Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running for the Orphan!

Last Saturday I had the honor of helping with the River Run for the Orphan here in Durango. The kids had such a great time and the coolest thing was...they knew why they were there. It was a great success, despite the rain. Tyler came in 20th out of a pretty big crowd in the 5K. Rance and Zoe finished the one mile! On those short little legs that is quite the accomplishment. Throughout the morning, I kept telling myself, next year...we will be pushing our boys in a stroller in this run, and they will no longer be orphans...How cool is that!?!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Please keep An Ning in your prayers...

An Ning, the little guy below has cleft lip and palate. Cleft lip and palate is very common in China. It is believed the birth defect in some cases is due to the fetus not having enough folic acid during the pregnancy. The very week we were matched with these little guys, An Ning was receiving surgery on his lip. It is truly amazing how much better it looks, and so awesome to see how he looks so healthy despite the defect. It is certain he will need more surgeries as he grows and we are armed and ready to take that on. I am researching it now, deciding the best way to tackle this. A few weeks after the referral we got a call from Judy, our social worker. She informed us, in a routine visit, they heard something in his heart that prompted tests. They sent him for an EKG and determined he has a small hole in his heart. Apparently all babies are born with a whole in their heart that closes relatively quickly on it's own. This little guys has not yet closed, therefore, he needs prayers and monitoring. I would love it, if you ladies would remember him in your prayers till this hole closes. We will monitor it as he grows...if it creates issues he will need a surgery. We know God put these precious little guys in our life for a reason....maybe just maybe...it's all the prayer warriors they now have on their side.

An Ning...3 weeks after his lip surgery

Monday, September 19, 2011

Adding to the family...

In May Clay and I decided to pursue our plans of adopting. While in Uganda I had made some great connections and felt confident Uganda was the country we were supposed to adopt from. We had a baby home willing to match us, we had a lawyer willing to represent us, and I had lots and lots of friends there willing to support us in any way they could. It seemed perfect. When Clay and I first began talking about what age and gender we would like to add to the family, we had narrowed it down to; under the age of 2, and either sex. While sitting and listening to my stories and seeing the pictures, Clay asked, "What about twins?" Funny he mentioned that, because I would love to bring two home in one bang! So, we decided to tell our lawyer as well as the baby home that we are open to twins and siblings, either sex. Well...the waiting began...I sent email after email to the orphanage. Nothing. I sent an email to the lawyer. She suggested I start contacting other baby homes. That's just what I did. No replies...not ONE. Discouragement set in. Worry. Hopelessness. I know there are over 163 million orphans out there...needing a mommy, needing a daddy, needing a FAMILY. Why does not one of these homes even respond to me???? God was closing doors...but why? Next step, I called the agency doing our home study. They are a Chinese agency, however they do home studies for all countries. We talked about several countries and after going over our families details...we decided to take a closer look at China. And it started to occur to me, an orphan is an orphan no matter where it is born. They all need homes. They all need families. So after praying and discussing our options we decided to pursue a Chinese child. During our first initial conversation, I asked, "Can we request twins or siblings? The lady replied, "Well, not really. You could, I suppose. However, the chances are very slim you would be matched with two children. We don't see twins very often. And most children are abandoned at birth, meaning, even though these children may have biological siblings, we would have no way of knowing that. And getting matched with twins does not happen often. They too are often separated." "Well there went that," I thought. But we forged on. It did not stop me from praying for twins every night. I even remember specifically saying to God one night, "Lord, I know there are twins out there that need a home. I don't care if they are boys are girls. I just pray you would help them find their way to us." Well, when you are in the process of adopting you get exclusive access to profiles of children available. For a women like me, it is impossible not to look. So I found myself looking into all these little brown eyes every day...wondering if I was supposed to inquire on one. Finally, I did. I called the agency and told them I would like to learn more about this certain little boy. He was darling. He was only about six months old. By that evening we had his file. We had his file and we HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH IT. Clay and I looked it over, and over and over. We didn't know how to feel. We didn't know what to think. Something did not feel right, but we didn't know what. Full of guilt, we decided to call the agency and tell them we were not able to move forward on adopting this little guy. I could not sleep...so I prayed. Finally, it came to me. I needed to wait on God's timing. I needed to quit looking at these children, and wait for a call. Wait for the agency to match me. I asked God then and there, to make it clear. When it is the match we are supposed to except, make it clear. I want to know, this is the one, WITHOUT A DOUBT. A few weeks later, I get the call from Judy, my sweet social worker. She tells me, they have a potential match for our family. "I am a little hesitant to tell you, because one of the medical needs you had marked "maybe" on your medical checklist." (You fill those out when you are adopting, letting the agency know what you feel your family can handle.) But the other needs you had marked "yes." I could hear how "unsure" Judy was about this match and it was making me nervous and excited...I believe I was holding my breath. "We have here some TWIN boys...." Thanks you Jesus, that is pretty clear I would say.