Joel and I have sensed a calling to international adoption for many years. In May, 2009 God made it abundantly clear that it was time. After much prayer, research and wise counsel we began the process to adopt a daughter from China. God directed us to an incredible agency that was founded by a family with an amazing testimony. This blog is a chronicle of our journey, to inform our friends and family and as a record of events for our daughter to read one day. Join us in the journey... it is sure to be an adventure!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Baby Girl's First Birthday

We received Grace's pictures and information on April 24th. Just eight days later, on May 2nd, she had her first birthday...

Of course, we had to celebrate!

We shared a fresh strawberry cake ('cause it's pink and all), and sang Happy Birthday. She also got a couple of presents which we will take with us to China in a few months.

It was a bittersweet celebration. We are so excited to have found her, and to know that we will be together soon. But, it was really hard to know that we were missing this milestone. I have lots of photos of both boys on their first birthdays. I especially love the tradition of getting their own cake to play in. Maybe we will do that with Grace on the 1st anniversary of her Gotcha Day!

Big Brother blew out her candle...

Her gifts: Some clothes, a "teetheable" photo album so that she can start learning the faces of her family, and

Her first baby doll.

This was the first thing I purchased after we decided to pursue the adoption of a daughter. Her name is Magnolia, and she was designed by the adoptive mom of two sweet girls from China. You can learn more HERE. (A portion of the proceeds from these dolls goes to assist children in orphanages around the world. And, I've just discovered that Magnolia has a lot of new friends, too!) Very few Asian dolls are on the market today, especially dolls for young children. Magnolia has been sitting on my desk for 10 months as a daily reminder of the blessings of this journey. I cannot wait to give her to our baby girl.

(By the way, the quilt she is sitting on is Grace's bedding. We will begin preparing her room soon. There will be pictures!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God Has Given Us A Daughter!

I finally have the privilege of introducing the newest member of the Rainey family to you. Her name is Abigail Grace. Her Chinese name is Liang RuoYun.

Our adoption agency recently had the extraordinary opportunity to access a database of children that they do not often have access to. This has allowed them to match us many months before we really expected it to happen. We received her photos and information about a week and a half ago, but have been waiting for a certain pre-approval from the CCAA before we were allowed to share her information online.

Our beautiful baby girl just had her first birthday on Sunday. It makes me sad to have missed this milestone. But, I know that we will share many more with her!

These are the things that we know:

~Her Chinese name, RuoYun, means "like all living things", the surname, Liang, identifies her as a resident of her particular orphanage.

~She was abandoned at approximately 4 days old at the gate of the orphanage where she resides.

~There is much poverty in her province.

~Her province has the highest rate of both birth defects and infant mortality in China.

~She is with people who truly care for the children in their charge. I have been in contact with families who have been there, know the director, and attest to the children receiving the best care possible in their given situation.

~She has a third-degree unilateral cleft palate and lip which will require multiple surgeries and speech therapy once we get her home.

~She is a quiet child.

~She likes to play with blocks.

~She loves music.

There are many children in her orphanage with mild to severe special needs. The population of the orphanage increased significantly last year. Many of these little ones have very little hope for adoption. The fact that such kind care is given to so many with special needs is a tribute to the Nannies and Orphanage Director. It is a comfort to know that she is with people who love her.

The orphanage was damaged by an earthquake in 2008. Caring people there have been working since then to raise the funds to rebuild so that they can be in a safer structure. This building is being erected now, and they hope to move the children around August.

So here's the BIG question...When do we go and get her?
We don't know for sure. We are waiting for a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from the CCAA. Soon after we get this, we will recieve an invitation to travel. The trip will be planned at that point, based upon the appointment that we are given at the US Consulate in Guangzhou. I will share more about the details of the trip when the time draws nearer. We expect (hope) to travel within 4-6 months.

We are so excited, so thankful, and so very blessed to have the privilege of parenting this sweet girl, and her big brothers Sam and Seth.