Monday, October 28, 2013

Article 5

Our Article 5 is completed and is sent to the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) to issue us our travel approval!  The approval should take about 3 weeks, then our trip will be confirmed.  Lord willing, we will be traveling in December to bring Jesse home!  

Thank you to all who have prayed for our adoption.  We are humbled by the response we have gotten from so many.  Thank you also to all of those who have listened to our groveling about paperwork and set backs, your are a blessing!  The light is very bright and we are ever closer to bringing Jesse home!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Autumn is here

As we patiently wait for our Article 5 to arrive, we enjoy this beautiful autumn weather and activities:

Kiddos big treasure after their hike at the soccer fields.  We are so redneck, and still have it hanging on our playset to dry out as it is still full of meat and fuzz on the antlers.

Success!!  We made it through both parts of the corn maze at Tanner's!

They sure do grow up so fast..

Story time with one of our favorite books, "Squire and the Scroll"

Ethan trying to catch the first snowflakes of fall 2013

And we shall repeat .. Everything in our house is turned into a gun, even the chicken wing for dinner.

Carving pumpkins with a drill!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Speak Up

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.  Proverbs 31: 8-9

This verse is ringing through our house .. not by hearing it repeated, but by the actions and expressions of our children. To say that our entire family is over the moon excited about this adoption is an understatement.  Each of the children pray daily for our next piece of paperwork to arrive (currently the Article 5), or for Jesse's heart to be softened towards accepting us as his family, or for funding to assist with our expenses, or for Jesse's eyes to heal or for Jesse to have a great day or a great night.  They look at the sun rising in the morning and say 'good night' to Jesse.  They peek out their windows at night and find the moon and say 'have a great day Jesse', as he is just beginning his day.  

One of my children has always wanted to be a missionary, but now she knows she wants to be involved in orphan care ministry.  My youngest wanted to be a veterinarian, until we started this process and he now wants to be a missionary, flying planes to help feed and care for the orphans in China.  God only knows the plans He has laid before them, but what a heart of gold they have to want to even think about serving the helpless and poor as their career choice.  

These blessings teach me to stand up for the fatherless, as I see them proudly sharing their brother's story even with strangers.  They are not shy about sharing their fears of seeing Jesse for the first time or how he will integrate in our home.  For instance, the other evening we were all reminiscing from our time in Belgium (2006) and just after we moved back.  The kiddos were so little then and Ethan was born in 2007. But, there were so many giggles and memories.  Then we were struck with grief for not having those early childhood memories of Jesse, and how we will need to be sensitive in our conversations with him and around him so he doesn't feel left out.  The kiddos reminded us of all the new memories we will make with Jesse and teaching him about our lives before he was in our home, and the hope that he can share his memories with us as well.   I love how God uses the kids to convict me and trust my faith. 

I am so thankful for these amazing gifts that God has given to us to raise up to glorify Him.  But, I am even more thankful for them speaking up for those that can not and teaching me to give justice to all who can not speak up for themselves.  

A neat story I read while doing some research on Jesse's SWI is below.  I am convinced that he is being taken care of very well and  is in wonderful loving hands.  This article confirms that the staff at his swi are willing to do what it takes to care for the fatherless:

Dad's story for Jesse

It started in 2010, God instructs us to take care of the orphans.  While your Mom and I and the rest of your family was in Arkansas.  We felt that our family was not complete – even with 4 kids.  We started the process of being able to adopt through Arkansas.  We were right about to be able to open our home for an adoption, God changed our plans – back to HIS plans.  I was transferred to Peoria, IL with my company Caterpillar.  We moved into a town called Washington, in Illinois.

When we got to Washington, we found an amazing church called Bethany Community Church.  The senior pastor is Daniel Bennett.  He has a passion for the fatherless so much that he wrote a book about it.  We took a Bible Study with him concerning his book.  It changed why we wanted to adopt.  We did not want to adopt just to adopt and grow our family.  We wanted to Adopt to Glorify God.

With our hearts in the right place, we needed to find someone to help us fill our hearts with even more love.  As we started trying to find out about  where to adopt, we looked Domestically and Internationally.  We thought the door was closed for International adoption due to timing – boy were we wrong.  We had friends who talked to us about their adoption from China and it took only 18 months.  So we prayed and started down the International Adoption Process in February of 2013.

As we proceeded, we had a renewed hope and focused.  We did all of the paperwork to move the adoption forward as quickly as possible.  We turned in our home study and in late April, we were given a little boy to review.  When I opened that picture for the first time, I almost cried at work.  I could not say NO.  I saw God in your eyes, I felt God telling us this is your son.  You Mom, sister, brothers and I all prayed and we knew you were our new son. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sending a package of love

We are in our second week of waiting for our Article 5 to come from China.  This is the last puzzle piece before travel approval. As paperwork has been slow, we are now hoping for a December travel. Please pray that we can travel this year!

Since we have a few extra weeks before we get to meet Jesse, our kids are compiling items to send him another care package.  We initially sent a photo album of his family, house, room, etc.  along with a few little toys.  But , this time around Ethan drew him a picture of a bike, since he loves to ride bikes:

Brianna has made matching paracord bracelets for all of the kids to wear on gotcha day.  We will send one to Jesse this week so he will already have his. This package will also be filled with the love of so many who have offered prayer support, financial support, and support from all of their experience with adopting, especially an older child.  Our fears are continually conquered by the support of each one of you and the promises of our Lord

Deuteronomy 31:6
 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Although our paperwork for our Article 5 is moving slow, we were excited to have gotten our visas to travel to China.  I was a bit nervous not having our passports in our hands for 2 weeks, but the courier service was phenomenal!  She was great to work with and her directions were easy to follow.  So, next step is receiving our Article 5 from China, and planning our travel!  Less than 2 months until we meet Jesse.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gone but never forgotten

My children's great grandmother went to meet Jesus face to face on Sunday.  What a celebration it must have been.  I think of the song, "I Can Only Imagine"by Mercy Me and believe that Grandma G was thrilled to be home, finally!

Grandma G has prayed for many years to go home to her Lord and Savior and would always ask why the Lord kept her here. You see, Grandma G, has faithfully said her rosary and continual prayers for as long as I can remember, and I am convinced that her job (praying for her friends and family) wasn't done until now.  We needed her prayer as much as she needed to be praying.  And at the tender age of 102, the Lord has relieved her of this duty and called her home.

We are saddened by the loss of this witty, spunky, independent lady who had a streak in her to do things her way!  And we all loved her for her honesty, witty comments and devotion to the Lord.  We are saddened to not be able to hear the stories of her life, and living through the great depression and having an actual 'ice box' and volunteering at the local hospital for 1,000's of hours throughout her life. But, we are excited to be celebrating her life this week, as we gather with friends and family to remember the matriarch of the family and her desire to love her family selflessly.

I wish Jesse would have gotten a chance to meet this remarkable woman in person, but I know they will meet in heaven.  We will tell stories and share pictures so he will know of her.  I am glad the rest of my children have pleasant memories of a great grandmother who was clever, amusing and spirited.  Her spirit will certainly live on forever and my prayer is that we can all be as faithful in our praying as she has been.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

We are getting closer

Each bit of paperwork that is completed brings us closer to bringing Jesse home.

September 21st (our 17th anniversary), we received our I-800 Provisional approval and on October 3rd, we received our National Visa Center (NVC) letter.  These are 2 key steps in bringing us closer getting our travel approval.  We were hoping to travel in November, but it looks like December 6th will be around our best travel date.

Our NVC letter took longer than expected, and didn't meet the deadline before new on-line forms were to be used.  We resubmitted information on a new form on Friday and expect that to take 3-5 days to process (which often times means weeks!).  After this information is 'processed', we will be waiting for China to issue an Article 5.  We should get this form via e-mail, and the next step from there is our travel approval.

We are able to send Jesse e-mails that are translated to Mandarin.  We explain when we will pick him up and what will happen when we see him and what to expect while in China and the trip home.  We thought that traveling December 6th would be a hectic time to travel, right between the holidays and coming home a few days before Christmas, but we are constantly reminded that God's plan is perfect.

So, about 2 months from today we hope to be meeting our new son and we have been praying for his foster family to continue to love him through this transition time.  We pray for extra mercies on them as this time will be difficult to say good-bye and yet be strong for Jesse.