Wednesday, September 26, 2012

YAY One step closer...


We have been eagerly awaiting this next phase of our adoption and it is finally here! We are now -

What is that??

Well, DTC stands for "Dossier to China" which is the next step in our adoption process. All of the many forms, background checks, letters of recommendation, homestudy, fingerprint and immigration approvals, photos, birth certificates and basically everything about our family, have been stamped by our government, translated and bound together and are on their way across the Pacific Ocean headed toward the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) to await an LID - "log-in date" - the day the dossier is officially logged in to their system.

So what happens now?

As far as I know, here are our remaining steps:

1. Receive our LID (log in date) (I think this takes a few weeks to a month from DTC).
2. Receive our official referral of T which we will sign/notarize and then send back to the agency and then to China.
3. Await our LOA (our official letter of acceptance from China). This can take 1-5 months to arrive (averaging around 60 days). Once we receive this, we sign, copy and return to the agency.  It is at this point that we can formally announce our new daughter here on the blog and share all her sweet pictures!!
4. Now we will file another immigration form (I-800) - this takes about 3 weeks til approval. The approval gets sent to the National Visa Center.
5. The National Visa Center will now send their approval to the US Consulate - this takes a week. A week after that, we should receive a letter saying that step is complete.
6. We send that letter off to our agency in WA who delivers the letter to the US Consulate in China. China then issues an "Article 5" in 2-3 weeks stating their pre-approval for an immigration visa for Ting. Our agency picks up that Article 5 and takes that to the CCAA (are you following all these initials???).
7. Once the CCAA receives our Article 5, they issue our TA (travel approval) - this takes about 2-4 weeks.
8. Once we have our TA, our agency will arrange all our travel details and we must travel within 90 days to meet and bring home our daughter!!!

Phew... did you follow all that???? I didn't even list out all the steps that got us to the DTC (we have been working on all of those steps since April!!).

Yes, adoption is not for the faint of heart. Pregnancy and childbirth were hard but this is hard in a whole new way!

Still wondering what you can do to help? (quite a few of you have asked). There are several ways:

1. PRAY! We are still fundraising (will be til we head to China), still have fees to pay and the looming travel costs. Pray for T who doesn't know about us yet but will soon. She has been in her foster home for as long as she can remember. This is going to be such a change for her - and will be very difficult. Please pray for her little heart to handle the changes ahead of her. We are excited that soon we will be able to send her a care package with a photo album of our family and some gifts.

2. BE A PIECE OF OUR PUZZLE! I am happy to say that we have over 200 of the 500 pieces we need to have our world puzzle totally sponsored. Thank you so much to those of you who have already sponsored pieces. It's easy - each piece is $10. You can pay using PayPal (see the top right hand bar of this blog - the "chip-in" only shows up if viewing this on your computer - not phone). Or you can send me a check or purchase pieces in person. Many of our friends and family have bought a piece for each member of their family. Thank you to all of them for this gift - your names are all listed at the bottom of the blog. My family is getting excited for the day that the entire puzzle is sponsored and we can put the puzzle together!

3. BUY SOME COFFEE! We are currently selling coffee as a fundraiser for our costs. See the right hand bar of this blog for our Just Love Coffee Storefront. We are selling a number of different yummy coffees and receive a portion of all the purchases.

4. PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER HOW YOU CAN HELP WITH THE ORPHAN CRISIS. My hope is that our story will inspire all of you to learn more about a crisis that is very easy for us to ignore or assume is not our responsibility. The statistics estimate that there are between 143 and 210 MILLION orphans world-wide. Not our problem? - not so. God speaks many times about our responsibility to care for the fatherless and the poor. Can you even imagine not having a family or parents? Not having a home and the love and security of a family to help you in this life? Please, pray how you can help. Pray for these children, sponsor a fatherless child, help a family you know locally who is adopting. Perhaps God is nudging you to do more - perhaps he is nudging your family to look into adoption. Please, do something.

4. CHECK BACK WITH OUR BLOG FREQUENTLY FOR FUTURE FUNDRAISERS! We are hoping to do a few more fundraisers as time goes on. At the moment, we are applying for some grants with some wonderful organizations who assist families who are following God's call to care for orphans. So again, I am swamped with more never

Thank you all for the encouraging gifts, notes, comments and love. We can't tell you how humbled and grateful we are!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I dared to write I dare you to read it...

I'm feeling burdened today.

Feeling burdened for those who are hurting.  (Buckle up, this is a long post...)

Lately, it seems, that many I know are facing trials. One friend has been sitting by a dying family member for weeks, another lost her brother suddenly, another family member has had one stress and uncertainty after another, family and friends are nervously awaiting medical diagnoses,  living with chronic illnesses, marital difficulties, addictions, job uncertainties, financial stress.

Just this past week, our town was rocked by a terrible murder/suicide of an entire family. Our children and teens (and our entire town) are left to mourn and deal with the devastation of such a horrible tragedy.

Personal lives are further punctuated by the news stories of global issues like poverty, abuse, crime, injustice, threats of war, and the list goes on. This world is broken. One just needs to look around a little to see it.

I'm feeling burdened today.

Feeling burdened for those who, amid these personal long-term stresses, crises, sadness, anxiety, illness, death...feel alone, lost, scared, fearful, anxious, desperate, lonely, and discouraged.

More than half a life time ago (yes, a little more than half as many years ago as I am in age), I made a decision to follow a path that has not only affected the course of my life, my focus, my choices, my life's ambitions, but my future, my destiny...and how I am able to face the pain, crises, hardships, and difficulties of day to day life - and the big, life-altering events that this life has handed me.

So tell me, how do YOU do it?

How do YOU manage?

How do YOU face the stresses and disappointments and heartache and pain that this world and your life situations sometimes heap upon your hearts?

I do know that for me...I can't face it alone.

I made the decision all those years ago to give my life over to the ONE - the only ONE - who could rescue, save, strengthen, and make this fearful and anxious heart into something HE could use. I knew then - and it has been proven over and over to me - that JESUS is the only way that I can walk through the painful times of this life, face the fears of the unknowns, maintain hope for an everlasting future, be used for something bigger than I could ever imagine.

Do I still stuggle? Yep.

Do I still have difficulties? Yep.

Do I still have kids who irritate and disappoint me? Yep.

Do I still mess up daily, sin, and get discouraged? Yep.

Do I still hurt over the losses and sadnesses this life has handed me? Yep.

Do I still cry about the injustice, the hideous crimes and tragedies of this life? Yep.


Do I have hope? Yep - always.

Do I have a SAVIOR who stands beside me through each and every day, hardship, dark moment, and tragedy?  Yep, I know HE is there.

Do I know that I am never alone through all the good and all the bad? Yep - always.

Do I know that by giving HIM my life, HE will use it in the way it was intended - and that it will give HIM glory and satisfy the inner longings of my soul? Yep - always.

Do I know that this life is just a part of my journey...that my true home, will one day be with HIM in an eternal home with no tears, sadness, death, or pain?  Yep, thankfully.

Do I wish for each of my friends and family, and to those of you I might not know personally, to know HIM like I do? Yep - of course.

Do I pray that you will know HIM and by knowing HIM will long for eternal treasures rather than losing yourself in the pursuit of earthly things that will never last?  Yep, I will admit I do.

Do I cry knowing you are brought down by the struggle to carry the weight of the burdens of this life all by yourself - without the supernatural help of a mighty, savior KING? bet.

Do you know HIM? Do you have HIM - with you, beside you... in you?

Have you considered HIM?

Not sure how many people actually read this blog. I'm thinking that most of you that do are fellow believers. You share in the hope that I have. You know Jesus - and Jesus knows you. You talk to HIM like I do. You study about HIM and the God who sent HIM. You love HIM and pour your life out for HIM and know, like I, that HE is with you - through each and every day - beside you, guiding you, and when necessary, carrying you or picking you up to help keep you going. It is because of HIM that you have lived through unthinkable things, handle what the world might think impossible, make the choices you do for your life (even if it appears ridiculous to the world). You make life's decisions based on what is in line with HIS words and actions. You long to know HIM, to be like HIM, and to serve and share the good news about HIM.

But I would guess that some of you who might happen upon this page don't know what I am talking about. You will read through this post and be irritated or indifferent. You will be offended. You will come up with reasons that this is foolishness or not realistic or silly. You will not finish reading, or will not stop back here again, or might decide that I have lost it.

Please...keep reading...

Your thoughts about me personally are not important. But your thoughts about HIM are. Whether you like it or not, this man Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead. HE fulfilled prophesies told long before HE appeared on this Earth of what the long awaited Jewish Messiah would be like, what lineage and town HE would come from, what sort of life HE would live, and what of sort of death HE would die. Because of HIS life, HE demands a response from you. You will either disregard HIM... or HE will be your Lord. As I see it, there is no in-between. You can't "sorta" follow HIM.

Please...consider Jesus.

Get a Bible, read the gospels (the Books Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the New Testament) or any other information about HIM (did you know there is much written about HIM in other ancient historical documents?) (The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel is a great contemporary look at one man's investigation of Jesus). Decide for yourself if HE is worth investigating or at least ask (what can it hurt to just ask?) if HE will show you who HE is - that HE will make HIMself known to you. Read HIS words in The Bible. Seek other believers.

And then make a decision. HE demands a decision.

Either HE is who is said HE was... or HE wasn't. If HE is who HE said HE was...well, it will change your life - it changed mine.  And with this you can't argue. Challenge the reading material, even The Bible, but you can not argue with me about my experiences, and what HE is to me personally, or what HE has done in my life and through my life.

HE is alive and real and living in me and in HIS other believers. HE offers hope, future, and everlasting life. HE has changed me and continues to change me and lead me in directions I never thought I could or would dare to go. Our GOD loves and longs for each and every one of HIS children to consider HIM, and find HIM, know HIM, and follow HIM. HE wants to live in you and through your life. HE wants to be there beside you through each of your share in the day to day details, joys, difficulties, successes, failures, and tragedies. Quite honestly, I don't know how others can face these things without HIM beside them.

HE longs to be your savior, your hope, and to guide you in the life that HE has planned for you to live.

Please consider HIM.

This song says it so well. Listen.  Please consider HIM - who died for you and offers to be with you...always... If you ask, HE will not forsake you either...not for a moment...

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