Thursday, August 13, 2009

I love this picture of my big boy. The motion. The energy. And the question: where will he land?

The picture also reminds me of faith. Along this journey, I've often felt like we were jumping off a cliff. Praying that we'd land on solid (and soft) ground. And that we'd quickly be able to get our footing.

Jumping off this dune took courage. It wasn't easy, but once he did it he knew he'd land safely. No one ever said faith was easy either. But we know that we're not alone. Our Princess came to us through many miracles. And without faith it would have been easy to walk away and say that it was too hard. Too painful. Too long.

Faith is what brought us to this point.

So tomorrow we jump.

Pray for a safe (and soft) landing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Countdown to Change

Joshua woke up three times last night crying. Caleb is being a little bit more hyper than usual. And the dog won't eat.

Change is brewing. Everyone can feel it.

There are two big suitcases sitting at the top of the stairs ready to come down. The boys are going to grandma's house on Thursday. I've tried to picture this goodbye a hundred times in my head. I'm trying to come up with a way to will myself not to cry. If I don't cry, maybe they won't either. I know they are safer here. I know they are in good hands. I know it's the right thing to do. I just have to do it.

Then on Friday, we leave for Beijing.

In all the furry of activity, the packing, the excitement and the nervousness, it really comes down to one thing. There's a little girl who is halfway across the world. And she only has three more nights without a mommy and daddy.

Three more nights. Then everything changes. For everyone. For our daughter.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why 1001 Tears?

Funny name for a blog, right?
It's the name of the book I'm working on about the adoption journey. The title came to me one day after viewing a little girl's file who needed a heart transplant. Of course, she was beautiful and deserved a family who could pour love and energy into her. But I knew her special need was more than my family could handle. Still, I couldn't sleep the night I saw her picture. At about 2:00 in the morning, I got up and just started writing and praying. I prayed that another mother was crying 1001 tears for this little girl and would bring her home.

The next week, her file was no longer on the agency list. She'd found her mommy and daddy.

1001 Tears. I think there were days when I cried that many for The Princess. I cried that she wasn't with us, I cried that our paperwork took so long, I cried that someone would love her. And today, I cry tears of joy that she will be with us in a few short days.

Our Timeline to The Princess

Spring Break 08: Jonathan and I read Lost Daughter’s of China while in St. Thomas. Even though, we’re told that China is the hardest country to adopt from, we know that’s where our daughter is. We’re also told the wait for a healthy child is 3 to 5 years. We begin to pray about special needs that we think our family can handle. Out of a checklist of 50 different needs we choose three: heart condition, cleft lip, and palate.

May 18: I wake up suddenly with an overwhelming sense to submit our special needs check list. Now. I e-mail it an hour later to our first agency.

May 19: We start the paperwork process. It takes 8 months to complete.

December 26: We see a post information about a little girl named Fang Ling Chen who has tetrology of fallot and cleft lip and palate. She’s not with our agency and it’s not possible for children’s files to be transferred. We pray about this little girl and three days later we request to see her file.

December 29: We’re told two other families are ahead of us to see Fang Ling Chen’s file. One is writing a letter requesting to adopt her. I cry when I find out we waited too long.

Jan 16: After waiting three months, we receive approval from immigration to adopt a child under the age of two. Our paperwork is finally finished! That same day, the agency calls to say the other family’s insurance does not cover Fang Ling Chen’s special needs. And a private donor has paid for her open-heart surgery. She is doing well and is turning two in a week. They give her file to us to review. But because our paperwork is written for a child under the age of two, we are not approved to adopt her. But we look at her file anyway.

Jan 20: A doctor at Children’s believes Fang Ling Chen has a promising future. He suggests we speak to the top ranked plastic surgeon in the city—Dr. Cohen. Jonathan happens to know him personally.

Jan 22: We decide Fang Ling Chen could be our daughter. We will have to switch agencies and redo all our paperwork to be approved for an older child. Everyone says it’s impossible. We think she deserves a family as soon as possible, and cannot wait a year for us. However, we also decide if God opens doors we will walk through them. We submit a letter to China and officially ask to be Fang Ling Chen’s parents. China gives us three months to submit all our paperwork.

Jan 26: We being the impossible and frantically redo our home study and resubmit our paperwork to immigration. It takes us six weeks to make all the changes.

Jan 27: Fang Ling Chen’s birthday passes quietly. We’ve only known her a few days, but we pray that we’ll be able to celebrate her next one.

March 23: We receive our updated immigration approval. Our paperwork is almost done. I go to the Chinese consulate with Caleb to get all our documents authenticated. It’s the last step and we don’t have any extra days to spare in order to meet China’s deadline. What I don’t realize is that in order to get same day service, the documents must be presented to the counter by 11:00. After horrible traffic, getting lost, and going to the old consulate, I arrive at 10:30 and am handed number B265. They are calling B245. The security guard tells me there’s no way I’ll get to the counter on by 11, but I can leave my documents and have them mailed back to me if I give them a return envelope, which I don’t have. Plus, time is running out. Everything needs to be translated and if I don’t get these papers authenticated today, we will likely lose our referral.

The place is jammed packed; probably nearly 200 people are there. I find the only open seat and call my friend. I can tell Caleb and I are really bothering the lady I sat next too. She’s grumpy and Caleb kicks her several times on accident.

After talking to my friend, I pray, “I need a miracle. Now.” The grumpy lady sitting next to me leans over and says, “I’m number B248. Take my ticket. You’re next.”

April 10: Our paperwork is officially logged into China. Our wait beings for an official letter of acceptance. We’re told it could be over 100 days.

June 16: Day 67. We receive our letter of acceptance. The agency calls it a miracle. We now officially apply for Feng Ling Chen’s American visa with her American name. 

July 14: We get updated photos of The Princess. Her cleft has been repaired. We realize that God saw it fit to give us a child with every special need we chose, he also saw it fit to have them surgically repaired before we even meet her. Now we don’t have to rush her to major surgery when she gets home, she can just ease into our family.

July 30: We receive our official travel invitation from China. We plan to leave on August 14 and meet her on August 16.