Saturday, May 25, 2013

Immigration Fingerprints Complete & Special Surprise

Thursday, we made a trip to Naperville, IL to complete our immigration process.  We found the illusive fingerprinting office (a big thank you to those who offered directions and photos!!), and within 20 minutes, were done.  Now we wait to get our '797' approval form from immigration before we send all our documents to the Chinese Consulate for authentication.

So, we decided to make the most of the trip and have some quality family time and enjoy some fun Chicago area attractions.  All the boys spent Thursday afternoon at Legoland, and had the best time!  They got to build and design lego models.  They were able to go on a couple of rides and check out all of the lego created sculptures.  They saw the mini Star Wars scene, the Chicago skyline scene, a jungle, Harry Potter, etc. They are looking forward to going back again soon.  Meanwhile, Brianna and I were able to enjoy some girl-time shopping at nearby Woodfield Mall!

All Ethan wanted for his birthday was a trip to Medieval Times, and were were able to enjoy that on Thursday night.  The dinner and show were great and all the kids were cheering for their knight and were excited for all the jousting and dueling.  It was a great time to end our year study of the Medieval times at school too!

Friday we visited with sweet family and then went to IKEA.  While at IKEA, we got an e-mail from our adoption agency with updated pictures, videos and information on Fulian!  I saw the updated pictures and had to sit down in the bunk bed section of IKEA and just cried.  He is so beautiful (my boys would tell me I have to say handsome, and he is that too .. but he is also very beautiful)!  We read through the information and understand his vision needs a little better.  Of course, my phone could not open the videos, so I immediately went to work finding an internet cafe nearby.  The kids thought I should be patient and wait until we got home, but if there was a video of my son at my fingerprints and I needed to wait 6  hours to see it, well, I would find another way.

So, our other super surprise was to take the kids to Xtreme Trampoline.  I found a library next to Xtreme Trampoline and used their computer lab to review the 2 minutes of videos.  So glad we did!  He is so sweet, has a great disposition, sense of humor, and it seems his care givers are sweet too.  We couldn't understand anything they were saying, but they were gentle with him, laughing, and allowing us to see how he writes his Chinese characters (of which Ethan has now copied all of them, just like Fulian).  After the video excitement, we made it to Extreme Trampoline where there were several trampoline pits, including a dodgeball pit, a foam pit, and other pits with trampolines on the floor and the walls.  We were all tired and sweaty after that.

The drive home reminded us how grateful we are to not live in Chicago with their lovely traffic congestion.  But, it also gave Chris and I time to reflect on the prognosis of Fulian's vision needs.  We know that God is sovereign over our adoption process and we are lifting this up to Him for wisdom on how to proceed.  We do appreciate your prayers for Fulian, his care, his health, his care takers, and his heart - to be open to feeling the love of a family, with siblings, and the love of our almighty God.  We ask for prayers for discernment for Chris and I, and for us to follow God completely and wholly!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Certification Complete

The kiddos and I spent yesterday in Springfield, IL.  Our purpose for going was to visit the Secretary of State's office to get our dossier documents certified.  Last week, we found out from our adoption agency that all of our documents were notarized incorrectly.  We were frustrated with this but quickly set to contacting all the notaries and asking them to re-notarized each document with the proper specifications.  Each and every notary was very kind and prompt (and very understanding, thankfully!).

Saying many prayers on our way to the Secretary of State's office, we were greeted with some questions and were not sure all the documents would be approved.  But, God is good and saw us through this little step in the big adoption process.  But, as we were waiting for our documents to be certified, we received exciting news from our friends, who are also adopting.  Their wonderful news helped us see the big picture of this process a little closer.  We know that God is sovereign and His timing is best, no matter what obstacles we need to go through (or how long we need to wait).

God was patient with us and our journey to come to know Him and be adopted by Him.  It took us a long time, but He didn't give up on us.  That gives us encouragement to keep our eyes focused on His plan, not give up, even with the obstacles that come our way, and complete each tiny step along this journey to get our son home with us.  We are thrilled to be serving a great God!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

What a blessing it is to be a mother.  I sometimes loose my identity in this thing called motherhood. I have been called many names over the past 12 years: 'mom', 'mommy', 'MOM!!', yes even 'mum', but I am so glad to be a mother to my 4 kids, no matter what they choose to call me or how often they call me it or how loud they call it.  I sometimes find myself forgetting who I was before motherhood, but then I realize that motherhood has changed me ... forever.  I will never be the same person again, and I now get to incorporate motherhood into who I am becoming. To know that God has given me a ministry in my own home, of these 4 precious children, is such a blessing.  I struggle everyday with making sure I am doing 'it' right, but then gently being reminded by my heavenly Father, that He is there and He is protecting all of us and I am a work in progress.  I will continue to strive to be more like Him and will find joy in all things, and He will continue to mold me into who He wants me to become.

However, I am already looking forward to next Mother's Day when I (Lord willing) will be called 'ma or 'ma ma', which is the Chinese word for mother.  That means that our Chinese son will be home with us and we will be able to be a family of 7, under one house.  But, that also makes me realize what a sacrifice it was for Fulian's mom to have to give up her son and to not have him calling her 'ma ma'.  What a sacrifice it was for her to know that she will not receive any more hugs or kisses or homemade necklaces or breakfasts on Mother's Day.  I can only imagine that she must be a very courageous woman, who deeply loved Fulian, loved him enough to know that there is a family who will be able to care for him.  My prayer today is for all the mothers that have loved their children enough to let them go, and be loved by another family.  I can not comprehend what it must be like to look into your baby's eyes and say good-bye, but I am so proud of the unselfish decisions they have made, for the sake of their child!

I hope all you mothers have had a wonderfully blessed Mother's Day. Today was the perfect day with my family, as they spoiled me with a homemade omelet (eggs in a bag ... you gotta try it!), dove chocolates (yum!) and macadamia nuts.  They know they way to my heart.  Chris is also making me some raised flower beds for a garden.  I cannot wait to plant some yummy fruits and veggies!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Praise Report

The support we have gotten from our friends and family is so humbling.  Thank you!  We are very excited about our new addition, but are feeling a bit overwhelmed with finding and deciphering all of the information out about Fulian (that's his Chinese name).

We did talk with a doctor today that specializes in international adoptions.  He is familiar with the translation and language used and how to decipher the information given to us.  He was very encouraged to see Fulian so healthy looking and all of his measurements and lab work right on target for a boy for his age.  The vision needs are still unknown, but we are encouraged again, that whatever his needs are, it does not prevent him from being a normal active boy.  The doctor did stress how Fulian's risk level of health and transition issues is minimal because he has been in foster care, as opposed to an orphanage.  Praise God!

We also have our appointment for our immigration fingerprints to be done in 2 weeks in Chicago.  We plan to go up on May 23rd to be fingerprinted and to also walk our dossier into the Chinese Consulate to be authenticated.  We are praying that we can expedite this service and pick the papers up within a couple of days.  Normally, the process at the consulate can take 6-8 weeks.  I'm learning more and more that patience is not a virtue of mine, especially when I see a picture of Fulian and his cute smile looking back at me and knowing it will be many months until we can bring him home.

Friday, May 3, 2013

We have a match!

Talk about God Speed!

We have been matched with a precious little boy from China.  He is 5.5 years old and is currently living in a foster home!  We are so excited to have completed our 'Letter of Intent' this morning, which basically says, YES we want to move forward with him.

We have met with a couple of doctors in regard to his special need (which are his eyes), and have been encouraged, yet so many questions remain.  Although his vision is not perfect, it does not seem to slow him down, as the reports show him to be quite active and friendly.

This match seems to have occurred so quickly, that we do not even have our dossier certified or authenticated yet.  So, the predicted time frame for him to come home is 5-8 months.

We covet your prayers for gathering information on this sweet boy and for the interpretation of the data.  Also, for our paperwork to continue to move through the processes quickly.  We do pray for wisdom in the coming days for decisions that will need to be made and for us to fully understand his needs so we can further know how to help him.  The sooner we can get our dossier finished, the faster he can come home! Thank you to all of you that have been a part of this journey in one way or another (especially with prayers!!)

We are thankful that our children are so excited with this match!  Brianna is thrilled to have another brother (really, she is!!).  Jonny and Sean are excited that he likes sports and music.  Ethan is the most excited to have a brother who is younger than he is (if only by 4 months).  He can't wait to be a BIG brother.

Here is the little one God has intended to bring into our family: