Monthly Archives: October 2015

Airport Return!

We’ve had some people ask about coming to the airport to meet us when we return from China.

We’ll land in Houston (IAH) on Friday, November 20th at 10:26pm.  We’ll have already gone through customs/immigration in Detroit, so we’ll come straight to baggage claim.  Where we will be overjoyed to see the faces of our people.  And show off our brand new daughter!

A couple of things to please keep in mind if you decide to come:

*We are going to be very intentionally working on attachment with Elliott in the months to come.  While we have been anticipating her arrival for many months, we are still all strangers to her.  Even further, she is not used to crowds and strangers.  Her world has been very small up to this point.  Please be sensitive to this.  Wave at her, smile at her, talk to her, give high fives, blow her kisses, but please don’t try to take her out of our arms.  We’ll be posting more about the attachment process as we head home in the next few days.

*We’ll have been traveling for 24 hours straight.  With our 2 year old.  We might be in rough shape.

Looking forward to celebrating with the village that has walked us through this process.  What a finish line that will be on this long journey!

Advertisements

The Voyage

People have asked me a lot over the past few days how I’m feeling.  The amount and range of feelings are overwhelming.  Excitement, joy, gratitude, nervousness, anticipation, concern, yearning.  Overwhelmed.  Tired.  Ready.

There’s something else in there though.  Something I can’t describe in a one-word description.

Ten and a half months ago when Russ and I had the hard conversations and asked God for direction and got confirmation and said “yes” – we said yes to another daughter.  To the process to get to her.  To the fundraising and the endless forms.  We knew all of that.  We were ready for that.

What we didn’t know we were also saying yes to was the ways God would change us in the process of this.  I didn’t know that I would walk into this one person and come out the other side so unrecognizable to myself.  I didn’t anticipate that even before we got to her, God would lay apart my heart and give me need to lean into Him so desperately.  I didn’t know that my faith would change like it has as we have walked through this journey.  I didn’t know I would know Him differently after this.

I friend sent me this song a few days ago.  I’m grateful that for how it resonated with me when I could barely put my thoughts together to figure out what I was feeling or thinking.

“What if the path you choose becomes a road.  The ground you take becomes your home.”

This has been the most beautiful risk I’ve ever taken and we’re still on this side of it.  It feels like, as we walk into this next part of this journey – the best part – we are walking on sacred ground.  It’s beautiful and terrifying, not knowing what I will look like on the other side of this journey.  Jesus, thank you for not letting me stay the same.

Speak, even if your voice is trembling
Please, you’ve been quiet for so long
Believe, it’ll be worth the risk you’re taking

You’re afraid, but you can hear adventure calling
There’s a rush of adrenaline to your bones
What you make of this moment changes everything

What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes your home
The wind is high, but the pressure’s off
I’ll send the rain wherever we end up
Wherever we end up

One week from today.  One more week and we’re on our way, Elliott.

10 days!!!

Some current happenings:

  • On Sunday night we got an email with our confirmed Consulate Appointment.  This is the final appointment during the adoption trip, so it basically sealed the deal on the timeline for our trip.  Our CA will be Wednesday 11/18 and we will head home with our sweet girl on Friday 11/20.
  • Yesterday I got some shots needed for traveling (Flu shot, Hepatitis A vaccine).  I wasn’t sure I was going to get them, but I went to the doctor for some more migraine pills and she peer-pressured me.  That might have been a mistake.  I woke up feverish and SO sick to my stomach in the middle of the night.  Stupid shots.
  • WE BOOKED OUR FLIGHTS TODAY!
  • I have the attention span of a goldfish.  That might be giving me too much credit.  Surely goldfish can concentrate longer than this.
  • People keep talking to me about “sensible shoes” and “packing smart”.  I keep ordering things from Amazon and adding things to the pile on my dining room table to pack.
  • A month from now we’ll have been home as a family of FIVE for a week!
  • We leave 10 days from today!!number-10-35

We’re going to China!

Aaaaggghhhhh!

Today we received our TRAVEL APPROVAL!

We will leave Houston on Friday, November 6th and meet & forever have Elliott in our arms on Monday, November 9th.

We are waiting on confirmation of a Consulate Appointment (appointment during the second week of the trip for Ellie’s visa) to know our return date.

We will be taking off in FOURTEEN days.  Finally.  No more steps, no more waiting.  Elliott Hope, we are coming!

plane-over-china-istock-426

Waiting for TRAVEL APPROVAL!

While we slept last night, our very LAST step in the adoption was completed.  Our agency’s representative picked up our Article 5 paperwork from the consulate in Guangzhou, China.

IMG_2672That paperwork was then overnighted to the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption).  They are the governing body for adoptions in China.

Now we are WAITING FOR THEM TO GIVE US APPROVAL TO COME AND GET OUR GIRL!!

Travel Approval averages 2 days to 10 days.  Once we get Travel Approval, we put in requested dates for a Consulate Appointment – the appointment required during the trip for Elliott’s visa.  We’ll take the first available appointment and frame our travel dates around that appointment.

We would love prayers for a FAST travel approval!!

The Beauty and Pain of Adoption

Several years ago, I was talking to a friend about whether we would stop at two kids or if there would be more King children in our future.  I remember her saying “four Kings seems right”.  At the time, and for several years, it really did.  We have loved our time as four.  Our little quad has made tons of memories, has laughed together, has established a culture for what our family looks like, and has struggled together as we’ve grown as parents and we’ve helped these kids along in the process of growing up.

At the beginning of our adoption journey, I felt absolute confirmation that we were supposed to move forward.  I still had to start to wrap my brain around how the dynamics of our family would change though.  One of the first ways this presented itself was in simple number.  For a long time, even after we said “yes”, I still pictured us in my mind as four.

Somewhere along the way, as we moved through this process and I fell desperately in love with a little girl across the world, that automatically began to shift in my mind.

Now, our four chairs at the kitchen table seems…off.  Many times when it is just the four of us, I feel the void of her absence so strongly.  I will always cherish the five years we spent with our first two babies, but I am so ready and excited to start our life as a family of five.

It is easy for me to see now that God’s plan was always for us to be five.

The stark contrast to that, as I have come to understand it, is that we were never God’s original intention for her. Although God knew Ellie would ultimately be a King (and we rejoice for that!), her position in our family is born out of tremendous loss in her life.

Adoption is beautiful.  I have learned more about the heart of God as I have walked through this process than in much of my life as Christ follower.  Only God, with His bigness and His power and His creativity could bring a child together with a family in the way that He does.  And only God can give a mama in Houston, Texas a fierce love for her baby girl all the way across the world in Chenzhou, China.

Adoption is a beautiful answer, a beautiful, redemptive response to tragedy.  Much like God’s adoption of me is a beautiful response to a real problem – the sin issue I cannot overcome on my own; adoption is the work of a God who can redeem the most painful parts of our lives and bring good out of them.

But we can’t get so wrapped up in the beauty of it that we forget that adoption does indeed begin with loss.

And the pain of loss doesn’t go away just because a child may be adopted.

We will meet Elliott in just under a month.  And for us, that is the day we have been racing towards and anticipating for the past nine months.  Our eyes are set so firmly on that goal.  We. Can’t. Wait. To. Get. To. Her.

What for us is a joyful ending, though, is a hard beginning for our girl.

Because for the second time in her life, Elliott will experience loss that day.  Growing up in an orphanage is not enough.  She deserves so much more than that.  But for her, since she was ten days old, it is all she has known.  Her nannies, her bed, the other children.  That is her familiar life.  That is her world as she knows it.

So as we count the days until we can meet her, we do it with a heaviness.  We know that for us, what will be one of the best days of our lives, could also be one of the hardest of hers.  We have been staring at her picture, memorizing her videos – we feel like we know her.  But for her, she will be placed in the arms of a pair of strange Americans.  We are strangers to her.

In our training and education over the past months, we have learned that most children will grieve in the hours, days, weeks, and months following placement with their adoptive families.  We don’t know what that will look like.  But we are preparing ourselves to be with her and love her through the grieving.  Our hope is that as we love Elliott, as we seek the Lord in parenting her, He will do what only He can do – He will redeem.  Our hope is that she is able to fully grieve all that she has lost.  Our hope is that we can walk with her through that grief.  That God gives us and her what we need to explore the pain and the questions that come through all the moments and stages of her life.  Our hope is that God would guide all of us through all of it.  Our hope is that we would get to see Him bring beauty, as only He can, in all that she has lost and endured through in her short life so far.

We are overwhelmingly grateful that we will get to know and love this child.  And overwhelmingly grateful that the narrative of her life doesn’t stop with the loss.  I can’t wait to see how God writes the rest of her story.

A timeline update

We had a “little” snag with our last paperwork step (which by the way, is THE LAST step in this whole long, sometimes excruciating process) and have been waiting for the past week and a half to hear about our new timeline.

We found out this morning that we are rolling along on this step and it will be completed on October 19th.  On the 19th, our Article 5 will be picked up from the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China and we will officially be waiting at that point for China to grant us Travel Approval to come and get our girl.

Travel Approval generally takes from 2 days – 10 days to get.  It will take us 10 days to a week to get everything booked and leave.

So on the shorter end, we will leave 5 weeks from today.  On the longer, 6 weeks from today.  It looks like we will meet her on either November 9th or November 16th.  Either way, we will meet Elliott LESS THAN 50 DAYS FROM TODAY!

Oh, beautiful girl.  We can’t wait to have you in our arms.

DSC_0295