Archive for the ‘Elyse’ Category

  • Stage One Complete

    Date: 2014.12.21 | Category: Adoption, China 2014, Elyse, Max

    I am going to try and post from my phone. This ought to be interesting. ¬†ūüôā (Hint- it didn’t work. -Cassie)

    We will be traveling to three different cities on this trip.  Stage one РHefei, stage two РZhengzhou, and the final stage РGuangzhou.

    This has been the most relaxed adoption trip ever so far.  They messed up our room at the Hilton and we ended up in a suite. A two bedroom suite with a jacuzzi tub that Elyse has loved.



    We have played cards, shopped, ate pizza and watched some really interesting shows on a channel called Diva.



    We visited the orphanage and met Elyse’s foster grandmother, mother, father and assorted family.¬† Elyse spent the first 7 years or her life with them before being called back to the orphanage.¬† It was a very moving moment in time and I believe allowed Elyse some closure.¬† Elyse had not seen them for two years and yet she acted like it was just yesterday.¬† Elyse’s foster grandmother told her to go, love her family, and be happy.¬† What a gift!




    Tomorrow, bright and early, we head out to Zhengzhou for stage two of our trip.¬† We meet Max on Monday.¬† I am so ready to hold our boy.¬† Praying that he isn’t too frightened and ready to he loved up.

    Please surround our little guy with prayer.¬† I can’t imagine what it feels like to all of a sudden be with other people who look so different from you.¬† ¬†Elyse has done really well. She has been prepared well for adoption. Praying the same is true with Max.

  • China 3.0

    Date: 2014.12.13 | Category: Adoption, China 2014, Elyse, Max

    Well, the day is finally here.¬† We leave bright and early at 4 a.m.¬†¬†¬† It didn’t sound so bad when we bought the tickets.¬†¬† What was I thinking?

    It will all be worth it when we meet these two….

    Elyse 1

    bi 2

    I’ve been informed that Elyse says, “To hurry up.¬† What’s taking you so long mom?”

    The countdown chart has been prepared.


    Friends even dropped off a little gift for each and every day that we are gone.

    Thanks Foerch family!!!

    This trip will be different in that Dan is staying home.¬† With Evie and Elijah recently having surgery, we decided it would be better if one of us stayed home.¬† It won’t be the same without Dan with me.¬† We’ve never been apart more than a week in the 30 years we have been married.

    He’s sad and I’m sad.

    But he is going to fly to Chicago so that he can meet the kids before everyone else does because that’s what daddies who wish the could go….do.¬† I love the way he thinks.

    The kids have been kissed and tucked in.

    They all told me to hurry up and get Max and Elyse so they can come home and see the Christmas lights.

    Cassie and daddy have the fort covered.

    Everything’s packed and ready to go.

    So even though I’m sad about leaving my loved ones behind.¬† I am reminded of the reason we chose to adopt in the first place.¬† It’s not always an easy journey but well worth it.

    lainey 1

    Look how far Lainey has come!  She is such a happy girl now.

    Family is a beautiful thing.

    Cassie will update while I’m gone.

    She’s a little busy with some wedding plans, but I think she can handle it.

    Wedding plans you ask?

    Oh! Did I forget to mention what happened the other night?

    Well, Reece graciously included all her siblings and surprised Cassie by proposing at Jolly Holiday Lights.

    Jolly Holiday Lights is a couple miles of lighted up signs and at the end you can get out and get a picture with Santa.

    So we loaded up the bus….

    family Christmas

    and the siblings had their picture taken.

    And then…


    She said “Yes!”

    It seems we have lots of good news to share!

    We will be home soon!  Please continue to keep us all in your prayers.

    Max and Elyse as their lives change.

    All those that wait at home.

    Zach, Steph, and I for safe travels.

  • MAXimum Blessings

    Date: 2014.09.08 | Category: Adoption, Elyse, Kelly, Max

    Plan B

    When we found out about Kelly we were heartbroken. ¬†Someone at church even said to me, “This is much like a death in the family.”¬† It’s true.¬† It’s hard.¬† What do you do with all the stuff you have bought during happier times? ¬† As you know from my previous post, someone graciously offered to take some of Kelly’s clothes with her when she traveled to China.¬† I cried taking those clothes out of the suitcase, remembering all the fun the girls had picking them out.¬† Her blue comforter is still on her bed.¬†¬† The stuffed animals the girls had bought her still sit on the pillow.¬† Its been 27 years, but I still remember coming home after Kyle died.¬† It has been much like that after the news that Kelly did not want to leave China.

    We had already planned on someday writing her a letter telling her we wished her well.  Letting her know that we understand and have no hard feelings.  We want her to know that we still want to be part of her life.  We wish she could have been part of our family, but we understand she feels she already has a family.  We feel privileged to have learned more about Agape and to see the wonderful work they are doing.  It says a lot about the home and the people there that she is content and wants to stay.  Agape Family Life House

    After we heard Kelly’s decision, our agency asked us what we wanted to do about being approved for two?¬† Dan and I still felt like we were supposed to bring home two.¬† It seemed almost ridiculous to pay the fees, be approved for two, and then not bring another child home.¬† But you can’t just replace the child that you lost.¬† How do you even start?

    We started at the best place, the only place….prayer.¬† Lots and lots of prayer.¬†¬† I asked God over and over again to show me what I was supposed to do.¬† I had no clue where to even start.¬† I know during those first few days I repeated the words, “I can’t do this!” at least 100 times.

    We talked with our trusted adviser at the adoption agency and she laid all the information out.  Because of expediting Kelly, Elyse is still on the expedited timeline. We can slow it down a little, but not a lot.  That means if we wish to bring a second child home we needed to decide now.  We needed to pick a special focus child who was already on their agency list or a child off the shared list in one of the two provinces where they already had guides.  The child needed to fit our criteria on our MCC (medical condition checklist).   We said we wished to adopt a girl between the ages of 7 and under 10.

    She had already been searching and told us the odds of that happening were slim.  There were no girls that fit our criteria.  She would continue to look.  There was no time to ask for an agency to switch a file.  There was no time to ask for updates.  She told us she would keep looking and talk to others at the agency.

    Dan and I both know who is in control and we knew if it was meant to be, it would happen.   We just had to trust in that fact.

    max 3

    When my friends, who have also adopted, heard they understood completely and tried to help match us with a child.

    They sent us beautiful pictures of children who need a family.¬†¬† That first day, I cried all day long over the loss of Kelly and the shear number of children waiting for a family.¬† Since we had said little girls, they sent us file after file of sweet, beautiful girls who wait.¬† Girls who don’t have much hope of a bright future in China, but who would be beautiful additions to any family.¬† Why are they waiting?

    Unfortunately, my heart was not in it.  I felt moved, especially by three of the girls,





    and Dottie


    But it just didn’t feel right.¬† They are beautiful girls. ¬†Others described them as sweet, special, and wonderful. They would be a beautiful addition to any family, but they didn’t feel like they were meant to be our daughter.¬† That is the hardest part about adoption.¬† If you truly trust that God is leading you to a child, then you have to wait, but at the same time how could it be wrong to give any child a family?

    More days passed and our agency called asking us to consider a five year old boy.¬† We had not been open to a boy mainly because we already had a bed in the girl’s room and the girls were all set to have another sister.¬† The thought of adding to the littles was a bit overwhelming.¬† Who willingly chooses six children under the age of 6? ¬† But since we said we would consider any child God placed before us, we said we would consider it.¬† She told us to look at their waiting child page.¬† We were told he had bilateral microtia.¬† That was a very doable special need.¬† It is the same diagnosis that Maisey has.¬† We already sign.¬† We know all about the surgeries and the BAHA hearing aid.¬† We understood the frustration these children have from lack of communication.¬†¬† Dan asked for her to send his file.

    I, in the meantime, messaged my friend’s about this little boy and the group home he was in, Swallow’s Nest. ¬†¬†Swallow’s Nest

    One of the four mamas in this group said, “Lisa, you aren’t going to believe this but one of my friend’s just adopted a little boy from that group home.”¬† She went on to say, “I know the person who runs this home.¬† I can put you in touch with her.”

    I love the way the Lord provides.

    I immediately searched for her on Facebook.  Her Facebook page was open so I started scrolling through the pictures and then I saw his little face.  She was advocating for him because he was being called back to the orphanage.  She went on to say that he really, really needs a family.  She said that he is such a sweet, smart boy and would be a great addition to any family.

    I sent her a friend request and she immediately messaged me.  She told me all about him.  She sent me his baby picture.  She told me who was caring for him and how sad they were that he had been called back to the orphanage.  She let me know that he was at camp right now.  A camp put on by our agency.  I kept reading through all the comments and noticed that 21 people had shared this information.  How do 21 people share about a child desperately needing a family and no family requests his file?  I clicked on the shares to see if anyone I knew had shared his information.  I noticed that Donna, a friend of mine, had shared it.  I clicked on the share to see what others had said and what do I see?  A comment from me asking if he had bilateral microtia.

    On May 5th, I had commented about this little boy.

    And it all came flooding back….

    I remember reading about this little boy who was being sent back to the orphanage. I remember being so sad and sitting at the table with tears in my eyes. I remember talking with Zach about it because it reminded me of Maisey when she had to go back.¬† She left the home and all the people who loved her and nourished her and helped her grow only to go back to a place where either no one knew how to communicate with her or didn’t feel she was worthy of communicating with.¬† She had a bald spot from throwing herself to the floor out of sheer frustration over and over again.¬† She would do this at any moment and she did it with such force.¬† She was only with us two days in China before she almost completely stopped throwing herself to the floor.¬† She stopped because we got down at her level and communicated with her.¬† She stopped because we taught her a couple simple signs and she wasn’t as frustrated.

    I knew his little heart was going to feel pain.¬† He was leaving those he loved.¬† My heart hurt.¬† I wished we had asked to be approved for three on our homestudy.¬† He would have been an easy child to add.¬† We knew how to deal with his hearing issues.¬† We knew how to deal with the frustration he would have with communicating.¬† But I knew with our expedite that I didn’t have time to ask for an updated homestudy to add a third child so I just let it go.¬† I never gave it another thought.¬† The reality was he became just another child who touched my heart and I had to let it go because it is just so overwhelming.

    In an amazing turn of events, we had been presented with the same child I wished we could adopt.¬† He was a perfect fit for our family.¬† Just the right age to be a playmate for Ben who often feels left out of the Evie/Eli bond and Maisey and Lainey, who often play alone.¬† Yet, he wouldn’t disrupt Ben’s being the oldest little.¬† Ben takes the job of being big brother and protector of the littles very seriously.

    In his picture he is wearing a pirate shirt.¬† Many of you will remember Ben’s love of pirates. As we were going to sleep one night Ben turns to me and says, “Mama, remember that picture of the little boy in the pirate shirt?¬† He looks really nice?¬† I would like to hug him.¬† Can we have him over to play?”

    bi 2

    And just a couple weeks ago, I wrote about the swallows in our back yard.  I wrote about something that happened almost 13 years ago.   Here is that post.

    Yesterday, as I mowed our back acre, I was reminded of 13 years ago when we moved to this property. Usually Zach mowed but he was gone so I went out to do it. As I was mowing, swallows dive bombed the mower. They got so close that it made me really nervous. I finally gave up and went into the garage and got a tennis racket. So here I was trying to mow the lawn, swinging a tennis racket at dive bombing birds. It was quite the sight. My perspective was they were out to get me. My neighbor, who was laughing hysterically, asked what I was doing. I told him and he said, “Lisa, they are diving after the insects you are kicking up while mowing.” I felt silly to say the least. It reminded me of how we can think things are out to harm us, but then our perspective changes and we then see the beauty in the situation. I mowed for an hour yesterday watching the swallows dive up and down, coming oh so close to the mower. It was peaceful and beautiful. How things can change with the right perspective.

    “It reminds me of how we can think things are out to harm us, but then our perspective changes and we then see the beauty in the situation.”

    Exactly… amidst the ashes.¬† My heart has been broken by what I can not do for one child, but there is beauty in still being able to be a family for another child.

    I don’t know what God’s plans are.¬† Maybe Kelly needed to know a family would fight for her. ¬† I know that she will always have a special place in my heart and I will do whatever I can to support her.¬† I will continue to cover her with prayer.¬† I am at peace knowing she is with people she loves.¬† She will always have a home.¬† She will have a job and opportunities to sing and paint.¬† But in my heart she will always be my girl and it will always be bittersweet.

    Here is what I do know though, before I saw Kelly’s picture and my heart was stolen, we were pretty sure we were finished adopting.¬†¬† When Jasmine brought up adopting an aging out child, we told her we would seriously consider it after Eli and Evie were done with their surgeries.¬† We asked her if she could wait another year or so. ¬† But Jasmine kept praying and our hearts were opened to the idea. Had we not been trying to adopt Kelly, we wouldn’t have seen Elyse’s file and if we hadn’t had everything happen with Kelly, we wouldn’t be adopting Max.

    It brought me comfort that Max was a child I had already considered adopting. ¬†We couldn’t replace Kelly.¬† It was just so hard.¬† You can not just replace a child, but there was a unexplainable peace with Max.¬† We wouldn’t have even gone looking for him because he didn’t fit our neatly checked boxes of what we thought our family was looking for.

    The path doesn’t always make sense when we are on it, but then God gives you little glimpses of the beauty in the tapestry that is your life.¬†¬† And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 ¬† Not all things will be good, but that they will work together for good.

    It’s so hard to deal with all these feelings.¬† The sadness mixed with the joy and the anticipation of traveling.¬†¬† Life is like that though isn’t it?¬† Learning to dance in the rain.¬† Learning to let go of what you can’t control and follow where He leads.¬†¬† I’m still learning.¬† This past year has been one of the hardest on our hearts in our almost 30 years of marriage, but it has also one of the most beautiful.¬†¬† God sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone so that we can grow in His love by having to trust and let go.

    ¬†‚ÄúYou‚Äôre blessed when you‚Äôre at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule‚ÄĚ (Matthew 5:3 MSG).¬†

    Max 2

    I would like to introduce you to Max, our unexpected blessing!


  • 60 Days

    Date: 2014.06.18 | Category: Adoption, Elyse, Kelly

    We have 60 days left.


    If you have ever adopted internationally, you know how long all of the paperwork takes.  You fill out reams of papers and send them off only to wait for someone to get to them.  You do some more paperwork, get fingerprinted, get police clearances, order birth and marriage certificates, have physical exams done, fill out more forms, get forms authenticated by the Secretary of State and the Chinese Consulate, wait, do some more forms, wait again, even more forms, wait, etc.  It usually takes close to a year from start to finish.

    adoption timeline

    With an adoption, every single time there is the worry that this may be the time that it is too hard or too messy or just too much.¬† Which is why when God placed Kelly on my heart and everything in me said, “we don’t have the money, it’s too soon, we’re busy, are you kidding me Lord?”, we still proceeded.¬† Because His ways are not my ways and His ways are so much better than my fearful, “I can’t do that” ways.¬† So we proceeded, trusting in His plan, because although I say “What if it doesn’t work out?”, He says, “Ah, but what if it does?”


    Every time we have entered into an adoption, we have proceeded on trust and faith.¬† We have followed where God was leading and He has done some amazing things on our adoption journey.¬† This journey has been no different.¬† This journey our eyes could not see a way for this to work.¬† We knew it could only happen by God’s power.

    1st Corinthians 2:5¬† ….so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.¬†

    Dan and I did not think we would be adopting again, let alone this soon, but our hearts were taken, first, by Kelly and then by Elyse. Our plan was to pay off the debt that we had incurred with adopting four the previous year.¬† We wanted to find our new normal and let everyone settle in.¬† Then maybe we would see if God wanted us to do more.¬† But then¬† I saw Kelly’s picture and my heart was taken.¬† I knew what we had already talked about: no proceeding with adopting until the debt was paid. But God provided just enough from a bonus to make that a non-issue.¬† We had to ask ourselves “Ok, now what?”.

    We prayed about the adoption because, to enter into this process and to file a Letter of Intent (LOI), meant Kelly was no longer able to be adopted by anyone else.¬† What if we couldn’t finish in time?¬† What if someone else already in the process wanted to adopt her?¬† Would we stop her from having a chance at a family?¬† But she had been advocated for by others for quite sometime and no one mentioned trying to adopt her.¬† We prayed some more, felt God’s lead, and decided to proceed.

    I sent an e-mail to our agency and said, “Is this possible?¬† We have 170 days.”¬† They said, “It is possible if everything goes perfectly.¬† We will do our best.” Having been through this process twice before, I knew things rarely go perfectly, but God was leading so we followed and trusted.

    The first issue was getting the file transferred to our agency.¬† We know this doesn’t always happen, but sometimes in aging out children they will allow it.¬† We heard that the other agency would allow the transfer and we sang praises.

    With our last adoptions, we were delayed by the rejection of the fingerprints of our handicapped 27 year old son.¬† Each of those rejections can add six weeks of time to get a new set of prints done.¬† You have to be rejected twice and then to have them run manually.¬† We didn’t have the luxury of time with Kelly’s adoption, but then the most amazing thing happened.¬† I heard from our social worker, Jan, that she knows someone who can get these prints done with a three day turnaround.¬† What an Amazing God provision!

    Not only were Codey’s fingerprints rejected, but Linda’s (Dan’s mom) were too.¬† What a mess.¬† We are at a loss.¬† We have to start all over at square one.¬†¬† I called customer service at the FBI.¬† I asked to talk to supervisors.¬† I talked to the people who ran Codey’s prints to start with.¬† Everyone said there is nothing they can do.¬†¬† But then Jan remembered something from a previous inservice she had attended, she placed a call and amazingly, something we were told could not be rushed and would take another six weeks, gets done the very next day.¬† God provides again.

    In the middle of Evie and Eli’s surgery we were trying to complete our 1-800A to be able to get it authenticated at the Secretary of State’s office and then the Chinese Consulate so we could complete our dossier and send it to our agency for review.¬† The goal was to have the dossier done, translated, and set to China by the end of May.¬† We had to get them to agree to expedite the 1-800A, which is usually at least a 30 day turnaround.¬† They agreed to expedite and went above and beyond in helping my daughter get things together since we were out of state.

    We have had this happen over and over again.  Just recently we were told that it would take 2-3 weeks to get LID after they mailed our dossier.  The timeline was to have our dossier reviewed by our agency, sometimes this can take 1-2 weeks.  Mail said dossier to China which takes 3-5 days to arrive and then wait for China to log in dossier, which can take 2-3 weeks.  Our dossier was mailed on the 6th of June, arrived in China on the 9th and was logged in on the 10th.   More provisions.

    We are now waiting on our Letter of Acceptance (LOA).¬† These have been taking 60-90 days.¬†¬† The quickest turnaround our agency has seen was two weeks.¬† Refer back to our time frame….60 days left.¬† This is not doable by man’s hands; good thing it is in someone else’s hands.

    Praise the Lord, we received our soft LOA yesterday, the 17th, one week after being LID!  How could we not stand in awe of a God that can move mountains for one sweet little girl half-way around the world?

    Our LOA is needed to file the final immigration papers (1-800), which allow us to bring two children into the U.S.¬† After that we still need to get our Article 5 (which informs the foreign central authority that U.S. competent authorities have determined the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt), which will then allow for travel approval (TA) and our consulate appointment (CA).¬† We will then be set to travel.¬† The only catch?¬† Evie’s surgery has been rescheduled for July 17th and we need to be in China before August 17th to adopt Kelly.

    But as with everything else in this crazy adoption, things change.¬† Evie’s teeth look pretty bad.¬† We decide we need to get her teeth done before heart surgery and her dentist graciously works Evie into the schedule.¬† Yesterday, we got to claim the blessing of protections unknown.¬† Evie had an abscessed tooth.¬† We didn’t even know it.¬† She had no fever and no pain. ¬† Had Evie not gotten the cold and had we proceeded with her surgery, then we could have been looking at endocarditis right now.¬†¬† There’s a proven correlation between oral health and heart health. If you have dental problems, it can cause bursts of bacteria into the blood stream and if you have any artificial material, like Evie’s BT shunt, bacteria can stick to it and it can be very difficult to treat. It’s not just the shunt but kids with heart defects in general are at risk for endocarditis.

    An abscessed tooth means removal of that tooth and a possible delay of surgery.  I am unsure of what will happen now, but I know that God knows and I am trusting with all my heart.

    Since the beginning of this crazy adoption journey, we knew it was going to be all His doing.¬† I do know that sometimes He brings you to things to learn and to grow and it doesn’t always necessarily go the way we had prayed or hoped.¬† I have learned a lot about older child adoptions, about expediting adoptions. I have learned that children don’t always want to leave their country and we can’t assume we know what is best all the time.¬† I have decided that there are changes that need to be made.¬† There is so much redundancy and extra unnecessary cost, which in turn makes children wait for longer than necessary.¬† There has to be a better way.

    Elijah’s surgery has been scheduled for September, well after the time we get home with the girls.¬† All that remains is Evie’s surgery and this process.¬† We specifically want to travel before the surgeries.¬† Please pray for things to move as quickly as they can.¬† God has heard your prayers and we are forever thankful.

    In the meantime, I have received pictures of Kelly that make my heart smile.  We are still waiting on an update for Elyse.

    Kelly 2

    This mama’s heart is hopeful and joyful – expectantly waiting on the Lord.

  • Elyse

    Date: 2014.05.17 | Category: Adoption, Elyse, Faith

    Please say hello to Elyse or Lysee (LeeCee) as everyone has started calling her.


    Isn’t she beautiful?¬† Can’t you just see the sweetness shining through that wonderful smile?

    Many of you have been waiting to hear her story.  I apologize that it has taken me so long to get this down in writing, but here is part of her story.

    In the midst of discussions between Dan and I about adopting Kelly*, I brought up adopting one more.¬† I was having a hard time conveying to Dan just why I felt we were being called to adopt two so I put all my thoughts about adopting two at a time in an e-mail to him and asked him not to respond and just let it “percolate” a bit.¬† He talked with me later that afternoon and asked “are you crazy” and told me “absolutely not”, but I know how God works with him.¬† If God was placing it on my heart, then God would work on Dan’s heart too.¬† I didn’t need to nag him.¬† I just let it be.

    A couple days later he told me that he had an image of what this little girl would look like – yellow wheelchair, pig tails, not a toddler or a teenager.¬†¬† If God meant for it to be, we would find her.¬† I immediately typed in “little girl in yellow wheelchair, with pigtails, adoption”. ¬† Alas, Google was not helpful, it was not going to be that easy.¬† I looked at all the pictures on Reece’s Rainbow and didn’t find her.¬† I asked my Facebook friend Annie how I would go about finding lists of little girls in wheelchairs.¬† I couldn’t ask Annie to advocate for her.¬† I just needed to know what my options were.

    There are many groups advocating for children from China both on Facebook and Yahoo groups.¬† I trusted that God would bring her to us.¬† I saw many pictures of girls in wheelchairs and then Annie posted about a little girl on one of those Facebook groups.¬† I watched her video and she was just so sweet.¬† I didn’t have an immediate reaction of “yes, this is her” but I did think she was beautiful, sweet, and had the very best smile.¬† So just for the heck of it (and yes, I admit I was being more than a little ornery), I sent the video to Dan.¬† I texted him saying, “How about a light blue wheelchair and yellow rubberbands with the pigtails. lol”


    I couldn’t believe it?!?! Spina bifida?¬† Kelly has spina bifida too.¬†¬† When we decided that we would adopt two, I had said it would be nice if their special needs were similar so that when we were making appointments at the Children’s Hospital I could double up.¬† The hospital is 2 hours away and although it wasn’t a requirement it would make life a little easier.¬† Plus, before Dan told me his vision of what the little girl looked like, I had been looking at lots of aging out girls, other mothers had even sent me information about other girls they were advocating for, but Gracie, who is 9, had said on more than one occasion that it would be nice to adopt a little girl who was her age.¬† What I didn’t know was how hard Gracie was praying for a little girl close to her age.¬† I didn’t know this until after we started talking about Elyse.¬† Gracie later apologized for praying so hard for a little girl her age, but what a wonderful blessing it has turned out to be.¬† How can you be upset about a little girl’s answered prayers?

    And here was his response….


    I thought he was joking until I got home and saw his face.¬† He was serious.¬† This little girl was his daughter.¬† He looked at me and said, “We need to go get her.” ¬† This was amazing and could only be from God.¬† Just so you get the whole picture I’m including his words from an e-mail he sent to his friend the next day.

    Just to fill in the story on her.¬† My dear¬†Lisa had¬†the audacity to ask me¬†about adopting one more on this trip. I have never been more unreceptive to adopting more kids than I was at that moment. An image briefly¬†flashed in my head, and I snapped at her and said – “OK, find me a little girl in a wheelchair, but not a toddler and not a teen. She should have pigtails. And a¬†wheelchair with yellow on it. Otherwise¬†forget it.”

    The next day she sent me a link to a video.

    I could not have been much more negative at that point if I tried. I started watching it, and just burst into tears. It was just like when I first saw Jasmine. Keep in mind, I’m not prone to bursting into tears, and this isn’t the first cute orphan I’ve seen. I was just wrecked. Then she sang MaMa Hao. I had written something to Lisa a few weeks ago about this song. I had read the lyrics, and posted a little tribute to her stating that this¬†song¬†captures how her children feel about their new mommy. And there she was singing it to us.¬†It was like God slapped me upside my head. By the time the video was over I knew she was mine, and texted Lisa saying simply “She is my daughter”. There she was, exactly what I asked for in living color (the yellow was in her coat, not the wheelchair).¬†

    After I resuscitated Lisa, we talked to Lifeline, and they agreed to transfer her file to CCAI since we had already started with them for Kelly. We had a brief 24 hours of terror, as another family was reviewing her file. But the next day, she was transferred to CCAI, and the LOI was sent about ten minutes later (that was yesterday afternoon).

    As you have just read in his message, Elyse was singing the same song Dan had posted to my Facebook just weeks before.   Here is that post.


    But as only God can do, there was more.¬† Dan’s friend knew this little girl as she had once been in their foster care program. We had no idea that she had been cared for by them. She let Dan know that they had pictures of Elyse from when she was a baby.¬† I cried happy tears.¬† One of the things that has been the hardest for me with my adopted children is the lack of baby pictures.

    Not only that but we found out their organization had been advocating for years to get her paper ready and had all but given up hope that the orphanage would ever do so.  But the orphanage recently decided to get her paper ready.  God is good!  Have I mentioned that before?  Well, it is worth repeating, over and over again!

    Many times you never get to hear your adopted children’s stories.¬† Their years previous to joining your family are just lost, but I have been blessed over and over again.¬† Jasmine was with Love Without Boundaries so we have updates with pictures over many, many years.¬† Maisey and Lainey were with New Hope Foundation so we have pictures from their stays.¬† Eli was at Maria’s Big House of Hope.¬† Ben and Evie are the only two we don’t have information on.¬† And now with Kelly at Agape and Elyse having previously been in Love Without Boundaries foster care, I will have their information.¬† I am one blessed mama.


    We had a nerve wracking 24 hours waiting to see if the other family would proceed.¬† We were blessed in that Lifeline chose to transfer her file.¬† We know this doesn’t always happen and isn’t always possible.¬† We can’t thank them enough for helping advocate for our girls.¬† We are blessed that our agency has been fighting hard to beat Kelly’s August 17th deadline.¬† Not all agencies are willing to do this.¬† We have so much support.¬† It has been overwhelming.¬† I posted about having PA for Kelly and over 200 people have liked that post and so many have commented about how they have prayed for her and advocated for her. One day I will be able to show her that she has been loved and prayed for by so many.¬†¬† I now have the same thing with Elyse.¬† People who have advocated for her and loved her and prayed for her have sent us messages.¬† What a gift to share with my girls.

    I am so excited to work as hard as we can to get the paperwork through. We have 92 days left.  92 days to get immigration clearance, get the dossier sent, LOA, Article 5, and a travel date is not a lot of time, but we have faith that it is being taken care of by God.  As was shown recently with the fingerprinting for our homestudy.

    We had Linda and Codey fingerprinted and sent through a courier. We went through a courier because there was a three day turnaround and we knew Codey prints were going to be rejected.¬†¬† They were both rejected twice so we thought we could do it manually as we have done the previous two adoptions, but there is some new law that makes this no longer available.¬† The FBI said they could not use the rejection letters from the courier so we needed to start from square one.¬† They informed us there would be a 5-6 week wait for the prints to clear and considering our dossier needs to leave for China by the end of May, we just didn’t have that much time.¬† I talked to numerous people at the FBI customer service desk and was told the same thing over and over again, “There’s nothing we can do.¬† There is no way to expedite this.”

    We can’t finish the homestudy without the fingerprint clearance.¬† Without the homestudy we can’t get our 1-800a form.¬† Without our 1-800a form, we can not finish our dossier.¬† Without our dossier being finished and sent to China, China can’t proceed with LOA and on and on and on.¬† It is horrible.¬† I was in Boston and there was nothing I could do.¬† And then all of a sudden we got the news that someone had interceded on our behalf.¬† Codey and Linda’s prints cleared.¬† It was amazing.¬† What we were told over and over again couldn’t happen….happened!

    We see his hand all over the girl’s adoptions and we are expectantly waiting to watch it all unfold in His perfect timing!

    God is good and we are all feeling blessed!

    *Edited to add that Kelly ultimately decided to stay in China and we did not push for the adoption after we found out that she didn’t want to leave the group home that she lived in.¬† We wanted to honor her request to stay in the only home she had known with the people she loved.