Friday, May 8, 2015

May- where we're at...

Happy May!  Not too much new to report but would like to continue to highlight our fundraising efforts and give an adoption update.

We are still awaiting our I 800a approval from Immigration (US).  We are 23 days into our wait and the most recent and quickest turn around time I've seen has been 48 days... so half way there? (this is my "trying to be excited" face) We continue to pray for speedy processing.  

Corbin has been very good at praying for all the details.  One night at bedtime, I explained how this important stack of papers was making its way across the country via fedex truck.  It was then delivered to an office where people would send our paperwork to an officer to review everything.  The officer would approve our paperwork and send it all back to us, and then we'd send it to China, and then we could start searching for his little sister.  Nearly every night, he prays for the FedEx driver and truck, the officer who looks at our papers, the airplanes that will take things to China.... and of course for his little sister to know that we are coming to bring her home soon.  I get anxious in the waiting, my mind wanders to the unknowns and the what ifs, and I easily become frustrated in the whole process.  But each night I'm reminded to remember the little details- like the FedEx driver- by my almost 4 year old and his heartfelt prayers (and over-the-top love for all things truck).

My etsy site is up and all proceeds go to our adoption.  I'm focusing on sweet little necklaces and love to make custom orders.  If there's a favorite Bible verse, quote, or personal saying that you'd love to have, contact me!



And if you'd like to visit our youcaring site and see our fundraising progress (and contribute to it if you are led to do so!) check it out below.  We appreciate all of your prayers and support- join us in saying a pray for our paperwork... and for Mr. FedEx as it makes its way back to us hopefully very soon!





Saturday, April 25, 2015

April Adoption Update

April is nearly over.  Typing those words is actually kind of difficult.  DOn't get me wrong- its been a fantastic month- we had a wonderful 31 Purse Party fundraiser, lots of movement on the adoption paperwork front, a great Easter, my birthday- but in my naive thinking from a month ago, I had hoped our Dossier would be on its way to China by now and in reality, its still a few months off.  Austin is fond of saying 'it takes as long as it takes.'  But let me back up first.

(our fundraiser brunch- so fun to spend a morning with these ladies!)

I had been diligently working on compiling all of the paperwork needed for our Dossier and having everything authenticated (notarized, verified at the county, state, and Chinese consulate level).  All of our documents were ready- we had no hang ups or re-dos- praise God!

After Easter we received our finalized Home Study.  We reviewed it, emailed back and forth with our social worker and the China director for our agency, and a few days later, received the home study in the mail.  That evening, I took it and our I 800a and FedExed them to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).  A few days later I received confirmation of delivery and our official receipt date from USCIS.


(yes, the government texted me... I had to fill out another form for this to happen, but it was still kind of novel to receive this news via text)

This is the US's part of determining if we are eligible to adopt a child from a certain country.  They review our Home Study and based on China's country requirements, our tax info, and basically a lot of personal info, USCIS approves or denies our application to bring a child into the country.  This part of the process also involved us being fingerprinted (again) and having a specific officer assigned to our case.  In year's past this I 800a process took 2-3 weeks to complete.  At the beginning of the year, USCIS was processing I 800a's within a month.  The currently wait time for I 800a approval is running around 60 days.

Sixty days.  Two months.  I know- 'it takes as long as it takes.'  A lot can happen in 2 months (learning to crawl, first steps, first words).  A lot COULD be happening in two months (like our Dossier could be sent to China, translated, logged in, and we could potentially start searching for our little girl!).  Thus my difficulty and discouragement at reaching the end of April without another late night trip to FedEx.

Even though this is difficult, we are choosing not to stay in that place of discouragement.  There is very little we can physically do to speed up USCIS.  But we can pray (for more officers, faster officers, computers that don't crash, paperwork that doesn't get lost, mail trucks that don't break down).  And we are and if you'd like to add that to your prayer list, please, please! And we can trust in the timing of God- knowing that He makes all things work together for our good... even the waiting times, and slow paperwork processing times, and mail delivery times.


I am enjoying connecting to the online China adoption community.  I've learned more from a few facebook groups than countless books, 13 hours of adoption training, and months of research!  The BTDT (been there, done that) experience goes a long ways in my book.

Still selling necklaces- I've done lots of custom orders and would love to do more if you're looking for a unique gift idea.  Check out ideas on my etsy page.

Also, our youcaring page is still up and running- check it out!



Thank you for following along with our journey.  We really appreciate your prayers and support!



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Thoughts



Happy Lego! Easter! He is risen! This morning our boys awoke to two fabric bags filled with second hand legos and a small chocolate bunny. They. Were. Thrilled. And I don't think they realized they could eat the bunny yet. I love holidays, celebrations, gift-giving. This scaled back Easter is hard on me but so so good for my heart. Because while part of me longingly imagines Easter baskets overflowing with trendy new clothes, favorite toys, and environmentally sustainable art supplies (I know- that one's just me!) the other part recognizes that we are one Easter basket short this year. There will be other years of color coordinated Easter clothes and baskets with special treats but this year we scaled back, as we have in every other area in anticipation of bringing an orphaned little girl into our home and telling her "you are accepted. You are family. You are loved." And isn't that what Easter is really about? Jesus paid our penalty and now welcomes us into His home and says "You are accepted. You are family. You are loved." 

"How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be. How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Update

What a month!  February held lots of paperchasing, more necklace making, and one big ol' garage sale.  Austin and I continued to check things off of our dossier list- birth certificates authenticated at the state level, check; background check clearances, check; employment verification letters, check; medical exams, check; appointment made to have medical exams notarized (what?!?), check; first home study visit, check!  That's right- we met with our social worker for the first time this weekend and the visit went great!  We anticiapte one more meeting with him in two weeks.

We still have more paperwork (!!) to track down, fill out, mail in, wait for it to be returned, mail somewhere else, notarize,hand deliver, notarize again, etc.  I'm absolutely resonating with the term 'paperchasing' now- its a wild chase!

One of the documents is a letter that will be sent to Chinese authorities basically stating our intentions and asking permission to adopt a child from China and in sweeping general terms, describe how we will care for that child.  Its a 'form letter' that doesn't allow for flowery prose and yet as I was retyping it, I was struck by its duel meaning.  We state that she will become our daughter, as if she had been born to us.  We will not harm or abuse her.  We will provide the best education to her and give her everything she needs to succeed in life.  And our child will inherit from us as if she had been born to us.  

And that's absolutely what we'll do. But even more than our physical provision for her educational, emotional, etc needs, we pray that she'll come to know the provision from her heavenly Father- who has adopted each of His children.  

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 John3:1

"And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Galations 3:29


That is our prayer for each of our children, that they will come to love God and partake in this very royal inheritance.  Because God will provide everything they need to succeed in life- so much more so than anything we can do here on earth.

We look forward to sharing this inheritance with our daughter.  Every dollar raised represents one step closer to bringing her home.  Yes, we have paperwork and wait times, but this financial hurdle is significant.  And yet, its shrinking before our eyes, each and every day.

Thank you for being a part of this journey.  For caring about bringing one more beloved daughter home.
If you'd like to support us further, here are some current and upcoming fundraisers:

"Love Makes a Family" jewelry fundraiser- check out these handmade necklaces!  Custom orders welcome- contact me for details.

www.etsy.com/shop/christmastreeface


Garage Sale on March 7th.  Utah Way, Escondido, CA
7am- come and get a great deal!


And as always, we will gladly accept donations through this fundraising page.

Thank you!

love,

Austin and Anna

Sunday, February 22, 2015

hope

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19



It's funny what things give us hope. Now a days, that list is rather long for me. Reading an adoption story online of a child receiving life-saving heart surgery upon arriving home; hearing news of quick paperwork turn around time from a Facebook post; being introduced to an adopted grandson while running an adoption fundraiser; watching a huge pile of quarters turn into dollars- and then hundreds of dollars; getting the nicest person answering the dr's office appointment line and working way above her pay grade to make my appointments happen. And so many other things. 
By deciding to adopt, we've stumbled into an amazing community fueled by that four letter word- HOPE. Hope for families for thrown away children. Hope for medical miracles- and financial miracles. Hope for safe travels and quick paperwork processing. Hope for strangers that have also signed on the dotted line and said,"yes, we'll do this paperchase nonesense, and heart breaking waiting if it means hope for one small child. 
Our ultimate hope is in God's promise of a homecoming greater than any earthly gotcha day or airport welcoming committee. We've already lived through this adoption process once- perhaps without agonizing over the waiting but with even more refining fire. Our adoption is secure- finalized- and our hope is without fear of failure. I am His child, for now and forever. My prayer is that someday our sweet daughter will have this same secure hope. 
So today I am enjoying those small things that give me a glimmer of hope on this earth, knowing my true hope is secure an unchangeable. 
One more appointment closer, one more dollar closer, one more day closer to having her in our arms.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Update- 2/5


We are 1/8th of the way there!  Moving along in our 'paper chase' too with applications filled out, lots and lots of documents signed, medical exams checked off ( or at least scheduled for one of us...ahem!), and birth and marriage certificates obtained.  It's exciting to have something measurable to reference- a pile of paperwork representing scheduled appointments and long waits at county recorders offices; little squares checked off on a long checklist; and yes, that little bar under our fundraising goal slowly and steadily  moving to the right.  We don't know what our little one looks like- does she smile with her mouth open or closed? Does she have hair yet? Do the orphanage workers tie it up in tiny pigtails? But each tiny, measurable step feels like fogged up glass slowly clearing, revealing our beautiful girl, waiting for her mama and daddy. Oh and those rascally brothers who so need a little sister to provide some balance to their truck-filled, dirt-encrusted lives!  Thank you friends for following along, praying, and giving so sacrificially.  We love you!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let's get to work!

A quick update:  It had been all of, oh let's see, maybe 24 hours since I had emailed our application and first fee to our adoption agency and we hadn't heard anything back from them.  And I had already poured my heart in the last blog post and I couldn't help but think about how embarrassing it would be if we weren't accepted to adopt from China and other similarly ridiculous things.  So then I hemmed and hawed about contacting the woman in charge of the China program- but it had only been 24 hours, so that's like, crazy- right?  I mean, I don't want to be that person.  But I realized I was that person so I emailed her and this was the response:



Hooray!  Maybe I am a crazy, impatient person but this is great news!  And I quote, we 'are in!'  My second favorite part of this email was the ending:

"Let's get to work!"

We're ready Ms. Thomas- let's get to work!

And because I need this reminder, every day, here's another necklace I just finished that's available for sale.



Contact me if you're interested, or if you'd like a custom creation!

And in case you have forgotten how to view our youcaring page, check it out: