Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cards, Packages, Homeschooling, and Adoption Paperwork

We are enjoying getting ready for Christmas at our house but everything is running a bit behind schedule. Some Christmas cards are heading out in the mail today, the packages have not been mailed yet since I ordered something to go in all of them that has not arrived, and we are trying to squeeze in as much homeschooling as we can before we head to China. I say that as I sit here writing a post and watching Isaiah pull Susu on a sled right by our front window. We got about 2 inches of snow last night and it is perfect snowman snow so how can I keep the kids inside all morning.

My plan this year is to play the "I'm Adopting Card" which will be my excuse for anything that is late or not done for Christmas and all of 2011 if need be. I have been doing more adoption paperwork for this adoption then I had to do for our last adoption so I am blaming everything on that. Yesterday I called USCIS and the kind lady I talked to said she would be mailing out my I800 that day. If that is true, then I think all we have left to wait for is our Article 5 and our Travel Approval. This new Hague adoption process has me a bit confused. Thank goodness our agency knows exactly what is going on.

Here is a picture of our kids in front of our tree which we cut down from our own land. The tree had blown about 1/3 the way over in the last big wind storm that came through so we just helped it down the rest of the way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We Got Our LOA!

Last night we got home from our trip to Kentucky and this morning I got a phone call from our adoption agency letting us know we got our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) yesterday. Our caseworker had left us a message yesterday afternoon and she was wondering why I hadn't called back yet. I told her I hadn't had time to check my voice mail messages. She knows I would normally call her back super quick. The LOA means that China has reviewed our dossier and approved it. This is wonderful news and our agency said that we will be traveling to China in approximately 12 weeks or so. This means we should be traveling in late January or early February which is much sooner than we expected which makes this Mama very happy!!!! Now I have a bunch more adoption and immigration paperwork to keep me busy for another week or so. I guess I better get busy making sure I have everything I need on my packing list.

Here is a picture of my two kiddos with their Great Grandma and Great Grandpa in Kentucky.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby Pictures

We are blessed to have a couple baby pictures of Jacob but they are on a pdf document so it took me a while to figure out how to convert them. I think my husband could do a better job but until he does, here are some grainy pictures of our boy when he was around 11 months old. I know I am a biased Mama already but I think he was a super cute baby! Don't you just love his styling hair cut.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DTC and Birthday Wishes

Today is Jacob's 4th Birthday and I am a little sad that we can't celebrate with him. We got some wonderful news from our agency just in time for Jacob's birthday though. We are now DTC (Dossier To China) which means all our adoption paperwork has been authenticated and sent to China. What a wonderful day to be DTC and a date we will always remember. Another step closer to getting Jacob home so that we can celebrate his 5th birthday all together next year. We are sending Jacob birthday hugs and kisses even if we can't be with him. We know God is looking out for him.

Kisses in the Wind

(The Waiting Child's Lullaby)

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

~ © Pamela Durkota

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Can't Wait for Another Boy!

It is hard to believe that Isaiah is 8 1/2 years old. He has become so helpful to me now that he is older which is one of many reasons why we feel we can handle three kids. I am happy that we get to go back and do some of that fun little boy stuff again. Since my last post was all about boys, I just had to add a few pictures of Isaiah from when he was around Jacob's age. It sounds like Jacob is just as outgoing and full of personality as his older brother. He has the same twinkle in his eyes so I am sure we will be in for some excitement.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adopting Boys From China

Most people I know are surprised to hear there are many many boys in China with mild to moderate special needs waiting for families to adopt them. I am the only and oldest girl in a family of five, so boys are something I know quite a bit about. When we started the process to adopt the first time, I didn't care if we were matched with a boy or a girl. I knew girls were harder to come by in the adoption world and I wanted to be a Mom more than anything. Now don't get me wrong, I had always wanted a younger sister growing up and each time my Mom was expecting another baby, we hoped and prayed it would be a girl. My Mom had home births for the last three so we never knew until the baby arrived whether we would be getting a boy or a girl. When my last three brothers were born, there was a short moment of disappointment and then we were just happy to have a beautiful healthy baby. We wouldn't have traded them for girls once they arrived.

Before adopting Susu, I liked to joke that the only way our family was going to get another girl was for me to travel to the other side of the world and adopt one. Now I think it is rather ironic that I am traveling to the other side of the world for a boy. The more I have read about all the little boys waiting for families in China, the more I want all those little boys to find homes. Boys are just as wonderful as girls. The problem is that most people who think of adopting from China and many other countries as well, go into the process wanting a girl. China is known for girls so boys aren't even on the radar screen of most people looking to adopt from China. That is one reason our Jacob has been waiting for a family since he was less than a year old. He has been waiting for a family to adopt him for over three years now!

We recently got an update on Jacob and I will share a little below.

"He is a very sensible boy. He sees that all children on TV have one’s own mother. Now he often picks up his toy telephone and put it beside his ear, talks to himself “mum, I am Jianwei, come and pick me up!” and then he explains “the phone is power off, so mum did not answer me.” At this moment we feel incomparably sad and you can image that little Jianwei wants a mother so much!"

My heart goes out to all the other little boys waiting for their Moms to come and get them. Right now there are five adorable little boys waiting for families who live in the very same city as our Jacob Jian Wei. They are the boys pictured in this blog post and they all live at the Love Without Boundaries Henan Cleft Healing Home. All five of these boys would make wonderful additions to any family. So if anyone reading this is thinking of adopting, please consider the little boys waiting for families. You can read more about these boys and other boys and girls waiting for families at the Love Without Boundaries blog.

Some of my favorite things about having a son are:

1. Lots of big hugs.
2. Boys love their Moms a whole lot which is where the term "Mama's Boy" came from.
3. Boys can learn to save their Moms from spiders and other yucky crawling things which make their way into the house or hopping things that make their way into Mom's car (did you hear my frog story).
4. Moms can even learn to appreciate such crawling and hopping creatures if they are not brought too close. All of God's creatures are quite amazing, even the yucky ones.
5. Only a little boy will tell others that you looked beautiful after you have spent the whole night throwing up after a surgery and need to be taken to the emergency room in your bathrobe.
6. Handfuls and handfuls of dandelion bouquets brought with a smile.
7. Sweet "I Love You" notes left on pillows which are not from your husband.
8. Being told that you were missed after you get back from grocery shopping.
9. Being told you are the best Mom in the world even though you may have been a crab earlier in the week or even that day.
10. More big hugs. You can never have too many of those!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Step Closer

I was so excited to get our USCIS I-800A approval today. We went in early to get our fingerprints which cut about 3-4 weeks off our wait. Now our agency will get all our documents authenticated and then we will be DTC (Dossier to China) in a couple weeks. There is a possibility that we could travel to China as early as March. Then again there could be unexpected delays which often pop up along the way when you are adopting.

I have been picking up clothes for Jacob here and there. I scored at one yard sale and got 12 pairs of shorts, three tank tops, a pair of jeans, and button up sweatshirt all for only $5. I am guessing that Jacob is just starting to fit in to size 4T based on his weight of 33 lbs and his height of 39 inches. Does this seem accurate to any moms out there with kids of a similar size?

Tomorrow night there is going to be a special on the PBS Point of View show about adoption from China. The show will be following the journey of an American family adopting an eight year old girl from China. The show will be airing at 10:00 or 10:30 in most areas and you can see a clip at the link here.

Here is what is written about the show.


What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy is the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her. Sui Yong is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined. A co-production of American Documentary/POV and the Diverse Voices Project, presented in association with the Center for Asian American Media, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (90 minutes)c

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Hero: George Mueller

I recently read an incredibly inspiring biography about George Mueller. He was a man who lived during the 1800's in Bristol, England. At that time, there were many orphans who wandered the streets with no place to live and no one to care for them. The few orphanages available to children required payment from family members to cover the care of the orphan. If an orphan child had no money, then there was no place for him or her to go.

George was moved by the plight of the orphans in his city and he set out to do something about the situation. Though he barely had enough food or money for his own family, George started a "Breakfast Club" for orphaned children. The club started out with 30 orphans and eventually evolved into five large houses that ultimately cared for over ten thousand children.

George Mueller trusted in God to provide everything the orphans needed and God never let him down. George believed that he did not need to ask others for money to provide for the many children in his care and that God alone should move people's hearts to donate the funds needed. George Mueller possessed a faith and trust in God that has rarely been seen.

George Mueller's autobiography has inspired me so much and that is why I now call him one of my heroes. I have included a short story below about one of the many times God provided for the orphans of Bristol. I highly recommend the book above or any book about George Mueller. The book above is a great book to read to children. Isaiah especially enjoyed having this read to him.

"Things weren't looking good for the children of George Mueller's orphanage. It was time for breakfast, and there was no food in the whole house. A young girl whose father was a close friend of George was visiting the home. George took her hand and said, "Come and see what our Father will do." Long tables were set with empty plates and empty mugs in the dining room. Not only was there no food in the kitchen, but there was no money in the home's account.
Mueller prayed, "Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat." Immediately, they heard a knock at the door. When they opened it, there stood the local baker. "Mr. Mueller," he said, "I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I felt you had no bread for breakfast, so I got up at 2 o'clock and baked fresh bread. Here it is." Mueller thanked him and gave praise to God. Soon, a second knock was heard at the door. This time it was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage and he needed to unload all the milk before he would be able to take his cart to be fixed. He said that before the milk spoiled, he would like to give it to the children." He wondered if they would be able to use it. Where there had been no food in the home only a few minutes before, now the children had fresh bread and milk to fill their stomachs. This was just one of many instances where God provided for the children at the orphanage just in the nick of time. At no time during George Mueller's life did the children at his orphanage go cold or hungry thanks to God always providing what they needed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Special Needs Adoption

We are big proponents of adopting children with special needs since Isaiah, Susu, and Jacob were all listed as having special needs. Jacob's special need is club feet, missing toes, and a missing bone in one of his feet. His treatment will require some specialized care.

You may be wondering how we can afford to adopt a child with special needs who will most certainly need expensive medical treatment. We have done our research and found that Shriner's Hospital will provide the specialized orthopedic surgery and treatment that Jacob will need free of charge. He will also be covered under my husband's insurance as soon as he is adopted. There are a couple of organizations in our state that can help with medical expenses for children with special medical needs as well. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of searching on the internet to find people or organizations that are willing to help.

My husband and I actually met volunteering at a Shriners Orthopedic Hospital in Kentucky so it is rather ironic that we will be going back to a Shriners Hospital to get treatment for our son. We are definitely blessed to live in the United States where there are many organizations that help out families who have children with special needs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our New Son

A new adoption journey and a new blog to go along with it. Last month we sent in our Letter of Intent requesting permission to adopt a three year old little boy from China. We had read about him on the Love Without Boundaries blog here. Our daughter Susu was sponsored by Love Without Boundaries so we have a special place in our hearts for all the children sponsored by this wonderful organization. Ten days later we got the very exciting news that China had granted us pre-approval to adopt and we shared the news with family and friends that we have a new son waiting for us in China. This will be our third adoption and second adoption from China. Our first son Isaiah was adopted from our home state.

The last five weeks have involved lots of paperwork, updating our homestudy from three years ago, gathering documents, and going to get fingerprints. We are now just waiting on our USCIS approval and then we will have everything our agency requires before we send our dossier to China. We hope to travel some time between February and May of 2011. We will be naming our new son Jacob and keeping his Chinese name for his middle name. Our whole family will be going to China which will be quite an adventure!