Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Year

One year ago today David picked me up from work and we were headed to a banquet, but before we got there he asked me, "are you ready to make a phone call?" Confused a bit I asked, "what phone call?" His response was, "to see if we qualify to adopt." My heart just about stopped. You see I had been looking at one particular picture all summer. The picture was on the dashboard in my car, and I usually ended up crying every day on my way to work looking at a precious little girl that needed a family. David never saw this and didn't know what was going on in my heart... yet. On September 21st after reading a blog that in our home we refer to as "The Banana Blog" I began to sob thinking about the little girl without a family. David asked me what was wrong and I handed him the computer and let him read the blog. The average person reading this blog would have enjoyed it but the emotions that it evoked in us that evening was God whispering something I wanted to hear for several months. It was God confirming to us that we needed to take steps toward adopting this little girl. So tomorrow will be one year ago we made our first phone calls about adoptiyng our daughter from Chin@. We had no idea who to call, so we called Show Hope and most of the staff was out of the office attending a conference,  but there was one person in the office and she took our call. Cathy was that one person, and I know God designed that because in the months since that phone call she has become a very dear friend. That day Cathy told us that she couldn't help us with adoption information, but she was so encouraging and gave us the phone number of CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International). We hung up the phone and called CCAI and spoke with Judy Winger, who was also very helpful and provided us with information we needed to begin our journey. I don't think that one can fully understand what is involved in adopting a child and especially adopting internationally until they have or are experiencing it. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I also knew it would be worth it. If you are just beginning this journey, remember it is all worth it.
 This past year has brought many new friendships into our lives. People who share the same heart for orphans and adoption as we do. It has also strengthened some friendships as they have been so supportive, even helping our family with fundraising through a yard sale, buying t shirts, and hosting a spaghetti dinner. I am so thankful for those friends because there have also been times when I have felt very lonely, feeling like no one really "gets it" and at times even feeling judged (nothing specific, just that feeling you get sometimes). Through God's Word and verses like James 1:27, we are confident that we were/ are doing exactly what god has called our family to do.
There were times over the last year when I wondered if we would ever receive our referral to adopt Jaelynn and it took much longer to receive than we imagined, but God is good and his timing is perfect.  The tunnel was very dark with no light in sight for so long but I am so happy today to say the we see that light at the end of this tunnel. In just about 2 months David and I should be boarding a plane to Chin@. Just like when I was pregnant with my three children bio children, I dream about our new daughter. I dream about the first time I see her... I just love those dreams.
I was putting a timeline together of the adoption highlights of this past year and thought I'd share it (see below). On Tuesday paperwork should be dropped off at the US embassy in Chin@ that all has to do with Jaelynn's visa and immigration. This is the last step before travel approval is issued. It normally takes 2 weeks to get this approval, but because of some holidays in Chin@, it may take three weeks. After the approval (called Article V) is issued it can be anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks for travel approval. Then after travel approval is issued it could be anywhere between 1-4 weeks for travel.
Please pray for our family over the next several weeks as David and I prepare to travel. We will be having a yard sale on Saturday, September 29th in Pinellas County to help with the remainder of the adoption expenses. If you would like to donate to help bring Jaelynn home you can click on the paypal link on the side of this page.
9/22/11- after many prayers and tears David and I made the decision to pursue the adoption of Jaelynn 
9/23/11 -called CCAI to see if Jaelynn was "paper ready" for adoption. She was not, but we were told that she should be by February 2012
9/30/12  - Approved by CCAI to  begin the adoption process
12/2/11 & 12/3/11 - yard sale fundraiser (thank you Walt & Bobbie for letting us use your home and for all of your help!)
1/20/12 and 1/21/12 - home study visits
4/30/12 - 1 797 notice of approval
5/21/2012  - received letter from Show Hope in the mail informing us that we had were being awarded a Show Hope grant. This letter was received the on the 4 th anniversary of Maria Sue Chapman going to be with Jesus.
6/08/12 - DTC (dossier to China)
6/21/12 - LID (dossier was logged into the system I China)
6/28/12 - Spaghetti dinner fundraiser (thank you Tom & Gina for all of your hard work and generosity)
7/9/12 - finally after 9  1/2 months received Jaelynn's file
7/9/12 - LOI (sent our letter of intent to adopt Jaelynn)
7/20/12 - received PA (pre approval) 
8/27/12- LOA
8/31/12 - I 800 arrived at lockbox 
9/14/12 - I 800 approved
9/17/12- Received approval in the mail
9/20/12 - NVC received I 800
9/21/12 - NVC letter received via email (PDF format) 
9/25/12(?) - Paperwork dropped off at US Embassy
        - Article V picked up
        - Travel Approval Issued
        - Gotcha Day!!
Thank you all for following our journey. Just think the real journey is just beginning!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our God Is Greater

This was an exciting week in our home as we received our LOA (letter of acceptance) to bring our little girl home.  The next few steps in the adoption process have much shorter timelines than the pervious ones and this means we may be leaving the end of November to fly to the other side of the world and meet our very loved daughter. This is such an emotional time and Jaelynn is in our thoughts constantly. Right now we are on our way to go shopping and we are listening to a Children of the World CD. Their CD's always made me cry before, now I am just a total mess listening to children from around the world singing songs about our Lord.  I love hearing "I Am A Promise" , with their precious accents. 
This is also an emotional time when I think about our family, friends, and even complete strangers who have given sacrificially to bring Jaelynn home. You all are a living example of the Gospel by helping bring this orphan into a family. I have been humbled by the kindness of so many. I quote Mary Beth Chapman by saying that, "not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to do something". Although "thank you" seems inadequate, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you would like more information on what you can do to help us in the final steps of our adoption, please see the previous blog entry dated August 27, and titled "Bringing Jaelynn Home".
Please keep our family in your prayers as we prepare to travel and the as we all adjust to our new life. Pray for Katie, Matt, and Abby while David and I are away. Pray for Jaelynn. She is very loved in the orphanage she is in and will miss her friends and caretakers. Although having a family is better than growing up in an orphanage, she will likely grieve the loss of her past in the months ahead. Pray for us as we do all we can to help her transition to life with a family. We are looking forward to reuniting Jaelynn with some of her friends one day from MBHOH, especially one of her best buddies Isaac. Isaace was adopted last December. I am thankful for Isaac and for his family, they have been such a blessing and encouragement to us. Pray for us as we have some other decisions to make in the future. Pray that the Lord would go before us and work out details. He is much better at working out these details than I am.

Keep your ears open for the squeals of excitement when we receive our travel approval.

"Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other"