Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still waiting for Travel Approval....

If we are going to travel in January, we need to have our TA by January 5th, so come on TA!!!!!  My hubby really wants to turn 40 in China!  :o)   If we don't hear by then, we have to work around Chinese New Year, so it will be mid February before we could go. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

From our family to yours......


Brad, Shelly, Caleb, Jacob, Allyson, and of course,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A little walk down memory lane.....

I've been going through my pictures, and just had to share some of the cuteness!  I absolutely can't believe that my babies are so big now, and I see these pictures and just want to run back and capture some of the time that has flown by!

Caleb...... Christmas 2002

Jacob - same Christmas, 2002

Our little family - 2003

Allyson's first Christmas - 2006

We had no idea back in 2002 how God would grow our family to our dream number of 4 kids!  I'm so thankful for each moment with these precious ones, and can't wait for Gracie to come home and join the annual Christmas pictures!  How we will miss her this year, but anticipate with JOY the day that she is coming home!  So soon!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Article 5!!

Whoo Hoo!!!!  Article 5 was picked up on Monday and sent to the CCAA!!!  Next step will be our Travel Acceptance, which we should be hearing about in 1-4 weeks!  Of course, we're hoping for the 1 week, but are just happy to be seeing an end in sight!

We have some dear friends who live near San Francisco, who hand delivered our Visa Applications today at the Chinese Consulate.  We ran into a snag, as Brad's "occupation" caused a red flag to go up, and they will not process our visa application until we have Travel Acceptance.  Normally, you can go ahead and apply for a visa under "tourism" and have the visa ready to go by travel acceptance, so that you don't have anything else to wait on to go.  Because we listed "tourism" as our reason for travel, and because Brad is a pastor, the lady processing our paperwork refused to grant us a visa, even after we submitted letters stating that we will abide by all Chinese laws.  So, once we get our travel acceptance, we can apply for our visa's again.  We are so thankful that our friend, who is very knowledgeable about international travel, was able to be there when all this went down.  He was able to gather all of our paperwork and passports and take them safely back to his home.  Our agency has NEVER had this happen before, so it caused us some concern, but we know that God is in control and hopefully our visa's will be issued quickly once we get our TA!

We've had a busy December, like everyone else, so the blog has been quiet!  Here's a few pics to update you. 

Allyson had her Pre-K Christmas Program.... she kind of LOVES to sing!

We made a trip across the mountain to visit my grandmother's before Christmas.

Allyson has been helping me alot in the kitchen..... here's her first experience at doing dishes!  (She didn't learn this face from me while doing dishes!)

We had the JOY of having one of our Host Students from 2007/2008 come and visit us for a few days!

Santa came to visit!

I plan to post our Christmas letter on here in a couple of days, but we pray that you have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nothing New....

as far as the adoption process, there is nothing new to report!  We are still awaiting our Article 5, which should be ready on December 20th.  After that it will take 1-4 weeks to get our final Travel Approval, so we are still looking at a January travel date!  It's coming, but these last few weeks of waiting seem to be d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g..... such is the life of adoption!

Thanks for continuing to check in on us!  Believe me, we are eagerly anticipating news, as well! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Awe...

We got some great news today.....

God has provided in HUGE ways this weekend through some other generous gifts given, and we are continuing to be amazed!

The tears have been flowing alot today, the good kind of tears. We are so thankful!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today's sermon at church was about the grace of God.  The meaning of grace was given as this:  God's gift to us that we don't deserve.  It's hard for me not to focus on our baby girl, Grace, when I hear about God's grace.  She is definitely a true picture of God's grace in our lives, as we feel that she is a gift to us that we don't deserve.  We are honored to bring this precious one into our family, and experience God's grace through her life, once again, as we have experienced through the blessing of each of our children! 

Another way that God has shown his grace to us, this week, is through provision!  We received a grant from a local fund raising agency, who raises funds once a year for local Christian families, who are adopting children with special needs.  We received $1750 towards our adoption!!!  The funds raised were split between 9 families to help 13 children come home to their forever families!  I must confess, that I have really struggled the past month, trying to figure out where on earth the funding is going to come from.  I have stacks of paper, as I have sat number crunching and trying to figure out how "we" are gonna get this done!  God has provided through EVERY single step of this process, and yet, when I know more money is due, I start to fret and worry, and yet He provides again.  This is a very humbling place to be in, and I'm so grateful to see His hand guiding us, even when I try to take it back and figure it all out on my own.  We have a huge chunk left to go, and I am commited to quit worrying, and allow God to continue to provide for what He has called us to do.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for continuing to show up, even when I think we can't possibly be blessed again!  We are so undeserving, yet so grateful!

I know many of you have prayed with us, and given, as God has blessed you, and we just want you to know how much it means to us to be surrounded by people who love us, but more importantly love God, and know how very much the Orphan means to God's heart!  Thank you for helping us bring one of the 143 million orphans home to love and care for.  Gracie is soon to be an Orphan NO MORE!!

So if you know me, and you ever tell me that you could never afford international adoption..... be warned!  :o)  There is NO way that we could ever afford to do this on our own, either.  We are commited to what God has called us to do and I will remind you what a great big God we have, who will do more than we can ever ask or imagine! 

We got SNOW today!! Before I could get outside with the camera, the kids had cleared the grass and made an adorable snowman!  We are hoping for more snow tonight and either a 2 hour delay, or maybe, to the kids' delight, a cancelled day of school tomorrow!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I-800 Approval!

We are so stinkin' close.... we got I-800 approval in the mail today, it was approved on November 16th!!!  Once again, another step has gone WAY faster than we were quoted, and we are flying through this process!  Gracie... we are coming!  Just hang on a little bit longer, baby girl!

Next step.... Article 5!  Stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gotcha Day!

One of the joys of adoption, is that we get to celebrate, every year, the day our babies came home to us!  This day is almost as special to us as their birthday!  It's the day our family was born, and this day, 12 years ago, we became parents for the first time!  I will NEVER forget the anticipation that I was feeling that day!  Brad travelled to LA to pick up Caleb, where he had been escorted to from South Korea by a business man who was travelling.  Brad never got to meet the man who brought Caleb over, as he had a connecting flight and wasn't able to wait for Caleb to go through customs.   When Caleb finally came through and was handed off to Brad, we finally could breathe a sigh of relief!  He was finally "home"!  Only 2 flights left to go for Mommy to finally get to meet my baby boy!  Caleb's homecoming was a GREAT time of celebration, with most of our family being there, and many of our church family, who couldn't wait for us to become parents!  We had a HUGE party at the airport, all waiting at the gate for Caleb and Brad to step off the plane!  I was even allowed to meet them at the door of the plane..... this was all pre 9/11 security.   We love taking the time every year to remember these special days for our family!

Caleb, we are so very proud of you, and are thrilled to see the young man you are becoming!  This past year, we have seen so much growth, and have seen your relationship with the Lord begin to take off.  We are so honored to be called your parents, and pray that you will continue to grow in the Lord and become the man he wants you to be!  We are so very grateful for your life and to God who had a vision for our family, that we never imagined, and that we wouldn't trade for the world!  We are also thankful  for your birthmother, who chose to give you life! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A little cuteness!

I haven't updated in forever, other than adoption news, which has still been a while ago!  I never shared pictures from our halloween, so I thought I'd share of little cuteness this morning!

We had our beautiful Snow White!

Our referee....

and our army guy carrying a nerf gun!  (Thanks to Ben and Emily bailing us out with a last minute costume for a boy who couldn't decide if he was too old to dress up, or not!)

Can't wait to add one more princess to this mix next year!  I often wonder what she will think of all the craziness that goes on in this house! 

We had a sweet family come to our door with their beautiful Chinese daughter, who was trick-or-treating for the very first time!  She was adorable, and has been home for only a few months!  I love how God brings people into our path who are on the same journey as we are!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Days of Giveaways!

If you like giveaways and free stuff (who doesn't???), go check out Stefanie's blog to see how you can win some awesome prizes, just in time for the holidays! Even if you don't enter, go read a little of her blog, and I promise you'll be inspired! She's an amazing mother of 9, with one more on the way!

Ni Hao Y'all

Monday, November 1, 2010


Three little letters...... bug HUGE deal!  We are thrilled that we are 8-12 weeks away from bringing our sweet Gracie home!!  We are getting so very close.......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A little update!

We got a sweet little surprise in our inbox this morning.... a new picture and a short update on our Gracie!  She's so much bigger than I was imagining in my mind, since the last picture we have is over a year old!  Her update looks great and it looks like she is progressing well, and is even receiving some speech therapy!  She is not walking on her own, yet, which could be from a lack of any kind of Physical Therapy, which are all things that we can work on!  She can go up and down stairs (which is a HUGE relief since we have such a long staircase in our house), and she gets herself around where she needs to go, just not walking yet.  Seeing new pics makes us even MORE ready to have this sweet girl home!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great Day!

We just found out that somehow, our agency missed our Log In Date, and we were actually Logged In on September 21st, the same day that our Dossier was received!  We are 3 1/2 weeks into the wait for LOA and we didn't even know it!  Needless to say, we are overjoyed to hear such GREAT news!!!  The agency is predicting 2-3 months for LOA.... maybe that will be our Christmas present!  

Yesterday, we celebrated our son's Gotcha Day..... we celebrate the day they came home.  Jake came home on Friday the 13th of October 10 years ago!  What an absolute blessing he is! 

Yesteday, Allyson and I got to go on a field trip with her class to the Pumpkin Patch.  We had a great morning!  She loved petting all the baby animals and picking out her pumpkin!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's My Blog......

and I'll cry if I want to..... WAAAHHHH... no good news today.  We are still not logged in to China, so our agency is going to do some checking for us.  When she gets home, this whole waiting process will be a blur that we will joyfully forget, but for now we keep reminding ourselves that God has every detail worked out!  Gracie WILL come home!  Please pray that we keep that as our focus and not let the little bumps in the road along the way bring us down! 

Okay, pity party over..... !

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's been a while.....

since my last post!  I keep hoping to be able to post something about our LID, but China has been on an extended holiday, and there are not any updates on whether our LID has happened yet, or not!  Our agency says we should know something by this Friday, so I hope to post some good news then!  We are hoping that we have been logged in and just not aware of it, but are prepared to hear that it hasn't happened yet, since things have gotten a little behind with the holiday! 

I'll leave you with some cuteness..... how 'bout them SOONERS beating those Texas Longhorns on Saturday!  Made this house happy, anyway!  :o)

Hoping to post some extra GOOD news on Friday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


....with her sissy! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We are officially on China's time clock!  I remember thinking last spring, when we found Gracie through WACAP, that we wouldn't be DTC until the fall, and thinking that sounded so far away!  Thankfully, we have had a really busy summer and the time has flown!  It feels good to have finally arrived to this point!  Our agency informed us that there are a few holidays coming up in China, so while it's normally taking just a few days to be Logged In, it may take us longer to get our log-in date, but we can still hope for it to happen quickly. 

We (my hubby) held a garage sale this weekend, and were able to raise some more funds!  Every little bit is getting us closer to what we will need when we finally get that call to go get her!  We are so very thankful for friends who donated items to our garage sale, and for generous shoppers who donated extra, knowing that the funds were going to our "Gracie fund".  What a mighty God we serve, who is able to do much more than we can ask! 

While hubby was holding the garage sale, the kids and I were able to load up and drive to my parents, who took us camping in their trailer for the weekend.  We had a wonderful time fishing, eating and relaxing!  Thanks Mom and Dad for a wonderful weekend, and allowing us to crash your camping trip!  The kids can't wait to go again!!

Whittling, and a sister who is amazed at her brother's talent (or scared that he is going to cut himself!)

Fun games with Grandma!

Steaks, Scalloped potatoes, salad, and fresh green beans from Papa's garden.... did I mention we enjoyed EATING on this campout! 


Getting fishing tips from Papa!

This kids was born to fish.... caught the most during the weekend!

Campfires, and S'mores! 

Wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Completed Dossier!

What you see here, represents LOTS of hard work, done all by my awesome hubby!  He has spent many hours working on gathering all of the necessary paperwork to get our Dossier ready to be sent to China.  He saved us $500 in our process by doing the legwork himself!  Our final document finally arrived in the mail this morning, so we were able to finally get all of this delivered to our agency today!  We should be DTC by the end of this week!!!  After DTC, comes our LID (Log-in-Date) which takes 2-3 weeks.  After our LID, comes LOA (letter of acceptance), and shortly after LOA should come our TA (travel approval).  Is anyone a little overwhelmed after reading all of these accronyms?  :o)
We are hoping to receive some updated pictures of Gracie, and as soon as we do, you know we will be sharing!  Thanks for the prayerful support in getting to this point!  We feel good, because everything that we can have some control over is DONE, and now we sit back and wait!  We should find out about some grants that we have applied for sometime in December, so we will keep praying for approval on at least one of those. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Not Ready!

The summer has once again flown by!  This summer has been filled with so many fun times with friends and family, and it's sad to see it come to an end!  Jacob keeps saying, "this has been the best summer, ever!"  I love to hear those words from him!  We are entering our official last day of summer, and I always find myself getting a little bit weepy to think that we are going into a new year of school, which will fly by, and the kids will, AGAIN, be another year older!  Our oldest son is starting Jr. High on Thursday.  While I'm not ready for him to go, I can see that he is.  He is maturing and becoming a young man, who we are both so proud of!  Jacob is entering 5th grade.  We found out tonight that he has the TOUGHEST 5th grade teacher at the school.  She seems to be a wonderful, caring woman, but has a tough reputation!  While I am a little scared, I know that this year will be a time of growing and learning for Jacob.  He is going to be pushed to be the absolute best that he can be, and there may be hard days, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do when pushed to the max!  Allyson will enter the 4 year old pre-k class.  She will attend school on MWF mornings.  She has been the "baby" around here for the last 4 years, so having her gone just a little will make for some quiet mornings at this house!  I have alot to get accomplished in those quiet mornings, and pray that I can use this time productively!  She will love every minute of her school day, and I'm excited for her to get to start next week!
So, for tonight, these two are having one more sleep over... she loves having him sleep on her trundle bed.  Tomorrow, it will be back to school bedtimes and everyone in their own beds, and back to setting alarms and getting to places (on time!).

So very thankful for a wonderful summer with the best kids around!  We can't wait for Gracie to come home, and look forward to more memories being made with our newest precious gift!  Our paperwork is just about ready to be sent off to China, we are awaiting a couple more documents, which are being authenticated, and then we will be DTC (Dossier to China)!  So very close!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Princess!

Our sweet girl turned 4 years old yesterday! We celebrated with a Princess Tea party, and she loved having all of her friends come to play!

Happy Birthday, Allyson! You are a true delight to your Mommy and Daddy! We love you and are so thankful for the gift of YOU!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Can you say WOW???

We have been overwhelmed with the way God is providing for this adoption! While we have raised $860 on the Chip in, what you don't see is the nearly $2200 that has been sent to us at our home! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all have been able to contribute to our Gracie fund!  We knew when we began this journey, that God would have to provide for every step of the way. We had been able to save up some in the past couple of years, anticipating purchasing a home again one day, but who needs to buy a house when you can bring home another precious child! We don't mind renting.... especially when we have kitchen appliances go out (which has happened in the past 2 weeks) and only have to make a phone call and the problem is fixed, with nothing out of our pockets! So far, in this process, we have been able to pay up front every dime that has been needed, and as we look ahead to the next installments, the money is already there! Praise GOD!!

We received our fingerprint appointment, set for August 25th, but we were told that we can go in and sit and be worked in, so Monday morning, we will head to our USCIS (immigration) office and see if that can happen! If they work us in, we can be a couple of weeks ahead of where we should be, which hopefully means we can get Gracie home sooner! All in God's timing, but we will work diligently to get there as much as we can! After fingerprint approval, we can send our Dossier to China (DTC) and we will really feel like things are more official when that step is completed!

We are enjoying a little summer weather up here in the Pacific Northwest. The summer here has been VERY mild this year, and we are seeing some 90 degree temps for the next couple of days, so we are getting outside and enjoying playing in the water and eating popsicles! We are heading back to the 70's for highs midweek, so we will enjoy it while we have it! The ONLY drawback to the warmer temps, is that we do not have airconditioning, so it gets a little warm in the house, but we can live with it. We are thankful for the two window units that we have for the bedrooms, so that sleeping is still possible! We had three, but had a little mishap this week.... one of our children (who shall remain nameless) decided he was hot and opened up his window, which also happened to be holding the window unit. Needless to say, it fell two stories and crashed on the ground outside our dining room window! Thankfully, no one was outside when it happened!

Thanks for checking in on us!  We hope you all are having a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We are adding a Chip In opportunity, if you would like to help us with our adoption expenses! Adoption costs are very expensive and all donations will be used strictly for this adoption and we appreciate every single penny that anyone would choose to give! We know that nothing is impossible with God's help, and know that ultimately, He is the one who will provide the funds to bring home our sweet girl! We are trusting in the One who has called us to be faithful.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Homestudy/Homestudy Approval!

It's been such a whirlwind month that I haven't had a chance to post since our Wyoming vacation! We found out while we were on the road, that the homestudy could be done the Monday after we returned on Saturday!!! We were very excited to get this next step going, but had very little time to prepare the house! Thankfully, our caseworker was very easy on us and didn't look in any closets or under any beds.... she might have been buried if she had opened any closets! She visited with us for quite awhile about Gracie and adjusting our world to her's. She wants us to get involved with other families of down's syndrome children and so we will look for some opportunities to get involved in the next coming months. She was very efficient in her report, and had everything finished by that Friday! We received our official letter in the mail this past Friday, and we are officially Homestudy Approved! One step down, many more to go! Now, our I-800 has been issued to Immigration, and we await an appointment to go and have our fingerprints taken. We were told that it takes 2-4 months for fingerprint approval, so the sooner we can get that appointment, the better! We are now also able to apply for grants, and we recently found out about a new grant being offerred to SBC minister's who are adopting, so we are applying for that as well as Shoahanna's Hope (the Steven Curtis Chapman fund). Please pray with us that we get approved for these grants!

We are getting closer to this precious face, and we can't wait for the day that she is HOME!