Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Article 5....again!!!

Okaaaay...I had NO idea my kiddos' files were going to be separate the whole way through. This past summer my agency rep said they would catch the one up to the other. Never happened. I received LOAs on different days, Cabled on different days, and now Article 5 on different days. 

I woke up this morning and checked emails and there was another email from China with another notification of 
Article 5, one day later. "Oh yeah, I'm adopting two, duh," I'm thinking to myself. But what about travel approval. My mind raced and I called my rep. Yep, I'm going to be issued  two separate TAs. Ok, I got this. It's all good. 

Now onto packing, the prep work has begun, I'm making my list (3 pages long), and checking it twice. I have to make a list for hubby. He needs to download two translation apps because we just found out our little boy speaks Mandarin and our daughter most likely speaks Cantonese. Ha ha. It's actually kind of funny. I have no idea why it's funny, it just is. Probably because I plan, and plan, and plan. And somehow or another a curve ball ALWAYS gets thrown, and I have to rely on God rather than my "plan." Why won't He let me have my way just once?  Here we have been learning Mandarin and 4 weeks before we leave I find out I should be learning Cantonese as well.

Number 1 and 2 on my list: send a care package TONIGHT to my little ones!! My son will receive pictures of us to help familiarize himself with our faces. Our daughter will receive these as well, but she will also receive a cake because her 4th birthday is on Jan 12. I'm trying really hard not to think about that. I don't know why, but I just loved it when my children turned 4, so to miss her birthday, well, it hurts, to be honest. It'll be alright, I'll have plenty of time to spoil her! :)

The #2 thing on my list is currently in progress.  There are things on my camera I REALLY want to know before China, so once again, I have to overcome my fear of instructions and just read the manual!! 

(But I really don't want to.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Article 5!!!!!!

 Oh yeah!!! Just when I thought all hope was gone for Article 5 today, I received an email a few minutes Article 5 has been issued!!!! 

Bring on the TA baby!!!!

Ok, me being the planner that I am...I have some stats for you. The average wait for TA is 17 days, so I'm going with that, BUT...a woman just received travel approval after only 8, I'm just going to be prepared for whatever at this point!!!

Yep, I can tell already this will be a night of not much mind is going and so is the adrenaline. So much to do. I gotta clean the house. I don't know why...I already cleaned it...but I gotta clean something. 

Where or where is my Article 5?

I've calculated it. It should be here. But it's not. Soooo....that means it wasn't dropped off in China when I thought it would. The timeline is precise...paperwork is dropped off at the U.S. Embassy in China and exactly two weeks later it's picked up and taken to the final place before I'm issued travel approval. 

What doesn't help is my agency doesn't know the date it was actually dropped off. Ugh!! Let's just say my Article 5 will be here sometime this week (or else).

I trust everyone had a nice Christmas. Honestly, I couldn't wait until it was over with because my kiddos have taken ALL the joy out of it. They are at the age where they know all their gifts. They measure the boxes and everything. 

Here's how ours went down:

My hubby took a picture of Josiah's present at a store to compare the prices. My son is a 12 year old tech head...he checked his Dad's phone, went through all the pics and came in to our room laughing saying it was proof we were getting him exactly what he wanted. My husband explained to Josiah that he was just price checking (which he was when he took the pic). The only problem...the gift was under the tree, Josiah grabbed the gift and felt all the bumps and lines through the gift wrap and excitedly announced he was 100% sure he knew what the gift was. Of course, he was right. Next year I'm hiding all the gifts until the night before Christmas. 

Brianna was a little less subtle. She tore a part of the gift open and peaked, then shut it, came running up to me to announce what she had done, and looked at me like, "I'm so smart! Aren't you proud of me that I'm a conniver and have no patience?"

I also have no patience. 

I want my Article 5!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

She Broke the Board!!

Brianna tested last week for her next Tae Kwon Do belt.

She meant business!

Congratulations Brianna on 
being promoted to green belt!!

Of course, I have pics of her with her green belt...but they're on my phone. It'll probably take me 6 months to get those pics on here. 

For the first time in my life, I wish I was a computer nerd.  I just don't understand these things. Or anything electronic for that matter. Actually, anything that requires instructions is over my head. 

That is why I know it was a God-thing to adopt and it's not just a phase...because it requires paperwork...LOTS of paperwork...which is my greatest fear on the face of this earth. Adoption is full of instructions, paperwork, and computers...all the things in life I despise!! 

Sometimes God requires you to walk outside your comfort zone and try something you're not sure you can handle...but on the other side is a blessing!!!

God can do some amazing things, abundantly ABOVE anything you could imagine to think or even ask!!

More pics to come...I have some great ones of Josiah, but he has now required that I "clear" them with him. I just love this pre-teen age, you know, where he thinks he can have an opinion, tee, hee.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How do you say "y'all" in Mandarin?

Ok, so I just have to post this.  I was discussing the location of my children's provinces and I explained to my 10 year old daughter that her little sister was in Southern China. When she heard this she asked me if she would have a Southern accent. I burst out laughing. My daughter stared at me. She was serious.  Of course, me being the visual person that I am, I immediately started to formulate in my mind what a Chinese Southern accent would sound like. Can't picture it. Do you think there's a Chinese Paula Dean?  If there is, I want to meet her. Seriously. "Have some rice...and butter." "Have some congee...and butter." "Have some tea...and butter." 

Tee hee.  I love my imagination!!

Ok, onto adoption related things in my life: Pray, pray, PRAY that I receive my Article 5 on Tuesday! Those of you who have adopted know this is a big deal...those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, ummm, never mind, too long to explain. Shortened version: it's an approval of the approval of the U.S. approval of China's approval on something someone in America approved after someone approved China's approval. Got it? Do you approve?

Ok, that's enough. This adoption process has affected my brain.  I'm going to bed.  :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tired of Hitting Delete

Several months ago I was out of the adoption loop. I did not know ANYONE who was adopting from China. Since then, I've joined adoption forums, and about 6 different yahoo groups. Not to mention, I've taken over the mission's dept. of our church. Now, I've gone from not knowing there was a cause to speak of, to now being overwhelmed with the need. 

And I can't adopt them all. I want to!! For some reason, when I see the faces of these 12 year old boys waiting for a family...well, I just can't handle it. They are my son's age.  Their faces are burned into my mind. One in particular I'm thinking of...he looks like an Asian version of my son. I am destroyed whenever I see this boy's face. He is being advocated for by one of the yahoo groups I'm on...and I have to delete the email. Because I'm already adopting two. A little girl with a heart condition...I have to delete the email. 

People email with fundraisers. They need help. It's not a hoax or a scam...they really need help in order to help change a child's life. And I have to delete the email, because I can only give so much.

At church, we receive tons of mail from missionaries...they need our help. They are IN the orphanage, they are the ones digging wells, feeding children, schooling the poverty stricken, binding the wounds physically and emotionally...and I have to throw some of the mail away, because I cannot support them all.

I'm so tired of hitting delete.

I'm so tired of throwing away the mail.

We give when we can, and yes, we can pray for them. But Jesus said if you say to the one who is hungry to go and be filled, but you don't do anything for them...then where is your reward? And what good did that do?

I want to do more. I want to help more.

In 2012, I would like to be able to help more, give more, pray more.

But I'd also like to see other people's lives changed. Yes, I wish everyone could/would adopt!! I really do. But I'd also like to hear that more people understood the cause of the orphan and were doing something about it.

I would like to see some of these kiddos adopted in 2012, who are being advocated for, and want a family so bad!

Doesn't every child deserve a home? Don't they deserve a family? 

The fact is, several months ago, I found Le Hai's picture on one of my yahoo advocacy sites. People had been advocating for him for a few years. What that also means is that someone else, somewhere hit delete when his file came up. Now he's my son. He will be in my arms in February. 

I'm praying that these little ones (and aging out ones) on this advocacy site will have someone pause before hitting delete, and say, "I think that might be the child for us."

James 1:27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Forgetting to Blog

What's wrong with me???? I keep forgetting to blog!!! Do you know why? Because I'm reading everyone else's blogs!! I feel like I'm in school and I'm about to take the most important test of my life. I'm reading to glean info from others who are a few steps ahead of me, or in China currently, or have adopted two at once, and so on and so forth. I feel like I have to remember everything. It's complete nonsense, I'm sure. The fact is though, I LOVE reading about other's adoptions and I LOVE talking about it. It's no different than when I was pregnant...all I wanted to do was hang out with other preggers and talk about our weight and cravings. Now I'm adopting and I still talk about my weight and cravings. :)

Concerning adoption this week: not much to report; I'm still waiting on my Article 5, and I'm guessing I wouldn't hear anything until the week after Christmas.

I will post pics hopefully tomorrow of Josiah and Brianna doing their Christmas program at church today. They did a great job. Our camcorder tape ended literally 30 seconds before Josiah's speaking part...good thing we can order a DVD of the service!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Hamster Wheel is Going Again

Yes, the hamster wheel is my brain. I don't have a rodent in a cage living in my house. Stay with me here. :) 

My mind is going...and going...and going...
Things to do, things to pack, appointments I need to fit in before China.

We are seven weeks out...or less.

And my mind won'

I don't sleep. While I'm talking to people my mind is in China or going over my checklist for China. It's the little things; all the little tiny details of life. To be honest, right now as I type, I can't think of one thing on my to-do list. That's why I have a list, so I don't have to remember it later. It's just the issue of getting it all done. And I know it will. 

I hate the word "nesting," but that's exactly what it is. I want the kids' rooms done (I'm still decorating them). I want everything in its place. Which is silly, really. My little girl and boy aren't going to walk in this house and tell me I should have more pictures on the wall. For the most part, I'm being completely ridiculous. 

But then there's the other stuff. Items you HAVE to bring. I'm starting to compile a place in my house for all the stuff we have to pack. I don't know how some people do it, but I've heard of a number of people who pack so light that they just have carry-on luggage and no checked bags. Once my hubby heard that, that was it. So now it's like a fun little game to see if we can fit everything in carry-on.

I can't believe I'm writing about packing. It felt like this day would never come. Do you know I have wanted to adopt little Chinese children for over 15 years? Do you know Brianna was 3 years old when I started begging my hubby to adopt? That was 7 1/2 years ago. During that time I have read every blog known to mankind to glean as much info as possible, waiting for my turn.

In about 6-8 weeks, it will FINALLY be my turn!!!!

Now on to my list....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Yes!!!! My son's file was cabled yesterday!!! I have no idea why their file's weren't kept together at NVC, but WHO CARES now!!! Ha ha. The next step is my Article 5 is dropped off and then exactly two weeks from that date it is picked up. I'm speculating that it was dropped off today. For some reason my agency isn't notified of this next step. Some are, so I have no idea why mine isn't notified. 

Just to briefly explain the Article 5 stuff...the short of it is, it's just basically one last approval on all the final documents. All the documents that were in America receiving approvals here, are then finally sent to China so when we arrive, they will all be approved and in order. The Article 5 is the last step before we can receive Travel Approval!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cabled! And a reality check

Yesterday afternoon I found out my daughter's file has been cabled (emailed) to China!! That's great news; another adoption milestone!! I rushed to email the NVC to check on my son's file, to see if his had possibly been cabled as well. I didn't hear back, so it will likely be Monday. The good thing is I received an email yesterday morning and he is in the system. It's looking like he's just one day behind her. The bummer thing is, I probably could have called the NVC and had them expedite his to catch up to hers, but I was so busy ALL day, that I couldn't. I didn't even have 5 minutes to spare. So instead of catching him up, my agency has to slow hers down. :( My agency rep said they will hold her file until his comes in.

Which brings me to something else. When I don't even have five minutes to spare in my life, something's gotta change. Me not having five minutes just cost me one whole day. And in the world of adoption, it feels like an eternity. I will not be able to keep this crazy pace after China. I will not do it. I have way too many obligations to people and events right now, and I have decided that beginning in January, I'm going to be just a little bit more selfish (sarcasm, of course.) I'm tired of all the running. So my hubby and I have decided we're going to ax some stuff. We're going with a less crazy, chaotic life, and we're going with more family time, more time at home, a more simplistic content lifestyle. I don't think God meant for people to be flying out of their garages 900 miles an hour screaming, "We're gonna be late!" Especially when that's the 3rd time you've left the garage that day screaming the same thing. Or how about leaving in the afternoon, driving your kids to all their "social engagements" and you come home every night at bedtime. You have a house, but you're never in it. I'm done with that life. I don't want to raise my kids in the car while we're flying by the seat of our pants. And I don't want to come back from China and say, "Hi Le Hai, hi Xi Yi, welcome aboard, I'll get to know you on my death bed. For now I'll be your taxi, maid, and teacher. Mom? I don't have time for that. We need to load up in the car. You have a dance class you need to get to."

No way, I'm taking my life back.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Wow, a lot has happened in the past few days!! It's amazing once the I800 was approved, all of a sudden I hit the fast track. My children's visa's were sent to the NVC (National Visa Center) for approval. Once they are approved, they will be emailed or "cabled" to China. This is the part where I'm at. Once again, everything with my adoption has been bizarro so why would this be any different?  My children's files are to be processed at the same time from here on out...well, most people's, just not mine. So my little girl's file has been logged in at the NVC and has a case son? Well, he's not in the system yet. You know, I'm so used to hearing, "This never happens"...or..."Gosh, I've never heard of that, I don't know what to tell you." I'm actually getting a kick out of seeing how many things can be in the category of "hmmm, that's odd" with this adoption journey. 

So after my children's visas have been cabled (emailed) I wait for something called Article 5. It's basically the last final touch on everyone's approval. That should only take a few weeks and then we wait for TA (travel approval). Once we're issued TA we could leave two weeks after that!! So far, it's still looking like Feb to me. 

Today I should be hearing back about being cabled. Please pray they catch my son's file up to my daughter's!!! I would love to receive an email today that says they are both good to go!!!

On another note, another huge milestone occurred in our adoption journey. Last night we had a phone conference with our adoption coordinator. You might be saying, "Ok, big deal. It's a phone call." In my book: huge. It's something that I've heard about. I've heard other adoptive parents refer to it. It means we're close. So very close!!!

Basically, it was a two hour phone call going over tiny details about our upcoming trip. Very informative and I loved every minute of it. We were able to ask questions which was great because I had a few. :) Needless to say, when it was all done, I was exhausted...just completely wiped out. It's amazing the adrenaline that goes through you while your in the wait, and once something major is finally accomplished, you crash. All energy leaves your body. Crazy. Well, I'm on another adrenaline rush as we speak. I've been up since 4:00 this morning waiting for a reply from the NVC. 

The wait never gets easier, but it's how you live your life while in the wait. Today? Well...I have peace.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I emailed, then called, then called again...and finally received the good news...both my I800s have been approved!!! Yay!!

It's hilarious how everyone finds out another step is done and they all say the same thing, "Now you get to go, right?" Uh, not yet. A few more steps to go. Let me break the next steps down:

NVC (National Visa Center)
Cabled (glorified word for sending an email to China)
Article 5 (Umm, I can't remember what this is, ha ha)
TA (Travel Approval)

Each step takes about 2 weeks (I'm rounding here) so that still puts me being in China in February.

It's very interesting my official approval date was yesterday...the day after I read that commentary and quit trying to control the process. Don't get me wrong, my motto in this whole journey has been "it is what it is," due to the fact that I knew I couldn't change circumstances or speed up the process. But I kept trying to do it in my own strength. I had peace knowing God was in control, but I was still trying to "help" Him. Does that make sense?

In other words, "let go and let God." 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Do you ever have times where you feel like God just slapped you upside the head and told you to get with the program?  Last night, as I was reading the Bible to my kiddos, I had one of those moments.  We've been reading in Exodus right at the point where the Passover had just taken place.  I have a study Bible so I was reading the comments to my children. 

Listen to what the commentary said:

"God doesn't always work in the way that seems best to us. Instead of guiding the Israelites along the direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land, He took them by a longer route to avoid fighting with the Philistines. If God does not lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don't complain or resist.  Follow Him willingly and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles.  He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and He knows the safest and best route."

Wow! It was as if that were written It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Ok, God. I get it. I've had a long journey. Every part has been in the slow lane. I will not complain (I don't want to wander in the desert for 40 years, ya know?) So I will trust you and realize there's a purpose in taking the long route at this time. 

The reason God didn't want them to fight is because they were "newbies." They hadn't fought, and God didn't want them to lose faith right out of the gate. 

Technically, I'm a newbie when it comes to adoption. I've never done this before, and although I've been a Christian for two decades, I trust there may be some things God is trying to spare me from...I just don't know what they are.

Sometimes it feels good to get busted by God.  When He shows you He's bigger than you it takes the pressure off. 

And He may be leading me around "unseen obstacles." I love that. Because I know Him and how He operates in my life. Usually, I find out what those unseen obstacles are. Believe me, it may be months or years, but eventually I find out.

Ok God, my hands are officially off the wheel.  
I surrender.
We'll go to China your way and in your time.