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Jason Raitz

Jesus Follower. Husband. Dad. Son. Brother. Pastor.

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Parenting

Happy 3rd Birthday Kai David Raitz!!!!

Today is Kai’s 3rd Birthday!!

Happy Birthday Kai David Raitz!!!!!

If the adoption process was lightening fast, we could have had him almost another year, but it’s not that fast. 

But, we will not take for granted that Kai is now a Raitz and its so much fun to celebrate his birthday today!

I can’t wait for his siblings to meet him. I can’t wait for his grand parents to meet him. I can’t wait for our small group and our church to meet him. 

Today is our last day in China! I wish we were leaving, but that’s on tap for tomorrow! So, today, we will celebrate Kai! 

Here are a few things you can be praying for Kai:

1. Pray for our travel home. We will be traveling about 30 hours. YIKES! Pray for God’s favor on that travel. 

2. Pray for Kai to keep bonding with us. 

3. Pray for God to give him favor with his siblings. 

4. Pray for a great transition into life in the Raitz house. 

5. Pray that God would use this boy to wreck the world for His Kingdom. 

6. Pray that Kai would come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday, I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Kai. Here they are!!

I think we made a mistake…

Ok, I know this is going to sound crazy, but…

I think we made a mistake.

 Let me back up. I have no idea how we could have done it. Shoot, I have no idea how we did what we did. But, I think we could have attempted it. 

I think with God’s help, it was something that we could have done. 

Actually, Tracie brought it up to me months ago and my  first thought was…’she’s crazy!’. But, I will tell you I prayed about it. I really did. But honestly, I have been a level of stressed out that I have never been in my life. I really needed to remember Jesus’ words…

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, ‘that is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear’

So, you maybe wondering what I’m talking about?

I think we made a mistake by not bringing home…

TWO CHILDREN FROM CHINA. 

Yes, I’m crazy! Tracie is crazy! Ican hear the chorus’s of ‘your crazy’ righ now. I can see all the eyebrows going up. I can see people waking away. 

Especially after re-reading my blog post from last night! Wow, we were tired yesterday! Kai gave us a run for our money. 

But, being here. Walking around his orphanage. Seeing the RIDICULOUS need. Having our hearts broken and then broken again. Meeting families who have adopted 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 times. Seeing what God has already done in our hearts. 

Yeah, I think we made a mistake by not at least attempting it. 

Now, I have no idea how we could have afforded it. I have no idea how we could have managed it. I have no idea. 

I really have no idea. 

To be honest, I have no idea how we were able to do what we did. I have no idea how we’re going to afford 3 kids with PKU. I don’t know how we afford 2 kids with PKU. I actually had someone tell us we were financially irresponsible for adopting a child with PKU when our need is already great for the two we have with PKU. 

That broke my heart. 

We’re kind of figuring stuff out as we go. 

But, I was pushing Kai through the lobby at our hotel yesterday and I was watching a new dad push his new baby girl in her wheelchair. Yes, her wheelchair. Then I talked to another dad who has a new baby girl, she’s 8 and blind. And I talked to another family who is rushing to get their new son back to the US because they don’t know how long his heart will keep working before surgery. 

And, my heart broke again in ways that I never thought it would. 

JUST BROKE!

Actually SHATTERED!

And I realized I think we made a mistake. 

I know God is working in us. I Know God is working in Kai. I know God is working in the people following our story. 

I know we did what God called us to do, I just wonder if we were suppose to do more?

I wonder if in the future God will call us to do more. 

I know for sure it wasn’t a mistake adopting Kai! This boy has already captured our hearts. This boy is our son and we will love him forever. 

Tired, Overwhelmed, Exhusted, Amazed

So, no sugar coating here. 

We’re Tired. 

Kai is a super happy kid and then he isn’t. 

Last night was rough. Not much sleep. I ended up walking him from 430-630am all over our hotel. Which worked out, because I was up anyways. 

Overwhelmed. 

This afternoon when he woke up, wow. He was not happy. It was next level. He was overwhelmed and we were overwhelmed. 

We know that he has 3 years of life that we know nothing about. We also know that his entire world has been turned upside down. 

Exhausted.

So, even in our exhaustion, we are so thankful! Every minute, every hour and every day is such an amazing adventure with this little boy. 

We would be honored if you would continue to pray for us. 

Amazed.

In the midst of all this, I am just continually amazed. I walk through the lobby of our hotel and I see family after family with their adopted kids. 

Families adopting little girls who can’t use their arms. 

Families adopting little girls who are blind. 

Families adopting little boys and girls with Down syndrome. 

Families adopting little boys with congenital heart disease. 

We spoke with one family who didn’t know what their new son’s life expectancy even was. But, they felt called to adopt and love him. 

I am just Amazed! 


The Presence of God was overwhelming

Have you ever felt the presence of God? 

I did today. 

We were in a Chinese medical office and we were waiting for Kai to be seen. Before he can leave China, he has go through a check up and have a TB test. 

As we were sitting, family after family starting coming in. I couldn’t help myself, I love meeting new people, so I started learning everyone’s stories. 

That’s when it happened. 

The Presence of God was Incredibly Powerful! 

I realized that this is the kind of place that Jesus was talking about…

‘For where to or three gather together as my followers, I am there among there’ ~Matthew 18:20 (nlt)

I talked with family after family and hearing their story was one of the most moving and profound moment of life I’ve ever experienced. 

Families who were on their second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth adoptions. 

Are you kidding me?

Families who were adopting children with severe special needs. Families who had taken a giant step of faith. 

And, it hit me. I know Jesus is here. Why would He not be? I mean, this is a Gathering of people who care for the ‘least of these’. 

‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me’ ~Matthew 25:45 (nlt)

The Presence of God was Powerful and Overwhelming. 

At times I had to make sure I wiped tears quickly so everyone in the room wouldn’t find out that I’m just a mess! 

Here’s the beautiful thing though, you can serve the ‘least of these’ anywhere you are! It hit me, I’m in China, but there are so many opporunties and moments back home to care for and to love and to serve the ‘the least of these’. 

The Next Leg of our Journey has Begun

What a day! Long, hard, exhausting, stretching, tiring, good, great, wonderful and everything in between!

We left our hotel at 1:30pm and drove to the Nanjing airport. Which was by far the largest airport I’ve ever been in…ever! They say everything’s bigger in Texas, well, everything really is bigger in China! Holy Cow!

We got through security and made our way to the gate. Our flight was delayed 2 hours. Ok, so, we started to walk the airport. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was probably 5 football fields long! As we were at the very end of the airport, I looked at the flight status and it said it was boarding! It had just said delayed and we had like 2 hours to go! So, we high tailed it to the gate. We got to the gate and after they scan your ticket, they load a million people into a bus and drive you to your plane. I took 15 minutes! No joke!

Well, the plane ride was not Kai’s favorite. It was pretty rough. But, we got to Guangzhou, found our guide and loaded up our luggage and headed to our hotel. 

We are staying at a great hotel for the next week because of some amazing generosity. Actually, our room is out of this world cool. Which is great, because Kai has some room to play!! 

For some reason, I am up! Tracie and Kai are out. We have to be up early for Kai’s medical exam in the morning! 

I’m hoping to head to Church on Sunday! That would be awesome! We’ll see. 

Alright, time for some sleep! 

OH…Kai was struggling pretty mightily with me today. Only wants his mama. Until! UNTIL I gave him some banana, his first ever! Yup, I won him over and I don’t care at all if it was bribery! He was happy, he was laughing and he was smiling! 

Visiting where Kai was abandoned was beyond emotional. 

On June 19th, 2014, Zou HongKai was abandoned outside of a train station, near a lake, in Nanjing, China. 

I went back in my calendar and tried to find out where I was when that happened. I was in TN speaking at an event, totally unaware that a little boy was about to be abandoned and found and that in two years, he would…

Totally and Completely Change my Life. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much he has absolutely captured my heart. He has changed my life. 

This experience is like NOTHING I’ve ever been through. The ups and downs, the heart break, the waiting, the unbelievable expense, the worrying about the money, the stress about the home study, the negative voices, the thrills of reaching each check point, the highs of being approved, the gifts, God’s provision, being matched with Kai and then finally the day when you finally meet your son. 

Yes, I have been Totally and Competely Changed!

I wish more people could experience this! 

There was nothing quite like visiting his ‘FINDING SPOT’ though. The police report says he was found in a blanket. When they finally got him to a hospital, the doctors estimated he was about 5 months old. He only weighed 9.7 pounds. 

9.7 pounds. We don’t know if his biological parents knew about his PKU or not, but most likely, they had no idea and probably fed him like a normal baby. If you don’t know much about PKU, like most and that’s ok, you just can’t do that. PKU is different than a gluton allergy or a peanut allergy. A person wth PKU can’t break down the acid in protein and that acid attacks the central nervous system. So, in time, someone who is not on a PKU diet will begin to function at a much lower speed. 

So, thankfully, when he arrived at his orphanage, they ran a test for PKU!!

I tried to see his mom or dad leaving him

This was the emotional part for me. As I walked around and listened to all the sounds and took in all the sights, I wondered if I could see them leaving him in my head. What would have that been like for them? Was it hard? Was it heart breaking? Was it so painful that their heart tore in two? 

Our guide told us they were probably from a small village and took the train to the big town to leave him because they knew once he was found, he would have a better chance at life. 

We actually were given the add in the newspaper announcing that he had been abandoned. I can’t even look at it without crying. 

And now, he has utterly and completely changed my life. 

Every time he smiles, I’m captivated. 

Every time he laughs, I lose my breath. 

Every time he giggles, I can’t stop smiling. 

And to think, only if his biological parents could see him now. Their son is going to grow up in the US. Have amazing medial care for his PKU. Have an amazing mom who knows the PKU diet. Have two older siblings with PKU who will help him navigate life with PKU. Have a dad that wants nothing more than to see his kids succeed and to be loved and to fall in love with Jesus. He has a family who will adore him. He as a community of people who already love him. He has an awesome Church home. 

What a life he will have! 

Yes, I’ve been changed and I can’t but help think how God the Father feels when one of His kids comes back to Him. When they realize what He did to adopt them into His family and they run to Him with their arms wide open. 

A Look into our Nanjing, China trip through my iPhone 

He loves holding his mama’s hands

I’m sitting in our hotel room. It’s sweltering hot in here. I can’t figure out how to turn down the heat. And, to make matters worse, I am utterly and complexly exhausted. My body has not caught up with the massive time change. As I type this, I feel like I’m moving at quarter speed, if that’s even a thing. 

But, there’s good news. I’ve been watching a little boy bond with his new mama and they just seem like they’ve known each other all along. 

My heart can’t even take it.  

The way he looks at her, the way he smiles when she comes into a room, the way he buries his head into her shoulder when she picks him up, the way he laughs when she tickles him and the way he reaches for her hand. 

He loves holding his mama’s hands. 

Today we were walking down a crowded street in Nanjing, China. People everywhere. Horns honking. Shop keepers selling their goods. Which, Kai loves being outside. He loves going on walks. As far as we can tell, he only got out once a day if there was someone who could push a cart  full of kids. Anyways, here we are, me pushing the stroller and Tracie walking next to it because he held out his little hand for his mama’s hand. 

My heart couldn’t even take it. 

Here I am, walking with tears in my eyes, already being stared at by everyone and now I’m a complete and utter mess. 

Today is Tracie’s birthday. Today I watched her (and like I did for our other 4 kids) do exactly what God created her to do…love children so completely and so fully that you don’t even have to look, you can feel the wake of love leaving her heart. 

The CHURCH made Kai’s Adoption a Reality

How about that for a headline!?! 

That’s the reality though, without the local CHURCH, Kai’s adoption would not have happened. 

Tracie and I weren’t in a position to afford this adoption on our own. Maybe that should have stopped us from pursuing it. It has stopped many. A few people expressed that opinion to us. Well, not face to face but on Facebook and to others. But, as we prayed about it, we just felt God’s overwhelming push to move forward and to ask the CHURCH to help. So, we did. We did it on Facebook. We did it through emails. We did it on my blog. We did it Face to face. 

And…the CHURCH DID!!!! 

Here’s what I mean by that. Not one Church is responsible for Kai’s adoption or one person or one family, but MANY. 

We had 6 year olds give $5. We had teenagers give. We had families give $20. We had some who gave thousands. We had people give from Central Michigan, the Detroit Area, Grand Rapids and up north. From…PA, IND, VA, CA, CO, NV, TX, LA, NY, OH, IL, WI, WA, FL, TN, KY, DC and some I’m forgetting about. 

But, Kai’s adoption couldn’t have happened without every one of those gifts. 

And, how about this…

99% of the people that gave were followers of Jesus. 

You know why? Because generosity is close to the heart of God! I mean, HE Gave HIS Son for us! Jesus gave everything! The Acts 2 Church gave to support each other. We, as the Church, are called to give! I believe we’re called to give first to God through the Local Church and then to give as God leads us to give. 

I love what Todd Clark said about generosity…

‘Generosity will make you rich not poor’

I have found that to be 100% true in my life. Embarrassingly enough, I fought this for years. I didn’t give because I thought that because I made hardly anything working for the church and because I gave so much time to the Church, that that was the same as giving financially. I was wrong. Dead wrong. There is a very strong and compelling reason that Jesus said your treasure is where your heart is. He knew that we struggle like crazy to Trust Him and He wants our heart. If we can’t put our finances ahead of our heart, we won’t experience all He has for us. 

I can honestly say that is true. I have experienced that. When you make generosity so common in life, like breathing, and you do that over time, whether times are good or bad, one day…

You will wake up and experience a waterfall of the Holy Spirits presence in your life. I have. It’s amazing. 

THE CHURCH MADE KAI’S ADOPTION A REALITY! 

And, actual Churches made Kai’s adoption a reality. This just completely blows my mind! It’s still had to wrap my mind around!

3 Churches, who really don’t know my family or I all that well (I mean, I have a friendship with their Pastors) took offerings to help us! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?? So, we will always be in awe and so grateful to 242 Community Church in MI, New Bethel Church in IN and Canvas Church in VA. 

Then, Thrive Church in CA, who knows more of me and my Church because we’re in the same network of Churches, received an offering as well. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

Also, the night before we left, I asked some folks from my Church to gather and pray for us. And they did! And, they threw us a surprise shower to help with Kai’s clothes and toys and toddler stuff! 

THE CHURCH IS AWESOME!!!

The Church is responsible for this adoption. Of all the complaining and whining I read about the CHURCH, I’m sorry if I can’t join in! I love the LOCAL CHURCH! She is the bride of Christ. The local Church, when working right, is the Hope of the World. The Church preaches the Gospel. The Church gives people a home. The Church allows the generations to come together. The Church is a movement! The Church is the hands and feet of Jesus! The Church is the LIGHT to this dark world. 

That’s why it just shocks me that Christians have become so apatathic towards their Churches. But, that’s for another blog post. 

Here’s what I know…

A boy who didn’t have a family, now has one. A boy who didn’t have a Church home, now has one. A boy who wasn’t going recieve the level of medical care his PKU needed, will receive one. A boy who slep in a crip with 12 other kids, will now have 4 siblings. A boy on the other side of the world, one of the 17 million orphans in the world, now has a home. 

The Church did that! 

I love the Church. 

‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you’ ~ James 1:27

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