We would like to introduce you to…OUR SON!

It is official!  We have a match!!  A son.  A SON!!  It seems so strange and wonderfully amazing to type those words!  We wanted to wait to get the official news from our adoption agency that he is actually going to be ours before sharing. Talk about a tough couple of weeks of waiting!  But we now actually have that sweet face to put with our dream!  Which means we can begin to focus our energy on getting everything ready for our little man.  Our SON!!

Part of the name our little boy was given by the orphanage staff is “Qi” (pronounced “chee”).  And he is perfect!  In his file it says they gave him the name Qi because “QI means special, we hope he could overcome difficulties in his life and makes others think amazing, so we gave him the name QI.”  We DO think he is amazing and special!  He is 2 1/2 years old and since he was a week old he has been in an orphanage that offers wonderful therapy and care to the children there.  And he has received the best care possible while in this orphanage. In May he went to live with a foster family. We are very happy that he is getting to experience what it is like to live in a family setting.  We know it will make it that much harder for him when it is time for us to bring him home but we definitely want him to get to have the best possible experience he can until that time does come.

We are extraordinarily fortunate in that we were sent not just a few pictures of him – but dozens of pictures as well as lots of short little videos.  Some of these are from almost a year ago and some are very recent.  So we have actually been able to see his progress and watch him grow!  What an amazing gift!  We don’t know much yet about him as far as his favorite things and such.  These are things we hope to learn soon.  But for now we know that he is shy with strangers but a “little chatterbox” at home.  His paperwork also says that he “has big temper which means he is clever”.  Be still my heart!  We have watched his videos over and over and memorized the way he cuts his little eyes up at someone or how he moves his eyebrows while he is concentrating.  I think he has the cutest little mouth I have ever seen.  Dave loves his little nose.  We are goofy about him.  And we are totally okay with that.  Because he is our son.  The one we have longed for, dreamed of, and sent kisses.  The one for whom we have done our best to wait as patiently as we are able.  And the one we will continue to wait for until we are holding him in our arms.  Tightly.

Without further ado, please say hello to our son – Gabriel Lin Qi Ray.

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Choosing faith

We are taking a break from our normally very busy work lives this week to vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  Dave and I haven’t taken a “just us” vacation before other than the odd 2 or 3 day trip to the mountains.  Since we will be a family before we know it, we figured if we were going to do this that now would be the time!  We are on day 4 of our vacation and we are finally beginning to feel a little bit relaxed.  It is truly glorious here and we hope to get lots of rest and rejuvenation in on this trip.  We know the next months will not only be busy work wise but also adoption wise and we want to be rested and ready to go!

After the rush of paperwork  and home prep leading up to the home study “finale”, we took a little break from adoption related things. And we also took some time to process our first experience with reviewing the file of a waiting child since that ended up being pretty challenging for us emotionally.  We weren’t sure we were ready to start looking again so soon but decided a little over a week ago to move forward.  Meaning we told our agency we were ready for them to begin sending us files to review again.  And we now have a renewed sense of  excitement about the process and hope to have news to share at some point soon.  Although we don’t know yet just when.

Because we will be adopting a child with some degree of special needs, we have discovered that the process of being matched with a child is different for us than with non-special needs adoptions and doesn’t really go in the “normal” order.  “Normal” is that you wait until your dossier is “logged in” to China and then your receive the referral of a child.  The matching process for us means that we will likely be matched before our dossier is even complete.  This is very exciting for us as we truly cannot wait to have a face to match with our dream!  It may make it harder during the wait, but we will be able to have a knowing that will bring us peace.   Some families apparently have to wait months after their dossier is logged in before they receive a referral.  Knowing that this won’t be the case for us certainly adds to our excitement!  I know it is still going to feel like forever, though, as we will want to get that sweet child home with us as soon as possible.

Our I-800A form was sent off this week.  This is the form that gets us the all clear from US immigration.  Once we receive this clearance, we will pretty much be ready to file our dossier with China.  Apparently, the immigration approval takes between 6-8 weeks.  In the meantime, once we return from vacation we will be getting all our dossier paperwork we have assembled ready to go – notarized, authenticated by the county and state, and then sent for additional authentication to the Chinese Embassy.  Once everything has been approved/authenticated, our adoption agency will then send our dossier to China to be “logged in” with the government there.  After that, we will have to wait for immigration approval for our little one as well as some other official type things to be scheduled/approved.  And then we will wait for our travel approval.  Once we get this it is usually only 2-3 weeks before we go to pick up our son or daughter!  It may be 8 months from now before we go.  It may be a year.  I don’t know exactly but, of course, I am hopeful it will be closer to the 8 month time frame.  Not that we don’t have a LOT to do before we bring our child home.  But the preparation part is something Dave and I really look forward to doing.

We have some wonderful friends/clients who gave us the loveliest gift about a month ago – not too long after we announced that we were pursuing adoption.  It is a silver wishbone.  They gave it to us with a lovely card that said they hope “all our wishes come true”.  That wishbone is beside our bed every night.  And each night Dave and I hold the wishbone, visualize our little one, send love his or her way, and give the wishbone a kiss.  We have it with us here in Florida, too!  This sweet little wishbone has become a symbol of our faith in many ways.

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And we have had to lean heavily on that faith during this process.  It’s not always easy to choose faith.  Because worry is definitely a part of this process.  There have been times we have felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and heartbroken.  There have been other times we have felt uncertain and confused about how to proceed.  Yet we are learning that, not unlike many things in life, this is just one more leap of faith.  I hear our social worker in my head almost daily saying, “Trust the process.”  And we do our best every day – sometimes for me it is multiple times a day – to do just that.  Faith and hope comfort and strengthen us for now and we feel certain in the knowledge that all that we are experiencing now will be something we will barely remember once our child is in our arms.  So, over and over, we find ourselves choosing faith.  Because, really, what other choice is there?