Monday, July 23, 2012

What A Day That Will Be

How do you explain the love you have for a child that you have never met? The only thing I can compare it to is the love that God has for His children. In a physical sense we have never met God, but when we receive Christ as our Savior, we become heirs of Christ. We have all the rights and priveliges of a natural born child. He becomes our Father and one day we will meet him face to face. "What A Day That Will Be". Have you sung that old hymn before? In a similar way I have never met Jaelynn, but I am her mommy. I love her just like I love my other children. I am her mommy and one day soon, I will meet her face to face and Oh what a day that will be! (Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way comparing myself to Christ). Today I was reading some information about our little girl. One of the things I was reading was about a surgery that she underwent some time ago. I thought about this sweet little girl having surgery and then going into a recovery room. It breaks my heart to know that her mommy wasn't there to comfort her after surgery. I am an adult and honestly I can not imagine going through a major surgery and not having my mom around. Thankfully someone better than her mommy was there watching over her and protecting her and that someone is our heavenly Father. God has just begun to write her story and I am so thankful that our family will be a part of it. Everyone that has met our little girl tells us what a smart, funny, loving, and happy little girl she is. Thank you Lord for protecting her heart and for placing her in such a wonderful place while we all wait. Thank you to all the care givers and nannies who have taken such good care of so many special children.
Last Friday we received our pre-approval to adopt Jaelynn, yet another milestone on our way to China! Today a package was delivered to Maria's Big House of Hope for Jaelynn and hopefully she now knows that she has a mommy, daddy, 2 big sisters, and a big brother. Pray for Jaelynn as she processes this information. Though I am sure she was happy to find out about her new family and receive a package with gifts just for her, there will be many adjustments for her when she comes home. Pray that God will continue to preserve her sweet spirit and that we would be able to help her through her time of transition.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Referral Day!

I tried to blog last night, but my head was swirling, so I will attempt again tonight. Yesterday, after a little over a month from last contacting our adoption agency, I called to see if there was a file for us yet on our little girl. I was told they would check on things in get back with me in a couple of days. I tried to remain optimistic, but was a little disappointed. I came home from work and at about 6 PM the phone rang, it was our adoption agency. My heart just about stopped. I answered the phone and was given the news that we have been waiting for for over 9 months. "We have her file". Those are some of the sweetest words my ears have heard. We then received an email with information and pictures of our sweet little Jaelynn. Our next step was to respond by writing a Letter of Intent, stating among other things our desire to adopt this little girl. 
People have asked, so what does this mean? Well, it means that her paperwork is complete and she is ready to be adopted. We still have a way to go, but this is a huge step. For me, it's kind of like I am entering the 2nd trimester of my paper pregnancy. You know how when you are pregnant and you are careful how much information you share, just in case something goes wrong? Well that is kind of what it has been like these past several months. As you enter your 2nd trimester of a pregnancy you feel a little safer, you still know anything can happen, but all in all you are excited to share all the information you can. In the next week or so we should receive something called PA (pre-approval) from China to proceed with the adoption. The steps from there are an LOA (Letter of Approval), which from what we have been told will be about 3-4 months from now, then TA (travel approval) comes approximately 2 months later, and from here our travel and gotcha day is about 2-3 weeks. So we are probably looking at the early part of January to meet our little one. There are many other milestones in the above timeline, but those are the big ones, and I know I have a lot yet to learn.
Our family is in awe of how God has gone before us and worked out details of this adoption. I am a firm believer in God's perfect timing, and though waiting at times is excruciating, God is still Sovereign and I can rest easier because of this. It was so fun to call family and friends yesterday and share our news. It reminds me of a song that is special to my family, "Family of God". Here are the lyrics:
You will notice we say "brother and sister" 'round here,
It's because we're a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear. 

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
The Family of God.

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong! 

 You see one of the reasons this song is so special to my family is because my father in law was an orphan and grew up in a Children's Home in Florida. He never met his birth parents and he was never adopted as a child into a forever family, but he was part of God's family, and because of that he is with the Lord now.

Thank you all for rejoicing in our victory with us and sharing our tears these last several months. I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting, Waiting, and Waiting...

June has been a good month and a tough month at the same time. We were really praying and hoping to receive our referral this month for our little girl, but it didn't happen. I tried calling our adoption agency on Monday to see if they could just check to see where the file was so that we might have an idea of whether we are looking at July or August (hopefully July!!). The lady I need to talk to is out of the office, so I will have to call back on Monday. We did receive our LID and this is a really big step (Log In Date - the date all of our paperwork was logged into the CCCWA - China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption in China). Our LID is 6-21-2012. So thankful that this much is done. We had a big fundraiser last Thursday. It was a Spaghetti Dinner. We are so thankful for our friends Tom & Gina DiGiacomo who did all of the cooking for this event and donated all of the food. We are humbled by their kindness and generosity. Our best estimates are that we served around 181 people. Things are moving, it's just hard not knowing when that file of our little girl will be complete. 
With the extra time of waiting we are using the time to try to raise the funds we will need to complete our adoption. In the last few years it has become a tradition at our church in the summer time to have lunch together after Sunday morning church and not have an evening service. With this arrangement my husband has contacted a few of his pastor friends and has been invited to speak in other churches on Sunday evening. David preaches a message about the spiritual meaning of adoption and our relationship with Christ. We also share how God has called us to adopt and we share short little stories and pictures of some of the families we have met through this journey. The churches will take a love offering and this money will go toward our expenses. Another thing we are doing is a puzzle. For $2 you can purchase a piece of a puzzle (of our little girl). Your name and or scripture reference can be written on the back of a piece/pieces. If you'd like to buy puzzle pieces please click on the donate on the side of my blog. Make sure you let me know what you'd like to be written on the back of your piece/ pieces. we also have silicone wristbands for $5. We have 2 widths available, the traditional approx 1/2" wide and then the wide ones are about 1". The smaller ones are navy blue and are embossed with our message "Bringing (her name) Home". The wider ones are also navy blue with white print and the same "Bringing (her name) Home" message. If you'd like a wristband please click on the donate button and be sure to put what you want in a message to me.
I am really trying to trust in God's timing and to honor God while we are waiting. I feel (and I am sure many of you have felt this way too) like I am pregnant without a due date. Honestly I think I may understand part of the purpose of not having her yet. There are some things God is working out for us and I can already see the perfection in the timing to bring her home. What is so hard right now is knowing that she does not know that she has a family that is so excited to meet her. We have a package all ready to send to her once we are allowed. 
We have been getting the bedroom ready for our girls. All 3 will be sleeping in one room (it is a pretty big room), because the older girls wouldn't have it any other way. The other bedroom will be used as a playroom and thanks to grandma toys are already starting to fill the room. It's nice to have something to work on while we are waiting and since at this moment we have no paperwork to do.
Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for us and for that sweet girl. I will keep you posted as to the status of that very longed for file. Pray that July would be the month!!