Saturday, December 28, 2013

Update On Fu Chao And His Birthday!!

I asked our agency for an update on Fu Chao's weight, height, etc and I received pictures as well!!

Beyond adorable!

And guess what? Today's his birthday!!!

He is 8 years old...but guess what his measurements say? He's the size of a 5 year old!!!

I measured Lily and he is her exact height. Oh my. 

I'm going to have to see this for myself because he doesn't look that tiny to me!

With international adoption a child is usually one year smaller than their bio age, so I was expecting that. I really thought him and Johnny would be the same height...not by a long shot. 

Thank God I kept some of Johnny's old clothes! So this will be Johnny's big brother? His big little brother? Ha!

I have always been kind of suspicious of Fu Chao's age because he was found as a toddler and they guesstimated his age to be 3 1/2 at the age of his abandonment. I'm glad I'm adopting him in the winter, as I will keep him out of public school until next fall, that way I can evaluate where he is at growth-wise by then. If I am still questioning his age by then, I will discuss which grade level he should be in. This is new territory for me!

Fu Chao had his birthday last night in China, and we sent him a cake, so prayerfully I will receive more pictures of him this week!

And maybe that little Travel Approval will show up as well!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last Update On Lulu!!!

Merry Christmas to ME!!!!

I'm amazed at the little things God does in my life...just to see me smile. Last night at 9:00 pm (yes, at night) I received an email from my agency with an update on Lulu. The email must have just come in because she forwarded it to me right before she was going to be gone for a two week vacation.

Lulu is tiny!!! Her measurements show that she is about the size of a 3 year old...and she just turned 5! Lily was little, but ummm....round. Tee hee.

So here is Miss Lulu, one last time before I see this little sprout face to face: that Mountain Dew in that cup?? I'm hoping it's pineapple juice or something, or my little one will be going through caffeine with-drawl!! This pic kind of cracks me up...either her eyes are slightly shut when they took the pic or she's sick of having her picture taken, because that's the exact look Johnny gives me when I pull out the camera.

I love her little smile!!

Johnny asked me why her closet was outside. I still haven't quit laughing about that one.

My little that smirk!

Now that I know my agency worker will be gone for two weeks, I'm wondering if I will receive Fu Chao's update until she gets back. Right now I'm just wondering about that Travel Approval. If it gets here this week it could be a total game changer and I would leave in January. 


Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Travel Approval Has Been Issued!

I found out today that my Travel Approval was issued last week!!!

BUT...that really means nothing. Ha! It could be here by the end of this week, or the week after, or the week after. Honestly though, most people receive it about a week after it shows up in the system, so I'm still hopeful for this Thursday or Friday!!!

Consulate appointments are filling up for January, so it really is coming down to the wire to see if we can even make Jan travel. Honestly, in my heart of hearts, it doesn't matter to me. I know that God has a designated time for my life to intersect with Fu Chao's and Lulu's lives, so when providence is at work...well, who am I to mess with that?

This has been a wonderful adoption journey and I cannot describe the peace that has accompanied it. 

Have a blessed holiday everyone!

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

So Precious!

When you see your children begin to engage with the things of God, it melts your heart. 

If you are someone who has pondered adopting an older child, here is proof that they have tender hearts, open to the Gospel, regardless of you being the missing equation from their early years. 

Lily Anna was 4 at the time of adoption. Johnny was 5 1/2. 

They have been grafted in, not only into our family, but into the kingdom of God as well!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Officially In My TA Wait!!

Sorry, no pics to post, but just wanted to quick post that I am officially waiting on my Travel Approval!!! I just looked up my stats from my adoption with Johnny and Lily and my TA wait was 3 weeks and I traveled 2 1/2 weeks after that. If I follow the same timeline, it will definitely push me into February travel, due to Chinese New Year...just like last time. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Johnny Asked Jesus Into His Heart!!

Sunday was a very special day in our little man gave his heart to Jesus! 

Johnny has been my personal mission field for some time now. Lily asked Jesus into her heart on Father's Day and it was one of the most precious things I've seen. She said, "I want to wo ai ni Jesus." Which means I want to love Jesus. 

That night we asked both Johnny and Lily if they wanted to make Jesus their Lord and Savior...but only one was ready. Johnny had no desire. He was a total skeptic. I would read the Bible and to him it was just a story...he just didn't get it, nor did he want to. I had never been in this position before...believing for your own child to open their heart to God...when they had NEVER heard the gospel in their life, never heard the name Jesus, nothing. This is something we just do not have to deal with in America. 

If you think America has turned atheistic, go to a foreign land where He is not welcome and His name is not spoken. Then you will realize we Americans have no excuse. 

Something changed in Johnny's heart when he found out that Fu Chao was the little boy sitting next to him at his party in the orphanage. I told Johnny that God did that and for some reason, it clicked with him. He got it. Because there was NO other explanation for how that happened. It was the thing that clicked with him...when he realized that God put them together even back then. That he was seated RIGHT NEXT TO HIS FUTURE BROTHER!! 

So Sunday night, he said the prayer of salvation and this little boy has been completely different! It's like a light bulb has switched on inside him...well, because it has!

I knew amazing things were going to come from that picture of the two of them together. Johnny and Fu Chao's story has already been around Facebook and people have shared it in their churches, as well as in our local newspaper, but of all the things that have happened, this is the one that amazes me the most...that this would be the one thing that would open my son's heart to God. 

 Did God put them together as a sign to them years later? To show them that He was with them even then? Yes, absolutely, because I believe in His providence. 

I am excited for the day when Fu Chao "gets it" as well, and recognizes what God did even before they knew His name!

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Vs. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Vs. 13 For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lulu's 5th Birthday Pics!!!

I received these last week, but waited on posting them because I was in shock-mode at these photos. I immediately thought -where are the children??? She is surrounded by teenagers and to be honest I went into panic mode. Her birthday was over the weekend so I finally figured out that all the children who were in foster care probably were home for the weekend, but that kind of bummed me out even more...why is she still in the orphanage and not in foster care like the other little ones?? I wanted to reach through the screen and just get her out of there!!!

The video I received about a month ago was of Lulu in school and she was having fun and happy. In these pics she's surrounded by people 3 times her age and she's still happy and having fun. So you know what? I'm ok with this. If she can roll with it, so can I!

So here's my pint-sized Lulu!!

The little boy next to her was in some pictures I have of her from a previous update. I hope he's going to be ok when she leaves, because it's obvious from these pics and the ones before that they are close!

Ok, I can't help but look at the girl in the pink jacket and she available for adoption? Look at her face! She looks sad. I keep saying we're done adopting, and then I see a face and I'm DONE FOR!!!!

So this must be the face she makes when she doesn't approve of something? I'll keep that in mind for a later date! Perhaps that baby is getting on her nerves or something...or perhaps she doesn't like cake?? Ha ha.

Look at her and her little friend sharing a laugh!

Last week I realized that both my little girls are currently 5 and both my boys are currently 7. By the time January rolls around they will be ages 5, 6, 7, and 8!

I'm going to be one busy Mama!!

Happy 5th Birthday Lulu!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Decorating The Christmas Tree

I live for these moments! I turn on Christmas music, make hot chocolate, and totally give myself over to my sentimental side!

Lily Anna's 2nd Christmas!

Johnny and Lily Anna with Baba.

Johnny's 2nd Christmas as well!

A little blurry, but I LOVE his smile!!

Brianna and Lily Anna

Beautiful Brianna!

Josiah with our Boston Terrier. :)

None of these are edited...maybe I'll do that when I have time...yeah, right!! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yesterday Was Her Birthday

Lulu turned 5 yesterday!

I sent her a care package of a cake, pictures of our family, and a letter which will be sent next week. Prayerfully, I will receive photos from the orphanage of her party! I knew going into this that I would miss her birthday, Fu Chao's birthday (next month) and Christmas with them. Yes, it's hard, but I guess I look at things completely different than some people. Children from China don't understand birthdays or Christmas. I may be the only adoptive parent who feels this way: I do not want my children to come home and all of a sudden there are stacks of gifts and presents being given left and right. I want them to understand family first, understand WHY we celebrate the way we do, and then hopefully they can appreciate what they are receiving. I have already had issues with a certain little boy (ahem...Johnny) who thinks Mom and Dad work for Toys R Us! One day he looked at me and said, "Let's get rid of all these toys and go get a bunch of new ones." Really??? It's hard to believe that two years ago his only toy was a plastic pop bottle.

It would be different I suppose if I were in the middle of the journey, but I am so very close to the end. I am thoroughly enjoying life and the holidays right now with my children and it's nice knowing that I will be on a plane in about 6 -10 weeks!

For those of you adoptive parents who like stats, I just received my GUZ# and pdf last week and then filled out that blasted new Visa form for my kiddos. It was a breeze once someone gave me the help guide (which my agency did not have). 

And, of course, I've been in photography mode again! 

Here's a pic of Johnny, unedited. And yes, that's a Christmas tree behind him...I couldn't stand it anymore and had to put it up! I feel like Christmas goes by too fast so I'm going to rebel and start early from now on.

I have two more steps left until that plane ride...TWO!!! I just have to have my Article 5 drop off/pick up, which is a bunch of approvals being walked into a building in China, basically. And then I wait for Travel Approval!! That's it!! If I receive Article 5 in two weeks and then TA two weeks after that, I'll be headed to China in the beginning of Jan, but if either one of those takes three weeks, I'll probably go in Feb because I have 3 provinces to go to and everything is shut down for one week because of Chinese New Year.

All in God's timing!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A God Story

Ok y'all, I have been sitting on a story here, waiting until the right time to tell it. I had to wait until I shared it with my church before I blogged about it. 

This is single-handed one of the coolest things I've seen God do in both my adoption journeys.

Here's the story:
I am about two months away from traveling to get Fu Chao and Lulu. I have a binder that I have used for both Johnny and Lily's adoptions from almost two years ago, and am now using for Fu Chao and Lulu's adoption as well. That binder has all my step-by-step instructions for my entire adoption process, so I refer to it all the time. 

In that same binder are pictures from when I had sent a cake to Lily and Johnny while they were still in their orphanages. The picture I have of Lily shows her receiving her cake on her birthday in China. She is seated with her foster mother, so that picture has always been precious to me. In the same binder are pictures of Johnny receiving his cake in his orphanage. He is seated with about 6-8 friends. I have asked Johnny many times over the past 1 1/2 years if he knew any of the children in this picture. He always says that he didn't and that the orphanage workers just gathered some of the kids up from the orphanage and brought them in for Johnny's party. 

I haven't really looked at these pictures for a while because I've been busy with our current adoptions. Recently though, I had to refer to this binder for something and one of Johnny's cake photos fell out. I was looking at all the children in the photo, hoping they had all been adopted. When I came upon one child seated next to Johnny, I did a double take, then a triple take, then just stared in shock...he looked just like Fu Chao, who we are adopting in two months. 

I kept thinking...NO WAY...that's not possible...I must be imagining this! I mean...they are seated right NEXT to each other! I showed it to my husband, and although it looked like Fu Chao, we just knew the statistical odds were: 


What are the odds that we would adopt from the same province again, from the same orphanage, from the same gender, age range, and that our future son would happen to be in the same room on that same day, seated right NEXT to my current adopted son (his future brother) and that we would have a photo of this moment????

I emailed my agency and they were skeptical as well, until I emailed the photos to them. Clearly in one of the pictures, the boy next to my son is missing a tooth, and in the referral pic I have of Fu Chao, he is also missing the same tooth. That picture by itself is what made me think that it was more than "kind of looking alike." My rep said the whole office was gathered around her computer and they thought it was worth checking on. She told me there were enough similarities that they would ask the orphanage. They emailed the picture to their in-China rep who then forwarded it to the orphanage staff. 

About a week had passed and I was busy in Tennessee at a Pastor's conference with my hubby. I was sitting in our hotel having breakfast with my husband and some friends when my cell phone rang. It was my adoption agency calling. The minute I saw it was them, I knew. 

I answered the phone and Candy said, "Lisa, we just got confirmation from the's him."

Thank God for a Christian agency because immediately we all saw God's hand in this!!!!

My agency said they had never heard of this. 

I am amazed that God did this...not His goodness...not for me...but for Fu Chao and Johnny. He did this for them. To prove Himself to them, that He is faithful, that He cares for them, He's looking out for them...and that He was putting them together even back then. 

Look at these pictures! If you don't believe in God after seeing this, then there's something something seriously wrong with you!! God's not in the business of coincidence...only providence.

Here is the first picture I ever saw of Fu Chao...see, he is missing that top tooth?

These are Johnny's orphanage pictures from 
Luoyang taken in Jan 2012. Johnny is obviously the one with the birthday hat on, Fu Chao is the one in the orange shirt with yellow striped arms (clown outfit, ha ha)...notice the missing tooth?

Isn't this precious? Fu Chao has his arm around Johnny, so happy for him on his celebration day, not even knowing this was his future little brother and that they would be reunited two years later!! (Btw, that boy in the red, talk about adorable)!!!

How amazing that Fu Chao was seated right by Johnny!! Coincidence? I think not...that's God!!!

I am anxious to see if Fu Chao remembers Johnny at all, or has any stories to share of his time at the orphanage that might include both of them together. But for now, this moment is enough for me!!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

I800 Approval On The Way

I have been out of state all week at a minister's conference with my hubby in Tennessee, so that is my excuse for not posting. I have about a thousand pictures of the Smokey Mountains to post but that will have to come later. 

I LOOOOOVE the southern hospitality that you get in Tennessee. We weren't five minutes off the plane and we heard, "Y'all have a blessed time." And, "God bless you." You just don't hear this in Iowa from mere strangers. I wish all of America had Christianity and manners...and Golden Corral. ;)

I'm so thankful that while I was gone, Josiah was navigating my emails back home. My I800 was supposed to be approved one week ago, but I have a slow officer and one that...well...let's just say doesn't have a good reputation for being all. He takes forever with approvals and I'm starting to wonder if it's on purpose. Josiah kept checking everyday to see if my officer was responding to my emails or phone calls...nothing. So I finally called on Wednesday and told the lady who answered the phone to NOT patch me through to my officer because I keep getting his voicemail and he's not responding. She told me that they don't like the I800s sitting around, they want them approved and out the door. She said if I didn't hear from him by the next day that I would be assigned a new officer.

Guess what? He didn't call, I was assigned a new officer, and she approved my that day!! Thank you, Jesus!!

So my I800s are on the way! Do I get to go to China yet? Nope! I have to wait for a special # assigned to my case so I can get paperwork rolling with my new children's names, then I wait for Article 5 drop off, which is done in China. Then I wait for Travel Approval! These next few steps fly quickly though...just a few weeks in between each step. If things proceed quickly, I will travel beginning of Jan, but if there's a hint of hitting Chinese New Year, I'll get bumped into the first week of Feb. No worries...all in God's timing!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Be Still My Heart

This little man is adorable even when he's not flashing that million dollar smile!

I guess a million dollar smirk will do. :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Anyone In The Mood For Halloween Again?

If Halloween looked like this...

I'd be up for it every day of the year.

I decided next year I'm taking all my littles out for individual photo shoots of them in their costumes...because I gotta admit...this is one cute picture if I do say so myself!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Long Time No Post

I finally had a chance to edit some of my pictures that I've taken. Of course it's of Lily and for once she was serious.

Serious about pulling weeds that is.

Next on my editing to-do list is pictures of Halloween...yeah, I'm that behind. I've been quite busy with more adoption stuff. I thought I'd have a break after I sent out my I800 paperwork, but now I'm emailing, calling, whatever I have to do wondering where that approval is of my I800. Some people receive them after two weeks...I guess I'm not one of them! 

That's okay...I'm going to edit more pictures of Lily. Some of them are really cute...some of them...well...

You get the idea!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2:00 A.M. Seriously???

Yes, I have been awake since 2:00 A.M. 

Not 3:00.

I kept rolling over looking at the clock and thinking, "This isn't usual interruption is 3:00!!"

I had a dream (this one's not a God dream y'all...just a stupid entertaining dream straight from my brain) where the lady processing my Visa application had a chemical meltdown at her Visa processing plant. I was standing there watching the whole thing wondering if my passports were ok. 

There's a whole lot in this dream that's just not right...the lady who is processing my Visa lives in a house, not a factory, and you don't process Visas with conveyer belts and chemicals. And I live too far away from her to be watching the whole thing!

It is just once again my brain on adoption overload. My official LOAs are to arrive today by Fed-Ex. I am now officially in the wait for my I800 approval which usually takes only a few weeks. Things begin to happen fairly quickly from here on out, so I am now purchasing things for my trip!! So of course, I'm not sleeping!!!

I cannot explain how much smoother this adoption journey has gone. I have been so much more at peace with the process this time around than I was with Johnny and Lily's, largely due to the fact that I know what I'm doing now, I know and understand each step of the process, but mostly because I trust 100% in God's timing. 

I am amazed that I am on this journey of adoption again!!
Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I'm at the tail end of another adoption process and I'm about to go to China AGAIN!!!!

I look at Fu Chao and Lulu's faces everyday and cannot wait to meet them! Johnny and Lily are so excited to have a new brother and sister their age! Brianna has decided she's raising the next two the way she wants to (not happening) and Josiah is just glad the paperwork side is almost done so he can quit being my assistant!

For right now, I'm going to make a huge pot of coffee because it's only 3:30 and I've got a looooong while before anyone in this house wakes up! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Can Breathe!

This week has been extremely eventful, to say the least.
It started off Monday with my Supplement 3 Approval and then Thursday morning was our LOA for Lulu. I was in paperwork mode all day Thursday and today. I mailed out my I800 paperwork yesterday and my Visa paperwork today. Prayerfully I can have a little bit of a break before having to do a ton more. 

I have some photography assignments that need to be done, so I promise, I have pictures to come! But for now, I'm going to enjoy my weekend!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I received the phone call this morning, but I've been doing paperwork all day, so I can officially now blog about it at 10:30 at night...
I have LOA for Lulu!!!!!!!!!!
I received an email from my agency saying they had received an email from their rep in China stating that both LOAs were fine and they would be received next week. Ok??? What does that mean?? So I sent another email back to my agency to get clarification...had my status changed in the system, what does this mean, do I verbally have LOA??? So I was staring back at the computer saying, "Come on, Candy, email me back. Come on, come on!!! Pleeeeeeeze!" That's when the phone rang. It was Candy, my agency rep. She asked what I was doing and I replied that I was talking to my computer, lol. She asked if I received her latest email, "no I hadn't," I replied, and she said, "Just wait." So I waited...and there it was...Luo's LOA!!!
Do you know what goes on behind the scenes of receiving that LOA? You tell everyone in under 5 minutes and then you get right to business. There's no celebrating the day of LOA. You just cannot fathom the paperwork that needs to go out the door the minute that LOA arrives. And not to mention, once it is out the door, then you begin your Visa applications. So that is what I was doing until five minutes ago. Tomorrow I will be filling out my Mother's Visa.
This is going to be a riot, y'all. This really should be turned into a reality show. My Mom and I were discussing last night about how ditzy we are and how two nit-wits are going to get through three weeks in China. I actually am looking forward to Mom is fairly adventurous so it should be fun...but seriously, we are kind of ditzy. :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

3:30 A.M.

I've been up since 3:30...again. 

I have China on my brain...again. 

This has happened three times this week and is very familiar to me. I lived this same scenario two years ago in my wait for Johnny and Lily Anna. I've grown a lot since then, I understand the process, and I understand that my way and my timing is not always what God has in mind. 

But when you're in that wait for your LOA...your brain is just the process. You are mentally headed to China. People are talking all around you and you can carry on a conversation while at the same time have an open suitcase in your mind and you're going through your packing list!

I have watched Lulu's video so many times that I've lost count. She seems happy, taken care of, healthy...everything you would like to see in a video, but she's not in my home.

I NEED that piece of paper!!!! Her Letter Of Approval!!!

I've had Fu Chao's LOA now for almost two weeks, so I'm really believing it's soon!!!

There are 3 things I would like to see happen this week:

1. Lulu's LOA
2. Fu Chao's hard copy of his LOA
3. My Supplement 3 Approval from USCIS

These are all huge things...MAJOR things. Will you pray and believe with me that these things come to pass this week? 

I feel it's time.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Update On Lulu!!!!

Ok, once again, Lulu is not, nor will be her American name. Just a current nickname.

I woke up expecting an approval from USCIS, then my agency informed me it was a holiday. Of course it is. School wasn't out today...but, never mind. I'm bitter about all their holidays, which means no one is working on my approval.

So anyway, I had steam coming out my ears, when I decided it was going to be a popcorn and Dots kind of day. Make the most of a stalled adoption process, right? My agency called and informed me that when I asked if Lulu was in an orphanage the rep in China went ahead and asked for pictures and video too! I had no idea that any of this was coming! I found out she is in the orphanage, which kind of threw me. She will be my fourth child from China and the only one still in the orphanage. After the pictures and especially the video, all my fears are calmed. She is well taken care of and looks happy! She is feisty and can hold her own from watching her interaction with other children in her classroom. This has made my day and although I can't wait for her Letter Of Approval to come, I now have something to hang onto until it does!

I will post the video when I can. It uploaded to my computer fine, but anytime I try to send it anywhere else it fails. That's ok, I'm enjoying watching it...and of course, I can't hear her voice...just like Lily's videos that we received two years ago. I'm kind of hoping she doesn't sound like E.T. like her big sister! (Although it is cute!!!!)