Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

We really ought to be thankful everyday, but I would like to use today (Thursday) as a day to highlight some things we are thankful for.

1. We are so thankful for family and friends who are such a great support to our family.
2. We are thankful for some incredible friends who shared an incredible blessing with our family this week.
3. I really am thankful for the opportunity to homeschool my children and influence them in a way that will honor God.
4. We are so thankful that Jonathan is in a foster home and appears to be receiving great care.
5. We have been praying that we would move quickly through the adoption process, but God has totally surprised us by just how quickly we are moving. Go, God!
6. I am so thankful that I was able to spend Monday with my best friend who is also my hubby. I couldn't imagine doing this journey with anyone else.

Psalm 118:1- "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."

Monday, March 23, 2009

A good day in Harrisburg

Today we trekked to Harrisburg, PA to get the state seal on a variety of documents for Jonathan's adoption. Actually, "a variety of documents" is an understatement. To be precise, we had to to get the state seal on eleven out of the twenty three documents that make up our dossier. That dossier represents over four months of work for Kim, and after making the required 4 copies of each we entrusted the originals, plus copies to FedEx and got to keep one copy for ourselves (sort of a memento, I guess.)

So, while Kim and I were at Kinkos, putting these packages together (sort, sort, sort, staple, sort, sort, sort, staple) I thought to myself, “Is this what adventure looks like?” It's easy for me to think about the big stuff, like our trip to China, or the impact Jonathan will have on our family dynamic, but really the adventure is also a collection of a bunch of these monotonous little moments as well. I think there's something to that idea ... but those are deep waters and it's late and I should be getting to bed.

It was a good day. We were due for a good day. Last week we, were on pins and needles waiting for the last of those documents to arrive. Our caseworker resigned from our adoption agency so she could work closer to her home. We're starting to feel the pull on our finances as we move through this process. Tough things, but they are stretching us in good ways ... reminding and reaffirming to Kim and me why we're doing this thing. Still, it was nice to have a good day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Digging to China

The Shafer kids are so excited to go get their new brother, they are digging to China!

We have our PA (pre-approval)

In our last post, I said that we were hoping to receiver our PA (pre-approval) in the next 2-4 weeks. Apparently, I was wrong. It came TODAY! I am not sure how this is even possible, but one does not question the inner workings of Chinese adoptions. The PA means that China acknowledges that the Shafer family would like to adopt Jonathan Futing.

China is now waiting on us! (never thought I would say that) We are hoping to make our trip to Harrisburg the end of this week and then our dossier (fancy adoption word for lots of paperwork) is off to the Michigan office for them to do their thing and eventually send it to China.

Please continue to pray as we have submitted 3 grant applications in the last 48 hours and are hoping to submit one more by the end of the week. We are trusting God to meet the financial needs of our adoption.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Our Mountain Moving God

What man said could take up to 90 days, God allowed to happen in just 21 days!

We have it ~ or have at least officially heard the approval is in the mail! Our I800A (immigration) approval that is. We have cleared the first big hurdle necessary to bring Jonathan Futing home. We are praising God as this is truly an answer to prayer. So what happens next:

1. Once we get the approval in the mail (sometime next week) yes, I will be stalking the mailman once again. We will drive the approval along with all of our other paperwork to Harrisburg to have the State Seal put on it. We will then find somewhere to make 4 copies of about 50 pages of documents. We will then overnight it to the adoption agencies headquarters in Michigan.

2. The Michigan office will then review everything. They will then send it to the Chinese Consulate in New York City to be authenticated. This can take 2-4 weeks.

3. Once Michigan gets our paperwork back from New York City, they will then send it to China! (I'm praying this happens by the middle of April)

4. China translates our paperwork and gives us a log in date. From there it will be about 5-7 months till we travel.

As you can see it is basically a hurry up so you can wait process. We are hoping to hear within the next 2-4 weeks that we are pre-approved to adopt Jonathan Futing. We submitted our Letter of intent earlier this week which was then sent to China. The pre-approval just means that yes, China will consider all of our paperwork once submitted and they will consider us to be Jonathan's parents.

Thank you to everyone who prayed with us for a quick I800A approval. God has heard and answered our prayers. This quick approval does make our goal of traveling by the end of 2009 seem achievable. BUT, we need lots more prayer as anything can suddenly slow down this process. So much of this is out of our hands, but we know God is holding us, Jonathan Futing and this whole situation in His hands.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's in a name?

Jeremy here ... no really this *is* Jeremy. Up until now most of the blog posts have been made by Kim, my ghost writer.

But it is time for me to chime in. I think it's time I give a little background to this boy we call Jonathan, and how we settled on this name, and (you've all been in suspense, right?) what will his name be when he comes home?

When we started talking about adopting (around October last year) we immediately began to include Amanda, Tyler, Jordan, and Ben in our conversations. Believing that our adopted son would not come to us through random chance, we started to pray for the boy who would one day become part of our family. One evening, Amanda said a prayer that included "God bless anonymous ..." it was right around then that we knew that this boy needed a name.

The name Jonathan was Kim's pick. It was only fair. With all of our pregnancies, Kim and I had a simple deal. If the baby was a girl, Kim got to choose the name. If the baby was a boy, I got to pick. With 3 boys and 1 girl, Kim really got a bad deal. (As if this whole pregnancy thing wasn't inequitable enough!)

So, Kim chose the name Jonathan. Kim knew that Jonathan means "gift of God," and that seemed more than appropriate! We didn't think of it at the time, but the name Jonathan also brings to mind the brave and godly young prince found in the Bible's book of 1 Samuel. Jonathan and the yet-to-be-king David loved eachother like brothers, and they swore friendship to eachother, and eachother's descendents, forever... very much like Jonathan will become a part of our family forever.

That's all well and good, but Jonathan is hardly an Asian name, and our boy is going by the moniker Li Futing at the moment. What will his name be when he joins us here in the U.S.?

In the short term, we're going to keep on calling him Futing, his given name. (Remember, in Chinese the family name comes first .. so Li is his "last" name.) At least for starters... the boy is going to have a lot to adjust to. Over time, we will introduce him to his european name.

We have learned that "Futing" is really two Chinese characters juxtaposed: "Fu" and "Ting." Fu means good fortune; blessings; happiness and "Ting" means a sudden peal of thunder.

His legal name will be Jonathan Futing Shafer ... a "gift of God" and a "happy and lucky sound of thunder." Sounds like a great name for a boy to me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today we were fingerprinted-- nothing too exciting, but it puts us one step closer. Once our fingerprints are processed, we should receive US immigration approval. We are praying that we receive this sometime within the next week or 2 (honestly, I am praying it happens by the end of this week!)

Please pray for guidance for us as we are in the process of applying for grants. There are 3 grant applications that we are trying to finish and get in the mail. These are time consuming, so pray that God will lead us to fill out ones that we actually have a shot at receiving. I just submitted a grant application today which is through our adoption agency. We should hear within the next 2 months if we will receive any monies from them. We are trusting God to provide.

We have officially chosen a name for the little boy we have been calling Jonathan. Yes, we had to choose this already as paperwork is starting to be done to make him officially a Shafer. We will post his official name very soon!

Friday, March 6, 2009

You know your getting closer...

You know your getting closer when the forms you are filling out are written in English and Chinese! Last night Jeremy and I spent some time filling out the form officially requesting to adopt Jonathan. The form was in English, but also had all the Chinese characters for each question. Thankfully, we are not responsible for translating. This form will be submitted to China early next week and then China should issue us a preapproval letter within the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a day!

Wow, it has been a day of great things happening. First, we got our fingerprinting appointment in the mail (now I can stop stalking the mailman). It is for next Tuesday, March 10th. It is actually sooner then I thought it might me- thank you God! Then I finally talked to our pediatrician who gave us a thumbs up regarding Jonathan's health. Everything looks great. Our social worker told me again today that it is very rare to see a referral report that reads so positive. I compared Jonathan's height and weight to Ben's (when he was 2) and they are almost exact, which is amazing -- it means he is getting good care. I then had the privilege of calling our social worker and officially accepting the referral. We now have some more official paperwork to do in the next few days, but I don't mind as it will bring us one step closer to bringing Jonathan home.

Many of you have asked if being matched now will speed anything up. Short answer- we don't know. It doesn't change anything with US immigration. But it may speed things up on the china side as our paperwork will automatically be matched to his.

Please continue to pray for a quick time frame. Please also pray that God will provide the needed finances to bring Jonathan home. We are going to begin some grant writing this week and are trusting for God to provide. We so appreciate your prayers. They mean so much to us!

Thank you for joining us on this journey to bring Jonathan home!