I had high hopes of blogging throughout this adoption. I love that not only can I read back through our family’s story to get to Elliott, I can read and remember what God did in me. What He taught me. How we saw Him. How He came through over and over again to lead us to our precious girl.
But alas, I have three kids now. And one of them is a 3 year old. Whom who could only appropriately be referred to as Doc McOpinionated in her dress up outfit today.
So updating the blog is often wishful thinking 🙂
We are getting close to some major milestones though and I want to remember. I want to remember how I felt, I want to remember the hard, and I want to remember the unexpected ways we saw God in this adoption. Because ultimately these are just as much Isaiah’s stories. These are the stories we will tell him of the days we loved him and wanted him before we ever met him.
We officially got the green light to start our home study update at the end of June. We had signed back on with our main, placing agency prior to that however our home study agency had to sign off that we were ready. They chose to utilize one of our post-placement visits to gauge that and to ask some questions about our motivation to adopt again. After that visit they gave us the go ahead to start again. So although we were mentally ready to go before that, I would say that this adoption process officially started at the end of June.
There were some frustrations during the home study update. Unexpected requests of us, little random hiccups. It’s interesting having done this once before (and having had a pretty smooth process the first time), I find myself very annoyed by anything I perceive as a setback or delay. God’s definitely working on me with that.
Our official, finished home study came in on September 1st and we turned around and immediately sent in our application to US Immigration for I800a approval. This is the first step in petitioning the US Government to allow us to bring in a new citizen. Later in the process, we will update the petition (I800) with the information of the specific child we are asking to gain citizenship.
We found out today that our I800a was approved. We’ll wait for the approval to come in the mail and it becomes the last piece of paper for our dossier (collection of papers to be sent to China – includes home study, employment letters, medical exam records, police clearances, etc). Next week I will take our dossier paperwork through the Secretary of State and Chinese Consulate for authentication, then we hope to be DTC (Dossier to China!) by the middle of October. Although there is paperwork involved in the entire adoption process, sending our dossier to China is the end of the big initial section of the process known as “paperchasing”.
Once our paperwork goes to China, it gets logged in to their system and we get to the fun stuff…waiting to be matched!! We had it pretty easy last time. We waited 13 days for the call with a referral. People often wait months and months. As my husband would say, I’m not about that in my life right now. It sounds ridiculous. BUT we are trusting that God knows the who and when of all of it and that every “delay” and every wait is getting us exactly where we need to be to get matched with and bring home THE boy that God always knew would be a King.
One of the good things about the adoption process at this point is that even though it may take us a while to be matched, our paperwork will continue moving forward while we wait. It will be in China going through the process of being translated and reviewed. These steps take around 35-50 days whether we are matched or not, so the time we are waiting to be matched is also time that technically our adoption is continuing to move forward. So at least this mama can rest easy that while we wait we are not wasting time!
For much of the past few months, I have been able to stay in the here and now and focus on the life in front of me and not too much on the waiting. Getting the big kids in school, getting Ellie started at preschool, the day to day chaos, my job, cooking all the meals, keeping Elliott from creatively destroying the house, binge watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (don’t judge), putting off potty training, and being really very tired at the end of the day. I don’t have a lot of time to yearn for a little boy across the world.
As we get closer and closer to being done with the paperwork, the ache is building in me. I am ready to see his face. There is a distinct feeling that one of us is missing. And I don’t think it’s just me. Campbell asked me last night when we were going to be matched. She said she wanted to know who Isaiah is. I think we are all beginning to feel the void of his spot that is empty in our family, at our table, in our life.
So what about money??!
In case you missed it at the end of August we had a crazy garage sale. And raised a beautiful, insane amount of money.
I can’t quite express what it was like, once again, to have our families, our friends, and our church community dive into this with us. We had an overwhelming amount of donations, a ton of help, and were once again in awe of what the collective Body of Christ can pull of together that we could not do alone. We are overwhelmingly grateful.
I get asked quite frequently these days if we have all the funding we need to bring him home.
The short answer to this is that officially, on paper, we still lack about $15,000 to get to where we need to be.
The longer answer is that there are a lot of balls in the air for us regarding funding right now. We are still working on collecting shoes (we want your shoes!), we have some precious people doing fundraisers selling jewelry and clothing for us, and we are working on a few grant applications. We also have one very big ball in the air that potentially could provide most or all of the rest of our funding if God works that out.
I’m not sure if it’s because we don’t need the rest of that money until we travel, because I don’t have space in my mind to worry about it, or because I really just trust God, but I just don’t feel worried about it. He promises us in His word that He is faithful. He promises us that what He has planned, He will bring about. He called us to bring home Elliott and provided every penny we needed. We know He has told us to do this again. He cares about orphans, about the hopeless, the lonely. From all of that I have to conclude that He will do this, He will provide.
What about Elliott?!!
After all the months and months of writing about her, I would be remiss not to continue to document her progress and changes. She is amazing. Just when I think we have really settled into life with her, that she has really moved past most of the trauma and hurt and towards trust and love, I realize the next week that I am seeing new parts of her, that she is showing new confidence. She has been deathly afraid of the trampoline in the backyard since we came home, even up to a few weeks ago. All the sudden – she feels safe enough to go there. Every day when the big kids get home from school she tells Campbell, “Sissy jump!”. Every day now she is saying more and more words and putting short sentences together. She is expresses her needs to us more clearly. She rocks preschool (“Ellie school!”) She loves to show us the stuff she made at school over and over again and tell us “I made that!”. She loves to pick out her clothes. She is much joy.
I think as parents we naturally love to watch our kids learn new things. There is something about her though, as far behind as she was, as scared as she was, that makes the watching of every new acquisition even more sacred. I’m excited (nervously excited!) to walk this beautiful road again.