Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve 2009!!!

One month later, I have had to send a second email to the case worker inquiring WHERE the home study is! She never responded to my last email. Professional, huh?

I'm thinking of all the orphans over in China right now. I wish I could bring them all home with me right now!

I can't wait for the day that our china doll is finally home with us and we can spoil her like crazy. Wherever she is, born or not, I'm wishing her a Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quick Update

Still nothing to tell :) I received an email October 27th that she was finishing up our homestudy (after nearly 4 months have passed). A month later? Still nothing. Nothing!

By December, if I still have not seen a homestudy, I will pitch a fit. It will have been 6 months. I think it's rude and inconsiderate for it to take this long. We have a total of 1 year to have the dossier completed and sent to China. Nearly 6 months of this has been waiting on a homestudy. That means we will have t HURRY to get the rest of the items on time! I see no fairness in this. I think I'm a little angry..

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hey, Guess What??

Yeah.. still no home study. I emailed her AGAIN on Wed, I think, asking if she had gotten anything done over the weekend since it was her "goal to get them completed this weekend." This has been the same goal of hers for the past 3 months. :) wow

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Get Your Act Together!

I swear, tonight's the night. I am going to print out ALL of the emails that are supposed to tell me how to assemble a dossier. I'm going to find out where I am and make a game-plan to finish the rest. So much to do, I can just FEEL it! I read somewhere as I glanced at one of the emails that we have to have pictures made. I suppose they look at your pictures, and read your autobiography and figure out which child may fit with us. I guess? Whatever, we will make it through all of this and it *will* be worth it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Amazing Love

So we're at a stand-still with the China adoption. Frustrating, because we haven't even made it to the wait list yet, which is approx. 3 1/2 years long! However, I'm having faith that the perfect child for us will be born and available to us at just the right time, no matter how long we have to wait.

For now, I'm praying about a separate adoption. We are considering going ahead with a domestic adoption since we will already have a home study (eventually), which is a lot of the cost. I'm praying for God's will for this, since it is such a big decision. I find it hard to believe that adopting an unwanted child could EVER be against His will, but I'm praying still. I still have hope that we can have our own children, but I still have a heart for the orphans. If we decide to do a domestic adoption, there will be a separate blog allll about it :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Catch Me I'm Falling

Still no home study. I just sent an email to GWCA to inform them of that fact and to also enlighten them to the fact that I have no idea what I am doing and have no idea if I'm ahead of the game or far behind! Right now I am assuming the latter. This is not fun. I need a person right here with me doing the paper-gathering WITH me. It's difficult to send email after email and hope that you're on the right track. Very difficult!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's sad

Currently there are 50,000 children in Chinese orphanages, while the number of abandoned children shows no sign of slowing." "Official figures show that fewer than 20,000 of China's orphans are now in any form of institutional care." Chinese official records fail to account for most of the country's abandoned infants and children, only a small proportion of whom are in any form of acknowledged state care. The most recent figure provided by the government for the country's orphan population, 100,000, seems implausibly low for a country with a total population of 1.2 billion. Even if it were accurate, however, the whereabouts of the great majority of China's orphans would still be a complete mystery, leaving crucial questions about the country's child welfare system unanswered and suggesting that the real scope of the catastrophe that has befallen China's unwanted children may be far larger than the evidence in this report documents.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I AM SO EXCITED!!! Today I bought a crib and some other things for the kid-to-be. I had so much fun buying things for her!!! It keeps the whole situation in focus for me: I will have a child to care for. More importantly, one to BUY STUFF FOR! I love to spend. Of course I do, I'm spending over 20K for the child alone... :) When I got home with the goods, Tim hadn't been awake very long and still looked sleepy. He hadn't finished even one cup of coffee yet either, so I was on dangerous ground but I was so excited. When he found out the source of my excitement, he just walked over to me and hugged me tight out of understanding. It was enough for me that he did not say a word about my spontaneous expenditure. We will start working on the nursery soon. We have many years to wait, true. However, it's comforting to know her room has been carefully planned out and worked on. It will be ready just for her!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

100 Miles from Nowhere

It has been nearly a month since I have heard from our social worker. I composed an email to check our status just today. Hopefully it will not be too much longer and we can finally get this part of the process behind us. We are at a complete stand-still until we get our approved homestudy. I have contacted the Abba Fund for financial assistance, but again: stand- still with them until an approved homestudy is submitted to them. I think I am finding all this paperwork a huge challenge to cope with. We are not even on the list to get a child until all of this is turned in and submitted to China. Our homestudy is sent to GWCA, which takes several weeks for them to review for any errors. We still need to get fingerprinted and get our passports. Once GWCA finds no errors, it is then submitted to China. Once they approve it, then finally we are put on the waiting list, that is approximately 3 1/2 years long. That is a long time to wait.

It already seem surreal that we are even doing this. About 4 months has already passed and we haven't gotten very far. It's easy to forget that at the end of all this work and waiting, there will be a sweet little child. I can only imagine it will be even more blurry after several years of waiting has passed. Although, we have tried for our own for about 3 years and that has gone by very quickly. Hard to imagine.

Today was not a very good day. My sorrow has changed, somehow, as if it has matured. I have had some suspicious symptoms for the last 2 weeks. I had not had these symptoms before so I knew it could be one of two things: I was finally pregnant, or a cycle was taking forever. It ended up being the latter. I was disappointed, but shoved it away from my mind. However, as the hours went by, I could feel my spirits drooping like a flower without water. I was standing in the kitchen when Tim walked in and I hugged him. And I hugged him a little longer because my mind told him, "I'm sorry" and the tears blurred my eyes quickly. I did not let him see. It made me wonder why I was ashamed to let him see my disappointment? Did I
really need to be strong for the both of us?
I left to get us food.
I was waiting in line at Sonic's drive-thru when the tears started to escape. No matter how quickly I wiped them away they just kept pouring! I was not crying out of disappointment or anguish, of wanting this so desperately, and I wasn't angry. It was different this time. My feelings were those of someone who was tired, had given up, was finished with it. It was the feeling of a callous that had already taken so much but could still bleed if bothered enough times.

The only thought echoing in my mind was
"Why?" Why did I still want a child so very badly? I asked God to please make me stop wanting this if it was not going to happen. Why let me feel this way if it isn't meant to be? Why is this me? I feel like an observer of my own life, because this isn't really mine. But it is.. No answers came to me, still. Never an answer, just the same cycle over and over and over. Is there a lesson to be learned here, or is this just the way it is sometimes?

I pulled up into the driveway and let the car idle for a few moments longer. I looked up and saw the sage tree blossoming with pink flowers, and I said, "But I do have a wonderful husband, a decent life, a good job and a lovely home. For that I am grateful." As Jentezen Franklin said, it's all about willows and palms: grief and praise all at once.

I still have no answers. Never has God been so silent to me. I'm 100 miles from nowhere, but one thing is for certain: eventually I will end up somewhere.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Study Update

We finally did complete our home study. The social worker was pleasant and we all sat around the kitchen table laughing. Many times we strayed from the topic at hand, but we finally finished. She sent the following email:

Tim and Jamie,

Wanted to say thank you for the great visit today. I really enjoyed
getting to meet you both! You will make wonderful parents to some
very lucky little Chinese girl!

I know it was probably nerve-wracking to have a stranger come into
your house, asking you all sorts of personal questions, and I don't
take that for granted. I'm always honored to be welcomed like I felt
I was today. Thanks for making the long trip so worthwhile!

I'll be getting to work on the first draft tomorrow and will hopefully
have it to you very soon.

Have a great week!


Then she sent another email with this embedded:

Also, I hope it's sort of a given to both of you that I will
unconditionally approve you to adopt from China. Sometimes I forget
that families are freaking out, while I'm on the other end thinking,
"Wow! They're going to make great parents!" I forget sometimes to
actually TELL the parents about that!Just in case you had any doubts.

So, with that, I feel much better! We're more than half-way through the paperchase!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Slow Going

We were unable to begin our homestudy on Friday, as anticipated. Tim took off of work, we had someone mow the yard for us, the house was sparkling... but the social worker got in a wreck on the way in and couldn't make it :( Now, it has been impossible to agree on a date or find one she doesn't already have planned for a family or even get a REPLY from my emails! I'm starting to get frustrated.
One of the cardiologists I used to work with was very kind and filled out our Physical Exam paperwork we needed and we are going to get the required labwork drawn tomorrow. I have to have a notarized physician letter stating that I have asthma, take medication for it, and that it would not affect my ability to raise a child. Asthma ~ seriously?! I wish I had left it out that I have asthma to begin with!
Next comes getting passports and our FBI background check. We get to pay for ALL of this, and this part alone is close to $2000. So next time someone asks me about how I feel about illegal immigrants and amnesty, you can be sure I have an earfull for them. I am a legal, born on American soil American, and I am having to jump through hoops to even prove that I was actually born here, and paying a boatload of money while I'm at it.
I'm just ready to get this homestudy over with, it makes me nervous. When it is all done and behind me, we can just sit back and wait. Bring on the homestudy already!!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009


I have just now finished typing up a blank form for us to fill out, individually. As I saved it, I noticed I had the printed copy I have in my hands saved there. I'm pretty sure I could have just used that one to create my blank document but NO I have to do it the hard way! I refuse to find out if that is the case. I'm going to ignore it.

Temporary Housewife

Today is the day. I am going to get our autobiographies for the social worker done today!
Our first visit with the social worker is June 19th, which is a measly 11 days away. Apparently, the purpose of the autobiography is for the social worker to read so that she will already know some about us & can skip a lot of the boring details during the actual face-to-face interview time. It will also be sent to China in our dossier so that they can read about us and hopefully match us with the child of our dreams. The social worker's name is Julie, and we have emailed back and forth a few times. So far, I think I will like her. I detect a sense of humor, and if you know me, that's very important! I can't be serious for too long at a time (to a fault).. I am not the most comfortable with strangers, but surely with it being in our own home I'll be fine.
I'm actually thinking, if it isn't too too personal, that I will post it on here. It might be fun to look back on and read one day. It's kinda long. The blank form to work off of is 7 solid pages. I'm talking numbered questions to answer from top to bottom. But then again, who doesn't like to talk about themselves from time to time? This is a good time to put it all in perspective: who we are, what we hope for in our future family, our dreams, our past. All of it.

So here I sit; jobless, lost, broke. Yet I am also content not to have the pressure of work on my back, at least for a little while. It didn't bother me to put up Tim's clothes that were half on the bed, half on the floor. I didn't mind making up the whole bed by myself and placing all the pillows just so. I happily put up the towels and other clothes that have been in a laundry basket for days. I could do this life. If only I didn't like to buy stuff, I wouldn't have to worry about working. Why, oh WHY do I like stuff??

I'm off to the gas station to buy a huge Dr Pepper, then I'm getting started.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

tick tick tick

I hit the floor running at work today. I even got there early, after another sleepless night of tossing and turning, my thoughts driving me mad.
I got home about six after running by the grocery store. Started supper, kicked back on the couch for a bit. Walked around outside, watered my new plantlings, pulled some weeds, trimmed some trees, came inside for supper, went back outside with our glasses of sweet tea, came inside to put on more laundry and fold clothes. Took a shower, then grabbed my laptop to get some sweet adoption work done. All day long it's been running through my head, the things I need to do, namely getting a certified copy of our marriage licensce.

But it's 10:00 p.m. now.

I'm seeing how this paper chase phase can become a paperball rolling down a hill, gaining speed and growing in size, with me right under it..

Monday, May 25, 2009

Papers Chasing Me

I'm running down a dark street. My breath is ragged from running so hard and fast. The only sound breaking the silence of the still summer night is my feet pounding the pavement. And paper. It's all around me, swirling and flying and falling, as if propelled by a miniature tornado, and I'm trying to grasp the edges of them and stuff them into my already full hands, but I can't keep up! The papers keep piling up and flying around and I can't run fast enough.

At least this is the nightmare I'm sure to have very soon.

I've received two emails this week alone prompting me to begin the chase, to keep moving, to get it done. I will be receiving two emails a week for the next 14 weeks, pushing me on to the next step.

It doesn't matter that:
  • I'm about to be in- between jobs in less than a week
  • that I have a mountain paperwork to fill out in order to begin a new job in three weeks
  • that I need to figure out if the other job I have still wants me and how often I can work.
  • that my sheets are in the washer and it's 11:30 p.m. and I have to be at work at 8
The world keeps on spinning: I'm glad I learned that lesson a long time ago.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Hangers

I found myself in front of a shelf of infant clothing. It seems to be the place I'm drawn to now, whenever I walk into a store, as if I'm on auto pilot and that is where I am led. No thinking, just "there".
I was on a girls trip to New Braunfels. We intended on floating the river, but the weather was not permissive, so we decided to browse the little stores crowded around the block in Gruene. We walked into the little country store filled with river outfits from shirts and bathing suits to river shoes to beer and energy drinks. The six of us scattered into different directions like pool balls cracked with a cue ball.
Very soon I stood there gazing at the shelved walls lined with tiny, colorful shirts. I picked up a tiny pink t-shirt and absorbed the logo into my thoughts
, and I dreamed.

I pictured us, my husband and I, with our new little addition somewhere in the middle of a street in China. Curious, smiling Asian faces stopped walking to look at the little girl who would be whisked away to another country in a matter of days. We held her away from us proudly and smiled at her as if she were the sun. She wore a pink t-shirt that identified the town where her parents bought their first pair of river shoes on their honeymoon.. It was bought from the very same store, a special place in our hearts, just like she will be.

I carefully replaced the tiny shirt and walked away, to some entirely different area. It was safer to stare at men's t-shirts than the little kid clothing, by far. My eyes had started to water and I thought I was a few heartbeats away from crying. It confused me. What is this I am feeling? I thought. Just the thought of our future little girl put a lump in my throat every time, and I can't explain why. Joy? Longing? One of the girls suddenly appeared from my right and was talking about a cute cover-up she had found. I blinked my eyes quickly to rid any evidence of emotion; she didn't seem to notice I had almost had a melt down in the middle of the store!

It's a strange thing. Different. It isn't a sadness I feel, it's.. ? No words for it yet. Perhaps it's the hope that we've gained from this process. We will, no matter what, have a child in our home to love and care for. She will probably never know just how much hope we have hinged upon her birth alone. We're waiting for her.

Ten minutes later, I was handed a receipt and I left the store with a plastic bag. Inside was folded a tiny pink shirt.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I have been overwhelmed by all the support of this adoption. I'm not sure how I feel: it's awesome but it's kind of embarrassing! We are so blessed to be able to do this and we will take away from this far more than we can ever put in financially. It isn't a sacrifice for us, or at least it doesn't feel like one. And I don't know.. it feels like breathing. This is something we're meant to do, to live.

Have I mentioned how amazing my husband is?

God has been teaching me some important lessons. It almost seems like infertility is a small price to pay for such knowledge (as hard as that is to admit). I've been reminded of his timing. It's so cliche to hear someone say "God's timing is perfect" or "All in God's time, His time is not our time". Oh blah blah BLAH!! I swear I've heard those sayings so often it had no meaning left! However He is showing me. Clearly. He is actually moving things around in my life, right before my eyes, to see that He really is in control and, believe it or not, He knows what He is doing.

**What a relief that is to me! **

About everything. My job, my future children, biological or not, our future, how far to take treatments, how much to work...

I'm learning to open my hands that have been clenched around my pain and disappointment for so long, and to hold onto his hand instead, for strength. Not my strength- HIS. Holding it all inside and clinging to my sorrow is never going to get me anywhere, not until I give it to him and say "My life is yours, show me where to go, what to do, because I'm too weak to figure it out for myself." He really does listen, and when his time does come, you know it because it's like sliding down a water slide! Everything just flows, with you right along with it. And I like going down water slides :)

..I guess a lazy river analogy would have worked just as well..


I faxed over our signed contract this morning!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And later still...

I finally started making some jewelry. See?

The bracelets kept breaking on me, so I think for now I will just stick with earrings. I'm glad I bought this little coffee table, I've been working on my laptop, making jewelry, and watching "Monster -in-Law". I am so blessed to have the in-laws I have!

~~My little work area ~~

....a few hours later

I'm pleased to say during this time I have made some progress on the paperwork part, but still no jewelry patterns. I will get to that after my shower, I hope, and when Tim goes to work. Meanwhile, here is a lovely visual of my new office space and all the paperwork that I get to sort through :)

Climbing Papermills

Today, I plan on making jewelry patterns. I'm going to make jewelry, then sell them in order to raise money for the adoption. I also plan to brainstorm for a raffle give-away as well. My intentions are good, I just hope I can follow through with all that I need to do in order to make this all happen.

I want you to know I am going through the paperwork I have to complete and it's worse than homework. There is so much to do! Preparing for the home study, turning in the contract (and paying the first large fee..ouch) and doing a home study autobiography?!? I'm also filling out forms for the ABBA FUND in hopes to get either a grant or an interest-free loan. So much homework..

I really want to just go eat a hamburger instead.

Last night we were watching "World's Strictest Parents". I saw it on the satellite guide and sort of laughed to myself because my parents were pretty strict! Well, not as much as this one particular family, however I admired their home life. They had 2 daughters, plus....... an adopted child from CHINA!!
The mom had made a scrapbook about the little girl's life and even had the note her biological parent had left with the child on the doorsteps of the orphanage. It was the original note! She showed a picture of the child when they first adopted her, and said, "Let me show you what a difference a little love and good nutrition makes." The first picture showed a tiny child with a ruddy looking face. She did not smile or have any look of interest. She appeared withdrawn. The next picture, which was taken 10 days later, showed the very same child, but she didn't look the same at all! The child had a clear, light complexion and looked like any other child you would see out and about today. She was not smiling, but she did look alert. Amazing! You could actually SEE the difference the family was making in that little girl's life already! I cried, of course, and Tim felt very inspired. This is a good thing we are doing.

So I guess I'm off to begin the paperchase, as it's called!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


"There it is!"I had just passed the turn into the parking lot of the rehab facility I wanted to apply to when my phone rang. It was a representative from Great Wall China Adoption informing me that we were accepted into the Great Wall FAMILY!!! I immediately called my husband to inform him of the news. He is just as ready to get this thing started as I am.

There is so much change going on right now. I've applied for the RN program, but I will not know anything until June. I am looking for a new job: my current job is wearing me out. I don't make as much as I know I should make and working extra on weekends can really take a toll on a person. This new job, assuming I get it, will be a good boost in pay for us and I can cut out the extra hours on the side.

Change. It's strange when it happens this way, yet I recognize it now. I can almost literally feel the current chapter of my life coming to an end so that a new one can begin. I like it, it usually means good things are coming! God is so good.

I had a bad day not too long ago. I was feeling bad because I want a baby, and I was crying to God about it. The next morning I had to take Tim to work since the battery on his truck died. I handed him my ipod and told him to pick one of the Jentezen Franklin podcasts for us to listen to. And wouldn't you know - he picked EXACTLY the sermon I needed to hear! It was about perseverance, mostly, and staying connected to God and not giving up. We do not know what God has in store for us, but He does. All we have to do is ask, pray, have faith, and be persistent! Eventually you will break through, God will pour out His blessings! Well, he said it all a little more interestingly than that, but you can kinda get the picture :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Step One Complete!


I've just submitted our application to GWCA! Ironic that I chose Mother's Day to do this. I didn't plan it that way, but I find it special.

Now we wait for our approval letter from the agency.

Waiting: this is going to be a constant throughout this process, I believe.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bring Out the Black Umbrellas

The subject of babies came up one too many times today. I can tell: I feel the shield over my heart just flapping in the wind, letting the world cut into me around my heart.

I did a search on "adoption" at this very cool website my mother told me about and read lots of good things about adopting, hoping to lift my wilted spirits. I like how it said adoption is a choice. I like that because too often I doubt myself, wondering if I'm making the right decision. I expect any minute to figure out that God is mad at me for doing something that He didn't stand in front of me and tell me to do!

I read the whole article, and at the end of the paragraph it had a list of suggested reading. It didn't take me long to purchase the book titled
"Empty Womb, Aching Heart" by Marlo Schalesky. I read the preview of the book they offer on and couldn't help but relate to her chapter "Crying in the Diaper Isle". I can relate so well..

I am about to go to the gym and hopefully shake off the emptiness that's crowding me. I feel sick to my stomach with grief. I feel I could fall apart at any unsuspecting moment. I hate feeling so out of control!

So many people tell me "It's gonna happen, have faith. Have faith!" But what if it just IS NOT God's will for us to have our own children? I don't know that, no one does. We will not know until 20 years have gone by. Until then, I will have these days that feels like a funeral.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I am working on filling out the application for GWCA and let me tell you it is extensive. The details that must be made available to them are almost unnerving! The eye strain from staring at the monitor for so long and scrolling so frequently has given me a headache and it's late and I'm tired so I will have to fill out the rest tomorrow. It makes me wonder how many more headaches are to come to make this dream reality???

I have been praying that God will let me know we are doing the right thing. I know some people think I'm "giving up" on the dream of having our own flesh-and-blood child, but that isn't true. This is really something we want to do! We feel honored to bring a Chinese orphan to our home and allow her to grow up with the opportunities available in the states that she would never get in her native country. We feel honored to be given the opportunity to be trusted with a tiny life!

I'm hoping I will feel more optimistic tomorrow, there is just so much on my mind right now. These are big decisions we are facing. We need God involved.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It was hard not to stare, but the petite little girl drew us towards her like potted window plants straining towards the sun. I saw her glance our direction, peering shyly beneath shiny strands of black hair drawn loosely up in a ponytail. She began to approach us, cautiously at first, then seemed to decide it was safe. A wide grin filled her face, crinkling her eyes to tiny slits of half-smiles and wrinkling her tiny nose. She ran to our table and handed me a page torn from her coloring book that she had been bent over for some time. She even signed her name. After she presented her gift, she put her hands behind her back and beamed at us. I felt my soul shatter, and I know my husband felt the same by his sharp intake of breath. Such a simple, sweet gesture; but it was more than that for us. We were there to prepare for the adoption of our own little girl, one that would one day draw pictures and tear pages out of her coloring book for us. She was a reflection of our heart's desires, this little girl with her smudge of a nose crinkled from her childish grin. This was our first meeting with Great Wall China Adoption to begin the process of petitioning for adoption. I didn't expect many to be in attendance since we live in a small community, however there were supposed to be two other couples besides us. By ten minutes after one, we realized it was just us. I was very pleased with this! One on one information just for us. We were able to ask all of the questions we had and received helpful insider information. If I felt confident about my decision before, the workshop sealed the deal for me. I looked at my colored picture from the little girl through blurry eyes. I gathered some strength from somewhere to act casual, if not entirely excited, and looked at that precious little face. I thanked her and told her we would hang the picture on our refrigerator. This seemed to please her and she skipped off laughing as little girls do. She later returned and gave us each a smiley-face sticker and an azalea flower that she found outside the library. She excitedly told me I could press the flower. She wouldn't soon be forgotten! There is really no way that the little girl could know how much she touched our lives that day. I am so eager and THANKFUL for this time in our lives. I do not know where the money will come from but I have a little seed of faith, and that's all it takes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Money Don't Grow on Trees

Adoption is expensive.

I don't feel that the company we're using is completely out of reach, as far as affordability, but it is still going to require a lot of sacrifice to achieve our dream. However, I always tell myself this when things are tough: Nothing ever worth having comes easy!

To adopt through Great Wall China Adoption (GWCA, as I will refer to it from here on out), the initial cost is the $250 application fee, which is non-refundable. After the app is approved, there is a chunk of $3250 due for the contract fee. This is for the least expensive plan; it can go up to as much as $30000! We will be doing the least costly plan...

We must do a home study, which is required for any type of adoption. A case worker visits the A-parents home and makes sure everything is alright. For example, we have to place smoke alarms in each room. Our dogs must be current on vaccinations. We must have running water and electricity! The cost for a home study can range from 1-4 thousand dollars. This is included in the $3250 we will pay, thankfully. THEN there are additional costs in-between for other legal things, which will be roughly an additional $2K. Soon after is the rest of the contract fee, another $3250. If we decide to let the agency do all the complicated paperwork, then it is $900, which we will probably do since it is very complicated and time-consuming. Who has time to do paperwork when you're having to take on a second job just to afford it??

Finally, China requires a $5100 donation to the orphanage that the child has lived and was cared for at. Looking further east, there is the trip to China itself. Plane tickets are about 1100-1500 per person. Expenses inside the country are even more.

This is a lot to consider. My husband's job does not allow room for a second job because the hours through the week are so varied and he only knows his schedule a week in advance. So that leaves me, of course.

I have a Mon-Fri job working for a doctor, but it will not be enough financially to meet the expenses of adoption. I accepted a job at a local hospital working every other weekend on an as-needed basis. Right now, I am on day 8 of work. It makes a difference, not having a day off. I am tired beyond belief, and I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is. I keep telling myself I need to go to the gym, just for a little while..but my body protests!

I don't know what will happen when I continue my education to leave the status of LVN to be an RN. It will be more difficult to pull in extra money then. It will be hard enough to continue at a full time basis. That leaves about 7 months of working hard. Then I have to decide: use the money to pay for the adoption or pay off the debt? It would be reasonable to pay off the debt first, however the wait time to adopt from China is 2-3 years now. If I wait another year, it will just be that much longer before our family is complete, and THAT I can not accept.

Adoption Step One: Choosing an Agency

Finding an adoption agency isn't too hard..there's a million of them! But choosing..that's a different story. We have spoken to different agencies over the last couple of years. We have gone back and forth on our decision of pursuing fertility treatments or adoption many times and back, so searching for an adoption agency was nothing new. We still receive pamphlets and brochures from companies past that we decided not to use.

I stayed up much too late on a work night, leaning on my giant pillow (back support) with my laptop in front of me. Search after search finally brought me to a place that clicked. The name of the company is Great Wall China Adoption. I suppose in part I liked the name. I had noted mentally that I would like to see the Great Wall one day. Especially after playing Tomb Raider II, which features the Great Wall (the video game, not the movie.)

I browsed the website, and noticed that the company's president and founder is native Chinese and has a great relationship with the Chinese Government to place children in American homes. That can't be bad thing, I thought. I sent off for an application and information packet, closed my laptop, and tried to sleep. It was hard since all I could think about was a trip to China and a little orphan baby that has yet to be born.

Within a week our packet arrived! I laughed a little as I opened the packet. The last time we looked into China adoption, we did not qualify because Tim had not turned 30 yet, a requirement from the Chinese Embassy. I still make fun of him about that :) Inside the packet, along with helpful bits of information, was a video. My husband sat on the dog chair (it's the only piece of furniture the dogs are allowed on) and I sprawled out on the couch. The video began and little Chinese children faces filled the screen. We learned about the orphanages they stayed in, the trips the A-parents (adoptive parents) take and all the ins and outs of the process. Needless to say I cried through the whole thing! Out of joy, of course. I feel my heart swell every time I think of rescuing an abandoned child.

We have a workshop to go to in April, which will give us a lot of insight and information on this particular company as well as China adoption in general. There's lots and lots of icky red tape when dealing with China. They are very strict with whom they entrust their orphans. I feel confident that we meet all the requirements.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Child is a Child

A baby girl. Mine. Black eyes, hair the color of coal, smooth and flawless skin. This is what is promised, this is what is guaranteed. I opened the backdoor and stood in front of my husband with my hands stubbornly on my hips. He looked up with a blank expression with no concern, almost as if he had expected, at any moment, for me to come rushing outside after him like I did.
"I want to adopt from China."
I said this without any questions, without any room for debate.
Looking up at me from the lawn chair, he replied "Ok."
Ok? That's it? I had talked to him about this before, but it never went this smooth. Was he feeling ok?
Mustering up a little more courage I said, "I really mean it. I want to get things started now so we can have a baby in the next couple of years."
"Alright" he replied, as if I had just told him I was running to the store for milk
I relaxed my stance, "Ok then. I'll get the information together."
I closed the door behind me.
YES!I inwardly cheered.
That simple! We want a child, and there will BE a child! There will be an orphan. It's guaranteed. Our future daughter will be born, she will be abandoned, she will live in an orphanage for almost a year until we come and rescue her. She, the one we have waited for. The one we each bought a toy for not two years ago when we talked about adopting from China before but could never afford. He bought her some rubber duckies, I bought her a stuffed doll that says, "A star is born" on her little shirt.

In my usual meditation spot (the shower) I prayed for the mother of our unborn daughter. I asked God to give the girl peace when she lays that precious bundle at the door of the orphanage, that she will know she's doing the right thing, that she will not feel regret. I asked Him to protect our daughter from any harmful actions, and comfort her until we can go to her and bring her to her home. I felt good after that.
And so...the journey begins.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Fork in the Road

It happened again. Another friend of mine was pregnant! This made two people in one week that I knew, and had to be happy for. I had just gotten home from hosting a baby shower for my best friend. I was happy for her, she was having a girl. She said I would be the childs' Aunt, which made me very happy. But baby showers drain me. Emotionally. The endless conversations about the miracle of being pregnant, of feeling the little life-being moving around and growing. The sonograms. The nursery and the proud daddy. It made it worse when people asked me if I had kids and when I said "No" with a straight face, they looked at me funny, as if quizzing to themselves why I would not, at this stage in my life, have children yet.

Eventually I quit telling people why and let them draw their own conclusions. It always helped ease the awkwardness when I stated, "I have two dogs, so I'm happy." That usually brought a laugh and they would move on, or I would say, "I have a niece and nephew. I spoil them, then send them home!" It worked every time, then I could better hide behind my bitter mask that threatened to slip and betray the longing that was always there.

It got old, and too personal too, trying to always explain the complicated hormone issue and taking the blame, over and over, that we do not have children because of me. I grew weary of people telling me of all the options and "Maybe you're meant to adopt?" It was too personal explaining the dreary regimen of fertility drugs that we attempted and failed at miserably. It was too challenging because I couldn't tell the whole story, about how many nights I sobbed quietly so that I would not wake my husband, because I felt so helpless.

There was a need so large in my heart: I wanted a baby and I couldn't make it happen! So many long nights...

The worst part is when we hope, but then I tell him I've begun another cycle or when I inform him that someone else we know has gotten pregnant. His face falls. It's only for a moment, but I see it. I see the hurt, the disappointment, the confusion and I feel the blame so heavy in my spirit it's like walking around with a weighted vest. I could see him being a good dad, and I know he desires it as well. How to feel... I can't give him what I should rightly be able to provide!

And the weekends that my husband works late and I am alone..
whole weekends that I exist under a cloud. It is a cloudy, rainy, windy day with nothing to do but stay inside and mope (not really, but that's how it feels). And cry. Walking the halls, talking to myself, yelling my frustrations to God, asking "Why? Why can't it happen to me?" and hearing only the hollow beat of my broken heart in reply.

My friend messaged me that she was pregnant by her boyfriend of so many months. She wanted a baby, and she got what she wanted. Simple as that.
I sat there, stunned, reading the message again.

"We're having a baby together," the words mocked.
A baby. Together..
Slowly I typed the words, "Ok" and hit send. It was all I could do.
My husband was sitting next to me. I heard hollow words telling him that our friend was pregnant. He turned to look at me quickly, his eyes wide with shock. Then, as usual, they faded to normal and he turned back to what he was doing.

I felt a numbness stretch from the top of my head, across my eyes, and into my thoughts.
The breaking point had been met. My heart had been stretched taut for too long and finally, I was letting go. The splintered shards of my soul untangled and fell around me as I fell with it and I cried to God. I told him I was angry, that it wasn't fair and how much more can one person take? Is this supposed to happen? Everyone close to me getting what I want in waves but not me? Just when I get through one person's pregnancy, there's another. How can I do it again? I can't, not again! What about my husband? He deserves to be a father! Why did he pick me? Why does this have to be my burden?
After awhile I looked around me. The green clock on the wall in the den ticked it's usual steady sound, as if nothing had happened, as if a storm of rage hadn't just swept through the house. The dogs lay in their usual spots sleeping and dreaming. The heater kicked off. All was calm and quiet. And I had no answers.

After I cried all I could cry, and then a little more,I messaged my sister (texted, not called. I was too emotional at this point). My sister had many miscarriages and just as much trouble conceiving. I remember when she finally birthed her second child we were all so relieved! I don't know that we could take the emotions we felt for her and from her again when the pregnancies failed. So much misery!

I asked her, "What did you do when you had all you could take?"

She told me she cried out to God in her anguish and despair and told Him "I can't do this anymore. YOU take it, it's in your hands now".

She said anytime she started to feel those feelings or think those despairing thoughts, she would say a little prayer and push them as far away from her as possible.

While I was out of town for the baby shower, we had to go buy cups for punch and balloons for the mailbox. I was looking around the little store when I saw a display of necklaces. They were chain necklaces with a charm on the end, that was shaped like a Bible and was a locket. I bought my sister and I both on a whim ( I say whim lightly. I was leaving when I turned around and decided to buy them).

Back to my sister, her advice sounded good. The next few days I wore the locket and any time I started to feel myself sinking, I mentally gathered all those thoughts and feelings, physically opened my prayer box, put the mental feelings inside of the box, and shut it up quickly.

It worked.

Then something happened....

To be continued due to the time change and it is now 2 a.m. and I have to be at work at 8 :)