Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Our top ten things to be thankful for this year:

10. Our amazing Washington community!  Washington Strong!

9. God's perfect timing for this international adoption process and how quickly the paperwork has gone (although at times it didn't seem quick).  A total of 10.5 months from beginning to Gotcha Day!

8. A wonderful year of homeschooling, with the children growing so wise and mature and having an ever increasing amount of motivation for working hard at academics and playing hard at hobbies, sport, and music. We are so thankful for God's provisions to continue homeschooling and training up our children according to the Lord.

7. We got to celebrate the life of Kristen's grandmother and her 102 years of faithful service to God, while here on earth!

6. God protected our house from the tornado.  All we could think about during those unknown moments were IF our house is gone, what about our passports and adoption papers.  But, God prevailed and kept everything safe.

5. God has provided us with friends, family, an amazing church and a support system that has met every need of ours, especially through prayer, hugs, advice, encouragement, and financial giving during this entire adoption process.

4. Our entire family will be traveling to China for another Kopinski adventure… probably the most important and exciting adventure we have ever gone on. Trying to learn Mandarin is quite fun too!

3. Life was spared during the tornado.  Our church was spared, as were all other churches in Washington!  To see this destruction and know that so many survived and the stories are miraculous, proved again that our Mighty Creator was watching over this city!

2. We travel in 2 weeks to meet a boy 1,000's of miles away that God has already chosen for our family. Not even a tornado is keeping him from our family!

1. God's unconditional love and His mercy and grace He extends continues to extend to us.. and the hope of eternal life in our Lord Jesus!

2 Weeks Until Departure

In the midst of the tornado relief efforts over the past 10 days, we have been able to book our airline tickets for China, book and confirm all of our in country travel (from Beijing to Fu Lian's province to Guangzhou and to all meetings, appointments and tours), and set-up and confirm the group tours we will take to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and a silk company tour.

What a blessing the past 10 days have been for our family as we have been able to live within the bubble of the wreckage and see first hand the devastation at the hand of our Mighty Creator, but also see the spirit of this community pick itself up and join together to pour out love and encouragement and blessings to each other, especially those who have lost so much.  The constant reminder outside of our home is difficult for our children to see on a daily basis, however, they have a new perspective on material possessions and extended love and mercy to others in their time of need.  Here are a couple photos of our kiddos serving in the community (and serving with friends is even better!):

Ethan cleaning up debris from a farmer's field (and finding treasures too!)

Austin, Jonny, Sean & Ethan serving warm coffee to volunteers & families in our neighborhood (temperature was single digits with windchill)

Rebecca and Brianna serving dessert and drinks at Congressman Aaron Schock's pre-thanksgiving lunch for families and volunteers

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Travel Approval and Dates

Amongst the chaos of the new life this tornado brings to our family, neighborhood, and community, we did find out Monday that we will be traveling to Beijing on December 11th and return on December 27th. Thank you God for this "pearl" in the rather bleak day. 

We haven't scheduled our flight yet, as we have been helping others sort through rubble, salvage what they can of their lives and homes and pack up their lives.

We are overjoyed to know that in 26 days, we will meet Jesse for the first time! Praise God for Him seeing us through and not even letting a tornado stop us from bringing Jesse home.  

I hate that Jesse will have to see this devastation and his first drive through his new neighborhood will be what is left after an F4 tornado struck.  But, I love that the story of survival and courage and love will shine brighter and He will see that first hand. He will see neighbor helping neighbor and the ability to rebuild after losing so much .. which he will understand, but in an entirely different perspective.  So, in a sense the rebuilding from a tornado in Washington gives us a semblance of Jesse rebuilding his life from the tornadic activity of leaving all he has ever known, the grief of what once was, and starting over with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar place, but with LOVE being the center of it all.  

God is Sovereign!

If you could picture half of a banquet room with 300 children 5th grade and under, sitting orderly in rows against the inside walls, along with many adults singing praises to the Lord….  "Jesus Loves the  Little Children"… The lights flicker, then black! But just for a second, as the adults wisely turn their smart phone flashlights on.  Kids scream a bit, but then order is restored and worshipping begins again. "Our God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty"… This is how it went for 45 minutes…."10,000 Reasons"… Bible Story … parable … more worship songs… No panic, no screaming.

To see my 6 year old have one boy leaning his lead on his shoulder and another boy grasping his other hand for 45 minutes, and all Ethan did was say it is ok, it will be ok.  A 6 year old should not be in a position to have to be supporting his buddies like that, but Ethan knew just what to do. Jonny, had a sweet 4 year old crawl into his lap for comfort, this sweet boy knew just who to go to in his time of need.  Sean was supporting his best buddy in that room, as occasional fears would set in and he needed reassuring, that Sean knew just how to give.  Through the entire room, kids were support kids, friends supporting friends.  They were not trained in this, they just knew what to do.

While 400 yards away there was a 160 mph tornado tearing up houses, up rooting trees, tossing cars, and changing lives forever.  The tornado was devastating, as neighborhoods are completely destroyed, hundreds of houses look like there were put into a blender on full speed and dumped out.  But, God is sovereign and He did not let anyone in this room know the devastation happening outside.  For if even one of us did, panic would have set in and the kids would have picked up on that.  We praise God for being oblivious about how close we were.

Once the all clear came and the children were matched with their parents, we emerged to hear the neighborhood right behind out church was gone…. our neighborhood.  The fewer people out in a disaster the better, so we waited, not knowing what we would see when we returned to our home.  Trying to stay calm for our children, but silently thinking about .. our adoption paper work! I really didn't care about my house or anything else in it for the next hour. Yikes, my passports and documents to bring to China … will this delay us even more!  We were supposed to leave in 3.5 weeks.  Phones calls wouldn't go through, but texting did.  We finally got word from neighbors that our street was safe, other than our lost trampoline and broken fence.

Life was spared, not only the 700 at our church, but every church through town, where people were gathering to worship the Lord!  Yes, he is in complete control, and he skirted his tornado around every church in Washington!

As we drove through the destruction to get to our house, it was surreal.  Those first images of loss, shredded lumber, destruction, mangled cars and dust and debris in the roads, beautifully mature trees flattened.  The odor of gas and ripped lumber.  Then came the sounds of sirens … for the next 4-5 hours, and helicopters.  We slept as a family in our house, cuddled together in our living room, while outside the flood lights and generators ran.. looking for life, fixing gas leaks and water main breaks.  We awoke at 6:00 in the morning to more helicopters and then sirens again.

This community exemplifies courage, integrity, and a passion for loving the Lord and lifting each other up.  Those with the most damage, seem to have the best spirits, I guess perspectives change when your life changes so much.  Happy to be living, is what we should all find joy in.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Over the Moon

The time is getting closer to bringing Jesse home. Our kiddos are over the moon excited!  The kids continue to amaze me with their love and participation in this adoption.  What is equally amazing are the friends and families we have met through this short journey who have touched our lives in incredible ways.  From the support of our family and friends at church, to our far away friends God has placed along our paths as He has moved us from city to city, to Facebook only friends and recent friends.

We had a neat opportunity to speak at a friend's church on Orphan Care Sunday and share our (almost completed) adoption story.  What a blessing to be loved and raised up by a body of believers who are so committed to caring for the orphans.  We have been touched by their prayers, generosity, and support.  

A sweet fellow adoptive friend purchased t-shirts, from our Adoption Bug site, for her entire family to wear on Orphan Care Sunday.  How precious is this orphan loving family!

A 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School teach at our church wanted the kids to do a service project and offered to have them collect items for us take to Jesse's orphanage. Although we will not be able to visit his orphanage, we are honored to share with the orphanage director some necessities they are not able to purchase in China.

We have many things to praise our Lord and Saviour for this month of Thanksgiving, as evidenced by the above.  But, most of all we are are thankful for the love and grace that He extends to us, His adopted children, and the reassurance that we are redeemed through Him!