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Friday, June 19, 2015

Thank You! And June Happenings!

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Our children have been home for a month! And what a month it has been!  Thank you so much for your involvement in their adoption journey.  Because you supported us in a tangible way, there are TWO LESS orphans in the world.  We travelled to China April 22 to May 10th (Mother’s Day) we returned home to be reunited with our nine children who were thrilled to meet their new siblings.


IMG_6457.JPGIsabella is “smart as a whip” as my mother would’ve said.  At two and a half years old she’s already picked up more than ten English words and has learned to communicate her needs very clearly.  She enjoys playing house, pushing the baby stroller all over the house, and picking up after her siblings.  She started out a month ago very attached to Doug and was quite timid with everyone else.  She has just blossomed and now enjoys interacting with all her siblings.  The slow acceptance of Mama has been bittersweet.  She really was close to her nannies and had stranger anxiety.  In those first days she really wanted nothing to do with Mama, and that was hard.  But the love and trust that she has developed in a short time has been sweet.  


IMG_7676.JPGIsaac is a little bit more of a mystery since he does not speak at all yet and really only communicates by crying, grinding his teeth, and smiling.  We are learning his cues and look forward to getting him the therapies he needs to develop.  He had lost five pounds between his second and third year, but I’m happy to report that in the month and a half he’s been with us he has regained three of those pounds! Lots of good nutrition and lots of hugs and snuggles are filling his tank.  When he smiles it lights up the room and is so precious!   



Thank you again for your support in bringing home our children.  What a privilege it is to participate with God’s plan for these two



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Isaac and Isabella say


THANK YOU!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Still...

“Honey, can you please get my crutches?”


“Will you please help me put my boot on?”


“Can you refill my water bottle, please?”


“GET THE DOOR!”


“HAND ME MY PHONE! IT’S RINGING! Where is it?”


These and a million other requests have been part of my life for the past two weeks.  And I don't really like it.
 
On June 2nd as I was coming down the stairs after tucking the last little child into bed my oldest daughter and I were joking about how badly she needed dark chocolate and I needed a glass of wine. We were laughing and apparently not paying careful enough attention to the stairs we were descending.  All of a sudden the next step was gone! I kept going down when I should have felt the second to the last stair beneath my left foot.  I landed fully on my twisted ankle and heard the most horrible crunchy tearing sound as I crashed to the floor. Assisted by the strong arms of my husband I made it into the recliner where I would alternately sob and squirm trying to get comfortable for the night .  


An appointment was scheduled, x-rays were made, extensive torn ligaments was the diagnosis. Here’s a boot. Stay in your chair, off your foot as much as possible for six to eight weeks.


But, I have ELEVEN CHILDREN!


But I JUST got home from China!


But I’m supposed to be doing all the feeding, changing, bathing, caring for these two new ones.  


But, but, but… But God has a different plan.


And it involves a lot of sitting. And resting. And being in the midst of the hubbub directing, observing, listening, asking, waiting.


Submitting to, accepting, yes, even embracing this plan has been a process.  I wouldn’t say I’ve really fully accepted it. Yet. I am resigned but that’s different.  But realizing the need to accept it is a step in the right direction.  


This season has given me a whole new level of respect for my mother.  The last several years of her life she lost alot of her mobility.  She depended deeply on my dad who took excellent care of her.  Still, the lack of independence, the inability to do for oneself was difficult.  I remember so many conversations with her agonizing, “but I can’t do anything but sit here!” And I’d encourage her, “Oh but you can! You call me and you pray for us, that is so valuable.” Sometimes it helped and sometimes she just wanted to do… and couldn’t. I empathize now. I’m a do-er and so was she.


Be still and know that I am God.


Be still and know that I will be glorified.


I’ve never been very good at the "be still" part. I am learning.


Lord, thank you for this season.  Help me to be still and not struggle against my confinement. I know that You will use this season to shape me into the person you want me to be.  




Friday, April 17, 2015

It's almost time...


Tomorrow is countdown day 4. 
FOUR DAYS!
How did we get here? 

I made a final shopping list and packing list.  Tomorrow is shopping day rain or shine. 

All the nifty baby supplies at my house have to stay at my house because my babies will still be there.  It will be good to have a back up pack of all our stuff for when we get home.
I've packed clothing and a few supplies but Saturday is get-down-to-business day! We will be in China for 17 days and I've got to get busy!



 I'm praying the Lord will guide my thoughts and direct my heart these next few days to draw especially close to my kids in these days before we leave. I made this (so not Pinterest-worthy) paper chain with the dates we will be gone and daily scriptures for my kids.  They can tear off one link each day until we are home. 

 
Our fabulous homeschool mom's group "Mom's Rest Stop" had a shower for me today.  The d├ęcor was so sweet and really, really, REALLY made me ready to go get these babies!!! Isaac and Isabella are coming home.  ISAAC AND ISABELLA ARE COMING HOME!
 
 
 
Another group of friends is having a shower on Sunday for us... (I know, I have the BEST friends, EVER!) If you would like to come and did not get an invite, please, please message Fiona or message me and get her info I'd LOVE to see you there before we go!
 
Please pray for God to prepare the hearts of our children. Pray for God to be glorified through this whole trip. Pray for our light to shine and His will to be done.  Pray for our other children at home and my Dad as he leads this crew in our absence. 
 
Thank you to all who have come along side of us.  We are so blessed to have The Church all around us!
 
 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!

The last approval we needed has been granted!

We are going to China!  WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!

When we got the email I started laughing, then crying, then sobbing.

Earlier this week I was so down.  On Good Friday I started missing my mom something fierce. I've cried and prayed and talked to her all week.  A few days ago we put up a hummingbird feeder, one of Mom's favorite things.  My mom loved hummingbirds and cardinals, red birds she called them. One morning a "red bird" landed on the hook and sat there for the longest time.  It was like God was reminding me that He hasn't forgotten me.

So after the Travel Approval was granted, the Consulate appointment was set and it was time to buy plane tickets! 

Yesterday they were purchased along with a few other plans made. 

If you'd like to follow along on our journey an outline of our itinerary is below. 

My Dad comes to Houston 4/19 to stay with the kids.  Doug and I leave Houston 4/22 and travel to Beijing where we will meet up with our group and tour the city.
 On 4/26 we leave Beijing and head to Zhengzhou in the Henan Province where we will meet up with our children on Monday 4/27. We will be in the province that week until we travel to Guangzhou for our Consulate appointment on 5/7.  At that appointment our adoption will be final.  We will leave Guangzhou for Hong Kong on 5/8 and then on 5/9 we will tour Hong Kong Disney. Finally on Mother's Day 5/10 we will do a little time travel and leave Asia at 5:25am and arrive home 14 hours later at 9:20am. 

 Here's a map of China if you want to follow along. (Beijing, Zhengzhou, and Guangzhou are pretty much in a line from North to South)

China is 14 hours ahead of CST.  So pretty much if we are awake, ya'll are sleeping and vice versa!  We will try to be available on Facetime or WeChat.  We will be updating our family and hopefully they can keep ya'll updated throughout our trip.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for all who are praying... we still need it!  We still have some in-country plans to make and we need to pack! Wow... my head is spinning! Thank you for joining us on our journey!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

His Name is Laughter...

Isaac's update was ... tough.

We received two pictures, a line of a spreadsheet with measurements, and a few generic answers about his health.

I felt very heavy as I looked into his forlorn face.

His measurements have to be off... if not, he's only grown one inch and one pound in nine months.

He cannot drink liquids. No water. No milk. No juice.  It is not for lack of desire because when the other kids get sippy cups he wants one too, but only drinks about 1/3 of it, according to the update.  I'm convinced that a speech/occupational therapist will work wonders for him.

He just looks like he's in deep, deep need of a FAMILY!!!

Good thing we have one for him. 

Please pray for our Isaac. Please pray for his transition that there would be no fear.  Pray for his health that we could find out about his needs and be able to meet them quickly.

I think there's a reason God had us name him LAUGHTER after the Isaac in the bible who was born to parents of, ahem... advanced age... And he brought them JOY!

Hang on baby! Mama and Daddy are coming!!!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

WE ARE FULLY FUNDED!!!

God loves to do impossible things!

He loves to provide for his children.

He loves to show Himself strong in our midst.

WE ARE FULLY FUNDED FOR OUR ADOPTION!

Our expected expenses according to our agency are $21,470

In addition to monies we've spent,

Donated to date by friends, family, and grants is $21,467 


DO YOU SEE THAT.!?!

God did that through His people! 

HE IS SO GOOD!

Rejoice with us. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Updates, Updates Everywhere!

Three subjects, One Post because my brain is like spaghetti and it's all connected anyway!

Update on ISAAC!  
Update on our process!


We got an update on Isaac... and he looks forlorn, like he needs his Mama and Daddy NOW!  They just sent the same height and weight from September 2014 which actually was from his birthday February 2014.  Additionally, we found out that he does not drink, only eats soft foods for hydration.  So, while I'm glad to have an update, it makes my heart heavy and I wish I could travel TOMORROW! PRAY for our boy. Which brings me to my next piece of news!





We received immigration approval on March 10th!  One step closer!
We also received our passports back with our 10 year China Visas... you know, just in case we need to go back! 





Thursday, March 5, 2015

WOOHOO! Lifesong MATCHING GRANT!

Well, this Adoption Journey has been a journey of faith and hope. 

Back in October we applied for a grant from Lifesong and did not hear back... until now!

A friend put us in contact with someone who works with Lifesong and they were able to secure a
 
MATCHING GRANT!
 
That means that your gift will be doubled up to $2500!
 
 
So if you've held off giving because your gift is too small, guess what?! It now will be doubled!
 
$5.00 = $10.00
 
$10.00 = $20.00
 
$50.00 = $100.00!
 
I love the way this works :-)
 
Double!

ISAAC JUDAH


Twice as much for TWO cuties!! Two times the blessing!
ISABELLA PROMISE
 
 
To pay online go to www.lifesongfororphans.org/give/donate. Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and fill in “Family Account Number” (Audirsch 4941) and “Family Name” (Audirsch) fields. Note PayPal charges an administrative fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee. 
 
Checks should be payable to “Lifesong for Orphans. In the memo, note “family name” and “family account number” (Audirsch/#4941) to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL  61744.  Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption. 
NOTE: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use. 
o Individual donations $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request. Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.
 






Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BABY NAMES!!! Drum Roll Please!!!

Introducing....

Isabella Promise Audirsch

&

Isaac Judah Audirsch

 
Isabella is two and Isaac is three.  They are not siblings by birth, but will be brother and sister soon.  We are so incredibly blessed to add these two babies to our growing family.  Please keep them in your prayers in the coming months as they make their great adventure to becoming Audirsches! We cannot wait to welcome them.  As it stands now we will likely travel mid-late April.  We are still gathering funds for their adoption if you'd like to help bring them home watch for an announcement about a matching grant.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Financial Update for Those Who Have Asked

We have been asked to "Let the need be known" for our adoption.  I figured I'd stick it here in a blog post for anyone who is interested. 

So, here's the nutshell for those of you who want "Just the facts, Ma'am"
And I will give a more detailed account after that.

We need approximately $13,200


We owe about $21,900 coming up in the next few weeks. 
 
We currently have $8200 which has been donated to AdoptTogether

And we have approximately $500 left in our savings account.
 
We have invested $13,692 so far.
 
We have received $2650 from two grants, we applied for ten.


I want to begin by saying we have some of the best friends and family in the entire world.  Already, YOU have given about $10,000 (to AdoptTogether and personally)  That is TRULY amazing and we are so very blessed. 

Here is the breakdown if you are interested.

$11,400 Orphanage Fee Due 4/9  - ($5,700 x2)

$3,000 Airfare for Doug and I - ($1,500 x2)

$4000 approx. In-China travel (flights, hotels, food)

$1500 approx. Visas, Kid's passports, physicals, notary fees

$2000 Airfare for Kids coming home ($1,000 x2)

$5 eggrolls (for Doug) Kidding! ;-)


THANK YOU!  If you stuck with me to the end of this post!

And even bigger THANK YOU!!! to those who have given to us already.  We so appreciate your generosity.

If you know anyone who would like a proven, previously-loved, practical 33 foot travel trailer that sleeps 10 we would love to sell it! Contact me by email.

There are ways to give and I will tell you we are currently waiting to see if we can get a matching grant.  We applied in October, I called to follow up, they know our current timeline and are going to see if they can "do anything for us." I will post on Facebook and my blog when we hear back from them.

If you would like to give now, you can give to AdoptTogether.

So there ya have it folks, that's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.








Saturday, February 21, 2015

We have a SPECIAL Birthday today...

Happy Birthday to You...

                        Happy Birthday to You...

Happy Birthday Dear....

ISAAC!!!!
 


 
Happy Birthday to You!
 
Dear Sweet Son,
 
Today you turn three years old.  You're becoming such a big boy!  This past year has held many changes for you and this year is going to hold even more.  Soon you will become an Audirsch and have a Mommy and Daddy and a bunch of siblings eager to love you and help you. Although the first three years of your life are full of questions, God knows those answers and He provided for you to be at a wonderful home where you were held and SEEN and loved that first year.  Your second year of life holds a little more mystery, but God knows that too and He promises that He is with you and He is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of the orphan.  In just a few weeks we will come for you and your life will change drastically again.  Our greatest hope for you is that you will come to know and love Jesus most of all. I pray that you are celebrated today. 
 
In the words of your godly grandmother:
 
Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, may you find Jesus near every day of the year.  A happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you and the BEST year you've ever had!
 
We love you son!!!
 
Mommy and Daddy <3


Friday, February 20, 2015

The FIVE Magical Questions

 
At this point in our adoption process our agency informed us that they will request updates from the orphanages in which our children reside and we can ask five specific questions.  No pressure, just pick the right questions.


Five.


Five questions of a million I have.  


Did anyone gaze into their newborn eyes with wonder or delight?


Did their Mama hold them close?  


Did she cry when it was apparent she would not be keeping her child?


Did she make this decision or was it made for her?


How can I step in this gaping hole?  Can I give them what they need?  Am I what they need?


How long was it before they stopped crying for their Mama?  


What is their favorite comfort? Does anyone comfort them?


What makes them happy or sad or afraid?


What makes their eyes light up?  


How big are they?


How much have they grown since our last update?


What do they eat?


What medicines do they take?


Who takes care of them daily?


Do they sleep hot?


Do they play with other children?  


How many words do they have?


Besides words, how do they communicate?

I could write questions all night long....
And then I found out  no one answers the questions you ask anyway.  They just tell you what they’re going to tell you and that’s it.  

So here’s what I know. I know GOD loves these kids. I know we will love these kids. I know He’s been with them all along.  I know He is a Father to the fatherless, I experienced that firsthand for the first nineteen years of my life. (I did have an awesome Mom though!)

We will pour love and prayer and delight into them.  We will partner with Christ as He does His work of redemption in their lives.

We will trust Him each step of the way, even with unanswered questions and impossible circumstances.  He’s teaching us that He kind of likes the impossible.



Oh Lord, prepare their little hearts as only You can do.  Amen.

We should be traveling sometime in the next 9-12 weeks.  There is an end in sight.  We may never have answers for them now, but we will discover the answer to all these questions and more as we journey together with these precious souls God has knit into our family.  He's so very good.