Our approval arrived in the mail today! WHEW! I am relieved, and ready to move on to the next step. This set us back quite a bit, but we can still expect to travel in about 5 or 6 weeks. I am counting down the days until this baby is in my arms. The waiting this time is HARD. You would think I would be getting a bit better at it by now, but this time seems to be the hardest. Ironically, the Lord laid on my heart to speak to a group of young moms next week about the very topic of waiting because I am the one who needs the lesson from His word the most. I just love how the Lord does that to me.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Well, we have been waiting 28 long days for our I-800 approval. With Molly, I had it back in less than seven so that makes 28 excruciating. Granted, many other families are waiting much longer than I have, and I trust God with this, but I am not happy about it. The approval was mailed a week ago from Missouri, and there is still no earthly sign of it. Everyday I call my dear immigration officer, and beg him to help me. When he returns my calls, he says it will come, and doesn't help. I send emails, call, and here I am still without a paper waiting. The good news is that the next two papers for the steps following this one are all ready to go. My letter arrived that my approval was cabled to the consulate in Guangzhou from the National Visa Center, but still no actual USCIS approval so I wait. I wait as patiently as humanly possible while a piece of my heart is on the other side of the world. If you all would have time, it would be a blessing for you to take this before the Lord for me. I just need that letter to show up! God knows how and when it will. Until then, I wait.
If you would have told me that I was going to be homeschooling one of my children ten years ago, I would have told you that you were crazy. I simply never dreamed. I never dreamed that I could do it. I never imagined it would be so essential to the emotional health of my babe. I never thought I would see so much emotional healing, furthered attachment, and increased confidence because honestly, at times, the situation with this sweet girl has seemed hopeless. Her emotions are strong. Her trauma is big, and pulling her out of the world a bit to be with me 24/7 has made a tremendous difference for her. I am so extremely grateful that God called us down this path, and that I didn't let my own selfishness and fear keep me from following this road. We have had an absolutely amazing year so far. We have so many beautiful shared moments in the day, and she is learning. She believes in her ability to work hard, and learn instead of feeling inferior and overwhelmed. Best of all, I have never loved her more. I have struggled through these last four years doing the best I could for her, and I have messed up a lot. These ashes that we have been sifting through for four years now are finally feeling beautiful. They have been beautiful all along, but finally I feel like they are beautiful too.
She picked up this book from the library this week, and read it all by herself. This is the first time she has been able to do that, and I got to be next to her when she did. Oh, her eyes lit up, and JOY overtook her face!
She said the most darling thing today. Several years ago, she noticed the blank look on her face and the empty eyes when looking at her pictures from the orphanage. I never pointed it out to her, but one day she said..that is my "Asian face". When I asked her to explain what she meant at four when she said those words for the first time, she said her face was sad and empty in Ch*na before I came for her. It cut to my heart to hear her notice that. Today, we went to get our pictures taken for our Ch*nese Visa, and she was told not to smile in her picture. She said she would make her Asian face, but then started giggling infectiously. While laughing, she said, "I just can't make that face anymore now that I am American." I could have burst into tears right there. Dear girl has a momma now. She is American, and she belongs here. There are no more empty eyes, no more hungry belly, or lying in a crib for hours on end, and her smile is hard to get rid of. As hard fought as this battle for her heart has been, she is more than worth it. I can't wait to take her with me to get Ellie Grace as I think a trip back to her roots will be so healing for her. That God would entrust me with such a precious gift is beyond me, but today I am so thankful!
A few Fridays ago, I headed with the girls to the local Ch*nese New Year celebration that many adoptive families attend. Daddy and Em had a bball game so I took them solo. Oh Yes I did!
Not only did I take them solo, we enjoyed it. Jillian had a bit of trouble eating in this new place (which is totally normal), but LOVED the fact that the balloons, after rubbing them on her head, would stick to the wall. This provided hours of fun for her! Anna Mei devoured the Ch*nese food, and spit out the Ch*nese candy as she forgot she didn't like it. Then, she walked up to a group of girls she didn't know in the gym, and joined a game of tag without much prompting. She was so proud of her new friends! (This can't be the same girl I knew last year. Homeschool has been so, so good for her as I have seen so much growth in her emotional well being and attachment. Praise Jesus!) Molly just wanted to be near momma sitting in my lap after giving up on following Anna Mei, but she was happy.
Sometimes it is still hard to believe that I can conquer a fraction of what I do given the girls special needs alone, but we can! Most days, while still very, very busy, are so manageable. Dare I say, they are even enjoyable. We are doing just about everything most other families do at this stage in the game, and, after such a rocky start for our girls, it is just miraculous!
Which, I will admit, has led me to a teensy bit of what the heck am I thinking that I am going to Ch*na in sixish weeks for another...
Then, this morning I goosh to Daddy about all that our Molly has accomplished. Seriously, you should see the girl color some adult coloring pages as her fine motor skills are spectacular! I go on to tell Daddy that if that baby girl were left in Ch*na,well, I hate to think about what would have happened to her.
Like a ton of bricks, my own selfishness about worrying and having anxiety because my own comfort is going to be on the back burner about six weeks from now seems down right petty. So, I won't be sleeping again! We won't be venturing out much. We will be adding about a million medical appointments to an already tight schedule of them, but really should I not be willing to do anything to care for another child who desperately needs it? I have seen, first hand, the unbelievable difference a loving family can make in the life of a child. I am blessed beyond measure that God has allowed me the chance to call these three (soon four) my own, and that He would choose me again is beyond my comprehension as I am so under qualified, and selfish, but fortunately God's will is better than I deserve.
Hopefully, Lord willing, in sixish weeks, I will board a plane to a land I love beyond words to claim one more precious girl as our own. If you are willing to be a part of writing her story, we are about half way to having our entire need met! You can make a tax deductible donation here.
We received our Letter Seeking Confirmation at the end of last week! Essentially, this letter firms up everything on the Ch*na side of things.
I thought for sure there was no way it would come before Ch*nese New Year, but it did! It did!
We signed and returned it.
We also submitted our next round of papers to the US for immigration purposes. Now we wait for immigration to issue the paperwork the consulate needs in Ch*na to issue our US visa for Ellie.
WE ARE PROBABLY ONLY NINE WEEKS FROM TRAVEL!!!!!
With only $10,000 left to raise, we are ready to get this baby home! We still have a good portion of this matching grant to meet. We would be humbled if you would share our story or consider giving so that our Ellie can be home! All donations are tax deductible, and doubled up to $3,500. You can give, and read more of our story, here.
This little peanut caught the flu, and my word did it wreak havoc on her little body. She had a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and was so extremely weak for almost 10 days! Literally she didn't even walk for nearly a whole entire week. When they admitted her to the hospital, it still took two days, and three bags of fluid, before she was doing any better.
But when this smile returned, I rejoiced greatly! What a HUGE blessing this amazing little one is to us, and seeing her so very sick for all that time was rough beyond words. She was just a limp little shell of herself. We spent three days in the hospital, and during that time Daddy kept the house running while caring for the other girls. God was so good to meet each and every one of our needs, but I couldn't be more thrilled that we are on the other side of this.
I spent many nights holding her, and contemplating the fate of those so ill who are not in their forever families. It rocks me to the core that babies die of dehydration everyday in orphanages all around the world because they don't have anyone to care for them or access to medical care they need. Because of this, I was praising God all the more that my baby was next to me through this, and that she could be cared for. I was also sending up many, many prayers for my Ellie to stay healthy as she waits.
After having my Molly in the hospital with the flu, it is good to have life back to normal. How we missed this curious smile, and the activity that is usually a part of having her around while she was so sick.
I truly want this year to be my year of "yes" to those things that matter most because having a babe about ready to leave the nest for college just does something to remind a momma's heart of how very fast these years go.
So we gathered around the table the other morning, and celebrated with a little pastel puffy painting.
It was so easy to make, and the girls loved it! I just used equal parts of shaving cream and glue. Then added in some food coloring to get the colors we wanted.
It had the softest feel on your hands, and I think it would make great finger paint!
The girls were into using lots of different brushes though, and each created lots of beautiful pieces of art. Year of "Yes", we are off to a great start!
I am a Christ follower, wife of 20 years to my best friend, and a stay at home momma to five amazing daughters. I am currently waiting for one precious special needs treasure to come home from China. I am passionate about the orphan and special needs adoption. I love to teach God's word, am involved in youth ministry alongside my dh, and love,love, love cooking. Above all, I desire to serve God and surrender my life to His call.