Well, January is over and we're now into February, not our most favorite month of the year. It's one of those things where you're closer to spring, but yet spring still seems so very far away. There's more daylight each day, the average temperature is increasing (usually), and the calendar days tick away, yet we're sitting here while there's a snowstorm outside and the nice, dry roads of yesterday are now snow covered and slick. ACK! It's a bit hard to imagine warm sunshine, spring birds singing, and flowers poking their heads up out of the ground, even though we know it will eventually get here. Actually, it's a big like the adoption process. You make progress here and there, but actually bringing your children home seems quite far away!
We've had some delays over the last several months (not from our end, that's for sure...nobody can ever say we haven't done due diligence to keep things running!). We're currently waiting for our preliminary immigration approval for the kids, called the I-800A. We ran into a hitch with that and USCIS requested more information from our home study agency, so we are currently waiting on the hard copy approval to arrive in the mail. Our officer called us to tell us that she had granted our approval, but our actual paper stating this hasn't arrived yet. This is the last piece of the dossier that we need. The deadline for our dossier to get to China is March 19, so IF we can get this piece of paper this week and get it sent to all of the places it needs to go to be authenticated and sealed, we may be able to make the deadline, though it's going to be down to the wire if we do. Our wonderful agency said they'll request an extension for us if we don't have things ready by the beginning of March, which is great, but to me it's just the principal of the thing. We have a deadline and I'm trying everything humanly possible to meet it!
I can't tell you how much we appreciate our prayer warriors out there. I know a few of you pray for us regularly, and it may just only be you few, but oh, what a difference your prayers have made! It is an amazing thing to partner with somebody in prayer about a situation and see what great things God has planned, even if the situation doesn't turn out exactly the way you'd hoped or prayed. Here are some of the things we'd love for people to partner with us in prayer about:
*As you are probably aware, both of our new children have some physical challenges. It's hard to know how much detail to go into as far as our kids' diagnoses, so I'll try to keep things a bit broad, but I think it is important for others to know what challenges they face so they can pray for them. Our little Kai was born with a GI condition that became life-threatning by 2 months of age and had surgery for that. Thankfully, he has recovered wonderfully and that diagnosis is now quiescent. However, he has a really ill-defined muscular issue that has left him delayed in his motor functions and we have no idea what is going on there. To our knowledge, there hasn't been any testing to figure out what the problem is, though he is receiving therapy at this point. He will be 2 at the beginning of March, isn't yet walking, and he can only stand if he is holding onto something or if someone props him up against a wall. It will be interesting to see what progress he makes in his motor development before we get him this summer and what all of the testing and workup reveals once he is home. Our sweet Skye has a bit of a complex medical picture. She was born with a form of spina bifida called myelomeningocele, plus bilateral club feet and some other orthopedic problems. She has had some surgery to date and is also in rehab, but we know she's going to need more surgeries once home, along with lots more therapy. She isn't able to walk on her own yet, either. There is definitely going to be a mad whirlwind of medical appointments and testing once we bring them home!
*Paperwork! We always need prayer for our paperwork to get to where it needs to go! As I mentioned above, we're waiting on our USCIS approval paper to come so we can complete our dossier. Once our dossier actually gets to China, then we wait for our Letter of Acceptance, or LOA. LOA wait times vary from as little as a few weeks to several months, so there is really no way of knowing how long a family will be waiting. We'll see. We have to actually get the dossier there first! After LOA, families usually travel within 2 months.
*Funding. Adoption is extremely expensive and most every adoptive family we know does not actually have the money to complete their adoption, which is why there are these great things called grants! We have been applying for grants ever since our home study was completed in late December. What's crazy is we have a lot of adoption world friends who are at pretty much the same place in their process as we are, and I'm sure we're all applying for the same grants! We already know we've been turned down for 2 of the grants we've applied for and are waiting to hear on some others, but are praying that we will at least get something out of "spreading our nets" as I like to call it. You won't get anything if you never throw your net out, figuratively speaking! We are also planning a 5K run/walk, plus 2K fitness fun walk for April Saturday 18th at the Kankakee Valley Middle School to help raise some funding. I look at it as running or walking for these precious kids who can't (yet!). We have never been real great at successful fundraising, so we will see how this goes. The race itself is expensive to run, we're talking over $2800 expensive, and we've already paid for some of that out of pocket, but are praying that we can find some business sponsors to help cover some of those costs so the race actually brings in some funding for our adoption fees and we don't just break even! Again, we will see. If nothing else, maybe people can see God's love through the event and have fun on a nice spring day. At any rate, we are needing to come up with a very large amount of funding in the next 6 months, like an amount that makes me want to throw up if I think about it too long. We know that God will make sure we have what we need and when we need it....He has NEVER, EVER let us down before, so we know He's got this. However, that doesn't mean it still doesn't make us a bit nervous and sickish-feeling not knowing exactly how all this is going to be paid!
*Finally, we are praying that people will see God through this whole process and that He is glorified through it all. He is the reason we would even dare do something this crazy and big. Seriously, He loves us so much that He sacrificed everything to adopt us into his family. Earthly adoption is a picture of that, albeit an imperfect one. We are just so thankful to be at this place that He's led us to and are looking forward to seeing how He provides and guides, not only with adopting these precious kiddos, but in every aspect of our lives.
I do want to give a much-deserved shout out to some people who have been so kind to us so far: Our wonderful references and Pastor Tim, who have been hounded by grant agencies on our behalf lately; our fantastic agency, CCAI, who also has been hounded by grant agencies for us, but also working with us through the delays and trying to help us meet our deadline, besides all of the rest of the awesomeness they provide along the way; again, our great prayer warriors standing with us; the United States Postal Service, specifically the Wheatfield and DeMotte branch employees, for being so nice dealing with a half-crazed mamma trying to make sure things get somewhere incredibly far away as fast as possible; you, our blog reader, for actually reading this and sharing a bit of our journey; and lastly our family members for unflinchingly putting up with listening to our saga day in and day out! What wonderful people we are blessed to have in our life!!
I mentioned above that we have applied for grants. One agency requires a video from the family with the application, so we left our comfort zone and got in front of the camera a bit. A huge thank you to David for putting it all together and for our oldest son, Alex, for being our cameraman. For your viewing pleasure, here is the video we submitted :
Again, thank you for following along with us!