Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shane Has A Bit Of A Wait But He Is Busy Getting Ready For His Brother

The kids have been so excited about her their little brother in China. They have been processing and asking questions. They pray for him, ask questions about him and love planning for him. He is part of our daily conversations and lately Shane has been talking about him a lot. Last week the snow started melting and so Shane was pretty sure summer was coming which meant we would be getting close to getting his brother. He asked if he should pack his suitcase for papa and grammy's house.

We knew we wanted to tell the kids early so they could process and we could begin preparing them. The hard thing with adoption is you just don't have a time line. We told the kids we don't know when we will be able to go to China and get him because we have a lot of paperwork to do. The other day Emma said, "Mom, why don't you go work on paperwork for our brother and we will just play!" We did tell them it will probably be after summer. We are hoping by summer at least we will have a little bit of an idea where we are at. So needless to say Shane is pretty sure that since the snow is melting then summer is coming which means he is closer to meeting his little brother. It may be a long winter, spring and summer for Shane.

Here are a couple things Shane has been doing to get ready for his brother.

He painted him some pictures the other day!

We have been going through all the toys and are getting rid of stuff. I think I may be nesting already. Shane is having a really hard time letting go of his toys because he is pretty sure his brother needs them. So here is his line up of trucks he is saving for his brother.

He also has decided he no longer needs to sit in a booster seat at the table. He is getting too big and his brother will probably need it. He carefully placed it in the corner and it has been in the corner waiting patiently for his little brother.

Shane I know you are going to be such a great big brother even though it just may rock your world a little bit!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Parent In Process Class

One thing that China requires is that we take a Parent In Process class. Eric and I went to Omaha the first weekend in December to complete part of the class. We were excited for our class but also excited to have a weekend away together.

We were in the class with 3 other couples. Two of the couples are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and the other couple is adopting from China. This is their second time adopting from China so it was fun to have their insights. One of the gals in our class was from my hometown. Eric is pretty sure where ever we go I run into someone I know. We had such a great weekend. It was so eye opening as we talked through various aspects of what we will be dealing with. There were a couple huge things I feel like Eric and I came away with. First, we realized we will be adjusting our parenting and discipline style. Some of those things we never thought we would do like having a child sleep with us may just be thrown out the window. We also talked a lot about not only will our child deal with issues that come with adoption but also trans racial issues, trans cultural issues and issues that come with being in an orphanage. WOW it was a lot to process but I know the awareness and talking through things will be so helpful. I think the biggest realization that Eric and I walked away with is to really grasp what our little boy is going to be going through in the process. We know we will be offering him love, a family, opportunity and everything we see as a blessing for him. What really hit was how in the process of gaining these things he will be losing absolutely everything. Our teacher made us write down the 10 things that were the most important things and people to us. It was the 1o things that really make us who we are. We were asked to slowly cross off things that we can live without. We struggled through the exercise as we didn't feel like we could live without these things. When every single thing was crossed off our list our teacher talked about how that represented what was happening to our little boy. He will be losing everything that is familiar to him and makes him who he is. It makes my heart break for him. We realized the importance of the process of rebuilding that for him as he becomes our son.

Eric and I loved eating at some of our favorite restaurants with out kids. It was such a blessing to be away, spend time together and it gave us time to process and talk through everything we were taking in during the class. This weekend was another affirmation of God's hand in this process. I felt like he really unified us in mind and spirit on our discussions and how we want to approach different things with the adoption.

On Friday after our class we decided to grab a movie. We don't get to the movies too often. We looked at what was showing and saw that Blind Side was showing. Now if you don't know me I have to preface this with I am clueless about movies, actors and actresses. I had heard from someone that the movie was good but had no clue what it was about. Eric had not heard of it. He said well let's try it. We had no clue the move was about trans racial adoption. Needless to say after spending a day in a class about trans racial adoption it hit home and we should have had a box of Kleenex. We had a wonderful dinner with amazing conversation and headed back to the hotel. We decided to head down to the hot tub. To our surprise the other couple from our class that had adopted a little girl from China and now is adopting a little boy was in the hot tub. It was such a blessing to be able to ask them questions and have them share their journey with us. We had a wonderful weekend and it was nice to check another thing off our to do list!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Date Night and Finger Prints

Every week Eric and I try to have a date night. We spent a couple date nights down at the police station getting our fingerprints done. Our first paperwork steps have been FBI, State and local background checks. I was so bummed that both trips to the police station I forgot our camera so we had to get a picture at home.

Shane does mind being my helper in running around and mailing things to help get his little brother! The fingerprints are in the mail. On to the next batch of paperwork!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Let The Paper Work Begin

On November 7 we received a phone call telling us that we had been accepted into the China program. In a few days we would receive an e-mail with our Welcome letter. We received an e-mail with a password to get into the China Program website. On the website we received access to the China Program Guidebook. I told Eric I was going to print the guidebook because I like having something on paper to look at verses scrolling down pages on my computer. Eric said, "Why don't I just print it on the copy machine at work!" I was a little surprised when he came home with this huge binder. Wow, that is a guidebook! We have our work cut out for us but I know every once of time and energy with be so worth it when we have our little boy in our arms.

On Thanksgiving we told our extend families about our plans to adopt a little boy in China. Everyone was so excited and supportive. We also took the kids out for breakfast to tell them about their new little brother. They asked a lot of questions about adoption, China and about their new little brother. It has been fun to watch and listen to the kids process our news. Shane was beside himself with excitement about his new little brother. He actually came up to our room at 1:30 am the morning after we told him and said he couldn't sleep because he was dreaming about his brother in Chinas. He always calls it Chinas. Alexa is pretty sure her new little brother is going to like daddy better than me at first because he has dark hair and eyes like the people he is used to seeing. Emma said I should practice making Chinese food before we get him.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Committing To The Journey With Prayer

And so the journey continues .... before we received our Welcome Packet and Application Eric and I spent some time talking through our expectations and thoughts and actually writing them on paper. I think Eric knew if my emotions kicked into high gear it would be important to have some things that we had talked about and agreed on on paper. I think one of the big things we discussed was that if one of us felt at any time during the process that God blocked it or changed our heart no matter how far into it we were that we would take a step back and honor where the other person was at. Another thing we felt like we needed to do was talk with my parents and make sure that we had their support. We had no doubt in our mind that we would have their complete support on this journey. We knew one of the biggest ways we would need their support was helping with our kids when we travel to China for 14 days. Knowing that we would be leaving our children for 14 days in the care of a Papa and Grammy, who our kids adore is a huge blessing. Of course they were totally supportive. I also think it was so neat that at the time when we talked to my parents my mom had been following a family from my parents hometown on their journey to their daughter in China.

We received our application in the mail. We spent some time e-mailing and actually sat down with a wonderful couple who had adopted two little girls from China. It was wonderful to ask questions and to have them share their experience and wisdom with us. We had our application filled out and ready to send in and Eric told me he felt like we needed to wait a week. He told me he felt like we really needed to commit this journey to God as a couple. So for a week we got on our knees together every night and committed our journey to our little boy to the Lord.

I have to say it was a very powerful and emotional week. We prayed diligently that God would block it and change both of our hearts if it wasn't His will for our family. We spent time praying for our marriage, our children and their adjustment, the process, God's timing for our family and of course our little boy in China. I think this is when it became real to me. The first night when Eric prayed for our son in China and prayed for the people taking care of him there was something that changed in my heart. This journey changed from papers and just talking about it to knowing there is a little boy living in China that God created for our family. The mommy side of me struggles with the fact that he is not in my arms right now and I have no control over how he is being cared for. So needless to say it was a powerful week and every night my tears flowed freely for my little boy in China. I think almost every night I looked at Eric with my teary eyes and said something like wow, I feel this emotional already and we are just starting! At the end of our week of prayer we both felt like we were on a journey that God has called our family to.

On November 2 our application to Holt for the China program was put in the mail.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why A Boy?

As I thought about adopting over the years I always pictured adopting a little girl. As I watched travel groups travel to get their little girls from China those sweet little girls stole my heart over and over again. I was in awe of how wonderful to have a group of people that you went through the journey with. Often these girls were from the same orphanage and had such a special bond. In my previous post I had talked about this special family that I had got connected with and then also got connected with their travel group. I watched a number of couples bring home a 2nd child from China and many from the Special Needs program. The Beckering family was on of those families that I was drawn to. I followed their journey to their 2nd child in China. As I followed their journey to get their little boy I had no idea what it would do to my heart.

Meet Andrew

This little boy stole my heart. I remember anxiously checking in on them everyday when they were in China. I watched this little boy transform from a sad, empty eyed little boy into a boy that looked like he was loved and full of life. As the days passed you could saw the sweetest dimple and and a sparkle in his eyes appear. I have to say he has one of the cutest little dimples and a sparkle that draws you to him. There were numerous times I would look at their blog even after they got home and show Eric pictures of sweet Andrew. Andrew stole my heart and inturn game me a heart for the orphan boys in China. I believe that Andrew is part of our little boy's story.

When I started researching adopting from China I also became aware of some statistics that I was so unaware of. In the Special Needs Program there are roughly the same amount of boys and girls available for adoption. The crazy statistic is that 80 - 90% of couples adopting in this program want a girl. The other statistic that I read over and over again was that 25% of professing Christians think or talk about adopting and a staggering 1% actually adopt. I pray that through our journey to our son we can touch the heart of another family just as sweet Andrew touched ours! Thank you Beckering family for following God's call and touching our family through your faithfulness!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our Journey To Adoption

Eric and I have had a heart for adoption for a number of years. It seemed like every time we turned around we had family, friends and neighbors that were going through the adoption process. Many of our friends and family were going through infertility issues which led them down the path of adoption. We on the other hand seemed to look at each other and were pregnant. After having 3 babies in 36 months we decided that we needed to think about our trends and make some decisions. Especially since our last pregnancy happened while on the pill and nursing. I love being a mom, love being pregnant and loving having babies. I am the type of person that could just keep having babies but I also knew another baby in a year would possibly make me an overwhelmed mommy and also take a toll on our family and marriage! I prayed through my pregnancy with Shane that God would clearly direct us in our decision about our family. I came to a place that I didn't totally feel like we were done with our family and knowing adoption was an option for us. I also felt like I had to get to a place that if we didn't end up having more kids or adopting I was content and at peace with having my 3 little blessings. So six months after Shane was born we permanently took care of the possibility of having more babies biologically.

Even in the days when I had 3 little ones 3 and under I would research adoption, follow others going through the process, file literature away and pray about God's plan for our family. I was really drawn to Guatemala because I loved the fact that the babies were in foster care and you could adopt them under a year. It was also appealing that you would only have to be gone for a couple days. About a year a half ago when they shut down Guatemala's adoption I started researching other places. I became frustrated with the process, the wait and the amount of time they expected you to be in various country. There were some places that required 2 trips and others that required you to be there anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months. How does that work when your husband has his own business and you have 3 little ones.

My heart had also been drawn to China. I followed many peoples journey as they traveled to China for their sweet little girls. I sell little girls hair bows and become connected with a whole travel group who bought bows from me thanks to this sweet family! China was one of those countries I was frustrated with because the wait time was beginning to get longer and longer and was pushing 3 years. Then my eyes were opened to the Special Needs program and I have watched many families bring their children home through this program. So I began following more stories of people traveling to China, e-mailing questions and researching. China and the children of China but more specifically the Special Needs Children of China began to find a way into my heart!

We had talked about adopting when Shane was nearing school age but last year marked a tough year for us. The economy took a toll on Eric's business and he was forced to make huge cuts. It was a year of stress in all areas of our life. So I took my desire to adopt and all the research I had been doing and tucked it away knowing if it truly was God's plan for our family he would make his timing evident.

At the end of August Eric said to me, "I think we should start the adoption process!" I think I stuttered and said "What?" I was totally shocked and totally taken off guard! I think I said something to him like "Do you know what kind of year we just had? Do you really feel like we are ready for this? Are you saying this just because I am emotional and sad because my 2 girls are in school this year?" Eric asked me what my concerns were. Well, the obvious, the stress we had in life the past year. Also, the plan in our head or maybe my head had been to be in a bigger house before we adopted, be more financially secure and have the company at a stable place. My other immediate thought was are we really ready to go what feels like backwards when the kids are getting to be so easy. I love how Eric again and again shows me he is allowing God to lead our family. Eric reminded me that there are always going to be ups and downs in life and in the business and we can't let that dictate our life and God's plan and calling for our family. He also assured me these children had no family and were in an orphanage and I was worried about having room for them. Yes, we have room, we have extra food on our table, we have clothes and shoes for a child and we definitely have more love to give.

So the next week I began researching agencies that had a China Special Needs program. I e-mailed and called families that had been through the process asking their advice. On September 12 I sent an e-mail to Holt International requesting an Adoption Packet! And that is where the story begins on our journey to our little boy in China.

In the weeks to come I will post about why a little boy and where we are at in the process. We are so thankful for the love and support we have felt from family and friends on this journey already! We can't wait to see how God forever changes our family in 2010! Will you join us on our journey!
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