Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanksgiving on Saturday!

What a whirlwind week and a half it has been. What started out as a little garage sale has turned into a major success. Tyler had the idea that we should do a garage sale to raise money to help bring Jonathan home. (a side note: I don't like garage sales, usually it is a lot of work for a little payoff) We decided to run with his idea because we wanted a way that the kids could feel involved in doing their part to help bring Jonathan home. We spread the word that we were accepting donations for our garage sale. Jeremy came up with a theme: Less stuff, more love. The response has been overwhelming! Our garage is full, we can barely fit it all in. What a great example all of you have been to our kids as they have seen other families support us in this venture.

As we were collecting stuff. I had the idea to post some the bigger items on Cr*igs list. I had no idea how successful that would be. As of today, we have raised over $300 just selling stuff that you donated to our garage sale on Cr*igs list. So, the garage sale is scheduled for this Sat., May 2nd and already we have made more then double what I thought we would with the garage sale. God is so awesome!!!! I will post a final number after the garage sale that so many of you helped us to achieve by your generous donations.

I can't wait to one day tell Jonathan how so many of you helped to bring him home. If you think about it, pray for us this Saturday as we hold the actual garage sale, pray for a beautiful day, and that God will bless our sale. We are so fortunate to have so many friends and family supporting us in this journey- The journey to bring Jonathan home!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Christmas in April?

I did not write a Christmas letter this last year. I admit it. I let go of a time-honored tradition in our family. I put it off, let it slide, and finally dropped it all together. We had a lot going on. I was finishing the last class of my Master's program at Temple, work was demanding, Christmas brought with it the usual assortment of concerns and activities ... and ... we had this little adoption thing going on.

I was committed to the idea of adoption. I was firm in my resolve. But, I was still compiling all the mental and emotional resources that you need to make this exciting, happy, and challenging thing known to all our family, friends, and co-workers. It was Christmas-time, and I couldn't quite pull all that together.

But here we are in April of 2009 and we are in waiting mode again. We're waiting for our “login date” from the Chinese adoption officials. After that, we'll be waiting again for the much-anticipated Letter Of Approval that will finally say, for sure, that we can bring Jonathan Futing Shafer to the U.S.

So, while we wait, I am thinking about how this adventure started. If I had written a Christmas letter it would have mentioned this guy, Mr. Plumbean. Mr. Plumbean is the main character in one of my all time favorite children's books: The Big Orange Splot. The story goes that Mr. Plumbean lives on a nice, neat street where all the houses look alike. One day, a seagull drops a can of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's house, leaving a big old splot on his roof. That prompts Mr. Plumbean to make a series of dramatic changes to his house, much to his delight and to his neighbors dismay. When challenged, Mr. Plumbean says “My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”

I know that, strictly speaking, this children's story is about self-expression and art. But it really reminds me of our choice to adopt. Somewhere along the line, Kim and I realized that our family (our “house”) wasn't like everyone else's and that it didn't need to be. We also realized that adoption would introduce a certain amount of mess and chaos into our lives, but that was OK too. The alternative would be to stay nice and neat, like every other house on the street.

To me, this funny little story is about freeing yourself enough from the expectations of others to pursue some good thing that you are uniquely suited to do. For us, that was adoption. For another person, another family, it'll be something different. But whatever it is, it won't be neat.

The good news is, that Mr. Plumbean's attitude rubs off on his neighbors. In the end every house on the street is transformed. It's not a neat street, but all the neighbors say “This is our street and we are it. Our street looks like all our dreams.”

We believe the risks of adoption are worth taking. Some risk-takers inspired us. Maybe we can inspire others. Hebrews 10:24 says “let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Sounds like Mr. Plumbean and us are in good company.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We are DTC

We just received word that our dossier is on its way to China (Dossier To China)! I am beyond excited (if that is possible). We just had ice cream for dessert to celebrate! The kids probably could have talked me into ice cream for dinner.

What does this mean? It means we get to wait some more. Once in China, our dossier will be translated from English to Chinese and then we will be given a log in date. We should learn this date in about 4 weeks. After that we wait for our LOA ~ letter of acceptance ~ which is the official paper we sign stating that we will adopt Jonathan. It can take anywhere from 30 to 120 days for you to receive your LOA after you are logged into the Chinese system.

We have a joke going in our house. Jeremy will draw a picture on the white board on our refrigerator. When we were waiting for different approvals to come in the mail, he drew a mail truck. Well, twice when he did this- the mail truck actually brought what we were waiting for. Earlier this week, I asked him to please draw something so that we would hear that our dossier was on its way to China. He did and it didn't work. Yesterday, I was feeling discouraged. Waiting can be so emotionally draining. So last night, he drew a different picture and today we got "the email" we were waiting for! Now before we get a bunch of comments about our magic white board method, we did stop and give thanks to the One we know is in control. (Now Jeremy feels pressure to draw the "right" picture!)

We praise God for allowing us to be on this wild, crazy, emotionally draining journey. We thank Him for the Great piece of news we received today. We know that He is going to see us to the end of this journey and that we will finally get to hold Jonathan in our arms.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Just a quick update to let you know we are in waiting mode. It is kinda strange as we have spent the last 5 months working to put together all of the paperwork for the adoption and now there is nothing to do but wait. Life has returned to normal in our home, well, normal for us. We are trying to finish up the school year strong. I am making a conscious effort to work with Jordan on his reading skills. We are all anxious to be in summer mode and have a bit of spring fever. Before I sign off, here is briefly where we are and how you can be praying for us
  • we did receive confirmation that our paperwork is at the Chinese consulate in NYC once it is returned to the Michigan office it will be sent to China. Please pray that our paperwork gets to China by the middle of April.
  • We have not heard from any of the grants we applied to, but we know it sometimes takes them months to notify you. Please pray that we will get the money needed to complete this adoption.
  • We will be having a garage sale in May. All the money we raise will go toward our adoption expenses. Amanda and Tyler are actively involved in the planning of the garage sale. God is teaching them so much through this process.
  • On a personal note, I have been praying that God would allow us to receive an updated photo or report or anything letting us know how Jonathan is doing. All the information we have is from May, 2008. Believe it or not it is possible we will not receive any updates till before we travel. As more time passes, I am finding it increasingly difficult to handle the not knowing. I am a mom who likes to keep tabs on her kids and it is difficult having a son all the way around the world and not know how he is doing. I am trusting God that Jonathan is being well taken care.

Thanks for praying for us and for traveling beside us on this journey to bring our son home.