Friday, September 8, 2017

Article 5 Pick Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We received news that our Article 5 was picked up at the U.S. Consulate on Thursday and sent on to the CCCWA in Beijing! This is thrilling news as it means that now we wait for travel approval for the CCCWA. Once we receive travel approval, our agency will apply for a consulate appointment and then we can book flights and go bring our boy home!

We could wait three days or we could wait two weeks for travel approval. Regardless, due to National Day in China which is a "Golden Week" where government offices close, we are hoping for a family day of October 16th.

While we are still playing the waiting game, our end date is feeling within reach, and I am starting to think more about planning our trip, the kids' stay at my parents, and our return home to life as a family of six. My amazon cart is starting to fill with travel necessities such as Tide-To-Go, money pouches, and travel games for Eli. The basement storage area is packed fuller than Christmas with little gifts for the kids while we are gone. I am on the lookout for "travel pants." But, perhaps most exciting of all, as I'm sorting the kids clothes for fall and winter, I get to check and see if we have a winter coat in a size three, if we have enough socks in his size, and I get to agonize over whether to buy him diapers or pulls ups. These little purchases remind me that he really does get to come home. We may not know the exact date yet. We may not even know his exact size shoe. But, we do know that soon the clothes that are carefully folded in the dresser will be worn. Soon there will be a little black-haired boy to tuck in at night with his brothers and sister. And, because we are realistic and have three other children, we realize that soon we will likely no longer sleep through most nights.

This is What it is Like

I wake up and check my email on the off chance that someone was working really, really late or really, really early and sent us an email in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning that China has confirmed we can adopt this child and sent us our LOA (letter of acceptance).

No email, so I creep my way downstairs to sip some coffee and read my Bible. In those quiet minutes a mixture of emotions flood me.

I can wait and trust in the Lord. His timing is perfect.

But, I want the LOA today.

It will come when it is supposed to.

But, if it is today... I usually spend a good chunk of time calculating possible scenarios. If the LOA came today, then our i800 can be sent tomorrow. Those are taking two weeks on average to be returned. Then, we can fill out the DS-260. That is taking a week on average to be returned. Article 5 drop off and pick up is running two weeks. Then, we wait for travel approval, which could take two weeks. If we got our LOA today, we could travel...

And, then I pray some more.

By now, the kids are usually up, so I move on with our day. Around 9 am I start to get antsy, knowing our agency is open. I check my email. Just in case.

We do our school work. I start the laundry. I fix lunch, and though I try to put my phone away when we're at the table, I keep it handy, just in case.

I check my email again.

I start to wonder if something has gone wrong. Has China closed down adoptions? Have they realized how perfect this little guy is and decided to hang on to him? I check the Facebook group for waiting families to see if anyone else has received LOA today.

We read stories. We build a city with Lincoln Logs and Legos. I wonder if we'll have to put the Legos up when our little guy gets here. Has he ever played with blocks? Does he know how to build a tower? A home? I snuggle my little ones extra close. I hold on a little tighter. I am so grateful for them, even in my longing for our fourth.

The phone rings, and I jump. It's some solicitor calling to let me know I am prequalified for a business loan. I decide to check my email one more time.

The kids and I make dinner together and my heart sinks as I realize the agency's office is closed. It's nighttime in China. There will be no LOA today. My mind races back to the calculations I did earlier. If we got our LOA tomorrow, when would we travel. I try to stay focused on dinner, but I have a hard time. I wonder what our little guy ate today. Is he sleeping peacefully? What will he think of our dinners?

We eat. I bathe the kids while Rustain does the dishes. We squeeze onto the couch to read stories. I think about what it will be like when there is another little body beside us. Will he want to sit on my lap? What stories will he like to read over and over and over? Please God, I pray, let him not love Dinosoccer. I am not really serious. I will love him even if he loves the Dino sport books as much as my boys.

I kiss three sweet little heads good night. I tuck them in. Except the youngest. He hates covers, so I just give him a kiss and rub his sweet little back.

I check my email once more. Just in case.

Rustain listens as I share all my irrational worries about China closing adoptions. A domestic family being found for our guy. China saying we aren't good enough parents for this precious boy. Something. My sweet, patient husband reassures me that none of those things are actually going to happen. Although, he admits, the thought has crossed my mind that one of the nannies may want to adopt him. He is so loved. And we are grateful for that. But we are so ready to be the ones to love him. So we wait...

Friday, February 3, 2017


But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

I'm trying to walk these days, but mostly I want to sit in front of a computer screen and search waiting Child lists for my daughter. I want to call the adoption agency yet again and see if there is anything they need from us. Just checking. Again. And, if I'm completely honest, what I really want to do is get on a plane to China and just bring home a little girl. Our daughter. My children's sister. Because I don't want her waiting any longer. 

That is what is at the crux of the matter. I knew adoption was a marathon, not a sprint. I knew after the flurry of paperwork and home visits that we would wait. I am mildly prepared for that. But, I was not prepared to think that we have a child out there somewhere who is waiting for us. This thought had never occurred to me in such a tangible way before. If she is born yet, she is likely in an orphanage. This means her crib is likely pushed up agains other cribs. She likely spend a lot of time every day in that crib. By herself. When she cries, there is not someone who rushes over to see what she needs. There is not a person who is trying to figure out what her favorite things are, how to comfort her, what kind of person she is growing into. There is not someone taking pictures of her to paste in a baby book and looking forward to looking at it with her to tell her, "This is you on the day you took your first step." There is not someone reading her stories at night or praying over her as she falls asleep. 

There are nannies who feed her, change her, play with her when they can. There may be nannies who love her, favor her over others, read to her, and maybe even someone that prays over her. But, they know they will not be there to see her grow up. They know she is not theirs. So their relationship is different by necessity. 

This is heartbreaking. And when my heart feels like it cannot take it anymore, I try to remind myself the God I serve is "Father of the fatherless" and He is with her even though I cannot be. (Psalm 68) He knows her. He sees her. And He has called us to her, because He loves her. 

And so our family waits. 

We pray for our sister as a family and individually. We pray because that is all we can do right now. 

We jump a little every time our phone rings, hoping it is the call from CCAI. And, we wait some more. 

And, we pray some more. We pray that God would comfort her when we cannot. We pray that He would give us patience and strength to endure the waiting. We pray that we can continue to walk this path and not grow weary in the waiting. We wait and we pray. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

God Called . . . We Answered

Ever since I was a little girl, I thought I would adopt. I would say I dreamed of adopting, but that is not the right word  choice. It makes it too romantic. It wasn't. It was just something I figured I would do. Don't get me wrong, I did romanticize adoption. I am sure I still do, but what I am trying to convey is that in a very practical sense, I always thought I would adopt.

I grew up. Met Rustain. We got married. Went to school. A lot. Then, we had our first baby, a little girl. Then, our second, a little boy. And, finally another little boy. We were blessed with being able to get pregnant easily and with healthy babies. Pregnancy wasn't easy on me. As anyone who knowns me is well aware, I had hyper-emesis. In simple terms, it meant that from about two weeks pregnant on, I threw up. Pretty much all the time and everywhere. Maybe pregnancy wasn't pleasant, but my babies were healthy, and after I had them, so was I.

Our life is busy and full. We homeschool a first grader, a five year old, and a three year old (who insists on doing his schoolwork), we have a lot of family and friends we see frequently, we read, we play outside, we go to parks and the zoo and museums. We love God and love our church. I have way too many craft projects going at a time. We have a dog and two guinea pigs and want more animals.

But, there's still an unfilled spot in our family.

Last year, I asked Rustain to just pray about it, and I prayed for God either to take the desire from my heart if that was not His plan or for Him to give Rustain a strong desire to adopt. And, after about a year of praying and waiting, God answered loud and clear. He had never taken away my desire to adopt, and one night Rustain told me he felt like we should adopt someday, and my heart leapt with joy! But, it was still "someday."

Then, we moved. Rustain started a new job. We bought a house and started unpacking, and Rustain told me in the midst of boxes, packing paper, and lots of mess, "I think we should start pursuing adoption now."

So we did. We pursued it like we were running a sprint. We researched agencies, talked to anyone that would answer us, and prayed. And, in the span of about a month, we had an agency picked out, an application completed, a check written, and an email back saying our application had been approved.

We believe we have been called to this, and are trusting God to fill in the gaps, because we know we are inadequate for this. Really, just like parenting, we fall short. But, we have a God who is bigger than our failings, and we believe is leading this endeavor.