Thursday, June 30, 2011

Referral & LOI!!

Matt and I spent this weekend in Grand Rapids. It was an amazing weekend - dinner at a wonderful restaurant downtown Grand Rapids, great food, great wine, and time to relax.   On Sunday morning, Matt and I had the opportunity to visit one of our favorite speakers, Rob Bell, at his church in Grandville, MI - Mars Hill Bible Church.   I'll admit, I was a bit under the weather due to the bottle of wine we consumed from the night before but that wasn't going to stop us from going!  The service was amazing. If you haven't seen Rob Bell in person before, you should!  It felt like he was speaking directly to us - the service was about how we sometimes look for the presence of God, when the scripture tells us that His Holy Spirit dwells in us already. It ended with a personal anointing where Matt and I were able to speak 1:1 with a wonderful man who prayed for us and our baby girl. He prayed we would feel God this week as we make this life changing decision.  During the prayer, the entire church (probably 1,000 people) sang a wonderful song about how "All will be well".  Rob Bell ended the service asking the holy spirit to take each of us to "uncomfortable places" to allow us to grow but for us to feel God within us as this happens. It was one of the most moving services we've ever been to and it felt like a gift from God that we needed this week.

On Monday night, 6/27, we received a referral for an 8-month-old baby girl born on October 5, 2010.  Matt and I knew the email was coming - our amazing social worker Sarah had given us that heads up earlier that day. We called her mid day to confirm we were a "go" and she said she had just returned from a relaxing vacation, was well rested, and ready to roll.  :-) She told us we were one of her only matches that evening with paperwork in China already so she felt really good about the evening. She told Matt to keep our email on "ding" mode so if we fell asleep or were away from the computer when her email came in, we would be

I proceeded to sit at the computer hitting "refresh" from 7 pm until 10:30 when the email finally came in.  Matt and I opened the referral and were so pleasantly surprised! The referral was for a little girl (8 mos old now - which is super young in adoption land) who was low birth weight - the Dr. estimated 32 week premie - but now looked to be catching up. She had adorable big eyes and pink fat cheeks. Was this our daughter?

The next two days were nuts ....trying to get answers from doctors, making sure Matt and I were on the same page, thinking about all of the information being thrown our way. Meanwhile, we have family in town (cousins!) and Lexie got sick with a summer virus so we were just barely making it from day to day!! We also knew there was a baby girl in China waiting for an answer for her forever family.

During the week I prayed to God that He would help us through the decision making process. I could tell I was exhausted, worried, excited, and on edge, all at the same time.  At one point Matt said "Thanks Rob Bell, we are here....the Holy Spirit has moved us to places that are new...and we are uncomfortable!!", LOL.  Within 8 hours though, we had 2 medical reviews and we both knew we wanted to move forward with adopting Chun Xiao.   For the first time in my adult life, I could literally feel God within me and it immediately calmed my anxiety, amazing!!  Now we move from praying for ourselves to praying for our daughter and that she feels the peace of the Holy Spirit as she waits to join her forever family.  We have peace in knowing that "all will be well"!

Matt and I formally sent in our Letter of Intent (LOI) for the baby girl this morning. We are over the moon excited!!  We cannot share pictures or complete details of our daughter until we have pre-approval from China (hopefully in a week or two).  See updated timeline information to the right as well for those of you interested in what comes next in the process. We WILL have a name for her when we share pictures as well, so stay tuned!!

Thank you everyone who prayed for us and supported us this week. We are SO blessed with amazing family and friends. We are so looking forward to bringing our daughter home to meet all of you!!


Monday, June 20, 2011


We found out today that China has confirmed our Locked In Date - 6/8/2011. For all of the non adoption followers, that means we now have all of application paperwork to China and are formally eligible for a match in this month's referral cycle.

When is that next release cycle? For now, all we know is that the release is NOT this evening but could be anytime later this week or potentially next monday.  My guess is it will be the 27th, next Monday, given that it has been on Mondays for the past 6  mos. That said, while we could get matched next Monday, it could also take a few months...each month the number of kiddos on the list is different so it's really out of our hands!

When we do recieve and accept a referral, we will have to send our letter of intent to adopt the child to China within 72 hours. So its a quick process!!  From there, there is a 4-6 mos wait time (additional paperwork in the US and in China) until we travel to pick her up.

Until then, Matt and I are trying to relax and start preparing for our daughters arrival. Starting with....the name.  I know, its a shock. For Alexis, we didn't select her name until the very last hour of checkout at the hospital (she was 3 days old). I didn't realize at the time but my poor family had to tell people for days "I have a grandaughter, but just not sure her name yet!".  We are hoping to do better this time...we'll see how it goes though.  As many of you know, Matt and I have a hard time with indecision. We have been known to purchase and return things to Home Depot multiple times (aka the shovel and level incidents).  So, if it takes us two hours and two trips to Home Depot to pick out a shovel, imagine what it will be like for the naming discussion. :-)  If you have creative name suggestions, post them here.  We may not use them but if we do, hey, you will feel very lucky.

More to come!


Monday, June 13, 2011

My Hubbys 21st Birthday

Matt was in basic training on his 21st birthday, poor guy.  The story goes that his drill instructor let him off base with an 8 hour pass but he had to be back at midnight....not much you can do on your 21st birthday when you have to report back to Ft. Benning at midnight, sober.

Anyway, Matt wanted to celebrate so went with a few buddies to a tattoo parlor -- you know the kind that are just off of an army base, kind of shady, but super exciting for a 20 year old guy.  Anyway, Matt was convinced by this tattoo artist to get a tattoo of the below symbol enclosed inside of a compass (it's kind of hard to describe and Matt refused to let me get a picture of it!).

In case you don't get the two pictures together (I sure didn't at first) -- it is his "Spirit of direction". Anyway, I have spent the last 11 years making fun of this tattoo and telling him that it probably didn't mean Spirit at all but, instead, meant something ridiculous like "I am a looser".  I have also mentioned, more than once, how I think said Tattoo should be removed (I mean, come on, we don't want Lexie thinking Tattoos are ok, right?!).  Well, low and behold, his tattoo artist was an honest guy -- Matt has a tattoo on his arm that means spirit of direction.

What this means now is that I have no chance of getting the tattoo removed. In fact, Matt is now insisting it is a sign...that his spirit has been pointing him to our daughter in China this entire time. Hmm....Not sure if I buy it, BUT it is one of the most romantic things we have going right now so I am gonna to roll with it. :-)

On an adoption update -- we think China will release a new list of referrals on either Monday 6/20 or 6/27. We are hoping for 6/27 so that we have a better chance of our paperwork being confirmed in China by then.  We will know for sure if a release is coming the Thursday before hand.

More to come over the next week or two, keep your fingers crossed the paperwork got there safely!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DTC & Good News!

We just heard from our agency that Xin Yuan was released back to the database last Thursday and was immediately matched on Friday. That family is her forever family, yea!! 

In addition, our agency got our dossier back yesterday, fully certified and authenticated, and are sending it to China today!   Now we wait to hear from China on a Locked in Date (LID). This is the date we need to get a referral from the main list next month. 

More to come in a few weeks as we learn more!