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NOVEMBER 1 UPDATE

UPDATES AND HOW YOU CAN HELP AND PRAY:
I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you that is following our journey and praying along the way.
NEW PHOTOS!

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ADOPTION PROGRESS – Filled out Ryker’s immigrant visa application online today! Now we wait a couple days till the next step. PLEASE PRAY THAT EACH STEP GOES AS EXPECTED WITHOUT DELAYS
ESTIMATED TRAVEL INFO – We are on track to travel in December. We feel it is important for our whole family to go to China and be with Ryker those first two weeks. Because of this, we are praying for a family day of Dec. 18th or Dec. 25th. Either way we are anticipating being in China for Christmas. We were all granted our travel visas for China. PLEASE PRAY THAT AIRFARE AND TRAVEL PLANS GO SMOOTHLY. PLEASE PRAY THAT OUR PASSPORTS/VISAS ARE RETURNED TO US WITHOUT COMPLICATIONS.
FUNDRAISING – WE HAVE SOME BIG FEES NOW DUE!
We are astonished with the generosity of both close friends and people we’ve never met before. Adoption fees are big and scary and we’ve been able to see God’s faithfulness each step of the way. We have been able to pay each fee along the way without incurring any additional debt. Our next fee that is due is almost $6,000. We have some upcoming fundraisers that we are hoping to help with that fee.
GARAGE SALE! November 18 we will be holding a garage sale to benefit our adoption. Please let us know if you have any items you’d like to donate!
ONLINE AUCTION! We will be hosting an online auction Nov. 27-December 3. Please let us know if you have anything you are willing to donate for this as well! (Handcrafted items, Essential Oils, Skin Care, Toys, Sports Memorabilia, Collectibles, Books, Jewelry, and More!) We have a new Facebook group just for this auction and will be providing more info very soon!
COIN JARS – We have a few coin jars made to help raise funds. Please let me know if you would like a jar for your home to collect your pocket change at the end of the day, or if you have a business and would be willing to place the jar by your point of sale. Every little bit helps!
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Burgess Family Slideshow

 

I’m excited to share the adoption slideshow that I created for the Burgess Family! They chose to have their entire trip documented in their slideshow!

Let me create a slideshow for you! The funds raised help bring our boy home!

The Burgess family provided me with about 50 photos and under 10 minutes of raw video.  It might take a few moments for the video to start depending on your connection speed, the finished video is about 5 minutes long.

Sullivan Family

Sullivan-279I’m excited to share the adoption slideshow that I created for the Sullivan Family! They chose to have their entire trip documented in their slideshow!

Let me create a slideshow for you! The funds raised help bring our boy home!

The Sullivan family provided me with about 250 photos and 15 minutes of raw video.  It might take a few moments for the video to start depending on your connection speed, the finished video is about 18 minutes long.

My Rope of Hope

The past few weeks have been quiet.  Quiet is hard for me.  Quiet is not natural for me.  I’ve even been quiet on the blog.  God made it pretty clear to me that I needed to be quiet.  I needed to be still.  It was time for him to speak, and me to not.

An update is way overdue.

We have been pre-approved to move forward with the adoption of our sweet boy by the China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA).  Our next step is a huge one, signing contracts, first agency fees due, etc. I continue to pray that we are truly following God’s plan here…. That BOTH my husband and I feel that this is the right path for our family. (This is BIG). We had both felt comfortable enough in the process up to submitting our application with the adoption agency.  Getting to the point of being 100% all in is coming at different paces for my husband and I.  Because I tend to let my heart lead, I’ve been all in for quite a while.  My husband is the voice of logic and reason in our family.  His path to 100% is a bit slower than mine.  That doesn’t mean that it’s better or worse than mine, just slower and more purposeful.  He’s more apt to consider all the what ifs.

We learned earlier in our marriage that we just process things differently.  Take for example if we start talking about building a house.  Ten minutes later I have the house designed, I’ve picked out the carpet, chosen paint colors, began to plan where all the furniture can go, and have started the landscape plans.  My husband on the other hand hasn’t given any of that a thought.  He is still just starting to think about it.  He’ll process each step of the decision thoroughly, one step at a time. Together we make a great team.  I tend to stretch him.  He keeps me grounded.

I’ve spent the past few weeks giving him space to process.  Being still. I’ve been trying to hold on to a thread of hope that he’s still processing and on the path to 100%.  He’s also had some medical appointments these past few weeks and I wanted to make sure that those were all going to turn out ok before we continued on our path.  The appointments went well and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Sunday we sent our grown daughter back to finish her last year of college 1900 miles away from home.  I loved having her home for Christmas break.  She and her dad were able to take several day trips, and they talked.  He was able to ask her some of his questions.  She spent time in China this past summer with Show Hope.  She was able to learn about the world’s orphan crisis first hand.  She was a great resource to have around while I was quiet.

While our daughter was home we took family photos!  It was our one chance with all four of us in the same state.  I LOVE them.  We also took photos that we will be able to use as adoption announcement photos when the time is right.  This was a thread of hope for me that my husband was willing to take these photos.  (My funny story about the photos…..I had a bit of an ace up my sleeve.  I wanted a child’s chair and a globe for the photos.  Several years ago I closed the photography studio that I owned.  I figured that I could put out a request for a chair and globe for a photo shoot and no one would think twice about it.  Success!  Along with a note from the lender that they were glad I was still doing some photography!  I guess I’ll have to come clean someday.)

During the past few weeks I’ve avoided most social media.  It’s been hard.  I follow so many families that have either already adopted or are in the process, most of them from China.  As excited as I am for these families, and as much as I love following their stories….. it hurt to see them.

Today the silence was broken.  Today we talked.  Today I cried.  I ugly cried.  We’ve had pre-approval for two and a half weeks now.  I haven’t had contact with our agency in those two and a half weeks.  He and I haven’t really talked about the adoption much since pre-approval.  This morning as we talked I asked him if he knew how hard it has been for me to not push and to wait.  I think he knows. I told him how hard it had been to try and hold on to a thread of hope.  His reply…… I’ll never forget his reply.  He assured me that I had more than a thread to hold on to, he told me that I have a rope.  I’m holding on to a rope of hope!

This evening we began to look over the contract and start to understand what an undertaking this paper chase will be to bring home our boy.  Next step, complete our contract, get it notarized, and we’ll need to work on getting the first fee paid to our agency.  We talked about when we could start fundraising.  We talked about when to start telling people.  (So far this blog is fairly anonymous, and we’ve told only a select group of people)

I continue to be reminded that God is sovereign, and I will continue to trust. I’m learning to be still and let God work and speak. And I’m falling more and more in love with a little boy on the other side of the world.

I’m learning to hold on to my rope of hope.  I have a ROPE!

A Letter to My Sweet Boy

To my sweet boy,

I want you to know, more than anything, you are loved.  You are wanted.  You are chosen.

We just celebrated Christmas and while our family celebrated the birth of our Savior and enjoyed time together, there was something obviously missing.  You weren’t home yet. You were fervently missed.  My heart longed to have you with us.  As we celebrated your absence was never forgotten.

We are still in the early days of the process to bring you home to your forever family.  We were hoping to be locked in with you for Christmas.  I wanted to be able to share your picture with friends and family for Christmas.  I wanted to declare to the world that I have a son halfway across the world that I am missing on Christmas.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen.  There were a few procedural delays that were out of our control that have prevented that lock from happening before Christmas.  It has all been straightened out and the process is once again in motion.  And I am once again reminded to remember that God is Sovereign.  He knows the timing and the reasons, and I will trust Him.

On the day before Christmas my mind was consumed with thoughts of you.  Knowing that it was 7am on Christmas morning where you are.  Thinking about you waking up not knowing you have a family.  Spending yet another Christmas dreaming about having a mama and baba to call your own.  Dreaming of a mama and baba that would call you theirs forever.  I wept for your Christmas.  I wished with all my heart that I could fix it right at that moment.  But once again, God is sovereign and I need to trust in His timing.  I wish you could have known that you have a family.  You have a mama and baba that already love you, a brother and a sister that can’t wait to have you come home.

I wept again on Christmas morning knowing that where you are the clock was striking midnight, and another Christmas was coming to an end.  Eight Christmases have passed for you without a family to share it with.  We are praying that the adoption process goes smoothly and quickly.  We want you to be home for next Christmas, my sweet boy.  What an incredible celebration that will be!  I pray that this was the last Christmas that you will wake up as an orphan.  I pray that next Christmas is spent surrounded by your forever family.

I love and miss you, sweet boy.  I can’t wait to hold you.  I can’t wait to establish new holiday traditions with you.  I watched so many families that have grown their families through adoption this past year posting photos of their holiday celebrations.  It made me miss you even more.  But it also made me excited for what is yet to come.

Amongst the tears I was also thankful.  I’m thankful that you were surrounded by people that have loved you while waiting for a family.  I know that those caring for you have loved you the best that they can.  I can see it in your smile.

Waiting is so hard, I’m sorry that you’ve had to wait for so long.  And although you aren’t with a forever family you have never been alone.  Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”  I hold tight to that promise for you, sweet boy.  May you feel the presence of your heavenly baba holding you tight as you wait for us to come get you.

I love you, sweet boy.

-mama

 

One Small Step…..

We received an exciting email today!  Our adoption application has been approved by our placement agency, CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International).  This is just a small step in our very long journey.  But, although it’s small,  it’s progress.  It’s one small step closer to bringing this little boy home.

We also submitted our next round of paperwork today.  Our Family Worksheet,  our Letter of Intent, our passport like photos, and a small fee to have all of them translated into Chinese.  Once they are translated they will be sent to China to be reviewed by the CCCWA.    (China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption)  We are told that there will be about a two week wait to hear back.  We are hopeful that we will get news at that time that we have been pre-approved by the CCCWA to be mom and dad to this little guy.  Then the next round of paperwork and fees begins.

Our journey is a little different from most adoptive families.  We have started with a specific waiting child.  It flips the process a little bit for us.  For families that do not start with a specific child they must wait until they are much further in the process to be matched with a child and be able to share photos and information about their child.  Because we are starting with the child we will get to that point a little sooner.  I can’t wait. I want to be able to share pictures!  I want you all to see why I’ve fallen in love with this little boy.  Wait until you hear his giggle!  It melts me every time I hear it.  I can’t wait to see his smile and hear his laugh in person. Until then, you can find me watching the one minute video clip I have of him over and over and over……….and I might rewind and replay the three seconds of his giggle more times than I can count.

 

Sov·er·eign

sov·er·eign
ˈsäv(ə)rən/

adjective

1.    belonging to or characteristic of a sovereign or sovereign authority;royal.
2.   having supreme rank, power, or authority.
3.   supreme; preeminent; indisputable:

 

Growing up in church, I’m no stranger to the idea of a sovereign God.  But growing up hearing about the idea of a Sovereign God and deciding to BELIEVE and TRUST in a Sovereign God are completely different.

 

The first 30 hours after submitting our application for adoption has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I have gone from extreme joy to ultimate fear and back again.  I’ve gone from complete trust to extreme doubt and held my breath through the loop de loop.  A few hours after hitting the submit button I felt like I was looking for a lifeboat.  I found myself googling “adoption panic” wondering if I was the only one to feel this way.  I’m fortunate to have some friends that I trust to give me wise counsel.  I know that they share my beliefs and faith.  They steered my lifeboat last night and early this morning.

 

One of my biggest worries wasn’t for me and what bringing this little boy into our family would mean for us.  I’m not going to lie, those thoughts have been going through my head as well, but my thoughts are on this little boy.  What happens if the doors close on this process in 3 months and we are not able to bring this little boy home and in the meantime he’s missed out on being matched with another family?  I almost felt guilty for starting the process to become mommy to this little boy.  As if little ole me could thwart the plans that God has laid out.

 

I’m thankful for a friend that simply reminded me that “God is sovereign.”  Ultimately, He has a plan.  He has a plan for my husband and me.  He has a plan for our grown biological children.  He has a plan for my young son that is 6500 miles away.  If bringing this little boy home is truly meant to be, then I believe that the doors will open.  If the doors close, then I believe that we are following the call that we’re supposed to be following and experiencing what God wants us to experience in the process.  And either outcome, God has an amazing plan.

 

In my panic, I even reached out to a photographer that I admire and follow on social media.  He has a beautiful daughter, Pearl, with the most amazing red hair who also has special needs.  Their family has been a tangible example to me of seeing God’s grace in action.  I got a message back from him shortly after waking up today.  It was exactly what I needed.  It was my grace for the moment.  What did he tell me?  He told me that I was right, that the path ahead of us might be difficult.  Best of all, he told me to “dig in.”  to “continue to feel everything that you feel like feeling but never get too comfortable with yourself.”  But as much as I needed to hear all of that, even more so I needed the next tidbit of advice he passed on from someone that had passed it on to him who knows how long ago.  That piece of wisdom being, that “while I was trying to change the world, God was just trying to change me. And I think that’s beautiful.”  [If you want to see tangible grace visit ericbrownphoto.com to learn a little bit about Eric and his family.  Then click on the link for disproportionatejoy.com and be ready to be wrecked.  Have tissues ready.  And then visit Eric’s Instagram and witness the Grace of a Sovereign God.  I dare you to go back to the beginning of the story his instagram tells and not see God’s hand.]
2 Corinthians 12:7 (MSG) “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

 

Even as I finish writing this blog entry God is still reminding me that He is sovereign.  I haven’t visited Eric’s website in months, if not well over a year.  I was clicking through the links in my post to make sure that they work.  I could just tell you what happened, but instead I’ll let you experience this with me……  After you click on the link to visit disproportionatejoy.com click on the link for “Other Writing” at the top of his page and see what the top item is on that menu and then have a read.  Sovereign.

 

Isa 46:9-11 (MSG)
Remember your history,
 your long and rich history.
I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—incomparable, irreplaceable
From the very beginning telling you what the ending will be,
All along letting you in on what is going to happen,
Assuring you, ‘I’m in this for the long haul, I’ll do exactly what I set out to do,’
Calling that eagle, Cyrus, out of the East, from a far country the man I chose to help me.
I’ve said it, and I’ll most certainly do it. I’ve planned it, so it’s as good as done.
(The Message paraphrases a bit, but I like how this version can be easier to understand.)