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Our Impossible Adoption Story

If you're looking for the unbelievable account of how "impossible" became "done" in 5 business days, start here.

Adoption Update … ?

17 July 2018

“How’s everything going?”


adoption waiting


Our final paperwork is moving through offices in China. Still. We’re waiting for the Chinese government to approve our visit to come and pick up our son. They’ll send that approval to China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA, aka, “the Center”). That could happen any time up to the 25th.

Then, “up to three weeks” later (I’m not sure what the low end on that time estimate is.), we’ll get the official invitation from the CCCWA. Then we can book airfare and get visas.

So we’re waiting.


No one really likes waiting, right?


waiting period adoption


So I’m obsessively checking my email, hoping to see that notice that the paperwork has been sent to the CCCWA.

But even more, for now, I’m hoping to see a notice that a grant has been awarded. We’ve gotten several, “We regret to inform you …” emails and letters over the past couple weeks, but I have at least some hope for five applications that are still outstanding. They’re our last opportunities substantial financial aid.

I hate the waiting. If I could board a plane tomorrow to go get him, I’d take out a new credit card or whatever just to make it happen.

But we need the time. For grant reviews and fundraising … and for a few things we need to put together at home … and for me to get work stuff transitioned to the noobs before I take leave.

But still.

The waiting.


Pray. Current prayer requests include:

  • Jude — It’s becoming more and more real to me that we’re about to put this kid through probably the most traumatic experience of his young life (that he’ll remember – I’m sure he doesn’t remember being abandoned at one month old). Please pray that God would prepare his heart and give us favor in his eyes.
  • The foster family — They’re very excited and very appreciative … but they’ve also raised this boy for four years and they love him. Pray comfort and peace and joy over them.
  • The paperwork — We’ve been drowning it in prayer for 11 months and we’re not about to get lazy about it now.
  • The money — God has a plan.
  • My Man Cub — He is mostly so so excited to have a brother … but he has also started to have the occasional moment when he asks me how it’s possible for me to love him the same and love Jude, or he asks if Jude will be better than him. We knew the reality of all those first sibling things would hit eventually, so we continue to pray for his little heart too.



We’re also hoping to find friends who will sponsor some of the crazy travel expenses we’re facing next. Once we get travel approval from the CCCWA, our agency starts booking consulate appointments and doctor appointments (in China) and hotels, etc.

They finalize our travel package invoice and it needs to be paid within 24 hours in order to make sure all those appointments get scheduled. And the remaining balance on my credit card won’t cover this one.

So we’re looking for sponsors who can give $30 or more this month, and we’ll write your name on an old-fashioned suitcase sticker!



I’ve been assembling our packing list (and a few things I know we’ll need when we get home) into an Amazon list (so I can redeem credit card reward points for Amazon gift cards *taps temple*). But when I joked about retailers not offering a “toddler/adoption registry,” someone got excited, which led to me explaining I already kind of have a list, which led to requests for the list.

So if you’re the type that likes really practical, hands-on stuff … knock yourself out. 😉


That’s it. Nothing terribly exciting, just waiting for someone, somewhere, to officially approve my family so I can get frantic again.

Thanks for going on the ride with me!


Adoption Update: Mixed Emotions, Suitcase Stickers, and New Projects

9 July 2018

“You must be so excited!”

I am. So excited.

And nervous. And frantic. And … tired.

I feel like I never give an adequate reaction when someone tells or ask about how excited I am. I usually sigh heavily and say something like, “I aaam … ” in that way that almost cues the other person to say, “But … ?”

Although they never do. Because that would be weird for them.

And every time I put some poor person through that awkwardness I tell myself I’m not going to do that again. “Next time, just get bubbly and bounce a little bit and shout about how excited I am. Just do it.” And I mean to.

But honestly, I’m too tired to force it.



am so excited. I really, really am. When I think about meeting Jude and the beautiful people who have taken care of him, when I think about holding his hand or (and I remind myself this probably won’t happen right away) hugging him, my pulse picks up and six to 10 weeks seems so long.

But then I think about all the things that we need to do in those 6 to 10 weeks, and it seems so fast and my pulse picks up in a different way.

I know God’s going to provide and get us through it, and I know it’s going to be awesome.

But we also want to make sure we’re doing what is in our hand to do, so I’m watching the financial gap, and working extra hours, and praying over outstanding grant applications, and figuring out what worldly goods we can sell off, etc.

So if you’ve asked me how excited I am lately, and I haven’t responded the way you expected — sorry I made that awkward. 


Our travel paperwork is making the rounds in China.

I have the first of what I assume will be a few recommended packing lists. I have a packing list.

I was going through it over the weekend and thinking about some of the logistics in general, and I found myself thinking about those old luggage labels that used to get slapped on suitcases.



Why did we stop doing this? These things are awesome!

I got jealous … so I made some.  Read more…

Miracle #3: Our Chinese Family in Ohio

2 July 2018

There are times when I am beyond overwhelmed at the size of the world and the scope of its story.

And then there are times when I am reminded that this rock is a speck of dust in the palm of its loving Creator, and its whole history is a blip in his eternity. (A pivotal blip, sure, but a blip nonetheless.)


adoption blog sky

Photo cred: Jonatan Pie



A couple weeks ago, I got an email from our agency:


I wanted to reach out and see if you and Timothy would be open to being connected with a family who adopted a child from the same foster home as Yuan Bang? They would love to connect with you, if so!


Of course we said, Yes! About a week later I got this email:


Hi Alexis! We are Luci’s parents! We met your son, Luci’s foster brother, in China while we visited the foster center and noticed their beautiful connection. I’m so thankful we found you! We have so much to talk about… where do you all live? We are just north of […] on a small farm. Attached a picture of our family and Luci 🙂 here is my cell: […]


You guys.

My heart stopped and I had to gasp for air for a minute.

This wasn’t just someone with a loose connection because the same foster family in Guiyang took care of our kids — they met him. (And she later told me that she was so taken by his sweet spirit that she tried to adopt him too, on the spot.) Their daughter called my son, “gege” (big brother) for … I don’t know how long, but she did. (I have it on video.)


A couple hours later, my phone started dinging.  Read more…

It’s Official: Meet Our Newest Son

25 June 2018

We got our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and he is officially OURS.


china loa stamp


And that means I can finally tell you about him, and show you his picture, and share (almost) all of the ways that God has been answering prayers before we ever prayed them.

Meet Jude

This was the picture that grabbed our attention and dropped a, “What if?” into our hearts, and kicked off the craziest week of paperwork and anxiety I have ever experienced.



That pic is probably about a year old now, but look. at. that. face. Is it any wonder I had to know what was going to happen to him? He slays me.

When we submitted our Letter of Intent, we got to request more info (and pics), and we got these:




I just love him. I would expedite paperwork and run through downtown Chicago a thousand times for that face.

His Story

We don’t know the whole story, and we probably never will, but we know a little.

His adoption file says that he was found on the stairs outside a hospital when he was about one month old. Read more…

She Liked ALL the Flowers

17 June 2018

Saturday afternoon I sat on my grandparents’ back porch. Alone. Watching birds dart between the trees and sunlight fade to a golden glow and leaves bob in the occasional breeze.

After five days and scores of photos. After hours of smiling and shaking hands and being Amy’s daughter (and much bigger than the last time they saw me). After lunch in the church hall, a failed nap, a house full of other people’s old friends, another failed nap, and a dinner of everything that so many wonderful people brought by over the previous several days, I sat on the back porch alone. And quiet.

My Nana loved that porch.

They had it built after they bought the house. Or they had it finished and screened in, I don’t really remember. It presides over a backyard Eden, and my Nana loved to sit out there and just look at her garden.

I sat there for the better part of 30 minutes hoping that if I sat still and kept quiet I wouldn’t scare it all away: the rose bushes, the rabbits, my memories.  Read more…