More Waiting and Finally the Appointment

Yesterday started out as whole bunch of nothing.  It did give us an opportunity to get some more bonding time in.  Little Z is beginning to like his dad a little more unless he really wants something that I won’t give him.  At that point, it is “Where’s my mommy?”  He’s definitely got more playful and gigglely (not sure if that’s a word).  When we first we interacting with him, you could see in his eyes that he was calculating and attempting to figure this all out.  He’s comfortable and realizes that he is not going to lose us.  E was always pretty much cool with everything as long as he could see me.

Couple of neat observations to note:  whatever you are eating or drinking, that’s what they want to eat or drink.  Never give them french fries first, or you’ll never get them to eat anything else for that matter.  Z has a chipmunk/squirrel thing that he does.  He will eat a whole bunch then chew a little, and store it in his cheeks.  This works fine if he swallows occasionally, but most of the time he gets too much and has to spit it out.  Ewwwe!!  The younger E can tell you when he needs to go to the bathroom.  Pretty cool considering he is less than two years old, huh?

We took some group pictures and a family picture.  We hit the silk market so we all had outfits for the picture.  After that we went back to the room for a little R& R.  Mrs. Strawbridge will be happy to see that D was working intently on his homework.

Later that evening we had dinner at a manchurian restaurant.  Interesting flavors there that I have never experienced.  There was a dish called mapo tofu (I think that was what it was called) that had a pretty good kick to it.  We have decided that we must learn how to make it and I’m not a fan of tofu. 

Today, we finally had THE APPOINTMENT.  The appointment with our US Consulate for the boys.  It involves taking an oath affirming that all the information that we have provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge.  We then walk up to a teller type counter with the children so that the children can be matched up to their passports.  Couple of pages to sign and it is done.  We also had to pay a fee times two.  Remember with double the children, you get double the fees.  It was for their travel visa, but once they hit American soil they will become naturalized American citizens.  At least that is how I understand it.  We had a little mini interview with the adoption officer since we were under the Non-Hague rules.  “Who was your adoption agency? Were they helpful? Were all fees disclosed?” were among some of the questions that they asked.  Sorry no pictures to depict this wonderful event.  The consulate was adament that no electronics of any kind were allowed on the premises.  I would it assume it was for security purposes.  According to our guides, our boys visas should be ready tomorrow for the journey back the following day.  Bout time! 

-Bill

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Flight

Wow, I cannot believe I actually considered leaving this past Friday! So much to take care of. You would think after all this waiting that we would be ready to get right on the plane. Nope!

Right now we are planning our best strategy to fly there and back. These flights to China just don’t happen at any airport at any time. You gotta fly to the “hub” for that particular airline, then a coastal city (usually west), then China. Either the layover is too short to make the connecting flight, or way too long. So, we will probably fly out the evening before and spend the night in the “hub” city. We cannot afford a flight delay.

On the return trip, a friend advised us to spend the night in whatever city we land in America. The more I think about it, this is wise advice. Twelve hours on a plane with a 7, 2, and almost 2-year-old. Not to mention a grumpy mom and dad. Yep, showers and sleep will be the plan. So, expect us a day later. (Hopefully smelling good and in good spirits).

D made the boys some bears at Build-a-Bear. The koala is D’s. The black bear is Z’s. (Maybe he will be an Ole Miss fan?) The light brown bear is E’s.

Love to you all. We covet your prayers.

Lori

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Packing

Yes, you heard right. We are packing! Well, nothing is in suitcases yet….

That only means one thing. We have our Travel Approval!!!

In three weeks we will be on a very very very long flight to Beijing. Once we arrive in Beijing, we will have a day to tour the city and let our bodies adjust to the time change (they are 13 hours ahead). Day 4 we will fly to Zhengzhou (the capital city of Henan province where our boys live). Day 5 we will get our boys!!!!

Keep checking our blog for updates.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)  ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you His favor and give you His peace.’

The Path

So here I am contemplating this whole blog thing.  I have never done this before, except for the micro-blogging that comes from using Facebook.  I decided “Hey, it is the themoodyblogger.com, why not give a go?”  I probably won’t be as eloquent as my lovely bride, but I will try.  I have been thinking about this for the last several days as to what to say.  Many of you who know us, know about our incredible journey of adoption and our boys E and Z.  It started out as a God ordained quest to get a cute little girl.  The path to it seemed very clear.  God gave us signs along the way.  Some of the ball peen hammer variety, others of the 15 lb sledge type.  In most cases our response was, “Ok, ok, we read you. We are moving on it.” Throughout this long arduous process, I have been the paperwork hog.  Whether intentionally or not, that’s how it ended up.  I think Lori said to herself, “Hey, he handles federal paperwork all the time, so this shouldn’t be too difficult for him.”   All right here we go.

As Lori may have mentioned, we recently both had our 20 year class reunion at our perspective schools.  20 years ….where did the time go? Oh my, what happened? At Lori’s reunion, which was very good, they had a nice program at the banquet.  One part of the program spoke of “The Path” we take.  If I remember it correctly, it was about that over our life we make many decisions that take us down different roads that eventually takes us to where we end up today.  Upon further reflection and a brief conversation I had with the lovely Lori, I believe we should think about it a different way.  We all think that we are in control of our destiny, that we make our decision to send us down the “Our” path.  In reality, we make a decision for a particular path and God takes the control.  There are no coincidences or accidents.  He is in control.  Yes, our decisions do have consequences, but God uses those situations to shape us into what he wants us to be, either through our good decisions or in spite of our bad decisions.  It is now God’s Path.  Dumb decisions are turned into part of the God path for lives.  Smart ones too.  So the path is set before us.  Coming to terms with the fact that it is God’s path for us can be difficult for many who feel that they cannot let go of the control.  It’s a daily struggle.  Can we let go? That’s the challenge.

For us, the path started out for the search for a little girl. God said, “Consider this.” Then, it transitioned into getting a little boy (E).  God then said, “Hey I have something else for you to consider if you are up for it (Z)”.  Now, 2 is the magic number.  If we had decided no on Z, would God be upset with us? Of course not.  Our decision still has God in it and his ultimate plan will still happen no matter what.  I do find it amusing that when a while back we said “We are going for two – boys.”  Many said, “That’s so awesome!”  Now some of those same people are saying “Are you insane?” Nah, … well maybe a little bit.  😉

I’ll leave you with a couple of verses that I think illustrate my point from above.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

On the “What’s the status? When are you leaving?” front, cause I know you are asking.  My best answer is that we aren’t sure.  The Chinese Children Welfare Institute that handles the adoptions has all our paperwork.  According to our adoption agency, it may take 1-2 months to process Z’s papers to get them to where E’s are now.  However, our agency also said that it probably won’t take that long.  Let’s us hope and pray as such.  This last week has been somewhat stressful after hearing that.  You would think after knowing that we found them, the next phase would be quick and painless.  Arggggg!  However, a little “angel” did provide us calming peace, and we have found ways to divert the “wait pain” for each of us.  Lori and D have been studying Mandarin Chinese via Rosetta Stone.  Lori has found it be challenging and D, …well,…he is a human sponge.  Young minds, nuff said.  I, on the other hand, have been painting E and Z’s room (formally, D’s room).  Needless to say, I went with an Asian color theme and scheme.  I hope it’s not too cliché and low key.  I found some images of bamboo decals and projected them on the walls, traced them, and then painted.  I even found the Chinese characters of the boys names and projected, traced, and painted them too.  I think it looks pretty good.  Check it out for yourself.  Until next time.  -Bill

Reunion

This weekend is my 20-year high school class reunion. As I listened to former classmates talk last night about back problems and teenage kids, I thought “man, I am getting old”. One of my translators in Honduras last week asked me how old I was. When I told her I was 38, she said that her mom is 38. Ouch.

And here we are with a 6-year-old and 2 almost toddlers in China. Some days I feel old. Most days I feel like my life is just starting. A new life. A new chapter. Honestly, God hold of me again once I started reading the bible every day (at the urging of my sweet friend Patty). 1/1/10. Unbeknownst to us at the time, it is our Chinese son E’s birthday. I guess you could say it is my rebirth day.

I am now a more devout Christ-follower, an athlete (sort of), wife, and mom of 3. Sometimes I laugh. Like Sarah in Genesis 18. Verse 12 says that Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Then in vs 14, “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?…”

We had a birthday party our friend’s adopted daughter today. She turned two this week. I look into EG’s beautiful face and know that God has a plan. For EG. For our friends (one of whom graduated high school with me). It has very little to do with our age and more to do with God’s will. It is best.

Psalm 84:10 (ESV) For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Tease

Here is me trying to blog more often (especially because I need to explain the “tease” I mentioned yesterday).

Yesterday, we received an email from our adoption agency. It did not say “you are ready to travel”. It said, “China has received your dossier copy on Z (our second Chinese son), and it is logged in”. A dossier is the mountain of paperwork that tells China everything they need to know about us. Ugh. I thought they had already logged it in. Bill emailed our adoption agency today and asked what we are looking at in terms of wait time. Everyone is asking. EVERYONE is ASKING!They said, “Oh, the next step is to receive the acceptance letter on Z from China. Then your travel will be approved 2-4 weeks after that.” Not encouraged. Sigh.

I love when God takes ahold of my iTunes. Today, instead of listening to the radio at work, I played my iTunes on shuffle. As I was reading these emails and getting discouraged, the songs playing on my iTunes shifted. Rather than jamming music (which is most of what I have), the mood changed over several songs to more contemplative, soothing tunes. Most of which had a “God will help you through” theme. When I finally realized what had happened, the song playing was Steven Curtis Chapman’s ” I Will Trust You”. Here is just a part of it:

God I trust You

I will trust You

I know Your heart is good

I know Your love is strong

And I know Your plans for me

Are much better than my own

Then peace.

Shortly thereafter, we received an email from our adoption agency reassuring us that their representative on the ground in China has spoken with the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) about our case. The CCCWA is aware of our situation, and hopefully will “speed” up the process.

God is so good. May these empty cribs be filled soon.

  

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Heart and Soul

I just returned from a mission trip to Honduras. God’s perfect timing. He knew my spirit needed to be with fellow believers for a whole week. Truly being the Acts 2 church. We loved the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. We are back spirit-filled and physically/mentally exhausted.

Acts 2:44-47  And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Next step for us, China. We received a teaser email today. We are desperately waiting for our travel approval. Sometimes (many times) it is overwhelming (like today). Our hopes up, up, up. Then crash! Think of the best gift you have ever received. Go ahead, close your eyes and think about it. Now imagine that instead of receiving the gift, you received a picture. The gift was actually halfway around the world, and you could not get it until certain people did certain things. You could not go get it early. You had no control over when you get it. That’s us.

People ask if we are excited. Yes, but it is not like the excited of having a baby. Our babies are born, and we are separated from them by many many miles. ALL I want to do is get to them, wrap my arms around them, tell them how much I love them and how much God loves them. There are lots of preparations that probably need to be done, but I cannot focus enough to take care of them. I feel I am in the middle of a whirlwind. Life, questions, tasks, work, etc. Right now, it is taking all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength to stay focused on the One who is in control.

It is where I am.

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