We've been matched! We are so excited that we know who Lydia is and that we will be able to go get her soon!
Our adoption agency called us about three weeks ago with her file. She was found in front of her orphanage at two weeks old, premature with a heart murmur. She was placed with a foster family when she was 2-3 months old and has been with them ever since. From what we can tell, her heart murmur has disappeared and she appears to be doing well developmentally. Praising God for this answered prayer! We have all been praying, but Jacob has prayed every night for a year that Lydia is safe and healthy and from what we can see she appears to be! Praise God! In the pictures we were sent, she was wearing a jacket with a big elephant on it. I almost started crying when I pulled up her picture since that was the theme we used when we decorated her room!
Things have been a little wild since we said yes. There was paperwork that needed to be completed for our adoption agency, the Chinese government, and the US government and on a time frame. Claire was awesome and took the boys for us so we could have time to work on it all. After so many months of waiting, it has been nice to have something to do!
I sent in our Letter of Intent to China and in less than two weeks we received our Letter of Acceptance from the Chinese government saying we are approved by them to adopt our little girl. It was a very official looking document that reminded me of a birth certificate. Below is a picture of me once we received it. My friend and I taught a STAAR prep class for two weeks, and our theme just happened to be China (Well, out of several countries we could choose from, we chose China :) So that's me standing in front of our Great Wall. Can't wait to see it in person!
We were also able to put together a photo album of our family to send to China so Lydia's foster parents could start talking to her about us. I bought two different albums, but decided on the one at the bottom. Our adoption agency suggested it for little kids. It's very soft, has a handle for her to carry it around, and has bright colors on it. There is some glare on the pictures when you look at it, but when I asked the boys which one they liked they were all about this one. I was also able to write a letter to the foster family that our adoption agency translated into Mandarin. I am so very, very thankful for this family. It is because of them Lydia is loved and doing so well, and I know this is going to be very hard for them. I thanked them for all the love and care they have given her and told them about our family. For all of you out there that foster, what you do matters and I'm so thankful you do it! I can't imagine how hard it is!
I just applied for Brian's and my visas. The boys will be staying with my parents when we travel so we only need two! I just sent off our I-800, a group of papers that I send to the US government to get permission on this side of the world. One of the questions I get asked the most is, when can you go get her! It is looking like it will probably be July. If everything goes lightning fast, which is not likely, we might be able to travel in June, but most likely in July. Our adoption agency sends two groups to China each month, one at the beginning and one at the end depending on where your child's province is. Our group will be traveling at the beginning of the month which is awesome! Another answer to prayer!
I cannot tell you how amazing it has been to tell people about our news. People were excited when we had the boys, but since this has been such a long journey and so many people have walked through it with us, it just makes it that much sweeter. My amazing coworkers have already showered Lydia with some super cute girl clothes.
We've also found out she turns two today! April 10, the same day as my brother's birthday and the same day as National Siblings Day! To celebrate, my sweet coworkers bought a birthday cake for Lydia and a present (hair bows) for her. It was fun getting to have cake with the boys and talk about how we can show Lydia the videos and pictures when she gets here. Next year, we can celebrate with her!
So what happens now? We wait some more, although there is a light at the end of this tunnel! There are about three more steps in the paperwork process. When that last step is completed we can start making travel plans. While we wait, here are some things I am praying for and I would love for you to pray along with me.
- Praise! I cannot stop thinking about God and his faithfulness through this whole process. I know there is still a ways to go and we have not hit the hard part yet, but I have been blown away by his timing and his grace.
- Pray for Lydia and her foster family: Lydia is very, very close to her foster family. It is the only family she has known. We are thankful for their love and care; it means she can attach and you can tell from the pictures she is happy. Her first words and phrases have been "mom", "dad", and "mom hold me." Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it comes from loss and I know she is going to grieve the loss of her foster family. We will not know until we get to her province whether we will be able to meet them or stay in touch with them, but I know it is going to be a hard thing for her to leave them.
- Pray for me and the paperwork: I've been having a hard time sleeping because I am so worried I am going to mess something up and mess up the timing of everything. My brain seems to be going a million miles a minute to try and keep up with everything. My contact person at our adoption agency is super chill; he reminds me of Hippie Ron (for all of you Parks and Rec fans out there!) I don't know if they put him there on purpose, but he has been great at keeping me calm.
So excited to share this news with everyone! I'll keep you posted as we move forward!