Monday, December 15, 2014

It's December!

So, we are into December and we have lots going on!  We have received our visas, Provisional Approval, NVC Approval and submitted our DS-260.  We are not waiting on Article 5 Pick Up and then Travel Approval.  We were also approved for ten year visas which will make it easier to adopt again. We also had our trivia night, which was SO MUCH FUN!  If anyone in adoption world ever needs help doing a trivia night, I would be happy to help because it was so much fun!  So, now we are just enjoying the season, scouring the internet for China packing advice and waiting for the next piece of paper. 

We did decide to do an orphanage call through Ladybugs N Love, which is the person we had used to send him two packages.  I will include the questions I asked, because I also scoured the internet to find out what questions people ask.  You got ten questions with the phone call. We asked:

1. What are his favorite foods?
2. What does he like to play?
3. Does he have any favorite songs?
4. Does he walk independently with his walker?
5. What does he dislike?
6. How does he feel about being adopted and moving?
7. What is his usual daily schedule?
8. What makes him happy?
9. What makes him sad?
10. What is he afraid of?

We also asked if the orphanage had any specific needs we could bring as donations when we come.

We were so incredibly excited to find out his latest sizes and especially to find out lots more about his personality.  Unfortunately a few days later, we received an email that his orphanage only answers questions from a particular group in China so they would not complete an orphanage call.  Remember my last blog post about things not working out the way we had planned them?  Our agency contact has contacted China to see if we can get any of the information before we travel, but we know that there is a good chance that we will not here back.  It's hard, but there is nothing we can do about it except to continue to pray for him. 

It has been so long that we have been pursuing adoption and it has been 10 months since we first accepted his file.  We have been so ready to bring him into our family and we are so thrilled that the time is getting closer!  Please keep praying for his heart and his protection and for people to be sharing information with him about his upcoming adoption and move. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5

Saturday, November 22, 2014

LOA, Visas and Trivia Night

Well, it finally happened!  On day 80 of our wait, we received LOA!!  We got the call from our agency literally as we were walking out the door to church.  The girls looked at the phone and said, "It's from Oregon.  We don't know anyone from Oregon," to which I yelled, "Yes we do!!" and grabbed the phone.  Our agency had just received our LOA and was sending it out that night!  It was so great to be able to move onto the next step, and to have something to do again to help the process along.  So, we were supposed to have our package on Friday and then we could send off our I-800 application.  The package came on Friday, but I was watching my nephews and didn't open it.  Then our agency called that evening, which I thought was weird.  She asked if I had received my package and if I had opened it.  It turns out she had switched the package with another family who received their LOA on the same day.

Now, our poor adoption coordinator felt terrible.  She has never done this in 11 years of working, so we overnighted it to the other family and received it on Monday instead.  Was it hard to wait the weekend?  Yes.  Is everyone human and makes mistakes?  Of course.  Is God trying to teach me something through this?  Let's find out.

When we moved here, M needed two teeth pulled in order to start her orthodontia work.  We found a dentist and I dreaded the day we would go in and have her teeth pulled.  I sat in the waiting room for well over an hour and waited until they would come tell me she was fine and at least this would all be behind us.  They came and got me and told me that they had tried and tried and they couldn't get the teeth out.  What?!  So, we had to research and find an oral surgeon and then she had a successful oral surgery and her teeth were pulled.  You want to know how God helps you to stop worrying and trust Him?  He gives you things to worry about so that you can replace it with trust for Him.

Then this summer A had a minor fall which led to her in a neck brace for a month.  When we went back, they took x-rays and released her no problem.  Then they called us in the car as we were driving away to tell us to put the brace back on.  The specialist did not like what he saw in the x-rays and could we come back the next day for more x-rays and schedule an MRI.  What?!  Fast forward, and she needed surgery.  Spinal fusion surgery.  They set the day in August and I struggled.  My baby having major surgery on her neck, by her skull, and drilling into her spine.  I prayed, God gave me a peace even though I still hated it, but we were ready to have it behind us.  The day came, I let her go-her crying for me and asking to go home.  We sat in the waiting room with family for 3 hours and then the surgeon came out. WHAT?!  He's supposed to be in surgery!  They had been prepping her this whole time and her nerve impulses were not responding the way they should.  They tried everything they could and they were afraid if they continued it could cause permanent damage, so they were aborting the surgery and they would do more tests and reschedule it.  Huh??  So, we waited for her to wake up and we took her home.  Long story short, she had her surgery completely successfully a month ago (the nerve problem didn't show up at all this time-I fully feel due to the huge number of people praying for healing for her) and she is doing awesome and now that part is behind us.

How does God help us to stop worrying and trusting Him?  We have to have those opportunities to do so.  It doesn't count if we say we trust Him, but we don't have challenges to prove it.  The journey of life teaches us this, but wow, so does adoption.  The amount of money going out, the concerns about what he will think of us, concerns about if he is safe and comfortable in an orphanage I can't even find information about on google, planning a trip for five in China for weeks, and just trying to prepare for anything.  He wants us to TRUST HIM.  We don't know what's around the corner.  Even when we think we do, often we don't.  We have to have faith in God's plan and look towards eternity as our goal.  This world will pass and the things that matter to us so much really won't.

We sent off for our visas today and we are waiting to hear back now about our I-800.  It's getting real now and we are so crazy excited to think that we could be just a couple of months away from being a family of five and it is just awesome.  When we let go and let God, He can do amazing things with our surrendered lives.

I've used it before, but this is the verse God has given to me over and over again:

Have I not commanded you.  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trivia Night Fundraiser!!

Well, bad news is that we do not have LOA yet, although on our Facebook group people right around us on LID dates have received their LOA's this week, so prayerfully very soon!  So far, the waiting has definitely been the hardest part of this thing.  To have seen his sweet face and then just wait to have him join our family.  I'm sure in hindsight it won't seem that long and it will seem like we've always had him, but for now each day is hard.

SO, onto the good news!  We are having what will probably be our last big fundraiser to help us pay for our trip to China!  We are going to have a Christmas themed Trivia Night!!  If you are from St. Louis, you probably already know about trivia nights and how awesome they are, but since we live in Fort Worth now, this might need some explanation.

So, here's how it works.  You pay for your seat and then sit in tables of 8.  There are 10 rounds of categories, in this case all relating to Christmas, and each table competes with the other tables for a prize at the end.  It is very fast paced, lots of multimedia and so much fun!  We are including kids in this trivia night too, so all of the categories will be things that the kids can participate in .  We are also doing a silent auction in conjunction and we already have some fun items for the auction!!  We think this is a totally fun way to raise money for our trip.  With four people going to China, five coming back, all of the fees for the paperwork over there and the $5,000 donation that we make to the orphanage, every little big helps right now.

So, to sign up for the trivia night, our wonderful friend, Kristin, make us a beautiful flyer which is on our website along with a link to sign up:  forever   or you can sign up at this link:

We also found an article talking about trivia nights in St. Louis to give you an idea of what one is like:

Prayerfully we will be posting very soon about getting our LOA.  We are at 77 days waiting since LID right now, but who's counting?  :)

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:30-31

Friday, October 24, 2014


We have had such a busy month-a birthday, a surgery, a pumpkin patch, some cooler weather (so all three kids got new coats for China and of course for here in chilly Texas!) and we are one month closer to getting our LOA!  I always thought that the hardest part of the waiting process would be once we had seen his sweet face and then we wait.  Well, so far, I was right.  I hate the increasing number of days he is in an orphanage of 300 instead of a family of 5.  Everything we do I feel like he's missing out on.  I pray every day that he is safe and well taken care of and someone is preparing his heart for this move and that he hears the voice of God.  Adoption is amazing, but it is certainly like nothing else I've ever been though.  So, we just wait for good news and pray that God will quicken the process and help those lovely people in China finish record numbers of files.  :)

So, I realized that I never did an update for our Give 1 Save 1 week.  It. Was. Amazing.  We loved our video, we had lots of people watch it and prayerfully we inspired a heart for adoption in people who saw it.  We raised (are you ready for this?  Seriously?) $2,366!!!  That is two round trip plane tickets people!  We also did two giveaways, so you can see the videos announcing the winners on our website:  Chris did an awesome job with all three videos!

So, we're at the two month mark waiting for LOA.  Praying for some awesome news soon.  We are SO ready to be waiting for Travel Approval!!  Please join us in praying for our sweet boy and for our pieces of paper in China.  God is so faithful, as we have seen so much in the last month, and we know that He is with our sweet boy.  You can also pray for those kids in China who are aging out of the system.  I am on a Facebook group which advocates for orphans and they often list children who are about to age out (which happens at 14 in China, by the way).  They featured this beautiful little boy named Jonathan who was begging someone to adopt him and take him to the United States.  He was saying that he can help around the house and that he was a good student and that the younger children can wait to be adopted, but he can't.  It was seriously heartbreaking.  So far no one has stepped forward to adopt him and he ages out in February.  You can see his profile on  What an amazing guy.  I can't even imagine dreading your 14th birthday because you age out of the adoption system then.  He could definitely use prayers!

Hopefully I can post soon that we are moving forward!  Until then we keep preparing our hearts and our home for our sweet M.

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love, for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.  Psalm 59:16

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Give 1 Save 1 Finale Giveaway!!

Okay, so we are about to end our week with Give 1 Save 1.  We hope that you have "liked" them on Facebook or subscribed to their blog so that you can see a family every week that you could donate a little bit to help out with their adoption efforts.  Adoption is hard and paying for it is a challenge, so everyone appreciates help.  We also hope that you have checked out our website and blog and will continue to follow us on our journey.  We always appreciate comments, prayers, support and we are so excited to share all of this with our sweet Marcus some day.

BUT, we also promised an end of the week giveaway for a finale to our Give 1 Save 1 journey!  So, here is....

Anyone who has donated this week up until midnight tomorrow night (Sunday, okay, technically Monday by midnight) will be entered in a drawing for a fabulous dinner/movie/game night pack!

What is included:
-A Chic Fila gift card
-A pack of Jelly Bellies
-The card game, UNO
-A copy of the movie, "God's Not Dead"

We will also put people's names in who have purchased T-shirts this week or donated to participate in the Virtual 5K.  So, check out our website tonight and tomorrow and donate, get a new t-shirt or decide to walk or run a 5K since the weather is getting cooler.  We will announce the winner on Monday!  God bless and everyone have a wonderful end to your weekend!!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Give 1 Save 1 Giveaway TODAY!!

Okay, it's time for a Give 1 Save 1 Giveaway!  

We will do two giveaways this week, one today (Wednesday) and one Sunday.  Everyone who has made a donation of any amount by 9:00 pm tonight will be entered to win FIVE in the package LEGO movie mini figures!!  We will draw two names and each winner will be shipped FIVE random mini figures.  So, keep sharing our video and donate today!!  Thank you so much to everyone who has blessed us so far with prayers, encouragement, and donations.  We cannot wait to tell Marcus about this whole experience some day!  

Here's the link to the Give 1 Save 1 page:

Here's the link to our other website with more information and the ways to donate.

 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:14-19

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Give 1 Save 1 Day 1

Welcome to our blog for Give 1 Save 1!!  We are so excited about this week to feature our adoption and prayerfully raise some money for our trip to China.  So, please check out our video to learn a little bit about us and donate to us via Adopt Together, Pay Pal, our virtual 5K or by purchasing shirts from Adoption Bug.  Everything you need to donate is found on:

If you don't want to read through all of our blog posts right now, I will tell you a little about us.  We are a family of four with two biological daughters.  We moved from St. Louis, MO to Fort Worth, TX in December.  We began our adoption journey by pursuing an adoption of a child or siblings from Ethiopia.  After years on the waiting list, we then found our son in China.  He is four years old and he has spinal issues.  We have our PA and LID and we are waiting on LOA and TA and praying for a travel date in January.  We are so excited to get to go and meet him and bring him to Texas.  All four of us are going to fly over to meet him and spend family time in China.

We will be doing a couple of giveaways and videos through the week, so stay tuned!  We are loving this journey and just so amazed by how we have seen God's hand through this whole process.  Thank you for being a part of our story!!

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17b-19

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Give 1 Save 1, LID and Adoption Bug!

So, summer is over, we are on a more regular schedule of homeschooling again and we have had some fun news in the last couple of weeks.  We are still praying that we can go get our little boy before the end of the year or soon thereafter, but we are getting closer! 

So, first in adoption news, we received our LID (Logged In Date) on August 22!  This means that our dossier has been logged into the system and China will translate it, review it and send us our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) and then we wait for TA (Travel Approval).  Right now each of these steps are taking around 60-70 days, so we are praying that ours moves as quickly as possible through the steps.  We have decided to send our little guy another care package.  Although we are trying to save money, it has been six months since we sent him a birthday package and that is just so long for a four year old, so we want to send him an update to let him know that we are thinking about him and praying for him every day.  Whenever we do something fun as a family, I feel like someone is missing and we just can't wait until he is here to participate in everything with us!  We don't want him in an orphanage with 299 other sweet kids any more.  We want him to be part of a family of 5. 

For our first fundraising news, we submitted a video and application and we found out that we are going to be the featured family on Give 1 Save 1 for the week of September 15!!  Give 1 Save 1 is a wonderful organization that features adoptive families each week and encourages everyone who sees the video to Give $1 and Save 1 orphan.  We have all watched our video at least 20 times and we are SO excited to get to share it next Sunday!!!  We are updating our other website,, and we are so grateful to anyone who will view and share our video, and donate next week! 

In March, we promoted our Adoption Bug fundraiser with some awesome T-shirts that promote adoption and Show Hope.  Unfortunately, Adoption Bug, which is a family run business, will be shutting down in October because the family simply doesn't have time to run it.  So, if you would like to purchase a T-shirt and support them and our adoption, they will be accepting orders until October 1, 2014.  To order from our page, you go to:

This adoption journey has been such a long four years between pursuing an Ethiopian adoption, moving to a new state, finding our son in China and now spending the last six months pursuing him, we are so excited to meet him and bring him into our family.  We already feel like he is part of us and we haven't even gotten to meet him.  We are so grateful for the support, prayers and financial support we have received through this process.  We are so excited that we are entering into phases like Travel Approval!!  Stay tuned for our video premiere and updates on our Give 1 Save 1 week!!

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songsKnow that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.   Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Time To Get Back To Blogging!

We have had a super busy summer!  Lots of fun time together, trip back to St. Louis, camps and VBS's, also some medical issues with our little girl which will result in a surgery soon, but altogether a fun summer which has been keeping us very busy. 

On the adoption front, we got our dossier sent off and it should be completed and shipped off to China any day now.  We received our fingerprint approval, I800A form, on July 10!  Now we just wait on China to (prayerfully speedily) approve our documents and get us LID and Travel Approval!  We are so hopeful to travel for him before the end of the year, but trusting in God's timing.  It's so hard because every fun thing we do I feel like he is just missing out and I wish he could be here with us to start his life as part of our family.  I wonder how he is doing and what he is eating and what he is learning and what he knows and just everything!  We already love him so much and we want to share that with him. 

We have been doing some fundraising to pay for our travel with our agency, buy our plane tickets when the time comes and pay for five of us in China.  We were blessed to receive a matching grant that will cover most of what we will owe to our agency and we have a short term fundraiser and three longer term ones. 

For the shorter term fundraiser, we have a Noonday show this Sunday.  For any of you who do not know about Noonday, it is an amazing organization that allows women around the world to make jewelry and support their family and often help them to be able to keep their children and then people purchase the jewelry here in the states and raise money for adoptive families.  Our Noonday show will be open online for a week starting this Sunday, so if you would like the information, please just leave a comment and I will be happy to get the information to you. 

The longer term fundraisers we are doing are change jars (we have already had friends that have been so generous with these including two sweet boys at our church who took money that they had been saving up and donated it for our sweet boy!) which we are happy to provide to anyone, our T-shirts at and our virtual 5K.  You can see information on all of these fundraisers at

We are getting ready to jump back into a more regular school schedule after the surgery and starting a new co-op with some new friends.  Please continue to pray for our sweet boy and God preparing his heart for this big change coming up for him.  We are so excited for so many firsts we will get to experience with him once he is here. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Who Wants To Run A 5K?

Since I last posted, we have been moving along as quickly as possible with all of our paperwork.  We received our completed home study and had all of the immigration documents ready to go, so we sent off our NBC application last week.  Now we wait for approval and fingerprint appointments and then, after a few more pieces of paperwork, travel approval!  It's so hard knowing that someone else is putting him to bed each night, and that he is missing out on being a part of a family, but I have also had many friends remind me that things will happen in God's time.

So the other two VERY exciting things that have happened is that we received our first grant (YIPPEE!) which is a matching grant, and our wonderful friend offered to put together a virtual 5K for us!  The purpose of a matching grant is that we are awarded a grant of $2000 if we can raise $2000.  This would then give us $4000 for our travel payment to our agency which includes our travel reservations, hotels, in country travel, etc.  This is all very very exciting, but now we need to fundraise.  This is where YOU get to play a part!

I am putting the link below where my eloquent friend describes a virtual 5K better than I could, but basically you can somehow move your body 5K (otherwise known as 3.1 miles) and you pay an entrance fee the same way you would for any other race and you get a beautiful medal and you get to be a part of our adoption journey and help one less child live as an orphan.  We would love for as many people as possible to participate in this since it is a great way to exercise and to be part of a unique opportunity to help us fundraise and have your donation doubled by our matching grant.  You don't even have to do the 5K all at one time.  It can be broken up over days or however long you need.  We are so grateful to our amazing friend for putting this all together for us and for supporting us in this way.  Here's the link:

We have also had friends ask us how they can specifically pray for our adoption.  What has really been on our hearts is to pray that our sweet little boy's heart is prepared.  No matter how you look at it, it's a scary situation to be handed over to people you do not know, who do not speak your language, who cook differently and act differently and dress differently, and who you have never met before.  We know that living in a family will be better than living in an orphanage, but he cannot know that.  We trust God to be with him and help him, but we pray that he will specifically be prepared for this and to have a sense of joy and peace about it.  We pray that the people around him can be preparing him for this and to help give him an idea of what will happen.  We would be so appreciative if you joined us in praying for him.

Well, that's a lot of information for one blog post, so please check out the 5K website and I will keep everyone posted about any progress!

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."  Acts 20:24

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Birthday Pictures!!

We are so excited to share that we got to see five pictures yesterday of our sweet little boy at his birthday party!!  I can't show his face, so I've cropped the picture here so you can at least see his beautiful smile.  When I can post pictures of him, though, it will be apparent how gorgeous he is.  I absolutely cannot wait to have him in our house and get to wake up and see him every day.  We have been doing some preparations for him-a book here, a shirt there, the girls picked out a doggie pillow and blanket for him.  It's hard not to go crazy, but I know that we still have time and that we need our money right now for things like fees and the girls passports and saving for our trip.  Still, it is so exciting to look ahead and know that prayerfully he will be with us by next summer, by his next birthday and by the next winter.

Adoption is such a mix of excitement, waiting, sadness, joy and everything all over again.  I have read so many people's adoption blogs and everyone's experience is so different.  I'm learning that is why our relationship with God is so important.  God will provide what we need, but what each of us need is different and only God knows what is needed now and what is coming ahead. If you are even considering adoption, though, I encourage you to pray about it and see how God can use your life to play a part in helping the orphans around the world.  It is a very worthwhile experience!!!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, 
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:30-31

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

To our sweet boy,

Today is your fourth birthday.  We sent you a cake, so prayerfully you will get it around your birthday.  We do not know if you ever celebrated your birthday or understand the fun of being a new age.  We do not even know if someone left a note so you know your true birthday, or if someone chose this day because it was a good guess.  We know that God knows when you were created and when you were born and He celebrated you. 

Although I am happy that you are reaching a new milestone, it makes me so sad that we have missed four years of your life now.  I wish it wasn't that way, but all we can do now is look to the future and plan to always make your birthdays special, as well as each day we are blessed enough to get to spend with you.  

I also think about another mom somewhere in China.  Does she get sad every year around now missing you and wondering how you are doing?  Does she wonder if you are still in China, or if you have been adopted somewhere?  Does she think about the situation around your birth and the six months that she got to spend with you?  I wish that I could at least put some of her worries to rest and let her know that you are going to be part of a family.  Maybe someday we will be able to make this happen with God's help.

Someday we will get to tell you how on your fourth birthday we were already making plans for you and praying for you and we already loved you as a part of our family.  Someday we can tell you that when you turned four, we were finishing up our dossier paperwork and praying that things would go speedily and that we could go and get you in record time.  We can tell you that we thought about you when you turned four in China at midnight, and again around 7 am when we thought you might be waking up, and again when you would be eating lunch and then we celebrated you on the date of your birth in America.  Someday we can talk to you and help you to celebrate the joy of your birthday, as well as help you deal with any sadness of this day that makes you think about all of the questions you have about the parents that you knew the day that you were born.  We know you won't get to celebrate with the family who has been with you since birth like your sisters do and I'm so sorry that you have already had loss and sadness in your little life. 

Know though, sweet boy, that we are celebrating you!  We are thankful to God for you!  We are so grateful that you were brought into this earth four years ago today and we pray that God gives you a peace and a joy today in knowing that you are loved and wanted.  Happy Birthday!!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.   I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.   Psalm 139:13-14

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Fundraiser

Happy Halfway Through March!  We are still promoting our T-shirt fundraiser to celebrate Jenn's 40th birthday month.  We have had friends, family and friends of friends and family help us out in this way, and we have already made a little over $100!  Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased a shirt, and if you haven't, please feel free to take a look at what is being sold on the site.  You do have to order through our link:

So, in adoption news, we received our PA, so we were approved to send our little one care packages!  We probably would have waited to send him a package, but his fourth birthday is next week, so we wanted to send him a package and add-on a cake for him.  From what we hear, most children in orphanages do not celebrate their birthday, so we wanted to be able to show him a picture of the earliest birthday that we could and when you send a cake the orphanage is required to send back pictures so that they show that they are using the money that was sent for the cake that you ordered.  We didn't know if we would be able to get his package sent to him this month, but the lady in China who sends the packages got back to us right away and sent out the package a day later!  Mind you, this also included her translating our 500 word letter! 

So, I looked at a variety of blogs to see what people send their child in a package.  We used a package service that our agency recommended which saves us on shipping and she purchases the items in China.  So, we were able to send a letter to him and we also included a letter for the people who take care of him, we added on a six photo book of each of us, him and our family, we added on a reading book for him because he might as well get used to looking at books if he's going to be in this family, we included a camera and film for the workers, and then we added on the birthday cake for him. 

I can't even imagine what he will be thinking when he gets these items.  I've been praying so much that God would help him to be excited and not nervous, and that people around him will explain things to him and help him to understand the huge change that will be coming up in his life.  I don't know if he has seen other children get packages or what the caretakers tell the children about adoption.  I love finding ways to help children understand things, and it is very difficult that I can't even help with the process to explain to our own son what is going to happen to him and to help prepare him for the biggest change of his little life.  It's teaching me such reliance on God, because I have to trust that God is preparing him and bringing people to him that will help him until we can get there and love on him and help his transition.

We are almost done with our dossier paperwork and we had our last homestudy visit, so prayerfully we are planning to get everything mailed in during April.  We also have some fun fundraisers coming up in the coming months including an amazing virtual 5K that our great friend is setting up for us.  We are also beginning to apply for grants, although most of them need a completed home study for us to be eligible.  I can't even express how excited we all are!  We have started studying Mandarin and I even bought him his first hawaiian shirt last week and his very first homeschool book today! 

Thank you so much to everyone for prayers and support!!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 (Although I would encourage everyone to read all of Hebrews 11)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Celebrate Jenn's 40th Birthday Month!!

Happy March everyone!!  This month Jennifer turns 40 and in honor of her birthday, we are doing a month long fundraiser.  We found this great website that allows adoptive parents to choose 6 T-shirt designs and receive a portion of the sales for each T-shirt.  We are so grateful for such a wonderful fundraiser and we are excited to be a part of it!

So, if you are ready to shop for a new T-shirt for summer, you need to go through our family's link for adoption bug:

We are so very grateful for any prayers and support!  We will keep this fundraiser going through the whole month of March.  

In adoption news, we were received our official Pre-Approval (PA) this week, so we can send our little guy packages now.  We are also on our way with our home study and we will prayerfully have that completed soon as well as the remaining dossier documents.  This is such a different process than our Ethiopia process which was so indefinite and obscure for who and when and how long.  I feel like that experience prepared us for the steps that we would go through this time, just at a much faster pace.

I will keep everyone posted about our progress and news.  Thank you so much to everyone!!

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."  Proverbs 24:3-4

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Huge News!!

So, I've noticed that whenever I don't write anything for a couple of months, then I am making a big announcement.  Short of moving to another state, this is pretty big and exciting news!  

I will try to make this long story as short as possible.  When we moved to Texas, we were already discussing the possibility of adding on a second and simultaneous adoption.  We knew that Ethiopia was still going to be a wait for a referral more than likely and we were excited about the possibility of adopting a waiting child from another county in the mean time.  So, we knew that we weren't going to do anything definite until we were a little settled in Texas, so we prayed and did a webinar with our agency about a new partnership in China.  We definitely knew that we were interested, so we prayed some more and settled into our new home.  

One of the things that we have always felt very passionate about is that we wanted to be a family who could adopt a child who needed a home.  We did not want to be a family who needed a child to fit into our criteria or meet our need.  This may seem like two ways of saying the same thing, but basically we did not want to create a perfect on paper child and wait for that child to appear.  We wanted to be very open to children who need homes.  For anyone who has gone through adoption you know that this is difficult since you have to fill out tons of forms stating what age, gender, and array of disabilities that you are open to.  

So, fast forward to January and we were ready to begin our home study update process and decide what our home study was focusing on.  We talked to our agency about joining the China program and she asked us if we were interested in pursuing any of the waiting children listed on their website.  More praying, discussing and we decided to pursue a beautiful little boy on the waiting children list!  So, we started madly working on the paperwork since we have now been matched with him and we are working towards getting to go and get a child whose picture we have already seen and whose beautiful little face and heart we are already praying for!!  I want to be careful about how much I share on here about him to keep his details private, but he will be four years old next month and he has had spinal surgery and he walks with braces and a walker.  He is the cutest thing ever and the update received in December calls him a "ball of fire".  

Part two of our news is that we also started getting some emails from our agency about the changes happening in Ethiopia as they work very hard right now to make sure that all adoptions are done ethically.  Although this is always good to make sure that children are protected, while the changes are occurring it usually means lots of slow downs and extra red tape for the families in the process.  Our agency was offering a short term help to parents in the Ethiopia program who wanted to transfer programs to allow our agency fees to transfer.  Although it seemed like such a disappointing way to end our almost three year process of trying to adopt from Ethiopia, we terminated our contract with Ethiopia and switched completely to only pursuing a China adoption.  We of course had very mixed feelings about this after planning and praying for a child from Africa for years, but God asks us to trust.  He does not assure us that we will understand the reasons.  

So, for now please pray for our process, our preparations and most importantly our sweet little boy's heart to be prepared for this big change that he probably does not even know about.  We are looking into some fundraising that we will post about here soon, because we are flying through the process since we are trying to get him as quickly as we can and that does mean that all of the funds are coming due more quickly as we already have a referral.  We have such faith and peace, though about God's provisions for our family to grow in this way.  

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and following our journey.  We will keep you posted on our progress.  Oh, and I guess we will also change some things about our blog since we are no longer "blogging our journey to adopt a child from Ethiopia from our home in St. Louis".  

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.   Jeremiah 29:11-13

Friday, January 24, 2014

We Don't Know The Ending

I was first introduced to this concept when I studied Esther.  We think of her story as heroic and see God's hand throughout as it all plays out.  However, I had never though about the night that she goes back to her room and has asked for a second dinner with her husband, the king.  What must she be thinking?  What was she questioning God about?  Did she feel hopeless?  We know that while she is back in her room that amazing things are happening and God is most definitely intervening on behalf of her and the other Jewish people of the time.

Bottom line, we love the story because we know the ending.

It got me thinking about other people in the Bible.  What must David been thinking and feeling when he was facing Goliath, when he was crowned king and when his son died?  What about Moses when his world fell apart and he found out he was actually a Hebrew instead of an Egyptian?  What about Naomi when her husband and sons died and she wondered how she would live?  Think about the disciples as they watched or heard about Jesus being crucified-not really believing that it would really happen, that some miracle would be performed and Jesus would be spared, but then he really died and then one day goes by, then two.  In our minds, we skip ahead to the ending because it is so awesome and so amazing that we forget that there were real people who were tormented and thought God had completely abandoned them and that maybe everything they had believed was wrong.

Here's the thing.  We don't know the ending to our life.  We don't know if we are in the part of our life that is right before something amazing happens.  We don't know if our life is going to end up to be something that people will want to read about some day. We don't know how God will work through us to reach others.  We just don't know the ending.  When you know the ending, you can see how everything else has led up to this ending.  It puts all of the pieces together.  We may never get to know our ending or how the pieces played out, but that is where we have to learn from the lives of others to TRUST GOD and put our beginnings, middles and endings in His capable hands.  Why?  Because He already knows the ending.  He knows the beginnings and middles too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to himand he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  Proverbs 3:5-7