Sunday, September 30, 2012

Six Days and Counting...

Hello again!

The Race for Makenna is THIS SATURDAY, 10/6/12! Boy that came up quickly... Just some final preparation items to put out there. Jessica and I will be stationed on the trail, at the two main parking entrances, Green Lane Park at Deep Creek and Snyder Roads, and at Plank Road, just off of Rt. 29 and Rt. 73. We will have bottled water and snacks available, as well as a injury waiver form for participants to sign.  Copies of the injury waiver form,
trail map and parking lot information is also available by following these links.  On the trail map, it shows all distances between stops. This is very helpful for figuring out your route if you have a goal for a distance in mind.

I did 30 miles this past Saturday. I want to pass on some of the important things I saw along the way. For example, if on the map you see a restroom and water notation, be aware that some of these are restaurants. The only 2 points where I saw facilities were at the two points Jessica and I will be at. Point "L"-Green Lane, and point "G", Plank road. I stopped about a mile past Collegeville, so I can not speak to what is past there, but until you then would reach the end of the trail down at the Schuylkill, there is nothing on the map.

There are some nice things along the trail. There are pizza places right on the trail at mile markers 13.5, and 8. There are two quick marts at markers 11.5, and 11. Landis Supermarket Schwenksville is at marker 9.75, and Moccia's breakfast, lunch and ice cream is at marker 11. There is a CVS, Divinci's Pub, McDonalds, and Wawa, glorious Wawa, at the top of a long hill, which is at the Collegeville entrance, which is mile marker 5.5. Please note, there are not mile markers at each of these spots. I am giving you the locations for the establishments if there would be mile markers at those locations. There are mile markers at locations along the trails, but some have disappeared over time, and some are hidden. The mile markers start at zero down at location "A", Schuylkill River Trail, and go to 20 at Green Lane Borough. The mile markers I did see were 6 and 6.5 between Collegeville and Rahns, 7.5 between Rahns and Graterford, 9.5 between Hollywood and Plank, 10 at Plank, 11 between Plank and Schwenksville, 12 at Cedar, 12.5 between Cedar and Spring Mt, 14, 14.5, and 17.5 between Spring Mt and Crusher, and 18 between Crusher and Green Lane.

Other things to know; Spring Mt to Green lane is a 5 mile long, quiet and mostly flat (other than the 1/4 mile spring mt that is a 12% grade) section of the trail. There are no restaurants or anything along there. If you want access to food and benches, stick to the areas between Spring Mt and Plank Road. There are a good amount of things in Collegeville, but you got to make it up a mile long hill...

The park opens at 6am. We are going to officially start at 7am, and will be at our stations until 12 noon. We hope you stop by and see us and grab a water and snack.

Feel free to email or message us with any questions. Remember to wear red if possible, and we will see you on the trail!!!

Thank you so much for walking/running/and biking with us on this journey! Think of Makenna, and say a prayer for her while you are participating. Please pray that God takes us to her soon, and that He prepares each of us to join our lives together in the near future. We are very grateful for all the help and support that we have been shown!


Friday, September 28, 2012

A Red Thread...

There is an ancient Chinese belief which states that when a child is born an invisible red threads connect that child's soul to all those people - present and in the future - who will play a part in that child's life. As each birthday passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing closer those people who are fated to be together.
Since we began this journey leading us to China, I must admit that I find myself wearing red and thinking about Makenna in red.  There is just something about red that reminds me of the richness of Asian culture! As a prospective adoptive parent, I love the idea of the red thread, that we are somehow tied to Makenna; and I firmly believe that God has planned for us to be her family.  It surfaces a difficult question; a question that I don't think any of us can understand this side of heaven:  why?  Why was she abandoned?  Why were her parents put in the difficult position to surrender her to another's care?  Why and how long will she wait?  I can't answer these and I won't minimize the question with a pat answer.  Someday, my daughter will ask me these questions, though.  She will look at me with her beautiful dark almond eyes and want to know why she was forsaken by her first Mama.  I pray that the Lord would continue to strengthen us and prepare us to help her understand and give her the loving answers that she needs to hear. 
So that was a little tangent, but it's something that Jason & I think about often and wanted to share with all of you!
Back to RED...  since there is so much RED in Chinese culture and International Chinese adoption (the red thread and the ladybug) - - I thought it would fun to incorporate this into our upcoming Race for Makenna - - we are asking everyone  participating in the race next Saturday to wear a red shirt.  How incredible to have a swarm of red on the Perkiomen Trail?   We hope it helps identify who is participating in the fundraiser, too, so if you see someone in red, stop and chat!

Jason is planning to hit the trail tomorrow to finalize a map and mile distance markers.  We are one week out and we are getting excited - please pray for a beautiful autumn day!  If you have any questions, shoot us an email and we will get right back to you!  And... if you are wondering how the competition between Jason and kids is going - it's pretty close right now, but I think the kids may be just a little ahead!  If you would like to support them, it can be as easy as using the paypal link on the side of our blog - just put a note in the payment details and I will make sure the right one(s) get the credit!!
I wish you all a beautiful fall weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Post from Jason...

Hello again!

I continue to be amazed at how much support we have seen throughout this adoption process! We have received over 2500 hits on our blog since May! I don't know if that is the same 3 people checking our blog 10 times a day or not, but I doubt it... I am so very thankful for the encouragement, prayers, finances, and questions we have gotten from so many people! When Jessica and I decided that this adoption was going to be for real, and it was no longer just talk, I had no idea that what kind of response we would get. We have been trained/warned through much of our reading, that we should not expect everyone to be supportive and encouraging. For the most part, I would say that we have seen almost nothing but kind words and encouragement the whole way.

I want to say a special thank you to those who have partnered with us financially. We had no idea what to expect when we set out trying to raise a significant portion of the over $30,000 needed to complete this process. We had no doubt that we were being called to do this, but we had nowhere near that kind of money set aside for this endeavor. I don't know about anyone else, but my pride is a huge issue for me when it comes to asking for help with anything, and specifically financially. I receive dozens of requests for donations at work every month, and honestly, I get tired of them. So for me to now feel like I am constantly asking for money, has been a humbling and painful process.  However, when I think about the situation that Makenna is most likely dealing with, being uncomfortable seems pretty pathetic. That all being said, THANK YOU to everyone who has been so generous with us, especially in light of the tough economic situation we are all going through!

Jessica is always keeping the blog updated with all the details of the paperwork, so I will save that for her. Let me just say, that we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train!!!

In two weeks, on Saturday October 6th, We are having a "Race for Makenna" biking/walking/running fundraiser. We have received our special use permit for the Perkiomen trail, and  we will be located at two starting points. I will be at the Deep Creek Road entrance in Green Lane, and Jessica will be at the Plank Road entrance in Schwenksville. If you would like to participate, please see the previous information on our blog, or on Facebook, under "Race For Makenna". The start time is 7 am, and we will be having two stations--the above listed points, where we will have water, and snacks until noon. There are bathrooms and water fountains along the route, as well as some restaurants and such.
I will be riding it all again this week to get mile markers for those who are planning on stopping along the way. I will have that info posted before the race. We will have injury waiver forms for participants to sign at the locations above, and also on line.--Required to get the permit and the insurance.

If you want to participate, or just stop by and see us, feel free as we will be out from 7 am till 12 noon. After that, the trail remains open, but there will not be support other than the above listed restaurants and rest stops. Jessica, Megan, Matthew and I will then be doing our miles. I am planning on 30, and Jessica and the kids are planning on 10 miles. If you want to sponsor any of us, we would greatly appreciate it! We are having a friendly competition to see who can get the most sponsors, and I am currently in the lead! Megan and Matthew would love to beat me, so if you want to help them, email Jessica or I and we will let them know that they are being supported!


I will also note that we are trying not to keep asking the same people over and over for support. So if you have not heard from one of us, it is probably because we don't want to be hound dogs to our friends....

Thank you so much for all your help and support so far in this adventure!!! We are nearing some very exciting times, and can hardly wait to share our excitement with all of you who have been such a blessing to us and our hopes!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blessings, Surprises and Miracles

Each week as I reflect I am amazed - it makes me ask myself what I have been missing along the way? Walking this adoption journey has forced us to rely on God to provide what we need - we've been here before...when I was a stay at home mom there were many weeks that we were held in the palm of His hand to provide for us. But, since going back to work and being a dual income family, it has been easier for us to think we can do it on our own. This has been a good reminder and a great learning opportunity for Megan and Matthew.

This has been a week of blessings, surprises and miracles! Last Saturday we had another yard sale fundraiser and bake sale - mostly we hoped to sell the majority of the leftovers from our June sale. Yard sales are hard work - I could not have done either without the wonderful help of my amazing mom! We both took off last Friday to get everything ready... Some of you remember the goal we set for our June sale and how God provided in amazing ways for our family. We set a goal of $500 for this sale and God again surpassed our goal and blessed us with $700! We had another great day - the rain held off until we were unloading the boxes into my garage at the end of the day. To those of you who helped by baking and donating items for us to sell... THANK YOU! We had quite a bit of stuff left at the end of the day and I was very excited to donate the majority of it to another adoptive family that is having a yard sale fundraiser this weekend - praying for them this weekend that God would provide what they need! 

I've made it quite known that I LOVE surprises - this week we received three surprises!  ( so much fun!) 
We received two surprise financial contributions to our adoption fund - it is humbling and exciting! We are honored that many have chosen to join us in bringing our daughter home. THANK YOU for helping us. One of the gifts was anonymous... You know who you are and we are so grateful for your gift! The final surprise appeared in the form of a FedEx envelope delivered to my desk on Wednesday - all ten of the documents we sent to be certified at the Ch*nese consulate in New York City were returned with a beautiful certification seal! We have spent so much time (and money) getting the paperwork ready, it's an uneasy feeling to ship them to someone we don't know to walk them through the certification process in NYC... I was so happy to have them back home! 

Are you ready to hear about a miracle?? We have tried to explain this away in a logical way... But we have come up with nothing... So we opt to give God the glory and thank HIM for his loving care! Friday morning I was switching the laundry before work - the kids clothes needed to be switched so Matt's baseball uniform was ready for the weekend. As I was pulling out the KIDS darks from the dryer, twenty dollar bills started falling on the floor - what on Earth?? I took all the kids clothes back to our bed to gather all the money... $110... another $20... $130! Ummm... Kids.. Did either of you have money in your pockets... No! Did anyone give you money...No! Are you sure... Yup! Are you really sure...??? You get the idea, this continued for a little while - are you both sure that no one gave you money? Did you feel anything in your pockets? The best logical explanation is that someone came into or house and put money in the kids laundry.... Really?? Who knows... Maybe someone did plant some money on one of the kids, but it just doesn't add up. However it ended up in our dryer, it's a gift from God and we are so grateful!

It hit me yesterday morning after receiving all these blessings this week... This is really happening! We are bringing a little girl home to our family - God is making sure of it! That makes this mama cry some happy tears!