Monday, April 29, 2013


We were able to introduce Sarah Ann to our church family yesterday.  Our pastor, Kevin, called our family up and was going to have Shane say a few words.  I had told Shane I wanted him to since he was the dad and all.  I thought I would have been fine, but as soon as they put her sweet picture up on that screen I was done for.  Shane told about her and a short version of our call to adoption.  The church prayed for her and for us.  Our pastor and his wife have a beautiful daughter from Kazakstan and they have been so supportive.

We are so grateful for our precious church.  We are so blessed to be a part and so excited that Sarah is already so loved by them.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


We have been celebrating over here for a week and half since we got approval to adopt Sui Fenglan!  We can't believe she gets to be ours!  Our love for her is growing every day amd there are times when I just want to scoop her up and hold her!  I feel very much like I did when I was pregnant with Will and Jenny.  Just thinking all the time about her, planning for her.  It's so different to though.  I know her face, I know some of her needs, I know what others have said about her.  I know she needs me and I can't get to her yet and that is so very hard.

We got a treat yesterday though!!!

We live in an amazing time!  There was a time not so long ago that most people had a tiny referell picture that was months and months old and that was all they had seen or heard of their child before traveling to get them.  Sarah Ann is in one of our agency's partnership orphanges.  Our agency took a trip in March to her orphange.  We have a good many pictures, a video, an American doctor's evaluation, a teachers evaluation and were able to talk with the doctor that examined her.  Amazing!  Also amazing is the fact that we can send Sarah Ann a care package.  There are several people that offer this service.  Our agency has also started a service.  I chose to use a lady named Ann to get our package to Sarah.  We picked out a package and them she gets it to the orphange.  This  is all done in country so that you avoid high shipping costs and the risk of it not getting through customs.  We chose the forever family package.  We emailed Ann pictures of ourselves and she put them in an album, she got a stuffed animal, the album,  a letter from us and a cake to have a party.  We also included a clothing donation for the orphange and some lollipops for the kids.  We also added a USB drive for the nannies to put pictures on.  We will get that on gotcha day (hopefully).

I did not ask for an update because I have pretty updated pictures and I want to ask for that when we get closer to travel, but I was hopeful to get pictures of her little party.  Ann seemed to think it was a given that we would get pictures but I knew it was up to the orphange and I did not want to get my hopes up.  But yesterday morning just as I was waking up my phone binged with an email and when I saw it said "Ann at Red Thread" I leaped from the bed and hollered for Shane and here is what we saw!!!

How's that for a cake!!!!  We can not get over it!  I knew the cakes were big from other people's pictures but never would I have imagined that!!!  But more than that cake is that face!!  Did my momma's heart good!  It looks to me like they dressed her up and I love that.  Several people told me they have been there and the nannies are very nice.  The man is the orphage director.

What an amazing thing to order a cake for someone in China on Sunday night and have pictures of her with it on Thursday morning!  What a blessing!

We love you Sarah Ann!  And eat that cake my tiny baby girl!!  And little do you know that your new mamma loves to make cake!  There is lots of cake in your future!


I love seeing the word matched next to my girls name!  

This was the first picture we saw of her and now she is matched!  
Hang on baby girl- we are coming as fast as we can!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It has been an incredibly busy and exciting few weeks over here!!  And today we received Preliminary Approval to adopt a sweet little girl from the waiting child list.  So without further ado we are beyond proud, humbled and blessed to introduce our precious Sarah Ann.

She is 4 years old and her Chinese Name is Sui Fenglan.  She will be our Sarah Ann.  She lives in the Suixi Social Welfare Institute in Guangdong Province, China.  We are very hopeful to have her in our arms by the end of the year.

We covet your prayers for her and for our family.  Details on our journey to her soon!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A desired child

Shane and I had to fill out a form for our adoption a few weeks ago.  It's called a desired child form.  It's not the most fun form we've had to fill out.  We started it more than once and just had to put it away.  But it was time to do it so we prayed over it and started checking boxes.

Yes.  This is a need we can handle.
No.  This is not a need we can handle.

Gross!  I hated checking NO.  It told Shane I wish we could have just checked yes and left the others blank.  But we had to check yes or no.

Our daughter will have some sort of special need.  It runs the gamete.  Minor.  Major.  Noticeable.  Not noticeable.  Right now who knows.  But I know this.

We love her already.

I read a quote the other day that has stayed with me.

"If you are sufficient for the task then it isn't big enough."

WOW!  What can I handle?  What the Lord chooses for me.  Who can I parent?  Who the Lord has me parent.  Will it be easy.  Nope!

I love the line in a Casting Crown song that says:

"Break our heart for what breaks yours!"

That's what I want.  I want my heart to break and be open to who ever God has for us.  We are so excited to see who that is!

One of my favorite verses is:

"To whom much is given much is required."

Most of the time this is used in regard to material possessions and there is no doubt that even in a tight month we are blessed.  The very fact that I writing this sitting at a computer in my own house and the fact that you have a computer and the ability to read it shows how blessed we are.  But I am coming to realize that it means more than that.

Our families are not perfect.  Not by any stretch.  But I know they are unique.  I know it is unique that Shane and I both come from families where our parent's marriage is intact.  I know that it is unique that we were raised very similarly.  I know it's unique that our families are friends.  We are so blessed with precious sister in laws and brother in laws.  We have an abundance of nieces and nephews.  We are so so very blessed with our families.

And so we feel like much is required of us.  And we are excited to see what that is.

Who is our desired child?  Yes, we had mark a form with ages and gender and needs we could accept but we wait anxiously to see who exactly she is.

Because no matter what she is a child desired.


Easter 2013

Happy Easter 2013!

I love this picture!  I don't get too many of them both together these days and this one just makes me smile.  Will had his wisdom teeth out just 2 days before and had been feeling pretty rough earlier in the day.  He and Shane stayed home from church and watched the Bible on TV.  Shane said it was actually a really good way to celebrate Easter.  We so missed going to church as a family but he was just really feeling bad.  He perked up later though and we headed to Lulu and Sugies for lunch.  It was a great easter!

Next Easter there will be a little Chinese girl in this picture and I can hardly wait!

Think she can handle all the fun shes gonna have with this crew?

Cousins are the best!

Why China?

Don't we know that there are children who need homes right here in America?

Yes!  We do!  We pray for those children!  We want to help those children and we work to do that through our church and other ways.

This question was first posed to me by someone whose favor I needed to sign a form.  She then made a few derogatory comments about wondering why a country who threw away its children would be so particular about the way a form  was filled out.

Take a deep breath people because I'm about to dive into that one!

We feel very called to adoption.  We feel a very real and strong call on our lives.  Much the same way one feels called to ministry.  We have friends who are called to be missionaries in South East Asia.  What?!  Don't they know that people need Jesus right here in America?  Of course they do.

We have people from our church who are missionaries in New England.  We know people who run Christian camps and friends who run inner city missions.  WHAT?  Don't they know people around the world need Jesus!!  Of course they do.

We feel called to adopt from China.  I'll explain those reasons in a minute.  We know people who have adopted from Ethiopia, Korea, Russia, Taiwan.  We know people who have and are adopting domestically.  When Jesus calls his church to care for the fatherless he doesn't specify internationally or domestically.  He says- care for the orphans.  In the great commission he says to go out to all nations.  In order to do that some have to stay in their nation and some have to go out to other nations.  One doesn't trump the other.

Why China?

Because my heart is broken for them.

China has been in the news lately for some shocking statistics.  These weren't knew to me as I have done a lot reading on this very things.  Here is a link to an article, but the nutshell version is that since the seventies there have been more than 300 million abortions in China.  To put that in perspective since 1973 (Roe Vs. Wade) there have been about 50 million abortions in the US.  To add even more shock, many of those abortions were forced, late term abortions because they mother already had a child or because they did not have permission from the government to have a baby.  Let that sink into your American mind for a minute.

And another article:

I've had several people wonder out loud to me how someone could leave their child in a market or by an orphanage door.  How could any mother do that? My answer is - I don't know.  I can not imagine.  I can not image the devastating choices Chinese woman face every day.  Especially rural Chinese women.  But for just a moment I want to ask you to pray for those women.  Women who have managed to hide a pregnancy long enough to give birth and get the child to safety before it is taken from them.  Woman who are not given a choice about whether to keep their baby girl or not.  Society, family dynamics and social systems work very differently in China.  Just because she's your baby doesn't mean you decide what happens to her.  I have read two books recently that have shed so much light on these women and their choices.

The Lost Daughters of China by Karen Evans
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran

There is also a documentary on Netflix called "China's Lost Girls".  I highly recommend it.

Don't think that there are only girls orphaned in China though.  It is true that 90 % of Chinese orphans are girls but there are boys as well.  Many have disabilities that there families could not care for.  Some had the misfortune of not being born first.  One child.

I know this is long.  But please don't stop reading just yet.  If you skip everything else, if you don't click the links above click on these.

This is a family that was in China a week ago picking up their daughter.  Her cry for the church to answer the things she saw is my heart's cry.

And the last one I promise but please read or mark for later.  This is in response to Russia's hear breaking decisions to cut off adoptions to the US leaving hundreds of families heartbroken and hundreds of children as orphans.

There are good orphanages and some kids even have foster homes.  There are lots of not so good orphanages.  There are orphanages doing the best they can with what they have.  No matter how well intentioned a nanny is she can't hold and rock and sing to and feed 25 infants.  She can't.  Even a good orphanage is not a family.  It's not a mom and dad.  It's not brothers and sisters.  It's not belonging somewhere where you are cherished.

It's not knowing Jesus loves you.

I think about these children all the time.  They are never far from my mind.  As I sat in church Sunday morning thinking about everyone in their Easter best and how much time and effort and money goes into us looking good on Easter Sunday my heart broke for these children.  My heart broke for my daughter who doesn't even know yet we are coming.  As fast as we can.

My prayer is for others to pray about adoption.  International, domestic.

It matters not.


We have finished our homestudy interviews!  WooHoo!!  We are waiting on the report to be written which will take about a month (we are 2 weeks into that month).  We will then apply to immigration.  This will be  USCIS deeming us eligible to adopt a child internationally.  We will have another round of immigration later on deeming our daughter eligible to become a citizen.  I am excited to be about to check off the first step in a long line of steps.  It's a big one though!  Homestudy-almost check!

Lots of people ask when we will be done or if we know who our girl is.  I thought I would take a minute to kind of explain that.

As far as when we will be done that is a big guessing game.  I would say anywhere from November (best case-pie in the sky) and January  (most likely).  As far as when we find out who our girl is it can go a couple of different ways.  Each country "does" adoption differently. You may know people who have a number; where they are in line.  China doesn't work that way.  We have several options:

*Healthy young infant- The wait for a healthy young infant is about 6 years.  This is not the route we are going.  There are lots of reasons why the wait is so long- another post another day :)

*Referrel- We do all of our months of paper work and get everything logged in (this is called LID or logged in date- this is a HUGE milestone for China adoption) and become officially eligible for a refererel.  We wait to matched with a child who meets our "criteria." One to six months is a fairly typical wait.  We are looking for an older child so that could shorten the wait.

*Waiting child- China designates it's special needs children in two ways, special needs and special focus.  To be matched with a special needs child you have to be logged in.  You can be matched with a special focus child at any time.  Our agency has files of children they have been given to advocate for.  We can ask to see those files and decide if we want to move forward.  Lots of people match with a special focus child before they even begin their homestudy.

What makes a special focus child?  A child that is older or has more signifigant needs.

*Orphange partnership- our amazing agency has seven orphanges that they partner with.  They do humanitarian work, education, medical trips, etc each year with these orphanges.  We can match with these files as well.  After LID if they are special needs, at any time if they are special focus.

Are you paying attention because there is a test at the end!  Just kidding.

Excuse Me?  Did you say special needs?  Yes. Yes I Did.  That post is coming.

I know that this is not riveting material.  It took months but I think I finally have all the acronyms for China adoptions down!  DTC, LID, PA, LOA, NVS, CA, TA.  All things that are so very important on this journey!  Let me just say this though.  Behind every acronym, wait, and report is the hope for a child.  A child who is sleeping tonight without a mother tucking her in.  In a room with 15 or more other kids.  Who hasn't been read to today or who is hungry.  It makes my mother's heart hurt and long.  

Please pray for our daughter and all the orphans, not only in China but around the world and here at home.