Monday, April 30, 2012

"We're going to China! We're going to China! I Feel So Happy!"

That's right!  We're singing the words that Kai Lan and her friends sing in "Kai Lan's Great Trip to China."  We're also singing "God is So Good!"  We have gotten TA and CA!  Many of you are wondering just what that means. 

TA stands for Travel Approval.  China has given us TA--Travel Approval to buy tickets and go to China to get Andrew. 

CA stands for Consulate Appointment.  We have an appointment with the American consulate in Guangzhou China to get Andrew's visa that will allow him to enter the US.  (He will become a US citizen as soon as we land in the US.)  Our CA is set for June 5.

So when do we meet Andrew?   We should meet him on Monday, May 28.  We are hoping to leave May 22, but we've had a little trouble getting tickets; so, we're still not sure of our itinerary. 

God has been so good to us and we thank Him for all of you who have come along on this adventure with us.  It's about to get exciting.  Thank you all for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for everyone's transition as we face a lot of changes.

We'll write more later...

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Was that the FedEx truck that just pulled in the driveway?

Give me an L! ...
Give me an O! ...
Give me and A! ...

What does that spell?

What does that mean?

After four months of agonized waiting  (126 days to be exact :>), we have finally received our Letter of Acceptance from the Chinese government!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  This is the official document from the China Center of Adoption Affairs that asks us to confirm our desire to adopt Andrew.  It arrived by FedEx on Thursday around noon; we signed it, took some pictures and sent it back on it's way to China around 6:30 ...  There have been moments over that past 4 months where we began to wonder if this day was ever going to come, or if the Chinese government had decided not to accept our application to adopt Andrew, or ... (waiting can be really hard, especially when your mind starts wandering).  Praise the Lord our application has been accepted!  We are so incredibly thankful to God that we have received Andrew's LOA!

Here we are signing our Letter of Acceptance affirming our desire to adopt Andrew. 
And here is a closer look at this all important piece of paper, and a family photo of all of us holding (gingerly) Andrew's LOA (you maybe able to notice that Hannah is wearing her "Big Sister" shirt :>)
After waiting for so long, it was time to celebrate, so we headed to our favorite Chinese Restaurant for some noodles and dumplings - hao chi le! (Chinese for "yummy" :>).  Here we are with the owner who we got to know when we brought Hannah home 2 years ago.  We haven't seen her in a year (she has moved to another state to help run her Mother's Chinese restaurant), but she just "happened" to be in town for a couple of days.

So, we know the big question on every one's mind is "what's next?"  Well, now we wait some more :>)  There is one more step between us and Andrew - TA (that stands for Travel Approval).  It usually takes around 2 - 4 weeks to get TA.  Once we have approval to travel we can make our Consulate Appointment in Guangzhou (to get Andrew's Visa for travel to the US) and that determines when we will travel.  All that being said, our agency estimates that we will leave for China somewhere around the end of May or beginning of June.  Of course, we would love to travel sooner than that, and God is still in the miracle business - but we trust that we will travel in His perfect timing (even if it is not ours :>)

For now, we need to get Visas, fill out more paperwork for our agency and start gathering items to take with us - it is finally beginning to feel more real.  It's hard to believe that we started this journey for Andrew exactly a year ago today (4/6/2011 was when we first saw his picture on Lifeline's web site).  We hope to get one last update on Andrew before we travel, so stay tuned :>)

We are so thankful that God has led us on this journey to Andrew and has been with us every step of the way, and will continue to walk with us as we journey forward.  Please join us in asking God to continue to protect Andrew and prepare him to join our family.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Hannah's Big Girl Bed

Hannah is growing up and she is going to be a big sister; so, we decided it was time for her to be in a big girl bed.  It took us a while to find just the right one, but we finally have it!  This is what her room looks like right now.  

This was her first nap in her new bed. We didn't have safety railings yet, so, you can see the rocking chair and shelf with cubbies made great protective barriers. I don't think it was really cold enough for all of the covers, but she wanted to snuggle in them anyway.  (I understand; I like to snuggle under the covers too. I just turned on the ceiling fan for her.)

We wanted to let Hannah choose her own bedding; so, we took her to Target to see what they had.  She said she wanted the one with horses.  Just to be sure, I searched on line for a couple of items for her to choose from among, but she still wanted to get the horses. Was I surprised?  Not at all!  Hannah has always loved horses. One of her favorite toys while we were in China was a set of four animals with wheels. Her favorite was the horse, and one of the first words she spoke for us was "Ma," horse in Chinese. Whenever she read "Maisy's Favorite Animals," one of her first favorite books, she always turned to the horse first.  At first she would point to it and say, "ma," but quickly began to say, "horsh." She has since quit using much Chinese at all, and has little trouble pronouncing anything she hears.  Below she is in China with the little rolling toy. She used to like for me to roll it around her back and limbs and head. She still asks me to do that from time to time.

We have put her toddler bed in our room so that Andrew can sleep there for a while after he first comes home.   We have a post with pictures coming soon.

Here is a funny story about shopping for the bed.  Hannah didn't particularly enjoy going from store to store to find "just the right bed." We would go in and look at what they had together. Then, while David asked all the right questions, Hannah and I would walk around the store "looking for treasures." We found all kinds of interesting things, but the one thing that got her attention more than anything else was a mounted deer head on the wall.  When she saw it, she said, "Look! A reindeer!"  We stood and admired it and talked about if for a few minutes until she got quiet,  creased her brow, and studied the "reindeer" very intently.  I had been wondered how long it would take her to notice.  I waited until she finally, asked, "But where's the rest of him?" I said that since he wasn't alive anymore, he didn't need the rest of his body.  He was just a decoration.  Whew! she was okay with that explanation.

Hannah is growing up so fast.  We couldn't ask for a sweeter, more loving little girl.  She is such a blessing to us.  When God answered our prayers for a child, He answered them above and beyond our expectations.  (We love you, Hannah, and we are so glad you are our little girl!  You are going to be a great big sister!  You are growing up and changing so much and there are a lot of changes on the way with your little brother coming home, but our love and acceptance of you will never change.  Thank you, God, for sharing Hannah with us.  Continue to show us how we can help her grow up to be the woman that you created her to be.)