Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day from a Special Needs Mom

It's Mother's Day! Got home from church a bit ago and my crew made me a very interesting, I mean, special lunch. They are taking me to dinner later tonight and but this meal will be hard to top.

I've read a lot of beautiful, poetic tributes to mothers the past couple days and didn't feel I needed to attempt to do the same. Kind of feels unnecessary to serve my picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwich-like prose after dining on a gourmet dinner of words.

But I did think it okay to reheat an old post I wrote when we started our adoption from China two years ago (that we put on hold when we found out I was pregnant with Victoria). I reread it the other night as I was pondering what our new little girl might be thinking knowing she has a family coming to get her in a few months. I wonder if she's excited about the new life ahead of her; I wonder if she is afraid of leaving all she knows behind. 

I wonder--if given the chance to look through a hundred files of "waiting families"--if she would choose us. I wonder--if given the choice of who her new mother would become--if she would choose me. 

I am grateful that had I been given the choice of mother, I would have chosen the very one that God gave me. She died 9 years ago, but her legacy lives on. And I have been so blessed by other mothers given to me by His grace--they are known as sister, mother-in-law, aunt, and friend.

And I'm so very grateful for the 6 precious children that God has blessed me with. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank Him for each treasure.

When we were doing our homestudy, I had to make a listing of all the "special needs" that we would consider. Once we knew we had fallen for Xin Xin,  we spent many hours researching her condition and talking with doctors about what kind of long-term care she would need and how we could improve her quality of life.

And here's what I discovered. There was no "special need" on any listing that outdid my own "special needs." I felt that it would only be fair for any prospective adoptive child to be given the same information on this possible mother with full disclosure of all imperfections.

My file would read something like this:

She goes by the name "Kathie." She is considered an "older parent" (over the age of 40) although there are no grants available. Should you choose her, it is with the understanding that by the time you are in high school, others will think she is your grandmother.

She will need reading glasses to read you a bedtime story and may not be able to stand upright after sitting Indian style at a tea party.

She has many well-meaning behaviors that may cause extreme irritation. For example, she will take millions of photos of you but has no actual photography skills. You will have to put up with the auto-flashing and shutter-clicking, but you'll only have out-of-focus pics with your eyes closed to show for your patience. 

Small toys not put away will mysteriously disappear. She can't stand "happy meal" items that didn't make anyone happy and you should note that these items are quickly donated or discarded.

She will sing you lullabies in spite of the fact that she has the vocal range of three notes. Every song will sound like "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

She will want to dress you until you go to college. This may not be an issue in the early years, but by the time you are a teen, you will be wondering if you can escape through the air-conditioning vents of the dressing room during a shopping trip gone bad.

She will occasionally go freaky with the food she serves--going gluten-free, low-sugar, wholly whole wheat, and completely organic. You may try to trade up lunch items at school but no one will want a protein bar that tastes like cardboard in exchange for their Little Debbie snack cake. And then there are moments that she passes a Krispy Kreme establishment and the "hot donuts" sign is on. You should not call her a hypocrite if you'd like to partake of the white-flour, sugar-glazed manna that she is about to inhale.

She will often seem completely unfair. There will be movies and music and TV shows that everyone else is allowed to see and hear, and you will be the ONLY one not watching/listening. If you ask why, she will simply respond with "Not Philippians 4:8 standards." ("Whatever things are good, pure, lovely, think on these things. . . .")

When you need clean socks you will be directed to a laundry basket solely dedicated to socks who have no partner. It is your job to play matchmaker and find two that are somewhat the same size and color. Good luck.

You will be fine if you need this mom to provide help in proofing papers, annotating poetry, and diagramming sentences, but you will up a creek without a scientific calculator if you need math help past the 6th grade. The Pythagorean Theorem makes her break out in hives, any attempt to find the area of a complex polygon will reduce her to her lowest common denominator, and she would rather poke her eyes out with a protractor than check your math homework.

She is a strong advocate for enjoying God's creation. She will pull over on the side of the road to behold a sunset, a rainbow, or wildflowers growing among asphalt. She will make everyone stop what they are doing to hear the birds singing outside and make you watch butterflies instead of TV. She will insist that you run outside at night to marvel at the stars and require that everyone pose for a picture with the first flower of springtime (which will no doubt capture you not smiling and cut off part of your head).

Although she cooks with love, she also cooks using whatever she has in the pantry and with the fewest number of ingredients possible. All her recipes are named something that ends in the word "surprise" (some surprises are better than others) and it's a safe bet that these culinary creations will never be featured on the Food Network. 

She absolutely can not handle whining or pouting. If there are words/sounds/looks that even hint at ungratefulness, you will be forced to select an item from her "consequence jar." On this little slip of paper, you will read your consequence (for example, wiping down baseboards and window blinds) for attempting to voice your concern. It's her sick way of teaching you a lesson while having you do a chore that she hates to do herself.

She suffers from Broken Record Syndrome. For example, you will hear phrases such as "good behavior equals privileges, bad behavior equals consequences" repeated till you think your ears are going to be permanently damaged.

She is a cryer. She will cry at your classroom doorway on the first day of school and at your ballet recital or soccer game. She will weep the first time you get your hair cut, swim without floaties, and ride a bike without training wheels. She will wail at birthday parties, graduations, and your wedding day. (Note: We are not talking delicate tears caught in monogrammed handkerchiefs. We are talking big ugly sobbing, sometimes snorting, pass-that-woman-a-box-of-tissues kinds of boo-hooing.) She is also a hugger and a kiss blower. You've been warned.

She might have attachment issues. Every single time another child is added to the family, she worries and wonders how she can possibly love the new one as much as the others. (But she, thus far, has had no trouble attaching to the ones God has given her.) 

No matter how hard she tries, she will never understand what it feels like to be taken from your home country, to lose the only family and friends you have ever known, to have to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, and acquire a taste for new food. 

She will often feel overwhelmed in caring for your physical and emotional needs and wonder if she will ever be the mother you deserve. She won't understand that some days you need special care and other days you just want to be treated like everyone else. 

Sometimes she gets tired, sometimes she feels stress, sometimes she loses her patience, sometimes she says things that she wishes she could take back.

She is a sinner, in need of a Savior, living in a fallen world, raising children who are sinners, in need of a Savior, living in a fallen world. And this means that she is flawed, that she will make mistakes, that she will need forgiveness. 

And this is why she often feels so unworthy to be the mother of those precious children God has already entrusted her with and why she is so grateful for every child He brings to their family. 

Hoping She Chooses My File,

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Glass Jar

It's almost Mother's Day and there are a lot of dads with high blood pressure trying to find something special for the kiddos to give mom tomorrow. So I thought I'd share about one of the best gifts my family ever gave me and let you dads copy the idea. (If you're a mom, forward this post to him with a "wow, this would be a sweet idea" wink wink.)

Before I can share about the gift, I must first tell the story behind it.

You see, I've kind of been going through a "mid-life crisis"--not a "need to buy a sports car" kind of thing, but a "need to have purpose in my life" kind of thing. I'll share in another post the events leading up to this yearning to do more, but part of it is realizing that I have only a finite number of years to raise my children in a way that they will make an impact for God's glory.

I know there's always been evil, I know there's always been tragedy, but because of technology, we are able to see it through photos, read it from articles, live it through video right as it happens. While some days this just makes me want to turn every electronic device off indefinitely, I know instead this is can be a way for us to find out about a need. We are able to help others in a way that people couldn't when my mother and grandmother were raising their kids. This also means that we are responsible for things that were once too far out of reach for us to be able to help.

My inspiration came from an article shared by a friend on Facebook. It was posted the day of the Sandy Hook elementary shootings, on the heals of the announcement that Russian adoptions would be closing, and in the midst of reading articles on gendercide, abortion, and forced abortion such as this one.  

My TV, my computer screen, and my phone seemed to be sounding the same alarm and screaming the same cry for help--we are living in a world at war against the innocent. This is the holocaust of our time and yet some days we feel defenseless to do anything.

On the day of the Sandy Hook shootings, I had kept the TV off--I couldn't bear to hear the updates of this unthinkable tragedy and didn't feel like my younger kids were able to handle the news. I spent much of the day just praying for those families and praying over mine.

But my daughter Ava got on the family computer and saw the news about the shooting and came to me to ask what had happened. I shared what I knew and what I felt was appropriate and she simply asked the same question that the world was asking . . . "Why?"

It was a rare night of one-on-one time with my number 2 daughter--the boys at a birthday party, Olivia and Brad at a basketball game, the baby asleep. I was searching for words of wisdom, of comfort, something to show that as the mom I had all the answers, yet came up with nothing.  Instead I grabbed an article I had printed earlier that day before the world fell apart. I had first read about this courageous woman from a link that had circulated through Facebook--the beauty of her life story seemed overtake the ugly of the day. I had needed to hear something good in the wake of such bad and thought perhaps Ava did, too.

There are many accounts of this woman's amazing story but this is the article I read to her,  found at The Journey website.

Irena Sendler was born in 1910 in Otwock, Poland, fifteen miles outside of Warsaw. Her Father was a doctor and most of his patients were poor Jews. Undoubtedly Ms. Sendler was influenced by her Father's compassion for his patients. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Irena was a Senior Administrator in the Warsaw Social Welfare Department, which provided meals, financial aid, and other services for orphans, the elderly, the poor and the destitute of the City. She enrolled Jewish families under fictitious names and often used quarantine for such infectious diseases as typhus and tuberculosis to keep nosy officials at bay.

In 1942, however, the Nazis walled off sixteen blocks of Warsaw, herded Jewish families in, and created the horrific Warsaw Ghetto.

Horrified by this new development, Sendler joined Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, organized by the Polish underground resistance movement, and recruited ten of her friends to help her. In order to get into the Ghetto, she obtained a pass from Warsaws Epidemic Control Department and posed as a health worker. Sanitation and basic services were lacking. The Nazis saw little need to provide these things, but were concerned about the possibility of disease epidemics that might escape the Ghetto.

Irena was deeply moved by the plight of the babies and children. Initially she and her fellow workers smuggled in food, clothing and medicine as they performed their work as sanitation workers, but knowing that 5000 people a month were dying in the Ghetto, Irena was compelled to do far more. She and her 'fellow employees' smuggled babies in their tool boxes, older children in sacks and boxes on their trucks. They often sedated the children so they would be quiet but she is said to have used a dog on one of her trucks who would bark menacingly whan soldiers would approach to inspect it. The soldiers had no desire to get close to the dog and left the interior of the truck unsearched.

Sendler, a young Mother herself, had to convince other Mothers to hand her their babies and children. One Mother asked her: "Can you guarantee my child will live?" Her answer was the harsh truth that if the child stayed, he would surely die. "In my dreams," she once said, "I still hear the cries when they left their parents."
"Irena Sendler accomplished her incredible deeds with the active assistance of the church. "I sent most of the children to religious establishments," she recalled. "I knew I could count on the Sisters." Irena also had a remarkable record of cooperation when placing the youngsters: "No one ever refused to take a child from me," -- Jewish Virtual Library

Most of the children who left with Sendler's group were taken into Roman Catholic convents, orphanages and homes and given non-Jewish aliases. Sendler kept the only record of their true identities in the hope that one day she could restore them to their families. The names of 2500 rescued children were placed in jars which Sendler buried under a neighbor's apple tree.

On October 20, 1943, the Gestapo, who were becoming increasingly aware of her activities, arrested Irena Sendler. Even under torture -- they broke her legs and feet -- she refused to give up those names. She was sentenced to be executed but her friends bribed officials and she was able to escape.

After the war Irena dug up the jars and worked to reunite children with their families. Sadly many had no family to go to anymore. The woman they had known only as 'Jolanta' was sad that she could have not done more for them.

Honored by international Jewish organizations - in 1965 she was accorded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashemorganization in Jerusalem. In 1991 she was made an honorary citizen of Israel.

Irena Sendler was awarded Poland's highest distinction, the Order of White Eagle. She died at the age of 98 on May 12, 2008.

When I was finished, Ava didn't say a word--a rare moment with the talkative girl we call the "Speaker of the House." 

I told her that for every person who acts out of hate, there needs to be hundreds acting out of love. Already emotional from the day's events, I confided in her with tears rolling down my cheeks and simply added the words: "I want to be an Irena Sendler."

And she grabbed my hand and said, "I do, too."

It was a sweet moment that I had kind of forgotten about until Christmas morning. The kids handed me a gift bag and inside was this.

It was an old Mason jar. Inside it Ava had typed out the names of all the children in our family including our Xin Xin waiting in China. She had also included the American, Chinese, and Guatemalan flags "to add some color." Love her.  

And then my husband let me know that he had given a donation to a family adopting who is very dear to my heart--a link to read about the precious Garcia family is here on their blog or here on their Reece's Rainbow page. Lisa Garcia is Ava's voice teacher and we followed their blog during the Christmas holidays as they made their first trip to Bulgaria to meet their 3 boys ages 12, 10, and 6 (unrelated, in different orphanages). Reading their blog during the holidays helped us focus on others during a time that we unfortunately start focusing on ourselves. Their story was a bright spot amongst a dark time. When these boys come home in just a couple weeks and they are forever free of the prisons they live in, we will add their names to our jar. Not as a way of patting ourselves on the back for doing something so small, but as a way of inspiring us next time to do something bigger.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to introduce you all to some modern day Irena Sendlers because here's the thing--Irena could not have done all she did by herself. She needed others to help her. Every name on every slip of paper was an effort of love and sacrifice on the part of many. God just used Irena to organize it.

The Irena Sendlers of today need an army behind them as well, but we often do nothing because we don't know about the need or the need is so great that we think our trite contribution is worthless. I'm going to show how you and your family can fill your own glass jars, how you can build a family with purpose, how you can focus on good in a world that seems so filled with evil.

So tomorrow, give your wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, a glass jar and read them the story of Irena Sendler. (You don't have to use a Mason jar--they sell some really pretty apothecary jars at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, TJ Maxx.) I may eventually upgrade mine as it fills up.  Tell her that she exemplifies the love of Irena Sendler and you want to honor her with a gift of purpose. What a sweet way for a husband and children to "rise up and call her blessed." 

You can also start this jar yourself at any time of the year. You might want to pick a time that you have family devotionals to introduce it. 

Put inside the names of your own children/grandchildren if you have them. Then find a child or family who needs your help. Sometimes our impact on others will be significant, sometimes it will be small, but everything done with love makes a difference. 

The Garcia family would be a great place to start. They have worked tirelessly to raise the $30,000 needed to bring their boys home--even their children have sold many of their toys and treasures to bring their new siblings into their family (they have 9 other children--4 currently living at home). They are only $2,000 short of raising what is needed to bring these boys home debt-free--the amount shown on their site doesn't show what they have saved or raised on their own. (Wouldn't it be an awesome Mother's Day gift for this sweet family to be fully funded?) Decide what your family is able to do. You could, for example, donate $10 a week to a different child or family in need, then put that child's name in your jar. Perhaps you can do more, perhaps you need to do less, but it is better than a life with an empty jar. How special it will be to read off each name at the end of the year.

One of our modern day Irena Sendlers is named Andrea Roberts. She started an amazing organization called Reece's Rainbow that helps find families for typically hard to place children with various medical and developmental needs. I'm going to write more about Reece's Rainbow in a future post and am going to start a new feature on my blog that will be called "Fund Me Fridays" to highlight a different deserving family each week to help any of you wanting to fill your new jars. But you can go on their site today and find many families like the Garcias or donate directly to a child still waiting for their mom and dad to find them.

Much love to you all as you celebrate the gift of mothers from our Heavenly Father.

With Much Love,


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our Little China Doll

This post has been a long time coming. I shared with family and friends in our Christmas letter that we were adding another precious child to our family (that post is here), but I haven't added specifics until now for a number of reasons.

I think I've become a bit guarded in sharing info because many times the plan we were so sure God had for us has changed. With the loss of our first son late in my pregnancy, then the two and a half year ordeal it took to adopt Daniel from Guatemala, we learned that "His ways are not our ways." We were reminded of this (and His sense of humor) when we had to put our last adoption on hold because of the surprise blessing of Victoria. (We joke that she's our only biological child with a complete set of international adoption paperwork.)

I've got a bad case of not counting the chickens before they hatch, and yet I'm completely surrendered and at peace regarding this adoption and any future ones. We are getting close to bringing our new daughter home and want to share our journey with anyone who would like to follow and pray for us during these last few months of waiting for her.

This is probably going to be a long post (kind of an all or nothing blogger these days) so I'm going to break this info up into our most frequently asked questions. You can pick and choose to read what you're curious about regarding our adoption journey.

When there are so many children in the United States needing homes, why are you adopting internationally?

We have actually seriously looked into domestic adoption and are very open to foster care in the future. Once we got Daniel home we felt pretty burned by the whole international adoption mess and welcomed the idea of adding to our family with children in need close to home. But as we inquired about it, the need was often to have families willing to care for children for temporary amounts of time with the goal of reunification with the biological parents (which I believe should be the primary goal when possible). We have close friends who are foster parents--in some cases they ended up adopting these children, in other cases they have been returned to their biological families.  God is doing some beautiful things in the lives of these children and those foster families who love on them as long as they can. But even though Daniel is doing so well, he is still healing from hurt in his past. He needs our home to feel like a place of permanence. It would be difficult for him to see children come and go, make attachments with potential siblings that might abruptly leave us, and possibly worry that his own placement in our family was temporary. We also looked at children available for adoption now, but most of the children we saw had been through so much trauma they advised them to be placed with smaller families or families without young children. Thus we felt this wasn't where God was leading us at this time.

Believe it or not, this was one of the most frequently asked questions with both of our adoptions. Not sure if it's asked out of curiosity or they are making a judgment of our choices (or both). But here's the funny thing--I've never been asked that question by someone who has adopted (domestically or internationally). I think adoptive families understand that we have all been enlisted into the same army, just called to serve in different branches. Some called to domestic adoption, some called to international adoption. Some led to newborn babies, others led to teens about to age out of the system. Some feel equipped to care for emotional needs, some feel prepared to care for physical ones. We may look divided into different camps (because it really helps to be part of a support group of parents adopting from the same country, dealing with the same medical needs, etc.), but we are unified by the shared belief that EVERY CHILD DESERVES A FAMILY. 

Why did you choose to adopt from China?

I think I always knew I would would adopt from China. I grew up hearing stories of missionaries like Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor and my love for the people of China grew as I read about their ministries.  We thought our first child would be from China after we saw a documentary about the crisis of abandoned baby girls many years ago before we had any biological children. We actually contacted an agency to start the process because at that time you couldn't have any other children in the home to adopt from China (that was 18 years ago). We were so disappointed to find out that we weren't old enough. (I think the minimum age was 30.) Fortunately we are well-qualified with our ages now and the size of our family is not an issue because we are adopting through the special needs program. There are many children in China waiting for a family and we felt led to adopt a child with moderate to significant needs who might not otherwise find a family.

We were also wanting our next child to be one of a different ethnicity. With Daniel being our middle child--it bothers him a bit that he doesn't "match" the rest of us.  Guatemala is closed for future adoptions, but the precious children in China have that same silky hair and beautiful dark eyes as our Daniel. I know Daniel and his new sister will have a special bond because of their similar beginnings and I can't wait to see this relationship blossom.

Why did you choose this particular child?

When we found out I was pregnant with Victoria, we put our adoption plans on hold indefinitely. We planned to wait till little sis was a few years old to adopt again, so in the mean time we were just content to chip in to others' adoption funds and pray for the children listed on various waiting child sites till it was our turn to bring another home. 

Well, May of last year I saw this photo on a waiting child photolisting.

We thought she was precious and we added her to our family's list of kiddos that we pray/advocate for. But logic told me that we already had our hands full with our youngest not even a year old. My schedule reminded me that we were too busy to take on a 6th child, particularly one with medical needs. (And I knew her needs must be significant for such a cutie to not have already been snatched up.) I was content with my justifications . . . until I finally took a peek at her video. 

This is it.

To say I was smitten is an understatement--there was something so special about her. Such a sweetness in her voice and softness in her smile. I melted when I saw how her face lit up with the attention of the woman interviewing her. I loved how she--with her orthopedic challenges--was pushing her buddy (who seemed to be fully capable of walking) in the doll stroller. We all sat around our computer watching her video over and over. We quickly went from "wouldn't she be a wonderful addition to someone's family" to "wouldn't she be a blessed addition to OUR family."

We kept expecting to see the words MATCHED by her listing--confirmation that she wasn't meant to be ours--but the summer came and went with no celebration that her family had found her. I finally asked for Brad's blessing to inquire about her and the rest is history. I went into much greater detail in our Christmas letter, but it was the information in her file that made us sure that we couldn't say no to this precious girl. It was the love story of her birthparents (who gave her up with the hope of her having a better life) that moved us in such a way that we couldn't let the ending of her story be that she spent her childhood in a government institution. And we are absolutely overjoyed that God has chosen us to be this darling little girl's new family!

How old is she? Where is she currently living?

She was abandoned in a bus station so they don't know her exact birthdate, but estimated her to be a year old when she was found. They assigned May 30, 2009 as her birthdate. She has spent the last 3 years in the same government orphanage at the Social Welfare Institute of Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province. While we wish she had made it into a foster home or private care facility, we are very grateful for the stability she has had in staying in the same place her whole life. And in the photos and video we have of her, she looks they are taking good care of her. 

What are her special needs? Does she know she has a family?

She was born with spina bifida and may have tethered cord syndrome. She also has some secondary challenges because of her spina bifida. We honestly don't know exactly what kind of care she will need or what can be corrected, but we think she is perfect already and will be thrilled with whatever healing God will provide. We did have a local children's orthopedic group review her file. They seemed to think she would need surgery, a series of castings, and a lifetime of physical therapy. We are excited to have such an awesome group of specialists only 10 minutes from our home.

But here's a neat God story. A couple months after those doctors said she would probably never walk independently (would always need braces on her legs and arm crutches), we received the below videos. 

We were so excited to see that she was walking on her own and so impressed by her determination.  A couple months later we had the privilege of meeting another mom who had adopted from our little girl's orphanage and was right there when those videos were taken! (Got to meet her adorable little boy they adopted, too. Thank you, Amy Hart!) It is her daughter in the background giving our little girl the lollipop in the first video. Anyway, after the video was taken, our daughter was very upset and said, "Can you do the video again because I want my new mom and dad to see that I can walk and I kept falling down!" Brad and I were so touched at how hard she was trying to please us and hope that she doesn't think we might change our minds. We are so very proud of her perseverance. Every single photo or video we've seen has her standing or walking. Those videos were taken in November of 2012 and she got a care package shortly after that we hope reassured her that we would never change our minds.

We got the photos below in February. If you've ever adopted you know what a treat it is to get new photos or video. Although it's sad to see how much she's grown since that first photo we saw of her, it is reassuring to see how happy she is in these two. And I know we are biased but we think she is just getting more beautiful.  (And doesn't she look so much like Daniel?)

What are you naming her?

I am embarrassed to say that we haven't settled on a name. This is typical of us--lots of folks in our household with an opinion. She is called Xin Xin now so we will put Xin as part of her name. The agency had her listed as Ella--a name we love but aren't so sure goes well with Williams. All our girls have the letter V in their names (even two girls in Guatemala that we sponsor and love as daughters have V's in their names)--but are running low on options that everyone likes. If we go with a V, Evangeline is a front runner (but worry if we nickname Evie would be too much like our Ava).  And all our girls have a name that ends with an A and in addition to Ella have Tessa, Julia, Elena, Jessa, Eliza, Audra, and Sofia on the list. If we ditched names with a V or ending in A altogether, we like Charlotte (after missionary to China Lottie Moon) and Josephine (nickname Josie), and I've always loved the name Lucy . Her birthparents abandoned her in an outfit described as white with flowers on it. (Sounds like they dressed her in something special so someone would want to rescue her.) So we are considering a flower name/middle name to honor her birthparents (Laurel, Rose, Lily, Violet). 

Okay so now you see that our lack of deciding on a name isn't because we haven't bothered to think about it. We welcome any suggestions as we try to narrow it down. Oh how we wish she could choose her new name! We just want something as special as she is!

What has been your adoption timeline?

Others who are adopting from China like to compare timelines. 

So here goes:

August 10, 2012--First inquired about Xin Xin
September 12, 2012--PA (Pre-Approvel)
January 21, 2013--Homestudy complete
January 29, 2013--I 800A submitted
February 21, 2013--Fingerprinted
March 5, 2013--USCIS approval
March 22, 2013--DTC (Dossier to China)
April 19, 2013--LID (Log in Date)

When do you expect to travel?

It all depends on how long it takes to get our LOA (Letter of Acceptance). We could travel any time from late summer to some time in the fall.

What adoption agency are you using?

We are using Lifeline Children's Services and can't say enough good things about every single person there who is helping us bring our new daughter home. This can be an overwhelming process and they have made every step as easy as possible. They have some precious children listed on their waiting child pages.  Take a minute to look at these sweet faces. You just might find your son or daughter!

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

With Much Love,