Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Exciting News

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice."

We have a ton of exciting news floating around in our house this past week. First of all, Wayne and I celebrated our 18th anniversary!! As we reflect on the last 18 years, it is amazing to see all that God has done in and through us over the years. We thank God for all of His blessings and for each day He gives us together!

Second, we are excited to say that a family is pursuing Parker!! Until they reach a certain place in paperwork and have announced the news themselves, we will just rejoice with them. This is an amazing family and I am so thrilled that God answered our prayers for the best family for Parker. Orphan will no longer be his title, but son!!! Stay posted to hear more about Parker's exciting adventure. We will tell you more once we can!! Seriously, we couldn't have prayed for a more perfect family for Parker!!

Lastly, we wanted to share that the last part of our paperwork is in China at the US Consulate in Guangzhou!! After Chinese New Year, our agency will be able to pick up our paperwork and forward it to the CCCWA, who will then issue us our travel approval. Once we have our travel approval, we will be booking flights to China!! It is surreal to think that we are now just talking about weeks from travel vs. months!!

With all the excitement with our adoption moving forward, we are now scrambling to save up money for the last expenses, including the orphanage fees for the boys. Months ago, when we first started this process, we prayed about the steps we should take and asked God to lead us. We have been saving, cutting spending, fundraising, baking goodies to sell, etc. As we were doing research, we came across an amazing organization called Both Hands. The organization's mission/vision is the following: 

"Both Hands mission is to fulfill James 1:27 by serving orphans, widows, and Christian adoptive families.
Both Hands' purpose is to help Christian adoptive families fund their adoptions by coordinating a service project fixing up a widow’s home.
Both Hands' vision is to see the day when finances are not an obstacle for Christian families who are led to adopt, while simultaneously serving every widow in need of home repairs."

We applied with Both Hands in September and we were approved to pursue a project for a widow. We prayed for God to direct us to the widow that he wanted us to help. After much prayer and thought, we felt God calling us to help my friend Jan. The more I thought about how God has crossed our paths, the more excited I got about the project and what it meant to both of our families. 

In order to understand this relationship, I have to take you back to 2015 when Wayne was diagnosed with brain cancer. We met Jan and her husband Terry when Wayne was undergoing brain cancer treatment. Terry was diagnosed with brain cancer about two months after Wayne. God allowed a wonderful relationship to develop between me and Jan. We texted frequently sharing prayer requests and encouragement. Unfortunately, Terry lost his battle with brain cancer in October of last year (2016). 

Jan has played a very important part of our lives since we met her in 2015. We are praying that this project blesses Jan just a fraction of how much she has blessed our lives. Jan not only was a cheerleader and a great support during our husband's battle with brain cancer, Jan has been a huge prayer warrior and cheerleader in our adoption process as well. She has mobilized her friends to help gather items for our rummage sale in the Fall, she helped us obtain fundraising items, she spent time on the phone trying to find out if airlines would be able to use donated miles, and the list goes on. It is our prayer that our Both Hands project blesses Jan!! If you are interested in joining our team and helping us serve and love on Jan, then you can contact me (rebeccaharder35@gmail.com). If you are interested in supporting our team as we serve Jan, you can visit the Both Hands page by clicking the image below and see how you can help!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Saying Goodbye

Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

This morning at 6:00am, we had to say goodbye to Parker. The past four weeks have been life changing for our family. We have been stretched and shaped in new ways as we poured out our love into this precious boy. I am beyond exhausted between the holidays and running around, but I would never change a minute of it to know Parker. God has used this time to teach me more about Him and more about myself. I am still a work in process!! I'm so glad that we said "yes" to hosting Parker.

Last night Parker broke my heart. He looked at me with sad eyes and asked me, "Can I come back to America?" He so desperately wants a family to call his own an wants to live in America. Throughout the month, as he has openly shared about his life in China, my desperate prayers have been for him to find a family. I have been praying for someone to choose him and for him to be a SON! He longs to be loved and chosen. It breaks my heart to think that for 12 years this boy has lacked the love of a family. Yes, he lives in a foster home, but that is not the same as a mom and dad to call his own, to be known as a SON and not an orphan. 

Adopting one chid will not change the word, but for that one child, the world will change. Will you help us change Parker's story? Will you helps us find the family that will change his world?

Parker: Age 12, special need - lazy eye (fixed his vision with glasses). He only has 13 months until he ages out of the possibility of a family to call his own.

This boy LOVES coke!!

I "bribed" Parker to get photos taken in 10 degree weather. He asked for a Coke and a coke slurpee. 

We cannot let this boy age out of the chance to have a family to call his own!!! Please share about Parker with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors...everyone! Let's find this boy a family!! I was praying for a family to step forward before he left for China. Maybe we can find a family before he gets home to China.

If you or someone you know are interested in finding out more information, please contact Meredith Chambers at Great Wall: 512-323-9595 or meredith@gwca.org 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Holiday Hosting: Day 12-25

Psalm 100:5 "For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations."

Our holiday hosting has been an adventure. I am behind blogging about Parker because we all got sick right after Christmas. First we were struck by a cold, then a few of us were struck by a stomach bug. We didn't do too much for a week while we all recuperated. 

We had a fantastic Christmas with Parker and my family. On Monday, we took a family trip to Chinatown. Parker got to enjoy finding his zodiac animal, exploring old Chinatown, and enjoying some traditional Chinese food.

I found a lamb recipe from Parker's province and decided to try making it (Cumin Lamb with chillies and Wonton Soup). Parker helped me prepare the vegetables. We had a fun time cooking together. The meal turned out great and he really enjoyed it. 

Since I will be traveling sometime during the school year, we took a shorter Christmas break. We have been working on schoolwork and we even had a class on France with some of our friends. Parker wanted to do school with us, so I printed up some math pages and he did great. He loves to get his problems correct. He got upset if he missed them and he would fix them until he got 100%. Wow, can he wear off on my kids?? 

Learning about France and trying French food!

On Sunday, January 1, Parker and I visited a church in Chinatown. He really enjoyed hearing a service in Mandarin and even met some people who were from his province! Afterward, we visited with some new friends and had great Chinese food!!

We also recently visited the eye doctor. I was fortunate to find a local Chinese student who was able to come with us to the doctor and interpret for Parker. We discovered that the only thing wrong with his eyes is a lazy eye. Since it was never taken care of, his one eye became dominant. We were able to get him a prescription for glasses. Seeing the amazement on his face when he got his glasses two days ago was amazing!! PSA: if you are looking to get glasses, Costco is the way to go. We got 2 pairs of glasses for less then half the price we were quoted at the eye doctor for one pair!!

He couldn't believe that he could see in his "bad" eye. He kept covering his good eye to look through the other eye.

Parker has been talking about "hamburgers" for a few day, so we took him to Top Notch Burgers in Chicago for dinner on Wednesday night. He not only ordered a hamburger, but he also ordered a hot dog. This boy can eat??

Thursday morning I drove Abigail and Grace to their Classical Conversations class in IN. Our tradition is to get donuts on the way to school, because who has time to feed 6, let alone 7, kids at 7:20 in the morning? Parker went into Dough Guys and picked out a bacon maple donut. 

Thursday afternoon, we drove back to IN and picked the girls up from class and drove to Rockin' Jump in Carol Stream. The girls had a Groupon from their Grandma to use. We invited friends to come along with us. It was me and 11 kids!! We filled my 12 passenger van to the max. All the kids had fun jumping, especially Parker. He also did some rock wall climbing. I wish we had his glasses for this adventure! The glasses didn't come in until the next day (Friday).

Friday night, we used another Groupon and went ice skating. Parker did great on the ice and had a blast with Ryan (a family friend). Have I mentioned that this boy can eat?? He had breakfast, snack, lunch, a snack (1.5 peanut butter sandwiches), dinner, and then a hamburger at the ice skating rink!!

Parker is an amazing boy. He has loved being able to see with his glasses! He is still waiting for a family to officially pursue him. Parker leaves Chicago in 5 days! 

We cannot let this boy age out of the chance to have a family to call his own!!! Please share about Parker with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors...everyone! Let's find this boy a family!!

If you or someone you know are interested in finding out more information, please contact Meredith Chambers at Great Wall: 512-323-9595 or meredith@gwca.org 


There are some other amazing children waiting for their forever families as well. You can check them out here.

DJ's host mom is also hosting the most amazing girl right now. Her name is Joy and she is just AMAZING!! I would totally sweep her up if I could. You can find out more about this sweet, JOYFUL girl here and here.