Friday, May 30, 2014


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.         



  1. Oh Amber. Growth is so painful, and letting go of whatever control we think we might have is hard. I have been praying for you lots and will keep praying for you until everyone is home safely and under one roof!

  2. Crystal, you are such a great lady. I appreciate every conversation we have. And we appreciate all of your prayers!

  3. I've been thinking and praying for you all quite a bit since I saw this post this past weekend. Have you gotten logged in yet? Would love to hear anupdate as we continue to pray.

  4. I don't believe we are logged in yet. I really hoped we would be by now. There was a lot of communication with CCCWA and it looked very positive. But it's been over a week. That's a lot of lost days! I couldn't call yesterday and expect any kind of legitimate answers because it was the Dragon Boat Festival and I knew all the China offices would be closed. But I am getting ready to call over there right now. I will absolutely update my blog when I know more, though. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts! We very much appreciate them.

  5. Wow!! I cannot imagine how stressful this must be on your family!! Blessings on you all! May God draw you closer to himself and give you peace through the crazy.

  6. Thank you Sara! He is with us! And yes, it is very, very, very stressful. I honestly believe this is more stressful than when my husband was deployed to Iraq while I was pregnant.