Saturday, June 16, 2012

Exciting Week

I found out on Tuesday of this week (6/12) that my dossier review was complete and everything was outstanding.  It was like getting a gold star on the top of a term paper :)  I didn't realize until it was all done and approved how much of my mental energy was being spent for the past 6+ months on keeping track of paperwork and getting through the paper part of the process.  The best part was that the review was supposed to take 9-11 days but it only took 4.5 days!!!  What a blessing!!

On Friday, I got the news that the translation was complete and my dossier is on its way to China.  DONE! (with this part anyway).  What a gift.  It usually takes 3-5 days to get to the central adoption agency in China and then about 3 more weeks to be officially "Logged-In", but we are one giant step closer and that is a praise.

On another note, we found out last Friday (6/8) that we were approved to do a Both Hands Fundraiser.  I have been passionate about this ministry since I first heard of it several months ago.  Basically, we need to raise a team of 10-15 people who will, in turn get supporters for their work (kind of like a walkathon) only they will be working on a widow's house.  It is James 1:27 being lived out perfectly.  One hand for the orphan, one hand for the widow is their slogan.  We are praying for this fundraiser and right now, specifically for a team of passionate, dedicated people who will commit to helping make this project a success.  If you think of it, please pray for us as we work to develop a team and choose a widow to help.  I so love this opportunity and would love to not only have a great team and really bless someone in need but also raise money to complete our adoption of Liliana.  If you want to help, let me know!

If you want to know more about Both Hands, click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Will Hide God's Word In My Heart

One of many things that my mom did a GREAT job on when we were kids was helping us to memorize scripture.  She knew that the younger the child the more easily they can memorize things and pick up key truths.  I know so many passages of scripture because of her work and commitment to helping us learn God's word.  All too often, we focus on learning A,B,C's and counting and reading and colors and how to dress, etc. but we overlook what scripture has commanded us to do

These words which I am commanding you this day
shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
and when you walk by the way, and when you 
lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:6ff

I have done scripture memorization with my kids for a couple of years now - off and on and going in spurts of consistency.  When I saw this book suggested on a blog, I thought it would be the perfect addition to our family.  I would have a bank of 26 verses we could learn and we could tie them to the alphabet too!   

We have been fairly consistent with learning the verses with this book.  Since I am usually done my lunch while the trio is still eating, it gives me something to do.  We learn the verse with motions, which they help me come up with, and there is always a great application story to help the kids learn the truths that are contained in the scripture of the day.  The only drawback I have found to this book is that sometimes they only give a portion of the actual verse, so we have tried to learn the whole verse whenever we could, instead of just the snippet.

While Simeon was a part of what we were doing, I really wasn't focused on him learning the verses (since he was only about 13 months when we started), so I was shocked when one day he started doing the motions with us!  This is my little guy who still doesn't talk consistently, but here he was doing signs for the verses!  

My mom was right.  We truly underestimate what young children are capable of learning - especially when it comes to God's word.

Below is a video of him doing his favorite verse.  Ignore the goose egg on his head and the food all over him.  We had just finished eating... :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Living for snippets

I know I can't complain.  The amount of pictures and updates we get on Liliana are way more than most adoptive parents ever get.  Last night, I got the idea to search You Tube in hopes of finding some videos of Liliana's orphanage.  I figured, if anything, it might give me a better idea of what sort of facility she has been in.  The third video I came across was precious and recent (August 2011).  As I watched it, I found myself searching for any sort of glimpse of our baby girl.  Anything.  Just like I had on the first two videos with no success.  Then, I caught my breath, at the same time as B.J. said "Hey, isn't that Liliana???"  I have replayed that video about twenty different times.  I am 99% positive that the little girl that you get a glimpse of on the right and then she crawls across behind the kids crowding at the door is Liliana.  She had just been returned to the SWI for about a month at that point.  What a surprise glimpse and what a gift from God.  Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fun with school

While we are early in our homeschooling careers, one thing that B.J. and I are both committed to is making learning fun, engaging, multi-sensory, and more than just workbooks. We tend to create our own curriculum from a variety of sources and adapt it to our homeschooling. One of my favorites is Handwriting Without Tears. It has worked very well for Elianna, who is just finishing up her second year with the program, but I am learning more of the benefits of the multi-sensory approach with Janaya. With her achromatopsia, the varied approach to learning the letters works well. She learns to form letters with lines and curves (pieces of wood), erases with a wet little sponge piece and a dry piece when I write letters on the special chalkboard (so she gets to practice proper formation without having to remember how to make the letter at first), she gets to use playdough, chalk, and magnet boards too. There is also a CD, which, if you know Janaya, you know how much she loves music. Below is a video of all of her siblings getting in on the action.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Pictures

I love Swallow's Nest and the work that they are doing with orphans in China.  If you get a chance to check out their ministry, I highly recommend it and you can click here.  As a sponsor of Liliana, we get monthly updates and even a few pictures.  I had emailed Pam (one of the founders) a few general questions this evening and a few minutes later I had the answers (in spite of her dad being very ill - please pray for him!) and included with the answers were three pictures!

We know that Liliana is very delayed, though we don't know the exact cause.  What we do know is that we serve a God who has been and is orchestrating every part of this adoption and that He has called us to be her parents.  I know the road ahead will not be easy, but I can't wait to see what He has in store for her.
I love the expressions on these girls!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


We mailed our I797 (the last piece left for our dossier) to NY on Friday of last week.  It arrived on Saturday, but the consulate was closed on Monday.  I paid the extra fee to get next day sealing instead of 5 days and also express mail for the return, so I was expecting it back on Thursday.  Nothing.  Friday?  Nothing.  Friday evening I got a call that it would arrive on Saturday.  Today.

The post man didn't deliver it in the morning to our door, like he did the last time, so I was a little frustrated.  I went out to check the mailbox this afternoon and saw the express mail envelope stuffed in our (rather tiny) mailbox.  Frustrated that the mailman didn't bring it to the door, I was still excited that it was finally here. 

Carefully, I went to pull the fabulous, here's-how-you-open-these-envelopes strings and it happened.  The entire mailer tore.  Sure enough, it tore the very paper I had been waiting for this whole week.  I barely kept from crying (though I did later). 

It wasn't until that moment that I realized how much this dossier process has been weighing on me.  I have been collecting documents, following up with people who I have paid a small fortune for who don't do their jobs efficiently, and trying to stay on top of all the details of this paper chase since December.  For almost seven months, I have had a portion of my life consumed by this never-ending paper chase and for a brief moment, the end was in sight.  And then it disappeared. 

As it looks now, I will have to redo the sealing process for this document.  Which means dragging all three kiddos to the bank to have a new form notarized (fortunately, this one is notarized as a COPY and not the original!!), then pay to have it sent to Harrisburg for the Secretary of State to attach a letter saying that the notary is really a genuine notary.  Then I have to mail it (or go to the NY Consulate) and pay for the Chinese Consulate to say that this Secretary of State was really the Secretary of State of PA when this document was processed.  More expense?  Yes.  But probably more importantly, more time.  More time until we get to bring our little girl home and more time until I can get this beast of a paper chase off my back.  I could use some prayers on this because I am really discouraged/frustrated right now.