BaJabs' 2nd Gotcha Day was Jan. 14. BUT since Chinese New Year was this week we decided to celebrate the two together. It was an extra special day.
Mommy got the decorations and table ready the night before.
We dressed in our Chinese clothes for church and of course had breakfast.
We also spent some time remembering.
We were remembering the special day we welcomed BaJabs into our family.
It was a very cold day! Matt and I had very little sleep. We had just arrived in Beijing the afternoon before and found out that we needed proof that we did not have H1N1. We visited two Chinese Hospitals -- scary -- and they would not sign off. Finally, very late at night we were taken to an International Hospital and got the check-off that we needed. We arrived at our hotel around 1:00 am. We had to be up at 4:00 am to get on the train at 5:00 am to go get BaJabs.
We arrived just a few minutes before BaJabs. Matt and I were nervous. Finally, she was brought through the door. She was so sad -- and grumpy. Yes, this is something we all laugh about now :)
We spent the entire day filling out paperwork.
We ate at KFC. BaJabs LOVED it.
Finally, we had to take a train ride back to Beijing. BaJabs was very scared. She had a meltdown in the VERY crowded train station. Once. we got on the train she settle right down. She LOVED mama's beef jerky and the Chinese crackers the orphanage gave her.
We finally arrived back in Beijing around 10:00 pm.
We went directly to the hotel. We were all so tired. BaJabs would not take her clothes off. BUT at this point I was so tired. It didn't matter.
We woke up a few hours later. She did not want any clothes off BUT she was so hot. She was mad at Matt so I sent him out of the room. She eventually took her clothes off -- except her long johns. BECAUSE she wanted to wear the Tinker Belle nightie.
Finally, this is how Matt found us when he returned to the hotel room after he called home.
Yes, our trip improved lots during the next 16 days.
She finally gave baba a kiss on day 15.
And she did wonderful on the LONG plane ride home.
AND finally, got to meet the family. She wasn't too happy about everyone BUT we were home.
We all laughed about the 1 hour ride home. BaJabs screamed for 40 minutes of it. It was the longest ride ever and MD, JM and My Darling were wondering what was happening.
Amazingly, the very next time we got in the car -- she went right in her seat and never fussed again about riding.
We love and adore this little one that joined our family. She has gone through so much. BUT she is so strong. She is a goofball. She loves to play outside. She loves playing with dolls. She adores his brothers and sister. We are so thankful God brought us BaJabs!
Finally, after church we had our big dinner. Mommy and nanny made the dinner. Lauren and Jason brought our favorite -- hot and sour soup! BaJabs opened her special gifts. (When in China I find special items to save and give to the girls each year until they turn 18.) This year she got a beautiful jewelry box and a jade zodiac bracelet.
It was a special day -- celebrating a special little girl.
So, from our family to yours "Gung Hay Fat Choy"! Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Dragon 2012!
To be honest I thought we would only adopt once. Well, after My Darling -- actually after just 48 hours -- Matt said, "We are coming back!" AND I said, "Let me get HOME -- FIRST!" LOL
By the time we could summit our dossier again -- 1 year -- Matt had me convinced :) BUT BaJabs was going to be the last adoption. Matt was sure our family would be complete... and I was, too. The 2nd trip to China was interesting. Matt's dad had just past way (only 1 month before.) The Special Need BaJabs had was much worse than we anticipated AND she pretty much hated Matt. The weather really wasn't great in China. I got a pinched nerve by day 4 from carrying BaJabs. We met some wonderful people but our group was NOT like a 'family.' YET, we really had a good time.
When we finally got home -- yes, it was 19 days in China for BaJabs -- I really thought we were done. BaJabs needed some medical attention for her leg. AND I knew it would take some time. So, about 7 months in and after the amputation I was looking for a family that just might be going through what we were going through.
I typed BaJabs' disability in the google search and an unusual blog came up. It was an adoption advocate blog. At the time I had never seen one. I scrolled down and found this beautiful little girl.
The information on the blog was actually more information than what we got for BaJabs in her referral! WOW!! She already had a diagnosis. Well, that was great. The date to ask for her file had already past -- by 2 months. GREAT!! So, there will be some mommy in the next 8 months or so that I can talk to that has a daughter like BaJabs. Yep -- that's it. I was done.
Well, ONE week later this same picture came across an agency list. I couldn't believe it. REALLY??!! NO ONE is adopting her. This special need is manageable. YES, there is an operation BUT really it's not bad. Oh, wow! I couldn't believe it. AND for days I just couldn't put it out of my mind. So, I talked to my best friend about it. AND she said, "You have to talk to Matt!" She promised to pray with me about it.
The next day I decided I would just say something to Matt about her and just see what his response would be. So, I brought it up casually. "Hon.....ummmm.....well......I was reading some blogs and I found this little girl. Well, she has '--------' the same diagnosis as BaJabs. AND she really needs a family. AND .... well ..... I was thinking maybe we could be."
"Yeah, that sounds good. Why don't you call and see if you can get more information on her." He responded.
"WHAT!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT OUR CHECKBOOK SAYS???? DO YOU KNOW WE HAVE ONLY BEEN HOME 8 MONTHS WITH BAJABS???? DO YOU KNOW I'M CRAZY???"
He responded so calmly. "Sarah, if this is what God wants, well, it will all work out."
Really, I totally thought he would say NO. I couldn't believe he responded that way. I really wanted him to tell me that the voice I was hearing was NOT real. BECAUSE I wanted to get on with our 'new normal' and NOT change again. I knew we were going to be needing a new van. I WANTED A NEW VAN!! I REALLY wanted to go on a big family vacation -- FLORIDA where it is WARM when we are FREEZING in the winter.
"OK -- I will check on her" I told Matt.
It took some time and lots of monkey business. BUT I got her file. AND it was really ok. We had our pediatrician check it and... ok. AND I was still not believing this. I did NOT think God really wanted me to be a mom with LOTS of kids. REALLY??? Pastor starting preaching a series on stepping out and doing things for God. REALLY?!!?!I got the new book by Mary Beth Chapman. AND cried through the whole thing. I also was reading a book Reckless Faith -- Let Go and Be Led by Beth Guckenberger. NOW, I was really thinking. BUT really God -- you know what I WANT!!!
Well, the last straw BEFORE we could give the ok for Elizabeth was the specialist. We had a deadline from our new agency BUT Matt and I would not decide until this specialist gave us his recommendation on her file. Pretty much if he couldn't help her then we knew the answer was -- she is not for our family. Yep, I was banking that this doctor would tell me I was crazy. His nurse emailed and told me it would be 1-2 weeks before he could review. Ok -- well, that is past the date. The answer must be NO then.
The very next day I got an email from the doctor. 'Sarah, this little girl looks GREAT! This is no problem. I can totally work with her. Her file looks good. She will be a great addition to your family.' REALLY??? Ok -- God, the Dr. was suppose to tell me no. What are you doing???
Matt and I talked about it again. My hold backs were van, vacation, time. Matt's hold backs --- nothing. REALLY --- I'm equating a child's life with a van -- a vacation. I couldn't do that. It is all so material. THIS IS A CHILD!!! SHE NEEDS A FAMILY!!! WE CAN DO THIS!!! God will provide all my needs. HE even takes care of the birds ... SO, HE will take care of ME. God really wanted her to be in our family.
So, that day I called our NEW social worker and told her YES!! We will take this HUGE step of faith and do this.
It has been a VERY long process. The beginning had some big hurdles -- my health clearance, extra money, telling people -- yep, not everyone was happy about it. The kids -- THRILLED!! God has answered many of our prayers and always at exactly the perfect time. Money has showed up right when it was due, the right person was around to give support at just the right time, a new agency and new social worker that are beyond fabulous!!!
We are 1 year and 4 months into this adoption. AND I am positive that this is what God wants for our family. I do not know why HE has picked me to be her mommy BUT I'm trusting HIM. HE knows best.
BaJabs asked me just the other day, "Mommy, why are you and daddy adopting again?"
I was very surprised and taken back for just a moment. "Honey, remember when you were in China?? We just ...."
BaJabs jumped right in before I could even finish, "Mom everyone needs a mommy and daddy --even Elizabeth needs one. That's why you are going again." She had the biggest smile on her face.
"Yes, honey! Everyone needs a mommy and daddy"
So, that's why Elizabeth -- she needs a mommy and daddy! AND because God LOVES her. AND we do, too!
And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Article 5 was picked up and taken to Chinese Gov.
VISA's were actually done quicker than expected.
All 4 of the kids are so excited about Elizabeth. They pray for her every day!
Our TA will come soon!!
Finances -- We still are in need of the rest of the $
Our health -- we really are praying we are healthy and STAY that way
These final weeks before traveling are crazy. Pray that we have clear minds and make the right choices on how we fill our time.
Yep, I have heard all those AND more -- 100's of times over the last 6 months. AND Yep, it's like when I was pregnant with the boys and everyone kept saying, "HOW MUCH LONGER?" BECAUSE -- I never have a great answer. Timing is somewhat of an unknown in adoption (as it was in my pregnancies because of my diabetes.) The process is known just not the timing. Yes, there are 'guesstimates.' BUT that is just it -- it's a guess. So, it seems every time I think I can make a reasonable -- EDUCATED answer of when we leave -- well, it changes. Oh, I have a hard time with unknowns! I LOVE structure and schedules!!!
THANKFULLY there is
One for sure thing -- WE ARE ADOPTING ELIZABETH!
Now for where we are at IN the process. We have approval from BOTH countries that she is ours. Some of that paperwork took a LONG time and some came back in record time. Now, the final piece of paperwork needs to be issued from the American Consulate -- the Article 5. The Article 5 then is couriered or cabled to the Chinese Government so we can get a TA (Travel Arrangement.) Once the TA has been issued then we can apply for our CA (Consulate Appointment.) Our Travel then is based totally around the CA.
According to our agency and others experiences with timing -- the Article 5 should be issued sometime in the next 2-6 days. The estimates for waiting for a TA is 10 days to 3 weeks. The estimates for a CA is 2 days after the TA is issued. AND finally, we should travel about 2 weeks after the CA is issued.
Did you get all of that?! Yes, crazy!
I hate to say this next part!!! BUT my estimate is ........ to leave around Feb. 16. Again, this is MY estimate NOT a for sure thing!!! I would LOVE to go earlier BUT will deal with it if it is later. Oh, am I praying that our paperwork moves FAST so we can go and pick-up this sweetheart. This mama can't wait to kiss those cheeks.
I plan on using this blog to chronicle our trip to China. One of the things that many people liked that we did when we traveled to get BaJabs was DAILY list praises and prayer requests. So, I plan on doing that again. When I do an adoption post I will give praises and requests. THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY PRAISES!!! I will be using the blog for other 'Woller World' events as well! Why Elizabeth? blog entry is coming tomorrow!
The LOA came back from China (their approval of us for Elizabeth) in RECORD time -- 41 days.
The doctors we have in our area that know how to treat Elizabeth and how excited they are to finally meet her.
Micah gets to go to China with us. Someone VERY GENEROUSLY offered to pay for his plane ticket. Micah was amazed that God answered that prayer!! So, was I :)
God has provided the money when it was needed -- again, I don't know how but it has always come.
ALL of the kids are so excited about Elizabeth. They pray for her EVERY day.
All paperwork and appointments come back QUICKLY -- record time :)
Elizabeth will fit perfectly with our family -- her adjustment.
Elizabeth's care in China RIGHT NOW!! I pray that she is being feed, loved and cared for!
The finances ---- this is still a big one.
Our preparations to leave for China -- the 3 kids that are staying home; our jobs; packing; travel arrangements.
I thank YOU for joining us in praying for our family ESPECIALLY -- Elizabeth. We know that without GOD none of this is possible.
Today I asked my 6th grade language arts students to write a New Year's Resolution! Unfortunately, many of the 100 kids did not even know what I was talking about! I couldn't believe it!!! So, I jumped into my 'flexible teaching' mode and gave a mini-lesson on resolutions. What is a New Year's Resolution???? Well, a New Year's resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. A key element to a New Year's Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings. Wow -- I like that!!
The first day back to school after break I received this email from my mom:
I love new beginnings, whether it be the new year or a new school year, I feel like it's a clean slate and I can begin anew...but then I realize our God is a God of new beginnings and He always wipes our slates clean daily...so, I'm going with a new beginning each day!!!!
I got this email from my mom and talked with my students all day about resolutions. BUT I realized that I hadn't sat and wrote my New Year's resolution --- So, without further ado ... here it is :)
JOY --- I will choose joy this year! Yeah, yeah -- I know! Those of you who really know me know this is something big in our house. This is something I push with the kids -- especially the girls. But I realized I wasn't choosing it for me. Yeah, my attitude wasn't exactly showing JOY!
Psalms 51:12 says.... Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Oh, I pray that for myself. What more could make me joyful then the fact the Jesus Christ gave me salvation. That in itself is AMAZING!!!
BUT how am I going to be joyful through all things this year???
Well, the bible has so much to say about this!!!
First, The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing! (Ps. 65:13) Really? Even the grain! He says in Ps. 66:1 ... Shout with joy to God, all the earth! So, that includes ME! I CAN do this!
Even when I am full of anxiousness about traveling to China -- or worrying about when the IRS is going to finally send us our income tax return -- I can remember --- Ps. 94:19 ... When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
When I'm trying to do it all myself -- and fretting away about getting it done! I need to remember to TRUST the Lord because --- Ps. 86:4 ... Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. AND remember Nehemiah 8:10 ... Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
When I'm sad about test results, sickness, still no China travel plans -- I need to remember Ps. 5:11 .... But let all who take REFUGE in you be glad; let them even sing for joy. Oh, I need to give it all to YOU Lord --- YOU will give me JOY!
When I don't know what to do or what to way to choose I need to remember Ps. 16:11 .... You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Yes, YOU will lead me -- and give me JOY!
When I'm tempted to be angry, complain, yell, or fret I need to remember Proverbs 29:6 ... Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad! Yes, I want to be righteous! I NEED to choose joy!
When that email/phone call FINALLY comes with our Consulate Appointment I will remember Proverbs 15:30 .. Light in a messenger's eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. OH, I can't wait!
AND especially when all the good YOU Lord throw upon me I will remember Psalms 71:23 ... My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you -- I who you have delivered.
I don't know all 2012 holds for me and my family. Yes, God willing we are adding Elizabeth and traveling to China. Yes, God willing I will be turning 40. Oh, MY!!! Yes, I know that God will continually provide for me! BUT there are so many things I don't know will happen BUT I will commit to work with all my heart to CHOOSE JOY through all things, good or bad --- Because Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Yes, My Darling's birthday is Jan. 1! AND I can't believe she is 7.
She is certainly developing into a young lady. She loves to read, write, draw, listen to music, sing and play dolls. She is a great helper and encourager around the house. She is the best big sister to BaJabs! She has style -- picky about it -- but it's her! She notices when someone needs a hug; leaves the sweetest notes around; prays for others AND makes us laugh every day!
I continually thank God for blessing our family with her.
She told someone just the other day she wasn't sure what to ask for this birthday because her Christmas was so wonderful :) She just wasn't sure she needed anything else. WOW!! REALLY??!!!
BUT we started to plan the day and here is how it went!
We started with HER menu - homemade macaroni and cheese; homemade chicken salad; fresh fruit -- strawberries and pineapple; and some bread.
Next, we opened some gifts. She loved her panda wallet from Lauren and Jason -- along with her choice of books.
The hot pink i-home to match the hot pink i-pod she got for Christmas was a hit -- Thanks nanny! She also purchased hot pink ear buds with some money she got from Aunt Jeanne.
BUT finally, after a year of talking about it -- she got a ......
I love this picture of her! She's trying to get a 'good' sound! Let me tell you -- it was better than me :)
Next, we had homemade ice cream, hot fudge and panda bear cupcakes. Of course, her pick!
Finally, we had to do the traditional birthday pictures on the deck -- a bit cold today -- but we still did it!
Oh, my... she is looking so grown-up!!!
And with her violin. She starts lessons in about 2 weeks.
This is the birthday hat. It is a 'new' tradition started by nanny! My Darling is the first to wear it!
Happy Birthday, my dear! My God richly bless you in the year to come! -- I love you! Mommy
I'm a child of Jesus Christ saved by His grace. HE has blessed me by being a wife -- and mommy. HE has provided me a profession I LOVE -- teaching. HE has created in me many passions -- #1 family-- I love being a MOM and WIFE #2 adoption; #3 ladies ministries; #4 sewing and designing children clothing. Thank-you for joining me on our wild ride of learning to bring God glory in ALL that we do!