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, August 30, 2010

Trave Approval!

We just received travel approval to go and get our little girl...we are ecsatic! We hope to get a consulate appointment toward the end of September, which will have us leaving around the 13th. Help us pray that this is the case, otherwise our trip will be delayed by 3 weeks. I'll share more when we know!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Room of Her Very Own

Parents who are adopting internationally, as we are, are taught to be prepared for a number of possible institution-related behaviors. Some children are taught to self-soothe by sticking their finger in their ear or sucking on the corner of a towel. Some children rock themselves constantly for stimulation. Others, coming from a situation where food has been limited, hoard food in pockets or overeat for fear that the abundance of food may not continue. Some children do not cry in the beginning, becuase they have learned that crying brings no comfort, no result. Nannies are not able to respond to every child every time they cry. So, many children just stop doing it. There are a thousand other variables, and every child is different.

Recently, I was reading a post by a fellow adoptive parent about some unique tendancies she was facing with her daughter. This precious girl, adopted from an orphanage internationally as an older child, was in the habit of hiding odd little things around the house. Eventually, her mom asked why she was doing this. Her reply, "I've never had things that belong just to me, and I want to hide my things now. I don't know why. I know that no one will take them here, but I can't help it."

It had not really occured to me until reading this post that children living in many orphanages have no personal belongings. Of course, this makes sense. It would be a logistical nightmare to keep up with whose clothes were whose if you were doing laundry for over 100 kids. I think that one of the small joys of our early days with Grace will be giving her things that will belong to her. I wonder how long it will take for the concept of "belonging" to occur to her. How long will it take for her little mind to comprehend that the doll that I've kept next to my computer for the past 15 months is hers to keep? How long will it take for her trust in us to build and for her to realize that she belongs with us?

One of our first big opportunities to show her that she belongs here will come on the day that we bring her home. My mom and dad just spent the past week here helping me prepare Grace's new room. It is wonderfully soft and girly, and I love it. I find myself walking by and just staring into the room, trying to imagine her sleeping under her soft blanket in the crib that her Daddy just put together.

I know that trust will come only through patience and time. But I think it is going to be a wonderful experience teaching this little one that she is our daughter, and she always will be.
Seth's old dresser got a new life with paint, glass knobs, and a wood applique.

A lovely shower gift that matches her room perfectly!

An old lamp shade, painted white. A white bed sheet, cut into strips and made into raw-edged yo-yos. Rosettes glued to the shade with pearls in the center. Girly lamp for under $5.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Rattle Heard Round the World

We have precious friends, newly gained, who are in China right now finalizing the adoption of their precious girl. Their daughter is 2 months older than Grace and is from the same orphanage. We suspect that they are playmates.

A few weeks before they left, my friend offered to take something to the orphanage director (who would be delivering their daughter to them) for Grace. Not wanting to take up too much of their limited luggage space, I found a small pink rattle and shipped it to my friend. I attached a slip of paper to the rattle with Grace's Chinese name in Chinese Characters.

The morning after my friends met their daughter, I got an email. My friend said that she had indeed given the rattle to the director. When she pointed to the name on it, the director's face lit up with a smile. Through the interpreter, she told them that she had heard that we would be coming very soon to adopt RuoYun.

When I read that message...well...I burst into tears. I'm so excited for my friends. Adding to that the surreal thought that the rattle that I bought in Westminister a few weeks ago has traveled to the other side of the planet, to rural northwestern China, and is now in the hands of my baby girl.... And that they have been notified that we will be there soon.... It is overwhelming. This dream that started 15 months ago, just days after Grace was born, will soon come true.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Communication Between Two Governments

This week, on the 12th, the US Consulate in Guangzhou (GZ) issued our "Article 5". This, essentially, is a document that notifies the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) that we have been approved to adopt Grace, to bring her back to the US, and that her immigration and citizenship paperwork is ready to be finalized once we arrive in China.

Our agency's reps in China physically walked-in to the consulate to pick up these precious documents and the forward them to Beijing and the CCAA. This means....drumroll please....that we are on the FINAL step of this process. Sometime in the near future (around August 26th if recent trends continue), we will receive our Travel Approval. This is China's inviation to come and get our daughter.

Travel schedules are still sketchy, but if our TA does indeed arrive before the end of August, we may be able to travel in September. Our agency knows that we will be ready to go at a moment's notice if necessary. Please help us pray that we will be able to travel next month, and that we will be able to do all that is necessary between now and then to get ready for the trip (and get the boys ready for the new school year!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I recently learned that blogs using the blogger platform are not accessible in China. And, because I desperately want to be able to post photos and notes about our adoption trip for everyone back home, I have created another site. So, I am uprooting, at least until we return to the US. This blog will not be updated again until after we return.

We have a new Shutterfly Share Site that we will use as a travel journal. You can access it HERE. If you would like an email when I update it, just become a member of the journal. One pretty cool side benefit is that the grandparents can order copies of any of the photos that I post directly from the share site. So, they can have prints of Gotcha Day delivered by Shutterfly before we even make it home.

Some sweet friends have generously offered to lend us a netbook for travel, so that we can send updates without lugging a laptop all over China.

Now...off to get 9 prescriptions filled, get a blood test to see if I need a HepA vaccination, finish emptying Seth's old room, turn it into Grace's new room, meet with our social worker for the home study update, finish the back to school preparations, buy the rest of the stuff on the packing list, CLEAN MY HOUSE....but first....I'm gonna watch a movie with my hubby :)

**The text of the posts on the Shutterfly Site have now been moved to this blog for the sake of continuity. They are chronological in sequence from this point forward.**

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tiny Girl

It is amazing how quickly this sweet face has captured our hearts from over 8,000 miles away. I wonder about her continually. How is she sleeping? Has she been sick? What is her favorite food? Does she laugh? Does she have a friend? Did she receive the gift that we sent? Does the blanket keep her warm at night?

We had a very few questions answered this week. We received an update of her height, weight, foot length, head and chest circumfrence. We also learned that she has 4 teeth and that she is "healthy". We are so very thankful for the update, which means that the orphanage is now aware that she is being adopted. At the same time, we are concerned about the information revealed.

Our sweet girl has gained just under a pound in eight months. At 15 months old (today), she weighs just over 15 pounds. These measurements tend to be taken fully-clothed as well. As a cleft-baby, feeding is no doubt a challenge for her.

I have been blessed to meet many friends online who are adopting or have adopted babies just like Grace. And, I have learned that these numbers aren't that unusual for a cleft baby. One sweet friend told me, "Any weight change that isn't backward is a good thing."

So, we have put away all of the 18-month clothes that we planned to take to China. It is time to gather 9 month clothes instead. A dear friend, who happens to be a NICU marvel, is helping us to design a game-plan for nutrition to help her grow strong and healthy. We have special nursers for cleft-affected babies in hand, and are ready to put them to good use.

The wait is harder now. We know that she needs us. We know that loving attention and nutritious food are going to radically change her world. And, we anxiously ancticipate the moment that she is placed in our arms.

Please help us pray for Grace to remain healthy while she waits for her new Mommy and Daddy to bring her home.