Jan 31, 2012

What is PA?

In the world of adoption from China, there are many little abbreviations which you learn quickly. To others these seem like their teen's texting gone bad, but to we waiting families it means little mole hills piled onto one another that form this great mountain we painstakingly must climb to finally reach our child.

Some of these abbreviations are just skips to the next ledge and others are like sheer rock with hardly any foot or hand holes so you must take very small, deliberate steps. During these parts of the climb, you may fall back a few feet, but you'll find a new foot hole and keep climbing.

During this time I have felt so many emotions already. I felt I was climbing sort of alone because of all the paperwork, phone calls, runs to the bank, to the post office, more phone calls and just running in circles gathering everything needed for our paperwork. Tim has been wonderful, working his tail off to provide for our family and being there whenever I asked to get the things done we needed. His attitude is always, "Tell me where I need to be, what time, and I'll be there." But I had felt sort of alone in the paper climb (this isn't Tim's forte)...until tonight.

I came home from picking Carmen up from swim. Richie was doing his thing, Savannah was doing hers and there sat Tim on the couch with my laptop laughing. When I asked what he was doing, he said, "Come here, look at this." He was watching "Gotcha Videos" of other families on Youtube. He found a little guy who resembles the little guy we have put in our LOI.

As he sat on the floor I sat behind him and we watched one last video together and we both had tears in our eyes. Then I knew I may be climbing the paper mountain, but he's climbing the tree where the paper starts. We're completely in this together and we pray that our next ledge is a PA, this stands for "Pre-Approval" from China saying they pre-approve for the little boy we are asking to adopt.


Jan 26, 2012

LOI - Praying for Acceptance

We can't share much except we have submitted an LOI to China (that stands for "Letter of Intent") for a little boy with special needs. It will take approximately 2 more weeks before we are able to hear if we get PA (pre-approval) from China to adopt him.

We are asking for prayer that this little guy will be able to be our son. Yes, we said son. We actually felt drawn to a couple little girls at first, but the access to them was quickly taken away. Then we saw this little guy who melted our hearts.

So many assimilate adopting from China being one with adopting a girl. This is a high misconception. Seventy-Two percent of the special needs children in the orphanages and foster care are boys.

Thank you for your prayers.


Jan 25, 2012

Hangups - Hurdles & Hope

We'll start with the hang-ups! Publicizing our blog! This was my first major hang-up, but I made a promise that as soon as we received USCIS approval we would go public with our blog. This was made to keep our friends posted on our adoption, but it's also helped me let off anxiety, so please excuse ramblings. So as you can guess??? WE RECEIVED APPROVAL TODAY!!! If you look over to the right, you'll see how the timeline works (in a perfect world that is). Sometimes it takes longer and by God's Grace (such as now) it comes sooner.

People ask us: Where are you at in the process? How much longer before you get to pick a child? Boy or girl? How long now? How old? Why does it take so long? How can you afford? and hundreds more.

Believe it or not, we don't mind the questions. You know why? Because that was US asking those same questions over the last 5 years! Information given is knowledge gained. Who knows, maybe someone asking the questions may be the next family to give a child a home with a mom and dad and a future. What we have to say is it may not be for you...yet...or ever, but there is ALWAYS something you can do. You can pray, you can sponsor a child, you can become a big brother or big sister, you can volunteer at a center where kids go when their parents cannot afford after-school childcare, you can do so many things, but the main thing to remember is the YOU CAN part. It doesn't have to be overseas, over anywhere, it can start in your own community, the need is there, just look and I'm sure many will be blessed.

I'm sure you've heard of the old adage, "pay if forward". Do for another without expecting anything in return and they in turn do for another and it keeps going. Through our family being able to ask so many questions of others adopting (and being blessed by them giving us answers), we are adopting ourselves. So please, ask away, if something is too personal to post, I'll contact you privately, but if not, I'll give you any of the answers as they are pertaining to our family.

Blessings to you,

Jan 12, 2012

Directions - Read Directions - Read AGAIN To Understand

My friends all tell me I am WAY too literal a person. So much so, after today's blunder, I'm beginning to believe them!

In all the hoopla of getting all our documents together for our dossier. One of the items that must be done is to have your birth certificates & marriage license authenticated by the Chinese Consulate. Ours is in Chicago so our agency sent us their courier contact Denise. She came highly recommended and her web site was very thorough with its directions...until I read them too literally.

She couriers MANY different forms of documents and in the list of things to include it said GI application. I skipped right over this part because I knew we weren't filing to have our GI bill authenticated. Which also called to have copies of you passport too.

After overnighting her our documents, I gladly made one more check off my list, now it was in her hands. Until she called this morning and asked where our G1 application and passport copies were. I had totally misread the instructions, there WAS an application for me to fill out, a G1 (one), not GI. She laughed through it, helped me email the docs to her and we moved on.

Then she paused and HAD to tell me, "Now, when it comes time for you to go to China and they say you need to get a VISA, they do not mean a credit card! They want the actual Chinese VISA." I had to laugh because she said this actually happened and a couple showed up at the airport with a VISA credit card instead of the VISA!.

What would the world be without us VERY literal thinkers, a boring place without too much humor I like to believe.



The Gingerbread Barn Going - Going - Gone!

Many won't think this funny, but that Gingerbread Barn sat outside over a week and NOTHING would touch the thing, let alone nibble at it. Then all of the sudden we came home & found 1/3 of the back missing & Mr. Squirrel running away. As the days progressed, little by little there wasn't much left but the sides & roof on the ground & I caught a picture of Mr. Squirrel anibbling. Well, then I placed what was left on top of the stump once again & it rained all the next day so I believed it was a lost cause because then it snowed. This didn't thwart Mr. Squirrel though, he needed his sugar fix, he was addicted! Then he made the mistake of leaving for a few moments & the birds came to get their share of sweet treats.
 After the birds had their fill Mr. Squirrel quickly ran and grabbed the remaining side of the barn and only left the red remnants of what was left of the Gingerbread Barn.

Ghost Blogging

Today's post is called Ghost Blogging because I feel like our blog is out there, but no one can see or read it because we haven't publicly posted it.....Yet!

Having a blog to me is very intimidating. It's something that's from your heart and opens up a certain vulnerability to others. But if reading our story helps others but ANY means through their adoption journey or any other type of journey they are making, it's well worth the exposure and hopefully may give them the confidence to put themselves out there also.

After I decided what to call this post, I found out there is actually a thing called "Ghost Blogging", who knew? It is actually where someone else writes your blog for you under your name and is paid to do so. I think I'll stick to writing my own.

Jan 9, 2012

Keeping the Faith

The last 2 weeks have been ones of searching. Searching for a little girl named Melissa who melted my heart and sent me on a quest to find out if she could be ours. She was with a foster program in China and no one had anything but basic information. If anyone knows me, I charge at a challenge and since everything so far with our adoption has come upon the "we've never had a case like this before", I believed she would be ours somehow. I was told it would be like "finding a needle in a haystack", a "one in a million chance of finding her", etc. etc.

Well, with the helpfulness of some beautiful souls, I found her with another agency, getting to be matched with a family, and other families waiting in the wings ready to call her their own, not ours though. I found out tonight around 6 pm and was heart broken, but happy for her to have a forever family. God really lead me through the search, I truly believe so that I could fall back on Him for reassurance that He knows who and what is best for our family. Reading today there was a verse that stood apart.

Matthew 7:8

For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened.

We will keep asking, who Lord. Please lead us on the path to the child you have chosen for us.
We will keep seeking for the face we will know in our heart God has chosen for our family.
We will keep knocking until the door is wide open and we can walk our walk on the path the Lord has set for us.


Recycling the Gingerbread Barn

Usually my posts have been serious, but it's time to get a little humor. Richie was baptized in November and received a Gingerbread Barn from our good friends. Being the NOT so crafty mom/nana, we didn't put it together until December and it was our first one ever. Long story short, Richie got braces & couldn't eat the candy so we decided to give the birds, squirrels & any other manner of outside critter a feast by recycling the barn in the front yard. We even gave it it's own foundation!

Well, there it sat for over a week without even a nibble. We come home everyday cracking up about how nothing would even try to taste the house. Low & behold we came home & there was a squirrel diligently tasting the sugar roof. I tried to get a pic of him, but he never reshowed. Now it looks as if he's been eating the back of the barn (pics later). So if you are around our house & see squirrels or birds acting squirrelly, they're just on a sugar high from the barn. : )

Jan 2, 2012

Family Traditions

Our holidays were really nice. The one tradition is to spend Christmas Eve at G/G Verbeke's home. Most the kids are grown or almost grown and were reminiscing about the "quirks" of parents and grandparents that only a family can relate to after growing up in the same family, with the same traditions year after year. It was one of the nicest holidays there.

My beautiful, wonderful mom passed 7 years ago at the young age of 58. The "tradition" on my side of the family was to meet on Christmas day to celebrate. With her passing, so did this tradition. Now it's custom to meet in our home to share a meal and be together. It doesn't seem the same, our grown children have other places they need to be, the grandkids have different grandparents they need to see, and the closeness isn't the same with everyone's busy lives.

I enjoyed the chaos of unwrapping, sharing the meal, and most of all giving thanks to God for my family. But I have a confession, I also kept thinking about a child, our child, out there and what they were doing this holiday, I wondered if their foster family or orphanage celebrated Christmas, if they received a gift, my mind just wandered and I pray that the 2012 Christmas they will be starting a family tradition in our home.

We spent New Year's Eve with close friends, chatting the night away, playing Apples to Apples with the 2 kids there, our grandson and his friend. It was actually the 3rd year we have celebrated New Year's. In years past we were always the parents at home with our kids and whoever wanted to have their kids at our house, it was fun and I'm looking forward to that in 2013.

Carmen got to have a small party of 5 at our house, which was right down the road from where we were. Richie was with us & I'll post his pics later too. Our kids were they only ones in pajamas for the evening, everyone else was dressed up. We could hardly wait to leave it was SO noisy with 2-13 yr. olds & 3-12 yr. olds!
The Party Girls
Happy New Year 2012, may everyone have a blessed year.