Saturday, October 26, 2013


There are stories everyday on the adoption forums and groups I belong too of people feeling unsupported through their adoption process.  Stories of their parents not understanding, their church refusing to help, to ugly things said to them.

My heart breaks for them because our story is the opposite of that.

Our family has been overwhelmingly supportive.  They love Sarah so much already.  They have helped us emotionally and financially through this.  We have said before that one of the reasons we feel led to adopt is that the Lord says that to whom much is given much is required.  We feel we have been given so very much when it comes to our family and we are called to share that.

Our friends have loved me through the crazy.  They have been interested and listened to me talk about it when I'm sure they were sick of it all.  

Our friends/family gave us a precious dinner/shower last was so fun and refreshing.

Our work has bent over backwards for both of us.  Covenant gave me the opportunity to work for awhile knowing I would need to bow out in October.  They gave me a precoius shower and wrote letters and filled out forms for me.  MMC has let Shane off to do home study meetings.  they are being great about the time he needs off to go to China.

Our church gave us a reception last week and we are overwhelmed at what they did for us.  The hugs, prayers and kind words.  The gift cards and money were overwhelming.  What we received there will pay for our trip to Sarah's orphanage.  The cost of that trip is not included in the fees we pay for our incountry cost.  Her orphange is a good ditsnace away and the cost is not small.   It is mportant to us to make this trip and we are so grateful.

We had a garage sale a few weeks ago to help cover some in country costs and we had so many people donate stuff for that.  That morning we were setting up and a car drove into driveway and a girl got out.  She walked up and said she didn't want to buy anything but wanted to help and handed Shane a $20 bill.  We didn't even know her.  Another man came by and said he and his wife had adopted a few years ago and had some furniture they wanted to sell and wanted us to have it to sell.  It was VERY nice furniture and we made a signifigant amouint form it.  Again, they didn't know us at all.

We are so very grateful for all of the kind words and prayers offered via facebook and this blog.  God has used those words to comfort us when we are beyond worried for our daughter and stressed with an unpredictable process.  God has used you so much.

Thank you!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Today we celebrated Sarah's Birthday!  She is 5 years old now.  I was sad yesterday to not be with her for her birthday.  I LOVE birthdays! 

I am very happy though that we are only a week away from leaving to bring her home. 

All birthdays need a cake!

We sang happy brithday and Jenny blew out the candle for her sister.  She was excited to say that it was her sister's birthday!  She said she had waited her whole life to say that.  She's a little excited!

Our friends the Webbs and Hoods stopped for to visit and they had cake too so it felt a little like a party and the fellowship did me a lot of good.  My mind is very tangled this week.  I go from excitement, too nervousness, to a little stressed.  So much to do but I find my self hung up on small details that don't really matter.  I want to soak up these last few days with our family of 4 and have ask the Lord to help me look up and enjoy the moments we have.  

We are so happy that this is Sarah's last birthday without us.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Unusual task

I've had this task on my list for several weeks.  I just kept moving it to the next, but today I needed to sit down and get it done.

When we have our gotcha day on Monday the 4th we are given the opportunity to talk with whoever brings her to us.  It might be the orphanage director or an assistant director.  It might be her specific nanny or it might just be someone who can make the trip that day.  It is a 4 hour trip from Suixi to Guangzhou.  I hope it is someone who knows her and  can help comfort her.  She likely has never been in a car that long.  I worry about her.

Anyway...  We will be given the cance to talk with whoever brings her and we need to be prepared to ask some pertinent questions.  So today I sat down and wrote a list of questions to ask someone I've never met about my little girl, who I also have never met.

These are questions mothers instinctively knows.  But I don't know them.  I don't know if she has been sick recently although I suspect she has.  I don't know if she still takes a nap.  I don't know what she likes or doesn't like to eat.  I don't know if she sleeps in a bed or a crib?

I also know I will not likely get answers to all of these questions.  The person who brings her may or may not know her very well.  And here is the honest thruth.  They may not know the answers because it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter what her favorite food is.  They all eat the same thing regardless.  It doesn't matter if she wants to take a nap or just lays awake.  It's the schedule.

And I understand that to some degreee.  I'm a preschool teacher.  When its time for snack you eat today's snack.  When it's time to go outside you go outside.  You follow the schedule.  I don't know what my students favorite foods are or if they always nap when they leave school.  But someone does.  They leave my classroom and go home. To their mother and father.  To their bed and their favorite foods.  My classroom is a nice place.  There is food and art and play, but it is not home.

It will be huge learing process for all of us.  For Shane and I to learn what she likes and dislikes.  Honestly she will probably have to learn what she likes and dislikes.  Her choices have been pretty limited.

I am so ready to know the answers to my questions.  Not because someone else has answered them but because I am her mother and I know her.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flight Plan

Friday was a fun day!  I spent most of the day making flight arrangements and appointments for after we get home.  It is fun to finally not be pushing anything to the back of my mind but to know NOW is the time!

We used one of the travel agents our agency recommends for making arrangements.  We haven't ever used a travel agent but I sure wanted someone who knows what's happening if anything should come up while we are traveling.  He was all busines but got the job done quickly and we came out really good on the price of the tickets.

Here's what it looks like:

We will leave Jackson at 1:10 on Friday November 1.  We will fly to Atlanta and then LA and then 15 hours to Guangzhou, China.

We will leave Guangzhou at 9:30pm Wednesday, November 13 and arrive in Jackson at 10:54 Thursday morning.

Our Gotcha day will be Monday November 4, 2013.

One less!

Any and all are welcome at the airport.  We will be hermits for awhile when we get back, but we want to celebrate when we get home!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What a day!!

Holy Cow!!  We are going to China!  It still seems surreal!  It has been quite a day!  I know some of you reading this won't care about the fine details but I want to remember it all so bear with me. :)

Today was day 9 of our TA wait.  As usual with these waits I was fine until the day it might possibly come and then it's all down hill from there.  I absolutely wasn't expecting it until Monday at the earliest.  Monday was my daddy's birthday and I thought it would be awesome if it came on his birthday.  It didn't.  But I just knew it was coming on Tuesday.  China had the week off the first week of October.  They issued a ton of TA's the week before in record time in an effort to clear their desk we all thought.  It made sense to me that coming back to a clear desk meant the new things on your desk would get done quick and mine should be on the top of the pile!  So I just knew it was coming on Tuesday.  It didn't.

The good news, so to speak, was nobody's was coming.  One of the good (and sometimes bad) thing about being so plugged in to others on this journey through social media is that you kind of get a feel for how things are looking time wise.  Things were definitely moving this week.  Just no TA's as of Tuesday night.  It's ok though it's coming Wednesday.

It didn't.  By the time I took Jenny to church Wednesday night I was done. Done.  I figured it was going to be next week and our timeline would move back a week.  Not the end of the world at all but for the way November looks for our family and Shane's work we really wanted to leave sooner.  I barely held it together through church and came on home.  I went to print a paper for Will and realized we were out of ink.  I hopped in the car and ran to Office Depot.  On the way home I had a good ugly cry and then felt so much better.  I don't know about y'all but I do some serious praying, crying and worshipping in the car!

I was glad to be busy this morning.  I had to work a short shift at the middle school and then was meeting with our children's minister to discuss VBS planning.  Before I let the house I pulled out Jesus Calling an looked at the day's devotion.  The first line said, "Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without me."  Thank you Lord for the reminder to stay calm and know that I know you are in control!

I kept my phone close just in case.  After we met we went out for lunch and had a nice time visiting.  She brought me back to the church and I got in my car to leave.  I checked my phone one more time before pulling out and there it was!!!  An email from Karla, the China director and the subject line said TAs are here!!  I screamed and skimmed the email and called Shane!  Holy cow!!!  I had to pull over in the Dollar General parking lot and put him on speaker phone and read the email out loud.  We needed to send an email letting her know when we would like our consulate appointment to be.  We already knew that so I hung up and sent three quick emails from the Dollar General parking lot.  One to Karla requesting a CA for the week of 11/11, one to my social worker asking her to send a copy of the TA to the visa courier and one the visa courier to be looking for it.

And then I went to Old Navy.  Felt kind of weird but Jenny and I needed Jeans for the trip!

I heard back from Anna that she sent the TA to the courier and I got to see the actual TA.  It says plain as day, we agree to place this child with your family, come get her please.

We actually had dinner all together tonight after a strange week of Shane being out of town and Will having practice, etc.  After that we went out for ice cream to celebrate which has become tradition.

About 8:00 I got an email from Karla that I needed to resend something to her.  I did and asked if she had gotten the email I had sent earlier.  She had and had sent our request to the consulate.  It usually takes about 2 days to hear back.  I figured Monday we would hear.  I also re emailed the courier about my visa.  She confirmed we had enough time to get my Visa for the dates we had requested and if I sent my religious waiver (!) tonight she could drop the application at the consulate in the morning.  That meant Shane had to go to the office because we had him keep it there so he could scan and email it as soon as possible, we just didn't expect to need to do it at 10:00 at night!  He did it and came on back home.  I heard the computer bing with a new email and assumed it was the copy of the email Shane had sent.  I went to make sure and there was a new email from Karla!!

You have a confirmed consulate appointment for 11/12.  be in China by Sunday November 3!!!!!!!

And just like that the list is checked off.  The waiting is done.  It's time to go.

We will book flights tomorrow.  We will hopefully leave the afternoon of Nov1.  And on
November 4, 2013 there will be one less orphan!

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


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Proud mom!

My kids have been super busy this fall.  

SO proud of them.  

Will has been especially busy with show choir and play practice and his Eagle project.

He made bookshelves for Hope Hollow and held a book drive as well!
He did a great job!

Jenny has been busy too!  Her school work keeps her busy and she has been taking piano.  She is very dilegent and organized and a perfectionist!

This is her reading fair project.  She did it on a book called Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.  Its a great book about a little Chinese girl.  She did a great job.  She stayed up WAY too late one night working on it and Shane asked me about it later that night.  When I explained that it was not required but was for extra a class she has an A in he just shook his head.  Everything about that sums up our girl.  

Our little one has been keeping us busy too.  Almost too the bottom of the list!!  


Pins and Needles!

We are sitting on go over here. 

The house is clean.  The bills are paid.  I'm shopping today for the medicines and other things we will need for the trip. 

I'm not getting a whole lot done because of the incessant email checking.  Everytime the phone rings I jump.  

Come on TA!!  

The house is ready!

I think we have gotten our house ready to add our new little one!  We had to do some switching things around, but I think we have finally gotten things functioning around here again.  Nobody seems to mind house chaos except me, but you know what they say. If mamma ain't happy.......

There are still somethings to tweak, final touches and all, but we are all set for the most part!

First up was the swing set!  Sarah has cerebral palsy and while she can walk we knew we needed to add a hand rail to the starirs so she could get up to the play house.  the steps were also loose and worn and need to be replaced.  I let Daddy handle this one!

Yea!!  He did an awesome job!  We have to get a slide now.  Those suckers are expensive!!  When we built our house 7 years ago we were the proud owners of 2 houses for  awhile.  We built the play house but $100 bucks for a slide just had to wait.  And then we forgot, for about 7 years.  *sheepish grin*  But Sarah needs a slide!  We were so blessed to be gifted with some money from my coworkers at the preschool and we are adding a slide this weekend! Cameron also gave me my nephew's old toddler swing with a back tat we will hang for her.  We think she will need that support for awhile.

Next up.... the dining room/study/playroom/slash nobody knows what to call this room now.

We turned our extra bedroom into a playroom when we moved in and it slowly evolved into a TV/game room.  That is now Sarahs room but we needed a spot where someone could watcha movie or play video games or just "be" aside from the main den of then house so the dining room was the only spot left so now it looks like this:

It turned out well and we were able to sell the old furniture to get a few new things.  We moved the book cases from the playroom to the new room and repurposed them.  I am very happy with it.

And now for our sweet Sarahs room!

It is very simple and quiet.  On purpose.  She has spent the last few years in a stark institution.  Too much color, fluff, etc, would be...well too much!  We will add to it as we go, but I am happy with it.  the dresser belonged to my grandmother and I repainted it.  I'm glad for Sarah to have!  Thanks to Andy and Julie for passing it along!

The house is ready!!  Time to go!!



I dont have any sisters.  Just brothers. Shane doesn't have any sisters either.  However we hit the jack pot when it comes to sisters-in-law.


We knew we wanted to have a garage sale before we made the China trip.  There were two purposes for this.  We have cleaned out a lot of stuff getting ready to add another person to our house.  And it was a good opportunity to make some extra money for this final push.  We will have to wire a large amount of money to China just days before we go and then there are the plane tickets to purchase as well.  So while we are pretty ready for those expenses a little extra certainly would come in handy!

The only problem is that our neighborhood doesn't allow garage sales.  Bummer!  Shane's brothers neighborhood does though and we have done several with them over the past years.  I knew Cameron was way over having garage sales but I also knew they would be going out of town at the end of October and asked could we maybe use there house for a sale while they were gone.  That way it wouldn't inconvience them at all.  No problem they said.   Except.....

Things have moved fairly quickly here towards the end and it looks like we may be gone or about to be gone while they are gone as well.  Can't wait that long.  So I thought, I am going to have to ask if we can do this beofre they leave, while they are there.  Ugh!  I hate to do that to them!!  But I didn't have to ask.  You know why?  Because my sweet sister in law, Cameron, called me first and asked did I want to go ahead and do they sale earlier.  And so Friday night this is what happened to her nice clean garage!

Please nobody buy my anything for Christmas.  No more STUFF!

It got way worse than this I was just too tired to take any pictures Saturday morning.  We had a great day and enjoyed hanging out and making some money, but the truth of the matter is they let us use thier house for nothing to have a big ole garage sale and they did it because they love us and they love Sarah.

I have another sister in law too!  Julie is married to my brother Andy.  She can sew and do cute things like a dream.  I sent her a text awhile back of the shirt one of my students was wearing.  "Can you do this ?"  She said sure!  Instead of one shirt, I brought her 4 when I visited them in Texas a few weeks ago.  My mother was there this past week and when she came to help me with the garage sale Saturday this is what she brought with her.  Julie had sent them home with her.

For real.  How cute are those!  And for the new sisters-

This about as matchy as it's gonna get.  It's hard to match a 4 year old and a 12 year old.  I'm going to try to find matching PJ's too.  

I'm so blessed to call these girls my sisters.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Article 5 Done!

The mysterious piece of paper known as Article 5 has been dropped off and picked up.  It was supposed to be picked up today which was last night in china.  I just now got an official email from someone in Guangzhou saying it was picked up so I don't know if that means now which is tomorrow in China.  Gracious! Either way its done!

All we wait on now is Travel approval!  After that comes we will request a consulate appointment and buy plane tickets!!

So close I can taste it!!!

Will you pray with us?  These are the things I am praying for right now:

For the Lord to be preparing Sarah's heart for a family.

For Jenny's eating situation while we are in China.

For Will's time here to be a time of spiritual growth.

For TA to come quickly so we can get my visa in time to leave when we would like to.  It is the best time for Shane to go for his work.  (Not throwing any dates out there yet- :) )

We have been overwhelmed with support, kind words and prayers.  Trust me when I tell you that is not the case for a lot of people and we are so very thankful!