Adoption Timeline

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fears and Prayers...

So I have wrote a lot about the process we have been going through, the fundraising we are doing, the excitement that overflows when we think of sweet Ri.  But, I want to be completely honest in my fears, the hard side of adoption and things YOU can be praying for.

First, adoption is beautiful.  I would never argue different.  But, that beauty is from ashes. Behind each adoption is a story of loss.  In China, most children are not adopted as infants...they are older.  This makes the transition, and the trauma they have been through, not always easy as people tend to envision.  You are often loving a child who has had multiple caregivers, multiple homes and is scared.  So, I will jump right in to my first fear....Will she love me?

The truth is. I don't know. The truth is going to take time for Matt and I to show Ri, that we are her parents. That we love her and we will not leave her, even when she may not love us.  That is unconditional love. That is the love that Christ gives.  I love her.  I love her and I want her to know that love.  But I know it will take time.  Ri has been in 3 different homes, in and out of the hospital and had countless caregivers.  At almost 2 years old, she is going to meet a complete stranger, and fly across the world into a completely new environment.  God, prepare all of our hearts for this transition.  God, I know that the day I meet her could be painful.  But let me see the beauty from ashes. God, calm Ri and her fears. Let her see safety in my eyes, let her learn to love me, let her let me love her.  Give me patience as I wait for her to see me as mommy.  Thank you for Ri. Thank you God for Ri's birth mommy, that she choose life for Ri. I do not know the circumstances around her abandonment, but I choose to believe that she loved Ri too.

I am scared for the details...the days, the flights, the hotel, what to pack, will I get sick, how much work to take off.  Pray for the details.  Pray I trust that even though I have no idea how this will all play out...God does. He knows. He knows every detail to this story. It is His story.

I am scared to have 3 kids. Sometimes I question if I am a good enough mom for am I going to parent 3?  How am I going to parent twins?  God give me the grace I need to forgive myself. May I not compare myself to anyone else, but follow your calling. You choose ME to be Wyatt, Xander and Morrissey's mommy. No one else. I am not perfect, but may I not focus on my imperfections, but instead focus on your love.

I am scared when I think about her health. God, I know you made her heart extra special. You knit together each cell to make it the beautiful beating heart that it is.  But God I pray her heart will continue to function well. I pray that her surgery was successful. I pray she goes many many years before having another surgery. I pray that she grows God...that she eats and grows big and strong.  God I pray for her doctors, that they will have wisdom when looking at her heart for the first time. I pray that I not live in fear but embrace that you are in control. So, no matter what the future brings, you are good, and nothing is a surprise to you.

I am scared to leave my boys and husband for two weeks.  Thank you God that my mommy will be there with me, witnessing and helping me as I become a mommy again.  But I pray for my boys and Matt at home. I pray they are not sad, or scared. I pray that technology will allow us to visit everyday. I pray for my heart as I will miss them.  I pray for safety for my mom and I.

And finally, sometimes I am just sad. I am sad that I missed 20 months of Ri's life. Why did it take so long?  One day without a mommy and daddy is too long. And now that I can see her face...I want to hold her today. Not tomorrow. Not October. I want her home. My heart misses her. My heart mourns the months we lost. That's the honest truth.

But God...thank you for your timing. Thank you for your plan. She is not just my daughter, she is Yours. She belongs to you. You gave her the breath of life. You sustained her in her sickest days. So, regardless of when she is in my arms, I pray I can remember YOU are the giver and taker of life.

God I promise to love her and to teach her to know your love. May others see her LIGHT. Your light.

Please don't get me wrong. We are over the top excited.  But I wanted to be honest in my fears as well, so that others can see both sides.  So you too can pray for us. Adoption is beautiful. He makes all things beautiful.

"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their rightneousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory." Isaiah 61:3

Until we meet...goodnight princess.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Well, we are moving along in the process and hurrying as fast as the U.S. and China will let us!  Here is a little of what we have been up to.  We sent our I800 off which basically is asking the U.S. approval of a specific child.  We got I800 approval on August 9th.  Then our approval is sent to the National Visa Center where it was assigned a GUZ#.  Now we are waiting for a letter called an RTF that is being sent to the US Embassy.  We also had our passports sent off for visa's.  We successfully received our passports back in our hands, with a 10 year Chinese Visa.  We also had a Power of Attorney, certified and authenticated. I will need this when I travel.  So...we are waiting for our RTF, then we will wait for Article 5 drop off and pick up, then wait for TA (Travel Approval), then wait for CA (Consulate Appointment)...then we book our flights.  But, right now, everything is looking like we will travel in October to get this sweet face...

We are wrapping up fundraising and have been blessed by a matching grant from Brittany's Hope.  Brittany's Hope is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to aiding abandoned children around the world.  Along with orphan care projects, including child sponsorship, medical intervention a crib program and nutrition program, Brittany's Hope also provides grants to families adopting children internationally with special needs.  They will match any donation dollar for dollar up to $1500 and contribute this towards our adoption expenses.  So, if we raise $1500, they will grant us $3000. We are beyond greatful and this was a huge blessing as we near the day we get to bring Morrissey home. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to help us reach this $1500 goal, you can use the link below.

There is still so much more to Morrissey Ri and her story. Honestly, I am still blown away at some of the miracles that have happened recently. All I can say is God is good.  

Fears..Anxiety...that's a whole other blog.  Specific prayer requests...that's another blog too. As the day gets closer to holding our daughter I am overwhelmed with complete excitement, but I also have to keep my eyes on the author of this beautiful story. When my eyes stray, my flesh fails.  So, prayers that we will continue to keep our eyes on Him.  

Thank you God for beautiful Ri. Thank you for choosing us to be her mommy and daddy.  Please keep her safe, healthy, and growing strong. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Call...

June 24th 2016....

I was at work, when one of my co-workers says "Hey Ashley, you missed a call." I look at my missed calls and see a missed call from Eugene, Oregon. (I think my heart stopped)

For a split second, I thought, "Is this the call??" But then, I thought, there is no way. Our dossier head only been in China 11 weeks.  But then I checked my message and it was Beth, saying she wanted to talk to me about something. I step inside our conference room and call her back. Beth is the director of the China program at Holt.

"Ashley, I wanted to talk to you about a little girl....."

I think I heard bits and pieces of what she was saying...but definitely not all. I was slightly freaking out. (In a good way).  She was able to provide me with her age, basic health information and current living situation.  After spending the weekend talking with Matt, we decided that we definitely wanted to move forward and view her file.  At this point, we were given a pre-released file.  I was at home and Matt was at work...of course neither one of us could wait.  I immediately opened it, quickly scrolled through the Chinese characters that made no sense...and then I saw this...

The tears start flooding and I try to stay calm as I quickly open more documents that are in English. I read and re-read.  Ri was 5 weeks older than Xander and born with an extra special heart.  I tried to stay calm and use my brain to wrap my mind around the information I was reading...but my heart was already stolen. 

For those of you reading this that don't know a lot about me, I spent 7 years working in Pediatric Cardiology at Children's Medical Center Dallas as a pharmacist.  By NO means am I an expert, but for 7 years, this was my day, taking care of heart babies.  Little did I know...God had a little heart baby for our family. 

So, I was super lucky, and had the opportunity to make many friendships in this job and of course work with some of the best of the best in Cardiology.  So, thanks to a fellow co-worker and friend who specializes in Pediatric Cardiology, Ri's file was in a Cardiologist's hands within an hour. Between her and our cardiologist, we had valuable insight promptly. We also consulted our pediatrician, 2 international medicine physicians, and we had another Cardiologist that partners with our agency reviewing her file as well.  Now, as I have mentioned in previous posts...the medical information you are given is may not be accurate. We have to go in this knowing that. We were able to ask a few questions about Ri and get some updated photos and videos from our agency over the next week.  (By the this point we have told NO family, and only one friend who happened to be at my house when I got the email referral). We wanted to get all the information we could and not have any bias. 

We spent every night talking more and more about Ri as we spoke with different physicians and got more and more information on her.  My heart was there.  And through much prayer and discussion, fears that we had subsided, peace began to cover us, and we knew THIS is our daughter.  God made HER for our family. 

Are we still scared?  Absolutely! The unknowns, the idea of twins (with Xander), the idea of traveling much quicker than planned, the burden of finances approaching sooner than planned. It's scary. But it was God's plan. And His plan is always best. Change is scary. Even when you are pregnant, you still have moments of fear right?  Moments where you think...God, can I do this?  But, that's when we try to redirect our thoughts. are good. God, you will provide.  God, you are constant. 

There is so much more to this story....some I will share publically, and some, you will just need to make a dinner date with me to hear about. 

But, for now, we are in full throttle mode to get Morrissey Ri home as soon as possible. Thank you God for choosing US to be her parents.

We are coming baby girl...

"May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13