Once Upon A Prayer

Monday, December 26, 2011

What's in a name?

Jacques and I named the girls about a month ago, 
but waited until Christmas Day to reveal their names.


The Rancourt's are beyond thrilled to introduce to you:

Mackenzie Ty

Little Miss Mackenzie is named after my brother, and very proud Uncle Tyler.  Tyler's nieces are the light in his life, and his excitement oozed on Christmas when he discovered that his third niece was named after him!  Tyler is one of the most joy-filled individuals that we know.  Ty has had many obstacles to overcome in his life, but his awesome positive attitude and persistence have gotten him to where he is today.  We hope and pray that Mackenzie will embody all of her namesake's awesome attributes!

Lily Grace

The name Lily means "hope".  Jacques and I have tremendous hope that Lily will thrive after her third heart surgery.  Many doctors who have reviewed her file warned that she has less than two years to live...and that was 7 months ago.  However, the team of doctors who will be treating Lily as soon as she arrives to the USA are optimistic about her outcome.  It just so happens that one of the world's leading experts in the Fontan procedure is a surgeon at the Washington DC Children's Hospital located only 40 minutes from our house.  He will perform Lily's third heart surgery.  However, our true hope is found in the Almighty Physician...the Lord Jesus Christ.  He knows our little girl's heart inside and out.  We chose the middle name of Grace because it is only by the grace of God that we were able to lock Lily's file and make her our daughter. 

We are so excited for next Christmas when Mackenzie and Lily's stockings will be filled.  The best part of all is that our family's hearts will be filled with love for our newest additions!



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Logged In Dossier

I got a call today from our agency informing me that 
on 12/15/2011 our paperwork
was logged into the
CCCWA!
This makes us

 {Logged in Dossier}


One step closer to kissing those sweet cheeks...


and these sweet cheeks!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Papa's Ponderings

The girls were more than a little startled on the way to church last night.  We were in the left lane driving 45 mph.  There was a turning lane on our left.  Apparently, I was in the blind spot of the person driving the blue pick-up truck on my right.  Because in one insanely dangerous move, he cut directly in front of me – one inch from my bumper and tried to slow down in time to make it to the left turning lane.  He didn’t even see – until I smashed into him.  In a split second, it was all I could do to swerve sharply to the right, and not completely ram him.  The headlight shattered, my driver side mirror exploded, and there is a huge dent in my car.  I pulled over.  The other driver did not.  Either he had no insurance or he knew what he did was so dangerous he didn’t want to face me. 

Either way – I am stuck with the bill!


That’s life.  What can you do?  Not much really.  Yeah, it stinks when something like that happens at Christmas.  Yeah, it’s a bummer considering we are trying to fund a trip to China to get our babies.  But – that’s life.  Someone else’s choice can cost me dearly.  It’s always been that way.  We assume that risk every time we get into a car.  We assume that risk anytime we begin a new relationship. I know that on many occasions, I have done things that hurt or cost someone else dearly.  Was it fair what that driver did?  No.  But I have a choice.  I can whine.  I can complain.  Or, I can understand that although I don’t see it now, there might be a blessing in it somewhere.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-5).


Peace and Goodwill,
Jacques

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Care Package for Qiuyan

We received a photograph today from Angela with Lady Bugs and Love
of the care package she put together for Qiuyan.

Dierctor Zhang of the Bayan Nur CWI asked us to please
send some photos of our family so that the Ayi's can help prepare Qiuyan,
and get her familiar with our faces!

I wish I could be a fly on the wall when Qiuyan gets her first glimpse
of the family that LOVES her so very much!


Our family photos are in the pink bunny book
Soft and cuddly Hello Kitty Blanket

Director Zhang also asked when we were coming!
I wish we knew...

She was trying to figure out whether or not Qiuyan
should attend pre-school.

I thought is was a good idea, and hope she gets to go.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dossier To China!

After countless months 
of a paperwork pregnancy
all of our precious, official documents
are on their way to China...this is known as DTC!

Three beautiful letters that I have longed to say for what seems like
F O R E V E R...






Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thoughts From Papa Jacques

My husband, Jacques, sends out a daily devotional email.  
I am posting his devo from today since it was about our adoption journey, 
and gives you a glimpse into my husband's sweet heart.  
I sure do LOVE this amazing man!

To all of you who think we are heroes – we are not.  Yes, we are bringing home two beautiful girls from China!  Yes, those girls both have heart issues.  Yes, both of them have had several heart surgeries already – and will need more.  Yes, one of the girls we are bringing home, unless she has a major heart surgery soon – will die.  And yes, very possibly even with the heart surgery, she might die.  But no – that doesn’t make us heroic.  People have repeatedly told us how admirable it is that we would rescue these girls.  And while we appreciate the encouragement, I want to be clear about something.  We are not rescuing them – they are rescuing us.

How so? It has become far too easy for me to settle into North American suburbia.  I can feel the pull to settle into a comfortable little life with a nice home, two cars, a couple of cute kids, and a dog.  I have slowly, over the past few years, been lulled into a life in which I don’t do anything too risky, only make decisions that make sense financially, and take on me-sized challenges that won’t threaten my ability to control my own future.  In other words, I had all but programmed faith right out of my life.   

And as for the Holy Spirit – I haven’t really needed Him lately.  I haven’t really done anything that’s required His power.  I haven’t been obsessed with following His leading. I’ve just kind of been content to coast on my own strength – until now.  Because as a family, we are doing something that doesn’t make sense financially, that is far beyond our ability to control the result, and that can only work out if God shows up.  Paul, on multiple occasions, echoed what God said through one of his prophets. “The righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).  They do.  I haven’t.  I am now.  And nothing tops that.   

Thank you girls for rescuing me!

Peace and Goodwill,
Jacques



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Update on Qiuyan!

If I played the lottery, this would be a very good week for me to buy a ticket!
Today we received an update from Angela at
Lady Bugs and Love
on Qiuyan.

My heart is absolutely soaring, 
and my eyes keep welling up with alligator tears
every time I think about our girls.

Beautiful...Joyous...Happy
tears.

Without further ado...the *star* of the day
Qiuyan!

1. Has Qiuyan had any illnesses lately?
No.

2. Is Qiuyan susceptible to colds, bronchitis, or ear infections?
Since Hu Qiu Yan had surgery, she’s been pretty strong. She doesn’t catch a cold easily. Up to now, she has never had bronchitis or ear infections.

3. Has Qiuyan had a doctor
's visit recently to check on how she responded to the Glenn Procedure?  If so, what did the doctor report?
Right now she is doing really well. She doesn’t get blue or asthma. But when she had a heavy activity, or when the weather is very cold, her lips turn more purplish.

4. How would you describe her personality?
She is active and playful.

5. Does she smile or laugh often?
She has a ready smile and is very affectionate.

6. How was Qiuyan named?
Her name was given by an orphanage staff.

7. What are the meanings of her names?
All the children brought to the institute in 2009 share same last name “Hu”. She was brought to here in fall (Sep 22, 2009), and we hope she will grow up happily and healthily just like a swallow bird, so named her Qiu Yan (a fall swallow).

8. Does Qiuyan have a favorite caregiver, or is she friendly with everyone?
Hu Qiu Yan is very affectionate and likes to act in a charming manner, she calls every A yi Mama with their last name first. Such as Yang Mama, Liu Mama, etc

9. Do you have any information on the day she was found, what she was wearing, and if she had anything with her?
Hu Qiu Yan was found at a hospital. There was a nice person called police and she was sent to the hospital to check her health. After that with all the paperwork done, she was sent to the children’s welfare institute. There was nothing with her.

10. Can you please tell Qiuyan that she has a Mommy, Papa, and three big sisters who all love her very much?
No problem. We have already shared with her as soon as we have this news We told her daddy and mommy are coming to get her in the future. We prepare the children. We hope family can send some pictures to show the child, so her transition will be easier when you come to get her.
11. Her updated measurements:
Height: 88cm; Weight: 12kg; Head: 48cm; Chest: 48cm; Foot: 13cm.
Personality: Lively, playful and likes all kinds of toys.
Hu Qiu Yan loves to chat and play games with nannies. She is very smart. She knows all the nannies names. She calls every nanny mama every time she sees them. She adds the nanny’s last name in front of “mama” Hu Qiu Yan enjoys dress up. She likes little bows on her hair. She shows everyone when she wears it. She would be so happy if you say she looks beautiful! One time, there is a nanny wear a scarf for her. She wouldn’t let anyone take it off. She even wore it to sleep. She can say some words, simple phrases and sentences clearly. Sometimes she would say a lot when she wants to express herself. Very funny. She likes to imitate adults and she is very good at it. She can go up and down stairs on her own. No problem running or jumping. But can’t have too much. She has been pretty healthy since her surgery, seldom gets sick. 


I prayed for this child, 
and the Lord has granted me
what I asked of Him.
I Samuel 1:27 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update on Nianshu!

Today we received an update and new photos of Nianshu
from Angela at Lady Bugs and Love!
The only thing that an adpoting family has to cling to while they wait,
are the teeny tiny glimpses into our child's life
as they wait upon us to bring them home. 

We also had the opportunity to ask 10 questions about Nianshu,
and the orphanage supplied us with the answers.
Thank you to everyone on Facebook who gave me recommendations. 
 As you can see, I took your advice. 

We are so excited to see that our precious little girl is thriving!
I am still in shock at how much she has grown over the past 9 months.
She is still super tiny for her age,
but with a family's love and proper nutrition
we know that she will blossom into the precious child
 that God created her to be! 

Ok...enough about my thoughts. 
I know you all want to see the real *star* Nianshu.



1. Has Nianshu had any illnesses lately?
 

No.
2. How would you describe her personality?
 

She is active and outgoing. She is a little boyish. She is a busy girl in her group. She likes to open this, touch that, running around or jump on and off.
3. Do you have any information on the day she was found, what she was wearing, and if she had anything with her?
 

She was found on a bench/couch in emergency treatment building. She was found by a family of a patient. She was in yellow baby outfit, wrapped by a light color blanket/quilt. There were also some stuff with her: bottle, formula, two sets of cotton-padded clothes, two sweat shirts.  There was a note left with her also.  We will give the family a copy of it on Gotcha Day! 
4. Does she smile or laugh often?
 

Yes.
5. What are the meanings of her names?
 

She was sent to the orphanage in April of 2009. The children entered the orphanage in 2009 share a last name “Zheng”, in April share same first name “Nian”. Shu means a fair maiden or lady.
6. Is Nianshu in the same room as An Yi (her mommy and I are friends)?
 

They are not in the same room. They are in two different buildings.
7. Does Nianshu have a favorite caregiver, or is she friendly with everyone?
 

There is a caregiver loves her very much, Nian Shu is very close to her.
8. We would love to request to grow her hair out.  Is that possible?
 

We have told her caregiver about this.
9. What things does she most like/dislike?

She likes a free place most, so she can play freely. She doesn’t like to stay within rail or crib. She doesn’t like to be told can’t get out and play.
10. Is Nianshu susceptible to colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, or ear infections?

She is susceptible to colds and runny nose in winter. Never be diagnosed pneumonia or ear infection before.
11. Her updated measurements:
Height: 82cm; Weight: 12kg; Head: 44.5cm; Chest: 50cm; Foot:13.5cm; Teeth: 20.
I think I can actually hear her sweet little giggle!

To say that I am in love would be a complete understatement. 
There are no words to describe my love for our precious daughter...no words!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweetness

The sweetness of a sister's love
Sisters by chance...friends by choice. 
(Author Unknown)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

USCIS I800A Approval!!!

Today we received our approval from the USCIS to bring home our girls!  This is the last document we needed in order to send off our dossier to China.  A copy of our approval will be sent to our courier, who will take the document to be state sealed and Chinese consulate authenticated.  We are "thisclose" to being DTC (Dossier To China)...Finally!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ladybug #2

I just sat down to my computer to check emails in my bedroom, 
and a ladybug flew and landed on my laptop.
I have not seen ladybugs in MONTHS,
it is November for pete's sake.
But today
I saw
2!

Godwink ;-)
 

"Juliana" is our daughter!

China said "YES" again!
Laura and Mary just called me on a conference call
to say that today we received Pre-Approval
to adopt "Juliana"!

Ladybugs are known as a symbol of good luck in the Chinese community.
In China adoption, it is considered a sign that a referral is imminent
when the adoptive parent sees one. 
While I was on the phone telling my dad the "good news"
a ladybug landed on my window ledge at work.

Today we celebrate the good fortune which has brought us together!


Our youngest daughter, Qiuyan - 27 months old

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hope Written

Today I sent Juliana's files to the Chief Pediatric Cardiologist at the National Children's Hospital in Washington D.C.  Within 7 minutes of him receiving my email, Dr. Berul responded to me and said that he would review Juliana's reports along with a team of doctors and surgeons, and get back to me.  Just a few hours later, this is the email I received:

Dear Professor Rancourt,
After reviewing the English documents, we see that she was born with a condition of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). She has already undergone 2 of the surgeries necessary for this condition, and likely is now due for a cardiac catheterization followed by the 3rd stage of surgery (called Fontan procedure). Dr. Jonas is one of the world's leading experts in this surgery. I am more optimistic regarding her outcome than the reports you received from Seattle.

We would be happy to take care of your daughters upon arrival in Virginia, and have several cardiologists who could see you at our convenient outpatient office in Fairfax. In addition, if you have the echo or cath studies available on CD, we can review them beforehand.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Dr. Charles Berul
***********************************************************************

Charles I. Berul, M.D.
Chief, Division of Cardiology; Children's National Medical Center
Professor of Pediatrics and Integrative Systems Biology; George Washington University School of Medicine
111 Michigan Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20010

God knew EXACTLY where Juliana needed to be in order to have 
"one of the world's leading experts in this surgery" take care of her.
God's plans for my life are always so much better than anything
I could ever dream up or wish for.


Friday, November 4, 2011

LOI for Juliana

This afternoon, our Letter of Intent to adopt Juliana that I wrote back on September 29th, 2011 was submitted to the CCCWA!  

And guess what we get to do now?  
WAIT.

Jacques and I believe that there are no "unkowns" in God's eyes.  
He knows all.  
We will be honored to parent Juliana 
with the hope and prayer that the Almighty Physician 
will place his hand on her broken heart and perform a miracle.  
And if God decides to bring Juliana to her eternal home instead, 
we will be honored to have been her parents 
for as long as God will allow her little heart to beat. 

It brings peace to my heart knowing that this side of heaven 
Juliana will know the comfort and security of a family’s unconditional love.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Got her!"


“Got her!”  I received a text from our agency consultant at 2:25am saying that she found Juliana, and locked her file for us.  I never in a million years thought that two little words could provoke such emotion.   

Laura said that she locked Juliana’s file at 2:22am, and that she specifically remembered the time since her lucky number is 22.  It also just so happens that Juliana’s birthday is on the 22nd day of July. 

Yes, 22 is a VERY good number. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Labor

This afternoon, our adoption agency had our homestudy social worker call and interview Jacques.  I was in the car driving home from a Techno Forensics Conference that I had been at in Myrtle Beach, SC since Sunday.  I had no clue that this was all going on until I arrived home at 10pm, and Jacques told me that our agency consultant would be searching the shared list for Juliana at 1:30am EST.

After our conversation Jacques promptly fell asleep. 

And here I sit in labor, waiting and praying and praying and waiting.

I really wish I could have an epidural...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Ending?

Happy ending?  End of the story you might think?  Not so fast.

Our adoption agency requested that we write a letter to administration explaining to them why we are wanting to bring home “virtual twins”, and why we believe our family can handle the adoption of a child who has been deemed “terminal”.

Dear AAI Administration,

Our family has been praying for a long time about who we will bring into our family through the miracle of adoption.  We began the adoption process knowing that we would come across children that would melt our hearts, situations that would break our hearts, and challenges that would stretch our hearts.  We have learned so much about who we are through all of this.  We are thrilled beyond belief about our little daughter Nianshu, and we are also pursuing the opportunity to bring Quiyan into our family too.  Many people have asked us why we would choose to adopt a child that faces the odds of survival that Quiyan does.  People have asked us why we would attempt to bring two children home at the same time - especially being so close in age.  In some ways, the answer to those questions is, "We don't know".  There are times in life when you do something because for whatever reason, you believe it is the right thing to do.  Although there are many unknowns, you realize that the righteous live by faith, and you make a decision not because you can predict the outcome, but because you believe so deeply in a cause you are willing to risk a lot for it. 

All of our lives, people have taken risks, demonstrated love, and invested in us and our futures.  They modeled for us that love is not about what you can get, but about what you are willing to give.  We are willing and desperately desire to give a home to this precious girl, Quiyan.  Every human being on the planet - no matter what situation they are born into - deserves to know, feel, and experience unconditional love.  That is what we can give.  We talk with our two girls constantly about life and death, and the reality that even children get sick, face difficulties and sometimes die at a young age.  I can't imagine a better environment for a child facing these obstacles to be adopted into. 

We know that Qiuyan is close in age to our daughter Nianshu that we are already approved to bring home from China.  In our eyes, this is not a negative, but potentially a huge positive.  We see this as an opportunity for our girls to embrace two new sisters.  We see the potential for these girls to help each other adjust and adapt to a new environment and life while having an incredible bond from potentially similar experiences.  We understand fully that we may adopt Quiyan, and that her medical bills may be significant - and then she might die.  However, it would be a far greater tragedy that this precious child might never experience the love and joy of a family who will do everything within their power to shower her with unconditional love and embrace her for all of her days.

Thank you so much for considering offering us this blessing!

Peace and Goodwill,
Jacques and Emily

Monday, October 31, 2011

Godwink

Today I experienced a miracle...a Godwink.  A Godwink is what I refer to as a reminder from God that He is all knowing, all powerful, and in control of every little thing that happens to us.

I received an email today from Patty, Juliana’s Guardian Angel.  Her adoption agency, Wasatch, was the one who pulled Juliana’s file from the shared list yesterday!  An agency consultant, Sabrina, put Juliana's file on a 72 hour hold.  Wasatch getting her file was truly "accidental"...it was a Godwink. Sabrina didn't know she was actually getting that file since all of the Wasatch families had already had the opportunity to review Juliana's file.  Ironically, when all the new files from the Oct. 29th shared list came out, Wasatch sent Patty the files they got, but only one file came through on her email.  All the other files bounced back. The one file that came to Patty was Juliana's.

That's when Patty sent this email to Kathy:

Dear Kathy,

This is Juliana.... PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be the HERO.  My friend Emily has loved this little girl with all her heart, soul and mind ever since I was the first one to get her file.

She and her husband DESPERATELY... like you have NEVER had a family before... WANT this little one... even with two years to live.

PLEASE tell me you can give her to them.  She has LOI written through her agency.  We have emailed over 100 times in the last 3 months about Juliana.

Patty

A few phone calls later, I had an email in my inbox with the golden ticket.  Kathy emailed Patty the exact day and time that Juliana would be released back to the shared list so that our family could lock her file.

Here is what Kathy emailed back:

Sabrina and I are fine and excited to release her to this family.  However it has to go through the computer so below is the EXACT time (and day her file will be released back to the shared list.  Who is the agency?  They better be willing to stay up late and get this file for her!!!!  My heart is beating so fast right now because I am so happy for this family.  Ahhh - this makes my night!  This is what adoption is all about truly!

Her file will be released at 10:30 pm on 11/2/2011 PST.  Good luck!!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

Thank you Jesus for hearing our desperate cries for our sweet daughter!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Luck

Our agency consultant searched the shared list for us, and she was unable to find Juliana.  Either the family decided to proceed with her adoption, or she was picked up by another agency.  Several people have their eyes and ears open for our family to see where Juliana ended up. 

I’m not sure how much more my heart can take...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Broken System

My biggest fear came true.  Our agency consultant called Juliana’s agency today, and found out that her file was pulled by CCCWA last night. She said that it went to the shared list but then disappeared within a few minutes. It's likely that an agency has it locked for one of their families.  Our consultant will check back in around 72 hours to see if the family decided to proceed or perhaps send her back to the shared list. 

I am still in shock, and furious at this broken system.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Injustice

As of today, hundreds of families have reviewed Juliana’s file, and every single family has turned her down since she has the diagnosis of “terminal”.  Our agency consultant called Juliana’s agency today, and she was told that the family who was seriously considering her is still considering.  She was told to call back on Friday. 

Every month, China releases a Shared List of all the children with special needs who are available for adoption.  At the very moment the list is released, adoption agencies all over the world search through the list and “lock” files for their clients to consider.  The family only has 72 hours to proceed with the child’s adoption or else they are sent back to the shared list.  Adoption agencies can also request to have a specific child assigned to their agency for 90 days so that they can try to place that child with one of their families. 

At this point, Juliana has been on her agency’s individual list for 135 days.  My biggest fear is that the CCCWA will remove Juliana from the agency she is with, and then she will end up back on the shared list.  Once Juliana hits the shared list, she will likely bounce from agency to agency and face rejection after rejection. 

The injustice of this all is that JULIANA HAS A FAMILY!  


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Be Strong and Corageous

This morning while I was doing my bible study, the verse I was focusing
on was Joshua 1:9

Be strong and courageous.  
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, 
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you will go.

Oh how I needed that this morning!  Jacques and I are desperate to share Jesus with Juliana.  I was feeling really discouraged when I woke up this morning.  FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) keeps creeping in that a non-Christian family will adopt her.  If she only has 2 years to live on this earth, I want her to live with the knowledge that death is NOT the end.  I am not of the mindset that our family is better than any other.  I know there are moms out there who are crafty and can sew beautiful clothing for their little ones...I cannot even sew a button.  I know there are dads who make more money than my husband and I put together.  BUT, one thing we make sure our children know from the very day they are born (or adopted) is that Jesus loves them.  There is no sweeter sound to my ears than hearing my 3-year-old thanking Jesus in her prayers for dying on the cross "to make her sins go away".  My 6 year old has a faith and belief in Jesus Christ that cannot be shaken.  She is our little evangelist and boldly brings Christ into her public school...every...single...day! 

We have already sent a care package to our daughter in Shanghai along with a letter telling her how much we love her and Jesus loves her.  What a privilege it would be to be the Mommy who gets to teach Juliana how to sing "Jesus loves me". 

Oh how I pray that I get the chance...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Long Shot

The adoption agency that Juliana is listed with has a password protected photo album of all the children that are available to their clients for adoption.  I have the password, and check the photo album several times a day, holding my breath each time until I see Juliana's smiling face.

Our agency consultant makes a weekly call to Juliana’s adoption agency, and every time she receives the same news.  She is told that “a family is seriously considering bringing her home”.  Today I wrote our “Letter Of Intent” to adopt Juliana.  Why, you might ask when another family is probably going to bring her home?  I felt like God was urging me to write the request, and have it ready just in case we get the opportunity to lock her file.

It’s a long shot at this point...but it always has been, so nothing has changed! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Secrets

A piece of me died this mornng. One family broke the silence, and the emails have begun to come in about the horrible treatment and conditions of the orphanage where our daughter is waiting for us.  I always assumed that our daughter might sit in wet diapers much longer than she should, or that she would spend most of her days in her crib without hugs or kisses.  But things are not always what they may seem, and the "model orphanage" that our daughter is living in has some very dark secrets.  Secrets that adopted children are now telling their parents.  As hard as these stories are for us to stomach, knowledge is power and we are desperate to know what our daughter is going through so that we can help her once she comes home.

If ever you have thought about adoption, now is the time to stop thinking and start acting. There are 147 million orphans in the world who are counting on us to do something about this atrocity.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Care Package

Sometime today Nianshu should receive the care package that we sent to her!  Angela, from “Lady Bugs and Love” gave me two blanket choices, and I picked the purple fuzzy one.  Angela printed out 10 photos of our family that I emailed to her, and she attached labels to them so that the orphanage can show Nianshu our pictures and help her to become familiar with our faces and names. 

I am excited to think that Nianshu will see her family
for the very first time today.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Pictures of Nianshu

I received an email today from Angela with “Lady Bugs and Love”.  She heard back from the Shanghai CWI, and they sent her three photos of Nianshu.  Nianshu has just gotten her head shaved.  I really hate this, but realize that they shave the children’s heads in order to cut down on the spread of lice.  Uggghhhhh.

The only thing an adoptive family has to cling onto while we wait are the small glimpses into our child’s life as they wait upon us to bring them home.  The sadness in Nianshu’s eyes breaks my heart.  I cannot wait to see her little face light up when she smiles.

Enjoy a glimpse of our little beauty!


Mommy and Papa are coming for you sweet girl...we can't wait to see a big smile spread across your face.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Joyful Juliana

Be still my heart.  Juliana’s adoption agency received an update on her with new photos on 
September 12th....MY BIRTHDAY!

Juliana is pure beauty and joy.  The longing in my heart to be her mommy has definitely grown.  *SIGH*
Look at those kissable sweet cheeks!

Voila!

I love the death grip on her arm...totally something I would do!

You are so loved baby girl...more than you will ever know!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Love

Today our agency consultant called the other adoption agency to inquire for us about Juliana.  Our consultant was told that several families are currently reviewing Juliana’s file, and that she was confident one of them was seriously considering adding Juliana to their family. 

I know agencies do not want to pressure families into making a decision, but I think the only family for Juliana is a family ready and willing to accept whatever God's will is for this precious child.  Jacques and I are both fully aware that by the time we bring Juliana home it may be too late for surgery (if her lungs are affected).  We both feel so strongly that we want to show this little girl what it is meant to be loved by a family, and reassure her that Jesus loves her and will make her whole again someday! 

BUT..we also know that our Heavenly Father is the Father of miracles and can lay his healing hands on precious Juliana.

Ultimately, Jacques and I desperately want Juliana to have a family.  If another family decides to bring her home we will be sad for us but thrilled for them and Juliana. 

I truly love this little girl, and only want what is best for her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Gift of Life

Today is my 33rd birthday!  We decided to send a care package to Nianshu today to let her know that she has a family, and that we love her so much.  We used a service called “Lady Bugs and Love”.  I am excited to hear from the woman, Angela, who will put together our care package and send it to Nianshu at the orphanage.

As usual, Jacques and the girls spoiled me rotten on my birthday.  But the best part of my day came when I opened up my very last present from Jacques.  Jacques loves giving gifts, and he always saves the best gift for last.  I slowly unwrapped the present, and opened the box to find a card inside.  When I opened the card, Jacques wrote that he wanted to “Double our pleasure and double our fun” by bringing home Juliana too.  Jacques has been on board all along to bring home Juliana, but this was his way of saying that he gave me his 100% support to pull out all of the stops and start fighting to bring Juliana home. 

I guess you can say that Jacques gave me the gift of life for my birthday! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

USCIS

We just received confirmation that our USCIS application/petition has been received and routed to the National Benefit Center for processing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

China said "YES"

Like cold water to a weary soul, 
is good news from a distant land. (Proverbs 25:25)

China said "YES"!

Today, we received our Pre-Approval from the People's Republic of China for our daughter Nianshu.  Nianshu is currently residing at the Shanghai Central Welfare Institute.

Our family is over the moon excited to welcome Nianshu into our family! 
Jacques and I feel so blessed that God has chosen us
to be her Mommy and Papa.

This is the referral photo of our precious baby girl 年淑.  

China...here we come!






Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guardian Angel

Tonight I sent an email to Patty, the very first person to have Juliana’s file reviewed by pediatric cardiologists.  Even though Patty and her husband felt that Juliana was not their daughter, Patty is passionate about helping Juliana find her family.  Patty is Juliana’s Guardian Angel here on earth.  I told Patty that God confirmed our feeling that we should stay with our adoption agency by providing us with Nianshu’s referral.  She agreed. 

However, I told Patty that Juliana has not left my mind or heart.  I feel this desperate longing to bring home two!  This is absolutely crazy, I know.  We would literally double our number of children overnight.  Wow.  We are homestudy approved for 2  children.  As soon as we (hopefully) receive PA for our little Nianshu, I will email the adoption agency that Juliana is listed with again, and let them know that we are have pre-approval for another child already with our agency, and see if they will be willing to transfer Juliana's file.  We will do everything within our power and God's will to expedite and bring Juliana "home".

 I have not yet spoken to our adoption agency about Juliana since she and Nianshu are VERY close in age (only 5 months apart).  We will need to discuss "virtual twining" with our consultant, Laura, since our agency typically does not do this.  HOWEVER, our consultant is a wonderful Christian woman, and I am very confident that she would push forward for us to bring home both the girls if the other agency was willing to release her file back to the shared list so that we could "lock" it.  I do know for a fact that our agency is all for us bringing home two children at once, or returning within a year on the same dossier...so the only obstacle I see is the virtual twining.

Oh, and somehow getting Juliana's file over to our agency.  
Minor detail...NOT!

Torture

Only two days have passed since we submitted our letter of intent to China to adopt Nianshu.  The wait is torture.  Most families who submit their request to adopt a specific child KNOW that it is just a matter of time until China will say “yes”.  But, for our family, we had to send a medical waiver request for me since I have a non-curable form of cancer.  China is very reluctant to allow a family to bring home a child when one of the parents have or has had any form of cancer.  Cancer is one of the big issues that disqualify a family who desires to adopt from China. 

Medically speaking, I still have cancer.  The type of cancer that I was diagnosed with at the young age of 22 is called Carcinoid Syndrome.  At the time of diagnosis, I was given 3 years to live.  My doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota are trying to medically explain how I am still alive...but what they are not taking into account is that God is bigger than any medical diagnosis!  That is why I am still sitting here tonight typing this blog post 11 years later.  I am completely healthy, and my cancer levels have been within a normal range for the past 7 years...since the year that I conceived our first daughter!  I feel honored to be given a second chance at life, and I promised God (more like begged) that if he allowed me to live I would live my life according to His will.  My heart for orphans has always been HUGE...definitely a desire planted by God.  

My endocrinologist wrote me a doctor’s note saying that she did not feel that my disease inhibits my ability to parent my children, and that she expects me to live a long life.  This letter was translated into Chinese, and then submitted to China along with our request to adopt Nianshu. 

At this point, all we can do is pray that God softens the hearts of the Chinese officials who review our paperwork.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letter of Intent for Nianshu

I just received confirmation that our adoption agency submitted our application to the CCCWA to allow our family to adopt Nianshu!  

Oh happy day :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Cookies

Tonight I was at home baking my cookies.  Pretty much anyone who knows me well has had some of “my cookies”.  The truth is that they really aren’t “my cookies” after all.  My mom handed down the recipe to me, as well as the specific art, patience, and love that need to go into them.  The cookies are very tempermental, and most people who I have given the recipe to cannot duplicate it.  The cookies require a specific flour, specific butter (softened just so), specific sugar, specific chocolate chips, and a lot of muscles to mix the batter.  If all of the planets do not align perfectly, the cookies do not turn out.  Basically, the cookies are a lot like me...STUBBORN, or as my mom likes to call it, “strong willed”!

So, as I was taking out the second batch of cookies from the oven Jacques walked in the door from Golfing and blurted out, “Let’s go for it”.  I questioned what he was talking about, and he explained that he felt that we should submit a letter of intent to China to bring home Nianshu.  I was instantly overcome with excitement and happiness.  We finally had a face to go along with all of our love.  I was overjoyed to hear that Jacques felt that Nianshu was our daughter, since as I mentioned before, I was in love since the moment I saw her precious face.

However, at the same time that I was rejoicing I also felt heartbroken that Juliana would continue to sit on this other agency’s list while family after family turn her down because she is labeled “terminal”. 

Life is so unfair in so many  ways.    

Notice something missing?

It's a good thing she is so stinkin' cute!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Doctor Reports


The International Adoption Doctor and Cardiologist both contacted us today about Nianshu.  They both had some concerns about her tiny size, as well as why she has widening of her pulmonary artery.  We submitted her files to them since that is what everyone does, and since this is our first adoption, we did too.  However, at the end of the day, I wonder what the doctors would have had to say to make us not want to bring home a specific child? 

When Jacques and I first started out on our adoption journey I figured that we would try to bring home the healthiest child that we possibly could.  When I was pregnant with both of our girls, I prayed without ceasing that God would protect our babies and keep them healthy.  Why wouldn’t we pray for the same thing along our adoption journey?  But as I see the faces of thousands of precious orphans who need a mommy, papa, and siblings to love them, especially if they have medical issues, I start to question my way of thinking. 

Now, I wonder how we could ever say “no”.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Referral

Today we received a referral for a little girl who is currently residing at the Shanghai Central Welfare Institute who has been assigned to our adoption agency's individual list.  Our agency consultant told us that she had several families reviewing her file, but no one had committed to bring her home yet.  We will email her files to an International Adoption Doctor, as well as a Pediatric Cardiologist to see what they say.  I am completely in love with this darling little girl.  And when I say little....I mean little.  Nianshu doesn’t even rank on the growth charts for children in the USA.  On the Chinese children charts, she is in the 3rd percentile.  With both of our girls being in the 100th percentile for height and weight, this will be very new to us!  Jacques and I are praying that God will make it clear to us if Nianshu is our daughter. 

The hard part for me is that if we lock Nianshu’s file, then the chances of us being able to bring home Juliana are slim to none.  After speaking to Juliana’s adoption agency yesterday, the only way that they are willing to help us bring her home is for us to switch to their agency.  *SIGH*

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Juliana

I was on Brooke's "Little Wonders Find Homes" advocacy site this morning and read that a woman named Patty had two doctor's reports on “Juliana” that she was willing to share with interested families.  I emailed her, and told her that Jacques and I are ready,  able, and VERY willing to adopt a child with a severe CHD.  Patty immediately emailed everything that she had on Juliana to me.  As I read through the doctor’s prognosis for this sweet little girl, I could not stop crying.  Jacques heard me sniffling, and asked me what was wrong.  I read him the two doctor’s reports, and his first question was, “How do we bring her home?”  I so love my husband’s heart!  Unfortunately, this is not going to be easy.  Juliana is listed with a different adoption agency than the one we are with; the one we feel that we were led to by God to find our daughter.  Mountains will need to be moved in order for us to to bring this precious child home.  Unfortunately, this little one does not have much “time”, and we are hoping that a family will step forward and expedite to bring her home and give her a fighting chance at life.

The first photo we ever saw of "Juliana"

Sweet baby girl...

Monday, July 25, 2011

July Shared List

The July shared list was released tonight.  However, Laura said that this was one of the shortest lists she has ever seen, and she did not find our daughter on it.  We know our little girl is out there somewhere, and we are anxiously waiting to know who she is!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Finalized Homestudy!

Our homestudy was finalized today!  Laura will begin searching the shared list for our daughter as soon as the next list is released. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

100%

Jacques and I have 100% decided to work with Adoption Associates Inc.  Today we began filling out our formal application.  I am really enjoying all of the paperwork right now, and am so excited to begin the first steps to bringing home our daughter.

We have also made contact with a Hague accredited adoption agency in our area to begin our homestudy.  Maureen is our social worker, and we will begin meeting with her  over the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adoption Associates Inc.

Today I emailed Adoption Associates Inc. in reference to a little girl who is assigned to their agency.  One of their agency consultants, Laura, emailed me back immediately.  Jacques and I have been praying about which adoption agency to work with to bring home our daughter, and much to our surprise we have found this to be a very difficult decision.  I have emailed dozens of agencies, trying to get a feel for who they are and what they believe in, but most of them blow me off, and never respond to my questions.  Laura is different.  She has emailed me back and returned all of my phone calls promptly for the past few weeks.  Laura has taken the time to answer all of my newbie questions without ever making me feel like I am taking up too much of her time.  Jacques and I feel strongly that even though AAI is located in Michigan, this is the agency that will help us bring home our daughter.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eyes Wide Open


"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
Proverbs 24:12

My eyes have been opened to the growing number of special needs children in China.  Because of the one child policy, Chinese parents give their daughters and medically frail children up for adoption in order to birth a healthy son who will care for them in the future.  In China, when a child enters an orphanage, they are given a name that marks them for life as an orphan.  Their name, as well as their Certificate of Abandonment ensure that a normal life outside of the institution is impossible.  If a child reaches the age of 14 and has not been adopted, all hope is lost...literally.  These children will never get a job, never get married, and never live happily ever after. 

Now that I know this information, 
I cannot pretend that I don’t know what to do.