Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words



'Rookie' Blogger

Ok, I haven't learned to do this on a very consistent basis, yet. Here are some pics from the last week----


CHRISTMAS EVE:
Happy Birthday to Thomas--9 years old (really?!!?!? 9?!?!!?) Birthday pancakes in the morning...



The birthday boy....

'Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you......." He did have a 'real' party with his buddies on the afternoon of the last day of school before Christmas break. It was our 4th annual football party--except this was the 1st of the 4 to be rained out. So, we watched Facing The Giants instead of playing ball. It was fun, but the energy level of 16 boys on the last day of school before Christmas break, well, you can imagine!After our Christmas Eve service at church, we had a dinner of Chinese food-complete with chopsticks and fortune cookies--we can't wait to enjoy this new tradition next year with our new addition--Merry Christmas, sweet girl! After dinner, we let the kids open 1 gift. Each year, we take them shopping one at a time to buy gifts for each other. There is always a lot of thought put into what to give. I love doing this with them and seeing them really think about each other and what they would like. They each chose one of these to open. Samuel gave Molly a Cinderella doll.

I think she likes it!


The boys' gifts were a hit, too...an Atari game from Thomas to Samuel (think Pong and Asteroids) and K'Nex for Thomas from Samuel.
Santa made a visit! (The tree has about had it!)


CHRISTMAS DAY:
I was on call this Christmas, so got up EARLY to go to the hospitals and office and get back in time for...........this!





After the Santa gifts....one from Mommy & Daddy that was 'hidden' in the other room....Santa can't get all of the credit.


It was pouring rain, so we had to wait a few hours to try them out. Thomas got a new bike.


Samuel got a Land Shark--very cool, I must say. And yes, he still has on his PJs...and yes, he did get some new ones, in case you noticed how little they were in a previous picture :)

Someone got a pink tricycle, but was too busy checking out a new Angelina Ballerina video to want to go outside...the outfit was from Thomas!


In all of the excitement of the giving and receiving of gifts, we remember to thank our God for our most precious gift...the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, his Son, our Savior. Without him, nothing else matters. Merry Christmas, friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Date Night


Jeff came home yesterday with a bag of hand-me-downs from some sweet friends that Molly spends a lot of time with. When she saw this dress she immediately said, "Oooh, that is their Nutcracker dress, it's a date dress." Her friend wore this to see the Nutcracker with her grandfather. When Jeff came in the door from work today, he was met by Miss Molly who was dressed in her 'date dress', looking up at him with those big brown eyes, and asking if he would take her on a date.....how could he say no?

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words







Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ballet Princess







Molly had her Christmas party at ballet today and we were able to join the class to watch what she has learned...it is so fun to have these splashes of girly between the soccer, basketball, trucks and dirt!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Addition



When we hung our stockings a few weeks ago, we realized we were missing one. My Granny gave Thomas a stocking when he was born and we have added the same style as each child has come along. So here is our new addition! It is actually a little humbling seeing 4 stockings hanging there--what a responsibility we have been given, but what sweet blessings!



As I was ordering it, I typed 'Cynthia' and turned around to ask Jeff if we were sure--this was the first time her name has been anywhere official...all of the paperwork still has her Chinese name. Ok, so maybe not "official", but you know what I mean.....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome to Travel!

This was the title of the email we received late today from our adoption agency. Despite the title, we still don't have an actual date, but we do have an educated guess of a month...February! So, we very well may be there and have her in our arms to sing Happy Birthday to her on her 2nd birthday (Feb 27th). What a blessing that will be! With the email describing the next stages of the process came instructions on the next set of paperwork....here we go again! I again had that panic feeling and had to stop reading briefly, but it looks like a small hill compared to the mountain of the Dossier--if we did that, I guess we can do this! How worth it all of this will be when we finally meet our baby girl! Is it possible to miss someone you haven't even met yet???

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Trees and fun

We went to get our tree at the Christmas tree farm yesterday...fun family time! This "Look, I'm a tree" has become a yearly tradition--our forest is growing!





Will it fit?




















When we got home, Samuel and Molly took a reading break.







Here are some other activities over the last week....Christmas cookies!



























Yummy!
Molly's decorations....


































Hmmmmm......did we measure that right??
We had a really fun day--while we were decorating the tree, the kids burst into song--"Rudolph", I think (with the 'extra' chanting added--you know, 'like a lightbulb!'), it was really fun.....what blessings they are!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Here we go

OK, here it is...I finally did it. I guess I have been 'blogging' for a while, but through emails to friends and family. Through this blog, I hope to create a 'memory book' of sorts for our family. Life seems to be flying by so quickly. Days are busy and it seems we are just trying to keep up sometimes. I don't want to miss it as it happens...or forget it later! This is the story of our family, but it is really the story of what God is doing in and through our family. As we have stepped out in faith to follow him, it has become an amazing adventure!

Those of you reading probably already know most of our adoption story, but I have posted the emails that I have sent along the way so that they will be included here. Our journey to adopting Cynthia is of course a big part of our lives right now, but there is so much more.....

I named this blog 'precious in His sight' because of the song "Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the world...red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight..Jesus loves the little children of the world!" This song has been stuck in my head for days recently. And I am realizing how true it is. I often look at my kids and think how blessed I am to have them in my life, how precious they are to me and how much I love them. God calls us his children and loves us even more passionately than I can ever love them. Then I think about a little girl on the other side of world, whom I have never met, never heard her voice or her laugh, and never held in my arms. But I love her with all of my heart. If I am capable of that love, how much more our perfect God, who is capable of perfect love, who knows her intimately, who created her in his image--loves her--and all of his children...even those of us that are 'grown up'! So this is our little part in God's big story! Come walk with us........

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Counting...

Hey Everyone-----exciting news today!!!


We have been counting...from October 12th. That was our PA date--pre-approval for adoption of a specific child. The adoption agency said the next step could come anywhere from 30-100+ days, depending on how quickly the Chinese office was moving. So, we started counting.....

1......30 days--- didn't seem too bad since we knew nothing would happen before that.

31+ days-- got a little more excited/anxious wanting to move forward

44 days--got really antsy because we had heard that some people had heard this early.

But we kept counting...........until today..........today is the day..........51 days!!!!!!!!!!! They called today to tell us they received our LSC (letter seeking confirmation). This says that the Chinese government recognizes us as her parents!!!! She is ours!!!!
They are sending the letter and paperwork to us overnight and we have to fill it out and overnight it back to Austin. If it makes it by Friday morning, they will be able to send it to China that day.
Can you tell we are excited??? When my phone rang at work, I saw the number and knew who it was. The only problem was that I was on the phone with a patient's mother....I asked her to please hold a minute and accidently hung up on her. (I did call her back!)

So, of course my next question to the agency was when can we go get her? We still have to wait for travel approval, so there is no guarantee, but it looks like we will have her by her birthday! What a blessing!!!

More to come soon!
Jennifer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cynthia :-)


Hi!!! We got an updated picture and report today!! We sent some specific questions and got some of those answered, but not all...

We think she looks beautiful!!! Those eyes seem to look right into my heart!

Her development is advancing--walking, interactive with other children, saying simple words--including responding 'no, no'! :)

Some great positives from the report--she stands at the door to meet her foster mother when she comes home--this is a great sign that she is able to bond. It will likely make the transition from foster home to us much more difficult in the short term, but a great sign for her ability to make an emotional connection. She likes her bath--also a great sign that she has someone that is caring for her tenderly. We have heard of many orphans who are terrified of baths for a long time because of the way they are bathed in orphanages--rough, fast, with hoses....not a fun event. Also, 'she could sleep through the night' --I wonder if that means she does, or she 'could' ????

The only thing that caused any concern was that she hasn't gained much weight since the last checkup. Her height also slowed a little. Her head size tracked right along a growth curve, though, which is reassuring. It seems the slowed growth is likely nutritional as they sent her 'usual' daily diet. Here is the list:
Breakfast--congee (rice), egg
Lunch -- rice, vegetables
Snack-- cracker, yogurt
Dinner--small bowl of rice

Thomas said "I would starve!" (says the rapidly growing 8 year old boy!!)
The pediatrician in me also doesn't like seeing an almost 20 month old with a bottle either, but we will let that one slide and visit our friendly pediatric dentist when we get home!!

So, overall, we were REALLY encouraged with all of this and suspect she will do fine once we get her---if only that would happen SOON!!!!!!

Have a great night!
Jennifer

Monday, October 12, 2009

Introducing....

Hello everyone. This has been a long awaited email for us! We are so excited to tell you about our daughter. Today, we received our pre-approval, which means the CCAA has taken our dossier out of the long line and matched it with our request for this specific child. The next step will be when the Chinese government recognizes us as her parents (estimated to be 2-3 months)--then we will wait to find out about travel (another 3 months)....still a long process ahead, but this step came more quickly than expected, especially with the holiday last week, so hopefully, things will continue to move quickly.


Her Story--

She is 19 months old (13 months in this picture, we think), so will be just over 2 when we bring her home if their time prediction is correct. We, of course, would love it if it went faster. She was left at the gate of the Social Welfare office in her province on September 8, 2008 when she was 6 1/2 months old. This is unusual as far as we understand--most girls are left at birth or in the first few months. There was a note with her that said her birthday was Feb 27, 2008, but had no name given to her. Most of the babies have a 'birthday' -- a date assumed by the apparent age when they are found, so we are glad to know her real birthdate and that it seemed she was truly cared for in20the first 6 months of life by her family. It really makes us wonder about what happened with her family--were they trying to keep her but couldn't? She is actually in a 'foster home', but we don't know exactly what that means--it was our impression there are still other orphans with her, so it may be more of a small orphanage than a home.
Her medical condition is excellent. She is a petite little girl, but growing well. She has a cervical meningoceole (spina bifida)--a defect in the formation of her spine. Some of these lesions lead to neurological problems in areas below the lesion, but hers only involves the bone and the covering of the spinal canal, not any nerves. She has a visible lesion on her back, between her shoulder blades. This will likely need a surgical repair at some point--not sure when, yet. Her developmental assessment said when she was first admitted to the orphanage she could sit alone, play with toys, interact with caregivers, giggle when teased. At 13 months, she was talkative, likes 'playing with her little friends', walking with 1 hand held and likes to eat rice cereal, boiled eggs and salty snacks?!?! :) We are of course trusting that what they are telling us is the truth about her development. We have also seen a picture of her back and it is definitely noticeable, but not very large. There was an MRI of her spine and we had a Pediatric Neurologist look at it for us. It didn't seem completely clear if the visible lesion is actually connected to the underlying lesion or just an overlying skin defect that can be associated. He is an elder at out church and he and his wife have adopted several children themselves. So, he took this very seriously and read everything very carefully. I was looking at it with him and we discussed several things that can be associated with the lesion, but that are either also fixable, or very unlikely based on her development and growth. After looking everything over, he said he had no reason to say we shouldn't proceed. Then, he prayed for us and her, saying that we know nothing will happen outside of God's providence--what an encouragement! We will always be thankful to him for his help.

Her name--

On arrival to the orphanage, she was given the name Du Xinti. We wanted to find out what this name meant so we asked a good friend who teaches English in China to translate it for us. Here is his response:

Hi guys...so I did some asking and talking and here’s the low down on her name: her last name, Du (pronounced “Do” in English) is the Du from the Chinese word, “Shou du” meaning “capital city.” That part really has no effect on her names meaning...many last names are simply “names” with no real essence to the meaning. Her first name “Xin Ti” gave me and many others much more trouble...mostly because the word “Ti” is rarely used in spoken Chinese; some friends didn’t know the meaning; my dictionary didn’t have it in it either. We were later able to find and confirm w ith others that the word “Ti” means “happiness.” “Xin” means “new”. When putting the two words Xin Ti together, you get the meaning, “future of happiness.” we pray that will be her future. With the pronunciation of the name in chinese...it sounds a lot like Cindy in english...i guess you could also get Cynthia from that too...but “cindy” sounds almost exactly like the pronunciation of “Xin Ti.”

Needless to say, when reading this email, tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn't even speak. Honestly, I was truly overwhelmed for the evening and just continued to ponder this amazing meaning. I was actually at a women's retreat with our church when I read this. About an hour later, I went to the evening meeting where the speaker began to talk about John 10 where Jesus is pictured as the Good Shepherd. She was explaining how significant it is that Jesus is willing to lay down his life for his people, like a shepherd is for his sheep. She asked the question, why would he do this..what is his motive? She explained that Jesus is willing to do this because it is not an act for some unknown or abstract person or people. He is willing to do this bec ause he KNOWS us and he NAMED us...."I know my own and my own know me, just as I know the Father"...that he NAMES us according to who we are, but also according to who we are called TO BE. OK, of course, I was in tears again!
So, we are definitely considering Cynthia for her name...and I looked up the meaning of that in English. The Moon Personified--back full circle to the holiday last week! Wow! I'm honestly still in awe. We truly feel that God has chosen her for our family and named her as well! What sweet confirmation!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement--what an adventure this has been--and we haven't even boarded a plane, yet!
Jennifer

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chinese Traditions

Hello!
Wow, what a week. It is starting to sink in that she really is going to be ours. It is also starting to sink in that our little girl is on the other side of the world and we want her HERE!!! We have been waiting to hear from the adoption agency about our approval--this says that they have taken our Dossier and matched it with our request for this specific child. We were told it usually happens in 2-4 weeks. We are at 1 week (but still anxious!).
We got an email yesterday from the adoption agency letting us know that there is a holiday in China this week and the adoption authority will be closed. Which of course means all is at a standstill. Initially, we were a little bummed.
However, then we learned a little about the holiday. In adopting a child from another country, we want to make her part of our family, but we also want to teach her about her heritage and customs/traditions. China is an amazing country that is so much older than the United States, sometimes it is hard for us to understand and fully grasp all that is involved, so we are trying to read and learn about Chinese culture.

October 1 is Chinese National Day and this whole week is the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. National Day is a day celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China--like July 4th. This year is the 60th anniversary, so it is a big celebration. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a much much older tradition in China and is a celebration of the moon.

Here are a few excerpts of the description:

Whenever the festival sets in, people will look up at the full silver moon, drinking wine to celebrate their happy life or thinking of their relatives and friends far from home, and extending all of their best wishes to them.

For thousands of years, the Chinese people have related the vicissitudes of life to changes of the moon as it waxes and wanes; joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the full moon is round and symbolizes reunion, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the festival of reunion. All family members try to get together on this special day. Those who can not return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones.


If you are interested in reading more, check this web site (there is an interesting 'folk-tale'):
http://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/holidays/mid-autumn.htm

So, after reading these descriptions, we decided to join in the celebration--with a little variation. Last night, the five of us went outside and, while looking at the (almost full) moon, said our 'bedtime' prayers to our powerful gracious God, the creator of that moon. We did express to him our 'deep longing for our loved one' and our desire that he would bring her home in his perfect timing. It was very moving to hear our children praying for her and to think that she is under the same moon, but more importantly that the same God is just as near to her as he is to us.

If you see the moon this week (or any time!), remember her and if you would, join us in praying for her.

Some specific requests:
We are praying that someone is loving her--that she has a true loving connection with a caregiver. Even though it may make the transition a little harder, she will know true care and love and will be quick to see that we love her in that way.
In her heart, somehow she has a knowledge beginning to grow, that she has a family.
Health & safety
And like all of our children that they would never know a day without the knowledge of Jesus as their saviour.

What a journey this is!!!
Will keep you updated when we hear something!
Jennifer -- for us all

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's HER!!!!!

HOORAY!!!
We found our daughter and little sister! After much prayer and discussion--between Jeff and I, and several physicians discussing the medical issues, we have found her! We are so excited and today has only served to confirm our thoughts. We called the adoption agency last night to lock her file. At that point, a 48 hour clock starts to tick, during which we have to submit a 'Letter of Intent' and several other documents. We have just completed the letter and will be sending the 'Agreement' in the morning! So, unless there is a major change, she is ours!
We, of course, want to leave tomorrow to go get her, but there is still quite a process to go through, so it will likely be another 6 months until we are able to travel. We can't wait to have her in our arms--I think this is going to be the most difficult part of the waiting!

I really want to tell you all about her, but at this point, she still isn't 'ours' to send out information or pictures. I will do that as soon as I can. For now--just know that she is beautiful and she is perfect! And that our good God had her planned for us all along is such a sweet thought!

More to come soon!
Jennifer

Monday, September 21, 2009

Please pray

Hi all--we have been presented with a little girl to consider--please pray for wisdom and discernment and that it would be clear if this is our 'baby sister' or not!
Jennifer

Sunday, August 16, 2009

49 hours

Well--we anxiously awaited the 48 hour mark. It came....and went. Knowing she said she would call either way, we didn't really know what to think. Finally, the phone rang and she told us that she was waiting to be sure because sometimes there is a time delay, but the little girl did not show back up on the list. So, the other family did decide to proceed with her adoption. I have to admit that I was not surprised, but still very disappointed. I kept thinking of the word 'deflated'. I just didn't really have any other description. There have been a few tears (on my part--Jeff has been a rock!) and a few thoughts of "15 minutes!! how crazy!!!" But, overall we are not doubting. We do not doubt that she was not the right child for our family. And that there is still another little girl who already is part of our family--we just have to return to the patient waiting for her. Most of all we don't doubt that God has the absolute best plan and that it WILL happen in his time.

So, for now from our family of 5....

Jennifer

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ups and Downs

Well...what an emotional day it has been for us. We actually got a call. You have to understand that for the last year, my cell phone has been plastered to me--I never am without it, JUST IN CASE. Maybe our social worker doing our home study needed some information, maybe the adoption agency would have a question about our file and now, maybe they would call--THE call. I didn't expect it yet--not nearly this soon, but was trying to be prepared. Well, I had a crazy day at work yesterday--so crazy that by the end of the day, I could only laugh. When I finally got home at close to 8:00, there was a message on our machine from the adoption agency! My first thought was 'why didn't they try my cell?'. That is when I realized I didn't have it with me!!!!! After having it literally every day-the one day they called. Well, of course we couldn't get ahold of them last night, so called them this morning. There were actually 2 girls on the list that they thought we might be interested in. We had a few reservations about one, so decided to look at the other. After reviewing her file, we were really excited and thought we might have found her. We took a few minutes to calm down, talk and pray together. Then, I called the agency to ask them to lock her file for us. As we were talking, she said she had just checked 15 minutes prior and she was still available. Well, you can probably guess what I am about to say...she was off of the list! Someone else from another agency had locked her file in the 15 minutes before I called. WOW! We were of course dissapointed, but we are resting in the fact that we have a God who is sovereign and who has the absolute best for us.

In thinking of all of the events of the last 2 days, I see that he has our perfect plan in mind. Even in me not having my phone with me. After the initial conversation with the agency, there were emails and medical records and pictures to review, calling Jeff, calling the agency, etc, etc. There is NO WAY I could have done that yesterday. And then as we were praying just before we called back, we asked that God would make it absolutely clear if this was her or not. We felt that she was, but it was having to be such a quick decision that we were still a little uneasy. Well, we feel like that prayer was answered--maybe not the way we wanted, but it certainly was clear for the time being.

The story isn't quite over, yet, however. Once a file is locked, there is a 48 hour period in which some paperwork must be filed or the child will go back on the list. So, there is a (probably small) possibility that she will show up again on Saturday afternoon. Our agency is going to watch for us and let us know. We feel that if she is there on Saturday, she is our little girl and if not, she never was meant to be and that our sweet child is still waiting for us to find her. It actually made it easy for us--practically but maybe not emotionally.

As you can probably tell, we have somewhat of a wounded heart tonight. So, please pray for us--for our spirits, for peace resting in our Father who gives us the promise of his goodness and the promise of hope: "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." Jeremiah 29:11

Until Saturday,
Jennifer-for us all

Monday, August 10, 2009

Log In Date

Hello to all--
Hope you are all well. We have been very quiet on the adoption front. We sent our paperwork and it was hand delivered to the CCAA on June 22nd. However, they don't necessarily 'log in' the paperwork that day. Our agency told us it usually took a while to get an actual LID (log in date). They notified us today that our LID is July 13th. They sent the attached letter as a momento...
After all of the running around getting papers signed and mailing packages and writing letters, it seems strange not to have a 'to do' list, but now we are patiently waiting for the next step. And amazingly 'patiently' is really true. We aren't feeling anxious or jumping every time the phone rings or distracted from life waiting to hear something. We are really excited and will be ecstatic when we do hear, but for now we have patient hearts--not of our own doing, of course! God is good and gives us everything we need for each season of this process! Thanks for all of your support and encouragement!

Jennifer

Friday, June 19, 2009

DTC--Dossier To China

After one last snag that our amazing adoption dossier consultant was able to work out in record time, our dossier was sent to China today and should arrive there on Monday. I am trying not to think of the disasters that could happen (think Tom Hanks & Castaway!) on the trip there! It will have a few last minute preparations by the China division of our adoption agency and then they will walk it over and hand deliver it to the CCAA office on Monday afternoon. We were told we likely won't get word of a Log in Date for several weeks, but it sure is nice to know it is in their hands (almost!).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Here it is!!!!

Hey everybody....Well, after all of this time--it is finished. This morning I went by FedEx and mailed our completed dossier to the adoption agency...what a process. The stack of papers actually didn't look as big as it felt! We had to include about 13 documents, letters, financial information, copies of our passports, etc. as well as pictures of our family (and a 'small' check). Once the adoption agency receives it and reviews it they will send it on to China--possibly as early as next Friday! So now we wait to hear about a baby!!!!JenniferPS Click the link below to see the pictures we sent as well as a few of the completeed paperwork. (The one in Chinese is on every document from the Chinese Embassy authenticating the paperwork for China)

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=9AZMmLVq3bsjq&emid=sharshar&linkid=link2&cid=EMsharshar

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FINGERPRINTS

Well, back from Atlanta, fingerprints done, hopefully adequately. We both left wondering if we may have to go back again..... They were done electronically and there were lots of little cracks and creases in mine when they came up on the screen. And Jeff's birthday had been entered incorrectly--had to correct that--so we will wait to see if we both pass the clearance.....Keep your fingerprints crossed for ours! :)Jennifer

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

QUICK GOVERNMENT!!!

Did I really type that title? After my last email, so many people asked what the next step was, how much longer, what is the time frame? So, I planned to email to explain what is next. I was going to say that I had the next step, an I-800A application filled out and ready to mail the day after we picked up the copies of our home study. The I800A is a form that is submitted to the US government to get 'clearance' to bring a foreign born child into the country. It involves an FBI background check, Homeland Security and the Citizens and Immigration Services. I was going to say that I mailed it with tracking and knew that it was delivered to their PO box on April 6 at 6:34am. And I was especially going to say that I feel like this step is a 'black hole'. That is because once it is mailed, there is no way to check on it, update the status of our application or know where in the process they are. The typical timeline was 90 days, but the adoption agency said they have been seeing them come back sometimes in 30-45 days. So, I was GOING to say that we were expecting that approval back in mid May. Then after certifying that document, we should be ready to send our paperwork to China--maybe early June. I was going to say all of that----until yesterday...Because when we got our mail, we received our Appointment Notices from the Dept of Homeland Security!!! We have to be fingerprinted for a background check at their office---- in Atlanta----on their schedule----or else. The exact wording is, "Please appear at the below application support center at the date and time specified. IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AS SCHEDULED, YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE CONSIDERED ABANDONED." !!!!!!!!!! And our appointment is next Wed--April 29th at 3:00!This was much faster than we expected, so was really exciting--we may have just sped up everything on the timeline. Our adoption agency said that the fingerprinting is late in this approval process, so hopefully the actual approval will be quick as well. So, we are rearranging schedules, rescheduling my patients and arranging kids.....This seems like we are getting really close! Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive in this process!JenniferPS The other night at dinner, Molly said, "God brings babies home." So true.....and what a blessing and encouragement to hear it from her!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

申请人姓名

Hi everyone--hope you are all having a great weekend! I was just excited because we filled out some forms that seem like they actually have something to do with China!! The subject line says "name of applicant" (I think!). These applications are going with some of our documentation to the Chinese Embassy to be authenticated--still in America, but the fact that it was in both languages made me feel like we are actually getting closer!Jennifer

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Patience

"We have to practice our patience to wait for my baby sister from China" OK, so even Molly is beginning to realize that this is going to take a while!It has been a long time since I sent out an update and many of you have sweetly asked how things are going with the adoption, so I wanted to let you all know. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are settling in to the new year! The Drakes have been busy since our last update--mainly with life in general. We had a crazy Nov/Dec with lots of fun but exhausting events when all put together--a reunion with some residency friends in Ohio, a Georgia Tech game (go Jackets!), a reunion for my high school marching band, (yes, you read that correctly) a trip to Amelia Island for a pediatric conference and a little time at the beach, an adult getaway weekend with some friends where my sweet husband shot an 8 point buck the first time he ever went hunting(!) and then time with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each event was great, but the weeks seemed to fly by as we came home, did laundry and got ready for the next thing. So, we are glad to be at home for a while and are trying to get back to moving forward toward China!A big change that occurred in the midst of all of this was that Jeff's company was not getting much business due to the slow economy and they had to make some cutbacks--of which Jeff was one. Some may see this as a bad thing, but actually it was really an answer to a prayer. He had been trying for several months to figure out how to be more involved with a clinic of which he was on the board. He was thinking of trying to work at his job part time and at the clinic part time, but that didn't seem to be working out, so, God showed him. He was told that he was being let go about 2 hours before lunch on a Wed--the day he had already scheduled to have lunch with 2 guys from the clinic. He had to tell them he may be a little late to lunch because he had to clean out his office!!! So, he was unemployed for about an hour and a half. He started working as the Executive Director of Christ Community Health Clinic, Augusta on Dec 1st and is really enjoying it. Part of his job right now is rasing $3 Million to renovate an old building in downtown Augusta to house the clinic. This clinic is a non-profit clinic serving the uninsured/underinsured of Augusta. Check it out at http://www.christcommunityaugusta.org/welcome-to-christ-community-augusta-So, I still haven't answered the question about the adoption. Since the last email--the 1 hour early home study visit, we had one last meeting with the social worker to discuss 'loss in adoption'. This was probably the only downer part of this process we have encountered so far. There are some things she is required to discuss with us in order to make sure we are ready to deal with things should they come up. Things like not seeing her first smile, not having the connection from pregnancy, having her cry when we go to pick her up. And the worst for me--she handed us a mirror and asked us to look in it and tell her what we saw. Jeff got the answer right--he said his Dad's eyes. She said, 'yes! Now turn the mirror over--what do you see?" (Nothing, of course--a black back) "That is the family resemblance your daughter will see in you.." YUCK! We know there will be challenges, but we have thought for a long time that those kinds of feelings will be outweighed by coming home to a loving family who wants her with all of our hearts. And the pregnancy story and ultrasounds will be replaced with a story of a trip AROUND THE WORLD to go get her! Well, I was a little bummed after leaving that appointment. However, God's timing is perfect--I was at work a couple of days later and one of my partner's patients asked to see me. They had heard that we were in the process of adoption and she wanted to meet--she was in the room with her beautiful little girl from China!! What an encouragement she was to me and I know she was sent that day for a reason!At the moment, things are moving, but very slowly. Our social worker is almost finished with the home study--she finished it, we thought, and sent it to the adoption agency for editing and it came back with multiple changes needed. There is a new treaty called the Hague Convention which is a great thing because it prevents corrupt adoptions, etc, and many countries have signed on to this treaty. However, it has created more red tape in the process and ours is the first home study she has done since this went into effect, so we are all learning together. I have picked back up with some of the paperwork on our end--getting things notarized/certified by the county/ready to send to the state for certification and then to the Chinese consulate ( and THEN to China!!!) It is kind of humorous at this point how many steps each piece of paper has to go through.How are we doing with all of this? Great, actually. Despite what appears to be a frustrating set of delays and obstacles, we feel that God is calling us to continue the process and we are really not feeling frustrated or impatient. At the moment, we see things that to us look like obstacles coming at us quickly--logistically, financially, however, we have a feeling of great expectancy at waiting to see how God is going to work. This is an unusual place for us to be--we are both very much planners and like to have everything ready before moving ahead, but this is very different for some reason. God is asking us to step out in faith and proceed, not knowing how he is going to provide. Instead of feeling fear or uncertainty, we feel excitement and we know that no matter how slowly or quickly this process goes, He is guiding it. Last Sunday I was struck by a description of the women who went to Jesus' tomb after he was crucified. They were taking spices to lay on his body. On the way, they wondered who would move the HUGE boulder for them so they could get inside of the tomb. Even though they had no idea how they were going to proceed, they went--they were willing to 'just show up'. Of course when they arrived, they witnessed the most amazing event in human history--Christ had risen! That is how we feel at the moment--we know God has called us to this and we are ready to 'just show up'.Pray for us--for continued patience, diligence, pray for our daughter and mostly pray that through this whole process, God would be glorified and that this would create a story for us to pass on to our friends, children and grandchildren in order to honor him and to see his hand at work in obvious ways.Thanks for all of your support!Jennifer