Thursday, March 8, 2012

Paper Progess!

Well, we have an official "DTC" date (dossier-to-china") of Feb 7th, and an official "LID" (log-in date- when China officially recognizes when our paperwork arrived) of Feb 27th. Now, it should be "about 2 months" until we get approval, and then several other weeks of random paperwork. Making progress!
In other news, we are thrilled that our daughter "won the lottery" for one of our city's best charter schools. Now, all the siblings can also go there in the years to come. We're so relieved to have a schooling option and still stay in the city we love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1800a Approval!

Yeah! We got our 1800a approval last week- Jan 26. our fingerprint appt was supposed to be Jan 31, but we went early as a walk in and (prayer answered!) they took us. We submitted our application Dec 21st. So not too bad of a wait! Now we "hurry up and wait" to get our LID (log in date) by finally sending our finished Dossier to China! Nana was nice enough to spend monday running around getting the 800a approval notarized and state authenticated, then to send it off to DC to be State Dept and Embassy authenitcated- A mere 250$ for a piece of paper to receive lots of lovely golden paper seals.
Now, best projected time to go and bring Baby Sister back from China is August. Such a long, hard wait and a broken system- of which there is no easy way over, under around or through.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on the Bible's adoption directive

On this Martin Luther King Jr day, I like to reflect on the life of a true foot soldier for Christ. Dr King was not just a sit-on -the sidelines kind of Christian. He was a man of action, a man who embraced love as a foundation of Christ's teachings, and a man above all with a deep love for our Lord. His life ended tragically short, but the seeds of Love and tolerance he helped to plant brought real, lasting change to millions of people. I am sure without him, my family would not be the way it is today and our precious son would not be ours. I am very, very grateful God raised up Dr King to deliver His message to the world.

Today I made a frantic night time trip to Fedex to try and get 3 documents for our dossier authenticaed which "expire" on friday. (pass China's 6 month mark). I am praying it will still happen although it's going to be a close call. I'm still waiting for my birth certificate to come from it's state authentications department, and for out 1800a approval. In the meantime, we sent baby sister a recorded Christmas story (a bit late, but better late than never) and a panda toy and some treats for the nannies. We also send a care package for Chinese new year via Red Thread and Ann ,who is wonderful. We took the kids to see a show Shen Yun, an exposition of Chinese culture, music, and culture. At one point, my daughter said "this is soooo relaxing then drifted off to sleep". We are trying to do everything we can to expose them to chinese culture of thier sister and continuie to do so after she arrives home. We had dinner in Chinatown afterwards and explored the shops and back alley ways of this little jewel of Philadelphia. We even discovered a lost kitten living in a column of a Buddist temple, which sent us on a scavenger hunt to find cat food in china town. (we did find some, but my attempts to catch said kitten were met with hissing and spitting so we had to be content to leave food)
I would like to start an adoption/ foster care meet-up through our Church, so I am starting small by doing a series of articles for our church newsletter. here is the first one I've written - I hope you find it interesting!

I love being a mom. I never said my daughter went through the terrible twos, it was the "tremendous" twos. While other parents happily ship the kids off to Grandmas, it was a year before I let my baby spend even one night away from me. Months of blissful - but -ordinary mom-hood passed by, but I felt a critical component of my life was lacking. I had been looking for ways to get involved in my community and serve the Body of Christ. I wanted to not just sit on the sidelines for God, but serve actively. I want to help others in a Christ-directed manner and be a Godly example to my daughter. So, I prayed what my Grandpa John Jones, (who was a Church of God minister) used to say was the Most Dangerous Prayer. "Dear God, Use me to do Your Will". It's a simple enough prayer. It's dangerous, because when you pray this prayer, you may not get the answer you are expecting but you should be ready to listen! I was looking into soup kitchens, teaching English to immigrants, or working at a women's shelter. All wonderful ways to serve Christ, but nothing really gripped me. At the same time, I was feeling that our family was not yet complete. One day, while praying my Most Dangerous Prayer, about 100 scenes of my life flipped by like a vintage silent film, and I saw that so many seemingly meaningless moments in my life had actually laid a foundation, formed me, sent me, and landed me in the moment with what i felt next. I felt as though God was telling me "You will adopt a child. He will be a boy and his name will be Elijah." Just like that. Case closed. Not exactly a 1 hour- per -month commitment I had in mind, but I like to joke when God says jump, we should say "how high?" My next steps in this Journey involved sharing this with my husband, who was happily open to the idea from the beginning. Fast forward through almost a year of paperwork, doctor's appointments, notaries, stamps, social workers, fingerprints, more notaries, more fingerprints, and finally, at 2:11 am 11/11/2009, I opened an email from Rwanda and saw our baby's photo for the first time. I'm sure it goes without saying- he was a boy, and we named him Elijah. He's been an incredible blessing to our entire family since that moment.

What does the Bible have to say about adoption? James 1:27 states "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I love this verse, and it has brought much comfort through the difficult times adoption inevitably brings. ( In fact, this verse was preached on the exact Sunday we were looking to God for guidance on whether or not to pursue adoption of a daughter from China, a story for another day) But the Bible does not just direct us, as the Body of Christ, to look after orphans. In fact, it says we ourselves are adopted by God . " For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 Hec predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— 6 To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. (Ephesians 1:5-7) None of us are perfect children for God, but He loves us anyway. None of us are blameless like His Son Jesus, but He wants us anyway. He wants us enough to make us HIS children-- to adopt us through Jesus. In God's foundation plan for salvation, adoption plays a very central, critical role. Like an orphan without a father, we don't stand a chance without God. We have no opportunities to grow up loved, no one to encourage us, no one we belong to. It is a story with a tragic ending, just like it is for millions of orphaned children around the world. The power of God's love and adoption through Jesus changes all that for us. It gives us a future, a past, and a direction. It gives us family, both on Earth and in Heaven. I believe that before we talk about earthly adoption, we need to realize how Heavenly adoption has "rescued" us! At another time, I would like to share with you the state of the world's Orphan crisis, both here in the US and across the world. I hope you can see the powerful ways God is calling people all across His creation to literally look after the orphans and widows in distress. It is my hope that Christ's people will not just agree that James 1:27 would be a nice thing (for someone else) to do, but will pray, search, and question what this means to their life. We can look into ways ordinary people can answer this call, while very much realizing not everyone is able to provide direct care for an orphaned child via adoption. There are simple ways to be the hands and feet of Christ which everyone can do, regardless of their particular circumstances in life. I hope you will enjoy learning more about adoption, orphan care, and the critical role we play in fullfilling God's directive to "look after the orphans and widows in their distress".

January 16th, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

paperchasing to China...

So we are still plugging along in the paperchase now, which was difficult at Christmas knowing our daughter is not with us.
We mailed our delaware homestudy to be authenticated on tuesday, and also my CA birth certificate to be authenticated. We got our fingerprints -(This was prayers answered!) almost 3 weeks early by going as walk-ins on Dec 30th for i-800a approval. now we are waiting on approval of the 800a and we have to go get state dept and chinese embassy authentication for the rest of our dossier. The kids make cards and letters to baby sister, and we recoreded a read-aloud book in our voices of the Christmas story for her. we still have yet to decide on a name! maybe we will wait to see her. We are grateful God has decided to lead us down the adoption road again, and hope by march- june we will be growing our family with baby sister!

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