Sunday, May 29, 2011


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.

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 differences of color and ethnicity.  I've read about adoptive parents who are so uncomfortable discussing birth families and actually feel offended when their child longs to know more about them or expresses emotion toward their birth family.

When I posted my opinion, I knew I was going against the grain a bit, but I was telling the truth from my own perspective and experience.  I DO know (and know of) adoptees who are grounded in who they are without having or seeking information about their birth family.  I was genuinely curious about others' feelings about that.  I also know (more) adoptees who did need/want to search and have all the questions answered.  I didn't mention that because, especially on that blog, I figured that was understood.  (My bad.)

What the commenters who (I felt) attacked me don't know is...well, it's WHO they don't know.  They don't know me.  They don't know that I've been reading and reading and reading adoptee's perspectives.  They don't know how much I value every word they say.  Especially the tough stuff.  They don't know that I've watched all the clips from "Adoption: The Movie" about 5 times each and will order the documentary it to have on hand.  They don't know I've poured over books such as "American Born Chinese" and others that help me gain perspective on some of the discrimination the boys will face.  They don't know that I'm on an email loop that is in the middle of discussing how to use local law enforcement in one of the boys' provinces to help begin a birth parent search.  They don't know I'm gathering all the information I possibly can to ask when we're in China to find any answers that might be out there so I can have something...anything to give the boys in the way of knowing about their first families.  They don't know that we are already connected to other adoptees, from children to adults, who we plan to weave into our lives so they can be our boys' friends, supporters and mentors who know what it's like.

I have SO MUCH to learn.  I'm like a first-time mom all over again.  10 years from now, I'm sure I'll look back at some comments I've made over the past year and laugh at myself.  But I don't believe I'm going in blind.  I  know I'm not insecure about the boys loving/having affection for their birth moms.

The lesson I learned?  That I'm still learning.  That I'm not yet "in tune" to 100% of the hurtful phrases used around adoption community.  And I've learned that I, like Po, have inner-peace (although my peace comes through Christ in me...not my self) with where I am right now and who I am as a soon-to-be-adoptive mother, and that I will continue to learn and grow.

The passion with which people express their opinions about adoption and adoptive parents (not just on China Adoption Talk, but everywhere I've read) reminds me much of the "hot topics" in the Deaf community: Implant or not?  ASL or SEE?  Sign or oral?  Deaf school or mainstream?  Just google these topics and you'll see fury and fire on both sides.  I watch a documentary like "Sound and Fury" and end up with a huge headache because of how HEAVY it is and how much is expressed in so few words.  In the blog comments, several were totally offended by Po saying, "I am your son" instead of "I'm Po. And you're my father."  I don't understand the big problem with that yet, but I guess it's like how we cringe when we see "hearing impaired."  Yuck!  Interesting parallells.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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.
My amazing hostesses and friends.

College friends that drove 4.5 and 2.5 hours to come!
Our families had fun visiting until very late.
The fam respresents

Wouldn't have been the same without my dearest friend.
Ken even made a short appearance <3
So many friends, old and new. Wish I could post them all
here, but just check facebook for the album.

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 would.

Today (Tuesday), He did!!

I can't list the details here, but let me just say that last night, we went to bed not knowing how we were going to cover our airline tickets.  Tonight, we go to bed knowing that our tickets are taken care of!  Wow!  This happened without us doing anything except praying.  It was God working through His faithful people who listened to His voice, then chose to do something selfless and kind.  I am amazed and in awe!

Not only did God bless us by filling our need for tickets, but He gave us the desire of our heart through the type of tickets we have.  Exactly what we had hoped we could do, but didn't even dream would be possible.

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Ps. 37:4

Sometimes it may appear that God is doing something "disappointing" or even allowing something devastating.  I don't want to discount those moments, but it's only our limited vision that can't see the big picture.  This is my faith.  God is God and I am not.  He gives abundantly more than I can ask or imagine.  

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3, emphasis mine

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kung Fu, Dragon Boats and Chinese Culture

Red lantern at the DFW Dragon Boat Festival
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.

DFW Dragon Boat Festival
Visiting China exhibit at Ft. Worth Museum
Planting rice at museum exhibit

Trying Asian foods (and eating with chopsticks for practice)
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.

Photo Credit:

And The Fat Lady Sings!

Last photo of our Dickinson house. Many great memories here.

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 our house fully funding the adoption.  Now, in May, we are just happy to have sold the house.  We didn't even make half of what we thought we would, but through that, God is glorified.  If we had quickly sold the house for every penny we wanted, we would have never been in such desperate need.  And if we had not had such a great need, we wouldn't have seen God use others to bless us and help us out of the hard places.   (If you haven't read my last post, please do!! It's a great story!)  From friends giving generously of their own finances to a blessed home-cooked dinner at just the right time, we have had the Body of Christ show up for us over and over again.

So very thankful.

Friday, May 13, 2011

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 on their hearts and blessed us more than they can possibly know.  God also knew something we didn't until today: While we were supposed to close on the house this afternoon, the closing has been  pushed back to Monday.  God knew our need and filled it just in time.  Not a week early.  Not a two days early.  But just in time.

It helps tremendously for me to keep this prayer request page, because I can go back and look at how God has answered our pleas.  Today, I went back to read the blog I had posted about worry. I was humbled and am amazed by what I found.

Here are some of the questions I posted back in late January.  While I am not prophetic, I CAN look back with hindsight and see how God answers us every. single. time.
  1. When will we sell this house?  You will sell it in April and close in May.
  2. Will we sell it in time to fund the adoption?  Yes!
  3. If not, how will You work this out?  Along with selling the house, God will allow you a grant and generous support from friends/family that will help with adoption costs. 
  4. Is it truly Your will that we sell this house? Sure appears that way.
  5. 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?  Not only is this not a problem, but the new management is better! They are updating the pool and pool furniture, doing major landscaping upgrades, and improving the entire property. The kids are making great friends and keeping connected with their old friends.
  6. Will our dossier be ready to send to China after Chinese New Year (CNY) on Feb 3rd?  Yes. In plenty of time. 
  7. Do the boys have any clue we are coming for them? Still don't know this one, but are asking God to begin to prepare the boys' hearts to receive us.
So if you wonder how I can "stay so calm" during all of the drama in our lives right now, just read this post and read our prayer page and you'll know how.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:10-11

We have seen this evidenced over and over and over again in our lives in the big things and the little things.  So we will keep waiting, wondering and not worrying because God is worthy of our trust and our faith.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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. When we told our friend we didn't want to disobey our mom, she looked at us like we were weird."

Welcome to life, kids!  People will often think you're weird if you choose right over wrong, especially if the wrong is viewed by the world as "no big deal."  My hope is that their reason for wanting to choose right is because it's right, not simply to avoid being in trouble. I want them to obey because they love me and trust my judgement, even when they don't agree.  I'm glad the thought of deceiving me made the girls feel bad.

I can see my own relationship to my Heavenly Father mirrored in this situation.  My prayer is for that same relationship for my kids.

By the way, you should know that after we talked, I promptly marched them down to the community center to pick out whatever snack they wanted!

Monday, May 9, 2011

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" it to China.  Up until now, we at least had control over how quickly we filled out and turned around documents. And I could always call our CIS officer to check on things. From this point on, the paperwork is 100% out of our hands.

Then I spent some time going back and forth between our home warranty company and their AC contractor to figure out why they aren't fixing the AC at our Dickinson house.  Evidently, there are some personal issues they have between each other and because of that, we are suffering, having now waited since April 20th for air.  Since we must go through the warranty company (or else pay for an AC unit out of thank you), when it is fixed is out of our hands.

Finally we got word that the man who is supposed to assess the house this week has had some kind of surgery and can't get over there as scheduled.  This may delay the closing up to a week.  Since the assessor must be a VA-approved assessor, we, the buyers, nor either real estate agency has any control over it.  So it's out of our hands.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. --Proverbs 19:21

I've heard people who aren't Christians say that Christians use God as a "crutch".  Yes!!  Thank you, Lord, for letting me lean on You, because there is nothing I can do of my own power to make things work the way I want them.  In my weakness, You are strong.  When I'm powerless, Your power is glorified.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. --2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When we land in the US with all 5 of our children, paperwork completed, the boys "official" Brownies, it will not be because we sold our house or we filled in all the right blanks on the paperwork, but by the plan and purpose and grace of God.

God is not just my crutch.  He's my Father, completely carrying me when I don't have the power to stand.  How can I help but praise Him?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

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:
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 distinguishing ear?  Does she hope to see him again some day?  Will she?

Thinking of EnEn's mom brings to my heart even more ache and questions.  How many weeks or months did she sit in anguish, rocking him and kissing his forehead, knowing she could not keep him?  How many times did she stand behind him and bang pans, stomp feet, clap her hands or yell to test his hearing "just one more time?"  How many times did she begin the trip to the orphanage gates before she could actually leave him there?

I wonder if either of them ever walk past the orphanage in hopes of getting a glance at their boy.

These moms are have a special place in my heart.  They carried the boys for 9 months, then cared for them in their first week...and first year.  The boys are physically and forever tied to their moms, therefore, so am I.

Foster Mom
Next month will mark one year that Tian has been with his foster mom (and dad, grandma and brother).  In so many of the pictures I've received over the past year, he's been in her arms.  She's been teaching him what it is like to be in a family.  And as difficult as it will be for him to understand why he's leaving her, she's made his life and ours better by teaching him to connect to a mom.   She's sacrificed herself to raise a little boy she knew from the beginning would never be her forever son.  I will honor her on Mother's Day for the rest of my life.

EnEn hasn't had a foster mom, but many nannies (and some mannies, so it seems).  From the abundant smiles we see in his photos, both on his face and the faces of these nannies, I can tell he IS cared for and enjoyed.

Forever Mom
Tian and EnEn,
I'm your momma!  God had a plan for us from the beginning.  I'm so thankful for the moms and nannies you have had in your life, but I need to tell you something.  I'm your forever momma and forever mommas have a different kind of love.
Very soon, I'll be holding you!  I can already imagine you falling asleep in my arms, your sweaty head on my chest.  I can't wait to stroke your hair and kiss your forehead.  I can't wait to rock you, to comfort you, to make it better when you're hurt, to love you through your sadness, to show you what it is be family.  Always.  Permanently.
I know you don't understand now, but I'm trusting that, by God's grace, He will place in your heart a comfort that only comes from Him.  He knitted you together in your birth mother's womb and He knitted you in my heart.
On this Mother's Day, I'm praying that God will knit ME on YOUR heart.

God, protect those boys!  Not just physically from illness or mistreatment, but protect their hearts.  Those little hearts have lost much.  I'm so thankful you have entrusted Ken and me to be their dad and mom.

As bittersweet as it is, it IS a happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

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 Dad's eyes popping when our guy friends would come over and eat.  And eat.  And eat.  When you're a teen, there is something comforting about seeing your parents welcome in your friends and open their home to them.
Mom wants nothing more than to represent Jesus well.  It's been a blessing to witness my own mom's walk with the Lord grow over the years, never wavering from Truth, yet allowing the Holy Spirit to work in her life and change and grow her.  Seeing this in her has humbled ME and reminded me that my knowing God is ongoing.
I've witnessed her love and respect for Dad and her deep honor for her parents.
Thinking back, I'm focusing on things I "witnessed" and how I saw her react to things and people, not how she told me to act.  (May that be an example and reminder to me that my kids are watching me!)

Now that I'm an adult and mom (times 3 and almost times 5), our relationship has changed into friendship.  We talk on the phone every day about everything and nothing.  She puts up with my yammering on like I know things she doesn't.  She puts up with Laura and me and the grandkids teasing her to no end at times. She loves my husband like she loves her own flesh and blood and she loves loves loves The Brownies.

There is much more I could say, but I'll end with this.  I remember, as teens, when we would head out the door with friends on a Friday night, Mom would say, "Remember who you are."  We would roll our eyes and scoff, "Moooommm!"

I do remember.  I'm Donna's daughter.  And I'm thankful!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

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. That cabled-letter will need to be emailed to CCAI. CCAI will send this email to their office in Guangzhou. ONLY after they receive this email with the letter, they could go to the consulate, submit your file, and wait for Article 5. (Art 5 processing time is 10 business days exactly - 2 weeks). (5/31)

5. After your Art 5 is picked up by CCAI rep, they will send it to Beijing to CCCWA and your official wait for TA begins. (On average, it takes 2 - 3 weeks for TA (travel approval). (6/21-28)

6. Once we get TA, we will have a choice of two travel dates.  Normally, people have 2-4 weeks notice, but some are reporting as little as 10 days.  I'll take that!

We really wanted to go earlier in June, but have had a few "glitches" that have pushed us back a  few weeks.  I'll be THRILLED with a June travel date, even if it's late in June. 

Ken and I welcome your prayers as we are in this final stretch.  You can see that there are many steps our file must go through and it's ALL out of our hands.  

While that is going on, we are applying for our visas, beginning to gather items we need for travel, and preparing our home for the arrival of TWO toddlers!  Nothing is baby-proofed here, so it's time to add cabinet locks, outlet covers and stair gates to our home.  I'm also reading all I can about attachment and parenting after adoption.   No wonder it's hard to concentrate on school!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


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. 


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 this entire timeline in His hands. 

Even so, I'm anxious.  I fight tears often throughout the day and push back a pit in my stomach that has evidently decided to make its home there. 

When we first started this process in July 2010, we were advised that timelines were varied, but that we *could* travel as early as February or March.  As we came to the end of the year, we had a more solid timeline and knew it would be summer.  We prayed for any time before June 1.  After we got our LID (log in date), we had an accurate window of 11-15 weeks and knew we would travel some time in June. Okay, I can handle June.  June is so much later than I imagined it would be back in July, but I've grown very fond of June.  If this "glitch" has set us back, I'm going to be miserable sad lean in to God even more to carry me until I can hold Tian and EnEn in my own arms.  Why don't I just lean now? And pray without stopping?  And trust that the timing is just right?  Until I can hold the boys myself, I know that God has them (and me...and our family) in His arms.  What would I do without Him?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

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!