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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. 


adoption blog china


And then I found an old suitcase that desperately needs them.




So we’re hoping to find 50 friends who can help sticker the suitcase. 🙂 Here’s how it works:

  • You can sponsor a sticker for a donation of $30 or more in July.
  • You can leave it anonymous, or we can sign your name to your sticker. (If you’re local and you want to sign it yourself, we’d love to let you get your hands on it – otherwise I’ll sign it for you.)
  • I’ll update the pic on the right every week (or more) with a count of where we’re at.
  • We’re going to wrap it up at a live event the first weekend of August, and we’re hoping to have 50 stickers by the end of that evening!

You can use the PayPal link (remember change the purpose to “Sending money to friends and family” if possible) or catch me IRL if you’re close. If you use a digital donation tool, remember to let me know (A) which sticker you want and (B) if I should sign it for you (and what names … if it’s not the name on your donation)!


china suitcase stickers

Top row: Guiyang (Jude’s city), the Temple of Heaven, Panda
Bottom row: The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace



I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m pretty much out of adoption grants to apply for. We have a bunch that we could still hear from, but I’ve been through every list of grants I can find on the internet and we’re just out of time to re-apply for the ones that we didn’t get the first time.

So for the past couple of Saturday mornings I’ve turned my nervous energy on a new project. It’s not done yet, but I’m sharing it anyway.


How to Adopt a Child: A Beginner’s Guide


Here’s the thing: Several months ago I was just getting to know some of the awesome people at The Sparrow Fund, who have adopted us to help us navigate this whole crazy process. (And they are awesome and I love them.) The woman I was talking to asked for our story, so I started to tell it. I mentioned that we started with an adoption consultant and she responded, “A what?”



A consultant. “What does an adoption consultant do?” I explained and she was interested, but it struck me that someone so involved in the adoption community didn’t know about adoption consultants.

But the more I thought about it, I realized this wasn’t really the first time I’ve had this conversation. When we officially signed up with our agency, we had a weird couple of email exchanges about the consultants we’d hired that essentially boiled down the agency not being familiar with the role of an adoption consultant.

Which is kind of odd, right?

But as I talked with our new Sparrow Fund friend, I also had to admit that we haven’t really had much contact with the consultant since we signed with an agency. (Through no fault of the consultant, we just don’t really need them anymore.) I lamented the expense, but I also realized the consultants are filling a very small gap that the rest of the adoption community doesn’t know exists.

It’s that, “What do I do first?” gap.

Because when you’re involved with anything day after day, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world is not. As I explained why we hired a consultant I think light bulbs went on, on both ends.



So my new project is just a couple of web pages that walk you and your friends through the first couple of decisions you need to make to get you started. It’s not a complete guide to adopting, because I could never write that and because most of that information is out there already.

I just want to help fill in that gap.

So if you are thinking about adopting, start here. If you know someone who is, send him or her this link. It is not a persuasive essay, it’s just information from our experience (and some of our much more experienced friends) to help someone who is thinking about adoption get off on the right foot (and avoid paying a huge fee to a consultant that—past the gap—you may not really need).


I just can’t decide if six to 10 weeks is short or long, but here’s what we’re looking at:


It’s circulating through China right now. Our timeline looks like this right now:

  • This week — We should get our “Article 5.” Honestly, I don’t even know. It’s the second-to-last official approval. I think it’s the Chinese government approving the U.S. government’s approval, which they send to the CCCWA.
  • Up to 3 weeks — Then we get our official “Travel Approval,” wherein the CCCWA invites us to China. No idea when this comes, could be one week, could be two. “Up to three weeks” is all the detail we get here.
  • Travel plans — Once we have our Travel Approval, we board a plane 1.5 to 4 weeks later, depending on when our agency get a small group together for hotels and consulate appointments, etc.


Our last round of payments includes:

  • A travel package that the agency puts together for in-country hotels, transportation, translation/guides, etc.
  • Separate from that is our flights and from Beijing.
  • And our visas.
  • Separate from that is the cash we need to have on-hand for orphanage donations, fees, and in-country expenses for two weeks.

We have to be all paid up before we get on a plane, so I’m looking forward to that breathtaking miracle.

We heard from one of the 10 outstanding grant organizations last week. “We regret to inform you.” We could have as many as nine still on the table, but it’s hard to say because they don’t all promise a response. Of the nine on my spreadsheet:

  • 3 say when we can expect an answer (July 31, August 31, and August 31).
  • 2 have dues dates that recently passed (June 15 and June 30), but don’t say if/when to expect a response.
  • 2 have due dates coming up at the end of August.
  • 2 are rolling/have no due dates, and don’t give any expectation of how long to wait for a reply.

So we wait and pray.


I say it every week, but will continue to do so while I have breath: We are so thankful for our friends and family keeping us in prayer. It is not hyperbole or flattery when I say we really couldn’t do this without you.

  • Jude — Again, that God would continue to prepare his heart.
  • Finances — Grant applications and fundraisers and everything else.
  • Paperwork — Continued smooth sailing.
  • Foster family — Comfort for their hearts.
  • Care package — We sent one, and it is at the mercy of the Chinese postal service after this week. I can no longer track it, so please pray it gets to the orphanage and that the orphanage gets it to Jude’s foster family.

Thank you thank you!


adoption blog china

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 July 2018 8:26 AM

    I’m sure all this is exciting and very stressful, considering what’s going on with other family. Prayers are constant that everything comes together just right. You know you can count on me.

    • Lex permalink*
      9 July 2018 10:25 AM

      Sometimes I think that a year from now we’ll look back on this spring/summer and wonder how on earth we survived it all. 🙂 And I totally know we can. Thanks! ❤

  2. Noemi permalink
    9 July 2018 11:29 AM

    Those first few paragraphs, oh Lord do I feel that. I have had the same conversations. I feel almost guilty for how awkward I must make them feel when I answer anything other than a “oh my gosh yes I’m so excited!” But sometimes I’m just drained and overwhelmed that there is still so much to do before baby girls arrival. Ahhhh!! It’s weirdly comforting that I’m not the only one that feels this. Praying for crazy provision for you guys and for a smooth process overall. We’re all excited to meet Jude, and we know you guys are too! It’ll all be worth it real soon.

    • Lex permalink*
      9 July 2018 12:29 PM

      You got this, little mama! 🙂 You know we’re always here to help too! ❤

  3. Joseph permalink
    9 July 2018 2:23 PM

    Praying for Everything all the Time. Those stickers are cool, Im into the Panda one (hint hint). Hope all is well.

    • Lex permalink*
      9 July 2018 3:11 PM

      Thanks! Maybe I should just get some vinyl stickers made and sell those instead. Haha.

  4. Bianca permalink
    9 July 2018 4:37 PM

    Endurance. Patience. Love.
    You got this! This journey is breathtaking. Thank you for your faithfulness to adopt. Love your hearts!!

    • Lex permalink*
      9 July 2018 10:54 PM

      Thanks, lady. Sometimes I feel like I’m terrible at any or all of those things! Haha. God gets the glory, I guess. 😉 ❤

  5. 9 July 2018 5:07 PM

    This is all awesome friend, and I love the suitcase idea!

  6. Jennifer permalink
    17 July 2018 10:03 PM

    I haven’t detected a bit of awkwardness when I ask you about things, but now I’ll be on the look out 😉 Love following your progress.

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