Adoption Timeline

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Adoption Timeline

So...what have we been up to the last 12 months. Well, you can check our adoption timeline on the blog if you like. But, I will try to summarize what we have done so far...and what happens next.

We knew adoption was going to happen and were excited to start the process soon after Xander was born.  Like I mentioned in previous blogs, some countries can take years before you can bring your child home, others are more quick. But, either way, we officially started the process in July 2015. 

We had decided on the country, and went with an agency that a few local friends had used, and had a good reputation. There are TONS of agencies out there, but we felt more comfortable going with a larger agency, and one who we knew had been in China for quite sometime. 

So, in July 2015...we applied.  We were quickly accepted by Holt, our agency, and began preparing for our homestudy.  Basically, over the course of the next few months, we were on what they call a "paper chase".  Birth certificates, marriage license, certificate of employment, medical exams, medical letters, letters of reference, tax documents, personal questionaries', fingerprints, background checks in every state you have ever lived in, photos, continuing education hours, multiple interviews with our social worker, a home evaluation (by the way..make sure you have a fire extinguisher and all drawers locked that could have something hazardous in it, like a candle). :)

The list goes on...we spent about 6 months getting all this done before our social worker completed our homestudy and it was sent to Holt for approval. 

Our homestudy, along with many many more documents and photos, are all gathered, certified by the state, authenticated by the US Embassy, and then finally gathered together to make your "Dossier."

Our Dossier was officially sent to China on April 8th, 2016!! We officially receive the title "DTC"...Dossier to China.  Once in China, the next step is for your dossier to officially be logged in to China's system.  You are then "LID." This took about 6 days...

Then over the next 4-6 weeks, your dossier is translated, reviewed...and then you begin your "wait." we are...waiting! :)

Let me tell you, the process of getting to waiting is exhausting, and at times very frustrating. There can be no typos, no discrepancies, no wording that doesn't suite China's preference, lots and lots of questioning during your homestudy, lots of phone calls, lots of overnighting of documents and waiting in line for fingerprints.  It is definitely a process. Don't get me wrong, I know it will be worth it...but wow, what a process.

Now what??  So, we wait for Holt to call us with a potential match.  We join in on monthly phone calls to hear the latest matching trends, we communicate with the matching team, our medical needs that we are comfortable with (see previous blog) and we wait. 

Right now...with Holt, the average wait for a boy is around 3 months to match. The average time to match a girl is 3-9 months.  Once you accept a match...lots and lots of more paper work.  Then, you expect to travel within 4-8 months of your match.

During this time, we are obviously also fundraising, preparing our family and home for another child, praying, praying and more praying. 

It's overwhelming at times, but so exciting too. 

We were DTC in April, so we should match between now and December.  Hopefully travel between December this year and summer of next year.  Of course, this could all change!! But, that is the current trends.

So, prayer for the matching process. Prayer for peace and clarity as we review potential files. Prayers for our physicians here, that they will be able to help guide us with the limited info they will be presented. Prayers for funds...adoption is not cheap.  Prayers for our little girl, wherever she may be. Prayers for Matt and I to grow stronger in this process, to see the Lord's heart more and more during this, to seek Him as we make difficult decisions.  Prayers for our boys, that the Lord prepares their little hearts for their new sister. Please pray with us.  This is our journey...and like they say, it takes a village. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Hard Goodbye

This week was by far, one of the most difficult one's Matt and I have been through.  I debated if I should even blog on this, because I didn't feel like I could even put into words the love that we had to say goodbye to. To an outsider, this scenario may seem silly to be sad about.  But this is just one of those situations where unless you are in our shoes, you have to trust and believe us when we say, we are heartbroken.

Three and a half years ago, Matt and I decided to start working with the Chin Refugee Ministry of Lewisville.  At that time, Wyatt was 18 months old, and we knew that going on international missions was not going to be on our radar for quite sometime.  So, instead, we sought out international missions in our own backyard.  Click here to read more about this amazing ministry and the Chin people. 

The Chin, are a people group from Myanmar (Burma) who have fled the country because of religious and ethnic persecution. Many families flee to neighboring countries, before coming to the US as an official refugee. The goal of this ministry is simply to love and equip the Chin people.  Many Chin have taken residence in Lewisville, and so the need of support grew, leading to the Chin Community Ministry.

There are various ways to support this ministry, but we chose to mentor a family.  What does this look like? The ministry paired us up with a family who had recently moved here and we were their "buddies."  We were their "family."  After an initial introduction with a translator, we used calendars, pictures, limited English and lots of signs to communicate with our family and begin building this relationship. 

We would use a calendar to show them when we would come back and tried to meet weekly for the first year or so.  After that, we spaced it out to every other week visits. 

Those first few months were challenging.  It was hard to communicate and the trust had not yet been built.  We wanted to help, but we didn't know where to begin.  But our children...their 3 boys, and our one boy, had an immediate bond. Language, color, race, environment did not stop them from immediately playing together and laughing.  Our love for the same God was the foundation, and then our sweet children grew our relationship. 

Week after week, we kept coming back. We would sit on the living room floor and start with pictures.  They would show us pictures of their country and we would show them pictures of ours.  We used a picture dictionary to help teach words and communicate.  We prayed together, in English and in Haka Chin.  We would bring them special American treats like donuts and cake to celebrate birthdays. We took them on first outings to places like the library, the park, the aquarium, and sno-cones.  We helped them understand their bills. We met for parent teacher conferences at the boys schools to see how they were doing. We did homework each weekend and read books.  We loved them.  They loved us.  Overtime, their family became our family.  We were one.  Isn't that how it should be? Brothers and sisters in Christ. One body.

Now I'm not going to say this has been an easy 3 and a half years. There were many Saturday mornings that I would have rather stayed in my PJ's. There were times we would be very nervous at the environment and some of the crime that took place around the apartment.  There were many times I would freak out about germs and to be honest didn't have the loving heart I should, but God's love would wash over. This was His love anyways. We love because He loved.

Then our family grew more with the addition of Xander. They loved Xander. The baby with the "Golden" hair, they would call him.  Over three years, their English grew, they grew, and our love grew.  Matt and I would talk about how one day we would see Biak walk across the stage at High School graduation.  We had dreams for their family just like our own. 

Without going into detail, our dreams were shattered this past Monday. Matt went over with the boys on a Monday that he was off work, and I was working. Within days, their situation had completely changed. Sweet mommy was gone and daddy was moving to New York with the boys.  Matt spent time with the translator trying to understand what was happening.  This couldn't be true.  They can't be leaving.  Over the course of the next 3-4 days we learned that not only were the boys and dad moving, they were moving soon.  We found out 3 days later, they were leaving Saturday.  We had less than 24 hours to get ourselves together to say goodbye. 

How do you say goodbye to this?  God, we thought we heard you? Isn't this where we were supposed to be?  And what about mommy, I don't get to say goodbye to her?  How do I hug these boys neck, knowing that I will most likely never see them again?  How do I communicate how much I love them? How do I communicate that God loves them more that I ever could?  How do I communicate that they have blessed me and my family in a way no one else has?  Please God, this can't be how this story ends. 

Heartbroken. Empty. Shock.  Devastated. Broken. Disbelief.

Those words don't even touch on the feelings that we felt this week, that we felt Friday morning hugging their necks. They don't begin to describe the emotions we feel right now. 

So we sifted through files and tried to find as many pictures as we could and printed them to give them.  I wrote notes in English expressing our love...expressing God's love.  I read the notes to daddy and the boys.  I could see in their eyes and tears, that they could see our heart. They loved us too. They were family.  They ARE family.

So this chapter in our life ends.  This was not the ending I wanted. This was not the ending we had dreamed.  But, I have to trust, that though it may seem like this chapter is over, maybe it isn't.  Maybe, there is something bigger, and I just won't see it.  Maybe I have to let go of my grip, and trust that God sees a much bigger picture.

I am not their Savior.  I love them, but there is a love much bigger than mine. So, maybe this chapter isn't over.  We just may not see how it ends until the Lord reveals it in full when we meet Him face to face. 

Until then, a piece of our hearts is empty tonight. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Two Documentaries Worth Renting

There are two documentaries that Matt and I have watched this past year or two that really spoke on adoption.  I would highly recommend renting the full version if you can on Netflix or Amazon.  Please know this is NOT what all adoptions or orphanages look like. But it is thought provoking none the less. 

Stuck - Stuck is an award-winning documentary film, produced by Both Ends Burning that uncovers the personal, real-life stories of children and parents navigating a rollercoaster of bureaucracy on their journeys through the international adoption system, each filled with hope, elation -- and sometimes heartbreak.

Drop Box -
The Drop Box is a documentary about the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect his community’s most vulnerable children. By installing a drop box outside his home, Pastor Lee provides a safe haven to babies who would otherwise be abandoned on the streets to die. It’s a heart-wrenching exploration of the physical and emotional toll associated with providing refuge to save those deemed unwanted by society.  But it’s also a story of hope. And a celebration of the reality that every human life is sacred, has a purpose and is worthy of love.

Here are the trailer's....