Archive for May, 2011

Grace & Hope For Children

I had heard from several other families, that had adopted children from the same city that Xander is in, that their children had been sponsored to be in foster care through an organization called Grace & Hope For Children.   The mission of Grace & Hope For Children is to be an agent of God’s Grace in the lives of Chinese orphans by recruiting & training foster families in China along with also raising support for these families.  I emailed them this week and asked if Xander was one of the children they were sponsoring in foster care.  They emailed me back within hours and said, “Yes, thanks to a very faithful sponsor, your son is in our foster care program.”

This was not the only greats news to come with this email however.  They went on to share that they would be happy to give us all of his foster care reports once his adoption is final.  Grace & Hope sends their staff out to meet with the foster family every quarter and they complete a report with their visit that includes developmental milestones, what his daily life with his foster family is like, and 5 to 10 pictures.  Xander has been in foster care for over 2 years now so we should get at least 8 reports from them.  What a blessing!  I have been hoping we’d get some information about his time in China with his foster family so that he would have this information when he gets older.  Grace & Hope will hand deliver the reports to us in our hotel while we are in China.  The woman who emailed me said that their staff gets very attached to the children in their program and they love to come and say goodbye to them and see them with their forever families.

The woman who emailed me all this information also sent me several YouTube videos about the work that Grave & Hope does in China.  I’ll post them below.  The 1st video is really just an intro into who Grace & Hope For Children is.  The next 2 videos talk about the importance of foster care.  The final video talks about a little girl that they helped.  They are all great and give you a little glimpse into the work that they do in China and the amazing impact they make in the lives of children there.  We will forever be grateful to them and that very special sponsor who helped take care of our little boy and give him a family to love him until we could come and bring him home.

LOA Signed & I800 on It’s Way!

Yesterday we received our LOA in the mail and last night Patrick and I sat down to sign it.  The document itself is a fancy sheet of paper which states that China has accepted us as the adoptive parents and then asks us if we want to continue with the adoption.  Patrick checked off that yes, we want to adopt Xander and then signed his name.

And then it was my turn to sign my name in affirmation of wanting to adopt Xander :)

After that we went through the I800 form again and we signed everything.  This morning I put it in the mail and it should arrive at USCIS tomorrow morning.  Hopefully everything will look good and they will forward it onto our officer for approval.

I will admit that I am having a little bit of dread that it will get sent back to us.  This evening I realized that one of the forms for Xander’s visa application that I signed I forgot to date.  Patrick didn’t sign this form, just me.  Actually I signed it for Xander and then signed my name as his mother (which was very cool).  But it did this a week or so ago and didn’t date it because I didn’t know when we’d send it in.  Well last night I forgot to go back and date it and now I’m worried they’ll send it back to us… ugh!  I checked all this paperwork so many times, I can’t believe I missed that.  Oh well, what’s done is done.  I guess we’ll find out next week.  Either I’ll get a text that it was accepted or we’ll find it all back in our mailbox.


I just got the phone call from Betty at our agency and she has our LOA!!!  Day 44 was our lucky day :)  She is going to over night it to us so we should have it tomorrow.  Then we can get our I800 off to the USCIS to get permission to bring Xander into the US.   Things are moving along and I love it!  What a happy day!!!!!

3 Mothers

On this Mother’s Day I have to admit that I am thinking ahead to next Mother’s Day when Xander will be home with us.  I can’t wait!  It will be so much fun to get to spend this day with my son.  However, he is not only my son.   Somewhere in China there is a woman who loved our son enough to carry him for 9 months.  The mother that gave birth to our son and cared for him when he was first born.  My heart goes out to her this day and I can never thank her enough for giving our son life and ensuring that he had a future.   It is my greatest hope that she has some peace about the incredibly hard decision she had to make when our son was so little.  The other woman in my thoughts today is the woman who is holding our son this day.  The only mother our son can remember.  The woman who gets to see him and love on him each and every day for the last 2 years.  And as excited as I am to finally meet our son I also know that in order for this to happen means that this woman will have to say goodbye.  Goodbye to the little boy she’s cared for and watched over this past 2 years and my heart breaks for her when I think of how hard that day will be.  I am so grateful to this woman and pray God’s blessing upon her this day.  I think I’ll always share Mother’s Day in some special way in my heart with these 2 other women, the women who all have had a special place in our son’s life and to whom I’ll always be grateful for.

Our agency sends out a newsletter every week giving updates for the China program.  In this weeks newsletter they included this poem which I’ll end today’s thoughts with.

Legacy Of An Adopted Child

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember,
The other you call mother.

Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one,
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,
And the second taught you to live it.
And the first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality.
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seeds of talent,
The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.

One gave you up,
It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.

And now you ask me through your tears,
The age old question through the years.
Heredity or environment, Which are you a product of?
Neither, my Darling, Neither,
Just two different kinds of love.

Author Unknown

Third Day

Last night Patrick and I went and saw Third Day (a Christian rock band).  It was an awesome concert and we had so much fun!  One of the last songs they played was called “Children of God” and the lead singer, Mac Powell, explained why this song was so special to him and one of his favorite songs on their new album.  He and his wife had 3 children and thought that their family was complete but God had other plans for them.  They began to feel led to adopt a child and so they faithfully went down the road of adoption.  They now have 2 children that they have adopted.  He explained that while they were waiting to go and get their 1st child he often wondered if he’d love that child as much as his biological children.  He knew that he’d love the child but wasn’t sure if it would the same… he joked that he figured it’d be like 90% of the love that he had for his other children.  However, he shared last night that this wasn’t the case at all.  He shared that he loves his two adopted children just as much and in some ways maybe even more or maybe it’s better to say in just a very different way.  He said there is something very special about his love for his adopted children because of how they came together, how he had to go and find them and bring them home where they belonged.  He shared that now his family is complete because they are there.

He went on to say how becoming an adoptive parent has also changed how he views God.  In Ephesians 1:5 it says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  We are all God’s adopted children and God wants us in his family and loves us as his children.  Mac Powell explained that after adopting his own children this concept took on a whole new meaning to him and changed once again how he viewed God and God’s love for him.

It was really cool to hear him talk about how adoption has affected his own life, family, and relationship with God.  As they played the song “Children of God” they had pictures that fans had sent in of their children that were adopted on the big screen behind them.  It was a really special moment for Patrick and I as we eagerly await bringing Xander home.  Below you can see the music video for “Children of God.”  The video is a little different than how they did the song last night but you get still get the idea.


We got an update for Xander!

Our Little Man!

Xander May 4, 2011

We got the best surprise yesterday, new pictures of Xander!  I absolutely love the new pictures.  He looks so adorable in them and older.  As we all looked at them last night we couldn’t believe how he looks more like a little man in these pictures and not a toddler or baby.  I have to admit it did make me a little sad to see him looking older because it reminds me that we are missing out on so many things in his life right now.  But even with those feelings I was still thrilled to see him and I can’t wait to meet him.  I just can’t believe that I get to have the privilege of being his Mommy.

Along with the new pictures we also got some new measurements for him.  He is now 33 inches tall and 22 lbs.

LOA Update: Day 33 of the wait.  On Friday some families with an LID of 3/23 received their LOA which was exciting for me to see…  maybe, just maybe we could be a little over a week away from LOA?

Adoption Timeline
  • Summer 2010 - started talking about adoption
  • Aug 19, 2010 - participated in webinar
  • Sep 22, 2010 - mailed in adoption application
  • Sep 28, 2010 - adoption application accepted
  • Oct 8, 2010 - fingerprints for home study
  • Oct 14, 2010 - fire inspection done
  • Oct 25, 2010 - Patrick & Kimberly complete physicals for the adoption
  • Nov 4, 2010 - finished Heart of the Matters Parent Education
  • Nov 9, 2010 - Ariel's physical is completed
  • Nov 15, 2010 - 1st Home Study Visit
  • Dec 10, 2010 - Kimberly's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 16, 2010 - Patrick & Ariel's Individual Interview with Social Worker
  • Dec 19, 2010 - Received rough draft of Home Study to review
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Received Final Home Study
  • Jan 7, 2011 - Sent I800A form into USCIS
  • Jan 18, 2011 - We see our son's face for the 1st time!
  • Jan 21, 2011 - Submit Letter of Intent to China
  • Jan 27, 2011 - Receive Pre-Approval from China
  • March 7, 2011 - I800a approval
  • March 24, 2011 - Dossier to China
  • April 2, 2011 - Log In Date
  • May 16, 2011 - LOA
  • June 2, 2011 - I800 Approval
  • June 10, 2011 - Cable sent by National Visa Center
  • June 13, 2011 - NVC Letter & final paper work sent to Agency!!!!
  • June 23, 2011 - Article 5 papers dropped off
  • July 8, 2011 - Article 5 pick up
  • July 19, 2011 - Travel Approval!!!!!!
  • August 15, 2011 - Forever Family Day!!!!!!
  • August 25, 2011 - Arrive home; Xander becomes a US citizen :)