missionaries serving with Campus Crusade for Christ and FamilyLife

Friday, May 30, 2014

Work & play

The boys have been busy with paperwork & medical clearance. Art said Caleb was a trooper with exams & shots. We are waiting results for TB testing so we can move forward with next steps. We are eager to hear all clear.

Thank you for praying for bonding & attachment. Caleb is eager to exchange & connect with the boys & the rest of us on the phone. He loves our family bedtime songs & routine. He is already a joy to us. Our hearts swell with love, compassion, and tenderness for all that Caleb has experienced in his young life. We pray for healing, hope & a future with Jesus for this precious young man.

Caleb doesn't know how to swim but he was eager to get into the pool with Baba & Zach. Zach said he is learned a lot about sharing Baba & being patient. Thank you to those of you whom are praying this would be an incredible growing experience for our Zach-man.

Next, they are looking forward to connecting with a dear friend whom lives locally in Guangzhou. This has been a very special part of our other adoption trips. We are excited for Caleb to meet this wonderful friend.

Caleb's favorite food seems to be congee (a sort of rice porridge). Mama is getting some practice in again to bring that back to our menu. It will be interesting to see if the other kiddos enjoy it again. We haven't made it in a while.

He was willing to take an adventure & try Hawaiian pizza with the boys. It was a hit.

Thank you for continuing to pray for paperwork, favor, bonding, attachment, and lots of transitions ahead. We are grateful for your support & kindness.

With much love & many thanks-

Jen & kiddos

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The boys made it to Guangzhou. It sounds like they have finally recovered from jetlag. They are managing in the intense heat & looking forward to a free day tomorrow. They will check out the hotel pool while paperwork is being processed by officials.
We are so grateful for your continued prayers.

On the home front....

We are thankful for some sweet friends providing dinner, dropping some groceries & visiting with this weary mama. Such small kindnesses mean so much right now.

We are grateful to God for His blessings in our lives.
 We are sure missing our boys. We are keeping busy with home school, medical appointments, PT, OT, SLT and yes.... lots of fun playtime.

It's a train station!!

China food!

The many faces of our Bethany!  


Our big girls working on some surprises for Caleb!

Thank you for praying & celebrating with our family. We are clinging to Jesus with all of our hearts. May He be glorified.
Art, Jen & kiddos
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Three Musketeers

 Three Musketeers

Another great Facetime call. Art says Caleb is getting more comfortable... especially in the hotel room. The boys will fly to Guangzhou today for all the final steps of the adoption in China. We are grateful for your continued prayers.

We are overwhelmed by His grace in our lives.  Some of you have asked for the story about Caleb joining our family. 

Below is the clip from our newsletter announcing this adoption just a few months ago....

Exciting News
Never have we pictured this life for ourselves: full time ministry, China adoptions, or special needs. But, clearly, God had this path planned for us in advance (Ephesians  2:10, 3:20). We have been so deeply touched & profoundly changed by all of this. We cannot imagine our lives any other way. We are full of praise, joy & dependence on God. We realize it may look a little crazy to the world, but we are seeking HIM with all of our hearts & begging HIM to transform us & help us reflect HIM. We are begging HIM to change us & help us to lay down our lives. He is answering very specifically.
We have a new chapter to share with all of you. During our last trip to China, we met a special young man at Mercy’s orphanage. Both Mercy & this boy begged us to adopt him also. It was gut-wrenching for us to explain the system to her. We couldn't take him with us, but we did explain with the help of a translator that God knew his name & his needs. We told her that we could pray for him to be adopted. We were able to share so much with Mercy about our journey to get her & each of our kiddos… the prayers, the money, the smallest of details, our support team & all the miracles. She began to pray with us for this boy. She also gave us many more details including the fact that she believes he could be her biological brother. She has been with him through 3 different orphanage moves and has memories of the day they were dropped together at the orphanage. He is one of the earliest & longest memories she has. We tried to get more info from orphanage workers but they all insisted there was none. We left China with a commitment to pray for him & the knowledge that we would likely never see this young man again.
Imagine our shock when we were home about a month with our new daughters & we came across his picture in a China advocacy group where we usually pray for the children. We did not seek him out or any further adoption for that matter. When we inquired about his file, they referred us to OUR PREVIOUS ADOPTION AGENCY in WA state. Wow! We know how God can work. We asked him to lead us & we asked him to help us obey if this was HIS plan. We asked for clear confirmation if this was Him. There was initial grant money and some private donations.  The Chinese government excused our family size & financial requirements AGAIN. They agreed to let us re-use our dossier even though we have already used it for 2 adoptions (Zoey & Mercy). All of this seemed amazing, but we felt really scared. Our bank account was low & we couldn't see past our load of special needs & limited finances (in our own eyes). We stepped out in faith believing God was calling us to this. Within days, we got donations we weren't expecting. We got a large anonymous donation covering most of the adoption.
We don’t know if this is truly Mercy’s biological brother. We told her it really didn't matter & that sometimes God makes family in the heart instead of the womb. We do know he is precious 13 yr. old boy in need of a family. God has given Mercy & this boy a very special bond. He will age out of the China system in early June. We know God is calling us & equipping us for this urgent, speedy adoption. We are praying, trusting, obeying & asking HIM to be our everything. We are asking HIM to fill us day by day with all that we need to parent these kiddos & walk this road for HIS glory! Join us in praising GOD for these amazing details & praying for our precious Caleb. We are on our way to China again very soon.
God has moved mountains to bring this boy home. We are in awe!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
 Proverbs 3:5-6

We don't know what our future holds. Some of this adoption stuff is really hard. Many days we feel overwhelmed by the medical and healing that needs to take place, but we are confident He has called us to this. We know He is with us. He will never leave us. He will carry us through all that is ahead. We pray with all of our hearts that God would be glorified as we put all of our hope & trust in Him day by day.

Some side notes.......
Zach has been trying some adventurous eating this week. He has tried 1,000 year old duck eggs and pig kidney. He debated & then passed on trying the snake tea (?!?!) today. Even Caleb had never seen that before.


Trying some outings - 100 degrees and public audience not best case scenario but they tried!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Keep praying!

Please keep praying!

We talked with the boys this am. They were heading to bed after a long day.

Art asked that we continue to pray for paperwork issues. The TA document had not yet arrived in province & it resulted in some complications for the process today.

Please pray that documents would arrive in the places they need to be & the process would move forward without complication.

Caleb is doing pretty well. We are filled with compassion for him. All of this must be so scary & overwhelming... the idea of leaving all he has ever known, the language differences, these two giant guys towering over him :) ... so much more.

Art shared a sweet story about bedtime ....

"The boys got showers and into their beds.  I prayed and did 10 happy things with Zach. I asked Caleb though the Google translator if he had 5 things that he was thankful for. He held up his hand and thoughtfully counted off five things. He smiled and snuggled back into bed."

Look at the boys together below. It's hard to believe Caleb is the bigger brother! Being out in public can be hard on these kiddos. We remember that so well with Mercy. Folks would take pictures and crowd around to look at the foreigners.  They are experiencing some of that now. It seems to be hard on Caleb.

We are praying that Caleb would grow more & more comfortable with Baba & Zach. We are praying for the beginning of bonding, attachment, and trust. We are praying for connection & fun together. Zach brought Uno, Checkers and a couple of other games. They are enjoying those very much. Caleb seems most comfortable in the room without the pressure of the public/audience.

Thank you for caring about our family & praying with us. We feel incredibly blessed by all of you.

With love from all the Powells




Sunday, May 25, 2014

Introducing Caleb!!

THANK YOU for your prayers!

We are overwhelmed by God's provision, faithfulness & power. Please join us in praising Him & acknowledging Him. Caleb has joined Baba & Zach at the hotel in Jinan. Art was able to pass along gifts for the staff & children in the orphanage. There are so many praises!

There are many details to share with all of you. Caleb's 14th birthday is June 3rd. Dragon Boat Festival shuts government offices down in China from May 30-June 2. We had to take custody this week in order for this adoption to work.

Two weeks ago we still had a couple of months of adoption process to accomplish. Normally families travel after these steps are done. We were waiting on NVC approval,  Article 5, a travel approval notice (TA) and  a consulate appointment (CA) to be set at US consulate in Guangzhou.

The Lord allowed everything to come together. He used WACAP adoption agency. He used our local Congressman/Tim Griffin's office staff. He brought favor with both US & China.

We stand in awe of our Lord!

Art shared some great stories from their first hours together:

"Zach is doing a great job being a friend, leader and big-little brother.  I had the guide explain who Zach was... that Zach was his little brother... just by a little bit. I asked Caleb... how did it feel to be a big brother?....  Caleb smiled :).
Caleb started to relax a little after dinner. We went back to our room. Caleb asked Zach if he could watch TV.  Zach said that he would have to ask me when I got out of the shower. When I came out of the bathroom Zach prompted Caleb to ask me. And he did ask for the TV. I got the Google translator and said that this was the time for us to learn to be a family together, not watch TV together. Caleb smiled and nodded his head.
When we all were going to bed  I prayed for us.  Zach did his ten happy things. Caleb had a confused look on his face so I got Google translate out again and explained that every night we think of ten things that we are thankful for and he nodded.
Caleb went to bed with a little stuffed bear. I asked about the bear’s name. He said he didn't  know so I said think about it and you can name him tomorrow. Caleb grinned.  
God is amazing!"
We appreciate your continued prayers for Caleb. Art also shared that Caleb is very, very thin. We would appreciate prayers that he would begin to heal, eat well, receive our love & most of all.... come to know Jesus as Lord.
The next two weeks will be packed with paperwork, official appointments, & medical clearance, etc. We continue to put all of our trust and hope in Jesus. Thank you for standing with us & praying for us!
To GOD be the glory-
By HIS grace & for HIS glory-
Art, Jen, Allie, Mercy, Caleb, Zachary, Jacob, Zoey & Bethany 
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..."    Psalm 68:5-6
Facetime early Sat am (Arkansas time)
Gotcha Day- Caleb meets Baba & Zach
Some areas around hotel


 First dinner together
On the home front-
Some pics with Mama's crew!
Only one of the group - imagine Allie's beautiful blue eyes open!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Art & Zach made it to Beijing late Sat evening. They had some quick rest and then returned back to the airport early on Sunday AM (about 13 hrs. ahead of Little Rock) to fly to Jinan. They should be in province now and preparing to meet Caleb Sunday afternoon.

Our next conversation on Facetime just might include Caleb! Wow!!

There are a lot of emotions here at home. We are excited and eager to get updates. We are also feeling a little bit sad that we aren't all together for this special day. Most of all... we are in awe of what God has done to grow our family again. Just nine months ago we met this precious boy in China. We never imagined God would allow us to return and show him the love of a forever family. Incredible.

We got word that our US consulate appointment is set for June 4th. It happens to be our 19th wedding anniversary that day. What an incredible way to celebrate!

Thank you for your continued prayers. May God be glorified as we continue to put all of our hope and trust in Him.

With joy,
Jen & kiddos

Friday, May 23, 2014

China bound....

Hi All- Thanks so much for praying for our family. The boys are on the way to China. The Lord has moved mountains to get us here. We received another critical document today. It sounds like the US Consulate is working to get us squeezed into appointments on June 4. This is incredible news.

The boys ran through the Chicago airport today and made the connecting flight to Beijing with no time to spare. Hooray! Such a huge praise. We expect to wake in the morning to news of their arrival.

They will meet and take custody of Caleb on Sun afternoon (Sat into Sun middle of the night for us). We appreciate you prayers for critical steps and critical documents still in transit. Bonding, attachment and connection are on the forefronts of our minds. Thank you for praying as Caleb joins our pack.

We will post pictures as soon as we can.

Resting in His care, His plans and His grace.
Praying for His glory!

Jen, Allie, Mercy, Jacob, Zoey & Bethany

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8