Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet the Moghadams - Part 1



About a month ago, Adopt Together asked us if they could film our story. The purpose of this film is to allow others to come alongside us and support us through Adopt Together as we wait to bring our 4 children home.

Please continue to pray for our family from here to Ghana.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fingerprints and celebrating another hurdle!

I don't think I have ever been so anxious about having my fingerprints done.  My anxiety began 2 years ago.  It started out with getting our criminal clearance for the initial part of our application process. After the 4th time of receiving my results that said "failed, poor ridges," and spending over a couple hundred dollars. I began to build a "phobia" of getting fingerprinted. 
This was only the beginning.... - there was more criminal clearance for the 2nd part of our application process ( 4 more times trying and ending up with a written notice)... and finally the USCIS appointment for our orphan petition.  Sigh.... - long story short... it all turned out but I was SO fearful of my fingerprints being REJECTED!

So... this time for our I-600A (orphan petition) fingerprinting renewal, I did my homework.  I did everything I could to prevent my fingers from getting too dry.  I asked for as many suggestions as possible and after trying some of them, I decided the Gold Bond Ultimate did the best job.



Fortunately, we received an appointment with the USCIS rather quickly, but it didn't give me much time to prepare. I lathered lotion everytime my hands were washed.  If you have young boys, you can relate.... from handling dirty laundry, to wiping down toilet seats, around and behind toilet bowls to washing hundreds of used cups and dirty dishes.... my hands are constantly being washed. Thus the dry hands. 

This morning was our appointment and guess what - I PASSED! Ah... the joy of seeing a green light with the word PASS turn on the computer every time my finger was printed.  No red REJECT button flashing for a redo or a failed attempt.  My fingerprints were a success.  In fact, the officer that helped me said she was amazed at how perfect my ridges were!  THANK YOU GOD!
I took a moment to celebrate... one more hurdle behind us.

Now all we need is our I-171h form (our approval) and we are completely done on this side of the Atlantic Ocean... for now at least. Our dossier has been sitting in our adoption agency's office for the past couple months waiting for this I-171h form. Once we receive our approval form, all of our paperwork can be sent to Ghana and we can finally begin to wait for a court date.

I wonder when the waiting ever ends.  Perhaps, I'm wrong, but I feel like most of the adoption process is waiting.  It's a very unusual, abnormal process because we are waiting to become united with children in another part of the world whom we have never met or talked to.   
BUT...

Every bit of the waiting and the loneliness that comes with waiting is SO worth it. 

As I was reflecting today on my fingerprinting phobia, I realized that God has created each one of us so uniquely. As the Creator, His fingerprints are all over us.  I was humbled to be reminded that God as my Creator considers me beautiful and will never reject anyone of us.  He has uniquely created our children from here to Africa.  I have begun to see God's fingerprints on Ethan and Isaac and I cannot wait to see His fingerprints on our children in Africa.  They are all beautifully and wonderfully made by Him. 

Steven Curtis Chapman's song came to mind as I was leaving the USCIS office in Santa Ana. Part of his song really hit home to what I was processing through today as I was thinking about our children and my fingerprinting.  My prayer is that they know and believe how beautiful and unique they are to God. In spite of  the tremendous loss and pain they have gone through, He is not finished with them. He has an amazing hope and a future ahead of them.
We are only a small part of it.  I'm so humbled and thankful.

Fingerprints of God
by Steven Curtis Chapman

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started and…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

As an Asian-American...

We already stick out like a sore thumb.

A Chinese-American married to a Persian-American.

Now we are adopting 4 African children?  I love it!  It's a beautiful picture of God blending cultures and ethnicities together. 

After discovering myself as the only AAAFA mom (Asian-American Adopting From Africa) among hundreds of families within my various adoption groups, I began my intense google search. I searched for at least one Asian- American or perhaps a Chinese-Persian American couple adopting from Africa.... nothing.
I have searched for blogs, yahoo groups, online adoption forums.... nothing. 
I know there are Asian families adopting from Africa... but to my dismay, my search produced 0 results.

I have to admit, after several days, weeks of doing my occasional google search, I was a bit discouraged.  I know the answer, but I have asked myself many times:
 " When adopting, why do Asian-American families prefer to stay within their comfort of adopting children that have the same hair color and skin color as them?"

My apologies if I appear offensive for asking such a personal and bold question. I'm sure I might raise an eyebrow or two, but it's something I've been reflecting on. I believe adoption is a very personal calling and I don't take lightly the decision of "where" to adopt from.  It's NOT an easy choice to make.  But I admit, sometimes I have wished for another AAAFA mama that could walk this adventurous road with me.

From day 1 of meeting Sol, my parents had to accept the fact that I was going to break all cultural norms. Over the years, they have embraced our interracial marriage with all its uniqueness and have welcomed it as a beautiful gift.  Now they have shown an even greater compassion and love for our children from Africa.

On the topic of our adoption, the questions arise...
" How do your parents feel about your adoption? "
" Do they have any problems with you adopting from Africa?"
" Do you think they will be able to love your children just like their own biological grandchildren even though their skin color is different? "

I answer proudly: " They are SO excited, they don't have ANY problems and yes, I have full confidence that they will love these children like their own biological grandchildren!"

I respond with so much pride because I am proud of my 1st generation Chinese parents.  They are one in a million and a true example of God's limitless love.

Last Sunday, my father, a lay pastor, invited Sol and I to share our story during their Sunday service. If you know us well enough, we do not thrive off speaking behind a microphone.  Thankfully, my father's church is a small homey church. 
As we started to share our adoption journey, my heart welled up with so much joy.  Here we were given an opportunity to share with Chinese believers who can't understand much English what the amazing love of Christ looks like.  His love covers all cultures, all races and all colors of people all over the world.  His love doesn't and shouldn't limit us. 
The response from people was so heartwarming.

Sol and I want our story to be told in a way where the attention isn't directed at us. We are not rescuers, amazing or brave people. We are just vessels carrying out the blessings that have been given to us by our Amazing Creator, God and transferring them to the children that He has appointed for us to receive these blessings.

So now as I reflect back to my previous question of why there aren't many Asians adopting African children..
I have recently discovered that 90% of the financial support we have received so far has been generously given by the hearts of Chinese people worldwide.  
AMAZING! 
I'll let you reflect on that for a minute...

Although I wish the world we lived in didn't have so many cultural barriers, I am SO grateful that we are among a few that have chosen to break our cultural barriers and have opened the door for others to join us. 

I imagine, we will stick out like 2 sore thumbs once our children come home... - but it's okay,
I know God will look at us and smile.
And...
            Who knows, may be one day another AAAFA mom will find my blog from performing the same google search I did.


Psalm 113:4
"The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
"

Monday, March 12, 2012

One less hurdle and staying focused

3 weeks ago, we signed and notarized all of our acceptance paperwork.  8 Documents, 16 notarizations... another $160.

Wow.... it's actually happening!!  We signed all of the paperwork stating that we accept the adoption order of these 4 children.

Whew - emotions.... ALL over the place.

A couple weeks ago we FINALLY received our homestudy update (3rd one and hopefully the last one!).


One less hurdle. 



I came through our front door, waved the papers to Sol and dashed upstairs to whip out a cover letter for our I-600a and gather all of our documents together to send to the USCIS.   Within 20 minutes, I was on my way to the post office mailing our I-600a form, 3 homestudies and our former I-171h form.  As I was driving, Ethan (our 7 year old) commented on how we were JUST at the post office mailing adoption paperwork.  His question to me was

" mommy, how come it takes so much work to adopt?"

I wish I had an answer.

I wonder the same thing sometimes - " WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG???"
But, it is what it is.  It has been a long journey for our family.  I have to remind myself that everyday is one day closer to bringing our children home from Ghana. 

I have been praying that God would open the doors for us to get a court date by the end of April.... but that is a long shot now.  It doesn't mean that I stop praying for a speedy process for us to get a court date. But it does mean that I need to stay focused on where He has us right now during this season of waiting and preparation.

Yesterday, a friend of ours sent us a short video clip of our 2 older Ghanian boys playing the drums.  My mommy heart melted and the floodgates of tears opened. With every new picture I receive and the more I learn about our children, I feel my heart expanding and I also find myself fighting my emotions from being too attached to these beautiful children.  All the "What ifs of our adoption not going the way we hope and plan" begin to takeover to the point where I can't take it anymore. 
and then I PANIC....

lots of deep breaths

until He reminds me for the 100th+ time that...

HE IS IN CONTROL.

I can't take this into my own hands. Ultimately, we want what's best for any one of our children, biological and adopted.  Half of the time, I'm not sure what's best. So I just mind as well stay focused and let God decide what's best. 

I tend to spend more of my energy anticipating the unknowns and creating worst case scenarios that I lose perspective of all the blessings that He has already given us.  Although there are still so many hurdles ahead of us, each hurdle we cross brings more hope to one step closer to bringing our children home.



Monday, March 5, 2012

Adopted and Redeemed

Our t-shirts have finally arrived!! My artistic husband, Sol has spent so much time and effort to create designs that reflect who we are and what we are about. Our youth t-shirts have the word "Adopted" on it which has been taken from Ephesians 1:5. This passage has been part of our family mission statement. Since we have been adopted into God's family and are so grateful for the love that He has for us, we want to spread His love by adopting children that are in need of a family.

                                                Ephesians 1:5                                                 
  "So he decided long ago to adopt us as his children.
He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it."


We have these t-shirts in X-Small, Small, Medium and Large.
(depending on the gender and sizing: XS will fit a 6-7 year old) 


Our Adult t-shirts have the word "Redeemed" on it that has been taken from Isaiah 43:1. Redeemed means "To set free; rescue or ransom." We are so thankful that Jesus has set us free and rescued us from our sins. This passage has been one of our theme verses for our adoption. 2 years ago when we began our adoption process, a dear friend of ours gave this passage to us and felt that God had a great calling on our lives to adopt more than 2 children. ( Little did we know that He had 4 children for us).  Our t-shirts have the number 4 on two different continents: America and Africa. The Cross in the middle represents God's gift of redemption for us and His blessing of allowing us to relieve 4 children from their poverty and lack of resources and provide them a forever family.

Isaiah 43:1, 5-7
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”


We have these t-shirts in Small, Medium, Large and X-Large.
Although they are unisex sizes, they have a nice fit for both men and women.  

If you would like to order any of the t-shirts, a donation in the amount of $25 can be made by check to "Adopt Together" for the Moghadam family or online at www.adopttogether.org/moghadam.
Any orders can be emailed to: ghanaadopt4@gmail.com
If you live outside of Orange County, California, please provide us with a shipping address.

Thank you for supporting our adoption and helping us bring our 4 beautiful children home from Ghana!