Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skirting the Issue...

Get some new stuff to try and bolster up our matching grant. We have one skirt in this style in the following sizes, size 4/5, size 6/6X, size 7/8, and size 10. Each one comes with a matching skirt for an American Girl sized doll. The two skirts together are $15 plus $3 shipping to my FSP http://reecesrainbow.org/70645/sponsoranderson-2 Remember there's only one set in each size so be sure to let me know which size you want and forward your receipt! Thanks!






Monday, July 7, 2014

For This Child(ren) I Have Prayed

I know that so many voices have been lifted up in prayer for our boys, and for our family.  Because we know so many are interested in seeing our progress, we assume you'll also be interested in seeing our boys!  Our hard LOA got lost in the mail.  Does that normally happen?  Almost never.  But it did happen to us.  We have been approved for going on a month and our hard copy had to be sent out again last week.  It finally came today! 

That means two things!  One, we are approved.  We are matched.  Basically, this is the equivalent of court in other countries.  These boys are ours unless we don't show up to get them (which, barring death, would never happen) and we can name them and everything.  Two, we are approved.  We are matched.  Basically, that means we can slap these boys faces on every FB post, blog and billboard in this whole wide world.  We don't have to hide their faces anymore! 

I know what you all came for!  So without further ado, this is them folks!


Jacob DangXing Anderson

We'd like to introduce you all to our new second oldest child, Jacob.  Jake is 11 and he will fall right in between our two oldest kids, S who is 13 and E who is 10.  Jake has been waiting patiently in an orphanage in the most populace province in China for all 11 years of his life.  When he was about four months old, give or take, he was found on the steps of his orphanage, blue and unresponsive.  It wasn't a sure thing he would even live.  But he did.  And he thrived.  He's well loved by the staff at his facilities, and everyone we've ever spoken to about him tell us how sweet and friendly and freely loving he is.  At different points in his long life as an orphan, Jake has been designated to agencies, but for the last long while, he's been languishing on the shared list.  A list of all the 'less desirable' orphans.  The ones agencies think they can't place.  The shared list is arranged by birth date, newest dates on top.  So Jake was near the bottom.  The place where people don't even keep scrolling because by then they're bored, or the kids are too old.  

Thankfully, Jake had an advocate who'd met him, understood him, and found him the family where his quirky personality would fit right in.  Ours!  Jake likes being silly, watching martial arts movies, telling jokes, playing card games, and making noise.  Sounds just like an Anderson, doesn't he?  This is a boy who desperately is seeking male fellowship and ached for both a father and an older brother.  It was some of the first things he told the advocate about the family he wanted someday.  We love that he will have such a strong father figure, and also the big brother he wanted!  

When he was asked what he'd say if he saw he had a new family, he said, "Baba, I've come home."  This may not mean much to you until you break it down.  Baba is daddy or father in Chinese.  This is a boy whose aching for a dad!  The other interesting thing about this is the fact the words he used in Chinese suggest that he's returning BACK home after having been away.  That he belonged to his family before, and now he is returning to be with us again.  I was literally rendered breathless when I read that, because I believe it.  I believe he has always been ours.  Just...lost.  We didn't know where to find him and he didn't know where to find us.  But God did.  How fortunate we are that He looks out for his children!  

We've had a chance to send some letters back and forth between ourselves and Jake.  Like any preteen, he asked first about computers, TVs, and food lol!  Kid knows what he loves.  We just can't wait to get this board game loving kid home in about three weeks!  

Yelling is just how we roll in the Anderson house!  Open up that mouth wider kid, so the neighbors can hear you, like any other self respecting Anderson!



This is how Jake says something is "Okay" one of the few English words he knows.  I think he likes to use it most when he doesn't understand a word people are saying lol!


Jake already knows how to kick back and relax!  Another invaluable Anderson skill!  Just relax!
Why yes that is an enormous cheesy grin.  No wonder none of our family pictures turn out normal.  I've definitely seen that look before on our other kids.  When they aren't making THIS face instead.







We can't wait to get this guy home and into his new life.  So please prepare to welcome home sweet Jacob DangXing.  We will use both names at the start to see which he prefers.  Jacob was the name of a very good friend of my husband's who recently passed away from aggressive cancer.  DangXing is Jake's Chinese name.  We don't know which he'll like better, so we will use both to start. 



Finn HanWeiQiang Anderson

Finn is our newest middle child.  He's older than G, our baby, but considerably younger than the rest of our ragtag lot.  We aren't sure how old he is in reality, but it's somewhere around five or six.  He's very small, but he also has a very severe version of a genetic blood condition that stunts growth if not properly treated, so really we've got no clue how old he is.  Finn was found abandoned in a hospital in his city when he was around two years old.  It's much harder to tell with children who aren't babies.  We will have him aged when he is home just so we can be sure he is getting appropriate serves and treatments for his age.  

I can't help but feel so sad when I think about Finn's parents.  They discovered their child, that they had held and loved for two years of his life, was sick.  Not just sick, but sick in a way that would require constant treatment for the rest of his life.  Sick in a way that can't be stopped in China.  Only with the advancements of American medicine.  People in China can't afford medical care.  Not even minor issues, let alone major genetic conditions.  And Beta Thalassemia Major is ALWAYS fatal in China.  It's not a matter of if they will die, but just of WHEN.  It doesn't have to be that way here.  Basically, their two choices were keep their child and send him to an early grave, or abandon him when he had no idea what was happening and hope that someone could save him.  Can you imagine?  Can you imagine being told your beloved little one, who is just starting to toddle, and who flashes you dimpled grins covered in graham crackers, and who begs for the same book over and over again, has a terminal disease, let's say cancer for the purpose of this exercise, and that no one can or will treat them.  Not unless you give your child away.  To a stranger.  They won't be back again.  You'll never see them again ever.  I can't imagine the agony of making that choice.  Really, there'd only be one choice you could make, and that's the one that Finn's birth parents made.  I wish there was a way to reach them.  To let know that I share in their pain.  That I can't imagine the horror of being faced with that reality.  

I wish he'd never had to be given away, that he would never have needed another family in the first place, but he was, because this life is not fair, but we are so blessed that he will be our son.  

Finn is a silly boy, a jokester, an irrepressible spirit.  He's clever and funny and mischievous and full of a spark that far outweighs the genetic condition that others might find crushing.  I have a feeling there's nothing this boy won't be able to do if he puts his mind to it!  I have so many adorable videos of this guy, (I don't know how to share them so don't ask lol) where he shows his indomitable spirit.  And his contagious giggle.  Also his hatred of radishes, but mostly his spirit. 


Kicking it summer style.  Does he look cool or what?  Love the little boy capris and the nautical shirt. He looks ready for the beach!  Too bad we live in the desert and are completely landlocked!  But he sure does look cute!



Love this kid's smile.  There's just something about it.  So impish and adorable.  That big stomach he's sporting doesn't mean he's eaten a few too many Twinkies.  It's the result of his distended spleen and liver from his Beta Thal Major and improper treatment.



Chinese kids always make this sign for pictures.  I'm not sure what it means, to be honest, but they sure love it.  No series of pictures is complete without this sign thrown in for good measure!



Look at that face!  Seriously!  Could this kid be any cuter?!  Don't answer that in the comments.  It's a rhetorical question.  The answer couldn't be anything but 'no'.  

Another three weeks or so and this guy will be in our arms.  Can't wait to give him a smoosh!


If you feel so directed, we are still struggling to meet our 4K matching grant.  Without it, we'll have no chance of traveling.  Even after we've met it we will still need another 10K give or take, but after the nearly 40 we've already put up, that seems like so little!  We know God can make this happen!

When our Reece's Rainbow FSP http://reecesrainbow.org/70645/sponsoranderson-2 reaches $11, 236 we will have met our matching grant and will be given another $4,000.  I don't have to say we desperately need that money, but I will anyway ;)  This is important stuff for our journey!  We hope to be offered another grant that could be up to 5k before we travel.  That would be such a blessing!  Please pray for the grant to come through, we could sure use it.  And please pass on our fundraiser post below to your friends or family if you think we're selling something they might be interested in!

Thanks so much for following and participating in our journey.  We literally could not be doing it without the help and encouragement of others!

Amber
     

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Good news!

At this point we have soft LOA.  That means that, basically, China has approved us.  However, we don't have the hardcopy of that Letter of Approval yet, which means we can't move on to the next step, with American immigration, until we have that.  We expect to see it very soon.  Honestly, we expected it several days ago.  We've had soft LOA for over a week.  But that seems to be the pattern of this entire adoption.  We expect things to happen much sooner than they do.  But in a non expedite there's typically around 9 days between soft and hard.  Tuesday we'll be there, so the hope is we are talking very soon. 

That means that we're probably somewhere around three weeks, give or take, until travel approval.  It's so hard to know with an expedite because sometimes they hurry and sometimes they don't.  We've moved on to 'getting real' stuff, like setting up bunk beds and getting a hold of clothes for both boys.  I will pack their suitcases soon, just so they are ready and I have less I have to do to get ready.

Another very exciting thing.  We have been offered a FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR matching grant.  So when our Reece's Rainbow FSP, listed here, http://reecesrainbow.org/70645/sponsoranderson-2 , reaches $11,436, we will receive another $4,000.  This is HUGE for us.  We desperately need this money, as you may have guessed from our previous post lol.  So, with that matching grant in mind, we wanted to present all of our fundraisers again in one place.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We have personalized beach towels.  Embroidered.  They come in about twelve colors and I can get other colors if people are really into it.  But they might not be as nice as the normal towels.  These things are plush!
5 feet long, about 2.5 feet across, EXTREMELY plush.  These are usable all year long and they definitely won't get lost at the pool!  $16 plus shipping, or play it safe and pay $18 shipped!



http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1vph8hnzQq4/U6J9luNvhQI/AAAAAAAAAHo/H7B6FCrhaL0/s1600/10442440_646110135471719_594810010717827142_n.jpg


Custom jewelry pieces!

A gorgeous blue and gold necklace with a flower in the center.  Love this thing!  $25 shipped.  Blow up the pictures and take a good look!  You're going to love this one!

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aNBaIYWQUqA/U4OeHEWppMI/AAAAAAAAAGM/gYAtz_rE7qg/s1600/blue+gold+necklace.jpg

We also have this adorable teal round bracelet.  Is this thing too cute or what? $20 shipped.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FCG4DLfTzc4/U4Oiz1i5vEI/AAAAAAAAAG4/8CKFg3UXygY/s1600/teal+round+bracelet.jpg

For those who have liked the gorgeous jewelry we've been selling the last few weeks, you will want to check this one out.  These were made by a New Mexico artisan named Jennifer Radcliffe, who is so, so talented.  I have a $100 gift certificate for a custom made creation from Jennifer Radcliffe.  Save A LOT by picking this one up for only $60.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qNn2WoTQXwA/U4Olni-u-SI/AAAAAAAAAHY/lBKixEOyRQ8/s1600/gift+certificate.jpg

We've been making these pillowcase dresses and pant suits as a fourth of July fundraiser.  It's a bit on the late side for that now, but we are still offering them in any kind of fabric you want to suit your summer cuteness needs.  I've seen some TOTALLY adorable pink and green chevron.  Just sayin' ;)  Check them out!  I have patterns from 2T up to size 8.





Soon, within the next day or two, I will be offering up a new Swinter auction!  What's Swinter?  Aside from being an episode of Phineas and Ferb, it's also an amalgamation of summer and winter.  It's a winter sale in summer!  We have so many great blankets, baby hats and jackets for sale.   So keep an eye out!  Thanks so much for considering helping us meet our $4,000 grant!


Amber

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Sounds of Summer

What are your favorite summer sounds?  The splash and giggles of children jumping in the pool?  The slap of waves on a sandy shore?  I love summer at night myself.  Crickets, breezes, stars, and it's finally cooling off after the heat of the day.  My kids?  They just like the water.  So in honor of their pure love of summer, we have our newest fundraiser.  Embroidered beach towels.  Five feet tall, about 2.5 across.  Personalized, so it never gets lost at the pool.  $16 plus shipping or Play it safe and pay $18 shipped.  A variety of colors.  Just message me color choices and personalization and your receipt .  You can pay at http://reecesrainbow.org/70645/sponsoranderson-2. Hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Shooooort Update

We are Out of Translation.  That likely means that we will have our official approval from China within the next week.  Things are gettin' real up in here, yo!

Friday, May 30, 2014

LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG Update

I have been putting off an update because it's been crazy levels of chaos over here.  Explaining where we are right now is going to be quite the feat, so please bear with me.  Our homestudy was FINALLY finished at the very end of April.  I can't believe it took so long.  It definitely entered into levels of ridiculousness heretofore unknown.  Within a few days of completion, we started working on the normal steps of an expedite.  A typical expedite takes three or four months, give or take, after the homestudy is finished.  It can be done in less time, but you have to push very hard.  I was thinking that we would be having that kind of expedite.  We expected to travel in maybe July, probably by August for sure, certainly sometime during the summer.

It was perhaps two or three days after we started expediting the steps of our dossier, the beginning days of May, that we received notice from Wayne's orphanage that he was being deemed too sick to be adopted and, in all likelihood, his file would be pulled, rendering him unadoptable.  Because of the nature of his disease, when his file was pulled it was a high probability that his treatment would eventually cease to allow him to pass on in peace, because the doctors have, no doubt, passed the point where Chinese medicine has solutions to offer, aside from maintaining life with no hope of improvement.  Obviously, this was a terrible shock to me and I spent a good straight 18 hours crying.  When I had the initial conversation with the American woman who works in the orphanage with whom I have all my communications, we discussed that she would ask them for more time.

Initially, I was both horrified and furious.  Eventually, I realized that the orphanages decision was made out of concern for him and for our family, not because they didn't care.  Of course, when you have a terrible shock, the immediate reaction is surprise and anger.  But within a couple of days, I saw that they only wanted what was best for everyone involved and if there was an option available for Wayne they wanted to take it, if it was in his best interest.  I experienced a strong testimony that whatever happened was the will of the Lord and I was to have peace and patience.

The request to not pull his file was made, but no answer was given for approximately two weeks.  Those were horrible, stressful, awful weeks.  In that time, I continued to proceed with our expedite as though the answer would be yes.  Because there would be no time to assume it would be no, and then recover later for those lost days and hours.  Finally, however, much discussion was made and it was decided that the adoption could proceed, but needed to happen immediately, within weeks.  This wasn't just an expedite we are talking about, but a super, warp speed, crazy expedite.

Within three weeks of the completion of our homestudy (which was really just a few days ago.  Crazy!) our dossier, including our I-797, was off to China.  At this point, we are waiting to be logged in and receive our letter of approval.  The hope of all parties involved is that this will be an extremely quick process.  Honestly, I had hoped to be logged in by now.  But there's always tomorrow.  The orphanage, our agency and the CCCWA have been in contact with one another, and it looks like it should all happen very quickly.

So to lay it out a little more for you, when we committed to Danny at the end of December we expected that we would travel, at the very soonest, in December of 2014.  Perhaps even closer to eighteen months.  When we committed to Wayne at the very end of January, we knew things would move faster, and we expected that we would travel at the end of summer.  We could tell from the direction our homestudy was taking (fingerprints taken and/or filed wrong THREE TIMES anyone?) that things would be slow there.  So we were giving ourselves three months to be ready to travel after our homestudy.  From there, given the change in our situation, we deeply hope that I will travel within the next three weeks.

Obviously, we didn't expect this and are in way over our heads.  When we committed to Wayne, I prayed all night trying to decide what to do.  I knew that we were green in the adoption world and had no idea what we were doing, and I knew that we didn't have money to pay for an adoption alone.  I also knew that our many, many previous attempts at fundraising had been a total flop and I was going to have to do a lot of trusting in God's will and his interest in this situation if we moved forward with Wayne.  I actually suggested to Heavenly Father that maybe Wayne wasn't the one.  That maybe there would be another family, even though no one had stepped forward for him and he'd been waiting for years and he was, obviously, in a bad way.  But Heavenly Father made it very clear to me that his will for Wayne to join our family.  So we jumped into this feet first, holding our noses and hoping it would be enough to doggy paddle.  Now we're moving even faster and clinging to our pool noodles because there's no way we can touch the bottom.  (Is this enough swimming metaphors for one blog post?)  I will freely admit that we came into this ill prepared.  That we didn't have enough money saved, that we didn't know what to do next at every step of the process, and that we didn't have a plan in place.

Heavenly Father called us.  He told us to 'go and do' and so we did.  We acted in faith, but probably not with an overload of earthly wisdom.  I hope that  there is merit alone in the fact we have done just as we were asked and that, even though we were not prepared before we were called, that God has now made us just what He wants and He needs.  We have done our best to be faithful with the belief and the faith that He would fill in the blanks, the way He does for all of us, every day.  When this is finished we will be older (you should see all the gray in my hair that has popped up in the last couple of months), wiser, and our hearts will be forever changed.  There's a lesson in this for me, especially.  Every single part of this adoption process is very, very far outside of my comfort zone.  I don't like asking for help.  I don't like accepting help.  I don't like sharing my personal thoughts and feelings.  I don't like losing control.  I don't like being aggressive.  I don't like calling people.  I don't like making demands.  I don't like not knowing everything that will happen next.  God is molding us to be the family he wants us to be, and sometimes molding hurts.  Sometimes you get pushed into shapes that seem unnatural, that make you feel awkward, that leave you uncomfortable, or feeling helpless, or even angry.  But, at the end, when you get to see how beautiful the work of art you are a part of truly is, you'll be amazed how much you can't see when your life is in a master's hands.

We are proceeding as quickly as we can, but because of this increased speed and the lack of funds available, I will be traveling alone.  Obviously, I'm not thrilled about this, but I am ready.  In fact, I can't wait to get this show on the road.  Every day that passes without some kind of approval is physically painful.  I have a profound fear of flying.  I rely on Mike to keep me from freaking out when flying and, in fact, will drive sizable distances to avoid getting on a plane.  If I could drive to China, believe me, I would.  I wouldn't care how many days it would take me.  I would prefer that in so very many ways.  But flying it is, and alone I go.  So that part gives me a pause, but the traveling alone really doesn't.  Yet another way we are being asked to grow, expand our boundaries, and change.  I will be doing a lot of praying in that 27 hours.  Or possibly taking a lot of Valium.  We'll see which one wins.

We've had a lot of people ask us what we need now.  We always need prayers.  This situation is profoundly in God's hands.  Things are so out of our control right now that I am basically in a constant state of near panic.  Prayers are what is keeping Wayne alive.  Prayers are what keep the paperwork moving, even when things might normally stand in our way.  Prayer is what keeps the money we need coming from somewhere, even when the financial side looks grim.

We are deeply in need of funds.  Because of the complexity of our situation, the grants we normally would have been able to apply for are largely not an option.  You can't apply for most grants until you have a completed homestudy.  Which we didn't have until less than a month ago.  Then, most grants are cyclical.  You apply and then you catch a deadline.  A committee of some kind will then meet by some appointed date, usually somewhere around four to six months from the deadline, and then they will make their decisions about where to allocate grant funds.  Obviously, this is an efficient system, designed to aid families that are likely to spend over a year preparing to bring their children home.  For us, this will not work.  The majority of grants are not an option for us.  We do have a couple of grant groups who have said they will consider an emergency grant, so we are waiting on some answers there.

The hard truth is that we've already paid around 13K, largely out of our own pockets, and that's all we had.  We're tapped out.  We will have to rely on the belief that God will provide a way to make this happen.  This is His gig.  He has this thing.  Sometimes, that's a hard thing to believe.  We spent many months preparing for what we believed would be our two biggest fundraisers.  A massive, massive yard sale and a Project Sole collection fundraiser.  We spent a great deal of time setting up the Project Sole drop off point.  It was a well used, easily accessible area.  We had a popular radio station morning show announce it every day and they had the flyer on their website. On the day of the drop off, we received, literally, not one pair of shoes.  Obviously, this was not the outcome we anticipated, and certainly not the one we had hoped for.  It was a setback.  We still had the yard sale though.

We rented a huge community center right off a major road.  We had so much stuff that we had to rent a 14 foot U-Haul and still had some trouble fitting it all.  Neon green signs on the road pointed the way, we had ads all over.  We were sure we'd make at least 400 dollars.  But the real hope is that we would get at least 1K.  We had some REALLY nice stuff.  After all of that preparation, all of that work, all of that anticipation and hope...we made $140 dollars.  Honestly, it was a little bit of a blow, but Mike and I were immediately both of the same opinion.  That this is just part of the overall lesson.

I received a strong message to not be discouraged, and I really wasn't.  Obviously, I wasn't pleased, but I wasn't sad either.  I told Mike that I felt it was a message, like, 'Do all you can.  Keep working and keep doing.  But in the end I don't want there to be any question that this is MY miracle'.  When I said that, Mike said he'd felt the same, but in his, always, much more eloquent way, he likened his feelings on the failed fundraisers to the story in Judges, of Gideon and his army of 300.  Gideon raised a great army.  One that was likely powerful enough to defeat the enemy without the aid of God.  But, slowly, God pared his army down until there was only 300 men left, to go up against a strong enemy, one that should have, logically, been impossible to beat with such small forces.  God wanted people to understand that the victory was by the power of His hand, though Gideon could have gone into battle and perhaps secured success as his original army stood.  Heavenly Father wanted it to be clear that only He could have brought this victory.  This is our great battle and our Gideon.  Heavenly Father wants us to understand, wants all those who are watching our struggles and considering how they apply to their own lives, that maybe we could have raised this money alone.  We have certainly tried.  But slowly, He's pared us down to our 300.  Our desperation point where logic says this can't be done.  But faith says it can.  God says it can.  This is His miracle.  These are his precious sons and he holds them in his hands, even now.

Right now, we still have to pay around 21,000 dollars.  We have about 5500 of that already.  So what we really need is around 16K.  Is that a lot of money?  Sure is.  Can we find it alone?  Not a chance.  Can we come up with it through the power of our most high God?  You bet we can.

So that's where we are right now.  I'm not asking anyone to donate.  I hope that our friends and family will, just because everyone loves to feel supported and everyone loves to feel like the things that weigh on their heart are also important to those they love.  If you feel called to donate, please do.  We love and appreciate every penny.  I am just sharing my feelings and expressing where we are right now in this journey.  Money is a huge part of every international adoption and right from the beginning I've tried very hard to not make this journey about money, but about the spirit instead.  But because this is the place we are right now, I just wanted to share our experiences and our feelings.

I am, however, asking for prayers.  Please pray for our sons.  Please pray for our family.  Please pray to give us wisdom and inspiration about where we can look for money.  Please pray that hearts of officials will be softened, that nothing will stand in our path.  Please pray.

Keep watch, as we will be traveling soon and will be updating this blog as we go.  Thank you so much for taking our journey with us.         

Amber

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gorgeous Jewelry for a Good Cause!

We've got some gorgeous jewelry up for purchase to help benefit our adoption.  Take a look below. 

Thank you to artisan Jennifer Radcliffe for designing and creating several pieces of custom jewelry to benefit our adoption!



Navy, blue and orange silver plated necklace. A gorgeous custom piece created by Jennifer Radcliffe. $30 plus shipping. Absolutely beautiful close up. Click and see! Comment below and I will send you an invoice. Thanks!

 

Gorgeous turquoise drop earrings. Beautiful stuff! $18 shipped. Comment below and I'll send you an invoice!


I LOVE these! Large Filigree Green Earrings. These are another wonderful donation from Jennifer Radcliffe! $20 plus shipping. Comment below for an invoice! Thanks!

Red Gold Borderless Pendent. This will come on a necklace and is so cute! $15 plus shipping. Comment below for an invoice. Thanks!



Teal round bracelet. Close up details are adorable! Another custom creation donated by Jennifer Radcliffe. $18 plus shipping. Comment below for an invoice.


 Another gorgeous, heavy faux turquoise necklace. Nice, edgy modern look combined with lovely New Mexico detailing. $20 shipped. Comment below for an invoice. Thanks!

 I've got three of these traditional, but a little bit fun, turquoise necklaces! $20 a piece shipped. Comment for an invoice


 This is the last and most exciting thing! All this gorgeous custom jewelry is the tip of the iceberg! Get the kind of custom piece you're looking for. Made just for you! $100 gift certificate for custom jewelry from Jennifer Radcliffe, available for $60. Comment below for an invoice. Don't miss this one! This lady makes amazing jewelery!


Thanks for looking!

Amber