Acceptance is golden – “LOA” {5k+1}

Bringing them home {1x1}
Dear Friends,I’m delighted to bring you our latest update on Annabelle’s adoption. We also want to glorify the Lord with some praise reports! I’ll start with saying THANK YOU for your part in helping us get to this point. We are grateful for all of your support and prayers.

Two weeks ago, we received the official “Letter of Acceptance”  (LOA) from the Chinese Annabelle - Feb 2014government, meaning our request to adopt Annabelle was given final approval! Therefore, we are on the final countdown to the day when we can travel to bring Annabelle home. We are estimating that time to be the beginning of June. From that point on, we have 90 days to go get her. The LOA allows us to formally send gifts and make contact with our new daughter. So we are excitedly preparing a box of gifts to send for her 5th birthday, which is coming up in May! We’ve also received some new photos of Annabelle, isn’t her hair getting long?!

Now for the current financial updates… Praise the Lord that we’ve already received two major donations in 2014. One for $5,000 USD which helped us finish off the final portion of the agency fees as well as all the fees related to translating & sending our Dossier (documents) to China. We also received another $1000 USD in March, which will go toward the “Post Adoption Reports Deposit”. Once we receive Annabelle, we are required to do 6 individual reports to ensure her well being. They will be done after 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 5 years. And that $1000 USD deposit is kept by the adoption agency until we complete all of these reports on time.

Annabelle - August 2013We are almost there, less than $10,000 USD left to raise by June! We are extremely grateful for how far the Lord has brought us; we’re so close to bringing Annabelle home. Remember, we began with only $3,000 USD. And we trust the Lord to finish what he started. Please check the link below for more details. 

The majority of you are getting this email because you have graciously donated, prayed with us and have been an integral part of this whole process. We are thankful that you have walked with us this far. Would you please pray and intercede for Annabelle and for us? Pray that God will miraculously provide the last part of the finances on time, just as He has with every single payment so far! We know that God is never early or late, but he is always right on time. Would you please forward/share Annabelle’s story with others who may be able to help her come home to her family? One of the miracles of Annabelle’s story is that God is bringing her to us, He alone is providing every step & every payment! This adoption miracle is not happening by might nor by power, but only by the Spirit God. (Zechariah 4:6)
Annabelle - March 2014
We’ll keep you updated on any new developments – check our FB & blog for announcements. Please keep us in your prayers in the meanwhile. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

  With Love & Blessings,
Mark & Joy Kwong

Please click here to forward an email version of this letter to anyone that can help us bring our daughter home!
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Marriage Isn’t For You

Mark & I are coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary. We had plans for a fun weekend getaway to Malaysia last yr for our 10th. It didn’t work out, won’t happen this yr either… but that doesn’t matter because we know the truth about marriage. It’s not about getaways, it’s about being in the moment & being ‘in it together’ – whatever ‘it’ may be from day to day. It’s about new adventures – as a family, it’s about raising children that love God, it’s about serving the poor & helpless & caring for widows & orphans together, it’s about TEAM, it’s about love… And God IS love… so marriage is really about God! — Mark & I are praying that God will encourage you, strengthen your marriage & show you the truth today!  -JK

Seth Smith also discovered the truth about marriage. Having done so, he’s decided that marriage isn’t for him…

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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psalm 68

ransom paid – Miracles for annabelle {5k+1}

Where do I start? How can I share the biggest moment in our adoption journey, the moment when God reached down & told us “GO GET YOUR DAUGHTER!”… that moment when He promised to personally supply the funds to pay her ransom???

It starts with a simple prayer. A little boy’s wish for a sister. A father’s heart searching for confirmation. A mother’s aching for her child, so far far away… We had already seen our AnnaBelle’s pictures, her file & her medical assessments. We’d checked with the Dr’s, therapists, parents & individuals who all had specialized experience with her specific needs. We knew she was the daughter God had promised us! She fit every desire of our hearts!

All we needed was $3,150 to start the process! Ha, that was definitely not a small amount to a family of 5 living on support in a mega city like Hong Kong! But it’s pennies when compared to the riches of our Father’s Kingdom! We prayed/fasted & asked God how He wanted us to go get our daughter & what should we do about all the fees involved… His answer was “I will pay her ransom. I will rescue my child. You will pick her up for me!” So by faith we signed the papers & continued to ask God to provide the funds for the total adoption, specifically that first payment due in one week’s time, on a Thursday.

During that week, God reminded us of all the financial bondage He has brought us out of. A past bankruptcy due to overuse of credit in college, bad credit of course & a recent (although slow) turn around of our mortgage in the US that’s still upside down… He told us that He did not call us to adopt only to put us into debt again. That instead, He had prepared all the funds in advance & would provide the total amount needed through His people whom He had already spoken to about our daughter! We began to stand on that word… knowing that He provided the funding for our HUGE move to HK & that His ways are most definitely higher than our own… We KNEW He would come through & we asked Him to do it in such a way that there would be NO DOUBT, to anyone that heard, of His having done it without any interference from us! Only THEN would we know that we know that we know – that He was triple confirming that adopting AnnaBelle was the right path AND that He would provide for her ransom without us going into ANY debt/loans, etc.

We sent out a request for prayer, some of you got that in your email. Emails & texts started to come in – “We are believing with you!”, “How can we help?”, “We can give $300 today!”, etc. We quickly set up an online giving option with our bank & praised God for the quick response from friends! Then, the next Tuesday (2 days before the deadline), a co-worker (who wishes to remain anonymous) asked Mark to come & speak with him in his office. We had not spoken to this man about the adoption. Only about 5 people in HK knew anything about it yet. But this man asked Mark about it, he had heard from a mutual friend that we were adopting “completely by faith”. He was moved by our faith. He wanted to help. So he asked how much was the immediate need & Mark told him. He asked for Mark to bring him some details about the whole process & he promised to help…

On Wednesday, I happened to have a pre-scheduled work related mtg with this same co-worker. When our meeting was over he asked me again for the amount needed by the deadline (the next day). I told him the total needed was $3,150USD. He asked if I wanted it to be sent to my account in Hong Kong Dollars or US & if he sent that amount by that night would it be in time?! I was completely FLOORED!!! I almost could not keep from crying, and then he began to tell me his story of WHY he felt so compelled to give to us, why he had to help rescue AnnaBelle!

It turns out that the very day we had prayed/fasted & signed the final papers (by faith) to begin the adoption, this co-worker was in a Community Leadership class teaching about how God speaks to us through dreams. That same night he had a dream where God was telling him to give & the whole dream was about him giving things away. He told me he ignored the dream at first. The next wk at that same Leadership class, the teacher asked who had had a dream from God. But he didn’t think his was from God. Again, that night after class he had the same dream. When he woke, he KNEW it was from God. He asked God what he was supposed to give & to who. He asked God to confirm it. That day when he arrived to work, in the staff mtg, the Senior Leader was teaching about ‘good stewardship’, specifically with our ‘excess’ that is just ‘laying around’… Later in the day he spoke to our mutual friend who explained our need. He said he KNEW then that he had to act right away in obedience to God! The same day, he told Mark to come talk to him!!! Talk about obeying the Lord’s prompting! This man told us both he was blown away by our faith, but we were not only blown away, but completely blessed beyond words by HIS obedience & faith to follow God so quickly! This man of faith is a hero to our family… a hero of the faith is always an encouragement! Isn’t it just like our Father to be just in time for the things that He plans to accomplish!?!

On Thursday, the first payment deadline, God had provided a total of $5,000US for AnnaBelle, in just one week’s time!! Almost $2,000 extra!! As of today, God has provided over half of AnnaBelle’s ransom! Including travel costs that were donated just one week later (about $10,000 for all of us to travel to/in China for 2wks)!! What a confirmation! Father answered our very specific prayers – He told a man in a DREAM to give to our family exactly what we needed, then He moved others to give as well! This was an absolutely amazing miracle of God’s provision – completely confirming for us that not only are we following HIS PATH TO ANNABELLE… but that HE PROMISES TO PAY HER RANSOM!!!

We give glory & honor to God for the things He has already done in our lives & in Annabelle’s life! We are sharing this story to give God a moment to shine His love into your lives, by sharing how He’s been blessing ours! We learn to trust Him day by day & He holds our hand when we fall… this journey is not a short one, but we will endure to the end because the joy of finally holding our AnnaBelle in our arms, getting her safe & healthy, teaching her about this Father that has loved her since before she was born — will be soooo worth it! Our God is faithful! He WILL provide, He WILL do what He said He would do!! One day, AnnaBelle will be a prisoner no more, because her ransom will be paid, there will be ONE LESS orphan on that day!

We are trusting Him to complete that which HE ALONE has started! (Reminds me of the trusting lessons learned before leaving America almost 2 years ago…) Please pray with us that the rest of the fees can be paid ON SCHEDULE in the coming months! Please continue to pray with us & FOR ANNABELLE as she waits in her blessed Christian foster center! We are so very grateful for all of your prayers in this faith journey! We are so excited to see how God will bring HIS little girl home to our family!

We are in need of another $20,320USD before we can go to China to bring AnnaBelle home! We have TWO IMMEDIATE DEADLINES that we need prayer & provision for. 

June 15: $5,000 = Homestudy fee & travel for the social worker.

July 15: $4,550 = Agency fees & Dossier processing.

If you or someone you know has a desire to help us bring AnnaBelle home – please let us know TODAY! 

psalm 68

Babies at AnnaBelle’s SWI (orphanage) in China.

-JK

already known… by the Father {5k+1}

A little girl in China turns 4 today. I wish I could be there to celebrate HER & tell her that she’s beautiful & amazing & full of God’s goodness! But I know God will be with her & whisper His loving words into her ears today & every day. I pray I will see her very soon & hold her in my arms for the first time. I hope it’s before her next birthday… maybe even before next Christmas… I cannot share her name, although it’s pretty just like her smile. I stare at her picture knowing I love her, but not knowing her at all. What’s her favorite color? Which toy does she treasure? How does she like her hair? Will she have a birthday cake today??? So many unknowns… but I am grateful that God knows her. He has always known her.

God’s always known everything about her. He knew her in her mother’s womb where He knit her together. He knew she would be taken to a police station & then to an orphanage when she was barely 2 months old. He knows her name & every hair on her head. He even knows if today is really her birthday… Most of all, He knows how to take care of her & protect her… & He knows how to get us to her, no matter the cost – He has the provision & no matter the obstacle – He makes the way, & He’s always on time! She lives only 6 hours away from us, but it will be months before we will be allowed to meet her. But she is in good hands because her Heavenly Father has never left her alone…

This precious birthday girl has been on God’s heart since before she was born. He has prepared for her a family with 3 brothers, a Daddy & a Mama that already love her. We don’t know her yet, but we’re on our way to bring her home. The journey will be long & uncertain, with ups & downs. We’ve already hit bumps, yet God has provided. I can’t wish her Happy Birthday this year. I don’t even speak her language. But God can & He can speak it. I don’t know her favorite food or the name of her dolly… Or if she even has one. But I hold on to what I do know. God cares for her & has asked us to care too. He has promised to make a way where there seems to be no way. God has never led me where He will not sustain me. Most importantly, I know that God has shown me that sweet 4 year old girl. I don’t know her yet, but I know…

… She is my daughter.

-JK

{5k+1} our adoption journey