Sunday, December 30, 2012

"So, How is the Adoption Going?"

So many people ask how things are going with the adoption.   My answer has been how slow it feels to me and how much  my heart aches to hold her and how we stare at her pictures we have throughout our home and on our phones...  How hard it is to watch her grow for 6 months without being with her....Now - I can say with excitement - Progressing!! YAY!!!

There is a bounce in my step now as we are getting close to the last steps... so close I can almost taste it!

I know adoption talk sounds like a foreign language with all the acronyms and if you follow our timeline (at tabs on top of page) - it isn't any more clear. :)  A quick synopsis of what has happened recently and what is yet to happen:
12/17 - we got approval to call Meisi our immediate relative instead of orphan :)
12/26 - Meisi's visa paperwork (Article 5) arrived at Consulate in China
1/9 - Great Wall should be able to pick up our Article 5 to take to China's Welfare Agency
1/23-1/30 - Hopefully receive our Travel Approval and then be able to buy plane tickets!!

Woohoo!!!  We are getting closer!!!  Exciting to think in 6-8 weeks we will be on a plane to China and FINALLY holding our precious Meisi!!!! 

So thankful for so many of you who have sent notes, cards, gifts and prayers as we journey through this process. :)  We are so blessed to have such an amazing family in Christ. :) We LOVE you guys!! 

We are still hoping and praying to make it to China by her birthday (2/19).  Chinese New Year could prevent that (everything closes from Feb 8-15), but we know God is bigger and if He wills it, it will be! 

Please continue to pray with us as we wait and prepare to travel. Issues that are on my heart -
1) Meisi's health during the winter (it is VERY cold in Beijing right now).
2) Preparing our hearts for Meisi - and our kids hearts for one another
3) That she bonds with us and us with her instantly (with God all things are possible)
4) Preparing for travel; (living in Fl and needing cold weather clothes is a challenge) and preparing our home for Meisi (room, bed, clothes...)- yes I am still a procrastinator :)
5) Wisdom in dealing with those who aren't supportive of adoption and whose words pierce my soul.

Have to end this post with a reminder I got on a facebook group I am in for adoption.  A friend on there talked about the difficulties she faced in adoption.  She said to remember that love is not a is an action.  A great reminder with our kids (bio or adopted), our husbands and families.  My mind immediately went to one of my all time favorite groups - DC Talk singing Luv is a verb - enjoy this video - hope it brings a smile to your face like mine - "Haven't you heard - LOVE is a serious word.....Love is a verb!" :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

We got an update!

We were told by our Referral Specialist at Great Wall that we could get two FREE updates because Meisi is from one of their partnership orphanages.  She recommended getting a referral now and again closer to travel (which we are REALLY hoping and praying will be Feb at the latest).    We were very excited to be able to have these updates.  Many have to pay $$ for updates - what a blesing and surprise!   Brian and I came up with 19 questions.  Most were answered.  The thing I was most interested was how big she has gotten to be.  The last height and weight we had were from when she was just over one year old.  She is 22 months now.  She has grown sooo much! 

I know that is good news because she is getting nutrition...
But I admit to being sad reading how much she has grown and all the milestones she has had that we have missed, and, and..... 

Yes, yes....we have many more years to be with her and see and live more milestones WITH her...
Just a happy/sad day for this waiting Mama.  Did I mention adoption causes just as much if not more emotional instability than pregnancy?? 

Back to the update -

Here are the questions we asked and their answers.  Would love to know what some of the foods and drinks are... 

1. Please provide current measurements.
Height: 84.5 cm (33 inches)   Weight: 11.6 kg (25.5 lb)    Head size: 45.4 cm (17.9 in)   Chest size: 50 cm (19.7 in)   Foot length: 12 cm (size 5)   Teeth number: 20

2. Please provide updated pictures.
Her photos are attached.

3. Please provide update on health. 
Her current health condition is good.

4. Has she had any illnesses?

5. How does her CHD affect her in daily life activities?
They told her CHD has little impact on her daily life activities.

6. Please provide update on verbal and motor skills.  Is she talking? Walking?
Yes, she is talking and she can say simple words (but she doesn’t like to talk; she is a little introverted; she usually smiles to you when you call her). She can walk and run with ease.

7. What is her favorite food and drink?
She likes cooked wheaten foods, such as steamed stuffed buns and dumplings. She likes sweet and sour beverage (ummm...what is sweet and sour beverage??)

8. What are her favorite toys?
She likes toys with bright colors.

9. What are her favorite activities?
She likes to play with toys and play games with other children.

10. What is her personality like?  Is she serious? Silly? Mischievous?  Well behaved? Happy?  Sad?
She is introverted and shy.

11. What name or nickname is she most often called?
They usually call her Zhen Zhen.

12. Does she get along well with other children?

13. Does she sleep through the night?
She typically sleeps through the night and occasionally wakes up.

14. What soothes her when she is hurt or upset?
You can hold her and give her snacks when she is hurt or upset.

15. What is her nighttime routine?
Not provided.

16. What is her daytime routine?
Not provided.

17. Does she drink from bottle?

18. Does she have any allergies?

19. What type of snacks does she like?
She likes ham, fried potatoes and crackers. (what kind of ham is a snack?)

We got a few pictures too. :)  This is one of my favorites as it shows her little personality some...wonder if she is hiding because she is introverted and shy? 

Oh my sweet Meisi - Mama cannot wait to hold you...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  (Phil 4:6-7, my emphasis added on those things I struggle with...)

Lord, thank you for our precious new daughter you have blessed us with. Please Father, if it be Your will, let us get through these last stages in high speed so that we can be with Meisi quickly.  We desperately want to be with her for her second birthday (earlier would be even better). ;)  We ask this in Jesus's precious and Holy Name.  Amen. 



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Giving Tuesday"

This is the first year for  "Giving Tuesday".  Instead of pulling from what I've read I'll let you do your own research on this topic. :) 

As you research and contemplate ways you may give, I would like to offer you an option to consider (there are many great options...this is just one close to our heart) - Love Without Boundaries. 

We love Love Without Boundaries.....

There are people out there who I have never met, but my family will be eternally grateful to them.  People who gave to help fund Meisi's surgery which was several thousand dollars.  After her surgery, Meisi was still very tiny and required a very special but expensive formula to survive.  People heard the need and they gave.  We are so thankful for each and every one of those people.  We are so thankful for Love Without Boundaries who provided all these life saving and giving therapies after they accepted the call when Meisi was just 2 months old and dying.  Amazing things can happen when the Holy Spirit leads people to move and they follow.  God still does miracles.  :) 

If you are contemplating sending money to an organization or charity but haven't found one yet that you can trust or feel comfortable with.  I urge you to learn more about Love Without Boundaries (LWB).  You can support precious children who have medical needs like Meisi did or nutrition needs like Meisi did or help provide education like our dear friend's girls received.  It is amazing what even a small amount each month can do in the life of a child.  LWB provides wonderful updates on the child or program you are supporting with pictures and information.  We were blessed that our referral file included a few of Meisi's medical updates LWB had sent to those supporting her in her first few months she was with them.  There are no words to express the gratitude for all those who gave, prayed for and loved on her before we even knew her.  We are so thankful to Love Without Boundaries for answering the call. 

We are not all called to adopt, we are all called to do something.

Is "Giving Tuesday" your day to start? 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Yay!!!!  Yay!!!!!!  Yay!!!!  
It has arrived!!  Thank you Lord!!!  I feel like I can breath again!!!!

So excited to FINALLY be able to introduce our precious, beautiful daughter - Meisi Zhen Simpson :) 

This is one of my favorite pictures of her we found on the Love Without Boundaries facebook page. Just wanna reach out and squeeze her.  Can you see why this wait has been so so hard!?!
These were her referral pictures we received.  We knew she was ours immediately. :)  Looking into her  we love you sweet baby girl.
On August 22nd, 2012 Ding Si Zhen was born in our hearts. :)

We sent our Letter of Intent for her 2 days later.  We kept praying about what to name our precious daughter.  In her referral paperwork it said this regarding her Chinese name Si Zhen:
"Si means thought, because we want her to grow to have good thoughts and good morals.  Zhen means treasure, because we think she is a treasure." 
We knew we didn't want to change that, too precious.  Ian (our 5 y/o son) kept saying we should name her "Beauty" because she is such a beauty.  We agree, but you can't really name a child "Beauty" (unless you are Disney). :)  
We wanted to make sure we kept her heritage in her name (just as Aili and Ian are named for our Scottish heritage).  Her identifier with LWB is "Delyth"  which means "pretty" in Welsh.  We learned that "Mei" means "beautiful" in Chinese.....Perfect!!!  After much praying and talking, we decided her name is Meisi Zhen - beautiful thought and treasure. :)  Ian says he is still gonna call her "beauty or cutie."  I think we all will. ;)
One more picture...hehe...been waiting too long to share these. :)  How surprised I was to get this from some friends who found it on Pinterest....Beauty, eyes and her heart all in the same sentence....our beautiful heart baby with amazing eyes...  We LOVE you!!   Gotcha Day can't get here soon enough! 


Thankful for time together

Is it Sunday already??  I must admit I am kinda sad to see my kids go back to school tomorrow and my hubby go back to work. 

We had planned a busy week of traveling back to KY to see dear friends, but we weren't able to get Brian's schedule worked out in time to do that.  So, instead, we stayed here and had


One day we went on a VERY long bike ride in our neighborhood, stopping periodically to take
pictures, play on playground, sit on a pier...

The kids have been begging to camp out - so we went camping - sort of....

People talk about "car camping", but we went "Garage Camping."  We put up the projector and watched a couple movies, played Chutes and Ladders, Bingo and Go fish then roasted marshmallows on our grill. :)  It was a blast, but our blow ups had holes in them so, we snuck back inside our cozy beds to sleep.  I do wish I knew how to get videos on here.  We laughed harder than I can remember with some of Ian's songs he sang us. :)  Great belly laughs!!  My little man is hilarious!! 

Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic this year too!!  So thankful for our dear friends from our Life Group (Bible Study group).  We got to eat together for Thanksgiving.  I even played Bocce ball for the first time.  It was fun!!  Even better that my teammate carried us through to win the championship - thanks Jason! :) 
While there - Ian finally agreed to marry J (a few weeks ago he was the runaway groom during life group). :)  Of course, right at the end she got wet feet - haha.  We are discussing the benefit of arranged marriages. lol  Look at their smiles- aren't they cute?? 

Black Friday shopping??  Of course!!  This time with grandparent's money though. :)  They sent it for me to do the kids shopping.  Waaaayyyy more fun to spend someone else's money. :) 

I tried really hard to keep up with the 30 days of thankfulness on facebook but I am soo far behind on that.  I have too much to be thankful for to just think of one thing each day!!  Obviously thankful we are getting closer everyday to getting Meisi, although the wait for LOA has been one of the hardest and most emotional roller coasters I have ever been on..   This too shall pass.  Thankful this is the last Thanksgiving she will have without us (haha - of course, she has no idea what thanksgiving is...yet). :)  Thankful that she is already part of our family.  We talk about her, pray for her, buy her things, love her.  Even though she will not be "with" us in 2012, we are thankful for the birth of our daughter and sister in our hearts this year. :)  Ian today says, "Meisi is the smallest in our family."  When asked how many kids we have, the kids immediately say, "Three, our baby sister is waiting for us in China!"  LOVE it and my precious kids!! :) 

Speaking of precious kids....this morning in worship we sang Matt Redman's "Never Let Go."  I wept throughout it, praying for a precious little boy named Seth and His sweet mom Sarah -

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
There will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes,
Still I will praise you, Still I will praise you."

I had posted about this precious little boy identified as "Kelly" in my VERY first blog post here.  "Kelly" who is now Seth is home with his amazing family. :) However, the doctors here have said he is inoperable and medications will not help with his heart defect. If you would like to follow along on her blog it is here. Can you pray with me for this sweet child and family? I am praying it is God's will to heal Seth and to give the Risley's amazing comfort and peace throughout this journey. The power of prayers is amazing.

Thankful for each moment we have and the time we have together.

Hoping this week I will FINALLY get to share pictures of Meisi with you!!!  COME ON LOA!!! 

On a final note - I am thankful for my amazing man!!  I just came donwstairs to load these pictures and all the dishes are done. :)  I am blessed. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Puzzles, Pampered Chef and Purposeful Crafts :)

We've had several folks ask how they can help us with the adoption. Well, more than anything we need prayer! Please pray for

1. God's protection over Meisi until we can get to her (winter months are hard in China)
2. God's comfort during the wait - we know His timing is perfect (and hopefully sooner than later) ;)
3. For Meisi's heart to be prepared to be part of our family
4. For our hearts (Brian, me, Aili and Ian) to be prepared to be her family
5. That we let the peace of Christ rule in us. He's got this and He is faithful! How quickly my mind forgets this!!!

Finances? Well, He has been amazing at providing all we have needed so far through saving more - spending less, taking temporary jobs here and there, tax returns, yard/bake sales, 31 party, generous friends, and a Scrapebooking Fundraiser with 4 other amazing ladies at our church who were in process (now 3 of these families have their children home). :)  Until now the fees have been somewhat spread out.  As we approach the travel phase we are looking at the last half of the cost of adoption ($5500 orphanage "donation", $1000-2000 for legal fees in China, and $5000-7000 in travel expenses for Brian and I).  We are hoping to raise enough in our fundraisers to cover the orphanage "donation". 

If you want to help with the finances of adoption and our specific journey to bring our Meisi home we have three ways you can do that!  We are doing a puzzle fundraiser, a Pampered Chef online party, and I am selling a craft I made (purposeful craft). If you are thinking of buying Pampered Chef for Christmas - this is a double gift as our friend is donating her commission to our adoption.  Check out my fundraisers tab at the top for more details.  

Puzzle fundraiser?? Here is how it works!

We just bought the coolest puzzle!

Every $10 would "buy" two puzzle pieces which we will write your name on like this:

Once puzzle is completed we will hang in double sided frame and display in our home so that we can always see who helped us bring home Meisi. :)

I have added a paypal link on the sidebar  or you can send us your gift in the mail (send me a note if you need our address). Please include a note saying whose name you would like on the pieces.

I am also selling these "purposeful crafts" or he"ART" pieces. :) 

I can create any country you'd like and if you really need a different color pattern - let me know, I probably can do that too!  The cost of these are $10 not framed, $20 if framed (8x8) plus shipping. 

Thank you for journeying with us to Meisi! :) Your prayers, words of encouragement and support are such a blessing!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monkey Bars and Pink Casts

We are still waiting for that same piece of paper from China (LOA/LSC).  Wednesday, Great Wall (our agency) told me today that they don't expect us to receive it for another 4-8 weeks. :(  However, on Friday they told me we are in the review room which was good news to me.  At least we are out of translation!  After review we will got to the matching room where our LOA/LSC will be issued!

My mind was taken from the wait for just a little while.... Unfortunately, my distraction was an accident with my Aili Grace.   Aili had a fall from the monkey bars at school which led to surgery to pin her little bones together in her left arm (and she is a lefty).  :( 

Wanting Daddy to lay next to her

Therapy dog named Benji

You can see it is great therapy!  She loves dogs!!

Just before going back to surgery :(

After surgery - she woke with this cute bear they gave her :)

Amazing how things like this remind me of the brevity of life.  I was so worried about her heart and how it would deal with the stress and all the medications she would be getting.  It didn't ease me any with nurses asking what her heart condition was. :(  God is good and faithful.  She did great through the surgery and the whole time the doctors and nurses commented on how brave and strong she is. :)  She did get an infection a few days later, but has recovered from that too.

Now she has her hot pink cast and seems to be doing very well... She still can't write but is enjoying directing people to what she needs/wants. :)

Thank you all for your prayers for her.  We are so blessed with amazing friends around the world who love Jesus and stand with us in prayer from miles away.  She kept telling doctors and nurses how safe she felt because "mommy asked people to pray and people around the world are praying for I know I am safe."  :) 

That safety and your prayers led her to share with Brian and I some burdens and temptations she carried and she laid those at Jesus's feet.  It is amazing what our eight year old can understand and verbalize.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you Jesus for answering!! :) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Treats

Happy Halloween!   We don't do much around here for Halloween as far as decorating goes, but we do love the candy!  :)  The day started with my kiddos dressing as book characters and going to school. :)  I got to stay to see the Kindergartners in a character so cute! 
See my Captain America there?

Of course, later we walked down our street to get some candy then got WAAAYYY too much candy during Awana - Candy Explosion! 
Super Heros and Super Space Dog Ready for Treats!

Too cute not to capture their conversation :)

No idea where the drama comes from ;)

Now for the rest of my day....While having some great fellowship with a group of ladies from church this morning, who have adopted or are adopting, I got a call from our agency.  Normally I would've been excited except that yesterday they told me that piece of paper (LOA/LSC) I've been waiting longing for from China isn't expected to come for another 4-8 weeks.  :(  Ever wanted to cry but tears wouldn't come???  Back to the call...they called to tell me our sweet daughter had been moved out of her foster home and back into the Love Without Boundaries Healing Home she had previously been in before foster care.  I admit I was worried (still struggle with continually "letting the peace of Christ RULE in my heart".... Col 3:15)..... Was she sick?  Is something wrong?  Are they sending her back to the orphanage already? 

I called my dear hubby who also was concerned and he is usually much more at peace and trusting than me.  So, through his encouragement I called our agency back to ask beg them to check on the status of our dossier in China.  She finally agreed to check for me.  That still didn't resolve my concerns for Meisi though.  So, I looked up an email address for where she is, prayed and sent an email hoping someone would get back to me.  I just needed to know she was ok and not sick, that the move had to do with the foster family, not her and Lord, please don't let them be sending her back to the orphanage right away.

I don't know if I have said it here but
Love Without Boundaries!

I mean truly LOVE them.  Within a few hours I had a response from them saying just that.  Praise the Lord!!!  They are limited on what all they can tell me now, but knowing she is with the people God used to save her life and that she is ok.... She is not sick, and she is staying with them until we get closer to travel time.  God still answers prayers.  Sometimes fast (like today)...sometimes slower (like this wait for the paper/LOA). 

I realize not everyone is called to adopt.  However, all Christians are called to help care for orphans (James 1:27).  If you are looking for a "safe" organization to sponsor a child or send support, one that truly makes a difference in the lives of precious children- whether it be medical needs (surgeries, transfusions,etc), educational or nutritional support - Love Without Boundaries would be at the top of my list! 

There were so many people who gave financially to pay for our Meisi's surgery and her expensive nutritional formula, who prayed for her around the world before we had even started the process to adopt.  She is alive today, as a miraculous example of what God's power can do when He calls an organization like LWB to act and calls regular people like you and me to support, give and go.  I am so thankful for all those people who said yes to God's urging to pray or His little whisper in their ear to give.  :)  We cannot wait to go!!

So, How is God calling you to help care for the orphans? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Are you adopted?

I love Sundays. :)  I love going to church and being able to freely worship my amazing God.  I love having Life Group (Bible Study) with our friends.  I love how God always gives us what we need when we need it....even if in my emotional self it leads to tears. 

Yesterday in worship we sang this song..which led to those tears I mentioned as we sang the bridge...
"...And in the night when all our hope is lost,
You are the one who won't give up on us.
You hold the orphan in your loving arms
This is who You are....."

Lord, please do hold our sweet Meisi and all the precious orphans in your arms today.  How I long to know she is loved.  How I long to be the one who is loving her.  How I long to be with her, to spend time with her, to care for her....

I was also reminded by our pastor that I have been blessed with 86,400 seconds each day - use it or lose it....  How will I use that precious gift of time in this very brief life I've been given? 

As my hubby was prepping for Bible study that we have in our house (loads of fun - 11 adults and usually 13 kids (total of 16 kids between our families).  We eat together, talk together, pray together, laugh together. I.LOVE. IT (first time using period thingy) :)...but I digress....

Brian was prepping for our study on 1 John.  We are on chapter 3 this week.  He read a story that Max Lucado had written in regards to this chapter.  Here is what Max wrote:

"God not only forgives us, he also adopts us.  Through a dramatic series of events, we go from condemned orphans with no hope to adopted children with no fear.  Here is how it happens.  You come before the judgement seat of God full of rebellion and mistakes.  Because of his justice he cannot dismiss your sin, but because of his love he cannot dismiss you.  So, in an act which stunned the heavens, he punished himself on a cross for your sins.  God's justice and love are equally honored.  And you, God's creation, are forgiven.  But the story doesn't end with God's forgiveness.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out "Abba! Father!" The spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God. (Rom 8:15-16)

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but he does more.  He gives you  His name.  It would  enough if God just set you free, but He does more.  He takes you home.  He takes you home to the Great House of God.

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone.  I certainly don't mean to offend any biological parents - I'm one myself.  We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child.  But in many cases our cribs were filled easily.  We decided to have a child and a child came.  In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision.  I've heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I've never heard of an unplanned adoption. 

That's why adoptive parents understand God's passion to adopt us.  They know what it means to feel an empty space inside.  They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future.  If anyone understands God's ardor for His children, it's someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us. 

God has adopted you.  God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home."  (From The Great House of God by Max Lucado).

After reading, I thought - wow...  God has those same longings for me... to spend time with Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him and others as He does.  And a realization that I do not spend my 86,400 seconds each day to the fullest, fearlessly resting in His arms. Of course, I have not finished the race... I will press on, learning more, leaning more, abiding more each day.

My adoption story is one of love.  I love because He first loved me.  His name is greater than any other... so thankful I carry his name as His daughter. 

So what about you -

Are you adopted?  If not, is God seeking you?  Do you feel Him drawing near to you?  Are you rebelling, are you running away?  If so... I pray you stop.  His arms are waiting to hold you.  He is full of grace, full of love.  He is faithful and worthy.  This is who He is. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

While We Wait for Meisi

A new friend told me that her beautiful daughter from China loves looking at pictures of what they did while they were waiting to bring her home.  So, I decided to journal some of that on here. 

What do adoptive parents do while waiting? 

Paper work, read blogs, go to play dates with other wonderful friends who are adopting or have adopted, read everything we can get our hands on related to adoption for ourselves and our kids (LOVE the library). :) 
Brian double checking paperwork AGAIN - trying to be ready for LOA
Some great books we have read and are reading :)

We do normal (military type) things like:

Go to Air Force Ball

Brian rode on KC135 that refueled a F16 (yes, that is a Thunderbird), yes he took this pic!

Nesting has taken over which always involves painting. :)  We painted the playroom - a family least for a little while :)

The big project (been going on for um 2 years now) is cleaning out the garage.  With a purpose this week - our community garage sale is happening so we are hoping to get rid of things and make some $$ for upcoming travel expenses.  Sorry - no pics of this - it is too messy - lol.

While I was painting and Brian was organizing some in the garage, our kids decided to spend about 3 hours making a wagon for Meisi out of cardboard.  They made it with a handle, a seat and even streamers flying behind.  Said they could pull her around in the back yard.  I LOVE my kids. :)
"wagon" for Meisi :)

I love how Aili and Ian get excited about Meisi coming home too.  Sweet Ian asks so often, "Mommy, can we go get Meisi today?" I wish it were that easy!! They love looking at her pictures and kissing them. :) They talk about how they are going to love her and play with her.  They enjoy reading the books I get from the library...some of our new favorites - "The Red Thread, An Adoption Fairytale", "A sister for Matthew" and "Just add One Chinese Sister" - ok the last one I cried reading. :)  Aili'snext book report is on a nonfiction book about China. :)

Emotions - yep, lots of them. 

I keep relating this back to pregnancy as I have nothing else to compare it to...
Where am I now?
Third trimester... I'm tired, not sleeping well, uncomfortable, just wanting to hold my baby girl and be out of this stage...  also have the bad dreams...had them when pregnant too -  Satan trying to get me all worried.  God is faithful though. 

My sweet Aili said last night before bed, "Mommy I read what this says, but it still doesn't comfort me (she was reading "God's answers to little girls")."  I asked what she needed comforted about and she said, "I worry something will happen to Meisi before we can get to some of the other babies."  Ughhh.... with tears in my eyes the pictures of the precious babies on LWB page who have died  flashed in my memory.  One of the verses in her book was John 14:1 - Jesus said, "Don't let your heart be troubled.  Trust in God.  And trust in Me."  Aili and I talked on how that should bring comfort.  God is in control of all things.  He knew Meisi before she was born ("He knit her together in her mother's womb" Psalm 139:13) and He knows the plans He has for her and for our family ("plans to prosper you and not to harm you. to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11).  We have to trust Him.  We prayed for God to comfort Aili and to protect Meisi.  Aili and I both fell asleep within minutes of that prayer... I woke up at 2:30 am realizing I was still lying there next to her - oops!  Thank you Jesus for your comfort!!!

I am certain I will update more of "While we wait..." later.   this process takes time. Just to be clear though, we believe wholeheartedly - Meisi is worth the wait!  :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The wait....

This is so much harder than I thought it would be...

Waiting and Waiting...
Counting days...
Comparing any and every chart I can find on China Special Needs Adoption time lines....

We are still waiting on a piece of paper from China called a LOA or LSC.  After we get that it will be more paperwork and more waiting....

I made a rule that now I can only look at time lines twice per day.  Yes, I truly had to make that rule.  I also stopped looking at so many blogs.  Too much time.  I found I was spending more time doing all that and becoming exhausted.

Then was reminded by a dear friend's blog - that the joy of the Lord is my strength!

He already has this planned out!  He is going to get us to our precious Meisi (pronounced Maycey) in His perfect timing.

Yep, I still plead with Him nightly that our paperwork gets through quicker than "normal."
Yep, I still pray He performs some type of miracle and allows us to get to her by the end of the year.

I also know He ALWAYS answers prayer.... sometimes it is "Yes" and sometimes it is "No".

I want His will, because it is perfect and always what is best for us.
I also want to hold her, love her, tickle her, hear her laugh, hold her hand....

Please continue to pray with us that we trust our Lord to protect and comfort our sweet child until we can get there and that it would be His will for us to get to her quickly.

Thanks you for your prayers!! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Precious Little "Bergen"

Update!!  A family is moving forward with Bergen!!!  Praise God!!!!  :) 

This is a precious little guy who I have been praying for that I saw on the Love Without Boundaries facebook page -

Isn't he adorable!?  He needs a home.  He also needs a heart surgery as he has a very complex congenital heart defect.  The quicker he gets matched with a family, the quicker he gets the care he needs.  He is inoperable in China, but here there are more options.

If he is your baby, and you want more information - please let me know!  I cannot give specific information, but Kimberly at Great Wall can help.  Her email is

Can you join me in prayer for this sweet baby - that God protects him and his precious heart and that God leads his family to him so they can get to him quickly.

"Every day of my life was written in your book before one of them came to be."  Psalm 139:16

Thank you.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer."  Matthew 21:22

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sweet Prayers

Do you ever question how much your kids actually get about what is going on in your life?  I keep praying for them to be prepared for our sweet daughter to join us just as much as I pray for her heart to be prepared to join us. 

Tonight God gave me a precious gift... a glimpse of what my sweet children understand and how they are feeling about our newest addition...
Tonight the kids took turns praying before dinner....

Ian (5), "Thank you for the food, thank you for mommy and daddy and thank you for our sweet baby sister that we are adopting."

Aili (8),"Thank you that we are able to adopt our baby sister.  Thank you Lord for giving us the pre-approval from China so she can be ours.  Thank you for providing for us to go get her in China."

Tears, Tears.... then my sweet kids realizing that mommy was crying...
yet not understanding why or how precious their sweet words and loving hearts are to me....

Thank you Lord, for blessing me with such amazing gifts.
Thank you for my children.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pre-Approval (PA)!!

Yay!!!  The Pre-Approval is here!!!!  They said 2-4 weeks and it took 7 days!!!   That means that based on the little bit of information they got in our packet stating we wanted to accept the referral for our precious girl, that China gives approval for us to move to the next phase.  Which is:

Translating our very long dossier (papers that took several months to gather)
Reviewing same paperwork
Matching - agree again that we are a good match still

Then finally we will get a Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC).  This could take anywhere from 5-12 weeks.  AND our agency just said we cannot post pictures until we get that - BOO!!  Yes, I know others have, but trying to follow directions, as um....I have to tell my children to do so multiple times each time... lead by example right??  :)

So, praying now that we will be on the shorter time frame vs the longer!  Can you pray that for us too?? 

Patience is something I have always struggled with - lol....immediately think of the "Fruit of the Spirit" Song.   That song has actually been dancing in my head for two weeks since Pastor Bob did his sermon and asked about the fruit of the spirit...

I will leave it for you so you can have it dancing in your head too (sorry not too tech gotta click on this):

Thanks for your prayers!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We are in LOVE!!!

Tuesday morning, August 21st we found out we got logged in....

Tuesday afternoon agency calls and conversation goes like this, "Stay by your phone on Monday night as we will need you right away and it will probably be late.... Oh - and you are still open to a boy right?"  Me, "Of course, boy or girl."  Agency, "Well, good because it could take much longer to match with a girl." 

Tuesday night - tell my husband the conversation... His response, "Great!  So now she isn't even going to look at girls for us." My thoughts, "OH NO!!!  He is still concerned about a boy!""  So a sleepless night it was for me... is he still worried he would struggle with bonding with a boy (in previous post explained this original concern)...

I finally talked to him about his statement and of course, that wasn't what he meant at all!  He was still happy for either and he bonded well with our friend's precious son that was with us for two weeks while they were in China.:) After 14 years I should know to talk before assuming I understand his thoughts and analyze his words beyond what is said... :)

Wednesday afternoon, August 22nd, got a call from the agency - they have a file for us.....

WHAT?? This isn't Monday???  So I stand in the line at Party City as she gives me the info on the file - a little Girl's file.   Wow!  Wasn't expecting that!  Caveat - if we take the file and don't make decision by Monday - we cannot go through file release night.  We got the file and started trying to make decision by Monday. 

I called Brian, we prayed before opening the file.  Does God still answer prayers - ABSOLUTELY!!! I wanted peace, certainty for both of us.  I was at home, Brian was at work.  We prayed over the file then we opened the file.  I called him to hear his response... He said what I was feeling, "I don't know how anyone could say no to this little girl.  She is precious.  I think she is OUR little girl." 

We showed Aili her picture (our kids have seen many pictures as we pray over children).  Aili said, "Is she our baby?"  I said, "We are praying over her just like we pray over the other children."  She immediately prayed, "God pleeaassse let this be our baby." 

We were anxious to show Ian because all the girls we have shown him so far as we look through lists he says, "She is cute, but I want a brother."  :(  Brian asked him what he thought of her.  His response, "She's good enough."  Me, "LOL, good enough for what?"  Ian, "I like her."  :) :)  The next night he told us she was really going to like his brightly colored musical drum set when she comes home. :)  Her file states she likes brightly colored toys and musical toys. :) 

We sent her file off to the doctors (cardiologist and pediatrician). We continued to pray for her and our family before confirming what we felt from the moment we saw her.  August 24th  (Aili's birthday) we emailed agency to say- We are in LOVE and we ACCEPT the referral!!!  August 26th (Brian's birthday) we finished paperwork to send to China for pre approval (PA)!  We cannot post pictures until after we get approval from China, but I know you will be in love too!!   She is SO SO precious!!!

Thank you for your prayers!!!  God answered (He always does). :)  Please continue to pray for us during the process (may be 6+ months before we get to bring her home).  We are praying for a quick process, but more than anything please pray for her to be well cared for and her heart prepared to meet her new family. :)  I don't think I can put enough smiley faces in this post!!! :) :) :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First day of school and LID!!!

Summer went by so fast!  Today I took my precious children back to school.  How does time go by so quickly??  Aili is already in third grade and Ian is in kindergarten!  I feel like I have just blinked and here we are!!  :( 

Kimberly at Great Wall cheered me up though!!  We got our Log in Date (LID)!!  The file release is Monday the 27th eve.  If they can lock a file for us we will have 72 hours to review.  If not then maybe on Thursday eve!  Praying for wisdom for Kimberly and us and for God's hand to guide us through this!! :)  We are soooo excited!!!!

I will leave you with pics of my sweeties and their first day! :)

My cuties :)

My little ham :)

3rd grade and Kindergarten - Already??
Just walked right in and sat in his seat, all smiles... :..(

Sunday, August 12, 2012


YAY!!!!  Our agency let us know that Friday all our paperwork (our dossier) that we've been working on since March was sent to China (DTC- Dossier to China)!!  :)  Woohoo!!! 

So...what now??

We were told it is taking 2-3 weeks to get a LID (log in date).  Once we have the LID we can be matched with children who are LID only (these are special needs children new to the list or who have less severe special needs). 

China releases a new list of children whose files have just been prepared for adoption on the China side once each month.  That list comes out the last or second to last Monday eve our time - Tuesday morning China time. So, if our agency sees a child come onto the list that sounds like a match for us they "lock that child's file."  We only have 72 hours to review the file, consult with doctors and fill out paperwork if we decide to move forward with that child.  We can say no as well.  All agencies are looking at the list at the same time.  So, we'd only get a call on Monday eve if they found a match and successfully locked the file.  The process happens again in 72 hours (Thursday) for all the children whose files got locked on Monday but the families decided not to move forward. 

Exciting to be at this stage. :)  Praying for wisdom for both our special needs consultant (Kimberly) and ourselves.  Praying that God's hand continues to direct our path. Praying that He will give us His peace that transcends all understanding as to proceed or not with the file we are given. It is so heart breaking to say no. :(  We have reviewed two files of special focus children (children who have been listed for a couple months or more severe special needs).  We did feel clearly these were not our children due to the severity of their needs after review from our physicians.  I think God allowed me to experience that as I couldn't understand how one can say no until we were handed these precious children's files. So thankful for the amazing pediatrician and cardiologists God has placed in our life who truly care and are thoroughly reviewing files to help us through this process without asking anything in return. God provides all our needs. :)  He keeps showing me this over and over in our adoption journey.

I will let you know when we find out about our LID and whether it will be this month or next that we are able to participate in the file release night so that you can pray alongside us.  :) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

797 - ARRIVED!!!!

IT IS HERE!!!! IT IS HERE!!! IT IS HERE!!! - :) 

That was me today dancing around the mailbox - just 32 days and we got our 797!!!!  Woohoo!!! 

We will get it sent off to DC tomorrow!!  Hopng for Great Wall to get it there in time to be DTC next Friday (they send out on Fridays)!! :)  Of course, depends on how things move along in DC. 


Will share more next time about our awesomly refreshing vacation visiting and reconnecting with some special friends we have been blessed with throughout our life. :)

For now....excited to reach another step in our journey! :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Somewhere in the 2nd Trimester

That is what it feels like to me right now...  about the middle of the second trimester. 

The roller coaster continues - just like pregnancy. :)  For me, the first part of the adoption (the Dossier phase) has been much akin to the first trimester of pregnancy.  Full of emotion - anxiety, questions, excitement...  Unlike my pregnancies I THANKFULLY have not experience the continual sickness.  I also did not lose weight like I did in my pregnancies - lol...nope...gaining just like a normal pregnancy. :) 

I say "somewhere in the second trimester" because now we are just waiting.  I don't know if you had this feeling, but I couldn't wait for the first trimester to be over.  I wanted to be through the sickness, through the worries of those critical first 12 weeks.  Wanted to rush through it (just as I have worked very hard to get all paperwork done as quickly as possible for the dossier).  Rush rush to get to this part...the waiting....  For me the second trimester of pregnancy was the time of feeling a little better, resting and looking forward to being in the third trimester. :) 

We are here....waiting for the 797 to come in the mail.  Waiting to send our dossier to China.  Waiting to be matched with our child.  So that we can get to what I anticipate to be like the third trimsester - the LOA and travel phase of adoption.  During my third trimester, the weeks couldn't go by quick enough.  I just wanted to hold my chlidren, to see them, to sing to them, to love them.  The same emotions I've seen some of my friends go through as they prepare to travel to bring home their children.

Not there yet, but looking forward to it nonetheless.   :)  Meanwhile...just resting as we can do nothing more while waiting for the 797.   Yep....somewhere in the 2nd Trimester. :) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Home Study Completed!!

So many have asked how the adoption is going.  Well, we are still in the early stages but have finally completed our home study (birth, marriage certificate, background checks, visits with social worker, lots of notarized papers...)!  I have added a timeline on the sidebar so that you can follow along. :)

We are now waiting for authorization to be fingerprinted and then receive a 797 which is part of the immigration process on the US side.  Meanwhile all of our other paperwork is getting certified and authenticated (that means they check the notary and check the notaries check). After this we will be able to send our dossier to China (DTC) and get a log in date (LID)!  Woohoo!

When will we be matched?  Great question!!  We could be matched before we get a LID or after.  We just keep praying for God to protect our child.  We know God is in control and has power over everything!  He is A-M-A-Z-ing. :) 

Will keep you updated as our adoptoin journey continues!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

He is HOME!!

So, in case you were wondering where I was....I've been enjoying my dear hubby as he is now HOME!!

Our kids are so so happy :)

Ian wouldn't even let go of Brian while fast asleep - making sure he didn't get away again...

We have enjoyed his two weeks off with trips to Disney, pool and movie time.  It has been great!

They have Highland Games right now at Epcot (preparing for new movie - Brave)- we had so much fun!  How cool that when I turned the wheel to find out what family I would represent I got Macintosh (my maiden name is McIntosh)!  :)  Proud of our Scottish heritage! :)

We are sad this week he returned to work, but his arrival home each night brings bright smiles to us all. :)

More on adoption news next time. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Mommy Wars and the Motherless

Hope it was a JOYFUL Mother's Day for you!

Isn't it nice to have a day to be celebrated? :)  A day to get extra hugs and kisses, sweet cards and gifts made by our precious children. Beautiful flowers from hubby and kids (yes, he ordered some all the way from Afghanistan).  It is a nice day to think about the joys of motherhood.  

There are many joys - thinking of their precious 'firsts', hearing their laughter, seeing them smile, hearing them sing praises to our amazing God...  

Sometimes the joy of motherhood is more like that James talks about in James 1:2-4 - 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Day in and out God is refining me as a mother through these.. trials...   Do you ever have those days or weeks when your precious children make one poor choice after another, when the defiance seems worse each day?  

I know God is teaching me amazing things through motherhood - it is not easy, not a cake walk, and there are no instruction manuals...  But WOW - what a gift - what a life changing gift.  All good and perfect gifts are from above. James 1:17 

This weekend was full of those ups and downs and refinements and lessons for us.  Saturday morning started with us all getting up on the wrong side of the bed... but the day did get better. :)

We went to my favorite place for Southern cook'n - "Fred's" (love it as it reminds me of my 'Ole KY Home).

Here are some sweeter moments of the day.

Waiting to be seated
Kiss for the lil' bro

Next we went blueberry picking which was fun and yummy!

Ended our day with the community pool. :)

Apparently I was bit by what they think was a spider while picking blueberries.  Unfortunately, the doctor thinks the pool water caused an infection and I now have a nice cellulitis on my left arm.  Lesson learned - if you get bit by anything - don't go swimming!  

The good news - urgent care was not very busy on Mother's Day!  :)  Thanks to dear friends I had some much needed rest time without the kids for a couple hours while going to urgent care, getting antibiotics,pain pills and sleeping.. :)  

Perseverance until lacking nothing.  Wow- not there yet, but God does provide me all I need... 
I, however, often lack trust in Him and try to take matters into my own hands.  Which often leads to the feeling that I am failing, questioning if anything I say sinks into my kids brains...  

I often fall prey to the "Mommy Wars" as they are being called...  You know the breastfeeding vs. not; homeschooling vs. not; vaccinating vs not; spanking vs not; working vs staying at home; "real children" vs. "not" (yes people say that)....  We are passionate about our beliefs and like to share them.  Unfortunately, there is oftentimes some mom who is feeling she is doing it all wrong because of these "wars".... 

What the "mommy wars" really are seems to be a spiritual battle to me.  There are sooo many things Satan uses to make us feel inadequate, to make us question our being and ability to be a mother. Get Behind Me Satan!  My God is bigger, my God is stronger.... What a blessing to be a mommy - to do what you feel God has called YOU to do!  To be refined by Him daily.  No other job has brought me to my knees more and required that I stay focused on Him, His word, His love, His grace. 

Sometimes I think Satan uses all these "wars" to keep us preoccupied with ourself, our issues, our pains, our shortcomings.  Instead of allowing us to think of and pray for ALL the MANY MANY children who don't have a Mommy at all!  They've never celebrated Mother's Day because they have no one to celebrate.  They have no one to tuck them in, to give them hugs and kisses, to pray with them.  No one to give them security, no one to kiss their boo boos, or cheer them on in life, no one who says, "I love you."  

I am so thankful for being a mommy.  I am thankful for my two precious children.  Thankful for the trials...well, not always, but  I will have joy in all that the day brings...  I don't always handle it perfectly and do have to apologize to my kids for my not handling things as I should (when I try to be Lord of my life instead of allowing Him to be).  It is a great example of why we all need His grace and His mercy.  

Meanwhile, I pray for the motherless and have that longing to hold my new child just like the longing I had to see and hold Aili and Ian when they were growing inside of me.  I would LOVE to be able to love each child who has never known love.  Obviously, I can't do that.  I will start by loving the ones God has given me and however more He decides to give me through adoption while praying that more families will be called to this journey and  "Be Brave."