Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day One: Adventures in Hong Kong!

Man oh man, did we have an interesting day!!

We decided to start it off with a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland!  Tickets to it are way cheaper than tickets in the US, so off we went!


We were shocked how quiet the park was, since last time we visited it was smack dab in the middle of summer and the place was a madhouse!  The off season crowd was pretty small!  Great news for us!

Less than 5 minutes wait for Space Mountain, so we rode it twice!!  It's a great version of it too, complete with music. :)
And Oh Man!!!  This is gonna be awesome!! Wonder if they'll be building one in the US Parks??

And NO Disney trip is complete without a boat ride through It's A Small World!!  And yes, when you have an adopted child from across the world and you are on the way to another one, the words of this song take on significant meaning. :)

These pictures are for Kate & Chengbin- Daddy & I were missing you guys so much seeing the Three Cabelleros and Aladdin, Jasmine, & Abu!!


Instead of a Haunted Mansion, Disneyland Hong Kong has Mystic Manor.  Where this cute little monkey opens the box & releases the Magic inside.  It is SO cool!!

And after riding Grizzly Gulch two times in a row & having some lunch, we decided to watch the parade and head out of the park for a little exploration of Hong Kong!

The floats at this parade were outstanding!  Seriously, I'm not a Disney parade person, but both times we've went the Hong Kong Disneyland parades were great!

And the last float of the parade had me almost teary missing the kids!!! Stitch is their favorite.  Kate has been in love with Lilo & Stitch for years, and while I had stocked up on Lilo, Stitch, & Scrump souveniers for them, I SOOOOO wish they could have seen this float.  Pictures do NOT do it justice!  It was amazing!

After the last float we headed off to grab a taxi back to the hotel.  We decided to drop off our souvenirs, do a little research on where the Bruce Lee statue is, and head out on an adventure into Hong Kong...

But first I tripped on the curb, sent my bag flying, & opened it to find a punctured iphone inside.  Seriously, the bottom left hand side of the screen is punctured all the way through leaving me with a dead spot on the bottom of my screen.  My phone is no longer a phone, since I can't actually hit the phone button to make a call... Good thing I put the international plan on my phone!! (sigh)

So we dropped off stuff at the hotel, broke my phone, and then headed out for our next adventure of the day...

Another blog post to follow!

Thanks for stopping by!
Fannie & Matt

Thursday, September 18, 2014

And we're off!!

Well, we are on the first leg of our flights- flying to Houston before we take that long, long flight across the world to Tokyo!  We will have 5 1/2 hrs to explore Narita before our final flight to Hong Kong.

We are missing Katie & Chengbin like crazy already!  We left both of our teary eyed kiddos this morning and we ask for you all to pray for them today.  They are adjusting to their temporary normal & I know it will be hard on them the first couple days.  We are so thankful that Grandpa is with them and we know he'll take good care of them til we get back!!

Our schedule for this week of our China trip looks like this:

Friday- arrive in HK
Sat- touring HK
Sun- tour HK in AM, PM flight to Guangxi Province
Mon- 'Gotcha' day.  This is the day we will get custody of Laila.
Tues- Adoption Day.  We will fully complete her adoption this day.
Wed- paperwork & touring
Thurs- orphanage visit
Fri- pick up passport for Laila & fly to GZ

We will be staying in GZ for 12 days because of a National holiday that will close everything down for a week while we are in the middle of the process of obtaining a visa for our girl.

We are so excited to get our little one!!  The kids are anxiously awaiting a skype session w little sissy!! :)

And I will post a whole story about this later, because God deserves all the credit and I want to share the story of the great things he has done, but we are Fully Funded!!!  

Pray for our safe travel, for our kids & Grandpa, & for that sweet little one across the world!

We're coming Laila!!

Matt & Fannie 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Week of Prayers

One week from today a precious little girl will be placed into the arms of her forever family.

She will be scared, confused, & traumatized.  This is certain.  At 3 years old, she will be leaving the only home she remembers to be driven four hours to the capital of her province to be put into the arms of strangers who don't look like her, don't talk like her, don't smell like her and she will lose everything she's ever known.

Yes, we love her.  Yes, there's a large village that loves her and so many people who have given of their time, their resources, and their prayers to see an orphan become a daughter.  But she has no concept of any of this.

And even though there will be one less orphan in the world come next Monday, there's still over a million around the world who will continue to wait.

So we'd like to lead everyone with a prayer each day up to 'Gotcha Day' and we hope you will all join in these prayers.

Today, we pray that God will continue to prepare Laila's heart.  That he will give her the peace that only he can as she goes through the next few weeks.

And we pray specifically for a 7 year old girl who was given over to her forever Mama this morning in the same room we received Chengbin only a year ago.

Today Liu Ling has become Betty June Dailey.  My dear friend Jamie finally has her little girl in her arms! But this little girl has experienced substantial loss & trauma in the last couple years and has now had her entire world overturned once again.  Please pray for her heart & mind as she gets to know her Mama. Pray for peace only HE can give her.  And pray for Jamie as she walks through the next week & a half in China on her own.  Pray for the patience, wisdom, & energy that only God can provide her!!

'He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.' Psalms 147:3

Thank you all for your prayers,
The Wilks Family

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Funding Update! God Funds what he Favors!!

A few days ago, I posted this blog post, but for some reason, it showed up in my August blog posts... so I'm putting it on here for anyone who missed it because it is truly AMAZING how God has provided to bring this little girl home.  God has done amazing things in so many ways for our sweet girl and we want to make sure you all have the opportunity to witness all of it. :)

"How much does it cost?"

That's the question I got from an interested mother while sitting at Panda Express having lunch with my only-home-for-two-months son.  Her daughter had been battling infertility and had recently been considering adoption.  While I LOVED talking about adoption, advocating for kids, and increasing awareness of the millions of orphans in need of homes- THIS is the question I had already learned that I hate answering...

I responded, "Ummm around $30,000 when you add in everything including travel." Then that look came, the overwhelming look most of us would have when we know we don't have the amount you'd pay for a good car lying around in a bank account with no purpose for it... So I added, "I've seen friends fundraise almost that whole amount, though, you'd be amazed what God can do to help bring home one of his little ones."

Honestly though, I wasn't sure even I believed it was really possible for the average person to fundraise an adoption.  How could you ask friends and family for $30,000??? It seemed crazy and I really was far too proud to consider something like that.  We used up all our savings to bring home Chengbin and buy a house, so sitting at that Panda Express with a burden for the orphans of the world, I felt like a hypocrite even suggesting that fundraising was the answer.  After all, I already felt God calling us back and I didn't think I could do it.

Fast forward to November 3rd when I saw Laila's face and read her file...

That day in Panda Express God started softening my heart and my pride.  How could we not consider going to get her?  She would indeed not make it to her 5th Birthday in that province without a family and proper medical care.  Maybe not even to her 4th Birthday.

Still, our bank accounts did not have $30,000 readily available for an adoption.  My hubby was VERY quick to remind me of that.  He was also VERY OPPOSED to adopting if it meant asking people to help us.

Then I read this...

Amy wrote so beautifully about God's calling to all of us to care for the orphans.  I used her words so many times to discuss this possibility with Matt.  It truly changed my perspective on fundraising an adoption personally, and over time it did the same to him.

Especially since 3 months later Laila was still waiting.  Waiting for us to say yes and commit to whatever fundraising and grant applications would be necessary to bring her home.

So- How much does it cost?  I'm here to humbly spill the beans and lay it out there for ya.


Yep, there's no way around it.  Adopting Laila is expensive.  As we prepare to leave next week, our final total adoption costs are over $32,000.

At the beginning of our adoption, we paid $5,900 out of our own savings in agency fees, homestudy fees, USCIS fees, document authentications, visas, etc.  We also had our Adoption tax credit coming from last year's adoption & anticipated using it to pay additional money towards the adoption.  Now that we live in Alabama, we don't make nearly what we did up in NYC, so the extra cash flow just isn't there like it was before.  We knew that fundraising would be the ONLY way to bring her home.

Our amazing friends & family provided $4,700 more on our Adopt Together account.

T-Shirt Fundraisers via Booster/Custom Ink payments on paypal have raised $1188 more.

Raffled off prizes netted an additional $948 towards our adoption.

To date we have received $2401 in our Lifesong matching grant account.  Lifesong wrote a check to our agency yesterday for $4,802.

We also recently received a $4000 grant from A Child Waits foundation to help cover our travel costs.

Total Adoption Funding so far: $21,588
And of that- $15,688 was provided via fundraising & grants!!!

Remaining Adoption Costs: $10,683
Our flights are booked. Hotel reservations made.  And we are STILL waiting on our Adoption Tax Credit to be paid to us.  This week we even involved our Congressman in our IRS issue, in hopes we will get it in time.  Even with this we are still short around $3,000.
God truly has helped us in tremendous ways to get Laila home and we know that he will provide the rest.  We don't know how he will provide it, we just know that 'The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.' 1 Thessalonians 5:24
We know so many have done so much to save Laila's life and we will forever be grateful.
If you feel led to donate to bring an orphan home to her forever family & the medical care that will save her life- the link is at the top of the blog.  More than anything- we need your prayers!!! Prayers for our health while in China, prayers for Laila's health, prayers for our awesome kiddos who will be staying behind so they can continue their schoolwork, and prayers for their brave Grandpa who has offered to take care of them in our absence!
We have been told that it is highly unlikely we will receive our tax return with the adoption tax credit before we even get back from China. 
Still, God continues to provide!!  We have received $1,100 in donations from friends this weekend.  Plus, on Thursday we received approval for a $4,000 grant through Lifesong!! :)
That brings our total adoption funding stands at $26,688!!
Remaining Adoption Costs: $5,583
We are so amazed how God continues to work through his people to bring Laila home.  To all who have donated, THANK YOU so much!!
We're 3 days away from leaving and I know God will provide for the rest.  We thank him for all he's done and all he will do.  We are SO blessed to be able to bring this sweet baby girl home in a few more days!!
Thank you all so much!!
Fannie & Matt Wilks