Friday, June 27, 2008

I have to scream out to someone that we finally have travel approval! There is soon going to be an 11 year to sleep in the new bed that is standing empty in the girls room! We will know by next Tues or Wed our travel dates. We have requested leaving on the 18th to meet with a family from the East coast who is adopting a little girl age 6 who is in foster car with our daughter to make it easier on the girls. If they cannot get us an appt for that time then we asked to leave sooner. Our Visa’s will be in our hands on Thursday the 3rd so we can leave on the 4th if that was available ! wow! We are about there !!! (oh, the bucket next to the bed is for trash, not being sick….all the girls picked out bright colored buckets, the girls helped me make the bulliten board, and they picked out her pillow )

Monday, June 23, 2008

It was a hammock kind of a weekend!

This weather for us here has jest been great! The girls swam all weekend and yesterday they sat with Claude a bit outside before carrying on with other things to do. We sing praises of all sorts for times like this!
Our discussions this weekend included so many things. Vicky kept reminding me in a "secret" way with whispers that she really hopes Li comes in July. So do we baby! She and Claude spent a lot of time at the computer looking up girls names. Kate spent the weekend bossing the other two around and Addie mastered the pool! She has never been very comfortable in the pool as she has no hearing in the water....this weekend though she mastered it. She is even doing flips under water and jumping off the side all the time screaming Mama watch! I love it!
We are praying for travel approval to arrive this week..... we are packed, visas will be here in a week, and I am ready. We also pray for her to know that we are a good family and will love her forever and for her transition time to be easy for her. Please pray with us.
We saw a show last night, on the National Geographic channel about the little girl that was born in India with 8 limbs. The girls watched and had so many questions. I used it as another opportunity to talk about how people can be born looking different than what we consider "normal" and even was able to explain about the cells splitting to create a baby and how when the cell that has the heart, kidneys and ears split that sometimes there is a little burp in the process and maybe the ears look different too...just like theirs. This is where the Microtia comes in. They really seemed to understand all of this and handled it really well.
For the trip this time i requested that we be allowed to visit the city that we adopted Addie from and we have received permission to go and to meet with the orphanage etc. I have been collecting toys, vitamins, clothes etc to take with me for the orphanage. It is going to be a long emotional day, but so worth it! Please keep checking back for updates.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Prepring for a new Daughter/sister

We spend a lot of time preparing our daughters for a new sister coming. From the moment we are considering adopting we are very verbal with our family, our social worker and in prayer. Once we have gotten the pre-approval for the adoption of our daughter we start talking in our home with the girls about when their new sister comes what will change, what to expect, and we pray for her to know that she is being adopted and to be able to love us and her new home. We also address some things that you may not even think about, don't forget that she may not know where the bathroom is, or she may not know where the glass's are...that she might be scared of her bed and want to sleep with someone, or she may not like any of the clothes we have bought for her...we also remind the girls that sometimes she might be sad and cry...or that they might be sad and cry themselves....
One hard part of us adopting as a family is the 2 week trip away from home. I am the one that travels and Claude stays home to hold down the fort. I leave a card and a "gift" for each daughter at home for each day so they have something to look forward to. Last year while i was gone our son Kris and his daughter came for a week of the two and that really kept the girls fact they did not want to talk to me on the phone a few times they were so busy! When i get home I go back to the office and we have been so fortunate as Claude takes a couple weeks as needed to stay home for the girls to adjust. I think all of this gives them a great beginning!
Last weekend we set up the new bed and made her a bulletin board and hung it up. She will be sharing a room with Vicky and Vicky thinks she will like pink the same as her...hmmmm hope so :)
We have bought some clothes, we have her weight and height but are waiting to buy to many as what if she does not any of them...there will be plenty of time to buy clothes when we receive her. So please keep checking back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We are growing!

We are now waiting for travel approval for our fourth daughter. Because of rules about posting information about children to be adopted we will not be posting her photo until we are allowed to. We can tell you she is 11, and just beautiful. We are so looking forward to her joining our family.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Story

We are a family of 9 about to become a family of 10! Many people are already asking why this large of a family is still growing? I feel there needs to be a long story before the answer.

Claude and I were married in Sept of 1992, and we blended our families (Claude's two sons Andy and Kris, and my two sons Alex and Eric) into one. We both feel so fortunate that our sons accepted each other as brothers and blended so well together. We feel so blessed to have our health, our business, a comfortable home in the country, and successful, happy boys who now have their own young children. When we were first married, Claude and I wanted children together, biological children, but I am a diabetic and the Dr's said, "Hey, you have four boys, the health issues etc..." and we did we decided to enjoy our sons, and went on with life.

At a convention we were at in Jan of 2004, a customer of mine shared photos of her new little girl and was explaining to me about overseas adoption. Claude walked up and saw the pictures and by the time we had finished the 4-hour drive home, we were convinced that we also wanted to pursue adoption.

We took great care in selecting an adoption agency. We did this by asking for references from other families who have adopted. At the same time, we learned about the special needs, or waiting child program that China has. With all of this information we then sat and wrote an e-mail addressed to our four sons, then ages 28, 26, 24 and 24, which explained that we wanted this to be a family decision, and that we wanted to ask them the following questions: Would they be able to accept a sibling the same as they had each other, as brothers? If something happened to either of us could they accept having a sibling to take care of? We also wrote that with great care and consideration, we decided to adopt a special needs child. All four boys either called or e-mailed back right away basically saying "Why haven't we already done this?"

Our next step was calling Christian World Adoption and asking if they had any children available on their current special needs list. There were three. We opened the file of a little girl that was approximately one year old in the photo. Her special need is Microtia (small ear). We closed her file, and looked at other children, but we already knew that first little girl we saw was ours...that Red Thread...That God knows every child's parents...Carol at CWA said they had prayed and prayed for her forever parents to find her. We traveled as a group of 6 to bring this tiny little girl home, Claude, my father and his friend, and Grammie Carolyn. We choose our children's names using family names. She is named after our sons Kristphoer, Andy, Thomas (Alex) and Eric. Her adoption was in Aug of '04 and she is from Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, China and she has a special need called Microtia. Her name is Kate.

Fast forward 6 months from our first daughter's adoption and we received an e-mail that said "Are you looking to adopt again?" and "We thought of your family as we know you adopted a little girl with Microtia" and so we were introduced to our second daughter, age 44 months. The agency that she was with was Family Tree Adoption. Our second daughter also has Microtia but this time we were sure we were working with a hearing loss as her ear canals were both reported as closed. We still felt comfortable knowing this, asked for her file and yes, we felt she was ours. How do we feel this? How do we know? I simply do not know, I leave this in God's hands. We adopted her in Oct '05. Claude and Kate stayed home while my sister Carrie, my good friend, Carolyn, and I went to China to bring her home. We used my mother's middle name as her English name, and she is from Nanchuan, Chongqing District, China. Her name is Adeline and we call her Addie

So we got home with our second daughter and settled right into our goats having babies, winter sledding, adjusting to new hearing aids, a first Christmas together, and the constant activity of two young girls in the house. Claude and I are on several adoption support groups and it is not at all uncommon for members to advocate for children to be adopted. In February of this year, I was checking my e-mails and there was one that said "5 year old girl needs family" in the subject line. Well, I opened the message to read that there was a little girl that a family had said yes to adopt, but later had backed out, stating her age as the reason. The message went on to say that the agency was searching for a family for this child and could we please advocate for her adoption. I said my prayers for her and hit send to forward her information and plea on to others hoping her forever family would find her!

Later that day, Claude came and stood by me and asked if I had seen the e-mail about the 5 year old. "Yep" I said. He asked if I had asked for her file. "Nope" I said. He said, "You can't can you?" "Nope" I said... Well he went and put the girls down for a nap, came back and was really quiet...then he said to me, "I feel that we are supposed to ask for this child's file. To make sure we are to either advocate for her adoption or to see if she is ours."

So I sent off a message to the agency, Villa Hope Adoption Agency and asked if we could be considered to see her file. We did tell them our experience with adoption and also with Microtia. They responded immediately with her information and when we opened her file we both knew that she belonged with us.

When Claude saw her first photo, his comment was, "She is beautiful" and what I saw was her hands. She was holding a girl's hand in comfort, and smiling at another little girl. I saw her as a big sister to our girls, and a little sister to the boys. We formally applied with our letter of intent within just a few days of seeing her photos and reading her medical reports.

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." "
An ancient Chinese belief

We knew that we could be delayed in the timeline of our third daughter's adoption as China requires one year in between adoptions, but we had hoped that we would get a waiver that would allow us not to wait, but that was not available. We sent several packages to China. These all include things to share with the other children, plus family pictures for her so she would hopefully feel a bit more comfortable when she joined us in the United States. Our third daughter has been with us for almost a year now, she has made such great strides. Her name is Vicky, We were able to locate her best friend from China, who has also been adopted and now lives in Pennsylvania, and we traveled to see her this past summer. We've even managed to orchestrate a telephone call to her former English teachers in China.