack in to make the time go faster.

In short: I got hooked onto the Beachbody community.

One of the things that stood out that made this whole thing different was that the Beachbody program came with a plan. A calendar. A "do this workout, then do this workout...now a day of rest and get back at it and do this workout." 

You see, up until then, I just willy-nilly did workouts as I felt like it.

I would wake up and if I thought about exercise I would stand and stare at my collection and choose one at random.

And often, I chose the easier ones.

And guess what?

I.GOT.NOWHERE.

So by week 4 of doing Slim in 6, I was actually seeing REAL CHANGE in my body! I was completely amazed. Nothing I had ever done had made these kinds of changes!

I quickly realized I was going to need something NEW to do by the time week 6 arrived!

And we all knew I was DONE with D*bbie! (Seriously, I love her...but that workout was blech!)

I found a Beachbody coach online in this community and I asked her for help.

She was so kind and helped me understand about the different trainers and their different specialities and what might be a good next choice for me.

I without hesitation went and spent the money to have a new program to begin when I finished the first!
(What a different take I had now on spending money for GOOD QUALITY exercise videos!)

Fast forward a year...and that same beloved Beachbody coach shared with me that I could become a coach too. I could find additional encouragement, accountability and earn an income while doing it for myself.

Hmmm.

I was totally skeptical.

Totally.

But then, my Dad explained to me that there really was some good promise in this. He gave me some advice, "If you are going to do it, do it for the long haul. Don't just try it for 6 months and dump it. Hang in there. It will pay off."

Good words.

(My Dad is full of great advice, it turns out! How blessed am I???) Love you, Dad. :)

And so, in March of 2008, I signed up to become a Beachbody coach.

Truly I think I did this for two main reasons: I wanted the 25% discount for my own purchases...and I loved Traci Morrow my coach and wanted to be like her.

Turns out, those were pretty decent reasons.

Traci is now one of my dearest friends...and I've become one of her star diamond coaches on her team. My own team is an awesome collection of the COOLEST people and we all take our training from Traci herself.

Wow--you may not understand how AMAZING this is...but trust me, it's AWESOME!

So...it's been 5 years and I will never look back. I will never need a gym membership and I will continue to use program after program to challenge my body in greater and greater fitness.

Playing WITH my kids, summer 2012
I actually have learned to LOVE exercise and the way it makes me feel when I am done! :) I love the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, dealing with stress better, having strength ready to go for whatever task I may find and being able to run and play with our kids. (Not merely watching from the sidelines!)

It's a great life.

And then there's that income thing. What a fabulous side benefit! I'm super excited about this part!

Braces, clothing, groceries...covering all our own Shakeology purchases, supplements, new programs, and supporting precious dear Afiswa in Uganda are some of the perks we enjoy.

So...today marks 5 full years of doing this...and there's no sign of me letting up!

Want to find out what program might be a fit for you? Go here to browse and then here to contact me and have me help you!

You never know where YOU may be 5 years from now! 




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