Sunday, February 28, 2010

My BFF 2010 edition

My BFF has changed over the years. At first she was the diaper pail, I liked her. Then she was my brand new automatic coffee pot that would have my piping hot cuppa joe ready for me each morning as I stumbled into the kitchen in my newborn sleep deprivation stupor. Then she was my mini van....with the DVD player as we have traveled with these boys from one end of the continental US to the other. But alas, the time has come yet again to move on so without further ado I'd like to introduce you to my new BFF....

Isn't she lovely? She goes EVERYWHERE with me. She sleeps with me, she eats with me, she goes potty with me...she has yet to go IN the potty...which for that I am most grateful...I had contemplated canceling her a few months back to save some $$ but now? Now I find her indispensable to supporting my ever increasing obsession of email checking cuz ya just don't know when this agency or that social worker will be needing something from us. How people adopted before the world wide web came upon us I do not know. How people adopted before the iPh*ne so that they could respond to important calls and emails immediately to keep things moving along I do not know. It's really getting ridiculous I can tell you that. Her time with me is short however cuz as soon as I get my "babies" in my arms she will be taking an indefinite leave of absence, there will be waaayyy more important things to focus on, and for that..I can't wait!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feeling a bit....

Overwhelmed. say the least.

But oh so worth it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Throwing Starfish

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one."

Thank you Father for calling us to make a difference for these two, we love You, we praise You and to You may all the glory be given. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A GIANT leap forward

Days that feel like months I have been sitting around waiting and waiting for some kind of forward motion on our adoption. I had reached the limit of things that I had under my control to complete. I stalked the websites of various agencies and would find and print many of the forms that I would need to complete, applied for passports, wrote nurture and care plans for the boys, we wrote ridiculously long autobiographies and sent them on ahead to our social worker so she would be very well informed on just about everything there ever is to know about us.....would anyone else like to know how many times I pee everyday?....No?...Ok, lemme know if you change your mind...we had our physicals done, gotten tax and income information together...I'm tellin ya, I did everything I could do on my end and then I waited. I waited for about 4 whole days....4 looonnnggg days. Funny how four short days feels like four very long years when it is all you think about every second of the day and everything you dream about every second of the night.

We have had our eye on a couple of suhweeet boys for about a month. One is 5, one is 6. Everyday I would compulsively check on the Yaho* group that they were listed under and see if there was any chatter about them. Was anyone expressing interest? Were they matched that day? Was anyone advocating for these two that have waited way to many years for a family? Nothing. Each day, nothing.So I waited, and I prayed. And through my very impatient flesh I was being constantly reminded that no one could have them if they were ours. No one. God is too big for that.

Well today was the day. Someone at our agency decided that we are far enough along in our paperwork and home study process to be able to lock one file.(Adoption 101: once the child's file is locked, no other family is allowed to ask for him. It doesn't fully mean he's ours but it is the first thing we do to tell Ch*na that we want to be his parents.)(Adoption 102: Once a child's file is "locked" you have 3 months to get your completed dossier to Ch*na. The dossier is a compilation of tons and tons of forms, papers, immigration paper work, you name's in the dossier...including my daily pee ratio...kidding.....kinda.)

So they called. And I squealed. They talked. And I squealed. They talked more and instead of listening I squealed. Whoops!. Now I have no idea what they said. Due to my squealing they sent me an email presumably with everything they were trying to tell me through my squealing. Phew.

So our first....well, technically fifth...son's file is locked in! Our name in their online system now proudly sits right next to his precious little name. We now have 48 hours to turn in a few more forms that will then be translated and sent to the Ch*na Center for Adoption Affa*rs(CCAA)...and yes, in case you were wondering, I had all of those forms ready too...fortyeight hours, shmortyeight hours! Gimme 30 minutes and I'll have em right back to ya!

He is 5 years old and has a repaired heart condition and a smile that will knock you out. We. Are. In. Love. Our agency will be asking the CCAA for our second addition once our dossier reaches Ch*na. So now we pray that they will make a HUGE exception and allow us to pursue a dual adoption.

So at this point I can hear you saying, enough already! Show me his sweet little face! Sorry! Can't do it. We can't post any photo or identifying information until we get our official Pre-Approval from the CCAA. This should take anywhere from 2-4 weeks. (Adoption 103:The pre-approval is Ch*na saying, "We've reviewed your application and your letter saying you want to adopt XXX and we say yes." That is my very dumb-down version of what it actually says but you get the gist.) So I can't post anything online until we get the approval but if you see me out and about I bet I'll have a picture in my purse!!

So now we wait. And here I sit. Sitting in absolute awe of the power and faithfulness of the Lord. He AMAZES me. Remember that yaho* group I told you that I have been checking for over a month? No one was asking about him or saying anything about him. I got home today after getting the call about the lock on his file and when I logged on there was someone requesting his video. The Lord held him for us.

We are his parents and he is our son. I am crying as a type that because somewhere on the other side of the world a little boy is just waking up to start his day having no idea that here I sit thousands of miles away sharing our news with all of you. No idea that I have poured over every inch of his photograph. That I have memorized every move he makes in his video. No idea how much he is loved by a Savior and a family that he has never met. He will be eating breakfast soon with his foster family having no idea that in a few months we will be standing before him ready to be his forever family.

Wow. What an awesome God we serve.

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. John 14:8

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Social Worker Called!!

Yay! We've been assigned a social worker!! Now as long as she deems us fit to have more and does not decide instead to remove the children we do have from our home we should be good! She sounds very nice and we should be meeting with her by the end of next week! She gave us a few things to be working on while we wait....good thing I have compulsively been researching all of this because I already have everything she initially wants us to be working on! Holla! New marriage and birth certificates, proof of medical insurance, copy of 09 tax return, copies of passports. She is also sending us a flash drive that has all of the documents that we will need to be working on for our dossier. She said that most families take the flash drive to a printing place because there are SO many forms. I'll be sure to bring the camera with me when we do that next week. Should be the start of some massive writers cramp...and for that...I can't wait!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The boringist adoption blog EVER

Are you bored with my blog? I am! I'm ready to see our name attached to their files! I'm ready to show you their precious little faces! To post some serious video cuteness! To know that I know that I know that they are ours. We have our eyes on a couple of older boys that have been on the shared list for a looonnnggg time. We need to be a bit farther into our home study process before we can officially ask for them...that's the bad news. The good news? Well, the good news is that if they are supposed to be ours that the God of the Universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth is waaayyyy bigger than any of this and if those two are ours then they will be ours. He is too big to let them pass us by, He is too big to let us have them if they are in fact not ours. Wow. What peace. So very thankful that the Lord is in charge of this and not me....I would SO screw it up. Of that I am certain. Do I want them to more efficiently return my phone calls or to have my emails answered...uhhh yeah. Am I freaking out....uhhh, no. There are a lot of changes in the system going on right now and new lists of available kiddos coming out the last few days so I know that they are busy. I know that families are scouring the new lists and finding their children. So happy for them. Busy. I get that. Peace? Yes. Understanding? Yes. Getting slightly frustrated? Yes....darn that flesh of mine. So for now I will go bake some red velvet cupcakes for a much delayed Valentine party at the twins school....and I will compulsively hit refresh on my email every 2.7 seconds. I knew that multi-tasking ability would come in handy at some point.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Since you asked.....

Since I have received many, many, MANY questions regarding why we didn't turn our application in the day after we officially decided to adopt(I mean come on! What's the hold up?!) I thought I'd share with you. Okay, I'm kidding, no one just sounded like a good beginning to this post. :) We made the final decision on Wednesday, February 10th and didn't turn our application into our agency and our contracted home study agency until Friday, February 12th. I missed a whole day! So what happened that one day? Well, I'll tell ya.

Blank. My mind went completely and udderly buh-lank. Seriously. No kidding. Like you could hear crickets chirping my mind was so empty. I had spent months researching the process, written to and spoken to countless other adoptive parents about what to do and when, sat and read adoption blogs and forums for countless hours, and then...and then when it was our time? I got nuthin. Notta. Nope. Zero. No clue what to do. No idea who to call. Couldn't even process what to do. Paralyzed if you will. I think I did laundry and watched an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Pathetic I know. So that's my very blank story. The end.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Makin me smile

I love this picture. It makes me smile. I wonder if there's a way to photo shop a couple of 5-10 year old boys into it. Ha! Though it is worth pointing out how grateful I am that the Lord will bring our children to us and not a stork. I don't know much about storks but I just wonder how good at direction they can be? I mean, would Sam the Stork accidentally drop them off at the McDonald's down the street? Would we then have a happy meal for our first meal together? Would they land in the pool in the backyard? That would be bad, I don't think they can swim. Then their first memory of me would be that crazy white lady jumping into the pool to save me. Not exactly a Hallmark moment. See what I mean! The Lord is a much better deliverer than storks don'tcha think?

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your sons from the east and gather you from the west." Isaiah 43:5

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love Without Boundaries

A little snippet from Love Without Boundaries. I have no words.

The Issue

For unknown reasons, Asia has the highest incidence of babies being born with cleft lip in the world. Due to cultural beliefs in China that children born with cleft bring shame to a family, thousands of children each year with cleft are abandoned and end up as orphans. Sadly, many cleft babies in orphanages pass away due to an inability to feed, mainly caused by ineffective bottle propping and busy orphanage caregivers being unable to hand feed failure to thrive infants. We have personally seen hundreds of cleft babies struggle in an orphanage setting, often with fatal results. In 2008, we realized that by creating specialized Cleft Healing Homes for these fragile children, we could save lives every day. Many of the babies who enter our homes are in critical condition, often weighing just 8-9 pounds at 8 months of age. We believe so fully that no child should pass away simply from being born with cleft lip. Every orphan deserves a second chance at life and a family to love them.

The Plan

LWB was the 1st foundation in Ch*na to set up a healing center specifically designed for orphans with cleft. Our two current homes, staffed with specially trained nannies, have saved many babies’ lives. LWB provides cleft lip surgery to the children in our care as soon as they reach the required weight, and then we advocate for each child to find a permanent home through adoption. Our dream is to open a Cleft Healing Home in every province in Ch*na so that no orphan with cleft would have to struggle to survive.

You can read more about LWB by clicking on the picture on my sidebar.

Following Him.....

We are PREGNANT!!! Yep, we are. Can you believe it?! I am sitting here in shock eating waaay too many Coco Puffs.

I thought we were done at 4. 4's a good number! Four and no more had become sort of my motto. And then, well.....

And then He laughed.

Funny how I continually think I know what is best for me.

I'm. So. Lame.

I can so clearly recall the many conversations John and I had when we had just two boys about how perfect it was....

And then He laughed....again.

Then(in all of our, ahem, grand wisdom) when we decided to have just two more 12 months apart and ended up with the twins we thought, ok now it is really perfect! And then...well....

And then He belly laughed.
(I think if the Lord was a Facebooker his status would have read, "ROFL")

Uhhh, lame are we. Two sets of two has been incredible. But little did we know He wasn't done with us yet (even though my bre*asts were screaming,"Please Woman! No More!" and were contemplating a lactating strike).

We are newly pregnant so we have quite a ways to go.

I did have an ultrasound the other day though and found out we are expecting another BOY! Here he is:!!!!!!

But wait! There's more! There's TWO!!!!!! (Because if ya'll know anything about us we do things in pairs of two!)

Yep, that's them! Aren't they cute??? I. Am. In. Love.

So yes, WE ARE ADOPTING.....from Ch*ina!!

We are at the starting line of this process and will take our first baby step, the home study very soon! We are taking the special needs route so we will be a part of the Waiting Child Program. This list includes a vast array of kiddos, some healthy older children and other kids from 6months-14years with some minor correctable needs such as cleft lip/cleft palate, heart defects, etc as well as those with more severe needs. We are asking for two boys between the ages of 5-10 with minor correctable/treatable special needs. Each family has their own fit and this is ours.

This process will take a a lot of time(about 10 months from start to when we finally get that first hug), a lot of money(PB&J anyone?) and most importantly a lot of prayer. Ch*ina doesn't typically allow couples to adopt more than one child at a time however our agency will be seeking special permission from the CC*AA (Ch*ina Center for Adoption Affairs) to allow us to do so. If they say yes we will rejoice in the Lord's plan and go once. If they say no we will rejoice in the Lord's plan and go twice.

Please join us in praying that they will make an exception, it will financially be slightly less(though all of our fees will still be double, it would obviously cut some pricey airfare in half) to go once and with our military(read transient) lifestyle and a move approaching it will slightly complicate a second trip. Mind you it won't stop us of course, it will just give us a few more hurdles to clear. So with that, let's open the floor to questions!....ok, who am I kidding. I actually have no floor to open questions to...I am a I make up my own floor....bear with me.

Why adopt? Because Phineas and Ferb is our favorite cartoon. Ferb was adopted so we thought it sounded good.

Or not. Though we do love us some Phineas around here we aim to be followers of Christ instead of following an animated character with bright red hair and a startlingly triangular face. There are 143 million reasons why but I think the better question is why not? There are 143 million orphans in the world. One hundred and forty three MILLION. Let that sink into your noggin for a minute.(or let it hit you upside the head like a mack truck like it did to me...whicheva! :) 143 million little kiddos with no family to call their own. No one to tuck them in. No one to laugh with them. Cry with them. To share the love and saving grace of Christ with them. To wipe their nose. To celebrate with them. To fully provide for them. No one. So we are choosing to be Some one. It is no wonder that innumerable times in the Word the Lord instructs us to care for the orphan. (More on this coming soon in future post!) So why adopt? Well why not?!

Why China? Glad you asked! When Ch*na instituted their one child policy in 1979 it had some massive, heart wrenching, horrific, unforeseen consequences(much more on this in future entries) and having a disproportionately large number of orphans compared to the rest of the world is one of them. I am fully aware that there are many, many orphans and children in fost*er care in the US but I am also aware that most if not all of those kiddos will have a few hot meals everyday and will have access to education and necessary medical treatment. Not so much for the children trapped in these orphanages and last I checked God is the God of the Universe, not the God of the US, nor the God of North America. He cares just as much for them. So why Ch*ina? Because that is where the Lord is sending us and that is where our boys are!

Are we crazy? Probably. Next question!

What do the boys think? Well, if you can't hear their screams of excitement from where you are then listen a little closer because they are shouting it from the rooftops! As I type this Justin is standing next to me buck-neked out of the shower telling me that, "They are the coolest! They can eat with chopsticks and we can teach them stuff like Spanish!" I think we will start with English but the boy is on the right track! As for the chopsticks, I am completely inept. Thankfully, last I checked, proper chopstick rendering was not part of the home study process. Whew. They are incredibly excited and we cannot wait to walk this journey with them!

When did you decide to adopt? Yesterday. We were bored. The laundry was done and we had nothing else to do. Uhhh, yeah...notsomuch. (Though the laundry is actually done.....holla!) This has been a process that has brought us to our knees seeking the will of God. His will/His opinion/His direction is the only one that matters and filtering HIS voice out of the voices of our me, me, me consumer driven selves & society takes a whole lotta prayer and a whole lotta getting my butt into the Word. We seek to please Him and Him alone and there are only so many times you can sing, pray or say, "Here I am Lord, send me." before He takes you up on your offer.

So that, in a nutshell, is where we are at! We welcome you to join us in our journey, crave you supportive comments and invite your questions! More soon! I'm off to the store to gather the necessary supplies for peanut butter pregnancy craving of choice. I am allowed to gain a few pound for this "pregnancy" right? Right. I thought so. Thank you for validating my addiction.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphan and the widow in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27