Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Paperwork delays

We are getting so close to travel! We had originally thought that we would surely be traveling in August, but it will almost definitely be September. There is currently a hold up with our Article 5 processing. It was supposed to be picked up on July 31st (Monday), but it did not happen. Apparently, there was something that the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou wanted, and it wasn't there. It isn't anything that we didn't provide, but they won't tell us what it is. Very hush hush (insert eye roll). It could be "days or weeks" before they get whatever it is that they are requesting. The opinion of our caseworker, it is fairly common for older children being adopted, and it most likely is some evidence that they wanted directly from the CCCWA (Chinese Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption), rather than from our adoption agency. I won't go into any more detail because it really doesn't matter. We know that God's timing is perfect, and are trying to see this delay as a positive, rather than an excruciating negative. It gives us more time to prepare, more time to get school schedules and routines in place, and more time to get projects done around the house that we (Jenn) would like to finish. Hopefully it will get resolved sooner than later and we will be on our way mid-September.
On a positive note, we have had some HUGE praises! Our adoption auction was an incredible success and we made over $7,500! We are now fully funded! We were so grateful and humbled by the people, many of whom we didn't even know, that stepped up and graciously donated their goods and services. Also, our donors got some great stuff, and became a part of the story of bringing our boy home.
To all of you who donated, passed along auction information, nudged a friend to give, or donated your own gifts, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude! We can't wait to show Finn how much love has been shown to us, and our family, and to him!
Secondly, we got to video chat with Finn! We were so nervous and excited. It took place only an hour after our auction ended, so Jenn was an absolute mess..exhausted, distracted, and anxious. We were all ready to go, and our interpreter said we needed to wait about 20 minutes because he knew the orphanage was very busy on Mondays. Those 20 minutes were all we needed to calm down, regroup, and get ourselves ready to greet him. It was wonderful! We mostly sat there and waved and smiled and chatted a bit. He was curious if we had pets, told us he had been to Disney and saw a big castle. He cried and the worker that helped translate for us said they were "happy tears". We were pretty sure that they were happy tears mixed with a little anxiety, the realization that the people on the screen in front of him were his family (and not quite sure he even understands the concept), and that he would be leaving his home country and all the people he knows very soon. It was a little bittersweet and we (Jenn, really) got a bit weepy. We ended the call with more waving and smiling, and the plan to video chat again in 2 weeks (that's THIS Sunday)! We plan on letting the kids chat a bit, and then give him a virtual tour of our home and his room so he is familiar.
So, we are sitting here just waiting for the paperwork to go through. Tyler is working long hours to try to build some momentum before he leaves for an early-September (and incredibly important) convention, Jenn is going through curriculum, and planning the kids' school lessons, and organizing the house (a.k.a. nesting and keeping occupied), and the kids are squeaking out the remaining day of the summer. Praise God for the cooler temps!

We will update you all as we find out more!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

So close!

Y'all, we are getting so close! If you follow our Facebook page, or Instagram account, you know that we are probably traveling in August. It will be almost a year from the time we saw this face, until we have him in our arms.
We are currently reaching out to family, friends, and some of our favorite shops in hopes for donations for our online adoption auction. 
Let me just say, adoption is a humbling experience. I don't know anyone, personally, who can fund their own adoption. Donations are a huge part of bringing orphans home to a forever family. We definitely hadn't planned on pursuing adoption, and when we felt The Lord's call to do so, we didn't have $40,000 in the bank. 
The remainder of what we have to fund is for travel, and for the orphanage "donation", which I find funny, because it isn't so much a donation, but a $5,000 obligatory fee. Nevertheless, it has to be paid. 
Are you a business owner, artisan, crafter, baker, or seamstress? Do you make cards, make incredible pastries, have a knack for photography, or sell from your home? Do you have any gift cards you won't use, a lakehouse stay to offer up, hotel points to donate, or design services to offer? We would be incredibly grateful and honored for your gift to our auction, and give your business some advertisement in the process. We will obviously post on our adoption auction page, as well Instagram accounts, and Facebook. 
More than anything, we would covet your continued prayers. We will be sending a care package to Finn this week that will include a photo book of our family, a small Lego set, and a couple of other small things. Please pray that he is being well cared for, that his caretakers will give him our package, and will help him understand what is happening. Pray for his heart to be softened to us, and that the transition from there, to here will not be too incredibly traumatic. Also, please pray for strength and wisdom for us in the waiting, while we are traveling, and in our first months home with him. 
There is such a large scope of what might happen. When you speak with your social worker, they try to prepare for all of the "what ifs". Those what ifs can be terrifying. They could also never happen and the transition could be very easy. We obviously hope and pray for the latter, but we won't know until we have him. 
We will be sending the orphanage a list of questions that we hope to have answered as well. We are looking for more information about his health, his likes and dislikes, and allergies, his size (so we can get clothes for him), among other things we are super excited to find out, as well as things that will help us in treating his Cerebral Palsy. We hope to reach out to Scottish Rite with this updated information to see what therapies will need to be looked into.
Thank you again for walking with us in this journey and for being so supportive in the process. It seems like it's taking forever, but like it is coming quickly all at the same time. 
If you feel led to make a donation, please comment below, or feel free to contact me via email (bringinghomefinn@gmail.com) or call/text me.

Many blessings!
Jenn

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Q & A

I thought I would pop on here and answer a few questions that we get asked (or comments that are made and how we respond).

Q: What made you adopt?
A: God. Straight up. We had discussed adoption several years ago, and even went to an informational meeting at Buckner. That day, we decided that we loved the idea, but it was not the right time, and we were not on the same page. Tyler wanted a child that had a rough background and needed a fresh start, and a family to love and care for him/her. Foster to adopt was even an option for him. I, on the other hand, wanted a baby. I didn't want to deal with the baggage that came from a child that had been hurt, abused, or abandoned and had seen/heard/experienced major trauma. It was too much for my heart to handle, and I was honestly terrified for our own biological kids. Fast forward to September...

Q: How did you know who you wanted to adopt?
A: Again, God. We hadn't even spoken of adoption since the day at Buckner. I was flipping through Facebook on my phone one Friday night, and I scrolled across a picture of this sweet little Asian boy on my friend's page. She had adopted a precious little girl from China recently, and had posted a boy's picture and story on her page to bring awareness, and best case scenario, have someone reach out to bring him a forever family. The minute I saw his face, I stopped scrolling. My heart raced, tears filled my eyes, and God VERY clearly put these words on my heart: "That is YOUR son." It wasn't audible. It was simply that I KNEW in that moment that he was supposed to be part of our family. I can't possibly explain the miracle that took place at that very moment, but I hope and pray that you all feel that at some point in your life. It is the most peaceful, and amazing feeling you can imagine this side of heaven. From that moment, I knew. Tyler hadn't heard that same clear voice, but I'll let him tell his story on another day. It is equally as amazing.

Q: Aren't you worried about what you are doing to your family?
A: Short answer, no. Read THIS and you will know why.

Q: Why international? Why not adopt a child from the U.S.?
A: Again, WE didn't chose Finley, God did. Would we have chosen an 8-year-old boy with special needs from a country across the world? No. Do I ever doubt that he is supposed to be a part of our family? Never. God doesn't make mistakes. Finley isn't a mistake, and it is no mistake that I was scrolling through Facebook that Friday in September and saw his face and fell in love HARD for absolutely no other reason than God ordained it ALL.

Q: Have you met him? Does he know he's being adopted? So, you're just going to get him and bring him home?
A: No, no, and yes. We have not met him. We have seen pictures and videos and have his history file. We know he can walk with the assistance of a walker. He can walk up stairs holding on to the rail. We have heard him speak and sing, and it is the most beautiful sound. His voice is so sweet and soft and his dimples are the cutest! He won't know he is being adopted until close to when we go get him. It stinks, but it also protects the child in case something happens and the adoption doesn't go through. I makes sense, but it is hard to think of him there at the orphanage with no more hope of being adopted than months ago when he was pleading to have a family. Breaks our hearts to be honest.  Yes, we are going to meet him, pick him up form the meeting place, and he is all ours. It seems crazy, but the same thing happens when you have a baby. You don't get a trial run.

Q: How are you going to deal with a child with a disability?
A: We will deal with it like any other family has had to learn to deal with one. There may be surgeries in our future. There will definitely be lots of therapy. As with my other children, you do what you have to do to get them the help they need. There are lots of unknowns, but the more I pray through them, the more I am comforted by The Father that life is one big unknown. We never know what is in store day to day with any situation. We just have to cling to the hope we are given by God and pray for the strength and guidance that only He can provide. We will be slower. We will be going less and staying home more. We will be learning as we go, like raising our other three kiddos. It will be an adventure, to say the least.

We are not so naive that we think it will all be perfect, and that there won't be really really hard things ahead. We do know that God's call cannot simply be ignored. We have followed His call before, and we have also NOT, and we can tell you that, on the other side of following Him (no matter how crazy it may sound) is a blessing that is more abundant than we can imagine. We pray that we are a blessing to him, but I have a feeling that he will bless and teach us all more than we could ever hope for.

Thank you again for your prayers and kind words. We are still looking at a timeline of late August to early September (maybe a bit earlier).


Jenn


Monday, February 13, 2017

How you can help.

Adoption is crazy expensive y'all.
Here is the breakdown of our adoption budget. It varies for domestic vs. international, but this is specifically for China. We have an online giving site through Pure Charity (https://www.purecharity.com/helpbringfinnhome) if you would like to partner with us. Your donation is tax deductible and goes straight to our adoption agency.
We believe that the Lord calls us to care for the widows and orphans, but we also know that not everyone is called to bring a child into their home. We feel that is OUR call, but would love to give our friends and family an opportunity to be Jesus' hands and feet by being a part of this process. We would be honored and incredibly grateful for anything you feel led to give. Also, please know that we covet your prayers as well. Please pray that Finn is being loved and cherished in the orphanage until we can get there and love on him like only family can. Please pray that he have an open heart and mind to his new home, and prepare his heart for leaving his current place and being a part of our family in a foreign country and with people who don't speak his language. Also pray that he is healthy, and that he have no additional health or cognitive issued that we have not been made aware of. But most of all, pray that this process come in The Lord's timing and that he will prepare all of our hearts and minds for what is to come. We are not naive, and have been educated on all of the "hard things" that come with adopting a child. We pray and believe that he has been cared well for, and that his nannies care about him. We know that love, attention, affection, hugs, kisses, food, comfort, and family will help him in more ways than we can imagine, but until then, we wait. It is much harder than I thought it would be, but in the meantime, until we have him here with us, we will enjoy our last summer as a family of 5, and prepare for his homecoming. We thank God for his faithfulness thus far, and pray for His supernatural provision in the moths to come. Thank you for following our journey, and thank you for being a part of this with us.

Our Adoption Budget

Monday, February 6, 2017

Meet Finley

Hello friends and family!
I wanted to introduce you to Finley "Finn".
Isn't he the cutest!!!
He is an energetic 8-year-old boy who has stolen our hearts. Look at those dimples!
I've already shared most of his story with you, so I will share a post that was written about him through our adoption agency. The author stated that she had only cried a few times in her 10 years visiting Chinese orphanages, and this was one of them.

"He was standing there, just as we entered the room. This was a second orphanage for our visit, and we were excited to deliver gifts on behalf of a WACAP family to their soon-to-be daughter. He stood vigilant, though, hands steadying his stance via the supporting bars of his physical therapy equipment, watching us. It was his perch for keeping an attentive eye on the goings on. We went to work, but he kept catching my eye. We delivered gifts and learned of updates to share with this sweet child’s American family. We began to meet new children and learn their stories. Down syndrome, digestive tract challenges, lower body impairment existed alongside bright and inquisitive minds. These issues were easily observable. But you keep looking, when a child is right in front of you. When you meet their eyes, their story becomes so much more than a diagnosis. Their challenge is simply their challenge, and we all have one (at least). It isn’t their soul or their passion. It isn’t their potential. And, as the parade of children continued, there he stood, watching over the proceedings from his makeshift observation platform. He leaned in at times, scrutinizing notes that he couldn’t read or observing photography and videography capturing his friends’ faces.
And he began to cry.
The extended hand of child in a Chinese orphanage during drawing activity, WACAP visit August 2018
This 8-year-old boy asked WACAP staff not to forget him … because all he wants is a family.
Big, fearful tears rolled down his face and dripped onto his shirtfront, continuing on to the mats covering the floor. With no provocation, we thought. This got his caregivers’ attention, as they are a valiant and attentive bunch. They love these children, and want the best for them. They want families for these children. Good ones. Chinese or American families does not matter, as love knows no borders. They ran to him with a caucophony of exclamations in Mandarin. His sad reality is the duality of holding the attention of so many, while feeling so forgotten. This is what waiting for a family looks like.
Through interpreters, we learned that he was terrified we would skip over him. That we would ignore him. “He desperately wants a family,” they told us, “and he is afraid you don’t want to talk to him. He is afraid he won’t be able to have a family.”
Consider for a moment: the people you believe to be your only shot for a family, these people, are here in your room, so close you could touch them. And they are forgetting about you. They don’t care about your story, and your dream of a family is fading.
Can you imagine?
I was there, I’ve met several children like him before, and it still doesn’t seem real. Their sweaty grip on that hope yet to be realized. The fear that their chance is slipping away. The tears that they cannot hold back any longer. He is waiting, and so many like him. Perhaps, he waits for you.
During this trip, I have met China’s boys who continue to wait for families. In the U.S., a number of individuals still may not be aware of the many boys in China who wait for adoption, believing that China’s orphanages are primarily populated by girls, due to the historical one child policy (recently relaxed). Boys have always been a part of China’s orphan story, and last year, WACAP placed as many boys as girls.
These children are staggering in their resilience. In this case, an 8-year-old was advocating for himself the only way he knew how. His passion placed him next in line. This boy who struggles just to walk, was showing off, climbing stairs for us and eventually laughing at the time-lapse video of him using his walker, speeding him up to Olympic quickness. After a brief time of focused attention, he began to relax into these Americans who finally paid attention to him. We saw him, not just his diagnosis. We saw his determination and drive. We saw his sensitivity and humor, and fell in love with his smile.
Boy-In-Chinese-Orphanage-WACAP-Visit-August-2016(1)
He is waiting. His friends are waiting. Maybe his story has stirred something in you. I implore you to feed this interest of yours. Listen to it and discover how you might completely change the trajectory for a child’s life, through your activism, volunteerism, or philanthropy. Follow it to where it leads you, even if all the way to China.
Help us tell his story. Help us change his story. I invite you to contact WACAP and learn how you can help show him the way home."
We listened and were "stirred". He is now just months from coming home. In the picture above, he is working hard to improve his mobility. He is so brave. So strong. So diligent. But he is still just a little boy. Tiny in stature, but a giant in heart. I'm already so proud of what he has overcome, and can't imagine how he will progress once he is home. Even if he never progresses a bit, I will still be proud to be called him Momma.
Here are a few more photos because I just can't help myself. I can't seem to get videos to upload, so I will work on those for the next post as well. 

Hi there!
This is his "proud face". He had just finished walking up and down the stairs and the orphanage staff were praising him. I think he's a bit bashful.  

Dimples!!!

Oh my heart!!! 

Looks like he's a mischief maker ;)

With the CEO of our adoption agency, Greg Eubanks.

I will have a little Q and A blog post next time. We get many of the same questions, and I would love to share. 

Thank you again for keeping our family, as well as Finley in your prayers. 

Jenn


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our heart for adoption...

God: "That is your son." 
Me: "You talking to me?"
God: "That is your son."
Me: "Well, alrighty then."

Yep. Sometimes God rocks your world. He totally rocked mine about 4 months ago when I saw this precious face on a friend's Facebook page. 


I saw his dimples, his grin, and read his story, and completely lost all composure. I sobbed. Not just sobbed, but wept as though this were my son who had been passed over and over again and was begging to be noticed. I wept because he was. If you have adopted, you get it. If not, it sounds crazy. Trust me, I understand this.

I showed his picture to Tyler and could barely get the words out. "Look at this."
He looked at it and read his story. "What do we need to do to find out more?"
I immediately reached out to the adoption agency and inquired about him, and the process began.

For those who question our sanity, let me say this...how sane would we be to ignore a calling God has clearly put on our hearts? That's insane.