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Showing posts from May, 2011

Skadoosh!

There is an adoption blog I look forward to reading every week.  Her perspective and guests' posts help me broaden my own ideas and, truly, will help me be a better parent to the boys from what I've learned by reading.

This is not to say that I agree with everything I read there.  (If so, that would be sad.  And I think the blogger herself would be disappointed.) :)

This weekend, she asked readers to comment about the new movie, "Kung Fu Panda 2" and how the movie handled the adoption issue.  You can read the post and all the comments there first so my post will make more sense.   There will be major movie spoilers if you read through it all. FYI.
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Well.  Can you tell that this is a hot topic in the adoption community?  It should be!  In the past (and sadly, still) parents made the mistake of hiding adoption.  When they did share, they made their child feel obligated to be grateful that they were "rescued".  They downplayed racism or ignored differenc…

Article 5!

If you'll remember my recent post listing the alphabet soup of hoops our paperwork is going through, you'll know that Article 5 is the last leap before Travel Approval!

Article 5 has been picked up by our agency in China!
Now that we have A5, TA will come anywhere from June 13 to the 27th.  Of course, we are praying for the 13th AND trusting God's timing.

After we receive TA, we could leave for China in as little as 9 days or as much as 14 days.  That puts our "leaving for China" date somewhere between June 22nd at the earliest and July 11th at the latest.  We will be in China for a little over 3 weeks!

When we get TA, our agency sets our Consulate Appointment, which is the appointment we have with the US Consulate in Guangzhou during our final week in China.  From that appointment date, they work back to set our date of departure from the US.  We can't wait to get that news!!

Shower of Blessings

As Beth Moore says (roughly as I remember it), following Jesus is a wild ride!  He does not disappoint.

Friends hosted an absolutely fabulous shower on Sunday.  Tons of friends came by and brought me to tears with their generosity.




Then today, Who God is and what He does blew me away yet again.  Just the night before (Monday night), Ken was feeling very burdened by the lack of funds still in our adoption budget, specifically the amount we had for our international flights.  Flying 5 people TO, then 7 people home FROM China is not cheap!  And with as little as 9 days notice flying in June, we weren't counting on any discounted rates.
Ken went to bed with a huge burden on his heart.  He said that if we got travel approval right then, we wouldn't be able to afford the airfare for all 5 of us.  It's almost unbearable to consider leaving the kids here in the US, but we had to discuss our options.  I told Ken I KNEW God would provide a way.  I didn't know how, but I knew He …

Kung Fu, Dragon Boats and Chinese Culture

Around the Brown house, we've been preparing to visit China as well as become a multi-cultural family with Chinese-American sons/brothers.

Part of our preparation includes learning about China, Chinese culture, and Chinese-American culture.  Here are a few fun things we've done in the past couple of months.

At the Dragon Boat festival, the kids loved watching the Kung Fu performances.  I had a hard time getting a good picture of it but below is a photo from the Shaloin Temple we plan to visit in one of our sons' provinces.  Henan province is the birthplace of Kung Fu and the Shaolin Temple is the center of that birthplace.  We are looking forward to that visit.


And The Fat Lady Sings!

As of 1:45 this afternoon, we are no longer homeowners!  It's a true feeling of relief.  3 1/2 months on the market doesn't sound bad in today's economy, but to us, it was a true test of our faith and our character.

Yesterday was a whirlwind with a few last-minute glitches that added just enough stress to the closing that I had to keep a constant prayer on my heart.  I truly believe that's why the glitches were there.

Ken was out of state for work, so the kids and I showed up at the closing at our appointed time.  45 minutes later, I was able to go in and sign the papers.  Another 45 minutes later, I walked out feeling better, but still not confident.  As tempting as it might could have been to celebrate after our closing yesterday, we just couldn't until the proceeds from the sale of our home funded into our account today.

After another glitch or two today, it did indeed fund and we have officially sold the house!
Back in January, we had envisioned the sale of ou…

Worthy of Trust

Today was full of more surprises and more waiting, but I couldn't be anxious about it.  As tiring as some of the waiting is, God has proven too faithful for me to worry.  Worrying and becoming upset would be an insult to His work in our lives so far.

Yesterday, due to so many circumstances I can't list them all here, we were down to our last dime.  Literally.  We hadn't told anyone except our realtor, who is also a Christian sister and has become a dear friend.  We were out of most of our groceries and were completely counting on our house to close so we could breathe.  Yesterday afternoon, a friend called and asked us to stop by their house on the way home.  They blessed us with a generous check to help with the adoption.  I was (and still am) blown away.  God put on their heart two months ago the desire to help us out, but they didn't feel it was the right time until yesterday.  They had no idea how desperate our need was, but God did.  They listened to God's tug…

Brownie Brag

Tonight, I learned that on Mother's Day, while Ken and I took a bike ride around the park, the girls were faced with one of their first "Your mom will never know" dilemmas.

My oldest had texted me to ask if they could go into the community center to get a snack.  I answered, "No." (1. They didn't need the junk food. 2. Kids aren't allowed in the community center without adults. Many kids break this rule, but we honor it.)  The friend my girls were with said, "Let's just go in.  Your mom won't even know."

My oldest girl said, "I don't want to disobey my mom." My sweet middle munchkin said, "Yeah, that would be sinning."  (That made me giggle. I promise I don't teach her to say stuff like that.)

I told the girls I was proud beyond words they made the right decision, then asked why they chose to obey. My oldest said, "Well, for one, I didn't want to get in trouble; but also, it just made me feel bad. W…

Out of Our Hands

"Out of our hands" seems to be the running theme in our lives in 2011.

The sale of our house? Out of our hands.
The speed at which any government agency decides to process our paperwork? Out of our hands.
Getting updates on our boys? Out of our hands.

This week, even more minor issues have popped up that are (you guessed it) out of our hands.

All throughout the day today, I was either emailing or on the phone with someone checking on something:
First, the CIS office, checking the status of our case.  I was thrilled to hear back from our officer (he rocks, by the way) that our case had arrived at NVC (National Visa Center) just this morning!  As a side note, our case files weighed in at 26 pounds!  That's 13 pounds per kid.  Seriously, US government?  Does it require 13 pounds of paperwork?  Are the boys tucked in there somewhere?

Second, I called the NVC to see if they did, indeed have our case.  They do, but now need 24-48 hours to process it before they "cable&quo…

A Waiting Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day.

I will celebrate the many blessings that come along with that: My own mom, a mother-in-law whom I love and am daily thankful for how she raised her son to be a good husband, and my own life as a mom of three kids that I love so much it hurts.

But 2 of my 5 children are a half-world away.  Today leaves me thinking about their "moms."

Tian and EnEn have 3 moms:
Birthmom
Tian and EnEn were each born to a mother (obviously).  I've been thinking of them a lot this week.  Curious to know if China celebrated Mother's Day, I did what any good researcher would do and googled it.  It's becoming a popular holiday there, but isn't celebrated all over China yet.

Still, I wonder how often they think of the boys?

When Tian's mom left him at a busy underpass, he was just a week old.  I wonder where she hid to keep watch over him until he was found?  As she goes about her day, does she scan little toddler boys to see if any of them has his distin…

Tribute To My Mom

Sunday is Mother's Day.  I celebrate as I think about my own mom.  There are so many reasons to be thankful to God that Donna is my mother.  She has loved me through my best and worst.  (And my worst has probably been the things young parents have nightmares about.)
Mom always assumed (and still assumes) the best of Laura and me.  I could frame it as "Mom was so naive, she had no clue what we were up to or what we were capable of."  The truth is, Mom's heart has always been soft and kind.  So much so that she could never imagine us doing some of the ugly things we did because those things just simply weren't in her heart.  I love Mom for the softness of her heart.  Those who know her know how deeply caring she is for others.  Getting a front-row seat to that kindness my entire life has molded how I view others.
Growing up, she loved my friends.  Even to the ornery ones, she showed great care and concern.  Being a home with just two daughters, I remember Mom and D…

Latest Alphabet Soup: PA, NBC, NVC & TA

Thank God our PA (provisional approval) came in the mail today.  The easiest way to explain what's left is that we wait for TA, which is travel approval.
In reality, a LOT goes on between those two acronyms.  Curious?  Try to follow.  I've read through it several times and it's still overwhelming.

1. Now that your I-800 is approved, your officer (at USCIS, National Benefits Center, aka NBC) will forward your file to NVC. (Natl. Visa Center), through Fed-ex/UPS 2 days.  Once you receive the approval in the mail, email CCAI a copy.

2. Wait about one week before emailing/calling NVC to check your status. (5/12)

3. NVC will email your Guangzhou #. That means in about 24-48 hrs your file will be "cabled" to the consulate in Guangzhou. Ask them to email you the cable-letter. That's the letter that says your file is "cabled" to the consulate.  (By the 17th?)
After this, your file will be in China and you can't do anything to make it move faster.

4. Th…

Glitches

Glitch is not a happy word in the adoption process.  We thankfully avoided any major glitches with our move.  At the most it put us back 2 weeks. 
But...
Remember how I posted that we had PA (Provisional Approval)?  Well, we didn't.  The paper we got was simply a receipt from USCIS stating that they had our I-800 and payment.  Knowing it could be another couple of weeks, I waited.  Then I started seeing tons of people (from my same agency) post online that their PAs had come after only 10 days.  For us, almost 3 weeks had passed, so I emailed our CIS officer.  
There was a "glitch" somewhere and he didn't have a couple of the forms he needed.  We had sent everything, but he still needed something from another source.  I emailed the source and the forms were sent the next day.  I've been waiting to call to ask why things weren't done in a timely manner because I don't want to call angry.  I also need time to sit with the Lord and rest in knowing that He has t…

Next Month?

Is it possible that we go get the boys next month?! It sounds SO good to say those words: Next. Month.

Our trip will likely begin in the latter half of June, but still...that's next month!!
Looking back, we are amazed at God's hand and direction through this entire process.  Friday, we learned that we are recipients of a generous grant.  I was in tears so much that I had to tell Ken it was happy tears so he wouldn't worry. My kids instantly started quoting this kid from an AFV show:

We can only thank God for all He has done and completely trust Him with all that we have and all that's left to do.

To God be the glory, great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus, His Son!