Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful and Hopeful

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful and hopeful.

I am thankful for my sweet family.  Great kids; great husband.

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my side of the family.  I have 3 sisters and 1 brother.  My parents were here with us, and it is so fun when we are all together.  I am so thankful for my parents.  I am thankful they thought it would be fun to have 5 kids, because it IS so much fun, and I don't know what I would do without my siblings.

My sisters are all married with kids.  Between the four us of there are 11 grandkids.  Except for one of my sisters, we all live within a few miles of each other.  I am thankful for all these sweet and healthy nieces and nephews.  These kids love each other so much and have such a great time together.

I am thankful for a family that is as anxious as I am to add another child to this picture.

And I am hopeful.  Hopeful that there will not be too many more holidays we will go through without knowing who our daughter is. Hopeful that, at this time next year, there will be another child in this family.  
A girl can hope, right?

hope: / noun / 1. A desire of some good, accompanied with an expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.
hopeful: /adjective/ Feeling or inspiring optimism about a future event. 

Friday, November 16, 2012


 Some other "frequently asked questions" we get about our adoption:

Why so many orphans in China?

Each year, tens of thousands of children are abandoned throughout China, the majority being girls.  There are many factors that contribute to the orphan crisis in China. It is really hard to answer this question in a sentence or two, as the situation is complex.  In the 1970s, China instituted the “One Child Policy”, limiting couples to only one child. When this policy collided with the cultural preference for boys, the result was the abandonment of many girls. Although it may be due to the long time cultural importance of having a son first, sometimes the reason is much more practical.  Much of China’s population live in China’s rural areas and rely on males to farm the land.  When they marry, boys stay with their parents and care for them in old age.  Girls, on the other hand, marry and leave their families and take on the responsibility of helping care for the husband’s parents. In some ways, boys are China's version of Social Security.

If a baby (male or female) is sick or has a defect at birth, they may be abandoned. Parents who will only have one child don't want to settle for a less than perfect one. The Chinese are not very accepting of people with physical disabilities. Often it is perceived that a family is cursed if their child has a visible abnormality.  They are not allowed to attend school and it can b
e difficult for them to find employment. 

Also, even if the child is very loved and wanted, they may be abandoned if they are sick and the family is unable to pay for the child's medical care. Medical care must be paid for upfront in China, and it is very difficult for many Chinese families to do this. Couples may abandon their child so that they can be taken to the orphanage and receive better medical care than the family can provide. 

What happens after you receive a referral?

When Rob and I get the call from our agency that there is a referral for us, we will be sent a file to review.  This file should include some basic medical information (i.e. age, weight), some developmental information, and a photo.  We will have anywhere from 48 hours to @1 week to review this file.  We then have the option to accept the referral, or to turn it down.  If we accept the referral, we will need to complete more paperwork before we can travel, and that can take anywhere from another 4-6 months.  When that is completed, we will make an approximate 2-week trip to China to meet our daughter and bring her home.  At this point, we do not plan on bringing our other kids with us. 

Why China?

Because that is where our daughter  is.  For me, it has always been China.  I know there are children everywhere, including here in the US, who need families, but we strongly believe our daughter/sister  is  in China right now.  We think about her every day.  We wonder how old she is, if she is receiving good care, and if she is happy.  We talk about where she will sit in our car, where her place at the dinner table will be, and where she will sleep.  We wonder how old she will be, and what she will look like.  I can't speak for Rob on this one, but I dream about her all the time.  I dream about meeting her, holding her, and loving  her.  We are all anxiously waiting for the day we find out who she is.

To close, I wanted to attach this wonderful blog post:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What do the kids think?

I have been asked by so many people what our kids think about our adoption. From the beginning, they have been excited and enthusiastic about doing it. They have always wanted another sibling, and luckily, they have always been in agreement that this family needs another girl! Initially, we talked very vaguely to them about the idea. We would just say things like, "what would you think about another little sister?", or, "we are thinking about adopting". Over time, we talked more specifically about the little girls in China and what adoption is all about. We realized our kids only exposure to orphans has been in the form of the movie, "Annie", and we tried to help them understand what it really means to be an orphan. We tried to explain to them that there are truly millions of kids that have no home, and no family. We tried to explain to them that we think the right thing to do is to bring one of these kids into our home. We tried to keep it simple: there are lots of kids in this world who need love, and we feel like our family has a lot of love to give. Nothing more was needed. They were completely on board. Over the past few months, Rob and I have seen them really embrace our journey, and it is so awesome to watch their hearts open up to a little girl on the other side of the world who they haven't even met.  I want to share and document some of the things they have done and said over the last few months so that I won't forget, and so that their sister can one day see how excited they were about her.
 During our home study, our social worker visited our house to interview us as a family. She had a questionnaire for each child. The boys did their sheets on their own, and we helped Kate write hers. The only instructions were to answer with the first thing that came to your mind. Here is some of what they wrote (James on left, John on right):

and finally, Kate's

A few weeks later, we had our Open House at the boy's school. Some of the student's work was displayed, and this was up in John's classroom:

And just last week, this came home from James. In his class, the students were given the opportunity to submit a prayer  if there was something they wanted the class to pray for. One would be randomly selected. James' prayer was selected that day and here is part of what he wrote:

One night I noticed the kids huddled around the kitchen table.  When I went to see what they were doing, I found them voting on names for their sister:

There have been so many other cute stories. For instance, one day we were driving in the car, and the song, "A Thousand Years" was on. Kate and I have this conversation:
Kate: "Mommy, this song is just like me and my sister."
Me: "how so?"
Kate: "because I have been waiting for her"
Me: "when you get her, will you love her for 1,000 years?"
Kate: "No, I'll love her forever."

The kids have claimed a few other songs, "songs for our sister". Right now their 2 favorites are "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons, and "Home" by Phillip Phillips. The other day driving home from school they were all singing "Home" at the top of their lungs. Whenever it comes on they make me turn it up, and they will get all excited and say "our song about our sister!" Melts my heart to hear them singing the lyrics:

"the trouble it might drag you down,
if you get lost you can always be found,
just know you're not alone,
cause I'm gonna make this place your home"

A few months ago I saw this book and had to have it:

As we know, there are thousands of children growing up in China's state run welfare institutions without families to take care of them. In this book, which is a series of pictures of the girls in one such institution, the photographer, Richard Bowen (of Half the Sky), has captured a poignant glimpse of some of these girls.

I have found the kids on many occasions looking at this book on their own.

When I see my children looking at this book it makes me happy. It makes me happy because what I hope, and think, that my kids are seeing when they look at this book is this:  the girls in these pictures are kids ...  They are girls who deserve the same things our kids deserve:  to play, to laugh, to celebrate birthdays, to go to school, to have food to eat, to be held when they are sad, to be comforted when they are sick, and mostly, to be loved and cherished.  There is an introduction to this book written by Amy Tan, and I think she says what I am trying to say much better than me:

"I also wonder what the purpose of looking at such photographs is.  It seems at times too painful to look at these abandoned girls if we cannot directly take them into our arms and make their lives instantly better. Yet I think it is important to look.  For as long as we can look, we can imagine.  We can look and hope to  know more.  That is the start of compassion, I think."
Rob and I hope that our journey to our daughter is growing the sense of compassion in our children.  We hope it will help them to understand that  it is when you give that you truly receive.

(A quick note about blog comments:  I have had several people contact me to say they would like to comment on our blog, but have had trouble trying to do that.  I think that if you are viewing this blog post in an email update, you can't comment.  You have to view the actual blog page at: If you go to the page, you should be able to comment at the end of each post.  And we welcome comments! I would love for our future daughter to see the wonderful community of people supporting her journey home.)