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It’s Official: Meet Our Newest Son

25 June 2018

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

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china loa stamp

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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.

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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:

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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. Officials searched for his biological family, but Guiyang is a big city. There was no note, so we don’t know anything else. He was taken in and got immediate medical attention. They estimated him to be about one month old, and assigned him a birthday.

I mentioned on Mother’s Day that I know his biological mother loved him, and this is how I know. I’ve read harrowing tales of babies in China being abandoned in places where they had zero chance of surviving. We say, “abandoned,” but it’s murder. Leaving a newborn in some of the conditions I’ve read about ensures they will not survive.

But it’s also illegal to abandon babies in China, so leaving them somewhere where they will get care is very risky—especially for a woman who is probably already in a difficult situation.

Jude’s biological mother took that risk to make sure he would get medical attention immediately. She might have been seen and recognized. Someone might have called the police. But she took the risk to take care of this baby.

He does have a minor medical need, which we will not be sharing online. It’s personal and 10 or 20 years from now he might not appreciate it being online.

It is worth noting that it is not a condition that a new mother would have been able to detect. That means his medical need was not the reason his biological family gave him up, and that’s an important part of his story—at least it will be for him.

Miracle #1: We Knew He Was Ours

Five years ago, after my father passed away, Husband and I talked about naming our next son—should we have one—after him. “Brian” would be his middle name, so we needed something that would go well with that.

Three years ago, we started trying for another child, and you can’t help but think about names. We liked the sound of “Jude Brian.” When we looked up the meaning of the names, we discovered that Jude means praise and Brain means strong. “He’ll be a worship leader,” we joked, and tucked it away for later.

A couple months ago we got a full adoption file on a Chinese boy with a mischievous grin and as we got to the bottom, we started to read some of the personality notes. He is “restless” and “energetic” (because he is a three-year-old boy). Same. He “prefers being outdoors.” Same. He likes toy cars. We have lots.

Favorite activities? “Music and singing.”

Last week I asked his foster family what kinds of games he likes to play and she said he likes to draw in his foster brother’s notebook.

So he pretty much 100% belongs in our family.

Miracle #2: Foster Care

Before we knew him, we had been praying that our son—whoever he was—would be well looked after, that God would protect him body, soul, and spirit until we could get him.

When we met him (in pictures) and got his file, we learned that our little man was in foster care.

The U.S doctor that reviewed his file was impressed at his measurements. And I quote, “We don’t see kids this healthy coming out of China for adoption.” He said he knew instantly—just from looking at his measurement numbers—that he must be in foster care.

He goes to preschool at the foster care center five days/week. He has friends. He is closest to his foster mom. He can read some words and recognize some shapes and count some numbers.

He has not been abandoned in a crib for 20 hours/day. He has not learned that crying is pointless because no one will come. He has not been forced to learn how to fend for himself or compete for resources.

He has been seen and tended to.

And that means more than warm, fuzzy feelings. It means crucial, early brain development has not been delayed, and that affects everything — from his physical to his emotional health. Institutionalization and neglect in infants and toddlers is as bad as physical or emotional abuse.

We didn’t know, initially, what kind of foster care he was in. The foster care system here is deeply flawed and frequently abused, so it’s possible the same is true of China. We rejoiced and gave thanks, but also tried not to assume that he would be free of scars and baggage.

But his file at least demonstrated that his health was being looked after. He is developmentally on par with kids his age and that is nothing short of a miracle answer to prayer.

We found out more recently that he’s actually in a very, very good foster family—better than we could have expected or would even have dared pray for. It’s a private foster care network run by one man who visits the city orphanage when he can to hand-select children to bring to his foster families. Which means that one day, almost four years ago, this man went into the orphanage, and saw my son, and chose to take care of him.

Miracle #3: Chinese Family in Ohio

I’ll tell you this whole story another time, but man. The world is small and God is big.

Adoption Updates: Plans & Paperwork, Grants, and Parties

So what’s next?!

Plans & Paperwork

We (and our agency) are making plans to go get him! We sent paperwork to U.S. Immigration and I got a notification a couple days ago confirming that they got it and it’s been forwarded to the appropriate agency. Here’s what we’re looking at (I think … in layman’s terms):

  1. The U.S. approves our initial request to bring Jude home, and sends their approval to China.
  2. We complete our request with U.S. Immigration. (It’s a two-step process. IDK. I don’t ask, “Why?” anymore.)
  3. Our agency is setting up some initial travel accommodations.
  4. When we get complete approval from the U.S. and China, we choose flights.
  5. We send a tentative travel schedule to the agency so they can confirm.
  6. We book the flights (hopefully).
  7. We apply for Visas.
  8. We go to China!

It’s generally 8 to 12 weeks from the LOA acceptance, which was a week ago. So we’re at 7 to 11 weeks, I guess. We’ll get dates and start an official countdown when we get all the government approvals to travel!

Grants

We’re done applying for grants. Mostly because I’ve applied for every grant I can find and I’m just out of options. We can reapply for some of the ones we didn’t get, but the review process takes months and we don’t have that much time.

We have about 10 applications submitted that might still come through.

And we got one last week! The beautiful awesome people at Pure Gift of God called last week (and I got a box in the mail on Friday) to tell us we were chosen for a grant! It’s not the largest grant we applied for, but it’s substantial and it was a huge relief as I stared at the upcoming expenses for finalizing and travel!

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LOA Party

We want to celebrate our LOA and say thanks to everyone who has helped us get this far, so we’re having a little thing at our place this Saturday evening. There’s a private event on Facebook, so if we’re friends there, check your event invites.

If we’re not connected on Facebook, or you don’t have an invite, and you’ve supported this craziness in any way, please let me know. I admit I started to keep track of every name that came through PayPal, but I didn’t keep it up very well. And some of the fundraisers we’ve done with other organizations have not given us access to a complete list of supporters, so if you bought a mug or a box of cards, etc. I might not know. And if you’ve been praying for us, but are broke, I obviously don’t know—but we still want to say thank you.

It’s just going to be a little thing, but it is NOT A FUNDRAISER. We just want to hang out and have a fun evening. We also have one update that we can’t share online (ever) and I want to tell you about it. So we’ll do that Saturday evening too.

Onward!

Still lots to do! The monthly t-shirt campaigns are still running, and we’re looking at a new fundraiser for July so stay tuned! In the meantime, we have never been more convinced by the power of prayer, so we’ll take all we can get!

Requests:

  • Pray for Jude’s heart during this transition. I cry when I think about how hard this is going to be for him. He has been with the same foster family for almost four years. Please pray that God would begin to prepare his heart, and prepare ours to help him through it.
  • Pray for the foster family. They love him. They told me. It’s going to be hard for them too.
  • Pray for the paperwork. It never ends, friends. We have paperwork floating through Immigration offices right now and we just need speedy, favorable results. We need schedules to work out and visas to get approved quickly.
  • Pray for the finances. We have one more huge chunk of fees and expenses coming up, and it all has to be paid for before we get on a plane. We also have to have a large sum of cash to take with us. Even if we get a couple more grants, the grant money can’t be used for airfare, visas, or in-country cash, because that doesn’t go through the agency.

And I’ll leave you with one more from July 2017 when our new friends met him in China:

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That face!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    25 June 2018 8:57 AM

    Squeals of delight for your family Lex! So happy you got a grant. That video of him playing on the slide, his movements, enthusiasm in the small things, it all just resonates that his is a Wisniewski. Loved finally hearing all of the miracles, and I love forward to watching the miracle of God grafting him in to your family. I’m praying that is the biggest miracle of all.

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 9:23 AM

      Thank you! It’s like he was designed just for us. I’m so amazed at what God has done and is doing through this whole thing. 🙂

  2. Isabel permalink
    25 June 2018 9:21 AM

    YAYAY!!! How exciting that things are moving forward and you are seeing God’s hand upon it all!!
    This little guy will be so deeply loved 🙂
    What a cutie!!!

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 9:24 AM

      I can’t get over his cute face. 🙂 And it’s such a blessing to know that’s been loved already too!

  3. Joann permalink
    25 June 2018 9:24 AM

    I’m so overjoyed to see that the adoption is going so well! Ive known your family for many years now and your family is such a blessing. If there is anyone more deserving of something it’s your family. All you guys have ever done is help others and love on everyone. I can’t wait to meet this new addition to the family. ❤

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 9:26 AM

      Thanks, sweet lady! We’re hoping and praying we can be the blessing he deserves as well. He’s gonna LOVE you! ❤

  4. jmiszczak permalink
    25 June 2018 9:54 AM

    Seriously, so overjoyed for you all!
    Jude is so precious!! And you are right his sweet face on my goodness! Love at first sight. 😍

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 11:47 AM

      Our new Ohio friend said she wanted to take him home last summer ’cause he was so sweet! ❤

      • jmiszczak permalink
        25 June 2018 6:30 PM

        😍 I can’t wait to meet him!

  5. Angela permalink
    25 June 2018 10:10 AM

    Love you guys! I’m totally crying those happy, I’m gushing because God is sooo good tears!!
    Can’t wait to see the blog post that says, “He’s home.” Home!! It won’t be long!!

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 11:53 AM

      I’ve cried so many of those tears in the last couple of weeks! ❤

  6. Jan permalink
    25 June 2018 10:38 AM

    What a lovely addition to your beautiful family! Ecstatic for you all.

  7. Annemarie permalink
    25 June 2018 11:00 AM

    That precious darling face is going to look great in your family pics for years to come. And I can just picture him playing with Niah. Love seeing God’s hand all over this because I know He is going to continue to accomplish everything else needed to bring this little guy home.

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 11:56 AM

      ❤ I can't wait to kiss it … although who knows how long that will be. I'm sure I won't be kissing it right away … maybe just while he sleeps. 😉 Thank you so much for your prayers!

  8. Gloria permalink
    25 June 2018 12:05 PM

    I’m SO excited for you guys! I can’t wait to see Jude and Niah as they become best friends for life!

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 7:00 PM

      Niah already talks about what they’re going to do when he gets a car some day, or when they live together in their own house. 🙂 ❤

  9. Jenny permalink
    25 June 2018 1:23 PM

    Your little boy is already leading me in song and worship just from his story

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 7:02 PM

      ❤ That's the sweetest thing. I can't wait until the day he realizes how God has been watching over him and answering the prayers He knew we would one day be praying.

  10. 25 June 2018 4:16 PM

    Lex, I’ve been following your story and I am reading this with tears pouring down my face. What a handsome kid!!

    10 years ago I volunteered in an orphanage in China and promised myself and God one day I would return to adopt a precious child. I am so happy for you guys and hope to be following in your footsteps whenever the timing is right.

    • Lex permalink*
      25 June 2018 7:04 PM

      Gah, I can’t imagine volunteering in an orphanage in China. They changed the rules this year, and now we’re not allowed to go inside the orphanage when we go.

      Let me know when you’re ready to get started (even if it’s years from now!), so we can pray and support your journey too!

      • 27 June 2018 5:46 PM

        It was brutal… I spent a lot of time in the Special Needs room and some of the kids were tied to chairs with strips of fabric. I’d love to adopt special needs eventually.

  11. Krystal Buhrke permalink
    25 June 2018 10:51 PM

    I am just so happy for you guys. Our God is mighty and strong. I will be praying for all the last steps to move smoothly.

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