cover photo

cover photo
The Chaos Reigns
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that our lives belong to each other." - Mother Teresa

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. We enter this new season China bound!



Our travel approval arrived on late Thursday. On Friday, our US consulate appointment was confirmed for April 25th, so we booked our flights that same day. We leave for China on the 10th of April, and we will be returning on the 26th. We believe our gotcha day will be on the 15th of April (waiting for confirmation.)

We sent for our Chinese visas on Saturday morning. We have so many things to accomplish between now and then. It is all a tad bit overwhelming knowing we are actually leaving in 10 days. But, we are so thankful it is all unfolding and finally happening. We are also thankful to all of our family who will be holding down the fort while we are gone.

Here are some fun family photos from Easter.



We all wished our little Jude and Jia were with us to celebrate.


Easter egg hunt



Toothless Caroline


Emma


Joel and Molly
(Joel had the hardest time adjusting to Molly's entrance into our family. Now they are amazingly close.)

Happy Easter. Christ has risen.




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Travel Approval


T.A.  March 28, 2013

Our Travel Approval came today!! This is our last official approval.

We have finally entered the last stage of the waiting game.

We are hoping to leave around April 10th or the 17th. The sooner the better.

We should receive our US consulate appointment date tomorrow or Monday, and then we will have the official go ahead to book our flights (and max out our credit card).

We will keep everyone posted.  

Cheers!



Jia


Jude

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Tale of Two (6) Pregnancies


 "Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursing, Learn to labor and to wait." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 


I wanted to write a column comparing this adoption "pregnancy" to the pregnancies of my biological children.  I am surprised by all of the similarities in both responses and emotions in this last month of the adoption wait compared to my last month of pregnancy.

Nesting:  Definitely nesting. My daughter Caroline told me "I am spoiling the house... every time I open up a closet, it has been organized." Unfortunately, with a house full of 6 people, these closets do not stay organized for long. And, there is more to organize. Sigh. I'm starting to think this nesting stage is more of a rational response to an upcoming baby than hormonal. You are mentally very aware, it will be a long time before you will ever get a chance to organize the house again, and you are bracing yourself for the chaos.

Impatient anticipation: Usually when I enter the last month of my pregnancy, I am very done with being pregnant. I start obsessively googling signs of labor...even though I am perfectly aware of how all of my labors unfold. I try to hold onto to some hope that there maybe some new sign that I am actually in labor.  Well, I am done waiting for all of these adoption approvals and would really like to get the show on the road.  I am stalking adoption blogs trying to predict our timeline based on the timeline of others. I wonder why our travel approval has not come when other families approvals are here who have similar timelines as us. All of these obsessions have got to stop, and I need to trust in God's timeline to unfold.

Sleepless nights: Although I do not actually have babies in the womb physically waking me up all night, these two kiddos are keeping me up emotionally. I find myself waking up at 3 am worrying about whether or not they are OK. Do they have enough to eat?  Is someone loving them?  I really need to be there for them!! It is agonizing. You would think I would be aware of how much they are about to keep me up after we bring them home, and I would sleep in preparation, but nevertheless, I am restless with worry.

Length of gestation: We have been in this adoption process for over 5 years. I'm pretty sure if there is not even an animal whose gestation is this long (elephants have a gestation of 2 years).  Although, we resurrected this adoption process last summer which was about 9 months ago.

Waiting to meet them:  By the end of my pregnancy, I am very ready to meet the little person who has been kicking me all night. Well, I am really ready to meet these little ones. I find myself surprised when I follow adoption blogs and see pictures of Gotcha day and the kids look exactly like their match photos.  For some reason, I actually wonder if our kids will look like their photos.


 Jude


Jia

Instead of telling my babies it is time to make their appearance, I am telling these bureaucracies to get moving. :)  Jude and Jia, it is time...Ready for the final stages of labor to begin.

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity." 
-Henry Van Dyke

Friday, March 15, 2013

Update

Jia- 2/22/13 Update

We received an update today on Jia!  I was really looking forward to receiving this because we only have one semi-recent photo of her.

The girls were overjoyed to see the photo....especially Molly. She kept asking to see the picture of Jia over and over again. I have a feeling the two of them are going to be close.

At around 9 months of age, it appeared from the photo we received that her head was shaved when she had her cleft lip repaired.

So, it was good to see that her hair is finally starting to grow back again. (And, that they haven't shaved poor Jia's head again! The thought of that just sounds traumatizing to me.)

The update was short and sweet.

To summarize, the report said her current health was good.  She can walk! She can say baba and mama. She can climb out from the crib.

(This is good news...her motor skills are developing) 

She is still living in the orphanage. The nannies call her Jia Yi or Er Niu. She is outgoing and active. She eats noodles, congee (soup), and formula.

For documentation purposes, I am also going to include the update we received for Jude back in December.

(See...I am already thinking fair and balanced with the two of them. I couldn't just include an update on Jia. :) )

Jude- 12/5/12 Update


He is living with a foster family for 5 months with 3 siblings. The nannies call him Jian Quan. He eats noodles, congee, bread and formula.

The report said, "His current health is good. He can say ma and ba. He can walk and respond to his name. He is stubborn and cries easily, and he does not know how to stop when he eats, so the family had better control his diet."  (No empathy over there)

(Dave and I both thought...could he possibly be more stubborn than his siblings. I'm just not sure if that is actually possible. But if it is, he will fit right in.) 

Jude and Jia, we love you and cannot wait to meet you.

Please say some prayers that our travel approval arrives soon.

Kristy

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moments of Panic

As our travel to China begins to approach, I find myself at times waking up in moments of complete panic. It is usually when I am very focused on worldly things, when we have had a really rough night with my four kiddos, or when our household otherwise has a semblance of life in the zoo.

How crazy are we to take on 2 more children in this already nutty family of six? I find that I have lost all energy by 8:30 pm, and many nights I even go to bed by that hour. So, in these moments of panic, I find myself wondering... How are we going to juggle 6 bedtime routines without falling asleep before our kids? How will we organize story time (and can I even consider reading comprehension levels)? Will we survive viral wipeouts, or worse, the dreaded stomach flu plowing through our house? How will we be able to handle the multiplication (exponential?) of the already daily small demands from our children?

I do not believe it is a coincidence that we are adopting in the Year of Faith. This adoption has been continuous leaps of faith for our family. In every decision, we have felt God calling us to trust. We have been given signs and have seen miracles occur, some small and some big, which have held us to this path. We haven't made a single decision based on feelings or even reasoning - we have let prayer lead us.  Prayer is leading us to God and through these moments of panic, doubt, and questioning.  And now as we stand before Him in this journey of faith, we see that He is leading our family to Jude and Jia.

I am reminded of how much blessing each one of our children has brought to our lives.  Each child has given such joy, in their own individual way, to our family. As our family grows and moments of panic seem to find more ways to show themselves, I still cling tightly to the blessing we have. Even when I feel more like a referee of the WWF... or a familiar face to the Children's Hospital ER staff....or the countless other episodes of temporary mayhem...In prayer I find blessing and trust as the threads of this great privilege I have of being a mother.

So when I begin to feel more like The Old Lady Who Lives in the Shoe than an organized sane loving Mother, I will turn to God.

"Give yourself fully to God.  He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."  Mother Teresa

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adoption News- Article 5(s) are here!!

Article 5
Our Article 5(s) have been picked up by the Guangzhou staff and now the documents are off to the CCCWA.
We are now officially waiting on our travel approval.  The timeline for the travel approval can vary from 2- 4 weeks.  So, please say some prayers for a speedy travel approval from China for our family.


-Kristy

Friday, March 8, 2013

We Wait....We Pray

The wait.

Everyone in the adoption community kept telling us how hard the wait would be after we matched with our child. At the time, we could not understand why it would be any harder than our current wait for a match. However, nothing could have prepared us for how heartbreaking and difficult this part of the wait would be. Below are some thoughts on why.

Helplessness
We now know these are our children. It is so hard to be on the other side of the world unable to help or care for them.

Institutional care
Who is caring for our children? Are their needs being met? Are they crying in the middle of the night? Is more institutional damage being done while we wait on government bureaucracies? No matter how great the orphanage it is not the same as family.

Grief and loss
Will the adjustment into our family be harder the longer we wait? For everyday we wait, they are getting older and more attached to their familiar environment and caregiver. Will the grief and loss they are about to experience be harder as time progresses?

Missing milestones
Are they learning to take their first steps? We have missed the opportunity to witness so many little milestones.  How many more are we missing? 

 
We find ourselves in solitude with being in the season of Lent. As we prepare for Jude and Jia's entrance into our family, we prepare for Easter. We wait and pray for this new chapter. We offer up our simple sacrifices and prayers not just for Jesus, but for all children who need a loving family. In this season of prayer, we know prayer is our only vessel to help and to love these 2 children; otherwise, feeling completely powerless.

Sometimes I find myself up late at night just staring at their pictures. I wonder why I am drawn to do this?

Jude

I think it is because of a mother's natural instinct to bond with her babies. I cannot bond to these children in my womb. Just these little photos and descriptions. 


Jia 

Who are these 2 little children we have adopted? I wonder as I attempt to attach myself to these little photographs...visually trying to piece together the photo and personality description written on their background of whom these little people might be.

I stumble upon this passage in Songs 3. 

On my bed at night I sought him
whom my heart loves-
I sought him but did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city;
in the street crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
I sought him but did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me
as they made their rounds of the city;
Have you seen him whom my
heart loves?
I had hardly left them
when I found him whom my heart
loves.
I took hold of him and would not let
him go
till I should bring him to the home
of my mother,
to the room of my parent.
I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazalles and hinds of the field,
Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its own time.

It is not our timeline. It is God's. He is preparing our family. He prepares Jude and Jia.  He prepares the way.

We wait with great faith for His plan for our family to unfold. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Soon...a Long Time

I'm so excited to be the oldest of 6! My parents say that we'll go to China soon, but I just noticed that soon is a VERY LONG TIME!!!!!! I can't wait for Sunday to come, when I can go to church and pray to God for a miracle.  I also can't wait for my sister, Caroline to receive first communion.  We hope our travel approval to come soon, we should go to China the week of April 8th. 


This  is the cutest picture of Jude that I could find. They say he's stubborn, but he's not afraid of the Camera!


She's so cute. They said she smiles a lot, but I guess she's not a camera baby!

Emma

Work Party and Jia's Care Package

On Tuesday, my coworkers threw a surprise party for me. I wanted to share a photo of the cake because I  thought it was so precious.

Two tigers to represent Jude and Jia. I plan to reuse the tigers for their 2nd birthdays this summer. Fu is the Chinese symbol for luck or blessing. It was so thoughtful and sweet of them.


I am also going to send Jia's care package today. We heard her orphanage is in need of onesies. We sent a similar package to Jude about a month ago. I recorded my voice in the bear and slept with the hippo for about a week hoping to capture my smell.  I smell nothing :) but hoping you do not recognize your own scent.

  We made a board book to send with a photo of each family member.


Daddy


Emma

Caroline


Joel



Molly


Jude



Jia

We are hoping her nanny will read Jia the book to help her prepare for the transition. We are getting closer.

-Kristy