Saturday, January 29, 2011

House for Sale & Adoption Fundraiser

Open House! 
Sunday, January 30, 2pm to 4pm

2900 sq. ft. 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath, study, family, living, granite island kitchen, eat-in, and dining. Wood and tile throughout 1st floor. 
2 back yards: One large saltwater diving pool with waterfall spa, large decorative concrete patio.  Gorgeous!  Second gated yard for play area, garden, or more outdoor living.
See website for lots of photos and details.

Why Adoption Fundraiser?

We will not put limits on God and how He will choose to further bless the adoption process by providing the funding we need to go get the boys, but at this time, Ken and I know selling the house is something God is asking us to do.  The sale of the house will provide what we need to travel, pay our remaining fees, and bring the boys home! 
Whoever buys this home will be (whether they intend it or not) supporting the adoption!  Some families have auctions or sell tee shirts or flip flops.  We are selling our house! 
Please pass on the word about our home and feel free to share our adoption story with others.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wondering, Waiting, and Not Worrying

If you don’t know the story of the Chapman family, it’s worth learning.
MBHOH is in a city just 85 miles from Tian’s and in his province, Henan.

These are the days I wish I was prophetic.  How nice it would be to see into the future; to know how God was working this out and what was going to happen.
Things we are wondering about at this moment and how my dialogue with God looks:
  • When will we sell this house?
  • Will we sell it in time to fund the adoption?
  • If not, how will You work this out?
  • Is it truly Your will that we sell this house?
  • What’s up with the apartment we have planned to move in to? It’s disappeared off the face of the internet.  ?? Seems under new management.  Can this be good for us? Bad for us? No difference to us?
  • Will our dossier be ready to send to China after Chinese New Year (CNY) on Feb 3rd?
  • How long before we get travel approval?
  • Do the boys have any clue we are coming for them?
  • Are they okay? Safe? Warm? Well-fed?
See, I trust God, but still find myself pre-planning the scenarios in my mind.  I assume I just might know how God’s going to work things out.  As if He might need my help.
All I can do is read, remember and pray.  These are just a few of the ways He answers:
Colossians 1:16
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Psalm 139:13-16
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
 Proverbs 14
1 The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Deuteronomy 1
30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
 32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
 34 When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”
(LORD, I will follow you wholeheartedly.  Don’t let me stop!)
Psalm 9:10
10 Those who know your name trust in you, 
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 
 In God, whose word I praise—
Matthew 6:27
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dossier is Complete and Sealed

Our dossier is now in the hands of our agency, CCAI.  They will take 9-11 days to critically review our documents, no less than three times!
By February 1st, our documents will be sent to China!  This is a HUGE milestone known as DTC (Documents to China).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Care Package 2

Pooh photo album and books for Xu. Camera with request for nannies to snap photos of Xu. Candy and nuts for nannies. 
This is the gift package we recently sent to Travis .  I can’t wait to get some responses to our letter.  I’m trusting in faith that we will get those responses. 
In this time of waiting, I’ve been reading as much as I can about attachment.  I will be sharing some articles with you soon.  The articles I share will be especially important for our family members and close friends who plan to visit us while we are working on the attachment process.
Here are some of the books I’m reading/have read and some of my favorite web resources.
Attaching in Adoption, by Deborah Gray
Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft
Adoption Parenting
The Lost Daughters of China
Web Resources:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcoming 2011

Here it is, less than 2 hours into 2011!  We’re only 4 years away from the “Back to the Future” future.  I might be wrong, but I don’t think flying cars and hovercraft will be standard by that time.  
2011 is a year of big changes for us in the Brown household, though.

Just yesterday, our house went on the market.  Within a few hours, we had our first showing.  A few hours later, we received our I-800 from USCIS, approving us for two boys.  Thanks to our notary neighbor and friend, we were able to get them in the FedEx box just before 6pm.  We even saw the truck come to gather the mail from the bin.  We should get those last certified documents mid-week, then Ken will hand-deliver them to Houston to be authenticated at the Chinese Embassy.
At that point, our dossier will be complete and ready to send to our agency, who will then send it to China!

In other adoption news, today, we put together a care package for Xu through Ladybugs and Love from Above.  Angela, who runs Ladybugs, will put together a package in-country and make sure it is delivered to Xu.  She will also make contact with the orphanage (China prefers the term “social welfare institute” or SWI), deliver a letter from us, get photos of Xu, and get some answers to our questions.  
When she told me I could ask up to 10 questions, I didn’t even know where to begin!  Why was Xu En chosen for his name?  What soothes him?  What upsets him?  What are his favorite foods?  Likes? Dislikes?  Does he have a favorite nanny or best friend? Will you take pictures of him with those important people?  Is he indeed deaf?  How does he communicate with the nannies and children?  Does he use any sign language?  Does he sleep peacefully?   Is he happy?  Is he warm?  Does he get plenty to eat?  

Of course, some of those questions I can’t really ask, but I did ask many of the first questions about his personality.  There are so many things I want to know about him!  I’m praying she can get answers and photos for us.  What an amazing service she provides adopting families. 

I brought in the new year reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book Choosing to SEE.  I would recommend it to ANY one.  Mother, father, adoptive parent, parent who has lost a child, child who has lost a sibling...anyone.  It’s a humorous and hope-filled story of heartache and how God works through it, (notice I didn’t say “how He takes it away”), of life after marrying your polar opposite, of coping with clinical depression, and of dealing with life when it doesn’t go exactly as your type-A personality planned it out.

In the middle of reading, Ken, the Brownies, Kara and I went to see the movie Tangled.  Very cute and a fun family activity to end our year.  Ken came home and went to sleep. I stayed up with all the kids so they could bring in 2011.  They are now all sound asleep and it’s time for me to join them.  I’ll be dreaming of my two dark-haired boys on the other side of the globe.

To borrow from the Bible, my mom’s recent facebook status, and the way Pastor Kevin Evans closed each church service:
"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." 

This prayer of blessing from Numbers is my prayer for you and your family in 2011.

Life Story

We know so little about our boys, so we get excited with each little thing we learn.  Today, I did some research on the Sanming Social Welfare Institute, where Xu is currently living.
I like how the building looks a bit like a castle, although his life there is far from a fairytale.
Here are the only other photos I could find anywhere online.  Pretty views from the orphanage; quite different than the very urban area where Tian lives.
Xu's home until we can get him. This is during construction in 2005.
View from the SWI

On YouTube, we found this video from 2007:
This shows a girl with a cleft lip and palate being cared for by the nannies at Sanming SWI.  This is home to our little Xu “Travis”, who we learned the nannies call “En En”.  
We will come get you soon, little one!

*Note: April 2011. This may not be the SWI where he lives.  Trying to find out.