Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We just heard today that we were turned down for a grant to help with travel:(  Not exactly what I was hoping for right before we travel.  It doesn't really change anything.  We should be waiting on travel approval on Friday and I spoke with travel agents this week:)  We are getting close!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Recap

I love Sundays, not just a little bit.  I seriously love Sundays.  It is a day when our family doesn't work or shop and it is so nice.  We can relax and spend time together without a to-do list interfering.  There is always Monday for things to get done:)  I love spending time with my family.  I am a stay home mom who home schools so I spend a lot of time with my children and we spend a lot of family time together, but Sundays just are different, they are more peaceful.

Sundays are a day for me to center and reflect on things in my life.  This year, I have reflected a lot on how extremely blessed I am.  I have a house to live in, I have enough food to eat, my house has heat, I have furniture to sit on, I have clothes to wear, I am healthy, and mostly I have a family to love.  These things have become such gifts to be grateful for, not that I wasn't before, but now even more so.  I may not have the nicest, or the biggest, or the newest, but I have them and I am so grateful because I know that there are many people in the world who do not.  I love my family.  I have a wonderful husband.  We enjoy life together.  He is such a good match for me; we are different in so many ways and we complement each other.  We have four fantastic sons.  They make life fun.  They have good hearts.  They are growing into wonderful young men.   I feel extremely blessed to get to be at home with them and know them so well.  I am grateful to be adopting.  It is something that has been on my heart for a long time.  A lot of years worth's of prayers have been said to be at this point and I am grateful.

We are getting so very close to the end of this adoption process and it is so amazing to look back.  We saw Min in November,  had our pediatrician review her file, went over medical options and prayed.  We sent in our Letter of Intent to adopt her at the very end of November and received preapproval 11-30.  We scheduled our physicals, the earliest appointments were in January and we thought that was great since it would be after the holidays.  Then we had a cardiologist look at Min's file.  He was not anywhere as optimistic as our pediatrician and from then on we have worked so hard to get through the process of adopting as fast as we could, and we have been so blessed.  Our homestudy writer finished the visits in one week, and wrote the homestudy quickly.  We were able to expedite the I800A process and were able to fly to Anchorage and walk in for our fingerprints and be approved the next morning by USCIS.  We had our dossier to China 4-15 and were logged in 4-29.  Our agency has a great waiting child coordinator and she monitored our dossier and requested it be expedited multiple times.  We had our LOA 6-3, it was expedited.  Our I800 was expedited it was approved 6/13 and the NVC cable letter was received 6/17.  It was dropped off to the US Consulate  on Tuesday 6/21.  I look over the past 6 months and see God's hand everywhere.

In the midst of all of the adoption process, which I will admit to having spent an inordinate amount of time researching and educating myself, trying to find ways to shave off any amount of time from the process, my husband got extremely sick and was a step away from respiratory failure, he is normally an extremely healthy guy and it came on extremely quickly.  It took him a couple months to get better and he was under doctor's orders not to get sick....:)  We had my 8 year old son's baptism so we got to have a lot of family come visit which was fun.  We have had swim meets, and play performances, scout advancements, and I have worked three different temporary part time jobs.  I had a mole removal that came back fast growth cells and so had to get more removed.  We moved into a fixer-upper last fall and have worked on a ton of home improvement projects. We have just had life happen, but the peace I have felt has overridden any stress or  pressure about other things.

I am amazed at the way this adoption has changed my heart.  Life is such a gift.  We are so very blessed.  God loves us and is very aware of where we are in our lives.  He hears and answers our prayers.  If we look we can see Him carrying or guiding or blessing our lives all the time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Birthday

                   Happy Birthday EmeryMin! 

                             We love you!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day.  It is a really big weekend for us this year because my husband and my anniversary was yesterday and Min's birthday is tomorrow, so our family has three fantastic things to celebrate in a row.

I am very blessed to be married to a man that I absolutely love.  He is fun and kind.  He is funny and a great listener.  He is a wonderful partner and I am grateful to be sharing my life with him. He is also a father who loves his children and wants the best for them.  He cares about their well being.  He takes the time to do things with them that they enjoy.  Lately that has been fires.  My boys all have fire strikers and steel so they love to light fires(it's what comes from scouting and camping!)  and are always wanting to do that.  They spend time whittling shavings off sticks to use for their tinder and kindling and it is amazing to me how much time can be spent shaving pieces off of sticks.  I love watching my husband teach our sons and show them how to be a good dad.  I hope my children realize how blessed they are to have one.

Of course, we are super excited that Min is going to have a dad.  This will be her last Father's Day not knowing about what a Father is.  My husband is thrilled to be having  a daughter and she is going to love him.

I am grateful to have a Father in Heaven.  I love in the Bible where the Savior cries out ' Abba'  which is closer to 'Dad' in translation than 'Father'.  I feel so strongly that I have a Father in Heaven who loves, knows and cares for me as His child, not just as a member of a mass of humanity.  I feel His influence and direction and blessings in my life so often and am so grateful for Him in my life and all of the ways He lets me know that He loves me.  I am thrilled to be reminded on this day how lucky and blessed I am to have a perfect Father and love Him very much.

Friday, June 17, 2011


We have been cabled and got our NVC letter emailed to us.  Basically this means that all of our(and mostly Min's) information and Immigration approval has been forwarded to China's US embassy for them to issue her travel visa.  She will travel home on a Chinese passport with a US Visa.  There are several steps to clear to make sure that everything is in order for her to become a US Citizen upon entry into the United States and then also to give her a US Visa to travel out of China.  Our application for Min's Visa will be dropped off on Tuesday, since Monday is not a drop off day and it is already late Friday night in China. 

It is a standard 2 week wait for this Visa process(known as Article 5).  We are hoping it will be expedited for Min's health but don't know what that will look like until it happens.  As it is, from LOA  to NVC letter being cabled to China the average wait is about one month, ours was two weeks, so we are getting there.

After this Article 5 approval, we get to wait for China to invite us to travel!!  We are almost there:)!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thanks Anne!!

We finished up our 31 fundraiser last month and the items arrived yesterday.  A big Thank You to everyone who ordered cute bags:)

Anne is an adoptive mom who wanted to do something to help others when she got home from China.  Someone held a successful 31  party/fundraiser for her when she was adopting and she decided that was what she wanted to do, so she does these great fundraisers, donates the hostess credit back to the adopter, or whoever is holding the party, and donates all of her commission to the adoption fund of the person.  Pretty amazing if you ask me!

So here are the pictures of the cute bags that I got(for FREE)

This is Min's backpack for China...yes that is going to be her new name...Emery Min.  Both names will be her first name and if she doesn't like Emery we will call her Min since that is what we call her now:)  It was a fun thrill to be able to fill out paperwork for her Immigration with her new American name on in and our last name...and I love that this bag makes her seem a little bit closer to being with us!

Here are the links to Anne's blog and facebook site if anyone is looking for a fun and easy way to earn some money to help with your adoption costs

Thanks a bunch Anne!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What a Day!

What a day:)!  Yesterday had so many things happen that were answers to prayers that I was grinning ear to ear all evening!

First off, we got our I800 approval.  I tracked it and it has arrived at the NVC so now we wait for it to get logged in and cabled to China.  We got a call in to the doctor to schedule Min's appointments with a pediatric cardiologist.  We got the tracking number for the I800 and it was scheduled to be delivered this morning by 10:30 EST.

Then to top it off, last night I checked my email before we went to bed and....updates!!!!  With pictures:)  So I HIGHLY recommend using Ann with Red Thread to send a care package.  She calls the orphanage and checks on your child before sending the package.  We are sending a photo book, and it was actually the same or less money than we would have spent mailing it ourselves, plus it is translated into Chinese.

She is growing up...we need to have her home!  I wonder if she knows that she has a family and if these pictures were taken with her knowing that they were coming to us??!!  Oh my goodness, I can't wait to have her with us.  She looks so great and I love the artwork on the walls.  

Here is the picture book with Chinese captions and a translated letter that is being sent to Min this week:

What a great day!

Monday, June 13, 2011



It is being over-nighted to the NVC(National Visa Center)  This is a big step to be done with.  Thank you to everyone who is joining with us in prayers, we appreciate them.   A big Thank You to our fantastic Immigrations Officer Ms. J.  who has been over the top helpful and kind.  She has been a gift.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

On My Heart

These Sunday posts seem to have morphed into a recap of what is(or isn't) going on with the adoption coupled with a post on some aspect of faith simply because there hasn't really been enough going on to make many separate posts.  I am hoping that at some point that changes but for's where we are.  We are waiting for our I800 approval.  Basically that is the US Immigrations Department approving Min as an orphan to be brought into the US and receive citizenship.  We think it is being expedited and are hoping to hear that it is approved at the beginning of this week.  Then USCIS mails that approval to the National Visa Center who logs it in and cables(emails) it to the appropriate Consulate, in our case the US embassy in Guangzhou China.  Once this has been emailed to them, our agency representative will hand deliver all of the supporting documents that we have already sent to the Consulate so that they can approve everything to give Min a visa and citizenship.  The Consulate takes a standard two weeks.  Then the approval goes back to the Chinese Center for Adoption and they will issue an invitation to travel, then we can go.  A few more steps and we will be on our way to Min!  The nice thing is that these steps are short and defined so there are little milestones to hit quickly over the next few weeks.

We sent a photo book and a letter to Min, it might arrive this week.  It was interesting to put it together; we went out to the ocean and took pictures of our sons and our family by a waterfall that feeds into the ocean so that they would be current pictures.  It was fun to have them say "Hi Min" instead of "Cheese".  We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of Alaska, an island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean which is dotted by hundreds of mountainous islands.  It is fun to drive a few minutes and be at the water.  While we were enjoying the  day together, I couldn't help but wonder if Min will enjoy being out near the water as well.  I wonder what she will think when she sees all of that water, or the mountains.  I've been thinking of all of the firsts she is going to have with our family.  We built a fire and had s'mores after the pictures and let the boys work on some of their scouting skills, will Min want to have her own fire steel?  Will she want to flip over rocks looking for small sea creatures and delight in finding an eel or small crab or buried clam?  Will she enjoying finding starfish or collecting shells or sea glass?  Then I think about her health.
This adoption has gone quickly since we started from scratch and found Min's file before we had even signed on with an agency. I'll be honest, we really debated long and hard about whether it was fair or right of us to lock her file when she has a serious heart issue and we would have to do the entire paperchase.  Surely a family who was further down the adoption path would be able to bring her home sooner.  Since we chose her it was a concern that we were potentially making her wait in an orphanage for longer than necessary simply because we wanted her in our family even though we were not paper ready.  Well, we prayed a lot...and I felt peace.  And at least from the information we had we were the only family reviewing her file.  And I have done everything I could to get the paperwork and everything else done as fast I could.  I feel that I owe that to her.  My prayers of late have been begging God to bless her heart.  From the start of this process we have prayed for her to be able to hang in there and for her heart and especially her lungs not to be damaged additionally.  Now, as we are nearing the homestretch of this adoption, I am starting to get the doctors appointments lined up for Min, it is a little staggering to know that there is simply so much we do not know about her health.  It is a little humbling  to know that we don't have control over so much of this process and that we are at the mercy of someone else's time frame.

A friend was asking me about how the rest of the family is doing with the adoption and if we were getting nervous.  I can honestly say that this adoption has changed our family.  It has made us a better family.  It has made us more aware of the blessings and comforts we enjoy.  It has made us more thankful for each other.  It has made us more aware of the hundreds of millions of orphans around the world who lack the things we sometimes take for granted.  It has made us much more aware of the power of prayer.  It has solidified our belief that God not only cares for us, but that HE knows us.  He loves us.  He hears and answers our prayers.  I have felt His peace every singe time that I have started to worry or doubt or question anything about the way this adoption was going to work out, financially, attachment wise, health wise, and in all the little details that I don't know.  I know that we are Min's family.  I truly don't believe that God makes bad things happen, but He does allow them to.  And He can make great things out of bad things.  I can't wait to see the great thing He makes with Min in our family because I know that He has a plan for us.

Monday, June 6, 2011


We have our LOA!!!!!!!!

It arrived at our house today around 4:30pm.  We have approval from China to officially adopt Min!

I don't know what else to say...thank you so much for your prayers.  I know they have been heard and I appreciate them on our behalf.  We have sent our I800 out and it is supposed to be expedited so....we are getting there quickly!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Being Carried

We should have BIG  NEWS  TOMORROW!!!

I really love the poem Footprints about the person who looks back on their life as a set of footprints in the sand.  Through much of their life there are two sets of footprints but during the times that were difficult there were only one set of footprints.  The person berates God for leaving them alone during the times of trouble and God says, "Those are MY footprints, it was during those difficult times that I carried you."

I'm not going to say that adopting is the most difficult time in my life or is really even that hard, comparatively.  I mean really, we fill out paperwork, we get fingerprinted, we spend a lot of money, and we wait.  It is not super strenuous.  But in many ways, like a pregnancy it is emotionally draining.  Even when you are so excited and hopeful and feel completely led and blessed, it takes something out of you.  At least for me that is the case.  The waiting, the unknowns, the what'ifs, the hopes and dreams, the health risks, even though I truly feel great about the adoption and have been blessed with a lot of peace, it is still a bit draining.  This last week I hit a wall.  I went in to finish up the boys school work and check in on their next years curriculum(we homeschool through a specific program that is graded, etc.) and the teacher there asked if there was any news about Min.  I started tearing up and just struggled to even answer.  No, there was not and no, I knew nothing, and no, I had no idea when we would know, and no, I didn't know for sure when we would be able to get here, and no, I didn't know if her health was OK, and no, I didn't know when I would find out any of these things.  And yes, I was done.  I really didn't want to talk or think about it at all.  Not, really the response I try to portray to people! 

Anyways, I said a quick prayer, and was reminded that God had led me to this path and that I am willing to follow it wherever it leads, and He will carry me when I can't walk or need a little pick me up if I stumble through my moments of being unhappy with the fact that we THOUGHT we would for sure be traveling in the next couple of weeks and there is NO WAY we will make that time frame. 

We have been waiting for our LOA.  It's not a fun wait for all of your documents to be translated, reviewed and then approved with the child you are adopting.  You cannot move forward in your adoption without it.  And there is no set time.  It isn't like you can think, for sure two months and then we have it.  It could come, or not come, at any time.  I prayed, and fasted, and prayed some more for this LOA to be issued.  Apparently this week my husband decided that enough prayers were going toward the LOA and he would focus his prayers on me.  What a gift.  I needed them badly this week and I am grateful for those prayers to help me not lose focus on the big picture and get bogged down in the momentary delays.  I felt carried this week.   I am grateful to believe in a God who takes interest in the details of our lives, who loves us a His children, and carries us when we are weak or need a rest.  I am grateful for the gift that having those beliefs is and the way it changes my life.  I am grateful for Him.