Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reviving the Blog- An Update

Haha, wow. I guess it's been a while since I've posted an update. Here's the short version- paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, wait, wait, wait, repeat a couple of dozen times, aaaaand tomorrow we get on a plane to China to bring home our cutie.

(See? He's cute, right? : )

I kind of feel like we reached that point in pregnancy when you start to truly believe that you'll just be pregnant forever and there is no actual baby coming (women who go past their due dates know what I'm talking about), then you go into labor and you're like, "wait, what?"

So yes, apparently there is an actual child waiting for us in China and now we get to Go Get Him! (Ironically, after all the waaaaiting, the last few weeks have been spent scrambling around saying, "wait, I'm not ready yet!")

So today I need to finish packing (which for me, means do most of it), get the kids to the in-laws, and try to get a nap before we leave at 3 tomorrow morning. As long as the first two things happen, we're good.

Off to go pack. Please pray that I don't forget anything important.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Past 2 1/2 Months

Too much has happened in the last two and a half months to go into much detail, but I wanted to at least try to summarize what's been going on.

Getting the news about Chloe was very, very hard.  Even though we knew in our  heads that she wasn't, by that point she'd become our daughter in our hearts, and that's impossible to ignore.  As far as we were concerned, she was ours, and that's how we grieved.  We were thankful that we had a vacation scheduled just a few days after receiving that news, it was good to get away together for a week.

We took some time to just process then had to make a decision about where to go from there.  We decided to take a look at the China photolisting again and a few little boys that we had taken note of back around the same time that we first saw Chloe were still waiting.  Rams and I felt most connected to one little guy in particular.

The short story is that we decided to request to adopt this little boy.  This time around had a different feel.  Being fairly soon after being turned down for one child that we gotten so attached to, I think it was natural to guard our emotions a little bit.  But we still felt like this was the child that we were supposed to move ahead with, so filled out all the questionnaires, had two different interviews with people from the agency, and waited to hear the verdict.

On Thursday, October 13th, we were selected to adopt him!  Since then we have been hard at work collecting dossier paperwork, and completing our adoption education courses.  Yesterday we FedEx'd about 2/3 of the dossier paperwork to Holt which is a good place to be, seeing as I had felt completely overwhelmed when I had first seen the checklist of items we needed to gather.

Day before yesterday we received an e-mail containing our assignment packet- loaded with pages and pages more forms to fill out, and an invoice for the program fee.  Hustled my butt and got it all FedEx'd out yesterday as well, which was a great feeling!  Many of the forms were related to travel, which made it all start to feel somewhat real.  And writing our son's name on the forms made it sink in further.  As time goes on- as we talk about him with the kids, discuss what it will be like to have him share a bedroom with Gideon, ask the Chinese restaurant staff how to pronounce his name (lol), talk about how to help him through the transition as much as possible, wonder what kind of things we'll learn about him and his past as we get to know him-  he feels more and more like our little boy.

A testimony regarding God's awesome provision- when we first started this process, we fully expected to have to resort to a diet of beans and rice, and selling our second vehicle (and maybe the kids' bikes) to fund this adoption.  But God has provided plenty of work for Ramsey and every time we have received an invoice, the money has been in the bank to pay the bill.  The program fee that we paid yesterday was a hefty fee (and the last one that we will have to pay to Holt!), but the money was there, and it felt so great to just be able to write the check.  We still have USCIS, travel, etc. to pay for down the road, but up to this point, the money has just been there.  We have had plenty of times in the past when God has provided what we needed by some amazing miracle, at just the last moment, with not a penny to spare, etc.- so we do not take this provision for granted, at all!

So that's where we stand- dossier prepping.  Things are moving forward, which feels great.  Based on time-frames that we've been told, we expect to be travelling to bring our little guy home somewhere from 8 to 15 months from now.  Hoping for the shorter end, of course!

And here's some really great news we got yesterday-  Chloe was matched with a family yesterday!!  I'd  been thinking ahead to her birthday, December 4th (which also happens to be my little sister's birthday and the anniversary of Ramsey's and my first date), and thinking that it would be a hard day.  Hard to think of a little person that you love so much, who has no idea that she is so cherished, turning a year older in an orphanage.  Instead, I am rejoicing for her!  There is a tinge of bittersweet, but that is so eclipsed by the thrill of knowing she now has a family.

So there you have it!  Two and a half months, summed up.  : )

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hard, Hard News

Just about seven months after we first saw that sweet face on Holt's Waiting Child Program photolisting, then inquired, waited, pursued, waited, fell deeply in love, and waited some more--  this afternoon we got The Call that we'd been waiting for.  It could have gone one of two ways and it went the way we'd been hoping and praying it wouldn't.  This is not a house of celebration tonight.  We are mourning and grieving, both for our own loss of the little girl that could have been our daughter, and for this sweet little one who doesn't even know that there is a family who loves her so much, and will grow up in an orphanage unless someone else comes forward to adopt her.

We're not looking ahead to the next step just yet, right now we're just being sad and grieving what feels like a loss even though she wasn't really ours to begin with.  We trust God and know that He has a plan for us, that He will lead us to the child that He intends for us to adopt, and that He loves Chloe so much more than we could ever imagine loving her.  We will pray her home to her family.

Chloe, waiting for her family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finally! SOMEthing to tell.

So this week I'm volunteering at Camp No Limits.  It's been such a great experience, it's totally worthy of a long post of it's own.  Which I started to write but am so exausted it was completely incoherent, so I'm starting over.

After being at the point, for quite some time now, of hanging in there but feeling like absolutely nothing is happening, we arrived home tonight to a message on the machine from our caseworker and an update e-mail from Holt.

The phone message threw us for a bit of a loop.  Our homestudy agency wants us in for a meeting at the beginning of the week so that they can write a child specific home study, which has either been requested by the country of Thailand, or by Holt's Thailand program (our caseworker didn't know which).  It seems that our home study agency has been super proactive and has been e-mailing back and forth with Holt over the last four weeks, trying to get our homestudy finalized (which has been held up because we don't know yet if we're going to be accepted to the Thailand program, which we don't know yet because we don't know if Thailand will accept us to adopt "Chloe".  Yes.  We like to do things backwards.).  So now Holt is asking our home study agency to send a child specific home study, which, again, is really backwards from the way things are normally done- usually a home study would be submitted, then you'd receive a referral, then you'd accept the referral, then you'd submit a child specific home study.  According to our case worker, this is beyond the realm of her experience, so she's pulling in a higher up at our agency, who not only has a lot of experience with special needs adoption but who also says in her 20 years hasn't approached an adoption this way, either.  It just wouldn't be fun if we didn't make things interesting.  Yeah.

So the fact that I'm receiving this news while I'm already physically exhausted just makes it so much more draining.  But encouraging.  They wouldn't be asking for this if they weren't still considering us.  Right??

THEN I checked e-mail.  Chloe turned 20 months old today.  The last info we got about her was from 4 months before the update we received today.  We got 4 new pictures (is it possible that she got even cuter??) and an update on her health, development, etc.  She's healthy and developing well.  She was described as "cute", "sweet", "spoiled", "strong will", "smart", and shows signs of worry when separated from familiar caregivers.  It stated that she is so cute and lovely and that is why she is spoiled by everyone around her.  (I pretty much just want to squeeze her and kiss her already.)

In many of the photos we have, including those we received today, there is another sweet little girl.  The report today stated that the other little girl and Chloe have become best friends, like sisters.  I wish I thought Thailand would let us try for two...

Um, and then the report closes by stating that the orphanage staff are so glad to learn that she has an adoptive family of her own??  Jeesh.  I would so love to know exactly what is happening in Thailand right now.  (As much as I would totally love to get my hopes up through the roof, the last contact I had with Holt a couple of weeks ago said that there was another family who was interested but hadn't made a decision.)

So are you getting a picture of where I'm at right now?  I am too tired to do my usual 100% mercurial response, but I still can't help but try to analyze it all, am so glad to finally hear some news, wish we would finally hear THE news for pete's sake, glad that there's again something we can do to try to help our case (meet to work on the child specific homestudy), glad that there's a sort of forward step in motion while still realizing that every time we take what seems to be a step forward we still somehow seem to manage to maintain the same holding pattern, drained, just want to DO this already and bring this child home so she doesn't have to wait in an orphanage any longer, SO excited to receive new pictures and an update, feel like crying over the fact that I'm receiving photos and an update instead of holding this little person, still realizing that we have no clue what the outcome of this will actually be- it all seems to point to her joining our family, from my perspective, but I'm not the one with the big picture here.  We just don't know.  Etc., etc., etc.  And so on.

There.  That's the long, rambling, inconcise version of where we're at.  Hope you can at least get the sense of what's going on, if not the details.  Thanks for your patience, and for listening!   

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And the Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Last Monday, the roller coaster was UP!  Our home study was submitted to Holt!  Now we're getting somewhere.

Nine days later, with not a peep, the roller coaster is dowwwwn.  Maybe we've been forgotten?  Pretty sure we're not going to hear anything.  Ever. 

(Am I starting to sound like a broken record?  Don't answer that.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Today I came home from church overwhelmed by life and came this close to cancelling my own birthday party which was scheduled for 5:30 this evening.  Ramsey sent me to bed for a nap.

I slept for two and a half hours, which was great except for all the weird, vivid dreaming. 

Here's a snippit.  Ramsey and I were on a plane.  In fact, we were the only ones on the plane.  No pilot, no one.  For some reason, this fact didn't seem to be concerning us at all until an automated plane voice came on with an announcement.  Something about the fact that the plane was low on fuel and so would be--- the rest of the announcement wasn't very clear.  I ran into the cockpit to discover that apparantly the fact that the plane was running out of fuel meant that it was going to be crashing.  I yelled for Ramsey to come land the plane, he yelled back something about not knowing how to fly planes, I started trying to tell him to reconsider that ("it's easy, you lift the thing  up to do one thing, and lower it to do something else---") but really didn't have time to finish persuading him when it became obvious there just wasn't going to be time to figure it out.  A gigantic skyriser was looming in front of us- there were levels of balconies on the outside and we were so close to the building that I could see the shock registering on the faces of the people standing on them when they saw our plane flying at them, then the people turning to run away.  I thought something like, "so this is what if feels like just before you crash a plane", then I closed my eyes, grabbed the armrests of my seat with both hands, and prayed (fervently!), "Jesus, the only possible way this plane can not crash, is if You land it!"  I felt the front of the plane lift straight up, then loop backwards, roller-coaster style.  I kept my eyes closed even when it levelled out, and kept them closed as I felt the wheels hit tarmac.  When I opened my eyes, we were sitting on a runway.  My hands were still clutching the armrests.

Take from that what you will.

Here's the latest-  Holt (our international agency) asked us to fill out some very detailed questionnaires, and also have our home study agency submit a draft of our still-being-completed home study, for their and Thailand's consideration as they decide whether or not to allow us to move forward with adopting Chloe.  We booked it to get our questionnaires completed, then learned that our home study agency's protocol doesn't allow for submitting incomplete home studies.  So our case worker diligently continued working away at our home study as we waited on one remaining document (a letter from our health insurance) to come in.  Last week our case worker gave us a copy of the home study to review for factual errors- so close to the end!  Then she submitted it to the agency for review, and the insurance letter arrived.  Last night she called us to get a few final details nailed down, then was going to be sending the home study in to our agency.  It will get one final review there on Monday, then will be forwarded to Holt.

I think last night somehow the weight of the impending decisions just sank in all the more.  As soon as this week or next, or as far away as who knows when, we'll be getting real answers as far as whether or not we can adopt Chloe.  Another dream- I dreamt last night that I answered a phone call from Holt, and, as I began to realize the direction the phone call was taking, I began to wake up.  The dream continued in that fog-like mid-way between sleep and wakefulness state until I realized, "I don't have to dream this," and shut it off.  Nice to be able to shut off news that you don't want to hear. 

I go back and forth between thinking of all the positive things that we have going for us and why they really should say yes, and realizing all the things that they will be counting against us.  When I'm in an especially low place, I wonder if they would be right.  Part of me can't wait to hear the answer.  And if the answer is no, part of me doesn't want to ever hear the answer.

I told God that if we can't adopt her, to please, please give her another family.  Then that reminded me of the story of Solomon and the two women with the one baby- so I asked God, "Doesn't that make me her real mother, then?"

I could babble on and on, because that's pretty much where I'm at right now.  But, ultimately, God knows.  And, ultimately, we trust God.  We are praying, praying, praying.  We are watching videos, and looking at pictures, and reading the write-up, for the 37 millionth time, and falling more and more in love.  This is hard. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Mini-Venture

I got up my nerve this afternoon to visit a local Thai restaurant and ask how to pronounce Chloe's real name.  It's quite pretty...  Wondering how it would sound pronounced with a Maine accent...