A gotcha update

We had a great Gotcha day for both kiddos but having Internet issues so mom going to have to wait until one of the techy group members is awake and can help me connect the laptop so that we can post our photos. The kids are great and we’re doing we’ll. will update soon.

Amazing Grace

A friend told me about this song when we were early on in our adoption of Noah and before we even knew we’d be bringing home a beautiful little girl too. It stuck with me. It continues to stick with me.

The day we put in our garden on the farm, I listened to this song over and over and over – all 6 hours of planting and weeding.

This, my friends, is amazing grace.

And in 3 1/2 days, Noah and MeiLi will no longer be orphans. They will be a son and a daughter. They will never have to wonder where their next meal is coming from or be scared or sad because no one has come to care for them when they were in need. They will be a son and a daughter always. 

And that, is indeed, amazing grace!

 

Schedule in China

Quite a few of you have asked about our schedule in China.

Here’s what we know:

June 28th – Leavin’ on a jet plane

June 29th – Arrive in Beijing. We’ll have enough time to shower, take a nap, and eat a small meal.

June 30th – Hop on a plane to Zhengzhou, Henan Province where Noah and MeiLi are. Once we’re at the beautiful CP hotel, we’ll head out with our guide to Walmart to buy Chinese diapers and baby formula. And take lots and lots of pictures. China WalMart is an interesting experience in and of itself. We’ll also head to the bank to exchange money and buy tickets to ride the bullet train.

July 1 – it’s GOTCHA DAY!!! We’ll travel with the group to the Civil Affairs Office and we’ll receive Noah and MeiLi at the same time. After a mountain of paperwork, we’ll be granted 24-hr guardianship of the kids.

July 2 – It’s ADOPTION DAY! We’ll head back to the Civil Affairs Office with the group where we’ll sign more paperwork to officially adopt both children. As soon as we take the oath with the provincial officials, they’ll officially and forever be our son and daughter! We’ll head back to the hotel for a quick lunch and then it’s off to the Zhengzhou Police Station to apply for Noah’s passport. We’ll have the opportunity (depending on how the kids are doing) to tour Noah’s orphanage at this time.

July 3 – We’ll be hopping on a bullet train to head to MeiLi’s home city, Zhumadian, to go to the police station to apply for her passport. We’ll also have an opportunity to visit her orphanage. Of course that too is dependent upon how she’s doing. I’m actually excited to ride the train and all I can think of is the Disney Channel’s song about the bullet train. “Bullet Train. Bullet Train. OHHHHH. So faaaaast.”

July 4 – Happy Fourth of July! We’ll get our notary documents, but otherwise it’s a free day.

July 5 – We’ll get some of the passports for the kiddos in the group. Those still not issued will be mailed to Guangzhou. Otherwise it’s a free day which means those of us with little kiddos will be headed back to the Chinese WalMart for diapers and baby food because the Wally World in Guangzhou isn’t that easy to get to.

July 6 – Hop on a plane and leave Zhengzhou for the fabulous Guangzhou. GZ is amazing and I can’t wait to get back there.

July 7 – Prepare paperwork with our guides. Otherwise it’s a free day. I think this is the day that a group of awesome ladies and I are going shopping on the island with a fantastic guide. Can’t wait to go to the pearl market as I’m planning to buy pearls for our kids’ wedding days. The cost differential and quality are amazing!

July 8 – Medical appointment day. :( Note the big ol’ frowny face. We’ll all head to the medical office where they’ll poke and prod my babies, but worse yet because they’re all over 2, my babies will have to have tuberculosis blood draws.  So sad.

July 9 – Head back to the medical clinic to receive kiddos’ results. Pray that they come back negative or are low enough that they’ll pass. Otherwise we have to do/pay for chest x-rays for the kids. Other than that, it’s a free day.

July 10 – Consulate Day! Woot Woot!! We take the oath at the consulate today and I plan to have the kids all decked out in red, white, and blue. Great day in the adoption world.

July 11 – A CCAI rep will pick up our kiddos’ visa packets from the consulate today. Otherwise it’s a free day for us. Lots of resting up and packing.

July 12 – Leaving bright and early to head back to the states! Yahoo! It makes me sad to think of the kids leaving their home country, but I hope when they’re older they’ll want to return to see what it’s all about. There’s no possible way that they can understand the enormity of how their lives are about to change for the better. Thanks to my mommy superpowers and the time change, we’ll leave China and arrive back home on the very same day. 😉 We’ll get back into Des Moines on the 7:20 American Airlines flight. For those of you wanting to meet the kiddos, this is probably your best chance for a good month or so. We’ll be cocooning at home and the kids will have multiple medical appointments too.

Kristi and I will be updating the blog with lots and lots of pictures, so stay tuned!

-Kelli

 

“That kind of mom”

Paul and I just had to laugh last night. And laugh…and laugh…and well, you understand.

After word got out that I’d be the one traveling to China (with my sister, of course) to pick up our two kiddos, people were miffed. A lot of people wondered if Paul could survive four kids for two weeks on his own. I assure you, he is very capable. I was told that I must be “that kind of mom” which I’m told is the kind that isn’t frightened of anything. I assure you, I’m scared of plenty. And some, well they just thought that we were out of our minds crazy.

What some don’t know is that we’ve done the whole long distance parenting thing before. We aren’t newbies to it. Been there. Done that. For three summers, Paul packed his bags and flew to Medford, Oregon for his grad school program. I stayed home and worked and parented our girls. In fact, the second summer that Paul left for S.O.U., we had a newborn baby. Emilia was less than two weeks old when he left. No one came knocking on my door daily to make sure I was ok or asking ahead of time if I was going to survive two very small children on my own. As a parent, you just do it because if you don’t do it, who is going to?

So yes, Paul will survive four kids for two weeks. I’ll survive the flights that terrify me so much and will gladly welcome two kiddos into our arms on July 1st to finally complete our family.

It’s two weeks exactly. We’ll make it.

Could we use some prayers for sanity, health, and spirit? You bet we could. But we’ll make it.

Guess who’s going to China!

It’s been months since our last post. I apologize, but that’s what happens with four kiddos, two adoptions, two grad school programs, keeping up a house (or attempting to), and mountains of laundry.

So what’s happened in the months since we posted last?

We got Noah and MeiLi’s LOAs on May 20th! Yahoo!!

But just prior to receiving our LOAs, we received word that MeiLi was having issues with her special needs, so we talked to doctors and received word that we should try to do a medical expedite. Thanks to four doctors who wrote letters in our support, we set off to try and make it happen.  I will say that the agencies in China were phenomenal when it came to expediting our paperwork through, but the U.S. side, well they bit the big one. But that’s another blog post for another day. Let’s just say that we had to get our awesome congressman involved twice in order to get **someone** moving on paperwork for a sick baby.

In addition to trying to do a medical expedite, we received word that the U.S. Consulate would be closing for two weeks in July in order to move to a new location and if we didn’t make it over there before the closure, we’d have to wait an additional two weeks. Two weeks might not seem like much to the rest of us, but for two kiddos waiting for a family, especially one that’s sick, that’s a long time. All I can say is that CCAI (our agency) is amazing! Their in-country rep went to the agencies in Beijing every single day asking about our Article 5 paperwork and our TA. Seriously amazing people over at CCAI. We highly recommend them.

We got our TA (travel approval) on Monday and our consulate date on Tuesday, so now we have less than a week to pack as we’re on a flight out next Friday, the 28th!

So the scoop on our travel plans is a little unconventional than most adoptive parents, but Paul will be staying back home in Iowa with our four kiddos. We don’t want to leave Blake for 2 weeks as we feel it would set him back and we didn’t feel it was fair to our other three either. Not to mention the fact that we have a farm full of animals that need tending to, so my sister, Kristi, will be joining me on the trip. She’s a world traveler and works with college students, so if she can handle drunk and rowdy college kids, I figure she can handle grieving toddlers. 😉

So travel plans – I’ll be leaving Des Moines early Friday morning and will be headed to Denver and then on to San Francisco where I’ll meet up with Kristi. She’ll be flying New Orleans to Houston to San Fran. We have two United Club passes that we’re planning to use in San Fran before we head off on the long flight to Beijing.

We’ll arrive in Beijing on Saturday mid-day and we’ll meet up with the CCAI travel group that will already be there. We won’t be doing the touring package as it’s more money and I was just there 9 months ago. I’m pretty sure the Great Wall hasn’t changed in that period of time, nor have my knees gotten any better for the long trek up.

We’ll leave Beijing on Sunday morning with our travel group and we’ll head to Zhengzhou which is the capital of Henan province where Noah and MeiLi are from.

We’ll receive Noah and MeiLi on Monday, July 1st!!!!!!!!! Can. Not. Wait!!

We’ll be with the kiddos in Zhengzhou through July 6th when we’ll hop on a plane to Guangzhou. I love GZ! and The China Hotel.  and the Starbucks on the main level. and the breakfast buffet. and Shaiman Island….ok there isn’t much NOT to like about GZ!

We’ll be in GZ for the remainder of the trip and will take the oath at the consulate on July 10th and receive Noah and MeiLi’s passports on July 11th.

We’ll be hopping on a morning flight out of GZ on July 12th and will be headed to Tokyo and then on to O’Hare and back home to Des Moines on the 7:20 flight.

So all in all, it’ll be exactly 2 weeks away from home, but 2 weeks well worth it as our family will finally be complete with the additions of Noah and MeiLi.

Kristi and I will be posting from over in China, so stay tuned. :)

Think you understand? What agency are YOU with?

The episode set to air tonight with the Duggars shows them touring an orphanage in Beijing. It’s because of this visit that they’re now considering adoption. I get that some people like them and some people don’t, but the comments that have been made in the last 24 hours since it was announced that they’re considering adoption are atrocious! I’m flabbergasted and angry. I’ve seen the show but I’m not a dedicated viewer. I’m lucky to get to watch the news these days, but still, what’s being said blows my mind to the point that I’d like to know what agency these folks are with that are making these uneducated and unfounded comments about adoption. Clearly if they *know* so much about adoption and kids from hard places, they MUST be with an agency with hopes to make the world a better place, right? RIGHT?!?!?

So let’s dispel some of these supposed truths that those uneducated in adoption seem to be spreading.

1. There’s plenty of parents to go around. WRONG! There’s 140 MILLION orphans in the world and domestic and international adoptions are down significantly over the past 5 years. There’s not ENOUGH parents to go around. But those who know SOO much would have done their research first before making their comments, right?

2. Why not adopt from within your own country. First off, let me say that this is a hateful and racist comment to make and irks me to no other. I put up with a lot of other ridiculous questions about being a multi-cultural family, but this is just plain ignorance. If you really think this, then I challenge you to do your research. Even a simple Google search. There are thousands of families in the U.S. awaiting a domestic match. People that make this comment, do you ask these families that only want newborn babies the very same question? Yes, there are children in the U.S. that need to be adopted. What agency are YOU with and what are YOU doing to help the orphan crisis?

3. They’d be better off in an orphanage than joining a 20+ person family. Seriously people, if you’ve ACTUALLY BEEN IN an orphanage, you wouldn’t be saying this. Don’t give me the “oh orphanages must be just like in the movie Annie” BS. These kids are lucky to eat. Lucky to get out of their cribs. Lucky to have anyone give a darn about them. The chance to HAVE A FAMILY who feeds them, holds them and gives them a chance in this world, they deserve that. EVERY CHILD DESERVES THAT and to say otherwise is ignorance.

4. Do your research about what happens to these children when they age out of the system in foreign countries and even here in the U.S. The Duggars are in China in their episode tonight. What happens to those children from China when they age out at 14 years of age? Look at the human trafficking number. Look at the suicide rates. Really? Does this give you a warm fuzzy inside?

Just because you’ve watched An Adoption Story on TLC or know a friend of a friend who adopted doesn’t mean that you understand the process or what these kids have been through. Most of us as adoptive parents will only tell you sunshine and rainbows when you ask how things are going? But raising a child who had a tough upbringing, it’s hard work.

I just finished reading through the comments that people had made on a post from The Today Show earlier today about the Duggars adopting. By the end, I wanted to say some very un-Christian comments. If every single person who commented on that thread and thought they understood adoption and actually gave a rat’s arse about these kids then there’s be hundreds less orphans in this world tomorrow.

I’m not God’s gift and I’m certainly not getting into heaven any faster or easier than anyone else because my family chose to adopt, but I have seen how these children live. I’ve seen the end result. I’ve seen children starving and laying in a crib without anyone to care about them at all. My children are no longer orphans, but members of a loving family.

So I challenge you, people who have nothing better to do then make anonymous and rude remarks about someone you don’t even know, get off of your own butt and off your own high horse and do something to give one of these orphans – domestic or otherwise – the opportunity for a family.

My soapbox.

Today’s The Day! Our Texting Fundraiser!

Today is the big day! We’re today’s featured fundraising family at Wish Upon A Hero Foundation!

TODAY ONLY we’re raising funds to help cover Noah and MeiLi’s $11,500 orphanage fee. This fee is NOT our travel, legal or agency fees. The orphanage fee is the required fee times two in our case, that goes directly back to the orphanage and continues to put a roof over the other children’s heads, food in their tummies and pays for the nannies salaries.

TODAY ONLY – on this blessed Palm Sunday – every person that texts WISH to 80077 will have $5 added on to their next monthly cell phone bill or be deducted from your pre-paid balance. Wish Upon A Hero will donate 100% of those proceeds directly back to our orphanage fee account.

As most of you know, we traveled to China to bring home Blake just a few short months ago. His Gotcha Day was Oct. 29th to be exact. We had 18 months to save and scrimp to fund Blake’s adoption and we’re very proud to say that we did it all out of pocket – no credit cards, no loans. We worked really hard. And God has called us back to China again, and He did so quickly. Our Noah and MeiLi are anxiously awaiting our arrival and we hope that this summer we’ll be meeting them for the first time. But unfortunately, adoption is expensive. In having a child by birth, medical insurance covers the significant costs of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, hospital stays and early child wellness exams. But for an adoption, none of the fees are covered. even though we have excellent insurance.

So we’re asking YOU! If you have a heart for the fatherless, if you’d like to help us bring Noah and MeiLi home to a loving home and family that’s full of opportunities they never would have had in an orphanage, then please help us with today’s fundraiser.

Thirty-seconds of your time and one less Starbucks coffee or McDonalds Happy Meal could help us in a BIG way to bring these two babies home!

Here’s the scoop and technical information – TODAY ONLY, text WISH to 80077 and then BE SURE TO CONFIRM! If you don’t confirm the donation then it won’t be counted.

  • Mobile donors will have a $5 charge from mGive, the provider of the service on their phone bill.
  • A mobile donation will NOT be processed if the mobile user does not confirm “YES” to the agreed $5 charge. A majority of the donors do not do this.
  • If a mobile user has block extra usage charges, the text response will return as “FAIL”. Many parents block their kids phones to stop unwanted charges.
  • A maximum of 5 mobile donations can be made per month. If someone would like to donate more than a $5 donation. They can donate by credit card online. LINK. Please have them put the name of your cause in the HONOR area.
  • Pay-as-you-go mobile phones and international phones will not work on the system.
  • Donation period runs from 12am (MST) to 11:59pm (MST). 24 hours are required for the donation system to calculate the totals.
  • All promotional material must have this verbiage: “$5.00 donation to Wish Upon A Hero. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 80077 to STOP. Text HELP to 80077 for HELP.  Full Terms: mGive.org/T. Privacy Policy

 

Adoption Progress

Progress!! Home studies arrived in the mail today, so we’re off to USCIS! We don’t have to be fingerprinted again, so here’s to hoping for preliminary immigration approval in 7-10 days. Half of our dossier came back from the consulate today and was approved and authenticated. Woot! I’m hoping to be DTA before Easter. :)

In other news, I’m realizing how the world works in acronym land. Someone not involved in the adoption world would certainly think that recent conversations on my Facebook page were in some weird language.

“Overnighted to USCIS. Hoping for my I-797 in 7-10. Can’t wait to be DTA, DTC and will scream when I’m LID!”

One of these days I’ll post a key to explain this secret language us APs speak. 😉

Two Orphanage Fees …. oh my

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been accepted as a fundraising family with the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation!
We’re trying over the course of the next four months to raise $11,500 for our orphanage fees. These orphanage fees are NOT our legal, agency or travel fees. These orphanage fees are required to be paid for each adopted child and since we’re bringing home two, it’s one of the few fees that’s multiplied and thus, is so much. These orphanage fees are what keeps food in the tummies of orphans and clothes on their backs at the orphanage. Unfortunately, in many cases in China, these orphanage fees are the majority of the monies that “support” the care of the orphans.
So how does it work?
Wish Upon A Hero assigns approved families one specific date on the fundraising calendar. For that assigned date, those wanting to aid in the assigned family’s fundraising can text the word WISH to 80077. The person making the text will have $5 added on to their next cell phone bill. That’s it. Wish Upon A Hero will donate 100% of ALL text donations made to that day’s fundraising family! Five-dollars added on to one monthly bill isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but $5 multiplied by 200 people that texted in is $1,000!
We’ve been assigned Sunday, March 24th (Palm Sunday) as our fundraising day.
Mark it on your calendar. Otherwise you’ll certainly see it posted on the blog, on social media, and even in some local and area newspapers.

We know that raising $11,500 is a tall order, but we also know that we serve a big God and there are many, many people with a heart for the fatherless.

MeiLi will turn 2-years-old on Sunday and yet because of lack of nutrition, lack of love and barely ever being held, she’s barely the size of a 12-month-old.
Noah, had brain surgery for an unknown reason at 6-months-old, yet he knows and understands that he has a mommy and a daddy coming for him, but  he doesn’t understand why it’s taking us so long to come for him.
We’re doing everything we can to bring home Noah and MeiLi as soon as possible but those big numbers for orphanage fees are definitely a barricade standing in our way.
Will you consider helping us on Palm Sunday?
Will you share our cause with your friends and family members?

 

Technical Information….
  1. Mobile donors will have a $5 charge from mGive, the provider of the service on their phone bill.
  2. A mobile donation will NOT be processed if the mobile user does not confirm “YES” to the agreed $5 charge. A majority of the donors do not do this.
  3. If a mobile user has block extra usage charges, the text response will return as “FAIL”. Many parents block their kids phones to stop unwanted charges.
  4. A maximum of 5 mobile donations can be made per month. If someone would like to donate more than a $5 donation. They can donate by credit card online. LINK. Please have them put the name of your cause in the HONOR area.
  5. Pay-as-you-go mobile phones and international phones will not work on the system.
  6. Donation period runs from 12am (MST) to 11:59pm (MST). 24 hours are required for the donation system to calculate the totals.
  7. All promotional material must have this verbiage: “$5.00 donation to Wish Upon A Hero. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 80077 to STOP. Text HELP to 80077 for HELP. Full Terms: mGive.org/T. Privacy Policy