Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tomorrow - we fly!

Today has been such an emotional day. Savannah & Hayden are all packed up & ready to go to our friend's house. I teared up as we all paraded down our street - luggage in tow to their house. It is going to be hard to leave them in the states for two weeks while we are in China. We are missing them already.

We are also SO excited to be going on this journey to baby Ella Mei-Wan. We are being blessed and covered with prayer by all of our friends & family & we know God is with us throughout this entire time. We can't wait to see the adventure God has in store for us!

I have been able to look at all of these pictures of little babies in the orphanage Ella is heart races to see if one of them is her. How can we tell who she is? Will we know her on our Gotcha Day? Will we be able to pick her out of all the other children? When we see her - we WILL know - this is the beautiful child God has given us to care for!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Eagerly Anticipating

Just 2 more days to China......6 days to Ella. My heart is skipping a beat just thinking of our new family member!

Today we received our official "In-County Travel Itinerary" highlighting EXACTLY were we were going in China & when. Each day there seems to be a new "clue" guiding us closer to China.

Today I am busy washing laundry & finishing up packing for our big trip!

Here are the hotels we will be staying at while in China:

Best Western Premier (Beijing)

Gloria Grand Hotel (Jiangxi)

Asia International Hotel (Guangzhou)

Novotel Citygate Hotel (Hong Kong)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Showered with blessings!

July 24, 2009 was such a special day!

First, we had our long awaited travel meeting. We were able to finally introduce our family & our waiting children to one another in our travel group (number 149b). It was a relief to hear some of our questions answered by Kristen Hussa, , our travel coordinator. Now that I know everyone's voices & stories - I can't wait to meet them & their new little ones in person!!!

Later that evening, my neighbors, Bobbi & Sandy, threw a wonderful baby shower for Ella. SO many friends came - my heart overflowed with joy - knowing the love and support Ella is going to come home to.

My friend, Seanna & her diaper cake!!!
(One of the MANY beautiful gifts at the shower!!!)

Drawing you closer....

So much is going on....we are surrounded by blessing after blessing! We can see God's hand at work in every part of this adoption process. Everyone is telling us what a blessing WE will be to Ella - all I can see is the blessings WE have received & will receive because of our decision to follow God's instruction and bring Ella into our lives!

America World Adoption Agency is handling every part of this process so gracefully. We are so thankful to them & their staff for drawing us closer to our little baby girl!

I spent the better part of July 19th photocopying all of the documents needed for our trip. All is collated and ready to go! Whew!

July 20th we received great news that we have our Consulate Appointment (8/10/09 at 9:00 a.m)!!!! This means that we can start booking flights and making concrete plans for our trip.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Wait.....

Now that our dossier is off to China, we wait.......

What would we name our little angel? One evening, as we sat on Savannah's bed for nightime prayer, we asked the kids what we should name this new addition to our family? Without a moment's hesitation, Savannah spouted out, "Ella"! We took a vote & all agreed - baby Ella was her name!

The waiting process for our baby girl was a LONG, hard one. When we began the adoption process, we lived in Lantana, Florida. On September 5, 2006 we moved to Murfreesboro, TN, hoping for a more quite, safer place for our children to grow up.

Many times we prayed that God would show us what this waiting was for. We prayed that He would hold our little one close in His arms - until we could get to her.

Now, four years later, on June 19, 2009 we receive THE phone call! Leah Rockey was on the phone telling me the referral had come! I could hardly believe it! It was the day we were having Savannah's 9th Birthday party (a camp out, sleepover)....what WONDERFUL news!

Leah told us that we would receive an e-mail of Ella's photo the next morning and a Fedex with the referral in it tomorrow too! She told us about her round cheeks, rosy lips, dark eyes, no hair and bright blue sweater. Her Chinese name is Yue Mei Wan born on November 22, 2008. She was 7 months old! 14 pounds and 23 inches the Jiangxi Province!

Praise God!!! We FINALLY know who Ella is!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let the Paperchase Begin!

After the Chapman concert we began to pray. We asked people in our church to pray, friends to pray, family to pray. We wanted to make SURE this is what God wanted for our lives. The cost of an international adoption is great and we would need a miracle to afford this expense.

On May 23, 2005 we began the steps necessary in our adoption process. We interviewed several adoption agencies and decided on America World Adoption Agency. And so the "paperchase" begins.

It took us quite a while to gather all of the papers needed to complete our Dossier. Application letter, birth certificates, marriage certificate, physicals, blood work, financial statements, employment letters, Home Study, Police reports, fingerprints, passports, biographies, family photos. CHECK!!! We had it all! Certified & authenticated!

On August 23, 2005 we had our fingerprints done & then waited for our I-171H to come.....we waited and waited. For some reason, this VERY important form was held up to the point of all of our other documents were expiring! We sent a letter to the FL senator on 12/12/2005 expressing our concern and on 01/23/2006 we FINALLY received Adoption Approval!

Our papers were headed to China!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Journey Began

I'll never forget the day we began considering international adoption. Mark & I had spoken casually about adopting from China when we first were married. Years passed and since then had two beautiful biological children of our own. Savannah, a wonderful 5 year old little girl and Hayden, an energetic 2 1/2 year old little boy.

Mark wanted more children and I was thinking I wasn't ready to be pregnant with another child.

Then, one day, we were given tickets to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert by good friends of ours. The evening of the concert, God spoke to me in a VERY real way. Despite my feelings of being overwhelmed with the two children I had, God assured me that HE would help.....making all things possible through Him.

We walked out of that concert that evening March 19, 2005 with China & international adoption pulling on our heartstrings.....