Friday, February 25, 2011

An Incredible Gift

Thank you to those who have asked how it's is going but I am struggling to keep it calm when things are done and ready to go but for some reason are not mailed to me yet so I can't move forward with the next step. It is frustrating to say the least.  And I do understand that it is just someones job.  But on the other hand I feel like, if every month makes a difference between a successful surgery or possibly too much damage....which according to the cardiologist it does....then what if the hold up to send the paperwork I need is what ends up making that difference??!!!!!!  It is mind boggling to me how some people, our Chinese agency and homestudy writer, have worked extremely hard to expedite their ends of things and yet other people don't.

So, enough of my little rant.

We found Min through the advocating of a wonderful adoptive mom.  She adopted her daughter Teresa, link on the side of this blog, last summer, and Teresa is struggling health wise and there is nothing that can be medically done for her at this point.  She REALLY needs a miracle.  This weekend is a weekend of fasting and prayer for Teresa's heart.  Will you please join us?  This wonderful mother is so extremely kind.  Besides the fact that she has plenty on her plate with her own family.  She has checked in with the orphanage that Min and Teresa were at together and gotten a promise of pictures to forward to me since I can't contact them.  Yesterday I got a video of their adoption. Min is in the video.  A lot!

I got to watch twenty minutes at least half of which had my daughter in it.  What a priceless gift and treasure.  I'll be honest, I'm a bit of an adoption blog junky.  I love the travel stories and the pictures and videos of a child being united with their forever families.  It was so great to see this wonderful video and that they were able to go to the orphanage and see some of the other children.  Min is NOT  shy:)  She was the first to greet them.  She listened to everything this mom said and repeated it.  The mom was telling Teresa about how many sisters she will have.  And there was Min holding up her 5 fingers and repeating after this Mom.  She so obviously wanted to be getting adopted.  It was such a different perspective watching through the eyes of the child not being taken home.  And this family was so gracious to Min.  They never just brushed her off in the focus of their daughter.  They never appeared at all annoyed with her for butting in or sneaking Teresa's toys that they brought for her.  Which let me tell you, Min snuck that doll every time Teresa walked off.  The nannies had to tell her to give it back or to leave them alone.  I can't understand Chinese but I could figure it out based on the tone:)  And she obeyed every time.  Until Teresa left the doll and Min could get it again. It is almost funny to me that she loves dolls because I'm not a doll playing type of a girl.  But when I got married I asked my husband to give me a doll each Christmas because I though it would be a cool thing to pass down to a daughter.  So I have a porcelain doll collection waiting for her when she is older:)  And will obviously need to get on the search for a great doll or two..or three.  We have quite a few Buzz Lightyears but she liked playing with the hair.

And I thought how horrible it must be to see your friend get adopted and long for a family and then they are all gone and you are not.  My heart broke a little bit watching that video, even while I was thinking I am so glad Min is not a pushover because she is getting four big brothers and I think she'll be able to hold her own.  She is a bit of a camera hog as well.....I can relate to loving the spotlight, good thing there is a great community theater here and a wonderful dance studio.  If she wishes to perform, this is the place where she will shine.  It was an amazing gift that we will always treasure, from a woman who already led us to Min and who has so much else going on in her life right now.  And I am so very grateful to this friend I have never met.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Week

There isn't a lot going on, except that I feel like my life has been overtaken by paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork:)  The GREAT news is that our home study is reviewed and I should be getting notarized copies any day now and then I can send off for Immigrations approval.  I already have the form filled out and ready to turn around the day I get the home study!  Not that I am anxious....

So, while that is going on we have to have a set of documents notarized, state sealed and then stamped by the Chinese consulate.  Because of where we were born and married and where we are now, we have two different consulates that have jurisdiction over us.  So I am keeping track of those two sets of documents and they should all be to the agency ready to go and waiting for Immigrations approval when it will all go to China as a packet called our dossier.  My birthday is at the end of March.  I was REALLY hoping against hope that we would have everything to China by my son's birthday in the middle of March, but I didn't realize there was so much involved with reviewing a home I am hoping for it to be done as a birthday present to me:)  Although I certainly wouldn't be sad if it was would still be expedited and pretty fast if it is done by the end of March.

We also had a very kind pediatric cardiologist write a letter to accompany our Immigrations application to help expedite it due to medical issues.  I am so grateful for his help.  The downside of that is that the letter is just as stark as what he discussed with me.  That Min's heart condition is serious and her window to have surgery may have already passed or may be passing right now.  This is a sobering fact that I honestly don't think about much.  She looks so fantastic in her pictures, so full of life.  I truly believe she will be able to have surgery that is successful. I try not to dwell on the fact that we might be too late and we might only have her with us for a little while.  I don't want to watch my daughter die.  I don't want to see her suffer.  I don't want to lose her so soon after finding her.  So, I don't think about it.  I will be an advocate for her.  I will do everything that I can to get her home and evaluated as soon as I can.  I will pester agencies until they probably cringe when they see its me and force things through just to get me to leave them alone:)  I will plan and hope for a future that is full of potential and experiences and chances to explore her talents and likes the same way that her new brothers do.  And if for some reason God decides that I only get to be with her for a shorter while, I will be grateful for the time I am given, and will make the most of it.  And I will remember that life is precious and to live more fully and enjoy the moments I am given.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In My Heart

Revisions.  That is where we are at.  Our homestudy is going back and forth with minor editing and I appreciate the diligence and patience of our homestudy writer.  It is crazy that we have an International adoption agency, a homestudy agency, and our homestudy writer, all who live in different places.    I was soooooo hoping to send the Immigrations form on Valentine's Day.  Well, it is still my wish for this week!

While I was working out this morning(getting in shape for this adoption:)) my son was sitting on the couch with our dog and said, "I can't wait for Christmas with Min.  Won't it be great for her to know that she has a family that loves her.  Maybe she won't know that Chirstmas is really about giving by then but she'll probably really like the presents."  Then as I huffed along with my P90X he said, "I hope that we have Min for more than a year or two.  I hope that she gets to live until she dies of old age."  And then I had to push pause on my workout.  Yes, me too.  I hope that she gets to live to an old age.  And I can't wait for her to know that a family loves her.  And I can't wait for her to wake up Christmas morning and know that there are presents under the tree for her.  And I can't wait for her to get to have brothers who are truly wonderful people.  I love my sons so very much.  I am a bit biased, I'll admit, but I think they are the best boys.  Sure they are a bit rowdy and the fart jokes can get a bit much.  But their hearts are in the right places and they are fabulous sons.  Min will be getting the best brothers a girl could have. 

My sons love talking about when they were born.  They love the gory details.  One of them peed on two nurses.  One was called moose by the doctor.  One took all day.  One was super fast.  They love these stories and ask for them.  I don't know Min's birth story.  I don't know the details.  I was not there.  And she did not grow in my tummy.  But she has grown in my heart.  And just like my pregnancies I have dreamed about her, been anxious to meet her, been impatient to be done with the process, and loved her before she was here.  And that is part of the story I will tell her.  A story that will include paperwork and pictures from other moms who have loved her.  A story that has waiting and some sadness and impatience and most of all love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Heart U

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today is the last day for the I heart U necklace fundraiser to go towards Min's adoption fund:)  Click the link on the side of the blog to go to more information on the necklace.

We watched a documentary on China, in particular the Three Gorges Dam that was completed in 2008.  It is the largest hydroelectric project in the world and it displaced 2 million people when their homes were flooded.  China relocated an entire city across the river.  It was so interesting to watch.  The lives a a poor family were followed as their 14 year old daughter took a job working in the kitchen of a river cruise and her family watched their house (hut) be overtaken by the rising river waters. It was a sobering documentary, much different than the ones focused on the incredible bueaty of China's landscape or the awesome history of the Chinese people.  It was a message of burgeoning capitalism juxtaposed with extreme poverty and lack of education meaning no future for a class of people that are being left behind.  And yet there were strong family ties and love.  Our oldest son watched it with us, he is 10, he said he doesn't want to watch any more like that because it made him too sad. 

As my husband and I talked afterwords, we obviously reflected on Min.  We don't know what kind of family she was born into.  We are inserting our own opinions that Min was left because of her medical condition, but we don't truly know.  And yet, now, Min and the other orphans have less of a future than these displaced rural farmers.  If she is not adopted, she will die.  But even if she got the medical treatment that she needs, she still would have no future.  There is no place for her to go when she ages out of the orphanage.  There would be no family caring for her or checking up on her.  I am so grateful that she has a future and a hope. 

So on a day where we celebrate love, I think it is appropriate to spend a minute praying for those who are in this world without someone to love.  Whether it be a widow, elderly person, someone who is alone, or the over 147 million orphans in this world, how can we show our love for them today?  Whether it is a prayer, supporting your favorite charity, or hugging your kids a little bit closer knowing that we are so very truly blessed to have each other, we can share a little more love in this world.

I thank you for the love you have shown me and I promise to keep passing it along!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feeling Close

Today I am feeling very close.  For some reason, it just feels like Min is going to be here before we even know it.  I don't have any concrete dates or even a definitive reason to feel this way...but I do.  We are finally at the point where things are moving along in the adoption process.  No more waiting for doctors appointments or things that seem rather trivial in the grand scale of things.  We finalliy have things moving in several different areas.  For those of you that are familiar with the adoption paperwork we have our authentication process going.  Our I800A (Immigrations) should be going in next week.  Keep praying for us:)  There are a lot of things that still need to come togehter but every agency I have spoken with has been very helpful and very receptive to expediting so we are hoping that we can continue with that.

Thanks to this process, I can offically say that my husband and I are free from any communicable diseases, have no criminal records and are not registered in any child abuse registries.  Officially speaking.  Doesn't that make everyone feel better to know this about us:)? 

I had a dream about Min last night.  I don't remember much but that she was happy to meet us.  I can't tell you how much I wish for that to be the case.  It is possible she will hate us.  Or that she will like my husband but not me or vice versa.  She may have a difficult adjustment.  She has already had so much loss in her young life, it may take a while for her to trust us and to allow herself to love us.  And I can't wait for that day.  Whether it is something that we see when we are with her in China or whether we have months and months before that love and trust develops, I know that it will be a beautiful gift when it is finally given.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Interestingly we have had a crazy week and a half.  My husband who is an active healthy sort of a guy got sick all of a sudden and within 24 hours was diagnosed with a nasty strain of bronchitis only steps away from respiratory failure.   Everything is fine and he is doing remarkably better, but he has been on some heavy medication and now a week later is not at full strength.  It was a crazy weird bug that he somehow got.  It came on suddenly and without warning and truly needed immediate medical care.  We spent a lot of time last week at either a doctor's office, the hospital or pharmacy...for bronchitis.  And I couldn't help but be grateful #1 for insurance that will pay the large share of the bills that we will have and then more basically for the availability of medical care.  I am so much more aware of the fact that we have available care wherein other parts of the world, there is none or it is very limited in its scope or in who it is available to.  Would Min have gotten medical care if she had somehow gotten this bug?  Would her lungs have been strong enough to recover?  Will I ever again look at every day occurrences without my perspective being colored by the fact that elsewhere people do not have life as easy as I do?  Not that I have not cared, but now that there is a face and a name to the need I am more impacted by the plenty that I enjoy.  For the medical care that is available to  my family.  For the warm home and the fact that we never have to go hungry or without clothing. 

We are hoping to have our paperwork to the Immigrations department next week.  The current wait time is 8 weeks.  We are praying for this step to be expedited.  I am feeling like Min will be home with us soon, possibly in the next few months and we are all so excited about that!

There are 4 days left of our necklace fund raiser.  Melissa, who designed, made, and is donating the profits of each necklace to Min's adoption, can be reached via her shop on etsy or facebook to order larger quantities or extra Valentine's gifts:) 

There are a couple of quotes that I am really liking today and thought I would share.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Love is the only thing that we have more of when we share.

"People who say it can not be done should not interrupt the people who are doing it."  --George Bernard Shaw

It has been so interesting to be so open about our adoption plans.  We had not originally planned to tell anyone about it until we were traveling, partly because I am one of those pregnant people who waits until I can no longer fit into any clothes to tell anyone we are expecting so I don't have to be asked if I am still pregnant for the next eight months:)  We partly didn't plan to share our plans because we had gotten a few negative responses and we didn't want to deal with it.  But the opposite has proven true.  We have been overwhelmed by support and love and interest in where we are at in the process.  We have been humbled by people's generosity in helping us to bring our daughter home sooner than we had thought would be at all possible.  And I love being able to give updates on our progress to Min, even though they may seem like minuscule infant scoots forward I truly think that we are paving a way for this process to go very quickly and I can't wait to update this blog with pictures and stories about Min as a very real part of our family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Woo Hoo!!!!!

Wow, what a weekend!
We had our last visit with our home study writer on Saturday evening and she is recommending us for adoption!!!!!  Not only that but she had the draft written up yesterday!  So, basically the home study agency has to go over it and pass it on to our Chinese adoption agency who will review it and give us the OK to send off the immigrations form.  This is a HUGE step.  We are so grateful that our home study writer was such a nice person and actually fun to spend a few hours with:)  She was also so gracious in putting all of our visits into one week and writing the home study so quickly.

On to other more heart tugging news.  Click on Teresa's blog button on the side bar to read a bit more about Min.  Oh My Goodness!  If we hadn't been planning on sending a photo book as soon as we have immigration approval, we would now!  I am so grateful for this family, this mom in particular.  She found our daughter a home.  She loved her before we did.  She advocated for her.  She took great pictures of her to share with people here in the US.  With adopted daughters of her own and in particular Teresa who needs our prayers so desperately, this Mom is still spreading the news about Min to help get her home as soon as possible.

Teresa was adopted last July.  My husband and I were talking after reading the blog post about Min last night.  What a long year.  To see your friend go home.  Who knows how many of Min's friends have been adopted.  How many times has Min wondered when it will be her turn to have a family?  Not for too much longer!  WOO HOO!!!!

The Waiting Child by Debbie Bodie
I saw you meet your child today
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby,
yet inside I"m aching miserably
I want to plead as you go by,
``Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your  face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true?
I'm almost six!
And there are infants here you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you chose this time was me.
Poem Copyright

Friday, February 4, 2011


Things are still expediting is hard to see but seems like all the steps are laid to expedite when we get to each step.  The next step is for the home study to be finished then reviewed by our Chinese adoption agency...apparently the wait for that review is two weeks but we will be expedited due to Min's medical needs.

I am currently teaching a drama class once a week for an hour which is great.  It isn't much but I get about $20 for teaching for an hour.  It all goes into Min's adoption account.  Anyway, my husband got sick this week and I needed to take him to get x-rays and to the doctor, so I had to miss teaching my class.  It wasn't a lot of money, but it still all adds up and since we are trying to expedite it all is due in a briefer time frame.  So, yesterday afternoon I was at auditions for a child's play that I get to co-direct and was talking with the director afterwords when a lady I have never met comes into the office, said she read about me on a friend's facebook page, someone pointed out who I was through the window and she wanted to donate to help bring Min home.  She handed me $20 and left.  I was completely speechless.  What do you say to that?  It seems so very paltry to offer a 'Thank you'.  So very inadequate for the huge gratitude that I feel.  And then I remembered the lost $20.  And my instant prayer that we would have all that we need to get us to China and home with Min.  A prayer that is said often at our house.  And I am amazed by the grace that is shown to us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Walk in Her Shoes

Great news!!!! We met with our homestudy writer on Monday.  She was very nice and we have a final appointment this week.  When she was getting ready  to go I asked her if she would tell us if we were failing miserably and she said "Ummm. yes."  Not sure how  to take that but she also asked what could hold us up in bringing Min home and I said essentially 'the homestudy'.  Everything else is just a form and a fee type thing so China has approved us based on an approved homestudy and Immigrations approval.  Immigrations approval is based on a form, fee, and the homestudy. She was very nice about it and knows we are trying to expedite all of the steps and is being helpful about that:)!

One thing that we discussed is when Min comes home.  What it will be like for her.  How it could feel.  How it might be a culture shock in so many ways. 
When I was in junior high, my family lived in El Paso, Texas.  We moved to this nice little gated community just outside of the city limits.  And then we went to school.  I was literally the ONLY white student in the junior high.  The classes were conducted in Spanish, which I did not speak. Lunch was a nightmare.  I sat down at a table smiled and said 'Hola" in my best attempt at Spanish and people got up and moved or just turned their backs on me and ignored me.  No one talked to me all day long. Even the teachers of the overcrowded classrooms barely interacted with me on the first day to tell me to bring a reading book in case I got bored before leaving me to my own devices. I was there for two days before my parents switched me to a different school.  It was a brief experience that I have not really thought about for years.  But reflecting on it, I could still feel isolated, alone and completely adrift in a sea of unfamiliar faces and an unfamiliar language. 

Then I thought about Min.  She will be in an unfamiliar place filled with unfamiliar faces, and unfamiliar language, unfamiliar smells and foods, and unfamiliar lifestyle.  And yet there is one glaring difference that I can see between our two experiences.  She will be wanted.  She will be loved.  There will be someone, multiple someones, to help her transition.  And we will work harder before she comes home to find ways that will make our home a little less foreign.  We will try to learn and incorporate more of her upbringing into our family life so that she doesn't feel totally lost in a sea of unfamiliarity, and while she may definitely feel that way for  a while, at least she won't be left in a boat by herself to drift along, she will be there with a family who wants to be part of her life's journey.