Sunday, February 21, 2010


It's not easy to wait. I wish our Madelyn was here. I'm composing this post and in the backyard I can hear the girls giggling with their daddy. I think of her all the time, CJ too. Right now, she's probably fast asleep and hopefully will wake up to her special delivery of flowers and fruit from her forever family afar. A delivery means PICTURES!!!! I LOVE getting the digitals back and the current measurements. We always note how big she's getting before our eyes. March 3rd will mark one year since we placed eyes on our eldest daughter. ONE YEAR! Boy, time flies and this time of waiting for LID, LOA, TA...will go fast too. I guess it's just one of those days... Sigh.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day and the winner is....

I haven't posted many pictures lately because I misplaced my Canon PowerShot, well I happily found it, so I'm now back in business altho, I still can't find the battery charge and now the battery light is flashing, I guess I could pull out CJ's big Canon Rebel (big to me and yes, it takes better quality pics), but I prefer my little blue PowerShot. Anywho, below are some pictures of the girls and me making homemade valentine's. This is the first year the girls were able to bring some to school so we decided to go all out. I'm not super crafty but my little girlies love to do crafts so I frequent Hobby Lobby often. Thank God for pre-packaged crafts with a sample!!! :)

Hopefully soon, I'll have some new pictures of Madelyn. We sent her a flower bouquet and a fruit basket plus, I paid extra for some digital photos of our girl. It's such a relief to finally be DTC! I'm praying we are back from China before June, I know, I know it's a looooong shot but I would really like to keep Linzhi's surgery from being rescheduled. I know all the little details I fuss about are already taken care of so I'll just pray for wisdom and patience because I know Madelyn will come home AND Linzhi will be able to have her surgery at the right time. You know the story "God giggles when WE make HIS plans" (or something like that???) One thing I am so happy about is NOT traveling to China in the winter months. We did for Linzhi and it was hard at times because she hated the hotel room but it was too cold to take her outside for fresh air because of the cold. Guangzhou was even a little chilly when we were there so this time I am looking forward to warmer weather for sure. Last night I jokingly commented to CJ..."I think I'm going to start some preliminary packing for China...His response "OK". LOL...I think he's excited too!

Below are some pics of us making our Valentine's PLUS, a picture of my 200th post giveaway prize. BLESSINGS!
The winner of this pretty little plaque is.... Barbie @ Leaving Footprints!!! I just love Barbie! I've followed both of her adoption journeys and I gotta tell you, she has inspired me!!!! Congratulations!

Yes, Linzhi is still in her PJ's (she's off on Thursdays) and Yes, she's being a stinker and refuses to look at her daddy for a picture.

Daddy and Rachel with some of the finished Valentine's (and no the pictures aren't in order).

More completed Valentine's from Miss Rachel.

Rachel with another finished and Mama with her "sample"

Working hard on all the details.

Mama wrangling Linzhi in to sit still so she can make her Valentine's too.

Happy Crafters!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meet Abbey!

Isn't she beautiful! Abbey will be getting her forever family very soon and to help with upcoming costs, her mama Leah has made some fabulous earrings to sell. PLEASE go now and check them out!

Praying for you Leah!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy birthday Lia!!!

This little baby girl is the daughter of my wonderful friend Mandy and her hubby Jason. Mandy is Linzhi's Occupational therapist and way back when, I used to babysit Mandy and her brother Doug!
I truly feel God had a plan for us to become friends as adults and when I walked into OT with Linzhi to see that is was Mandy, I was so excited to reconnect with her and now we get to experience sharing adoption journeys together. On Saturday, our families will come together and celebrate Chinese New Year at our favorite Chinese restaurant.
If you would like to check out her journey click here
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS LIA!!!!! Can't wait to sugar you up!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And here we go...

D.T.C!!!!! (insert butterflies)...For those wondering what this means??? Well, it means we are finally sending our dossier (lots of paperwork) to China!! So this is one BIG step closer to our Miss Madelyn.

Next comes....

LID-Log in date (the date our paperwork is officially logged in to China's system.


LOA-Letter of Approval



All this will takes months but who cares, Madelyn is coming home!!!

I'm writing this post on Sunday night because Karla at Lifeline emailed me that we'll be DTC tomorrow (Monday 2-8). Today is my birthday so thank you Jesus for my life and for my wonderful DTC present and thank you JESUS for my blessings here in my arms that I love so much...My precious kids, my best friend who happens to be my husband and all my family near and far for making my day so special!!

On a side note...

This is also my 200th post! So I'm having a little giveaway! I will draw the winner on Valentine's day. All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment or email at I'll post the prize this week cuz I'm heading to Hobby Lobby tomorrow!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Preparing for Madelyn

Now that the nightmare is over, I am now starting to think about the major life change coming Madelyn's way AND the change in our family dynamic. It's comical to think back when we adopted Linzhi and were asked by many "How is it adopting an older child?" At three years old I never considered Linzhi an "older child" but adopting a preschooler had it's challenges don't get me wrong but Linzhi being so little (to me) had a pretty easy transition once her grief subsided a bit and I am confident to say it took her a good 6 months for her to feel apart of her new family. I remember we took her to a family Christmas party about 3 weeks after we returned from China, there were a lot of people wanting to meet her, hold her, talk with her...Well, my poor little girl didn't know what to think, she had a look of complete confusion. I know she was so overwhelmed and looking back, I think we probably should have sat that one out. So when I think of Madelyn and all the major changes she's going to be facing like, language, food, environment, having an instant family, dogs, new school, etc... I'm beginning to get overwhelmed for her! Yes, I'm reading up on adopting older children, I've reached out to some moms in blog world that have walked this path before me(so grateful for all the help) but what I have learned from Linzhi and all the heavy education I did before we brought her home is this, we will not be 100% prepared ,there is no way to determine before hand how Madelyn is going to respond to her instant parents and siblings...Whew...When I think about it I get full of nervous butterflies.

Last night, CJ and I were talking about her name. I love the name we chose for her and it will be her legal name but what about the name she's been called for the last 8 years???? We don't want her to feel as though all her comforts/identity are taken from her so we're going to use her Chinese name until she has the desire to be called Madelyn and if she never wants to be called Madelyn, so be it. Any suggestions, thoughts or advice for name changes with older kids?

I've started to think about her new room. Our latest update we found out she likes yellow and red so that helps with color choices. I almost want to wait a bit and bring her with me to pick decorative girly things for her walls and bedside table. I'm still pondering that at the moment.

There are so many thoughts going through my head...Yes, I'm nervous but oh my goodness are we excited too!!!!! God is so gracious and kind. I know He has prepared the way for Madelyn. Look at some preparations God has done so far...

In August will arrive 8-10 Mandarin speaking Chinese exchange students (Madelyn speaks Mandarin). Not only will they attend her school but the principal/Pastor assured me if she needs any help we can call on them to assist her with language. PLUS, we will have in our own home an exchange student speaking her own language as well. OH HOW GREAT IS HE????? We really want her to retain her Mandarin so this is huge!

Next, our primary care physician is Chinese and has taken a huge interest in our adoptions and has offered whatever we need to make her medical transiting easy. PRAISE JESUS!

Shriners Hospital is where Linzhi gets treatment for Arthrogryposis. Well, her doctor encouraged us to bring Madelyn to see him as well. THANK YOU LORD, we will most certainly do that!

And this last one is the most precious to me. Not only are we getting a sweet little girl to join our family but Madelyn and Linzhi share more than just being Chinese and adopted. They share Arthrogryposis. This condition is very unique, it affects any joint but my girls are both challenged with it in their elbows, wrists, fingers and hands (Madelyn has had surgery on her left leg as well). I know God picked those two girls to be sisters for many reasons but to have someone that you can relate to and share the good and bad of it , is completely priceless to this mother and father and nothing short of a miracle in our eyes.

So as nervous/anxious/excited/prepared/unprepared as we feel, we are all so thankful our Abba Father that goes before us. What s comfort to know He's got all of our backs.

Oh yeah, today is Thursday so this is my THANKFUL THURSDAY entry. Haven't done that in a while.

More to come...DTC soon!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Documenting our Miracle.

I didn't know how to title this post because I don't throw around the word "Miracle" very often but the events that have taken place over the last 5 months is nothing short of a Miracle from above so I must write it out before I forget any details. Get ready, this will be a long post but before I get into it, I want to post a message to my little angel that turned 5 years old yesterday and my computer was acting up so I couldn't get it up yesterday.

Oh how we love this little girl. We've had Linzhi Rose home for over two years and everyday I continue to fall deeper in love with her sweet little spirit. Linzhi is my happy helper girl always quick to pitch in and grateful for everything little thing in life, I pray she always stays true to her beautiful self...My third blessing from above. *update* Linzhi is going to have her first surgery on her left arm in June. We go back to Shriners on April 7th to start the tests and paperwork...I will keep you posted! As much as I hate the thought of her going under or in pain, we are so excited to see her gain a little more independence with eating and potty breaks. =)

OK, here we go... August 9th, 2009 I mailed off our I-800A application without one thought of being denied, we zipped through once I figured this time would be no different, how wrong I was. September 4th, 2009 we get a call from Karla at Lifeline letting us know she got an email from USCI$ stating we would receive a notice of "intent to deny" my heart sank, my mind went every which way, I was FREAKING OUT! This was on a Friday evening, we had a huge weekend planned with our wedding anniversary and CJ's 20th class reunion...Needless to say, I was physically there but my mind was elsewhere. Within a few days, we were able to make sense of the letter and it all seemed pretty easy to fix so we collect additional supporting documents, statements, amended home study, etc... Sent it all off within 10 days and felt pretty confident we met their requests for explanation. (I won't go into details because it is personal AND still to me unbelievably out of context). So, our first waiting period began, I tried to keep my mind off of it as much as I could, I was completely amazed at the scripture verses popping into my mind and out of the bible, I would read and gasp at the same time, I truly felt the Lord speaking to me and the Holy Spirit guiding me BUT I still felt the enemy lurking around and at times would get the best of me and make me freak out with fear and anxiety. I knew in my heart if we were denied our family would grieve but eventually our hearts would heal but what was killing me was the fact that we sent her multiple care packages, cakes, notes, letters and in return we received updates and the most precious pictures of our sweet girl. I was soooooo very worried she wouldn't find her forever family if we couldn't come and get her. I kept thinking of her Arthrogryposis, her age, etc.. Oh man, there were days it totally got the best of me and I was frozen with fear. God prevailed and continued to rebuke the enemy when I begged Him to get him out of my thoughts so I could have some peace and remain steadfast that the Lord would see us through this nightmare. Then came October. Oh boy, was October interesting! For the record, I LOVE October it is one of my favorite months by far! I love everything about the month and doing family things is top of the list. I was not going to let this hiccup ruin our fall fun times. The first half of the month, we received no updates and when I emailed I was told our application was still in review...OK, fine. October 15th, CJ leaves for China. When I dropped him off at the ariport, I cried on the way home, I have no idea why, I was so excited for him and Rod and anxious for him to get those bibles across the border so the Gospel would get out to those precious Chinese people desperately needed the Word. From October 15th on I have either wept or had tears in my eyes at one point of the day. I cried or got teary over many things but mainly, I wept because I felt so close to Jesus. I could feel Him all around me and I just didn't want it to end, I knew our faith was being tested but I welcomed the test because I wanted Jesus to know how much I trusted and believed in Him and all the trials He suffered on behalf of my soul, I wanted to prove I, (we) belong to Him and Him alone.

Monday,October 19th, Trevor and I decided to take a long fall nature walk while the girls were at school (Trevor is home schooled). I took my cell phone with me for several reasons but one reason is to get my email and my phone beeps when an email comes in. During our walk I heard the beep a couple of times but there was no way I was going to let anything take me from my time with Trevor. It left my mind and our walk continued. After a couple of hours we got home and I went to my computer to find an email from USCI$. At this point I could barely breathe, Trevor was sitting next to me and I remember saying "well here we go" I opened the document to find the words I dreaded. DENIED! I.LOST.IT. I don't think I have ever cried that hard in front of Trevor, he held me while trying to finish reading the letter, we were both heart broken to say the least. God bless my sister, Trevor called her and asked her to pick up the girls from school because I just couldn't pull myself together. I knew I had to get it together to call Karla at Lifeline but I had no idea how I could mutter those words?????? I bravely picked up the phone dialed the numbers, cheerfully asked to speak to Karla and the minute she said "THis is Karla" I lost it again and so did she. She wept right along with me, I LOVE Karla for many reasons and this is one. She totally felt my pain and she also knew CJ was gone so she did her best to comfort me. I knew she had to contact Lily in China and we would indeed lose Madelyn's file, all Karla said was "You know what I need to do?" and I said yes, I know and that I would call her back when I could speak. It took me three days. Now the extremely hard part for both CJ and me was the fact that he was half way across the world, in a different time zone which made it almost impossible to get in touch with each other plus, he was on a mission trip so he couldn't take his cell phone as the walked across the borders so alot of our communication was text messaging, heart broken text messages. I knew I needed to make big decisions without him like retaining an immigration attorney for $8000! Yeah, that's right! I contacted a wonderful attorney that felt we had an awesome case, we had a conference call for one hour for the low price of $350. I was sick. I gathered all the information from her and told her I needed to get in touch with my husband before retaining her services, she said she understood but reminding me I only had 30 days left to appeal our case so she gave me 48 hours to decide. When I told CJ the cost he immediately told Rod (our pastor from church traveling with him)and he prayed asking God to step and in keep us from spending His money on attorney fees and that we could find a different way to resolve this issue. during the course of this week I felt the Holy spirit and words and scriptures would pop in my head and as quickly as they came, they were gone but they stuck! I kept hearing "rescinded" "Be still and know that I am Lord" "Trust" "Ye of little faith" "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understandings" of all the reminders "rescinded" was always coming into my mind and I couldn't confirm if it was USCI$ that was going to rescind the decision or maybe CCA@ or that WE would rescind our decision and not move forward for the appeal. I. Struggled. I kept telling myself and God, I can't retain this attorney for the slim chance we win and Madelyn's file is already gone. I want this child. I want to fight for her but I can't see spending $8000 without knowing I was fighting to bring Madelyn home. Was there another child? Was Madelyn suppose to be with another family? Are we not ready for a 2nd adoption? Do I have the energy for a legal fight? And for the record, I do not like anything that has to do with lawsuit, attorneys, court...No thank you! So that alone was a struggle for me. I prayed on my knees asking the Lord to reveal to me what steps I need to take and confirm with me if spending $8000 to retain this attorney was the right step. PLEASE LORD GIVE ME A REVELATION QUICK!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 21st. The day started by confirming with the attorneys assistant that I would indeed join her on another conference call the following day and I would wire $8000 to their account. Insert BIG sigh.... I still in my heart felt sick about doing this but honestly, I didn't know what to do or think, I had little ones to tend to and my son needed me too altho, Trevor stepped up big time and helped me tremendously with the house, dogs and the girls. He really impressed me and I see he is now entering into (gulp) manhood. Throughout the day, I was weepy and I couldn't put my finger on the exact reason, I think it was a combination of a lot of things, missing my hubby, worried he would be in danger smuggling bibles across mainland China, I was weepy for my kids that their strong mama was now a blubbering cry baby, I was sad for Jesus because here I was proclaiming to be one of his flock and here I was showing lack of faith! I'm human, I kept thinking, I'm scared, I'm this, I'm that, I couldn't come up with a valid excuse for my lack of trust and faith in the one who gave it all for us. Why? The only place I felt comfort was on my knees in prayer, my bible, my kids and the text messages I was getting here and there from my husband who was struggle himself. I longed for him and I know he was wishing he was home to "fix" all this....Maybe we weren't suppose to be together, Maybe God was working on us separately apart from each other, I still feel that way. CJ needed to be where he was and I think he needed to physically do things to keep his mind at ease and God did work on him big time in China.Before the mission trip, CJ rarely read his bible, that fact is no more. He is committed to daily bible reading and I am one proud wife!

Back to the story...

That evening, Trevor went to spend some time with his friends (much needed), I let the girls play a little longer than normal and bedtime was later than normal but I needed them around. Finally, droopy eyes told me it's time for them to head to bed and off we went. I was alone for the first time since the denial came and I needed alone time with God, I dried up a bit and spoke as if he was sitting next to me and we were just visiting, I do believe that's how it really is altho, we can't see Him...He's there! About 9PM, Trevor comes home and we're just talking and he comes out and asks me. "What are you going to do" My answer, I don't want to move forward, I don't have the fight in me if Madelyn's file is gone. I just didn't know what else to say, I was so exhausted and sad I just could get any confirmation...Until... Father God Almighty revealed a tidbit of His plan... Roughly 9:15PM, my phone rings, I see Lifeline on my caller id. I pick up the phone say hello...Karla skips the hello's and asks "Amy,are you sitting down?" Um yes, I'm sitting down. She continues... I just got off the phone with Lily in China, CCA@ is granting you more time to work things out on the US side, you can keep her file!!!!!!! LORD ALMIGHTY flew out of my mouth and honestly, after that I don't remember any other part of the conversation, I don't even remember hanging up. Trevor and I were completely awe struck. GOD SHOWED UP RIGHT THEN AND THERE! OK, Trevor, Mama's up for the fight, supernatural strength took over and I was on a mission. I still prayed for our adoption money to be used for our adoption, not attorney fees but with this mighty miracle I got my confirmation to move forward.

Thursday, October 22nd. I woke up with vigor. I was ready to face my day! The girls went off to school, I prepared for my conference call late that afternoon and just kept reflecting on the utter miracle that took place the night before. To my surprise, CJ called and we were able to talk and celebrate over the phone. He was confident about the attorney but I still wasn't, I just felt sick. The afternoon quickly came, I went to pick up Rachel, then we headed for Linzhi and I got an email alert as we pulled into the parking lot at Linzhi's school. It was from USCI$..gulp... Remember the word that kept coming to my mind? Rescind. I opened the email and it stated basically our case was sent to management and was now especially "pending". WHAT????? We were just sent a denial two days prior NOW, I get an email stating we are back to pending!!! I just couldn't believe my eyes. LORD ALMIGHTY came out of my mouth again...This meant NO conference call, NO $8000 dollar retainer fee, NO need to do anything at this point but wait it out...Key word, WAIT. So very hard for me!!! I just couldn't believe how God was working this out right before my eyes, I just was in complete awe of him and right at that moment I knew in my heart and soul I was in the middle of a major spiritual battle and the enemy was mad as heck. Here my husband is smuggling bibles into China so those thirsty souls can get the Word, then on the home front we are trying to give a forever home to a precious orphan. I literally felt God's shield from all the prayers and thoughts of all our family and friends (and that includes all my bloggy friends too). I knew we needed to see this though and God would deliver Madelyn and our family no matter the decision. So as the looooong wait began, CJ made it home safe and sound (Thank you JESUS), the girls recovered from possible H1N1 (Thank you JESUS), Linzhi had a awesome appointment at Shriners (Thank you Jesus) and then while we continued to wait we went trick or treating on Halloween and found our new home which helped us take our minds off the adoption stuff but through it all we consistently prayed and waited, waited, waited and waited from some update on our application.

November, 22nd. In the mail we get another "intent to deny" asking for more explanation. I was sick to my stomach but confident we could again easily respond. We had 30 days to get another amended HS, approvals from DCFS, Lifeline, statements, etc... PLUS it was the busy holiday time and getting necessary signatures and such needed to wait until managers returned from vacation...sigh...I knew time was in God's hands and I just prayed we would get it all in before the 22nd of December. Sure enough, on December 22nd our adjudicator confirmed she had our package...whew! Before I sent out our documents, I prayed over each and every piece of paper, I tucked them in my bible until it was time to go to the post office. I knew God was blessing our response, I felt it all over me. During our continued wait, I read and reread the book of James. It gave me so much comfort and peace, I also jumped into John and Matthew, skipped into Isaiah and just read whatever I felt lead to, I was also very busy with my kiddies and the move but Madelyn never left my mind. Every morning I woke of up a verse in my head and I clung to it the entire day and there were days that I dreaded because it was a Friday and that meant another week went by and now we had a weekend ahead of us, I was terrified to ask for an update, I didn't want to upset anyone over there so I forced myself to just wait.

Thursday, January 21st, we close on our new home and start the process of cleaning it (ugh). However, I convinced myself that it was OK to email asking for the status of our application and if she had any questions. I quickly received and email back that the decision would be made very soon. That's when I emailed all my prayer warriors!!!! Thank you sweet prayer warriors!

Friday, 22nd, we are sooooo very busy at the new house, I didn't even check our home voice mail until 1:30AM Saturday morning and to my utter shock and dismay, there was a voice mail from our officer at USCI$....WHAT??!?!?!?! I missed her call!?!?!? She has never called us...Oh Lord, what did we miss???? It was early Saturday morning so we have to wait two days! CJ and I just started to laugh, it was just hilarious that all the stalking I did with my email, I didn't even think to stalk my voice mail!!! I still laugh. So, I knew she was not working on Saturday but I left a message anyway apologizing for missing her call and that I would call again first thing on Monday. Surprisingly, the weekend flew by, we had a blast painting and shopping. I just praised God for bringing us this far and we were faithful that His Will needed to be done, not ours, we were so thankful our wait could be potentially OVER but we also prepared for maybe more changes or them requesting more supporting documents. Nonetheless, God was on our side, who could hurt us? Nobody.

Monday, January 25th. Every Monday Linzhi, spends the day with Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Willie (CJ's folks) I was driving her the 30 minutes and felt I couldn't call when Linzhi was in the car AND I didn't want to be driving when I spoke to her so after I dropped her off and chatted with my MIL for a minute, I got in my car and called USCI$. Ugh, voice mail! I left a message acting calm and collected but my insides were all a mess! I hung up, turned on XM and zoned out, then my current favorite song came and just as I was about to turn it up I got a very clear "Don't turn up the volume" OK, I will obey cause that was out of the blue and startled me a bit. Sure enough, my cell rings and the phone number came up restricted, my stomach does a dip, I answer the phone unusually cheerful..LOL... and this is all I remember of the conversation. This is Officer______ at NBC, I just wanted to inform you that your application has come back approved and I will....Insert my rude cut off...Excuse me, did you say approved????? Her response was very cheerful and happy...YES, you are approved! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!! I still can't believe it! I have no idea what I said to her and I still can't remember if I hung up on her or not, I think I said good-bye, all I remember saying is OK, OK, OK, oh my, Ok, OK...yeah...pretty much speechless. So, there it is our VERY long journey with Jesus by our side delivering our daughter from the life of an orphan and blessing us with our fourth child. I'm sure I missed a few details here and there but nonetheless, a total awe inspiring, jaw dropping MIRACLE to this very grateful family!!!! Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement, now of which we took for granted.

So today, I am waiting for our approval and home study to be authenticated, we paid the extra $$$ for it to be expedited to Karla at Lifeline so maybe, just maybe we could be DTC this week!!!!!!!!! Trust me, after the waiting and wondering the last 5 months, knowing she is ours, I WILL NOT stress about DTC, LID, LOA or TA. Not one minute! His time is completely and totally in control of our lives and this adoption. Madelyn will be in our arms when He says. But I feel like I have a BIG green light in front of me now telling me YES, you can start getting her room ready...YES, you can really start planning your trip to China...YES, you can now start telling everyone you have four children YES, YES YES YES YES!!!!!! Oh my goodness, you have no idea how wonderful we all feel, life is back to normal..NO more limbo! PRAISE BE TO SWEET JESUS THE MESSIAH!!!