Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Here are the kids "Showing Hope" at the Shaohannah's Hope
booth at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert last year.

I have to admit, my sassy rose colored glasses that I put on at the very beginning of this adoption process didn't make it past the first couple of months. We learned very quickly that this would be an exercise of faith for our whole family. I realize now that the first frantic months of constant paperwork, notaries, doctor's checkups, etc. were fulfilling because WE were doing something to make the process move forward. We could see momentum and it was great. Then came the waiting and the curve balls that were thrown our way over the next 2 1/2 years. This was touched on Sunday in church. We often hold out on crying out to God until we've exhausted all of our human resources & expect Him to put on His co-pilot hat to save the day. He was just as present with us during the times of our "doing" as He was during the times of silent waiting. Oh, and He was the One who enabled us to check off all our "to-do's" in the first place!
"Common sense is not faith and faith is not common
sense. Let me say I believe God will supply all my
need, and then let me run dry, with no outlook, and see
whether I will go through the trial of faith, or sink back
to something lower."
Oswald Chambers
Thank You God, for not allowing us to sink back to "something lower"...a place of wondering, "What if we had just believed and faithed this thing through?" We have scripture after scripture on faith and hope written in our adoption journal. There were days that just speaking those words aloud over our family and Gracie was an act of faith in itself. Adoption can be a very lonely process in a way. It is not a visible pregnancy. Life, of course, needed to go on, but our hearts have been thousands of miles away with a little girl, who up until last month, was not known to us. We can now see a face that we can't wait to kiss. She is a masterpiece created by her Heavenly Father Who has given her a hope and a future.

Rose colored glasses didn't look that great on me anyway. I'm thinkin' some Sally Jesse Raphael red glasses will be great for our trip to China.
"He Who promised
is Faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This must be love...

Only for that sweet little Asian face waiting for us in China would we...

1. Sit for 1 1/2 hrs. at the health department.
2. Endure a Mary Kate & Ashley movie in the waiting room.
3. Listen to the drama of a twelve year old getting a shot who sounded like she was possibly
being pursued by a fire breathing dragon.
4. Face our fear of needles to receive the first round of immunizations before we travel.

Poor Brian just about giving that twelve year old a promotion to the "brave" category. My hero.

Ah, the "Deuces Wild" special at Stax Omega...A fine reward for such brave parents.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why adopt?...Why China?

We have had many questions posed to us, rightfully so, over the past three years. Anything from "Why not just have another one of your own?" to "Why China & not domestic adoption?" In all honesty, we have asked these questions ourselves, and our answer is that we are being obedient to God's call on our family at this time.
On April 10 of 2005, Brian & I were given tickets to see Steven Curtis Chapman in concert. (Thank you AJR...You started this whole ball rolling!) Steven is such a huge voice for the orphan, and not just those in China, but children all over the world. Both Brian & I were touched by his own adoption stories, and particularly by his video "When Love Takes You In". We didn't say anything to each other concerning adoption for about a week. Neither one of us had a clue that God was working in the other one's heart. When we finally shared our individual thoughts, the Holy Spirit confirmed to each of us that this was His doing. That is when the thought of little Gracie was born in our hearts!

In January of '06 we mentioned the idea to our children and began to pray about adoption as a family. The biggest obstacle at that time was the financial aspect of international adoption. It took our faith-filled Ali to say "If God has called our family to this, won't He meet our needs if we are obedient to Him?" So, OK, (ouch) it was time to take that first step of faith. In April we contacted Children's Hope International about pursuing an adoption with their agency. We were given two names of families in our area who had completed adoptions through them. Not only was one family from our area, but they lived on the street behind our house. There goes God again, showing up in the smallest of details! Meeting with them and seeing their sweet girl from China was yet another confirmation in our hearts to move forward. On May 10 our application was accepted by Children's Hope.

Why China? Our hearts had been tender toward that country before adoption was even thought of. Another friend (Thank you MJW!) had given us the book The Heavenly Man. The story of Brother Yun rocked our world. We were challenged to pray and believe God for the impossible, and challenged as well to pray for the persecuted church in China. To this day, our family has a heart to see the Gospel spread in a country that is currently seeing a huge surge of Christianity growing under a communist government. Another prayer close to our hearts has been that Gracie will somehow be under the influence of a believer in her orphanage and also that her parents would know Jesus so that one day they would see their daughter again in eternity.
The parallel of adoption and salvation was mentioned in church this morning. We are so grateful to have this opportunity to live out a picture of God's relentless pursuit of us as His adopted children. We already love Gracie as our own, and can't wait to get our arms around her!

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to
Your name be the glory."
Psalm 115:1

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Erin Rae!

Today our little Erin turns 12! She is also a little walking miracle. God has delivered her from some fear strongholds that honestly were crippling to her at one time. Let's just say that to see her at her worship dance recital a week ago, you wouldn't believe it was the same child. God's healing can touch more than just the physical!
Erin is also so full of compassion, especially for the cause of the orphan. She has been such a prayer warrior throughout this long adoption journey. God smiled on that faith the weekend before we received our phone call telling us about Gracie. Erin & I were at the Cove retreat center in NC w/ our church's middle school girls. Erin was so broken and crying out to God to please send us our Gracie soon. (A 2 1/2 year wait is hard on everyone involved!) That evening when we went back to our room, there were not only one, but two ladybugs. One was in the hall by our door, and the other was in our room. If you are not familiar w/ Chinese adoption, you may not know that there is a legend that says when a ladybug is spotted, your referral is coming soon. Uh huh, God IS in the details. I believe He placed those little insects where they were to build a particular little girl's faith. That following Tuesday the whole family was home due to a snow day (gotta love the south) when our agency called with THE news! Whoo Hoo!
Happy birthday to our brown eyed girl. We love you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Here she is!

Gracie Jia Shu Woodard

Chinese name - Lian Jia Su

Gracie -"grace of God / good will"
Jia - "good"

Shu - "good, pure, virtuous"

Born on February 1, 2008
Lianjiang city, Guangdong province, China

Jesus. That is the first word to be spoken in little Gracie's ear, and that is the word that must begin the first sentence of this new blog. We want Him to have every ounce of glory in this whole process! Thank you for joining our family on this incredible journey that began in our hearts at the end of 2005. I look forward to sharing all of our God-sized stories here!

"He Who promised is Faithful."
Hebrews 10:23