Preston Party of Six

Preston Party of Six

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

My heart is overflowing today.  It has been one month since we first saw our daughter's face staring back at us from a computer screen.  I wondered for months if I would "know" in my heart once we got a referral if that particular child was to be our daughter, and I can honestly say that I know with all my heart He Tong is our Jenna.  The Lord worked in a mighty way one month ago and He is still at work!

Although it is still surreal to me how all of this happens, I must say I can see the Lord working in and through all the details of the adoption process even when so much of it is beyond my understanding.  For example, yesterday I met another family with our adoption agency who is leaving for China on May 1st to bring their two children HOME!  They are an amazing family and are willing to take a care package over to China for our daughter.  It blows me away to think that items I purchased here in Newnan, Georgia will be flown over to China and handed to someone with our agency who will then deliver the items to Jenna's orphanage.  AMAZING!!! 

I filled three ziploc bags full of items for Jenna and her nannies.  Items for Jenna included lotions that I hope and pray the nannies will apply to her skin; a stacking cup toy (I hear all the children in China LOVE stacking cups!); a lovey to sleep with; a pair of Panda Bear pajamas; a shirt and shorts outfit; socks, and a photo album filled with pictures of our family with Chinese words stating who is in each picture.  For the nannies I sent some jewelry, lotion, a letter that a friend translated from English to Chinese, and two Kodak disposable cameras for them to take pictures of He Tong and return to our adoption agency liaison with the hope that the cameras are returned to us with new pictures of our daughter!  As I handed these items over to the family leaving in a week, I felt thankful and sad...thankful that hopefully soon our daughter will see pictures of her new family in the photo album, but I also felt sad that I can't have my daughter in my arms and see her face-to-face yet.  Waiting so long to be with someone you love is hard...yet I must cling to the Lord and trust His perfect timing for uniting us with our Jenna!

Lord Jesus, I pray for this precious family traveling to China in one week to bring two more precious children into their home.  I pray that the items for Jenna and her nannies are delivered to her and well received.  I pray that the lotions will help Jenna's skin and that we will get new pictures of our precious daughter!  Although this all seems surreal to me, Lord, you are able to do more than I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), so I trust YOU with all these details.  AMEN! 

After I delivered the care package for Jenna into the hands of this wonderful family, I delivered a meal to another AMAZING family who just adopted their newborn daughter.  It was such a joy to see this precious baby girl in the loving arms of her mom, and yet as we talked about the situation with the baby's birth mother, our hearts broke considering the hard decision she made to give up her baby for adoption. 

Lord Jesus, thank you for bringing this baby girl into a loving, Christian family.  I pray for her birth mother today, that she will feel Your love and know that she made the right decision in choosing LIFE for her precious daughter.  AMEN!

Finally, today my cup runneth over as I reflect on how God has adopted me as His daughter.  He chose to give me life and calls me His child.  Talk about AMAZING!!!  I pray that one day soon I will be able to share this TRUTH with Jenna and that she will embrace the unconditional love of the One who created her and loves her in even greater ways than her momma does!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Showered with Love and Grace

This past Friday, I was SHOCKED when I came to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting that I coordinate.  Somehow, my amazing Leadership Team planned a surprise Baby Shower in mine and Jenna's honor, and to say I was surprised is an understatement!  It is always hard for me to be the "center of attention," but I learned quickly once again that morning how God's love and grace is unconditional...nothing I could've done would have stopped these amazing women from showering the love and grace of Jesus on me and our precious daughter in China.  To think that 40+ women already love Jenna and are praying for her is AMAZING!  I cannot wait for Jenna to be home with us and meet these awesome mommas! 

Beautiful decorations!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!!

A VERY talented friend hand painted this for Jenna's room.  Jenna means "God is Gracious" and "El Channun" is Hebrew for "Gracious God."  We are already praying for God's grace to reign in little Jenna's heart!

Another very talented momma made this...the country of China stitched with a little heart
located in the area of Jenna's province (Guangdong).  AWESOME!!!

A friend who also has a daughter from China had Jenna's name embroidered onto this soft ladybug blanket that will DEFINITELY be traveling to China with us!  Ladybugs are a symbol related to Chinese adoption, so this will always be treasured!  Jenna's big sister, Shelby, loves the blanket, too!

A precious book...

that was signed by every mom at the meeting with heartfelt prayers for our Jenna.  A TRUE TREASURE!!! are LOVED!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Overwhelmed with Joy

The past few days I have been overwhelmed with joy.  The inaugural RACE for the Orphans that Jason and I organized was two days ago and we were overwhelmed by the response and support of family, friends, and strangers.  We had 363 participants which far exceeded our expectations!  I burst into tears as I watched over 100 people, including Shelby and Andrew, take off on the 1 Mile Fun Run.  Tears of joy, gratitude, relief (that all of this had come together), and excitement of bringing Jenna home to such a loving community streamed down my face.  Then seeing Nathan complete his first 5K brought me to tears once again....I was so proud of that boy!  And I cried as I thanked the amazing staff of Lifeline Children's Services for being there and for their work to help bring Jenna home to us.  It was truly an amazing day, one I will never forget!  I cannot wait to share all about it with Jenna one day.

Today Shelby and I put together a small photo album of our family and house to send to Jenna in a care package, along with some skin cleanser and lotion recommended by the dermatologist here in Newnan.  I pray that the nannies at Jenna's orphanage will apply these products to her skin with the hope that they will help her skin until we can get her home for proper medical care.  For the photo album, I used Google Translate to translate English words into Chinese words for on each picture in the photo album so the nannies can tell Jenna who we are.  AMAZING!!! was 3 weeks ago tonight that we first saw your face, and so many emotions have filled my heart since that time.  I've been so busy planning for the RACE that I've been able to keep my emotions at bay, but now that the RACE is over, I'm nervous that waiting for LOA will get even harder.  So I'm continuing to trust that the Lord will bring you to us in His perfect timing...and until then, I hope you know how much you are loved by SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE! 
妈妈  (Mommy)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Faith becomes sight: Our daughter, Jenna Jean Preston

With MUCH joy and thanksgiving, we are excited to finally get to share our daughter's picture!

This is Jenna Jean Preston and she is 26-months-old.  Her Chinese name is He Tong and she is currently living in an orphanage in the Yuancheng District of Heyuan City in Guangdong Province, China.  Jenna was born with a genetic skin condition that will require medical treatment, as well as ear deformities but thankfully these do not affect her hearing.  We hope to travel to China in August or September to bring her home!!!

This picture was Jenna's referral picture that we saw late at night on March 25, 2013. 
I cried tears of joy as soon as I looked into the eyes of who I hoped would become my daughter. 
We don't know when this picture was taken but it was taken at an earlier date
than the one above of her face which is more current.

While there are still MANY unknowns and lots of things beyond our control with paperwork and legal processes that need to take place over the coming months, I have been reminded once again these past two weeks since we first saw Jenna's sweet face that GOD IS IN CONTROL and GOD IS GOOD!!!  I don't know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future.  And while I cannot yet be with my daughter to comfort and care for her, I know the Lord is with her and will bring her to us in His perfect timing. 

Yesterday after we shared the news about Jenna with our Sunday School class, a few couples surrounded Jason and I to pray for Jenna and our family as we prepare to become a family of six.  I wept uncontrollably as these precious friends lifted our daughter up to the Lord...a sweet little girl that is still thousands of miles away yet loved by so many already.  I will never forget this moment!

As we finish preparations for our adoption fundraiser, RACE for the Orphans (Raising Awarenss, Compassion, and Education), that takes place in 5 days, my prayer is that the Lord will be glorified and that hearts will be changed forever as people become more aware of the needs of orphans around the world.  One sweet little girl in China will soon have a forever family, but there are MILLIONS more orphans in need of love!  Won't you open your heart and home to one?

Speaking of the many unknowns...I'm thankful to have one BIG question mark removed!


becomes sight!

Jenna, we love you and can't wait to have you HOME!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Your face

Dear Jenna,

One week ago tonight, your daddy and I saw your precious face for the very first time ever...and since that moment, I haven't stopped thinking about you and praying for you.  It has been an amazing week, full of emotion, excitement, anxiety, and joy!  We told your big brothers and sister about you on our way to see your daddy's parents in North Carolina for Easter.  WOW...they were super excited to finally see your face, too!  A good friend of mine who also has a daughter from China made Shelby and I a necklace with your picture and we are both treasuring it and wearing it proudly!  I am anxious to get the next bit of news of Pre-Approval, meaning we can share our good news about you with all of our family and friends!

I have been super busy this week getting ready for the inaugural RACE for the Orphans 5K that your daddy and I are organizing as a fundraiser to help bring you home!!!  But for us it's more than a fundraiser, as we hope to make it an annual event in our community for Raising Awareness, Compassion, and Education about the needs of orphans around the world.  As of tonight, we have 293 people registered!  We were hoping for 100 and had a goal of 200, but now we're at nearly 300...all we can say is GOD IS AWESOME!!!  We hope we get Pre-Approval before the RACE is held in 12 days so that we can tell all the participants who you are and show them  your beautiful picture!

It is still so surreal for me to believe that I have another daughter thousands of miles away and you don't even have any idea how much you are loved by me and the rest of your FAMILY!!!  We are praying for you and cannot wait until you are HOME with us!

Your Mommy