Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Have New Pictures!

God has given us an extra blessing in the form of new pictures! In the picture above, Hannah is on the left. How did we get them? Well, the little girl on the right is Kerry. She was matched early last year with a family who sent a disposable camera to the orphanage in a care package. Her caretakers took pictures of her and returned the camera to Kerry's family who brought her home last June. The pictures were taken some time last April, and Kerry's mom, Gin, posted them on the day we were matched. A few days after we were matched, we joined a Yahoo group for families who have adopted from the orphanage that is caring for Hannah. While David was looking through the photos that other families have posted, he found the pictures with Hannah in them.

In the pictures, Kerry is 13 months old and Hannah is 11 months. (Hannah was nine months old in the first pictures we posted, and she is 20 months old now.) They seem to be really good friends. In fact, when Kerry's mom, Gin, showed her one of the pictures, she called Hannah by her Chinese nickname, Nan Nan. We hope to get the two of them together after we bring Hannah home and get settled. I can't tell you what a treasure this is to us. Many families who are adopting from China don't have a lot of pictures of their children. Thank you Gin for sharing the pictures with us! And thank you for praying all of these months for the little girl whose name you didn't know. We are very thankful for the pictures and your prayers!  Enjoy more pictures below.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Introducing Hannah Grace

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27 (NIV)

We are thrilled to introduce you to our little girl, Hannah Grace Cooke. She was born in Jiang Xi province China on May 18, 2008; so, she is 20 months old now. Other than a cleft lip that can be corrected with surgery, she seems to be healthy. We have included photos that were taken a year ago in January 2009 when she was nine months old. They are the only photos we have for now. We have prayed daily that she will have enough to eat and that she will stay warm. It looks like God has answered those prayers! She looks like the Michelin man in all of those clothes, but that is the Chinese way of dressing infants in the winter especially in places that have little or no heat. We'll have to wait for warmer weather to see what her stature is really like.

We don't expect to see her until the weather is warmer. It will probably take four or five months to complete all of the necessary paperwork for us to be allowed to travel and bring her home. Our families have begun to pray that we will be able to be with her for her second birthday. Meanwhile, the paperwork continues. Our dossier is finished, but we must wait for our pre-approval from China. It usually takes around three weeks for this. We would like for it to be finished before Chinese New Year, which is on Febuary 14th this year, because the process will be put on hold as they take a week off to celebrate. Before we can get the pre-approval, we have to have another letter from out doctors saying that we have no medical conditions that affect our everyday living. We have contacted them about what we need and expect to have it early next week. Once we have the pre-approval, we can send our dossier to China and wait for the official letter of approval (LOA).

The waiting is not over yet, but it is so good to be able to look at a picture while we wait. It's also nice not to be jumping every time the phone rings. We have plenty to do while we wait. We are going to look at a house this afternoon.

Thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement. We will try to keep updates of the process on the blog.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

False Labor

David and I often compare our waiting on the adoption to being pregnant. Recently a friend of ours was comparing our waiting for the list to come out to waiting the last few days of a pregnancy. The due date is really close and the contractions start and stop, but you know you have to wait until the baby is ready to make an appearance. Through it all there is a sense of anticipation and excitement.

Once again there are rumors that the new list of waiting children will be out soon. There is that sense of anticipation and excitement in our household right now. We try not to be too excited, but we both jump whenever the phone rings these days. We just laugh at ourselves, call it false labor, and swallow our disappointment knowing that tomorrow is another day, and God's timing is perfect.

When the list is released and our agency contacts us, we will let you know whether they were able to match us with a child or not. Meanwhile we pray a lot and jump every time the phone rings. Thank you all for praying and being a part of this process with us.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Still Waiting

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path" (Prov. 3:5-6, NKJV).

We have been meditating on these verses a lot lately. A new list came out on December 1st, but our agency was not able to match us with a child based on the paperwork we have given them. They told us that they were trying to match six families and that the list was short. There are many agencies around the world who use the same list to match other waiting families. Our agency was only able to find children for two of the six families they were trying to match.

Many of you, like us, were waiting with anticipation for the new list and expecting us to have a child by now. I guess you could say we had false labor. Of course we were disappointed, but we are learning to trust God even when we don't understand what He is doing. We thought that we would be able to tell you about our little girl, but that will have to wait. Our little girl will be on another list. The China Center for Adoption Affairs will release a new list some time during January, and our agency will try to match us again. We thank you for your prayers and encouragement. The whole process has been more emotionally draining than we thought it would be. Now we continue to pray for our little girl as we wait on God and trust that His plan is perfect.