We went to the office to try to walk in and get our fingerprints done sooner than our scheduled appointment of April 1st. Thankfully we walked in and the officer allowed us to get them done. I was a little nervous because I had a cut on my thumb and I was worried it would interfere with my fingerprint. Well, apparently our fingerprints go down many layers in our skin so they couldn't even see the cut on the screen at all. She said our prints looked great!! Now we wait for our I797 approval and then we can submit our dossier. One step closer to our girl!!!
We received our fingerprint appointments on Saturday March 21st. We emailed our request to the USCIS requesting a medical expedite. We had to send a doctors letter providing proof that it is necessary for the expedite. I just received an email and they approved our request. PRAISING GOD for this answer to prayer. We will try to walk in to the office to see if we can get our fingerprints sooner. Our appointment is not scheduled to April 1st. Please pray they allow us to get them done.
We mailed out our I800A to the USCIS on March 6th. We just received an email and text saying they received our documents in the lockbox today. Once we receive our fingerprint appointments in the mail we can request a medical expedite due to our daughters heart condition. Please pray that they will process our paperwork quickly. Thanks!
Today was an amazing day!!! I want to thank all of our friends and family who helped us today. We couldn't have done it all with out you. When Jon mentioned adopting our little girl I really was not sure about having to fundraise again. Part of me thought, so many have helped before how could people help again. While we were reviewing our little one's file, God once again showed me he's got this. They attached a $5,000 grant to her file. After that, our agency encouraged us to apply for a matching grant. Within an hour, yes an hour we heard we were approved for an $8,000 grant. We need to come up with $4,000 and they will match the other $4,000. They then encouraged us to apply for an agency grant. The max that they give was $3,000. That is what we requested. When we got our approval letter the following week, it stated that they wanted to give us $5,000 because of how we met her, advocated for her and they were inspired by our story. I tell you this because I was hesitant. I have seen God provide for two of our adoptions and still I doubted him. Look at what he has shown me in less than a month??? AND then add in today. I first woke up to a message from a woman who has been thinking about adoption and wants to meet me for coffee to talk more about it. For me I just want to be a tool for God to use. If through all of this, it also helps one more orphan get a forever family. Completely worth it!!! So then the morning started. We got the donuts to all of the locations and people were coming at a steady pace. Our first location sold out at 11 and then we started to hear more as time went on. My phone was still ringing as the day went on. Completely Amazing. I am truly blown away. Today was not about us in anyway. It was truly doing God's work and him working for our daughter. He provided for her so she could have a family and get the surgery she needs to help her. Today we saw so many people come together to help make this day what it was. We had so many volunteers to make all six stations run smoothly. We had a few friends that got sick and right after those messages we received some with people asking if we still needed help. God even worked out all of the little details like that. Thank you to all of you who helped us today!!! So many people also shared our event on Facebook. This was huge!!! It really helped!! We had over 100 preorders for donuts today even before everything started today. I was getting texts and phone calls still tonight for donuts. We had 670 dozen donuts this morning and they have all been sold!!! There are so many generous people around in our community!! We are truly humbled. Thank you so much for all of your support and all of your help to bring our little girl home!! We could not do this without you. I think today was also a reminder that there is so much good in this world. We just need to look around and see it more. There was a couple that came by tonight to purchase donuts and they thanked me for allowing them to be able to help in this way. Again truly humbled by it all. Thank you so much!!
Many of you saw our announcement that our family is growing by one more. If you missed the announcement I want to encourage you to go back and read it. It has been an interesting journey and one I have seen God's hand in. He has opened so many doors and put people in our path right when we needed it. To think that last year when we were planning our trip to bring Bowen home and Jon said lets go help at an orphanage and I was like really? I wasnt sure. If we had not gone we would have missed out on meeting this precious little girl that day. I am just amazed once again on this journey God is taking us. It is a leap of faith but I am going to jump with my arms wide open. We are truly excited to introduce you to our precious daughter that is waiting for us in Ch*na. Some of you know her name because she is in an American sponsored orphanage but Ch*nese ran so her information is out on the organizations website. We have been told by our agency to be extremely careful and not post her English name or Ch*nese name so that it can not be linked back to Ch*na in anyway. So family and friends please refrain from posting her name. When we get our formal letter letter acceptance we can write it everywhere! Our homestudy is also completed as of today!!! So excited things are moving quickly. We hope to post her picture soon!!
We are Adopting Again! Yes we didn’t believe it either but it is true. We received our pre-approval from Ch*na! We are excited to welcome number 6 bambino to our family. It was April 2014 and Jenn, Isabella, and I went to Ch*na to get Bowen. We took a day out of our Beijing tour to go to an orphanage. This particular orphanage had special needs children from infant to around 12 years of age. We really didn’t know what to expect that day we just wanted to serve and love the children. It was an opportunity to just take in the day without feeling we needed to gather everything possible and learn as much as we could like Bowen, and Yu Mei’s orphanage. We walked into a small two story apartment unit where we were greeted by the orphanage director and a group of about 15 children ranging from I would say 4 to 12 years of age. We gazed around and took in the experience but quickly headed upstairs to help out with the young ones for the day. On this particular day they were needing help with feeding the children, caring for the children, and frankly just loving them. At first the children looked at us with blank stares one even let out a big cry when I went to say hi. We backed off and just let them get used to the idea of us being in the room. It was there that the director introduced us to the children and workers. Jenn immediately recognized this one little girl. The director proceeded to tell us that she has a family in the U.S. We asked the families name and sure enough it was our friends daughter. It is amazing how God can connect one family to another with over a billion people in Ch*na. The children slowly warmed up to us and we were able to feed them, play with them, and even get a few laughs out of them. I remember looking at my oldest daughter Isabella thinking how this moment was going to stay with her for a lifetime. I wondered what type of impact it would leave on her. I thank God she experienced this day and the trip to Ch*na for it’s a new story on her heart to share. We enjoyed the children and then had to say our goodbyes. We ventured downstairs where we only had a few minutes to say our goodbyes to the older ones. We wished we had more time with them but it wasn’t God’s plan for that day. I remember reading on blogs and being educated how older children realize what adoption is. They see families come in and swoop the little ones up and head on out the doors as they still wait. I tried to prepare myself for what was about to happen but no one in the right frame of mind can fully prepare for the experiences ahead. We worked our way to the door and children all of a sudden started hanging all over Jenn. They were wrapped around her legs, pulling on her and just wanting to be held. I looked to my left and saw the same thing with Isabella. Children crying and tugging and just wanting us to stay. I remember the orphanage director saying something to the effect of you are just going to have to leave. You will have to break free from them. Surprisingly I looked down to not find any children on me. As I gazed off to my right I see this little girl come wondering over to me. She stood right before my feet looking into my eyes with her arms extended towards me. It was then that I reached down for her and swooped her up into my arms. She stared into my eyes with the most beautiful smile and then proceeded to kiss me on my cheek. I remember looking at her blue lips and blue fingers wondering what was wrong. I remember saying to myself how?? How can a beautiful little girl like this still be an orphan? As I held her I looked at all the children questioning why they were all here. I remember saying to myself why. This is not fair. Why do they have to pay this price they are so little. We all parted our way with tears. We even got into the van and children were yelling out the window in tears. It are moments like this that will leave foot prints on a man’s sole for a lifetime. I left that day never forgetting this little girl. In fact for 8 months I have had her on the home screen on my phone as a reminder to pray for her heart condition and that she would have a family. It is not like me to do these things but something I felt the spirit telling me to do. Time passed and I found out that this little girl’s file was being released to an adoption agency. I remember thanking God saying this is her turn. She will soon have a family. A few weeks passed and I decided to email the agency that had her file just to confirm she was with an agency. I sent an email and never heard a response. Another couple weeks went by and I decided to forward my email to them and see what response I would get. A day later I got an email stating they had this little girls file and that one family was reviewing her file and a few other families were in line to see it. I remember in my heart thinking this is great!!! She is going to have a family. After reading that email I quickly attached more updated pictures and sent them to the agency to attach to her file. I wanted the family reviewing her file to see how precious she was and help her find a family. That day I really felt with confidence that she was on her way to have a family…. Two days later I was sitting at my work computer and I felt a voice say put your name on the list. I really started to ponder why am I thinking these thoughts she already has a family soon... Is God telling me to do this? The voice grew louder as I started to hear more clearly that I was supposed to put my name on the list to review this little girl’s file. I was at the cross roads where I heard the voice but yet questioned why. I remember getting to a place in my head that if I didn’t do this I was going to regret it for the rest of my life. So I emailed the agency and said I wanted to be added to the list. I remember thinking there are many families interested if it get’s to us we will just have to see what happens. I went home and with a shaky voice told Jenn what I did. It is not like me to not have a conversation of this magnitude with my wife before making this type of decision. I mean Jenn knew about the file. She knew I tried to see if the agency had it. She just didn’t know about me putting our name on the list. I was doomed she was going to kill me for this. However; when the spirit speaks we are to obey and listen and that is exactly what I did. Well let’s just say she was taken by surprise to say the least. A few days later I received an email from the agency stating that all the other families have decided not to proceed forward with her. Could it be God.. Could it really be that you are calling us?? I have prayed for 8 months for her to have a family. I have cried for her. I have remembered that day back in C*ina… God what are you telling me? This whole time I have been praying and you are now going to reveal her to us to adopt! God is good. What lies ahead for this little girl is uncertain. We have been in touch with some of the best doctors who have given us a few opinions. The truth is however that we have to walk this road by faith. The records received by Ch*na in no way shape or form can give us everything we need to determine her road ahead. The truth is we often want our lives to resemble a perfect cookie cutter approach. Each cookie being of perfect shape. The reality is when we trust and follow God’s plans for our lives he can walk us into territory less traveled. The best road we have ever been on.. What a journey adoption has been for both of us. Not in a million years did we ever expect to be adopting again so soon. However the sign is so clear. We are to proceed forward. Please join us in praying for this little girl’s heart. She is going to be 5 in March and has such a great joy about her. We are very excited to be stepping out in faith for her. Please walk with us in prayer for her. She has received two surgeries in Ch*na and will need another one in the near future. We pray that God would sustain her heart until we can get her home to the U.S. I will leave you with that for now and will continue more of the story at another time.