Thursday, September 22, 2011


When we left the military I thought we would no longer be peppering our conversation with acronyms. Terms like TDY, PCS, BX, BAH etc were not longer part of our daily speech.

But the adoption world, we found, has it's own set of acronyms. Each country is a little bit different, but for China there are several important ones.

PA: Preapproval. This is when China gives the initial ok to let you adopt the child. You can send them a package at this point and post pictures of their sweet faces. Very exciting!

DTC: Date to China. This is the date that your paperwork goes to China.

LID: Log in Date. This is the date that China logs your paperwork into their system. (As an interesting side note, our LID for Moriah was August 28, 2006. In case you're counting, that was just over five years ago. If we had not switched over to the SN (special needs) side, we would still be waiting for a referral of a child. Can you imagine??? So glad we switched.)

LOA: Letter of Acceptance. This indicates that your paper work has been reviewed in China and the next steps of the process are underway.

CA: consulate appointment. This is the date that you will appear with your child in Guanzhou at the consulate to swear that you have told the truth in all of your documents. Travel dates are determined by this all important date.

TA: travel approval!! This means that you can buy your tickets and make your plans because you're GOING TO CHINA!

We heard from our agency today that we should be DTC tomorrow! Indeed, our dossier is complete, reviewed and almost on its way! Next up LID, LOA, CA, TA...perhaps a few more in there that I forgot, but that's the highlights. Getting just a little closer every day.

I sent a package to each boy this week. We put a few toys, a shirt, a little stuffed animal and some candy and pictures of us in there for each boy. We also had our Chinese-speaking friend from the Chinese restaurant translate a letter from us for each of them. A couple of days after I mailed the boxes, one was returned to us because I failed to sign the customs form. I took it back to the post-office with customs form signed and it is now on its way. The postage is more expensive than the contents of the box, but the love that we put inside is priceless. So I hope they get them soon and know that we are coming as soon as we can.

God has been so faithful to us through this process. He gives grace for each day. We are so thankful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gotcha Day!

Sun in our eyes, but happy to be parents to this girl!
Saturday we celebrated Moriah's third gotcha day! Three years ago on September 8th we met our little one for the first time. She was tiny and scared and so very sweet. Three years later, she is spunky and funny and comfortable with herself and us. Such a blessing to see God's faithful work in her (and in us!)

Psalm 139 reminds me that "all the days ordained for her were written in your book before one of them came to be." It is painful to reflect on some of Moriah's days. But I am comforted (and I will comfort her) with the knowledge that she was never, ever alone. That God was with her through each transition. That He was watching over her every moment because she is very precious to Him.

One day when she was just a few months old, she was left at the entrance to a hospital.

That same day she was taken to an orphanage.

Another day she was taken to a foster family.

After a year there she was taken back to the orphanage.

Another day she was taken to a different foster home.

Then finally, one Monday morning, she was brought to us.

In my arms at last!
Andy signing paperwork just minutes after we met Moriah
So much shuffling around in the first nineteen months of her life, yet each of those days was planned for her by her loving Father. Planned for her good and His glory.

And we relish the joy in each moment we have shared with her. We look forward to all the days we will share in the future. We are so thankful to be her forever family. We will  share gotcha day after gotcha day with her.

Our celebration was simple, but our hearts were full as we rejoiced in the blessing of having Moriah in our family.

We have begun a gotcha day tradition of going to our favorite park to eat Subway and watch the ducks. We get her an adoption-themed book each year and wrap it up pretty for her to open. It is fun that she is getting old enough to remember that this our tradition and she really likes it. Sometimes the simplest things make the best traditions.

Happy Gotcha day, sweet Moriah Mei. We love you so much!

Not a great picture, but somehow it's the only one we got of both of the boys. They had little balsa wood planes that they were flying. Andy brought a little remote control plane to fly, too. 

Moriah with her Gotcha Day book!


Not sure I like this book as much as I thought I would, but Moriah likes it!

Beautiful September Day!

Reading her book.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Routine?

We are halfway through our third week of the new school year. The first two weeks we all felt like we were barely hanging on by our fingernails. But I think this week we have begun to feel like we are settling into a routine.

Four kids....four routines....four learners....four little disciples. A full plate for sure.

Kimberly returned to College Pathways for her eighth grade year. She goes two mornings a week and does a great deal of work at home. (And I mean a. lot. of. work.) It is a great program and she enjoys her friends and teachers a lot. Add in a little babysitting, a little piano and she is a busy girl.

Caleb and Josiah do most of their work at home with me, but they go one day a week to an enrichment program. They are in fifth and fourth grades. Yesterday was their first day and they really enjoyed it. They will do some science, history, drama, art, P.E. and (their favorite) recess and lunch. It is really a blessing to live in an area that offers so many options to homeschoolers. This program is through the school district and is completely free to us. They have several neat projects and field trips planned. We also are able to access Rosetta Stone in the language of our choice through this program. (Ni Hao!) They are close in age and just a grade apart in school, so it is fun to do many of our subjects together.

Moriah goes four afternoons a week to a blended preschool at our local public school. Her class is comprised of five special needs kids and ten non-special needs kids. Honestly, I have no idea which kids are which. But Moriah is able to go due to her hearing loss. She gets some speech there each week. She has really blossomed this year and is talking a lot about the other kids and all that she is learning. Yesterday she shared that a friend "got sick on the table." Oh my. God bless those teachers.

Meanwhile, the laundry is a like beads on a string without a knot on the end. And the house....well, it has that "lived in look," but that's how we like it! It means that we're all here together (at least some of the time) learning and growing and living.

Andy just finished his tenth (yes 10th!) trip to Qatar. He has one more to go and then he is on to different adventures (trips to Hawaii and possibly Australia). We marvel at God's faithfulness to us this year with all of his travel. But we are definitely looking forward to having him home more. And he is sure he will not miss the 28 hour travel days that he has endured. Frequent flyer miles are nice, but that is just a long time to be on a plane no matter how you look at it!

We are thinking a lot about what it will mean to add two more to this mix, but we trust that God will give us wisdom and directions or each step of the journey.

Since I have been a failure at getting a picture of the kids on their "first day of school" I will include some random recent photos of all of four.

Josiah and his quarter creation

Caleb and his giant pickle at camp this summer

Moriah loved the tea party on the lawn that Kimberly made for her.

Kimberly went to Breckenridge with her cousin's family and grandparents this summer. What a treat!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Little Swallows

Our adoption process is progressing...although it feels painfully slow to us. We have been waiting for about six weeks for a paper from immigration that will enable us to move forward. I'm sure the neighbors are wondering why I check the mailbox twenty times a day!

Meanwhile, we continue to be reminded of God's care for us and for our boys. If you can follow this story, it's really a neat demonstration of God's care. Hopefully, it's not too confusing.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from our friend, Pam who lives in China. She has our little boy, Isaac, in her foster home which is called Swallow's Nest. She forwarded an e-mail from a family who adopted a little girl in April. This little girl, Lydia, was asking about our Isaac because they had been good friends while they were in Swallows Nest.

As I read the e-mail, I smiled because I realized that I have spoken with Lydia's mom before. Laurel put me in touch with her when we were first considering adopting two boys. Since they had several biological children and had just brought two girls home from China, Laurel felt that it would be helpful for me to talk with her. We had a good conversation back in May. But I never thought to ask her where her little girl had lived in China.

When I realized that it was our Isaac that her Lydia was asking about, I got in touch with her again. We were thrilled to realize that our two children who lived as brother and sister on the other side of the world, will live in the same city and be able to see each other again.

Lydia has been concerned for Isaac's well being. She has been praying that he would find a family. At one point she even told her mom that she didn't want to live in the US because Bao Tao (Big Head...yes, that is his nick name!) needed her to take care of him. There were four little ones about the same age who lived together at Swallow's Nest. Three of the four are now home. Only our little Isaac still waits. As Lydia's mom shared with her that we are going to bring Isaac home, she was so happy. I am amazed to think of the closeness of the bond that they must have shared for her to care so much about him. With tears in her voice, Lydia's mom shared that Lydia recently told her that she doesn't want to move back to China anymore. She is glad to live in America because Bao Tao will have a family, too. A lot of her longing to return was China was stemming from her concern for him.

We are planning to send a care package soon to Isaac and Joshua. Little Lydia sent a note to include. This  is what she wanted us to tell him:

Xiao Hui (Isaac),

I am so glad your family has found you.  I am happy you will live in America in Colorado.  I live in Colorado, America too.  

You are so nice.  We will be friends in America.   

Be good in China.  I miss you.  I love you.  I am happy with my family in America.  My leg is getting better and stronger.

Your friend,

(Gong Li)

Isn't that cute? I can't wait until the day that we can get these two together again. The Bible says that God sees each little sparrow that falls from the nest. This whole story reminded me again that He knows all of the details and cares so much for us and for our boys. Rather than being fearful or full of anxiety,  I can trust that He who sees the sparrows sees these little Swallows and every detail of their lives is in His care.

Our Isaac with a volunteer. This picture was taken about a week ago.

Isaac is on the lower right. He is the oldest child at Swallow's Nest now.  Look at all of those cuties!!