Monday, April 29, 2013

Fully Funded!

Lots of amazing news to share with all of you tonight - - check out the thermometer below... yup!!!  We are fully funded - we are ready to head to Ch*na!!  This is another amazing story that only God could write along our journey to Makenna.  If you have reading our blog for a while, you know that our final fundraiser was selling our second car since Jason now has a company vehicle.  We posted the car for sale on the blog and also advertised it on in hopes of getting it sold for the amount of money we needed to fund the remainder of our adoption.  We heard nothing for several weeks - we knew we still had time, but also really wanted it to SELL!  As time went on with no interest, we began to feel that this was going to be part of our "bigger story", that there was ONE person that needed our car.  Two weeks ago we moved the car to a better location at our friend's house (you know the saying... location, location, location!!).

Last Wednesday we got the call that we were praying about and we knew it right away.  We received a call from a woman in our local community she was very interested in the car for her grandchildren - her daughter's family is missionaries, and their college age children need a car.  WOW - we felt so blessed that God had chosen a family who has committed their life to sharing God's Word across the world to help us fund the final part of our adoption - NO ONE could write a story like this.  After I got off the phone with her the first time I knew that these were the people we had been praying would find us.  

More good news??? Yup... last Friday Makenna's Immigrant Visa was issued (this is referred to as the Article 5 pick up in the China Adoption Community). This paperwork has been forwarded from the US Consulate in China to the Ch*nese Central Authority that oversees international adoptions.  We are now officially waiting for our TRAVEL APPROVAL (TRAVEL!!!).   We are hoping to receive that in the next two weeks (by mid-May).  Once we receive TA then we  request our appointment at the US Consulate and book our travel arrangements.  Would you join us in prayer again?  Pray for a speedy TA, pray that we can get a Consulate Appointment in the first week of June (or earlier), and pray that all our travel arrangements would come together without a glitch!  We are READY to go, READY to board a plane, and READY to meet our daughter!!

Stay tuned by friends - you will be among the first to know when we get that next call that we have TRAVEL APPROVAL!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Forever Family Party!

Nothing much new to report EXCEPT that we received new pictures this week from Makenna's Forever Family Party. When we finally received our Letter of Acceptance in March we were able to send a care package to Makenna through a private service. We chose to send her the Forever Family package - it included a letter we were able to write and have translated, 25 photos we emailed and they were put into a photo album, a mommy and baby stuffed panda, an outfit we picked out, a little pearl bracelet, a canister of lollipops to share with the orphanage and a fresh cake.  The best part of ordering this and sending off the letter and pictures was that she would know we are coming! She would have pictures of her family! 

You can imagine our DELIGHT when I woke up on Tuesday morning and in my normal routine, checked email to find 18 pictures waiting for us! Pictures of her party with her cake! The pictures made us laugh and cry - she is a beautiful precious child. We are also able to see a silly, funny, spunky girl who was hand-picked by God for our family! This little girl has such a personality - it looks like she LOVES the camera, too! Each week brings us one week closer to "Gotcha Day" - the day we meet our daughter and begin the forever after of our story!

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, be patient!  For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day."  

Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Approvals.... Cabled and Waiting

  It has been a BUSY few weeks in our adoption world - and the busi-ness has made everything feel so real and our excitement is growing! After we received LOA on March 21st, we sent our paperwork off to US Customs & Immigration (USCIS)for the US side of approvals. The paperwork goes to a lockbox and is then forwarded to a processing center for approval. Our paperwork was delivered to the lockbox on Monday, March 25th and received at the processing center on April 3rd. I called on Friday, April 5th and we were told it had been approved - YAY! The next step is when the processing center sends the approval to the US National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire (our paperwork should accumulate frequent flyer miles!). We received our approval from USCIS in the mail on Tuesdy this week... Time to start emailing the NVC! I was given the tracking number of our paperwork being sent to NVC - so I knew it was delivered this Wednesday so I sent an inquiry to see where it was in the processing. That afternoon I received an email back that it ad been entered in the system! Ok... Making progress! Once the paperwork is entered in the system it takes about 24 hours until it is "Cabled" to China. I was really praying we would get the email we had requested that we were cabled before 5:00 on Thursday so we could move to the next step on Friday in China! Once the paperwork has been cabled by the NVC, you can request a PDF copy if the approval rather than waiting a week for the copy in the mail. The staff working in China needs that document to drop our documents at the US Consulate in China - they only allow drop off on Tuesday - Friday. Since China is 12 hours ahead of us, I knew we were cutting it close! At 4:10 the email arrived - thank you Lord! We are now finished on the US side of approvals. It takes 10 business days for our processing at the US Consulate in China. On April 26th our Article 5 will be ready for pick up! After that... We wait for one. more. approval.....  TRAVEL APPROVAL! Approximately 2-4 weeks after Article 5 pick up we will receive an invitation from China to come pick up our daughter! The average wait has been closer to two weeks, so we would definitely appreciate your prayers for a speedy TA. We are hoping and praying to leave for China the end of MAY! It may sound a long way off... We're down to weeks! All these months of waiting and praying and in as little as 7-8 weeks we could be holding Makenna - she will be FOREVER our daughter!

We still are waiting for pictures from Makenna's care package delivery, but we were blessed with new pictures the orphanage sent our agency. We love her smile and the sparkle in her eyes! Soon sweet girl, we will be there soon!