Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Challenge: Jiayin Designs

I'm not sure when I came across Kelly's blog, "My Overthinking," but it continues to be a blessing along with her connections with The Sparrow Fund and Jiayin Designs. She has a beautiful challenge on her site right now. And if you've not checked out the INCREDIBLE silver work at Jiayin Designs or the other FUN, FUN, FUN stuff you simply must. 
Jiayin Designs' website ( 
I will also mention that there are some Matryoshka necklaces that they are selling for a mighty deal of only $10 that will pair up BEAUTIFULLY with some fabric I'm getting in any day at my little sewing company www. 
So also check that out too.

Here is the challenge that Kelly laid out earlier this week:

I want to hear what your Jiayin charm means to you. Share the significance it has been to you or your family in a blog post, making sure to give the link to Jiayin Designs' website ( and Facebook page ( 
Well, originally I winced at the challenged. 
"Oh if I only had a story to share!" I pined. One of those beautiful ones where it all comes together like something from Hallmark in a perfect time frame and there is even a sparkly pink bow on top ... but as most everyone will admit ... those fairytales are mostly that ... make believe. And Kelly reassured me that "we all have a story to share." 
I stewed and thought and considered ... and she's right ... we all do have a story to share.
And this is mine.

Hope, Faith, Trust, Endure.
I'm not sure which of these words best describes my heart. It is all of these much of the time. My "story" begs to begin every day... and yet it has already unfurled ahead of me even if I don't entirely like the path that it is flowing on. Somewhat like the Great Wall, twisting, turning, and forever steep and long ... it marches forward in the same way as the day before and the day before that ... 

but I long for the illusive happy ending, the reward of having patience and faith and having my dreams come to fruition. I long to have a Jiayin charm with the sweet words of my adopted child's name formed into its silver surface ... but I still wait. 

I'm one of the many, the quiet many, who wait. 

No, I don't wait for a referral or the paperwork or the endless red tape to get untangled or even an age minimum to be reached. I wait for God's call for OUR family ... on my husband's heart.
There. I said it. I pour it into the lap of my husband as the leader of our family to hear The Lord's calling that he "obviously must be ignoring." (keep reading, I'm saying this in retrospective sarcasm.)
I've read story upon story of how this is "supposed" to work through faith and prayer and fasting. Through trust and hope and eventually the clearest message speaks to that mountain and it moves with God's help, sometimes out of the clear blue. 
But here I wait ... and the sky is crystal clear blue ... but there is no movement. Where is the movement?! In fact, as the days tick past and I get older every day into my 40's, my faith waivers that my dream of being an adoptive mom ... maybe even a mom to a daughter ... will never be. It has been years, too many to want to type really, but I will admit that it's been over six years. In fact, when I first had the courage to bring up my burdened heart for the orphan to my husband in 2006, after praying quietly for years before that, I had in my heart that 2012 would be THE year. I remember how I argued with God about how long away that seemed at the time! Now as that pinnacle year has come and gone and been replaced by 2013 ... I wonder why that date 2012 was so clearly placed on my heart. So much hasn't changed.

But maybe that was never in the plans. Maybe my husband IS clearly hearing the call of The Lord ... for our family. He is a Godly man and is in The Word daily. If it was meant to be I am certain that God would have moved his heart in an instant. Yes, perhaps it will happen in time. I will always have Hope. But in the meantime while I have clung to Hope and begged and pleaded and cried quietly with God and waited, time hasn't been for nothing. This is where God has brought me. I have had the honor of helping families bring home many children through supporting their adoption journey fundraising, praying for them, advocating for little ones waiting on lists, donating some of my hand-sewn dresses and skirts to personal adoptive fundraisers and Love Without Boundaries art auctions, as well as donating my profits from my sewing to fundraisers like Sparrow's Nest from my business Ruffled Feathers Company that already gives a portion of every sale to Orphan Relief. I monthly help edit some of the Sponsorship Updates from a Special Needs Foster Home in China. We sponsor the sweetest little girl in Southern China that I would love to bring home. God allowed me to be a big part of one dear family's personal adoption story by being their Stateside Fundraiser Coordinator in bringing home their very special girl. And I have had the deep pleasure of being on a special prayer team for a little boy who turned my heart upside down and inside out who needed a very special family to bring him home. I also love using my graphic design knowledge to help promote the adoption story for a specific Foster Home outside of Beijing. And it is so sweet when I can share my connections and open the heart of someone new to the beauty of adoption and how it is so closely linked to our own adoption into God's family. 

But I don't list these things to be like a resum√© or to toot my own horn ... far from that. It feels uncomfortable to mention much of this in fact ... but it does help me to see things from a different perspective than from my selfish heart. 
God's charge in James 1:27 isn't to adopt all the orphaned and widowed ... but to care for them in their distress. Because he wants OUR hearts to change in working WITH Him.
So, perhaps it is unfair to say that, "Much hasn't changed." God is changing my heart daily in all of these things, and in so many others that I don't necessarily see in daily life. God's call for each of us is unique and as different as each of us is from another. To wait for our specific plan to unfold in the way we envision would have robbed me of so much growth and joy in so many other areas. Yes, I still long for that personal adoption journey for OUR family to share together over a specific added family member. But I rejoice that God has woven me into His plan for His Adoptive Family and the larger Christian adoption family. I am so glad that He has me engraved on the palm of his hand (Isaiah 49:16) and will never forget me or the heart that he specifically made and placed in me.

I fall so short of His purpose for me everyday, but I continue to strive with His help to grow and continue to have Hope that my goals would be in line with His as my vision becomes clearer the path winds on further.
Hope, Faith, Trust.
Yes, it's all of these ...
But the one thing that over rides it all is that God's Love ... Endures Forever. Through the good, the bad, the unexplainable joys and sorrows, through hopes shattered and hopes revealed and fulfilled, God's got it in His mighty hand.
And maybe that is what I need to place on my Jiayin charm ...

Jiayin Designs' website ( 
Facebook page ( 


Jenn said...

SOOO beautifully written, Valerie!!! I love you heart...and so does the Lord!!!


Laine said...

Beautiful!!!! You are a blessing! And an encouragement!

The Sanders Family said...

I am left without any answers for you. How I would love to see another child (yes, maybe even a girl) in your arms if that would be His will. All I can do is continue to pray that the Lord's perfect will for your family is revealed. And that through His will, whatever it may be, your heart, Jeff's heart, and those precious boys' hearts can all have the peace in knowing that you are completely in the center of His will. As I've told you so many times before, I just love your heart Valerie! May you find His blessings in your life ten-fold! Love you, my friend! (((hugs))) - Angie

Kelly Raudenbush said...

Oh, Valerie. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for sharing the story God has given you right now.

Amy said...

Written so well. I feel your pain. I too am waiting for my hubby's heart to be changed. It is so HARD, I pray and cry and pray and cry . . . I just wish god would change either his heart or mine.

The family

The family