"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." Author unknown

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I missed a sign...

It just dawned on me this morning when I pulled out a necklace that I missed a sign.  Jason and I teach 5th and 6th grade Sunday school at church. The kids collect Bible Bucks for various tasks they do. The Sunday prior to Christmas we held a silent auction where the kids could bid on various item we had for them to purchase. Our oldest son, Michiael, bid on some necklaces and in all his sweetness, he gave me one - see below.  I don't know how I managed to overlook this one but I believe it was another "sign" on our path to Noel.

When I pulled it out this morning, I though how precious that I can keep her close to my heart while we wait to bring her home. Thank you Michiael, little did you know that you were a messenger informing us you were to have another little sister.

Little Miss Noel, you have no idea how much you are already loved. We are trudging through the paperwork as fast as we can so we can get you home.  Can't wait to meet you! My arms long you hold you in them. God was so gracious to lead us to you. What a precious gift you are.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This was not written by me but these words are oh so true...

You may wonder if we were looking for her.. The honest answer is no. Did we think we were done? The honest answer is, we were not sure. The easiest answer would have been to say no. However, once you have been to China and back, you leave a piece of your heart there. I am not sure you can ever truly be done! And, for us..... We have learned that God's plans are not always ours. He does call us out of our comfort zone.. And when He does He promises to go with us. The Bible reminds us 365 times, "Do Not Be Afraid." What a comfort that is. So, we will fix our eyes on the reason that we are called to go back to China! And, we look forward with great anticipation to the blessings that this little peanut will bring. And, until then we give thanks for the opportunity to share our story, and to encourage you who may be feeling called to do more than you could have ever imagined.. Never forget that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! The key to that is to trust and go and to glorify God through it! ~ Author

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paperwork is coming together, little by little..

No big news at this point, other than our adoption agency representative told me I am probably her quickest client yet at getting paperwork together. That makes me happy as I'd like to bring Noel home ASAP.  Just hope the areas I have no control over don't hold us back.

This week I got all the kids in and tested for TB, all tested negative.  And their health form, reports completed. I went in for my physical on Friday, waiting on blood test results.  Jason goes in on Monday for his.  So we should have that paperwork by the end of next week.  Then we are waiting to receive a few more documents needed for our Dossier so we can send them on to the next step in the process, authentication.

We have our big homestudy visit (will count for visit 2 & 3 of 4) planned for the 30th. Our social worker will then write up our homestudy the following week.  Other than that we are only waiting on fingerprint results for our homestudy.  Hoping that doesn't hold us up too much.  Please pray we get these back quickly without needing to redo them. Our social worker was conderned that mine didn't come out very well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet Noel...

This is a link to the website where I first saw her, look for "Gwen":


Since we now received PA, "Gwen" has been moved to the "graduates" page!!!!

Take a look at all the wonderful children waiting for families while you are there, maybe you are one of the families someone is waiting for.

Pre-Approved (PA)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We received PA this morning!!!!  It has only been 3 days, less than that if you consider our Letter of Intent to Adopt wasn't sent till late Monday afternoon. And China is 14 hours ahead of us.

The PA states:

The application of Jason and Tracy for adoption of ZCG from **** Children's Welfare Institute of **** Province that you submitted was received. It is hereby advised that with a review of the basic family situation and the Rehabilitation and Nurture Plan for the Child made by the family, the China Centre of Adoption Affairs agrees to handle and process the case as an adoption of a special-need child after the application file arrives. (deadline July 13, 2011, that day inclusive)

YAY, YAY, YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paperwork, Paperwork and more Paperwork..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paperwork is the name of the game right now.  I had to fill out an online request to begin our homestudy process, which required a lot of information.  Then I received yet more paperwork from the social worker to begin the various background checks that need to be completed. I will drop all these documents off at her office in the morning to get things moving.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

File Locked

Monday, January 10, 2011

I got all the paperwork faxed to the agency and then off in the mail with a tracking number which I e-mailed to the agency.  At 3:43pm, I received an e-mail from our agency contact that her file had been locked for us!!!! Yippy.

The agency will send our Letter of Intent to Adopt (LOI) and we will wait for a PreApproval(PA). Waiting, waiting and more waiting will be the name of the game for approximately, the next 9 months. Yes, a nine month "paper pregnancy" is what we are on now.

What excitement to be on this journey again.  I'm so excited for this little girl to join our family and for Angel to have a little sister from China!!!!  Praying for a smooth, fast paper chase.

Oh My, can it really be?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I finished filling out all the agency paperwork this evening, up to the point of needing Jason's signatures. Then I took them to the kitchen, laid them on the counter and told him, "here is all the paperwork needed to lock her file, sign it when you are ready to move forward." 

I then went about getting the kids ready for bed.  I had a very hard time sleeping, my heart was beating faster than usual, couldn't seem to calm down so I got up.  I played around on the computer for a bit then got up to get a drink of water, while in there I for some reason flipped through the paperwork and noticed that Jason had signed all the papers - Oh My, are you serious - when did he do that?  Once again, I wanted to shout and dance but because everyone else was sleeping I just smiled, felt my heart beat a little faster and went back to my computer to be sure everything was in order to send to the agency on Monday!!!!  I did eventually go back to bed but only got about an hours sleep.

Preparing for the ready

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I know Jason said he wasn't quite ready to move forward yet but I want to be prepared when he is so I begin filling out the paperwork from the agency. Then I recall how long the homestudy (HS) can take and ask if he'd be ok getting that underway, he agreed!!!  I e-mail our contact from the agency we used for Angel since they have our old HS, another step in the right direction.

He finally speaks to me

Friday, January 7, 2011

I didn't get a chance to mention to my mom over the holiday that I had found a little girl and had fallen head over heels for her.  So today, while we were chatting online, I brought the subject and told her not to be surprised if we adopt again but that I was waiting on Jason to receive the Calling as well. I think she was a little surprised but no too much. I don't think she gets too caught off guard by my anymore. She thinks I have a big heart. I suppose I do.

Jason and I ran to Lowe's this evening to order new, bigger and more efficient washer, dryer and refrigerator. The ones we have were in the house when we bought it and they aren't quite big enough for our family of 6 (hoping for 7).

On our way home from Lowe's, Jason finally broke the silence and said he had been praying a lot about this little girl and felt he/we were being called to adopt her. I wanted to do a little dance but seeing how I was driving, I just continued to listen.  He continued to say we'd need to discuss a few things, stated he wasn't sure he was ready to trudge forward just yet.  He brought up travel arrangements, stating he didn't think he'd be able to travel to China this time with all that has gone on at work and his new position.  Told him I understood and thought that might be the case that I’d talk with my mom and see if she would go with me. He thought that was a good idea. YAY, YAY, YAY

My prayers have been heard, oh thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord!!!!!

She's still available!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Received a message this morning stating she is still available, YAY!!! I think I would have been devastated, yet grateful if her file would have been on hold by someone else.

The agency also attached all the documents we would need to complete and return to lock her file. I print them out but don't fill them out. They lay on my desk.

Accepted to the group!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I received an acceptance letter from the Yahoo group late in the afternoon, YAY!  Now I read through past messages to learn that there isn't much to learn.  I found out that her orphanage is about 3 hours away from the main city where the adoption process takes place and due to the distance, adoptive parents don't get to do an orphanage visit.  What a bummer, how are we (ok that's jumping the gun I guess) or anyone ever to tell her about the place she spent her first few years of life.  This may not be the ideal place but looking at her, she's not neglected. Someone cares for her.  I can't even find a picture of the orphanage. This saddens me.
I want to know more.

What more can I discover

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  It's off to and exciting start, though I try not to get my hopes up. I continue to pray that His will, will be done and for that I must wait.

In the meantime, I am trying to find out as much as I can about where Noel has lived the first two years of her life. Unfortunately, I am not finding much information about her orphanage.  Today, I requested membership into a Yahoo group that links parent who have adopted from the various orphanages located in the province she lives in.  Again, I must wait for a response to be accepted and have access to the members.

Is she still on the list?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

We have returned home from our holiday trip and I wonder, has anyone else locked her file?  Hoping no one has.  It has been 10 days since I received her file from the agency, so I e-mail them stating we have not yet made a decision, is her file still available? I think their office is closed for the remainder of the year, so I may have to wait till Monday - ugh.

I look over some of the adoption agency's requirements for SN adoptions and see that they require a medical review of the file. That gives me something to do. In the evening before bed, I e-mail the international doctor we used to for Angel's file.  An hour later, I have an e-mail response from her!  I was thrilled.  There weren't any surprises. 

The doctor stated that Noel's growth is mildly delayed.  Angel was the same, as I believe most Asian children are, especially due to their background.  Angel shot up like a weed upon her arrival home with us and is now the average size of an American child.  I have no doubt Noel will likely do the same.  So this is not a concern.  She also stated that Noel likely has an iron deficiency, another common issue of children living in orphanages. The other information was in regards to her Nevus, info we already know about. Good news there.

He broke the silence

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We pulled the kids out of school early today to travel to our hometown for Christmas because there is snow on the way.

We arrived at Jason's dad's house late that evening.  It was great to see everyone, his dad's parent were there too!  As we sat around talking Jason brought up that I had found another little girl I'd like to adopt and asked me to show them her pictures.  I know I hesitated a bit because I was so surprised that he had brought this up.  Up to this point, he and I hadn't verbally discussed this little girl, at all.

I am thankful, hoping this means he is opening up to the possibility.

The following day I ask him why he brought it up because we hadn't talked about it yet, he didn't really have an answer.

Another Sign

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Angel and I met with our friend "M" for lunch today, just like we do each week. I have not mentioned a word of Noel to "M".  Then, in the midst of our conversation she asked me, "so are you guys going to do it (adopt) again?" I'm sure I gave her the deer in the headlights look.  Not that I haven't told her before that I'd love to adopt again but what kind of timing was this?  Oh yeah, His timing.  Always, His timing. 

I feel I'm being led down a path and these are signs that I'm headed in the right direction.  I continue to pray that my husband is feeling led in the same direction but I haven't asked him yet.

She asked, so now I am excited to share with her this precious girl and my hopes that Jason will feel called to adopt her too.

The anticipation builds but I keep my faith in God and that he will do His will in Jason. So I wait and bite my tongue.

Received her file!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I sent an e-mail to the agency this morning to be sure they received the form I sent on Friday.  Finally, early afternoon I got a response stating that Friday had been a busy day at the agency and that attached was her file. Now are you ready for another sign?  Can you guess what they named the file of this little girl - NOEL!!!  Can you believe it, of all the names that could have been chosen and they chose the name I had in the back of my mind - now that is the Good Lord's work.  Are my prayers being answered?  Oh, I hope so. 

Anxiously, I look through her file, seeing two more pictures of her on the first page.  She is oh so beautiful.  I love her little round face, she looks so healthy.  I read and learn more about her, seeing no obvious health concerns.  If you will recall the little tidbit from the blog site stated "She has pigmented skin." A few pages into her file is another picture and it is here I learn the full extent of her Nevus and satalites and again my heart melts. 

She has an extremely large nevus that goes from about mid-chest to just below her knees, all the way around (at least from what I can see). She also has many spots down the remainder of her legs & feet and various spots on her arms chest and large areas on her scalp.  This does not detour me, just makes my urge to fine her a family that much stronger. This girl will need lots of love and encouragement to know that God created her this way with a purpose in mind.

I leave this file open on my computer, hoping my husband sees it - and at some point he did.

The weekend has gone by

 Sunday, December 19, 2010

I have wanted to read the Bible all the way through for years and just haven't ever been disciplined enough to do so.  A week ago I began a 365 day devotional to read both the Old and New Testament.  I'm proud of myself, I have stayed on track.  Well in reading my devotional on Friday night, I got to thinking about what we would name "Gwen", should we pursue her adoption. (Now remember, my husband and I have still not discussed this little girl.) I wanted it to be a Bible related name and, as with all the names in our family, it had to be two syllables - Noel came to mind and I was at peace with it. (Make note of this because another sign will be revealed soon)
With "Gwen" on my mind Sunday evening I went back to the website I saw her on and sent an e-mail to the blog owner, asking if she had any further information on "Gwen".  Later that night, after not being able to sleep, I got up and hopped on the computer to find a response back from the blog owner, "A".  This is the message I received:

I'm so glad you asked about sweet Gwen! She is one of my favorites!!
Sadly, you are the first person to ask about her. When I asked a fellow advocate WHY she would still be waiting, I was told that there was a possibility of cancer with a diagnosis of multiple nevi like Gwen's. That just floored me! A *possibility*? There's a possibility I'll be hit by a bus tomorrow, too...but that doesn't mean I'm not going to walk outside anyway, kwim?? This person had heard this rumor "through the grapevine".
Gwen really needs a chance!! With your BTDT (for blog readers: been there done that) experience, maybe you can shed some light on Gwen's case. I thought I had her file, but I'm not finding it. I will see if one of my advocate friends has it!
In the meantime, her DOB is 9/26/08, and her initials are ZCG. G**** is her first name. I should be able to have it for you by tomorrow afternoon:) "A"

Yay, a little more information. I thrive on it!  I responded to "A" with information on Nevus. She is thankful to know more.  I told her I was waiting on "Gwen's" file from an adoption agency and could maybe share more information with her so even if we aren't able to pursue her, we could both continue in advocating to find a family.


Response from agency

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I received an e-mail from the agency. They have sent me a form I need to fill out and return to them before I can review the file.  I quickly fill it out and return it to them. Ugh, this means more waiting.

First glimpse and my heart melts

I'm going to start from the day I saw her....
Dec 16th, 2010
On this Thursday morning, as the kids were getting ready for school, I checked my e-mails as I do most mornings.  Many of the e-mails are from Yahoo adoption groups that I am a member of and have been since bringing Angel home.  Several of these groups have members who advocate for children who are on China’s Special Needs referral list.  Occasionally, I click on a link that will take you to a blog for people who are advocating for certain children, typically showing a picture of them and a brief description of their need and perhaps personality. 
Well, I chose to clink on one of those links that morning and scrolled through, looking at all the adorable children up for adoption. I pray these children have families out there somewhere that will soon find them.  Toward the bottom of a page I locked eyes with an adorable little girl who has eyes that just draw you in.  It was obvious what her “special need” was (though I don’t consider it a special need) without reading the description.  She was covered in lovely little brown spots, Nevus Satellites, a similar condition to what our daughter Angel has.  Next to her picture was the following tidbit about her (Gwen is the nickname given to her on this site):
About this precious litle girl: "Here is an intelligent little girl who has good motor development and is restless and active. She has pigmented skin. She is most happy dancing and she has quick reactions. She is also talkative. She loves new toys that she has never seen before."
My heart melted, as much as I wanted to know more, it was time to finish getting the kids off to school and run some errands.  On my way home from running errands that morning, I heard a song on the radio. I had never heard before and I haven’t heard it since. The song is called “All I really want for Christmas” by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Here are the lyrics and a link to listen to it if you want, it’s a touching song: (have a tissue in hand)
All I really want for Christmas
All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for
But there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have (referring to Santa)
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad
But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Well, maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard
Sounds like the greatest gift on earth would be a mom

All I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose
Shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for
But there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas

Is someone who'll be there
To sing me "Happy Birthday"
For the next 100 years
And it's OK if they're not perfect
Well, even if they're a little broken, that's alright
'Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go
It's almost time for bed
And maybe next time I write you
I'll be at home

'Cause all I really want for Christmas
Is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone
Someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for
Well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Just a family

That's all I really need

Needless to say, I cried as I listened to this song. Upon arriving home, I sent an e-mail to my husband at work with the subject: He's talking to me again  All I put in the e-mail were these lyrics, a photo of the little girl and the following message:
You can antagonize me latter for even looking.   Did the Great Man above do this on purpose?   I ran across a precious girl this morning and then heard the following song on the radio, as she once again popped in my mind and I cried as I listened….
(after the lyrics and picture I put the following)
…and yes I’m a little biased on Nevus beauties.
And, I think the little boy I was advocating/praying for must have been matched as I can no longer find his file!!! YAY (note to blog readers: I was drawn to  a little boy in early 2010 that I advocated for)
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
Love you,
That was all I wrote.  I then sent it to Jason, never really saying another word to him about it. 
That afternoon I e-mailed an adoption agency about getting her file to review; I already felt I had been given a “sign” saying we were to adopt her but figured even if not I had every intention of advocating for her since I was familiar with her medical condition.  Time goes so slow when you are waiting for a response.

Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!