Friday, July 19, 2013

Love you - the day we found our daughter

Back in May, I was browsing the agency waiting children lists like I had been known to do many times a week (ahem - okay sometimes daily).  After a while of doing this, it kind of feels like you are shopping for a child and that just doesn't feel okay.  There also comes a time when you don't think you could say "yes" to just one and "no" to so many others.  So how does one know when that's the child that is meant to be yours? I asked myself this question and prayed over it many times over the course of months.

So there's that day in May - a new listing is on the waiting child list and she fits our "criteria".  The agency had us fill out a form stating what needs we would be open to and what age/gender.  For some reason, I'm drawn to the heart babies over and over again, where Jeff felt like we would be given the need God knew we could handle and didn't want us to pick and choose.  The first time I expressed interest in a child's file, a heart baby - age 2, she was on hold by another family and we got in line.  That family decided to go forward for her so we never got a chance with her.  This happened a couple of times and we started to wonder how fast did we actually need to ask about a child before we even got the chance to be first.  On May 17th, our agency added a file and named her "Poppy".  There she was, sitting on her green seahorse, wearing little bumblebee socks and the cutest little smile.  I emailed immediately.  The response was the same - "you can review her file, but she's on hold for another family, did we want to get in line?". Absolutely yes - we got in line.  And kind of figured she wasn't ours.  We left the idea of her being ours alone.  We went on with our daily lives.

May 22nd was an ordinary day and the school year was drawing to a close for us.  Our oldest was in finals mode and studying like crazy.  Volleyball season was in full swing with practices and games for the twins.  Life was busy and I was at the grocery store picking up more food to feed our crew.  I tend to check my phone before heading home from the store to make sure Jeff or Melissa didn't need something.  That's when I saw the email from our case worker and tingles ran through my body. Our family was up, she was on hold for us and she wanted to know if we wanted to go forward.

I quickly emailed her back asking if I could call her when I got home to talk to her.  We had glanced at the file when we received it, but quickly put it away thinking we wouldn't get a chance with her.  Now I was trying to pull up everything I had read and it frightened me.  Complex CHD - could we handle that and everything it meant?  Were we thinking correctly and realistically? She was adorable - 14 months old which was the perfect age to keep birth order in our family (which was important to us) - and a heart baby.   I could tell by the look in Jeff's eyes that evening when we sat down to go over everything, that he was looking at his daughter.  That look that a daddy gets when he first sees his baby.  A loving look like no other.  She was going to be ours.  She was ours!

So let me introduce you to our new daughter!  Isn't she the sweetest thing? Her Chinese name means "love you" and oh how we can't wait to love on her.

She will be Emelia Rose "china name" and called Emme for short.  We can't share her China name online - but we feel it's important to honor where she is coming from because it's always going to be a part of who she is.  There's so much we don't know about our Emme Rose yet.  We do know that she must have been loved by her birth parents as she was abandoned 12 days after her birth, with a note and milk powder.  They must have known about her condition and knew they couldn't take care of her.  We know she is a survivor. Her spirit must be one of uniqueness to survive as long as she has without much medical care and needed surgery.  We know we can't wait to hold her and let her experience the love of a family.  She will touch hearts. We love her so much already.

Hold on a little while longer sweet girl, we are working hard to bring you home.  Love you, XOXO, Mom & Daddy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mid Summer dreams

It's quite obvious that I am not a regular blogger.  With such infrequent posting it's likely someone reading to assume that there is nothing going on.  Ha! Quite the opposite actually. Life happens so fast that I have blinked and it's now July.  Wasn't it just January??? So I'm going to use this post as an overall catch up on what's been going on with us lately.

Dreaming of Her: Quite the most important event of the year is our referral for our new little girl.  We are so excited!   I will write a separate post, because it deserves it's very own spot to tell all about how we came to be her parents to be and her, our precious daughter to be.  This news came to us late May one day, and caught us by surprise.  Aren't the best gifts those we weren't expecting? She is a gem.  I promise it will be next to tell all about her. For now, those that are interested in our "stats", we have PA for her as of June 8th (after our LOI, Letter of Intent, date of June 1st).  We didn't hear of our PA until June 21st though so that was quite a wait! We have finished our fingerprinting for our I800a application.  This approval is what we are waiting for now and comes through USCIS.  This whole process is not for the faint of heart and comes with many hoops to jump through.  We are jumping through them now for our I800a approval.  Next up comes our dossier being notarized and authenticated, then what all adoptive parents wait for...three little letters....DTC.  Dossier to China that is.  Basically our life story gets sent overseas, gets matched with our girl's file and our PA (Provisional Approval).  Then we wait again for the China gov't to issue us LOA, Letter of Acceptance.  Have I lost you yet? It's a lot to take in, this internationally adoption process.  Every step requires approval by someone and every step require waiting by us.  My arms already ache for her to be in them and oh how I want to give her little sweet tummy a squeeze.  She is in my dreams and prayers daily. Trying hard to trust in God's timing - He is good all the time.

Fundraising: Last up on our fundraising train was our big Trash to Treasures yard sale and how big it was! A friend arranged for us to use her church parking lot and it was the perfect location.  The trip there had us driving a loaded Suburban (can you see my daughter in the pic - it's kind of like a Where's Waldo, but Where's Jessica pic), a pick up truck full inside and out, and a trailer full of donated items.  Of course, shoppers began arriving before we finished setting up - those early birds.  My girls baked some yummy goodies for their bake sale and really put their heart and soul into helping with the adoption.  One shopper came back later in the day just for Grace's cookies (PB Choc Chip... so good!).  But what we took away most from this day is the friends that came out to help us.  A few couples we hardly knew came from our church bible study group and stayed the whole day.  Some donated their clothes & goods, others came to shop.  Another bought a pan of cinnamon rolls for way too much.  They were all such blessings to us and truly touched our hearts.

I've thought a lot about posting how much money we made that day, and I want to encourage others fundraising so I will. We raised $1900! Just in time to send in our next agency payment (which happened to be $2088) too.   So if anyone might be thinking the yard sale is too much work, it is A LOT of work, but it's very worthwhile.  We only had one day to sell our donations, so we had a lot left over which was then re-donated to another charity.


Summer Fun:

The rest of this post promises to be light hearted and fun! Craft Week was so much fun and the girls participating did such a good job on all the projects.  It was a week full of color, in the form of paint and fabric, full of learning (all the girls learned how to sew on a sewing machine for the first time!) and full of making new friends.  We gear up and do it all again with 12 new girls later this month!  

VBS is on the horizon and this is the first time I have a driver in the family to take the kids.  The older girls are volunteers, the younger girls participating, which leaves me and Brett Henry to do..... I'm not sure yet! VBS at our church is always a blast so I know everyone is looking forward to that.  I may even get to sew that week! Goodness knows the shop needs some inventory and I've got a bunch all cut out - and they are super cute!

We've been visiting with family near and far, getting to know our neighbors better (after almost 2 years, it's time!), swimming and enjoying hot, lazy days which come in the slowerness of Summer.  Granted it's never dull, quiet or too lazy around here! Right now the kids are watching old family movies - I forgot how much they love that and it's always funny to hear the little ones ask "where am I?" when its from a time before they were born.  Then comes an answer from a sister who says "on a cloud, waiting to be sent from Heaven".... so sweet.

Back soon! Keep dreamin'!