Archive for the ‘Jasmine’s Dream’ Category

  • Wish Me Luck

    Date: 2015.12.14 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine's Dream, Jessica, William

    One of the fun things you get to do, as a family that is waiting, is send care packages to your child. After a certain time in the process, your agency will allow you to do this. The agency will send you the address and you are allowed to send small toys, clothes, and other items. We have always enjoyed doing this, spending time shopping for just the right gifts to hopefully show we care.  We love trying to guess what their personality is like and find just the right gift.
     
    The problem is that none of our children, except Jasmine and Maisey, have received their gifts. I have no idea why they never received them. They may have been lost in the mail or customs or maybe someone took them. I don’t know but it is frustrating just the same. Jasmine was the only child who came with any of the stuff we gave her. We received Maisey’s disposable camera 2 1/2 years later from Show Hope when they found it at the orphanage in a drawer. We had no indication that Maisey had received anything else from us.
     
    Its frustrating because you send pictures and letters. You want them to know your family and be prepared, at least a little, when they meet you.  You take the time to pick out those special gifts and hope that they feel the love you are sending.
     
    Today Jasmine mentioned the letter than Dan had sent her.  She was talking about how much it meant to know that her daddy loved her and thought she was beautiful.  (Jasmine’s Letter)She said she reread that letter over and over again as she waited for us. Elyse said it must have been nice to get a letter like that. It was then that I realized Elyse never got our care package. We had sent her jewelry, hair accessories, clothes, toys, and tons of pictures and letters from everyone.
     
    I never even thought about it when we met her because Elyse did come with her locket and some of our family pictures. That locket and those pictures were hand delivered by another adoptive mama who had just adopted her daughter. I am thankful that there are other adoptive parents who are willing to ask for and carry items to the children who are still waiting. Thank you Krista for doing that for us. If you are adoptive parents who will travel soon, put the message out in the families of _____ orphanage Facebook groups.   I’m positive other parents will appreciate it too.
     
    Luckily, Dan had typed the letter and it was still saved on his computer. Today his little girl got to read how much her daddy loved her before he even met her. He told of falling in love with her sweet face when he saw her picture for the first time. He told her how much he loved hearing her sing and how he couldn’t wait to get her home to be his daughter forever. She cried reading these words. Her foster father didn’t treat her well. She thought she deserved this kind of treatment until she met Dan. She had no idea that she should be adored and loved just for who she is. She couldn’t grasp the unconditional love of a father when we adopted her. Elyse knows what that means now and this letter is just one more thing that proves she has always had worth and she will always be loved.
     
    I have heard that the orphanage that Jessica is in is hit or miss with packages.  Some people have said their child came with pictures and their items and others have said that their child said they never, ever received the package. It’s so frustrating because I would love for her to know we care about her.  I would love for her to know what we look like and be prepared for her new family.
    I wish I knew the rhyme or reason behind why some get them and some don’t.  I know there are orphanages who wait until right before the child is adopted because they have been burned before by a family backing out.  I can’t imagine what that would do to a child’s heart.  How horrible to wait for that forever family you heard you had, who never, ever showed up for you.   So I can understand the orphanage wanting to be careful.  I can understand somethings getting lost in the mail, but 6 out of 8 packages never making it are pretty bad odds.
    I think I may just take the chance that our children will get their packages.  I will pray that if they don’t get them, then the person who does get them feels all the love that went into the package and will have their lives changed by it.
    Wish us luck.  Maybe say a prayer or two that our newest family members actually do get their gifts so they know that they are loved and have a forever family that will be there soon.
  • A Red Bracelet

    Date: 2015.09.11 | Category: Jasmine's Dream

    A

    RED

    silicone

    bracelet.

    Bracelet1

    To you it’s a piece of silicone that you will spend $5 on and may never ever wear.

    To her it’s the visible proof that you can make a difference.

    It brings sisters together to fight for a cause bigger than themselves.

    Bracelet

    To you it’s a cup of fancy coffee or an inexpensive lunch.

    To her it’s the first step toward her dream of “a family for every child”.

    Even if we only sell a few, it will be worth every penny spent to empower our girl.

    Just look at this smile.

    Jazz and bracelet

    She once only heard the words “you are worthless”.

    But today she is

    powerful,

    a force to be reckoned with,

    a world changer!

    She KNOWS can make a difference.

    Every dollar goes towards her dream of keeping families together

    and helping older children find a family.

    $5

    Buys a RED bracelet

    and changes the world for one little girl

    who then changes the world

    for children just like her.

    Three girls

    These three girls took a year.

    They saved their allowances.

    They did extra chores.

    They saved their birthday money.

    The sold their personal items at a garage sale.

    They sold snacks and lemonade.

    Others kindly donated to their cause…

    and they raised

    $1,147.06

    and then they decided they wanted to purchase red silicone bracelets

    to try and double that amount.

    You can make this dream come true.

    Just go to their fundraiser page on LWB’s site

    Jasmine’s Dream

    or

    go to their Facebook page and message me.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/JasminesDream/

    or send your donation to

    Jasmine’s Dream, P.O. Box 57675, Des Moines, IA 50317

    Donate

    $5

    And you too can change the world.

  • Why I Love LWB

    Date: 2015.08.03 | Category: Jasmine's Dream, Love Without Boundaries, Making a difference, Orphan Care

    I spent the last weekend in Atlanta with a group of men and women who have a heart for the orphan, specifically orphans in China.  I heard many stories that brought tears to my eyes, I listened to Amy Eldridge talk about her recent trip to China and what a difference it has made to the children there, and I fell in love with this foundation just a little bit more.

    This picture represents just a few of the people who make Love Without Boundaries what it is.

    Love Without Boundaries

    It’s funny what brings you to a place.

    I had never heard of Love Without Boundaries four years ago.

    • but reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book led me to Show Hope’s Facebook page
    • a random comment I posted on a Show Hope page thanking their volunteers
    • led me to a Show Hope worker responding to my comment and asking if they had cared for our children
    • which led to them telling me that they had cared for Maisey
    • which led to them telling me Maisey was New Hope’s 1,000th baby
    • which led to them telling me about the book “House of Hope” (A MUST READ – you won’t be disappointed and you may even understand “why” a little bit more.) which talked about Maisey (Chaya)
    • which led to us reading about Love Without Boundaries
    • which led to us following their Facebook page and blog
    • which led to us seeing Jasmine’s picture (Jasmine’s post)
    • which led to one of the biggest blessings of my life – being allowed to parent Jasmine.

    I believe so much in what LWB is doing.  Education, nutrition, foster care, life skills training for older orphans, surgeries, healing homes, unity fund and advocating.  The list goes on and on.  I want to make a difference and I know what they do makes a difference.  They believe every child counts and so do I!

    This organization is run mostly by volunteers.  What makes someone give so much of their time volunteering to an organization?  What makes them want to give up hours and hours of their time to keep a foundation afloat?  Why?  Because what they do makes a difference  They know that a child’s life is changed.  They know they are doing something to make the world a better place.  I am in awe of the time and energy these people spend helping a child in need.  What a blessing.  What a difference they make. 

    I loved hearing the stories of what brought people to Love Without Boundaries.  Stories of seeing their child on an LWB page or adopting a child with a cleft lip and wanting to help other children with clefts.  Time and time again I saw the tears of joy for being allowed to parent a child.  Time and time again I saw the passion and love they have for these children.

    There are many organizations asking for your time and your money.  I understand that.  I just want you to know that if you want to give to an organization that does what they say they will with your money, this is the place.

    Soon Jasmine will have her own page on their fundraising page.  Jasmine’s dream will continue to move forward to helping children stay with their families in China by helping children get the surgeries they need and helping older children find a home.  She has a heart for both of these issues and her sisters are set on helping her dream come true.

    Three girls

    My only request is that when you are considering giving that you consider Jasmine’s fund on LWB.  Not only will you be helping an orphan, but you will be helping make my girl’s dream come true.  It’s a win-win situation.

  • Jasmine’s Journey

    Date: 2015.07.25 | Category: Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Jasmine's Dream

    Dan and I often talked about what it meant for a 14 year old child to leave her country and everything she has ever known without so much as a tear.  We worried about her when she didn’t cry tears over lost friends.  Jasmine met us with a smile on her face and she smiled through the weeks in China and the trip home.   We asked the guides numerous times to find out what she was thinking.  We asked if she had any questions.  We were prepared for the tantrums and the fights, but none came.  In fact, the only question she ever asked was “Would we give her away in America?”  How could this be?  How could that be the only question?

    IMG_5655

    It was almost a year later when we first started to find out why she never cried when she left her homeland.  Jasmine had been told that by coming to America she could be healed.  She would walk.  This hope had kept her alive for years.  Add to that the fact that she had been told that the only life for her, would be one in an institution, where she would be beaten and not fed and surely die.  Yes, they did tell her these things, and well, she was more than ready to take a chance on this family that showed up and showed her love.  She was ready for a change and ready for a chance.

    I haven’t shared a lot about the struggles Jasmine has had these past few months, but they have been heartbreaking.  At first I believed that the extended hospitalization triggered some bad memories locked away from previous hospital stays where she was left alone, which is partially the reason, but the full reason was that Jasmine had lost hope.  She had lost the hope, that had been so fully embedded in her mind, the hope that had kept her going for years, that she would one day be healed and would walk.

    Even though we told her time and time again that her spinal fusion would only straighten her back and help her breathe easier, she still held out hope that she would walk after the surgery.  When she ended up being even weaker than she was before, it was too much to take.  She lashed out with words that cut deep.  She screamed.  She cried.  She raged.  Some days it was for a couple hours and some days it would last eight, nine or ten hours.

    Compounding the issue was that Jasmine has no coping skills.  No one had ever taught her what to do with her anger.  Yes, she is sixteen both physically and mentally, but emotionally she was a toddler.  No one has ever taught her how to work through her problems.  Many days she would be ok, but the light had left her eyes. We wondered if we would ever see that beautiful, joyful, straight-from-the-soul smile again.

    jazzy

    We worked hard at reminding her of her worth, but when you have heard you are worthless your whole life it’s hard to believe.  We told her that she could accomplish much.  We reminded her that her strength would come back, anyone would have felt weaker after lying flat on their back for a month.  We reminded her of her dream that she talked about in the hospital and before.  We told her God has big plans for her.  We told her that she could make a difference but even though her head understood what we were saying her heart just couldn’t accept it.

    We shared Rick Warren’s quote (Which Dan and I fully believe from our life experiences.) – “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.”

    She wasn’t lashing out every day but it took very little to make her angry.  Everyone in the house walked around on pins and needles afraid that they might say something to her.  Even the littles were affected.  They no longer ran to Jasmine for a book to read or to show her something they did.  Most of the lashing out was saved for me. I had a really hard time with this because Jasmine and I had had a really close loving relationship. It was me she shared her fears with.  It was me that she told her nightmares and her stories of abuse.   Dan reminded me time and time again that the reason she said those things to me was that she felt safe with me.  It was because she knew that I would still love her and would never leave her that she felt safe sharing.   Even though I knew this truth, it was hard not to react sometimes.   Sometimes I was proud of my responses, often times I was not.  Sometimes I made things better and sometimes I made things worse.

    We tried to remind her of her wish to help orphans.  We came up with the name Jasmine’s Dream based on her comments from one of her surgeries.  As she was getting set up for one of her many surgeries after her wound infection, the anesthesiologist started talking to Jasmine.  The doctor told Jasmine that often times the medicine helps you to dream.  She asked Jasmine what she was going to dream about.  Jasmine merely stated, “I am going to dream that one day there will be no more orphans.”  The room went silent.  The doctor later told me that she was so touched by this comment.  There was no dreaming of vacations on the beach or shopping trips.  The anesthesiologist told me she would remember this forever.

    Jasmine’s Dream was created to continue the work we have already done during the past two years sponsoring children and helping others adopt.  Jasmine and Grace have both raised funds for nutrition programs at Jasmine’s orphanage.  We wanted Jasmine to fully grasp that she could make a difference.  We wanted her to know that she had worth no matter what but that her time on this earth was no a mistake.  She was not a mistake.   Dan found her a copy of the Purpose Driven Life in Chinese and English.   The second chapter is called “You are NOT an Accident”.  This chapter has taken on new meaning in our house.

    As it often is with our children, hearing it from another source made what we were saying even more believable.  She started to quote the book.  She started to believe that her life had meaning.  She started to dream about Jasmine’s Dream again.  She asked me one day if she could start by helping 1,000 children?  I told her it was possible and I made her a board to write down the names of the children we have helped.   We were all amazed when we realized that we had helped 86 children so far.  It’s hard to know how many children their $8,000+ helped with the nutrition program (Heroes for Healing) so we say 86+.

    March 3, 2014 I-phone 241

    She started telling her siblings about how to apply the lessons taught in the book.  She talks about forgiveness.  She talks about her life having meaning.  I knew Jasmine was finally getting it when she came to me and said that if she hadn’t been an aging out child in China, she wouldn’t care about aging out teens.  If she hadn’t been abandoned by a grandma that cared, then she wouldn’t understand and want to help children stay together by getting the surgeries that they need in China.  If she hadn’t been allowed to be adopted, she would never have learned about God’s love.

    Is she completely healed?  Of course not.   The past pains and hurts are many.  It will take a while for her to fully accept that the limitations of her body are forever.  BUT she has made huge progress and that smile is back on her face.  Jasmine has a very special soul.  She is a very, very special girl.  I love to watch others interact with her.  It’s one of those things that you can’t even explain.  I fully believe that God has plans for her and she has already affected many lives.  The fact that she now believes it too makes this mama’s heart very, very happy.

    If you would like to follow along, we have started a group page for her on Facebook called Jasmine’s Dream.  We are working with Love Without Boundaries (LWB) to set up a fund on their page for her.  LWB advocated for Jasmine and they are the reason we found her.  Dan and I believe so fully in this foundation that we serve on the board of directors.

    Jasmine lwb

    We are ready to help our girl achieve her dream.  What a blessing it would be if there truly were no more orphans in the world.  What if we could help families stay intact?  What if we could provide support for those who were struggling?  What if instead of adoption numbers plummeting people saw the need and stepped up – one child at a time?  What if there were more foster homes?  What if no child aged out?  What if Jasmine’s dream became reality?   What if….????  Please consider being a part of helping my girl’s dream come true.

    You can ADOPTFOSTERSPONSOR A CHILDVOLUNTEER – DONATE – EDUCATE!

     

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