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Happy New Year! (A Few Pics and an Update)

16 February 2018

We cancelled the party, but we celebrated at home.

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We made dancing dragon puppets and hung lanterns in the windows and piled mandarin oranges in the center of the table.

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And we ate dumplings, but they did not survive long enough out of the pot to be photographed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I’m gorging myself on almond cookies and green tea as I type, but you won’t get a picture of that either.

A feeble first Chinese New Year’s Eve, maybe, but a start nonetheless. Fingers crossed our di-di will be with us for the next one, and then we’ll really celebrate.

We talked about him as we colored our dragon heads, which I probably should have planned but which caught me totally off-guard and unprepared. Because we went from, “Why dragons?,” to different ways Chinese people celebrate their new year, to, “Do you think brother got a dragon? Did he get to see fireworks? Why not?”

I don’t find it difficult to tell him. I’m just honest with him and he gets it. What’s difficult is being forced to think about—not just acknowledge, but really consider—toddlers in low-income orphanages. And not even just the general population of children in orphanages, but mine.

There is one small boy in a Chinese orphanage somewhere who belongs with me. And this will probably seem excessive—and I hesitate to even admit it—but I almost feel slighted, or hurt, that my son is currently being required to survive there. Maybe that sounds just a little extra, like I’m really digging for a victim card to play, but it’s true. My son doesn’t belong there; he belongs with me.

I know that I don’t know him. He has not been referred or chosen for us, so I don’t know his face. He is in no way, in the natural, ours … but I know he’s there, and I know God is working his will to bring us together, so he is ours. And being made to consider how he might be living makes me want to start kicking down doors to bring him home.

But I can’t.

So we pray for him, and we continue to trust God, and we push paperwork as fast as we can.

And we make paper lanterns to hang in the windows because, somehow, it seems to bring us closer.

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Paper Pregnancy Updates

We got our completed home study in the mail a couple weeks ago and I fired off the immigration paperwork to the USCIS the next morning. By Express Mail. That envelope included yet another fat check and at first I felt silly writing a number that big on a Green Lantern check, but after a second consideration decided it was either apropos or ironic to send a superhero check to the Department of Homeland Security and I was equally delighted at either interpretation.  Read more…

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The Home Study is DONE!

3 February 2018

And I may have cried a little.
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Hear me out.

At the end of December, I got the invoice for the home study. That was an encouraging sign.

Two weeks ago I reviewed a draft of the home study report, and was told it should be done in a couple days.

Then there were a couple monkey wrenches (of course). And both were my fault.  Read more…

Adoption Update: Paperwork, Gege, and a Party

22 January 2018

The last couple weeks have been so crazy in the rest of our lives that it’s actually been a very welcome distraction from the waiting.

The Paper Pregnancy

We should have the final copy of the home study in hand this week!

We might have had it Friday, but our Family Coordinator discovered that I’d messed up a piece of paperwork. Thankfully it was one of our letters, so I just had to fix the error and coordinate the two very kind, obliging people to get together to sign and notarize it.

It’s already been scanned and resent, and I’m told it should just be a day or two, then, to wrap up the home study. Feels like such a huge milestone!

Next is the USCIS (U.S. Immigration) paperwork. I have everything else signed and ready to go. Just need a copy of the home study to slip into the stack and send off.

It’s like orchestrating a relay race, but if it was a race … I would be winning.

And then I can start applying for grants, which will be helpful both financially and for making me feel like I’m doing something.

The Gege

Our Man Cub is thinking about his brother more, it seems, and it’s so awesome and so heart-wrenching at the same time. Things he has recently said to me:

“I had a dream last night that I woke up and I said, ‘Is Brother here?’ and you said, ‘Yes,’ an’ he was … and he was wearing a green shirt … with pterodactyls …”

“Do you think Brother is lonely in China ’cause the other brothers don’t want him BUT I DO!”

Slayed. Dead on the floor.

Sometimes he’s not so sure if he’s going to like Brother or not. He hopes that he will, but he really thinks he needs to wait and see.

Which in almost any other circumstance I would probably celebrate as remarkably reasonable, but in this case it has been facilitating some interesting conversations about love. What is it really? Can you choose to love someone you’ve never met? Can you choose to love someone you don’t like? Super complicated stuff for a five-year-old, so they are short conversations, but he thinks about it.

The Fundraising

Grant applications can go out soon, but we’ll probably have to write a fat check to the USCIS with our application before we hear anything. And we have two things in February that I’m actually really excited about.

First is our Chinese New Year party. If you’re local, please come out and celebrate with us. We’ll hang out, have some late snacks, and raffle off some more really great prize baskets. There will be Chinese New Year crafts for the kids (and the adults, ’cause you’ll want to) and we may even break the rules and do lanterns (even though that’s technically not supposed to happen yet).

I’m totally going to nerd out on some culture, and make you come with me.

And I have one other secret up my sleeve for the evening, but I’ll tell you about that later.

As with the last event, please don’t let finances keep you away. There will be opportunities to donate, but—and I really mean this—it means so much just to see you there. We could never, ever do this without the love and prayers and support of our awesome community, and just getting a small crowd together is so encouraging and refreshing to my soul. If you don’t have a penny to give, please come anyway.

H2O Church is graciously letting us use their building. Directions and all the other details are on Facebook. Fish Kisses, Hope Expeditions, and ReFind Design are sponsoring gift baskets. (As always, if you or your business want to sponsor a basket or the event in general, hit me up and I’ll send details.)

Second cool thing in February is MUDLove! I love what these guys do, and they do ministry fundraisers. I realized recently that they do a very limited number of fundraisers for adoptions as well. I applied several months ago (I’m a pro at applying for things now), and we were selected!

We’ll have a page on their site with our story, wristbands with our theme, and a special mug designed just for us! So you get to support our little Panda Cub and help provide clean water to international communities and get some really cool stuff. Win-win-win.

Our campaign will begin February 5. I’ll share designs and details as we get them!

Next Steps and Prayer Requests

So still waiting, but very close to one big checkmark with the home study. Prayer requests:

  • Speedy conclusion to the home study with no last-minute issues.
  • Fun, successful fundraisers.
  • Patience and peace in my hungry mama-heart.
  • Peace and protection over our little gege.