Saturday, May 30, 2015

We are DTC!!!!

I'm on multiple adoption boards (mainly China adoptions) and for four months, I have been reading these words from so many others, wondering if we were ever gonna get to the point where we could say that.  And we are finally here!
Being DTC (dossier to China) is a gigantic step.  Most of the paperwork is behind us.  We still have a little more with immigration, visas, travel, etc.  Once we get our LOA (letter of approval) which should be anywhere from 45-60 days from China, we can share her picture!! 
I just received word that the package we sent to her with our photo album in it has been delivered to the courier there, and she has translated our card to Evie's foster family and has shipped it off to the orphanage.  I'm really hoping we get pictures of her receiving it!  I would love to see her reaction to seeing her family for the first time.  I know her understanding of it will be limited, but it will still be sweet. 
So we wait again.  I'm praying for a fast LOA!  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting close to DTC!!!!

The funny thing about adoption (international adoption, at least...I don't know anything about domestic adoption) is that so much of it is this weird cycle of hurry up and do 47 things in one day, and then wait for weeks and weeks for the next thing.  Then another hurry up and rush around getting everything done, and then wait again.  It exhausting, mentally and physically.  So much of the process is out of your hands.  You are relying on others to do their jobs and to do them quickly.  And sometimes they do.  Other times they don't. 
We were waiting for one last document to come in for our dossier to be ready to send to China - our I800a approval.  We finally received it last Tues, and received that hard copy on Thurs.  Our approval wait was 39 days, which wasn't bad at all, considering there were some people waiting 90 days.  I took it to have it notarized (three times, because, oh my goodness, the wording has to be PERFECT) and then to the Secretary of State's office to have it certified.  I was too late to send it out that night, so I FedEx overnighted it on Friday to the lady that is taking it to the Chinese consulate in Chicago to be authenticated.  She will take it in on Tues. and pick it up on Thursday.  Hopefully.  We paid for the express service at the Chinese consulate, so it should be done by then.  I'm emailing her an overnight label so she can send it to our adoption agency and they can have it by Friday.  They only send dossiers on Fridays, so I'm really hoping to make this next shipment! 
The dossier is essentially the most important part in this whole process. It's our entire lives on paper...home study, medical info, financial info, background checks, education records, info on our families, etc.  It's everything about us.  After receiving our dossier, the CCCWA (China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) will send us an LID, or a log in date.  After we are logged in, we will get updates that our dossier is in and out of translation, being reviewed, being matched, and then we will receive our LOA or letter of approval.   This whole process currently is taking about 45-70 days. 
Once we are DTC (dossier to China), most of the paperwork is over.  We still have other immigration paperwork, visas, and other documents to get ironed out, but I've heard they are nothing compared to the paper chase that is the dossier! 
We are still hoping for a November family day, although it could still very well be in October!  Which is fine by us, the sooner, the better! 
We continue to trust God in His timing and for His provision.  His hand is guiding this, and no matter how fast or slow the government and the agency move, it will all work out in His timing.  And it will be perfect. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

You Can Be Her Missing Piece

We just started our 2nd fundraiser...The Missing Piece.  I got the idea for this from other families going through adoption, and thought it was so cute and would be a great thing for Evie to have in the future!  I can imagine sitting down with her, pointing out every single person who helped bring her home.  Telling her about everyone who loved her before they even met her, everyone who gave of their resources to get her into the arms of her forever family.  What an amazing day that will be!

Here's the info from our You Caring site:
We are launching our current fundraiser: "The Missing Piece".  Truly, Evangeline is the missing piece to our family.  Mike and I talk about her all the time and how we can't help but already feel her absence in our home and how desperately we want these rooms filled with her love and her laughter.  
We purchased a 100 piece puzzle that we will hang in her room when she is home.   The puzzle is a picture of a panda bear...we call Evie our little panda! :)

For each puzzle piece you sponsor, your name (or anything else you may want) will be written on the back of that piece/pieces.  We will hang the puzzle in a double sided glass frame so that all the names are exposed.  Can you even begin to imagine how precious this will be to Evie as she gets older?  She will have tangible evidence of the body of Christ working to bring her home.  There isn't a price tag for that type of eternal impact.
Each piece has a corresponding amount.  Example, piece 1 is $1.00, piece 12 is $12.00, piece 94 is $94.00 and so on.  When this puzzle is complete, we will have raised about $5,000.00!
We have so many family and friends that have already come along side of us to offer prayers, support, monetary gifts, and words of love.  We would love for you to be a part of this journey we are on.
If you are interested in purchasing a piece, click here to go to our You Caring site!!  All the info on how to participate will be there!

Adoption is expensive.  There are fees for everything you could possibly think of.   The financial aspect alone is the main thing that deters most families from adopting.  To see a bill of $35,000+ staring you in the face is intimidating.  Like most families, we don't just have that kind of money lying around.  We aren't rich by any stretch of the imagination.  Well, we are rich, but not because of how much money is in our bank account.  We have each other, we have love, and we have our family and friends.  More importantly, we have Jesus Christ.  He owns it all, and I know He's not worried about how we're going to afford this.  He already knows.  He put this desire and this passion in our hearts and He will see it fulfilled.  He is writing a beautiful story for our family, and that includes Evangeline.  This precious life that God has created is worth more than all the money in the world.    He is writing her story. And it will be amazing.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Roller Coaster

Some days, it's easy.  Other days, I so badly want it all over with, I can't even think straight.  I don't think anyone could have prepared us for exactly what it would feel like to go through the adoption process. The things my adoptive momma friends have been telling me, like, you're in for the roller coaster ride of your life, or your patience will be tested like it's never been tested before...I get it now.  It's like the second you give birth to your first baby, it all becomes clear.  All the feelings and emotions and the overwhelming love that you hear about actually happens right before your eyes.  The way you fall in love with this tiny little squirmy thing you've never met is instantaneous.  You get it.  It clicks and you get it.  You can imagine how it will be like all you want, but until it happens, you don't truly understand it.  It's also how I feel about when we finally set eyes on this precious girl in person.  When we are able to actually hold her, hug her, and kiss her.  I just can't fully comprehend that moment right now, but when it happens, I know it will be more than what I could ever have imagined.

 Just the fact that we are 7,888 miles away from her (yep, I looked it up) is just enough to make my mommy heart want to break into a million pieces.  Along with the fact that we know she's our child and we love her more than words can say, yet she doesn't know a thing about us, and doesn't know how her world is about to's just a feeling I can't describe.  I know she's taken care of.  I know she's fed and clothed and bathed and looked after.  It's just that I want to be the one doing all that. I'm her mom.  That's my job. To say that this is the hardest wait we've ever had for anything would be an understatement. A GIANT understatement.

We received an update yesterday.  New pictures and a video, answers to questions we had, and updated measurements were all wonderful.  (She's a tiny little princess...just 22 pounds and 31 inches tall.)  The video revealed that she's a little bit rough on toys and it looks like she's got a little bit (or a lot) of spunk!  She's going to fit right in!!  I told Mike that it almost makes the waiting even harder, being able to see her but not hold her.  I know in my heart that when this whole process is over and we have her in our arms, we will look back and think that the time we waited was all worth it.  The tears we shed over not being able to hold our baby and rock her to sleep will be gone and we will be shedding new tears of happiness and thankfulness that God placed this amazing little girl in our lives.

We have 3 months behind us and approximately 6 months ahead of us.  We are waiting for our I-797 approval (US immigration), which will hopefully be coming in the next few weeks.  We sent our I800a application in on April 9th, with a receipt date of April 14th.  Our fingerprint appointment was scheduled for May 1st, but we took a chance and went in early on April 24th.  They took us right in fingerprinted us, and we were out in about 10 minutes.  Now we wait to be assigned an officer to go over our all of our info, and eventually approve us.  Once that approval is in and we get it state certified and authenticated by the Chinese consulate, we can officially send our dossier to China!!! 

The wait from dossier to China (or DTC) to travel is approximately 4-6 months.  So we are still hopeful for a November family day.  It could possibly be in December, though.  So we wait.  We pray over her, we talk about her, we look at her pictures, and watch the videos of her.  November can't come soon enough!!