Saturday, November 1, 2014

Emily Update


When I last wrote about our Emily we were in the thick of waiting.  Day 90 I believe.  We were getting passed daily by those with log in dates almost a month after us.  I was truly despairing.  I sat in Bible study one night and asked the group to please pray that it would come.  They stopped right then and prayed, and as our leader prayed that I would feel peace during the wait, in my heart I cried out to God, "I'd have no peace - please help me!"  I sat there with tears streaming down my face feeling desperate for God's peace to settle me, to help me focus on my family now and to wait well.  I longed for a verse to hold onto, but I just felt helpless.  That's not a great testimony of faith I realize but it is truly where I was.  Desperate.

That Saturday I had an Usborne book party at a friend's house.  This is my friend Amy who is also a China waiting mom.  At the end of the party she gave me a little canvas she had painted.  On the back she had written 2 Corinthians 12:9.  "My grace is sufficient for you…."  She read it aloud to me…."My power is made perfect in weakness." And weariness she added.  And that friends is the moment the peace I had longed for took over.  I felt the words of the Lord soothe my soul.  How that ministered to me that day.  The whole way home I kept saying over and over…. My grace is sufficient, My grace is sufficient…  He is sufficient for this task.  I am woefully insufficient but He is perfectly sufficient.




A week later we hit day 100 with no change in our status.  I took a deep breath and we made it through that day.  And through the next 5 when FINALLY we got the call.  In the Target deli line.  A hate to be rude and be on the phone while checking out, but that number was from Birmingham and wild horses could not have kept me from answering it!  It was our social worker with the news our dossier was now listed as match reviewed.  Praise the Lord!!  We just had to wait for the hard copy of our LOA (letter of approval) to arrive at our agency.  

The next Wednesday, as Shane and I packed to leave on our first trip away together since Sarah came home, the phone rang and it was Anna.  The LOA was at  Lifeline and would be overnighted to us at our hotel.  Day 111.  

The poor front desk staff at The Grand Hotel.  Shane was in meetings all morning so I slept a little late, ate some breakfast and asked the front desk 10 times if the package had arrived.  I went back to our room and gathered up all the documents I had brought with me that had to go back with the signed LOA and headed back to the front desk.  Could she maybe make a few copies for me?  Sure….ok, well its like 20 pages, mostly in Chinese, and has my package come yet?  

Just before noon I got a call from the gate that my Fed Ex package was there.  The nice man brought it to me and we signed it and sent it back!  



It really is a beautiful document.  I hate that it was only in my hands for about an hour!

Everything is at USCIS right now awaiting approval.  Things will move quickly now hopefully.  I have so much to do.  Nesting has kicked in and I feel like I need to clean out every drawer and straighten every closet.  Unfortunately Sarah's nickname around here is  "The Destroyer" and nothing stays clean for long.  

A friend from my Lifeline group traveled this month to bring home her daugter from the same orphanage as Emily.  She was so kind to take a letter and some pictures and a little gift to her.  I was so happy to wake up the day after we got the LOA to several new pictures.  We got video from her yesterday and it just makes me so happy.  She is reading our letter and looking at our pictures and she sings a song.  It's a Chinese children's song about two tigers to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin."  I mentioned in my letter that I was trying to learn it and she sings it for me.  We are so ready for this precious girl to be home.




We would like to ask you to pray with us as we enter these last few weeks before she comes home.  Pray for her heart to be ready to be part of a family.  Pray for Will and Jenny as they once again scootch over and make room.  Pray for Jenny as she will be sharing a room, and although she is excited, the reality and the thought are sometimes different.  Pray for Sarah as the trip and the adjustment may be rough for her and therefore for all of us.  We do have a medical concern that we are seeking information on and would ask you to pray we will get that settled before we travel.

I am so very thankful for God's promise that His grace is sufficient.  I am so thankful for a friend who spoke peace and truth into my heart that day.  I am so thankful and humbled that God has called us to be this precious girl's family.  I am so ready to be her mamma!
  
  


11 months

I figured I better get this 11 month post up since a year is literally just around the corner!



The biggest thing Sarah did this month was start soccer!!  I happened upon this great program called Top Soccer.  Will was wanting to find a rec soccer team to play on this year and while I was looking for that online one day I came across Top Soccer, a program for people of all ages with special needs.  It seemed like a perfect fit for Sarah and it was!  Each player had a buddy and Sarah had a wonderful lady who taught special needs kids for many years.  She was perfect for miss priss who really just wanted to stand at the water table.  She loved it though and we were very proud of her!
When I put this uniform on her I just started crying.  Every now and then something stil catches me off guard and when I saw her in her soccer uniform I flashed back to other pictures I have of her.  Pictures that I won't ever show and I just fell apart.

Getting some coaching.

GOOOOOAAAAALLL!!!!

And the best part…Snack!!

 We also spent a lot of time making sweet rolls and we are so thankful!!  We are almost caught up but not quite!  We will have an update on that VERY soon!  I was glad for the good (and cute) help!



Sarah also discovered my scrapbooks.  She keeps pulling them out and looking through them.  


I'm so glad to have them and I am so glad she loves them but to be honest it makes me sad.  I don't have any baby pictures and I missed so much.  I'm so thankful for every first we've had this year and so thankful she is here.

Madison Central's Homecoming was also this month.  Will went with a group of friends and it was a really fun night.  Late, but fun.  We were so happy to have them here to take pictures and then they went to another friend's house for breakfast.  A sweet group of kids!!  Jenny escaped with her grandmother to Starkville that weekend and so it was just Sarah at home to watch the activites.  The girls actually got ready here.  Sarah sat and watched intently as they curled their hair and did their makeup.  Then of course it was picture time!  Sarah has gotten used to having her picture made so she felt as though she should be in these as well!

 Beautiful girls and handsome boys!


Beautiful girls and handsome boys and a cute cheerleader!

Everyday when Jenny gets out of school she calls and lets me know when she is getting close to the house (she walks home.)  That's my cue to send Sarah outside.  All I have to say is, "Sarah!  it's Jenny!" and she takes off for the door.  This is what happens next.  Every day.  
video


Sarah also got a sweet new ride this month!  She doesn't need it all the time but it's great for long distances.  She had outgrown all the regular strollers we could find and this is made just for her!  We love it, although she wasn't too sure at first.



It was perfect for our first trip to the zoo.  I wish I had more pictures of that but MAN! The zoo is kinda pitiful!  We had fun though and she got an icee out of it so she was good!  We also ran into some friends and rode the train so it was a good day!


Speaking of sweet rides!!  We should all be able to ride through Target like this, right!!



She got in some early morning toothpaste painting before school!


Please look carefully.  Not just her eyebrow.  Her nose, her mouth, her arm, her dress.  She smelled minty feash for school that day!


It is hard to believe we have been home for almost a year!  I can't wait to celebrate that huge milestone!!










Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And so we wait….

It has been a year since we saw this beautiful face.



And my breath caught  in my throat and I knew!  I knew she was meant to be my daughter.  We were still waiting to travel for Sarah but I knew we would be back for her.  

Only weeks after we came home with Sarah updated pictures showed up on the website.  And we both knew it was time to start over.  


In February we received approval to pursue her adoption.  Things moved along well.  Homestudy was updated, immigration approval was extended, dossier was prepared and authenticated and finally sent to China.  On July 3rd we were once again officially logged into the system.  And we began the wait for our LOA or letter of approval.  This wait was 42 days with Sarah.  We began to hope for possible Thanksgiving travel.  However, I began to realize that this wait was beginning to stretch.  Just watching the facebook groups and boards I knew they were coming in around 60-70 days and then we received an official email stating that the waits were stretching  60-90 days.  So we settled in.  And I really was waiting pretty well.  20 days, 30, days, 40 days, 50 days….now getting a little restless.  60 days…..it's time!  I began to communicate with some fellow moms wo had simialr log in dates.   We were all gettin restless.  And then on day 67 we got word that we were out of review!!!  Rejoicing!  All that was left was the match review stage.  I knew that typically people jumped from review to match review anywhere from one day to 2 weeks.  Most of the other families that got news that day skipped the review notice and went straight to match review.  I just knew ours would come quickly.  It did not.  One week….two weeks…..nothing.

The possibility of Thanksgiving travel passed.  We set our sights on Chirstmas.

Tomorrow marks 90 days waiting for this precious piece of paper…. a month since we were out of review.  No news except that we haven't moved.  Tomorrow starts a week long holiday in China.  So we will not get anymore news for at least a week.  

Christmas travel is not likely. 

I have cried my ugly cries and I wish I could tell you I am ok with it.  I'm not ok.  I am weary of waiting.  She is 13.  She needs to come home.  

But…..

I know that God loves Emily more than I do.  I know he doesn't waste time.  I have prayed that he will redeem this time by prerpaing her heart for us and preparing us for her.  I know his timing is perfect.  I know these things.  I am repeating them daily.  

I was also reminded this past sunday that we are not given a spirit of fear….fear for her health….fear that we won't travel in a timely manner or when we can all go….fear for our process.  We have been given a spirit of love….love for this precious girl…love for all four of my children and a spirit of self control…..controlling my fear….controling my worry.  And that is hard.  

And so we wait…day 90.  We will likely hit 100 days.  And we will strive to be patient.  And we trust in the Lord's timing and in his love for Emily.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Run for One

On Saturday August 16 Lifeline's orphan care ministry, (un)adopted, sponsored a 5k to benefit their ministry.  The event was held in several locations around the southeast including Birmingham.  Shane and I talked about maybe going over for the weekend and doing it all together, but the closer it got the more we realized it just wasn't going to work out.  But Shane had a great idea!  There was a "run where you are" option for the 5K.  He suggested we invite our family to walk with us that day and have our own family event.  He sent out an email to everyone and every single family member said yes!!  We all signed up and set the time for 8:00 am on Saturday the 16th.

Lifleine encouraged you to pick something to run for and each of us has something different we were running for .Here is Sarah working on her sign.





Sarah was running for her friends Matthew and Ben.  They are from the same orphanage as she is and will be coming home VERY soon!  Praise the Lord!  I got to hold and love on Matthew when we were there last year and I am ready to see them with their families!!!



Here we all are with our signs!


The morning of our walk we all met at the Old Craft Center to walk the trail. Sarah and LuLu got in some stretching before we started.


Shane and have said before that one of the reasons we felt called to adopt was because-To whom much is given, much is required. We don't believe that applies just to material things, because look what we have been given!! Look at all this fabulous family!!



It took us an embarrasingly long time to walk a 5K and we had a blast.  We chatted and the little kids took turns on the bike and being pushed in the stroller.  The big girls took off and beat us all.  It was so much fun….and then we had breakfast at Cracker Barrell!  




But wait!!!  That's not all.  We said all our family said yes and that includes my brother and sister in law Julie all the way in Texas!  Andy and Julie organized a walk with their friends at church and had a great turn out!  We were so excited about that and so humbled that they would do that!  


I mean how awesome is that!!!

It was a great day for a great cause and a reminder of how blessed we are as a family to have each other!! 

10 months!

As of September 4 Sarah had been with us for 10 months!!  August was a nice quiet monthwhich was good because September has been C.R.A.Z.Y.

What has Sarah been up to this month?

Well……

She walked to the lake to feed the fish.  This is oneof those things I always intend to do and always forget to do.  So one day when it was just the 2 of us we took off for the lake.  I just knew this would be the stuff that memeories are made of!  This look pretty much sums up how she felt about it.  Whatever..can we go home.  She wasn't so impressed and really just wanted to eat the bread instead of throwing it to the fish.  Of course since there were no fish it wasn't a big deal.  A little different from the last time we took bread to feed fish in China!!



She also finished up her gymnastics class this month.  She was a mess that day.  Hair everywhere, body everywhere.  Shirt soaking wet.  There is a picture of me with her getting her certificate but since she was a mess you can only imiagine what I looked like.  She loved that class though and still cries whenever we pass the shopping center it was in.  We aren't continuing right now but maybe again next summer.



She learned to cheese it up big time for the camera!  She also has finally learned what she looks like.  this is was kind of big deal to me!  She clicked on Jennys phone one day and saw a picture of herself and pointed at the phone and then pointd at herself!  It has taken 10 months but she finally recognizes herself!  Of course when I was laing with her the other night I was reading a blog about another adoptive family and there was pa picture of their daugter and she kept pointing at her and then herslef.  Still have a little work to do!




She ran through the sprinkler one more time!
video


She got a bike!  She can sit on it but riding it is another story.  We just aren't quite there yet.  She loves it though!



She worked on her reading skills or napped while reading.  One or the other!




She showed some Jag pride!!  Go Madison Central!!



And the biggest thing of all this month was…..starting school!!!




When she started down the steps that frist day I just broke into tears.  I saw in my head where she was a year ago.  I saw the pictures I have that I won't show anyone becasue they break my heart and then hear she is!  Loved and growing and going to school with her very own granmother walking her down the steps.  It was just too much!

She absolutely loves school.  She is actually saying the word school and is ready to go each day she goes!  She has stayed for lunch a day or two and loves that!  I am so very proud of my girl!





Sunday, September 7, 2014

SWEET!

I am so far behind blogging!  I will catch up eventually but for now I wanted to let you know about a fundraiser we are doing!


At our house we are passionate about two things right now- getting Emily home and caring for those we had to leave behind.  

We are making progress towards Emily and we are SO excited about the new foster home that Lifeline has opened to help the children from Sarah's orphanage.

So……

We have an idea to help us reach both goals!

Who doesn't love sweet rolls right?!?!

We call these Yummy Goodness!
Here is the idea:

Each pan of sweet rolls has 16 sweet rolls and is ready to eat or to freeze.  They are homemade from scratch with quality ingredients.

Each pan costs 
$20.00

What does that $20.00 go towards?
$2.00 will go towards our expenses to make them.
Then the remaining $18.00 will be split between the 2 things we are passionate about!
$9.00 will go towards our adoption of Emily- specifically it will go towards the orphanage donation each family is required to make.
And
$9.00 will go towards buying supplies for the new foster home that we will take with us when we travel.  We hope to fill a suitcase full of things they need.  Lifeline is getting a list together for me of the things they need the most.

Would you like some sweet rolls?

Please comment below, comment on FB, or send me an email at stacyhuff@me.com.
We will take orders all week and they will be available for pick up or delivery whatever day you choose this coming weekend
September11-13.

Here is Sarah's pretty please face


And if that doesn't work here is her
Whatchoo talkin' 'bout face


And here is our beautiful Emily who we are so ready to have home.



And sweet rolls or not please pray for our sweet Emily's heart as she is about to undergo more change than most of us face in a lifetime and please pray for the children and nannies at the foster home.