Saturday, August 22, 2009

The end is in sight

We just overnighted the last of our paperwork that will be completed this side of China (we hope.) Now we wait. All of our paperwork is on its way back to China and the ball is back in their court. We are now waiting (anxiously) for our travel approval. Once Bethany receives our travel approval, they will schedule our consulate appointment in China and then schedule our travel around that date. We will then be notified of our travel dates. We will be given anywhere between 1 weeks notice to a month's notice. So we must be ready to go before we even know when we are leaving.

Now the fun begins...
1. We have begun packing (the suitcases never got put away from the beach).
2. We have begun an inventory of our clothing to make sure we have enough clothes that we want to wear in China. Jeans without holes- check! Shirts without stains- check! Good walking shoes - check!
3. I have started to pack the Winnie the Pooh backpack we got for Jonathan which will also be his carry-on. Books, bubbles, balls, trains- cool toys to entice, maybe bribe, and entertain him with while in China.
4. I have begun lists for Mom-mom to help her while we are gone. Food option lists, directions for play dates, phone lists, etc- these are more for my peace of mind then for her necessity!
5. I have started gathering clothes for Jonathan. We have found him pants, shirts and PJ's that we are hoping will fit him. Mom-mom is going to tailor his pants appropriately. Thankfully she is a great seamstress.
6. We are starting to fill out paperwork to get Jonathan on our health insurance. We have contacted Children's Hospital and started communication with them. We will be scheduling him for an evaluation to take place within 1 to 2 weeks of our return home.
7. We have set up skype on our computer and Mom-mom and Pop-pop's computer so we can practice using it and so everyone is comfortable with it before we go. We are counting on being able to skype with the kids most everyday while we are away.

So much to do and we don't know how much time we have to do it in, but completing these items is energizing to us. Doing these things means we are getting ready to actually get on the plane and go get Jonathan.

Ben asked me the other day- "When is Jonathan coming home?"- I told him soon. The kids are starting to get excited as they even realize the end is in sight.

This has been an incredible journey thus far. We have learned so much, we have seen God's provision- where only He could provide, we have been blessed by so many of you as you have supported us financially, emotionally and with your prayers. The exciting part is that the journey is only just beginning- the best part is yet to come.

During the next few weeks please continue to pray for our family as we prepare to travel. Pray for Mom-mom's leg to continue to heal. Pray for Jonathan and his foster parents as they prepare for him to leave the only home he has known. Pray for Jonathan's birth mom. A finding ad was placed in the local newspaper in Jonathan's province within the last few months in anticipation of his adoption. We will never know if she saw the finding ad or not. But as a mom, I would guess that never a day goes by where she doesn't wonder what has happened to the little boy she left in a hospital about 3 years ago.

We will keep you posted- we are praying that we receive our Travel Approval within the next month, but as we have learned it is not our timeline, but it is all in God's hands. So for now- Jeremy goes to work, I homeschool the kids and we prayerfully wait for Jonathan to join our family.

Monday, August 17, 2009

God is good!

We chose to name this blog Journey to Jonathan, but right now I feel like I am on a roller coast. So how does Roller Coaster to Jonathan sound? We will suffice it to say that our lives are not boring at the moment. We are dealing with Jeremy's car acting up, a dishwasher that died, attempting to figure out and complete adoption paperwork as well as dealing with other changes that our happening in are family at the moment. The really cool thing- God has ways of reminding us that He is in control.

When we began this journey we knew we didn't have all the finances figured out, but we did commit to not go into debt. God has been so awesome in providing just what we have needed. Today, in the midst of chaos, I got a call from Cynthia at A Child Waits Foundation. She informed me that they were approving our grant application. PRAISE GOD! God has met our need. We have reached the point where it is hard to tell how much more money we will need to complete the adoption. There are a lot of variables like cost of airline tickets, cost of hotels, the value of the dollar in China and such that we will not know until we actually book travel. We also still need to figure in spending money as well as money for our meals while in China. We are fine with these unknowns as God has not brought us this far to abandon us. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for the financial aspect of this journey. God has heard and answered our prayers. Please continue to pray for us and Jonathan as we prepare to become a family of 7!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

At last! New photos of Jonathan Futing!

Today was a big day for us. If you read the last post you know that we were able to send a "care package" to Jonathan. He received a belated birthday cake from us, and some other goodies. In addition to this being our first opportunity to express our love to Jonathan, we had the hope that we might get some updated information about him.

Much to our delight, we did. We received a few new pictures, and updated measurements. Since we are now past the LOA hurdle, we are able to share these pictures freely, so here they are!

We also had a short list of questions we hoped to get answers to. No luck with these yet, but we're hoping for a follow up message from Ann at Red Thread China. (Read our last post for more about Ann.)

I think the thing that I want to know most is what name Jonathan is going by. We know his legal name, but it is very common for Chinese children to go by nicknames that have little or no relationship to their legal name.

So, if you you're saying any prayers about this, we'd love to get those questions answered!

It's been a full day, so I am going to wrap this up. Just wanted to share the latest news and the story behind these awesome pictures!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Care Packages and Paperworks

This week has been a roller coaster ride! I am ready to get off and go sit on the beach! On Monday we got the call that our LOA (letter of acceptance) had arrived and that it was being overnighted to us. Tuesday we got a call saying UPS didn't pick up the packages so they were never overnighted. Wednesday we got to hold in our hands the piece of paper we had been praying for. This approval generated a bunch of paperwork some of which is time sensitive to keep the process moving. We were up against the clock since we are leaving on vacation. God has been so gracious to us over the last 2-3 days as we have had some difficulty in getting everything we need to complete this paperwork. Prayer and perseverance prevailed as yesterday we got the forms filled out and with a quick trip to our local social worker we got the supporting documentation we needed. Last night we overnighted a package to the immigration people who will prayerfully issue us an approval in the next week or two.

When we return from vacation, we get to apply for our VISAS and also have some more forms to fill out for the next steps. The exciting part is that when we get back from the beach, I can leave the suitcases out and start packing! (at least Jonathan's stuff)

We still don't know when we will travel but will be given anywhere from 1 weeks notice to 4 weeks notice- so we better be ready. Part of the uncertainty is due to October Festivals and the Trade Faire which can make travel difficult and expensive.

Please Pray:
1. We are now waiting for our TA or Travel Approval. Our paperwork is as I type going on quite a journey from the USA and then back over to China. It will now go through numerous departments and needs the stamp of approval from various people. Pray that this happens in a timely manner.

2. Pray for Jonathan and his foster family as they prepare for our arrival in China.

3. Pray for Amanda, Tyler, Jordan, and Ben who have been so patient through this long process. They are ready to have their brother home. Pray even now that God will prepare them as we become a family of 7.

4. Please pray for Mom-Mom's leg to continue to heal. She had her knee replaced but is still experiencing some pain. She will be the primary caretaker while we are away, so she needs to be 100%.

Thank you for your prayers! We really appreciate them.

When we received our LOA, we then were permitted to send a care package to Jonathan. Monday night we ordered him one using a wonderful women name Ann at Red Thread China. Ann lives in China and has a great reputation in the adoption community. She sent us a picture of the care package and said that it will be delivered next week. (see picture above) She also will be purchasing a cake to go with the package. When I saw the picture, I laughed. I think at the bottom of the picture is cookies, lots and lots of cookies. I didn't think we ordered that many, but apparently we ordered a lot of something. I think I am going to email Ann back and ask her what they are. Jonathan's foster mom is going to think we are junk food addicts when he gets this package.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We started this journey nine months ago on October 28, 2008. It is looking like our boy will be home where he belongs very soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

We got our LOA

After 105 days of waiting you would think I would be ready for this moment. I would know what I was going to post- it would be clear, articulate and maybe even thought provoking-- But NO- All I can do is say WE GOT OUR LOA!!!!!!! My heart won't stop pounding, I can barely type or even think straight for that matter. We have been waiting for this day and now I am waiting for someone to pinch me and wake me up from a dream. It is all real- we are going to China to bring home our son!!!!!

Praise God!!!! He heard our cry and answered our prayer!!!!

We are finally allowed to post his picture. We can send him a care package and will hopefully get updated photos of him soon.

We will be getting more forms to fill out tomorrow and will be applying for our travel visas.

Don't ask me when we will be traveling- I am not even going to venture a guess. Bethany has said Travel invitations (which is what we are now officially waiting for)are being mailed a few weeks after LOA is received. So, if I must make a guess- I would say we will be traveling in October or November!

Praise God with us and please continue to pray that God will protect Jonathan until we can bring him home. Pray for a speedy TA for us. Thank you for praying for us as we travel this journey.

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?!