Tag Archives: Ladybug

One year ago today…

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One year ago today, after 24+ hours of travel, almost no sleep, and incredible anticipation… we laid eyes on our sweet Ladybug for the very first time.

I will never forget the emotion of that day. I remember feeling this huge shock reverberating throughout my life – this small child that we had committed to love and cherish forever and always was REAL! She actually existed!

It is nearly impossible to chronicle the changes the past year has brought to our family individually and as a whole. We are not who we once were. We have deeper joy and more painful wounds than we could have ever imagined. Ladybug has grown in amazing ways.

One year ago today, she met her family for the first time. One year ago yesterday, we were but strangers. Today we are the only mommy and daddy she has ever known.

One year ago today, she spoke a language that, sadly, she no longer remembers. Today, she makes up silly songs, counts, sings her ABCs, proclaims her love to her family, rambles on, and says, “I’m sorry.”

One year ago today, she met two of her sisters. Today, she is learning that her sisters (now three!) are her best friends and pose no threat to her acceptance, attachment, and survival in our family.

One year ago today, she ignored us as best as her curiosity would allow her. Today, she seeks out our comfort for owies and good morning hugs.

One year ago today, she was an orphan. Today, an orphan no more, she has a mommy, daddy, three sisters, grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, friends, church family, and the future of more family to come.

One year ago today, she was exactly five months away from coming home for the first time. Today, she has been HOME for exactly seven months.

The past 7.5 months have been inexplicable for our family. Building and growing a family is never easy, and the task can become even more daunting when so much baggage tags along for the ride. The challenge feels ultimate. The reality and complexity of adoption will forever draw me to the cross of Jesus Christ. He alone could complete this great work and knit people from different parts of the world together into one home and one family. One love.

We have so far to go, but I stand in awe at the work God is completing. I so look forward to our future!

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Ladybug is HOME!

On August 13, 2015, Ladybug spent her first night with her new family. And on August 23, 2015, Ladybug spent her first night in her new home in her new country.

She is home!

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We saw her again for the first time since March on August 3, and I haven’t spent a day away from her since then. The past 9 weeks have been just oh so much. So much joy and so much pain. So much of every imaginable emotion.

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Welcome home, sweet girl. Daddy, Mommy, and your sisters are so glad you’re here.

It’s go time

Court is scheduled. Flights are booked.

In a matter of just a few weeks, we will be on our way to Ladybug’s country for a final time as a family of four. We will return as a family of five!

The Lord has blessed us considerably, making a way where there first appeared to be none. Other little blessings spring forth: finances available to take Poppy and Bumblebee along, too; not even needing to miss one of my scheduled prenatal appointments for Gumdrop; more than a few days’ travel notice, and more. It makes the fact that we will leave only one week after her third birthday bearable. God knows why THIS specific timing is necessary, and we rejoice in His goodness!

We’ve known for almost a week and are furiously trying to implement all of the lists and plans that we’ve been building since we returned home the first time. Call this doctor. Buy this item. Prepare this piece. Send this email. Make this decision. All at the same time as swim lessons and Vacation Bible School and bedtimes and visits from family and washing the dishes. Anyone who knows me well knows that my perfectionism can tend to get the better of me, and I’m trying hard to not stress too much. But, I have caught a cold and stopped sleeping as well as normally. 🙂

I plan to write up a little post about our plan for our new family once we’re home. If you interact with us in real life, try to look for that post to come in the next week or two. In the meantime, prayer warriors, here’s how you can help:

*prep work – that preparing to travel will go well; that we’ll stay healthy and be well-rested

*traveling mercies – smooth and comfortable flights; baggage that goes where it’s supposed to; flights that go when their supposed to; Chris and I to have lots of love to help our littles manage the flight again

*transition prep – for Ladybug’s heart to be as prepared as possible; for Chris and I to remember all of our training and wisdom as it comes to making split-second decisions that are best for all 5 of us; that we can enjoy our family time in country

*homecoming – love and laughter and lots of sweet moments; wisdom and grace in the tough moments; for God to grant us support where we need it

Thank you, and stay tuned!

Home Stretch

I woke up at 4:55 AM today.

That’s pretty unusual for me, but the National Visa Center opens at 7:00 AM EST, and I wanted to be one of the first on the phone to them. Getting three important numbers from NVC was the final thing WE had on our to-do list until “book flights.” Calling NVC is not for the faint of heart, especially if you miss pressing “1” fast enough to stay connected to the call after being on hold for 20+ minutes. Like I did. Twice.

I got through and learned our numbers had been issued; and after an hour of being on hold (partially due to the aforementioned issue of slow fingers), I had the numbers!

Anyway, so now, our lawyer in Ladybug’s country can use those numbers to file another form, which triggers the last few steps. Hopefully, in about two weeks, we’ll receive our ultimate paperwork known as Article 5. Any time from immediately after that to indefinitely after that, court will be scheduled, and we’ll be on our way. We’re talking single digit weeks, folks! (Lord willing!)

Thanks for all the prayer warriors who have stormed heaven’s gates on Ladybug’s behalf! We love you all.

422 Days

We are 422 days deep in this adoption process, and MAN! can we see the finish line!

We have received Ladybug’s official paperwork and submitted our I800 application to USCIS. After receiving the forthcoming approval (1-3 weeks), there are a few more steps: receiving via email some numbers needed to secure her visa (3 days), the US embassy in her country completing her orphan investigation (2 weeks), awaiting one final set of paperwork called the Article 5 (1-2 weeks). Once we have received article 5, our lawyer can schedule court. Possibly in 5-7 weeks, we will have a pretty good idea or know for sure when our final trip will be!

I wanted to offer a brief financial update, as well. We have paid our final agency fees! WOO! We also have saved a reasonable chunk of change to cover plane tickets and time spent in country (3 weeks or so). We really may be “fully-funded,” a long-sought after status everyone in the adoption world loves to reach! BUT, depending on how outrageous the ticket prices are based on summer vacation status and time before booking, we may still be a little short. There’s no way to be certain, unfortunately. We’re praying and trusting that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to!

We really are SO close! I need to share soon all of the flurry of activity we’ve had here as we prepare for Ladybug’s arrival (and Gumdrop’s, too, not too long after!). Stay tuned!

Hallelujah!

Today, just a few days shy of two months past registering for Ladybug in her birth country, we were notified that we received our next big approval! Her country has essentially said, “yes,” to this beautiful new family God is building, and all of her legal paperwork has been released to us. 

This paperwork, called the Article 16 package, is working its way through translation and recording before we’ll use it to apply for Ladybug’s citizenship paperwork. 

We are truly in the home stretch now, folks, and the realization takes my breath away. Hopefully by the end of July we will have a pretty good idea of our court date and travel schedule for bringing her HOME. 

HOME. 

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I was laying with Poppy and Bumblebee as they were going down for their naps when a fellow adoptive parent-turned-friend messaged me imploring me to check my email. I clicked over quickly and read the good news in disbelief. I almost froze, but then I yelled out to Chris, “CHECK YOUR EMAIL!” As I heard him say, “Yay! Yay! Yay!” I burst into laughing and crying at the same time, and the girls just kinda stared at me. I happily explained the short version of what happened (I know – they’re too young to get it), and they both smiled and hugged me. So sweet. 

Waiting for this second prime minister approval was so much more difficult than waiting for the first. Ladybug has a bed in her new home now. We have purchased a new vehicle to accommodate our growing family. We have been tangibly and practically preparing for her arrival, and it FINALLY feels like maybe, just maybe, we’re almost there. 

We’re on our way, sweet daughter. 

Ready for sister

Mini Update

It’s now been 34 days since we officially registered with Ladybug in her country.

34 days since we’ve seen that sweet girl.

And while we wait, I thought I would post a small update and give our friends, family, and supporters a glimpse at what’s to come.

Amazingly, three of the six families who traveled last month have already received the final government approval from our children’s country. This is remarkably quick; and while it means almost nothing as far as knowing when we will receive our big approval, it does give us much reason to hope for a sooner-than-anticipated date!

After that approval, there is a flurry of activity between the two countries as we finalize all of the necessary paperwork to secure her eventual U.S. citizenship, prepare for our final trip, be scheduled for court, and so on. The absolute fastest that this post-approval process can go, in my best understanding, is about 9 weeks. Then, our on-average three weeks of travel, and then HOME. We will absolutely be keeping everyone posted!

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A unique opportunity has arisen that we may send a small care package along to Ladybug! Poppy and Bumblebee painted some pictures, and Chris and I will write a card to send her. We also are sending along some stickers (we had a lot of fun playing with stickers together last month), and, most importantly, a family photo of the five of us that she can have to keep!

Please pray that God will use these small tokens of love we send to continue to prepare her little heart for what’s to come and to remind her of our love for her!

Cute little "selfie" chin Ladybug captured on my phone :)

Cute little “selfie” chin Ladybug captured on my phone 🙂

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Now that the word is out about my pregnancy, I thought I’d give a brief overview of how (and how not) this may affect the adoption. The short answer and good news is that it won’t.

What Gumdrop will more-than-likely affect is my own ability to travel with Chris on our second trip. Thankfully, the adoption process can and will proceed, even if only one of us is in Ladybug’s country for court and to pick her up and bring her home. The sad thing is that I really want to go! So long as I can be there and back by early-ish September, I believe that I will be cleared to travel. BUT, that kind of time frame is not at all guaranteed.

God has given us a great deal of peace about all of this uncertainty, and we are assured of His perfect plan, no matter what happens! Still, we pray that if it is His will, I may get to go on this trip and that we travel early enough to build some attachment before Gumdrop arrives!

Stay tuned and continue to pray with us! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Beautiful slippers my cousin crocheted for Ladybug on her cute little feet!

Beautiful slippers my cousin crocheted for Ladybug on her cute little feet!