Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Application Accepted!

Last night we received a very exciting email from America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) welcoming us into the China Program!  We are so excited!  So... now that our application has been accepted, what are our next steps?  I'm glad you asked...  along with the good news came eleven attachments of paperwork to begin filling out.  As soon as we get the paperwork returned to AWAA we will be assigned a family coordinator and social worker to begin our Home Study process. 
We are going into this process trusting in God’s perfect timing and His continued provision.
Looking Ahead through Three stages…
Stage One – the “paper chase”:
·    The first four to seven months will include the completion of our Home Study and the preparation of our Dossier to be submitted to the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) – The CCCWA is the federal agency which oversees international adoption-related activities in China.
Stage Two – the “waiting game”:
·    Waiting for Referral – once our dossier is logged with the CCCWA, we wait for the referral of our daughter.
·    China’s Waiting Child Program – we are opting to participate in China’s Waiting Child Program.  This is a referral program that allows families to adopt children ages 6 months – 13 ½ years who have a medical condition, repaired condition or a healthy child generally 8 years of older.  The wait time will vary based on the children currently in the program – the rough estimate is approximately six months until receive a picture of Makenna!
Stage Three – our “homecoming”:
·    Once our referral is accepted then we begin to prepare for our travel to China – travel usually occurs 4-6 months after the referral acceptance.
·    Jason & I both plan to travel to China to meet our daughter, complete the paperwork, and bring her home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Change in Perspective

It's amazing how quickly your perspective can change... spring came early this year because of the mild winter and early warm weather.  It was disappointing to have a dry winter with no snow, but the early warm days were certainly welcome.  Last weekend two trees began to flower in our front yard.  These weren't new trees, they have been here since we moved in over 3 years ago and Jason's grandparents had them for as long as I can remember.  But, this year as the beautiful pink and white flowers took full bloom, they took on new meaning for us.  The trees are our Chinese Dogwood trees.  Last weekend we looked out our front window and saw them in a new light - are there trees like this near Makenna - will these trees be familiar to her when she finally comes home?  I honestly didn't think much about them before last weekend - now they have a whole new meaning to me.

That quick of a change in perspective makes me wonder what else I may be missing?  I pray that our eyes are opened to see and experience many wonderful blessings through this adoption journey.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welcome to our Blog!  We are new to the world of blogging, at least to writing a blog!  As we begin this journey to adopt our daughter, Makenna, we wanted to start a blog so that we could keep our family and friends up to date on the status of our progress.  We begin this journey with hearts already full of love for a girl we have yet to see, but God has already placed her in our hearts.  We are humbled by the opportunity to walk this path together and eagerly wait to see what God has planned for us.  We pray that you will walk with us as the story of Makenna's homecoming comes to life on this site. 

If we haven't been able to personnally tell you about our call to adoption, please be sure to read the other pages of this Blog!  I began journaling about our adoption journey a few weeks ago - I have included these entries below.

April 1, 2012
It’s Time!
It had been a long time since we talked about adopting our third child.  Life got busier with two school age children, and part of me began to think that maybe adoption was not part of God’s story for our lives.  Over the past few weeks, though, the burden on my heart began to grow and the desire to bring another child, a daughter, into our home took a permanent root.  I still hadn’t brought it up to Jason yet, but I knew it was time to see if he was on the same page.  We went out for a Sunday evening date and had the discussion –
Jason and I have always agreed that when we are called to do something, we will be on the same page.  God often prepares us in our own way so that when we finally discuss it with each other, the Lord has already prepared us to be in agreement.   All of our major decisions in life have been made with an undivided heart, walking together through God’s plan for our family. 
We both knew that adding another child to our home would require sacrifice and change – not two of our favorite things!  But… with sacrifice and change often comes living in God’s blessing which is the sweetest place on Earth to be (sorry, Hershey, you lose!).  We left that restaurant with a sense of peace that it was time to been seriously looking into the adoption process and prayerfully considering if this was the Lord’s plan for our family.

April 5, 2012
An Undivided Heart
“Teach me your ways, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”                             Psalm 86: 11
As Jason & I prayed and began to consider our call to adopt, we knew that we would need our undivided heart to include agreement from Megan and Matthew.  We knew that we needed to include them in the decision-making process, if they weren’t “on board” we would need to pray together as a family for God’s clarity before we could move ahead.
When you pray for something… be ready for God’s beautiful gifts.  As we were sitting together eating dinner, we decided to tell the kids about our heart to adopt and our desire to see if this was the right time for our family.  Without question or thought, they both solidified the heart of our family.  With big smiles and wet eyes – they were excited to have a little sister join our home.
April 6, 2012
Can I really do this?  My selfish desires started to kick in – what about work?  what about the money?  what about all the things that we want to DO??  But… what about a little girl with no one to love or care for her?  My heart started to cry for her – for the first time I prayed for my daughter.  Lord, watch over her, care for her, let her know she is LOVED. 
God brought me back to my senses and renewed my desire for His will in my life.  The Lord will provide everything we need – He will bring her home to us because He already knows her, loves her and He has a plan for her life.  As the doubts subsided, the Lord softly spoke to me “Be still, my daughter, I will work all these out… trust ME.” 
April 8, 2012 – Easter Sunday
All In!
Easter morning may never be the same for me.  At our Easter service, the Lord broke my heart and put it back together filled with His will and His purpose for our life.  As we sang about God’s redeeming work and the gift He gave us on Good Friday and Easter, the only thought on my mind was our daughter.  What was she doing?  Did she know it was Easter?  Had she heard the Easter story?  I wept because deep down I knew the answers and I knew that we didn’t need to investigate adoption – I knew that we had a daughter that needed to come home.  As we sat down, Jason leaned over and whispered in my ear, “We need a fifth chair for our family”. 
The Lord wasn’t done with us yet… the Easter message was about being “All In”.  Am I following God when I want to, when it’s convenient, when I need something?  Or Am I “All In” to His plan for me?  The visual picture was a game of poker – God put every single chip in the middle of the table when he sent Jesus to the cross.  He held nothing back.  He saved nothing for the next round.  Everything came down to that play.  What am I going to do with that?  I could continue to live my life planning out each thing that I want to do while holding onto enough of me and my things to keep the Lord’s perfect will for my life to take root.  Is that what I want – we call it the American dream.  Jason and I have been living a beautiful life – two wonderful children, two dogs, a nice house with a yard - - we know that all of these are blessings from the Lord; we take no claim that we have earned them or deserve them.  The challenge comes in keeping them in their place – He gives and He takes away.  My life cannot be rooted in these “things”.  When God calls you to do something and places the yearning and burden in your heart… how will we respond?  With tears in my eyes, Jason & I looked at each other at the end of the service – We’re All In! 
April 11, 2012
Agency Selection
I never knew the number of adoption agencies until I did a Google search.  The more we searched the more confused I became.  It seems like such a big decision, and I really didn’t know where to start.  We started reading agency websites and adoption blogs trying to find the “one”.  At the same time, we were researching adoption grants, country requirements and what the Hague convention really means - - so much to learn!
I have read and heard the adoption story of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman.  They have an orphan care ministry “Show Hope” – so I decided to start back at their site.  What agency did they use to bring their daughters home?  With so much conflicting information on the internet, I felt like I need to start somewhere that I felt like I would have a connection.  After praying for God to continue to lead us, I found myself on the America World Adoption Agency website.  As soon as I read more about the organization, their statement of faith, their philosophy of adoption: “…building families according to God’s design of adoption.” I knew this was the one!