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Monday, December 10, 2012

Still Waiting...

The question that everyone asks us these days is, "How much longer?"  The answer is that we still don't know with any definite certainty.  We're still on the projected schedule of sometime between March and May.  The waiting is very difficult and seems to be increasingly so as we approach the Christmas season.  It's hard to explain how you can miss someone that you have yet to meet, but there's an empty place in our hearts as we prepare to celebrate this most joyous time without Faith being here with us.

Yesterday, we happened to run across a family that we had met at our travel meeting.  At the time of the meeting, this family was at the end of their adoption journey and was leaving for China the following week.   We were at the Birmingham Zoo and it was very crowded.  Christy and I both noticed a family with a Chinese daughter.  At first, the daughter was the only person in the family that we were even paying attention to and then we realized that we knew the mother.  The little girl was beautiful and seemed happy with her new family.  We briefly chatted with the mother and learned that she was adjusting well.  I am so glad that another orphan has a forever family, but I must admit that this happenstance meeting made me a little bit sad for myself.  It gave us a beautiful glimpse of future possibilities but a present reminder that we are still here and our daughter is still waiting on us.  We're still waiting...God's timing is perfect.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" -Psalm 27:14 ESV

Friday, November 9, 2012


Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.” (~ KJV)

We began the adoption process with confidence that we were traveling down the path that God had set before us. While we've never doubted that this was the right choice for our family, we still get so excited each time we see some confirmation that we are truly following His lead. 

Today, Shannon was able to connect with a group of families from all over the country who have adopted, or are looking to adopt, a child with cerebral palsy. We know that before our Faith was listed with Lifeline, she was also listed with other agencies and had been assigned the name "Sasha."  While looking at postings within this group, he came across specific information from March 2012.  

  Here's an excerpt of the posting:

I also have an the cutest photo EVER of her. She has a big red flower in her hair and is
positively radiant. Brooke sent it to me. Sasha has raven black hair and light skin..a confident little smile
and bit of humor around her mouth.
What a resplendant baby Sasha is, so happy with so much determination!
Poor little Sasha trying to learn to somehow get around with the weekness in her legs.
She can scoot on her tummy but when she is in her walker mysteriously she can't bop up and down.
I can see her confusion on her sweet little face.
This is a smart baby and reminds me of the baby I met in an orphanage in Fujian. The baby who
had no use of her legs and scooted on her little bum somehow to me and looked up at me with half a smile and gypsie beautiful eyes.
I knew somehow that her lights were on and I was right as it turns out.
She's the kid who had so much fight and determination so much sweetness that I was encouraged do everything to adopt her and 3
years to the day she scooted up to me she became my daughter. She walked off the elevator in a yellow tutu and kissed me on both
cheeaks Wu Ai Ni Mommy... This kid has been a dream ever since. Things don't always come easily but she is persistant and will work hard.
Today Nadia was in the first group of 5 in her class to earn a perfect score in her division facts. She's been on
T.V. for her dancing and is the sweetest child I've ever known always kind, always understanding.
When I see sweet Sasha I think of my Nadia and also Leslee's son Lincoln. Sasha needs someone to understand her and a Mommy to fight for her.
Any effort that a loving soul puts forward will be multiplied in the love Sasha can give.
Sasha needs a chance.. Sasha needs a chance...if anyone wants to see the cutest photo of her ever please e-mail me.
I am in touch with her advocate Brooke and Brooke can send you more information too.
   I know Sasha's family is out there somewhere!"

We know that this email is specifically about our daughter because it mentions very specific pictures that were provided to us as part of her adoption file.  The messages were posted only two days before we met with Lifeline and saw her pictures for the first time.  While we were praying and preparing to begin this journey, others were already praying specifically for Faith. They were asking God to provide her with a loving family who would be willing to advocate for her and provide for her needs. 

We both accepted that we felt an immediate attachment to her because she was meant to be ours. We never considered that there might be people praying specifically for her and us.  We know that God has a plan for all things, but occasionally He gives us that gentle reminder that He is God and He already knows the details of this journey.  He is the Great I Am!  Is it any wonder that Jeremiah 29:11 has become one of our favorite verses? "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Out of our Comfort Zone

We have totally stepped out of our comfort zone during this adoption process. We have become advocates for adoption. We speak out about the international orphan crisis. We have spoken to groups about opportunities to support orphans through groups like World Vision and Compassion International. We have also gotten very creative in our efforts to raise funds. 

I have had a couple of friends ask me for the information for our latest fundraising opportunity. So, I am posting the information here. Basically, you pay $20 and get a $50 gift certificate good at over 18,000 restaurants nationwide.

Hello Family and Friends,
We are excited to share an opportunity with you that will help us to fundraise for our adoption as well as benefit those who make a thoughtful contribution in our support.  As you all know, Christy and I are working  to raise the rest of the money we will need to bring our daughter home from China.
In order to alleviate a portion of the cost, we have partnered with Coupaide to jumpstart a fundraising campaign that will give us the chance to reach out to family, friends, friends of friends, and so on.  Coupaide offers $50 certificates for only $20!  Half of each sale will go towards our adoption, which has the potential to make a great difference in regard to the overall cost. offers certificates for thousands of restaurants in cities all across the United States.  These certificates make great gifts, never expire, and can be used immediately upon your donation. 
There are two ways you can support our fundraising campaign:
1    1.)    Purchase a certificate on our personalized Coupaide website.  Visit
2    2.)    Forward this e-mail on to friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors – help us to share our story and bring Fatih home!
We thank you for your support and we invite you to check out our campaign! You can also visit our blog for pictures, videos, and updated progress reports on our adoption effort. You can find it at
Shannon and Christy Ginn

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Today is Orphan Sunday.  Here's a prayer that was on their website,

Dear Father,
On this Orphan Sunday, we join with Your people across our country and beyond to
pray for orphans.
We know that love for these precious children begins not with us, but with You.  You
pursued us when we were wayward and alone.  You adopted us as your children.  You
invite us to address you as Daddy and to live as Your sons and daughters.  Truly, we
love because You first loved us.
You tell us also that You are near to the downtrodden and destitute.  Your heart aches
for children that face the world alone.  You champion the cause of those who have no
one else to take their side.  And You call us to do the same.
So we pray that You would rouse us to share your heart.  We ask that You would stir
Your people to passion and vision and action on behalf of children that have no family.
We lift up to You the millions of children in the world who have lost their parents to
disease, to war, to addiction, to poverty, to abandonment.  As You promise to do, place
the lonely in families.  Be their defender, their provider, their hope and peace.  Help us
to do the same.
We pray also for the five hundred thousand children in our foster system in America.
So often, they are bounced from home to home, knowing little love, consistency or true
nurture.  Please be their love, their consistency, their nurture.  Help us to do the
We confess that we have often lived with little regard for these precious lives.  Please
forgive us.  Lead us to take up their cause, not in guilt or obligation, but as a joyful
response to Your great love for us.
As we do, we pray that You would use our humble response to transform.  To
transform the lives of countless orphans both physically and spiritually.  To transform
us as we encounter You in them.  To transform Your Church as we lift our eyes
beyond our own comfort and self-focused religion to live out the painful beauty of the
Gospel.  And finally, to transform a watching world as it catches glimpses of Your love
made visible through the actions of Your people.
We commit all this to You, the One who is both our Father and a Father to the
fatherless, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

If you are a believer, I encourage you to spend some time today reflecting on your own adoption by our Heavenly Father (Ephesians 1:5, Galatians 4:4-7).

Blessings to all of you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Great News - Log in Date Received!!!

We have been told over and over again that there are many ups and downs in this journey. Yesterday, we had one of those downs. We have been so excited to know that there is another family in China this week and that we would soon be getting even more pictures of our sweet girl. We were so excited to see that this family had posted pictures. We eagerly began looking for Faith. Just last week, we were looking at pictures and talking about how much her hair had grown out and how pretty it looked. Today, we got new pictures that show her with her head shaved again. While we know that shaved heads are really the least of our concerns, something about that picture had us both in tears.

I cannot imagine the logistics of caring for hundreds of children. I can understand the benefits to the staff if they keep everyone's hair as short as possible. However, it still made us sad. It was one more reminder of how far removed from us she really is and that while we love her and are preparing for her arrival, we still have no way to shield her or protect her from anything. We try not to dwell on this because it is very frightening to us. Concerns for her safety, comfort, and emotional well being are frequent sources of conversation these days.

After discussing all of this last night, we again discussed our yearning for a log-in date (LID). We received an email today telling us that our official LID is 10-22-2012. This is HUGE!!! From LID to travel takes no more than six months. We have been told that it should be a bit faster than that because we have already been matched with a child and have completed a few steps that usually take place during this six month period. So, hopefully, we will travel by March 22. This would be an ideal time for us. Arriving home in late March would allow me to take the last few weeks of school off to be with Faith as she adjusts to her new life. She would then have the summer to continue acclimating before she starts to school in August.

We are both absolutely giddy. We have longed for this day! Now we move on to the next steps. Many of you have asked what is left in this process. The steps the we will take from now to "gotcha day"  are listed below.

  • Letter of Acceptance received from China (3 months after LID or PA whichever one is received last)
  • 800 paperwork submitted to USCIS
  • 800 provisional approval received ( approx. 3 weeks)
  • information for visa sent by USCIS to National Visa Center (NVC)
  • Information for visa cabled to the US Embassy in China by the NVC ( about 2 weeks after the information is sent to the NVC)
  • Article 5 letter received (about 2 weeks after cabling info for visa)
  • Article 5 letter couriered to the CCCWA (government office is China that processes adoptions)
  • Travel Approval received from the CCCWA (approx. 3-4 weeks from paperwork being received by the CCCWA)
  • Apply for Consulate Appointment
  • Receive Consulate Appointment (approx. 2 business days after application)
  • Travel (approximately 2 weeks after receiving travel approval)
We have been told that we will receive the information needed to begin working in these next steps early next week. We cannot wait. Bring on the paperwork!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We received these pictures from the Healy Family that returned home this week from adopting their sons in Xuzhou, China.  We are so grateful that they were able to take pictures for us.  We are also appreciative of the orphange staff for their dedication to these precious children.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name; make known among the nations what He has done." 
Psalm 105:1

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jesus was adopted too!

For several weeks, Christy and I have been kicking around various fundraising ideas for our adoption.  We decided that one of the things that we could easily do was a puzzle fundraiser (see the previous post for details).  We wanted to find a puzzle that had some sort of adoption or Asian theme as it would ultimately be framed and have a permanent place hanging in our home.  I had searched the web but just had not found the "right" puzzle.  Saturday, Christy called me at work and said that she had found "the" puzzle.  It simply says, "Jesus was adopted, too."  That statement stopped me in my tracks.  I've spent a lot of time during the last six months thinking about adoption from both a world view and as a bibilical doctrine.  I had never even given any thought to the fact that Jesus was adopted, too.  Have you?  Joseph was Jesus' earthly father---yet they did not have a biological connection.  Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18) and born of a virgin.  According to the law and customs of the times, Joseph could have ended his relationship with Mary after learning that she was with child.

Dr. Russell Moore wrote on this subject:

"With full legal rights to abandon Mary and her unborn child — perhaps to a fate worse than death — Joseph obeyed the Father in becoming a father. When Herod — the Roman Empire’s precursor to “Planned Parenthood” — sought the destruction of the infants, Joseph shielded this child from the murderous rage of infanticide (Matthew 2:13-18). In his obedience, Joseph demonstrated what his other son would later call “pure and undefiled” religion, the kind that cares for the fatherless and the abandoned (James 1:27)."

I am so thankful that Joseph chose to follow God's plan.  As believers, all of us can praise God-our Heavenly Father-for the incredible gift of his Eternal Son and the amazing grace that allows us to be adopted as His children.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, than an heir through God." -Galations 4:4-7 ESV

Saturday, September 29, 2012

You can help us put the pieces together.

You can help us put

 the pieces together.

As you know, Shannon and I are working to bring our daughter home as soon as possible. This week, our dossier was sent to China. This means that we can expect to travel to China  no later than April. We have been told that March is a strong possibility for travel. This means that all of our adoption expenses, including the cost of travel, must be met within that time frame. For this reason, we are asking for your help. 

All along, we have made an effort to document this adoption journey so that we can one day share it with Faith. This is her story and will be important to her one day. For this reason, we have purchased a jigsaw puzzle that reads"Jesus was adopted too". This puzzle will be mounted between two panes of glass so that both sides can be seen. 

Realizing that we are not in this journey alone, we would love for you to sponsor a piece (or pieces) of this puzzle. Each piece will cost $20. The back of each piece will have the name of its sponsor written on it, along with any message they have for Faith. When completed, the puzzle will hang in her room as a lasting reminder of the family and friends who supported us in this journey and helped make the pieces come together. It is yet another way we can show a child that has never known stability and security that she was loved long before she got here. 

Here's how you can help:

  • Use the PayPal link on the homepage of this blog to donate.
  • Mail donations to:  Shannon and Christy Ginn, 545 Hillstone Drive, Pell City,Al 35125
  • Let us know in person that you would like to donate
  • Share this posting via your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to help us spread the word.
Thanks for your help!  We love you all.

Christy and Shannon

Saturday, September 22, 2012

China Travel Meeting

Our travel meeting yesterday was very exciting. It is such a blessing to be working with an agency that has thought through every step of this process. We were given so much information. They walked us through the entire trip and provided information and suggestions for each step of the way.
We were given a timeline yesterday. We were told that they hope that we have a log-in date in a month and that they hope we will travel  around five months from that date. That means that we could be meeting our daughter in six months.
We are focusing on all of the things that we need to accomplish during the next six months. We have plans to complete Connor's room downstairs during October. We will have to paint the downstairs and stairway. Anyone know any extremely tall friends that like to paint? The ceilings in the stairway are about 20 feet high. We are already discussing our options for getting that area painted. I am confident in my ability to paint the downstairs myself. Shannon is not so confident in my ability to manage the stairs. Surely he doesn't think that my painting the stairs could result in any type of orthopedic injury. Not the wife he took to dinner that first time partially out of sympathy that she fell down the steps while working for him and was now a single mom with a non-weight bearing injury. Between that first meeting, the shoulder reconstruction that I had done while we were dating and the 12 weeks in a cast last spring thanks to a rambunctious Riley, he is really having some stress about this painting. I am looking forward to the challenge. Shannon keeps reminding me that orthopedic surgery and rehab is not really in the budget and insisting that perhaps hiring someone to do it might be cheaper. The only thing that we agree on at this point is that it is time to paint downstairs.
We have a sweet friend that will be volunteering and the Kid's Market consignment sale in Homewood and is willing to shop for Faith's bedroom furniture with her pre-sale shopping pass. That is such a blessing to us. Hopefully she will find exactly what we have been looking for and we will be able to stretch our money a little bit farther.
We will have to get Connor moved into his new downstairs "suite" and get everyone adjusted to that change. We are looking forward to being able to say that we have a house with four completed, fully furnished bedrooms.
We plan to fill the rest of our time waiting with remodeling and continued grant writing. Please keep these grant opportunities in your prayers. We are in the process of completing several and are waiting on word from three that have already been submitted.
The six(ish) month countdown has begun and we are glad to get to the home improvement/grant writing time period.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Travel Meeting

We got some exciting news yesterday. We have been trying to be patient while we wait for our dossier to be authenticated (each item must be signed by the Secretary of State) so that it can be sent to the Chinese Consulate in Houston. We were told today that it is already in Houston. We expect it to be back in Birmingham next week. Once it arrives back at Lifeline, they will send it to China. We are so eager for it to reach China!
We have been told to expect it to take three to four weeks to receive a log-in date. Getting a log-in date is huge! From log-in date to travel should be no more than six months. However, that six month timeline is based on those families that have not already been matched with a child. It includes time for that family to be matched. It includes time for that family to complete a care plan and for China to process this plan and approve the placement of their child. We have already done these things. We hope that we are able to travel very soon after receiving our log-in date. We have talked to families that were already matched who have traveled in as little as one to two months after their log-in date. We are continuing to pray that this process goes very quickly.
We are also excited to be going to training tomorrow afternoon. Shannon and I will attend a workshop at Lifeline that will prepare us for our trip to China. Thus far, we have asked each other dozens of questions about what we would do if.... We have so many questions about what to expect when we get there. We are very glad to have been invited to attend tomorrow's meeting. We cannot wait to find the answers to our questions. We are also very thankful to be working with an agency that takes the time to spend an entire afternoon providing travel information and tips that will make our journey go more smoothly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Over the past several months, Christy and I have been asking God to break our hearts for the things that break His and to challenge us to step away from the ordinary and to open our hearts, hands, and abundance to God’s calling for our family.  Through this process, our eyes were opened and our hearts broken for the millions (approximately 145 million) of orphans worldwide.  As we researched and prayed, we began to feel God lead us towards international adoption to rescue an orphan and make her our own.

We’re making progress on our journey to adopt Jiang Lanxin (Faith Lanxin Ginn).  As we continue on the adoption journey, I find myself experiencing something that I knew intellectually from the beginning of this journey but now know experientially:  Adoption is difficult!  It is difficult emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.  So many of you have expressed your support, asked about our progress, told us that you are praying for us, and asked if there was anything that you could do to help.  We covet your continued prayers.  Our other great need is financial.  This adoption will cost approximately $30,000.  Our adoption expenses include everything from document preparation and translation, agency fees, travel expenses (air, hotel, etc.), government fees (U.S.A. and China), to medical and orphanage fees. 

Just as the Great Wall of China was built one stone at a time, we are relying on God for one dollar at a time.  We have cut our family expenses and are in the process of applying for as many adoption grants as possible.  I think we would be remiss if we didn’t also ask for help from families and friends who might be willing to make a financial contribution toward bringing our daughter into the permanent embrace of adoption.
Please consider supporting the cause of the fatherless and helping us bring home our daughter. 

Here are some ways that you might help:

  • Donate any amount by sending checks to:       

Shannon and Christy Ginn
545 Hillstone Drive
            Pell City, Alabama 35125
  • Visit and click the donate button to donate via PayPal.  We’re also using the blog to post updates to our journey.
  • Buy an adoption t-shirt from .  Not only are the shirts really cool, but the net proceeds from sales are donated to our family.
  • Donate frequent flyer miles to reduce travel costs.  Christy and I must travel to China to finalize the adoption.  Please email to help with miles.

While not everyone is called to adopt a child, we believe (and hope!) that many will join us on the journey to rescue an orphan and make an eternal impact on this child’s life.

Shannon and Christy Ginn

“But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.” -Psalm 10:14 ESV

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I was very fortunate to have found an internet group for families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Xuzhou.  One of the families (Settle family) is currently in China finalizing the adoption of their son, Caden.  They graciously agreed to take photos for the families that are waiting.  We are so appreciative of them and the orphanage staff for these pictures.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


On Friday, August 24, 2012, we received notification from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Customs and Immigration) that we were to appear on September 5 to submit biometrics as part of our application process.  Christy and I fully realize that there are elements of this journey over which we have no control.  However, we have always said that it is unacceptable for our little girl to spend one day longer than necessary in an orphanage and that we would be expedient and pro-active about submitting anything requested of us for this journey.  Having said that, we had been informed that it might be possible to go earlier than our appointed time for biometrics.  We were cautioned that they were not required to accept us outside of our appointed time.  We decided that we would be at the immigration office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 27 to try to submit biometrics.  Our prayer as we traveled to Birmingham was simple:  "God, You are the defender of the orphan and Father to the fatherless.  Please create in their hearts a compassion for the same things as You."  We arrived at the office and I explained that we did not have an appointment scheduled for that day but hoped to be worked in to submit biometrics.  The officer sternly explained to me that they absolutely did NOT accept walk-ins and he had no idea as to why I thought that I could come outside of my scheduled time.  My voice trembled as I explained to him that my daughter was sitting in an orphanage in China, she had special needs, and we were willing to wait all day if they would just accommodate us.  It was as if an angel whispered in his ear, because his demeanor totally changed and he told us to come back in an hour and he would take care of us.  The look on his face as he was telling us that he would work with us was that of a man that could not believe what he was hearing from his own lips.  Christy and I left that office as quickly as we could before he had a chance to change his mind.  We aimlessly rode around Birmingham for the next 45 minutes and returned at 9:00.  We thanked him profusely for showing grace and mercy to us and showed him a photo of the little girl whose life would be impacted by his actions.  We submitted our biometrics on Monday, August 27, 2012.  We had been told to expect to wait anywhere from one to three months for approval from Immigration.  We received our approval on Friday, August 31, 2012.  Four days from biometrics to approval.  Our God is SO good!

Our next step is to have the dossier authenticated.  Our documents must be authenticated at the local level and at the Alabama Office of the Secretary of State.  We are told that this process takes approximately three weeks.  We'll keep you posted.  Keep praying!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory..." -Ephesians 3:19 ESV

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Small Blessings

 We received these via e-mail today. These photos were taken by a family that traveled to pick up their child in March of this year. It is so exciting to see a photo of her and know when it was taken. These three photos, and those that show her with her care package items, are the only ones that we know to be current. We have no idea about the age of any of her other pictures.

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's the Little Things

At this point in our journey, we can only wait. And wait. And wait. At this point it is the little things that bring us so much joy. Today, Shannon came across an on-line group of families that have either completed an adoption or are in the process of adopting from the same orphanage we are. These families have posted pictures of their children. We were able to see our daughter in a small thumbnail on that site. You cannot imagine our joy at seeing her. The image is so small it is hardly recognizable. It will not enlarge. It will not zoom. And yet we both happily sat and squinted trying to get a glimpse of an image of her when she was much younger.

Through this group, Shannon was able to contact a family that will travel September 1st. The director of this orphanage has a history of letting parents photograph children that have been promised to others that they know. We are hoping to be able to get some more pictures of our daughter this way. We are trying so hard to find joy in the opportunity to possibly get pictures from another family and not to be frustrated that it will be someone else seeing her.

In the meantime, we are anxiously waiting for an appointment for bio-metric fingerprinting so that our immigration application can be completed. We hope to be notified of our appointment time this coming week. Once we have the fingerprinting completed, the application can be completed. After that, our dossier can be authenticated (3-4 more weeks) and we can send it to China.

Once in China it takes a couple of months to move through the process. Eventually, we will be given a log in date. From that point, travel usually takes 5 - 6 months. So, we wait.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Invisible Red Thread

August 17, 2012
Many families adopting from China have read or heard the proverb of the red thread.  Basically, it says that there is a definite link between you and the child that you adopt.  Several weeks ago, we were told that we could begin to send care packages to our little girl.  The agency gave us several cautions related to care packages.  First, it would take three to four weeks for any packages that we sent to arrive in China.  The second caution was that the packages would be delivered to the orphanage but there was no guarantee that the contents would ever be delivered to our little girl.  Some orphanages would deliver the items to the child and some would not; it was entirely up to the discretion of the orphanage staff.  Despite the lack of certainty over whether she would receive the contents or not, Christy and I knew that we had to send items to our Faith.  We shopped and fretted over what items were “just right.”  Finally, we decided on a blanket, two stuffed animals, and an album with photos of our family.  We packaged the items and I took them to the post office.  Before I got out of the car, I prayed that those items would reach our daughter and that she and the orphanage staff members would sense that there was a family that loved her already and was making preparations to bring her into a forever home. 
Weeks had passed and Christy and I actually had a conversation yesterday morning about the fact that it should be about time for our package to arrive in China.  We wondered aloud whether it would reach its destination and if our daughter would be permitted to receive the contents.  And then yesterday, two big things happened.  First, I saw that our check to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for processing immigration paperwork had cleared the bank! (Who knew that I could be so excited to see such a large chunk of money disappear from my checking account?)  I shared this news with Christy.  You see, adoption is all about waiting.  During the waiting stage, any news…even something as simple as a check being cashed…can be a glimmer of hope.  If our check was cashed, then at least we knew that our paperwork was being processed.  Later, we received an email with the subject line that “Jiang Lan Xin has received the package from the Ginn family.”  I opened the email and was totally surprised to see four pictures of our little girl looking at all of the items from our package.  (Let me confess that I cried at my office desk.)  That email contained something very precious; our first family portrait.  It was a picture of her looking at our pictures.  All of that was just to get to this point:  We already felt an inexplicable connection to our little girl.  Perhaps the connection is the invisible red thread.  Until yesterday, our invisible red thread was still stretched and tangled.  However, once we saw this new family portrait the invisible red thread felt more taut than tangled. 
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families…” –Psalm 68:5 ESV

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Family Portrait

Our daughter received her care package! Her orphanage sent pictures of her with all of the things we sent. This one is our favorite. This is the first picture of all of us together, our first family portrait. We were so excited to get these pictures of her and to know that our package got to her. We were thrilled to learn that they are taking new videos of her and will soon be sending a new video. Like any new, proud parent I had to share my new family photos!
God is so good!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Birthday

Yesterday, our little girl turned three. There were no hugs, no kisses. There was no cake, no party, and no presents. Instead, there was an intense sadness knowing that no one acknowledged her special day in any way. She spent her day as she does every other day. We spent the day longing to have her here. As hard as it is to long for her each day, I know that I am the fortunate one. One day, I will have her here with me. Somewhere in China, she has a mother that gave birth to her and was then forced to give her up. Because it is illegal to place a child for adoption, parents must abandon them. They do this by choosing a very public place, usually a street corner, near a police station or orphanage, and then laying their child down and walking away. Most likely, her mom chose to do this because she has medical needs that could not be met in any other way. For many, many poor families, abandoning a child is the only chance the child has to get medical care.  Most likely, her mom also spends her days longing for this child. While my arms ache to hold my daughter, I do realize that I am so much more fortunate than her birth mother. I will hold her, love her, and share her life with her. Somewhere on the other side of the world there is a mother who marks her child's birth date with tears and sorrow. She wonders how she is doing, if she is safe, and if she has a family that loves her. I really wish it were possible to let this mother know that we are doing everything that we can to bring her child home. I wish that we could let her know how important her little girl is to us. As much as I worry and wonder about our little girl, I know that somewhere there is another mother whose fears are even greater than my own. Today, I pray that there is peace for this mom. I cannot imagine having to lay my child on a street corner and walk away so that there would be a chance that my child could survive. I am so very grateful that this mother found the strength to make such a hard choice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Letter of Acceptance Received

We began this adoption journey after much prayer. We knew then, and we know now, that we are meant to adopt this particular child. Still, the wait has been and continues to be very difficult. This week, we received our letter of acceptance from China. This is huge! This child has been promised to Lifeline and they are supposed to be the only agency with access to her file. Thus far, she has only been on hold for us through Lifeline. The reality of that was that any glitch or change of heart in China could have resulted in her being adopted by another family. As of Monday, China is now holding her for us. No other agency or family will be able to view her information. Now, they know we are coming for her. Hopefully, her orphanage will soon know this and will begin to discuss this with her. We are so very excited. Now, we can begin to send care packages to her. Just think...You have a child that you have never met whose third birthday is in a couple of weeks. What do you send to her? What do you send that tells her, a child who knows no English and who is cared for by a staff that does not know English, that you love her and are so anxious to meet her? Our minds have been racing with possibilities since Monday. We are filling a small photo album with pictures of us. Hopefully, this will help her gain some familiarity with her new family. We are also searching for the "perfect" stuffed animal to send to her. While we know that there is no guarantee that she will receive any of the packages we send her, our prayer is that they make it to her and that they bring her comfort. Even knowing that she may not ever see what we send, we are so thrilled to have the chance to make contact with her.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting for a LOA

Our Letter of Intent has been sent to China. We are now waiting for a Letter of Approval (LOA) stating that we have China's permission to move forward with this adoption. We hope to have the LOA back in a couple of weeks. We would love to have it back sooner. Please continue to pray that this process moves smoothly and rapidly. We are so eager to have her here with us. The waiting seems to get more difficult with each passing week.

Videos of Faith Lanxin Ginn

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Letter of Interest

On Friday afternoon, Shannon and I received the packet of information that Lifeline will need to submit our Letter of Interest (LOI). We have completed everything and are going to submit it tomorrow. The director of the China program will review the care plan that we have written as well as the other documents that we are submitting. We hope that this LOI will be sent to China this week. This letter will tell the CCAA (the government agency that handles adoptions) that we are seeking to adopt Jiang Lanxin. The care plan we have written details how we will meet her needs. There are many sections to this document, each specifying how we will handle issues such as medical care, education, cultural issues, integration into our family, and others. As we understand it, the LOI will be reviewed and, if it is accepted, we will receive a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) in 3-4 weeks. Our homestudy will be submitted, and we will wait to receive a Log In Date (LID). This wait takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks. From LID to travel usually takes 5-6 months. While we are making progress, we still have a long way to go. Please join us in praying that the process continues to go smoothly and we continue to move very quickly through each stage.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Many of the people with whom I’ve discussed our adoption process have heard me state my belief that God is using this journey to reveal to me much about Himself.  The adoption journey is filled with periods of waiting.  I know that God is using these periods to reveal to me a deeper understanding of His steadfast love for us.  He is the Heavenly Father that longs for his children to have a relationship with Him.  I am an earthly father longing to have a relationship with our waiting child.  As we approach the father’s day weekend, I must admit that it feels bittersweet for me.  Don’t get me wrong---I’m absolutely looking forward to spending time with Christy and our two boys.  But, I just can’t escape the feeling that our family isn’t complete.  Our little girl sits in an orphanage across the world waiting on a family to love her enough to bring her home.  We are steadily making preparations for her and she isn’t even aware of our existence.  She doesn’t have our DNA, our language, or even our skin color.  But, she already has our hearts.  I long for this journey to be complete and to finally be able to welcome her home.  I want her to know that I have prayed for her and long to be her father.  I want her to know that my ultimate prayer for her is the same prayer that I have for my other children---that she will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and have a deep, personal relationship with her Heavenly Father.  I want her to know that what the world judges as imperfect was, in fact, wonderfully made by God.  I simply want her to know that she is loved.

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” –Psalm 27:10 ESV

Friday, June 8, 2012

This is fast?

Shannon completed his individual interview yesterday. During the interview our social worker, Ashley, commented that we are very quickly moving through this process. Shannon and I so often feel that this is taking FOREVER. It was nice to hear that we are making progress and that we are actually ahead of what was projected. Please continue to pray that we continue to move rapidly through this process. We both accept that Lifeline has a projected timeline that has us completing this adoption in May/June of next year. We both also believe that God has His own timeline. We so hope that His plan is not to have her wait another year. Please join us in praying that He allows us to move very quickly.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

I just got home after completing my individual interview with our social worker. It was 90 minutes long and went very well. Shannon will complete his interview Thursday of this week. We are still waiting on my background check to come back. Shannon's was returned last week. I called the company doing the check today and they are looking into the delay. They say that the Alabama Bureau of Investigation should have completed it by now. They are calling to check on it and say that they will have an answer by Thursday. We should receive our passports by the end of this week. Shannon has a physical scheduled for tomorrow. I have completed mine and am simply waiting for paperwork to be completed. Our goal is to have all paperwork submitted to our social worker by the end of June. Please be praying that this happens. At this point, all of the paperwork we need is being processed by someone else. We have no control over when they complete it or when they submit it to us.  We pray that this goes very smoothly. We do not want a paperwork delay to cause this sweet child to have to wait on us. Thanks friends. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"How is it coming? What are you working on now?"

Currently, Shannon and I are working to complete our home study. We are about half way through the process. We have finished our home inspection and are now gathering the rest of the documentation we need and completing a laundry list of other tasks that must be finished in order to complete this process. The next step will be to each complete an individual interview. These interviews last about 90 minutes and require the completion of a very in-depth autobiography before the interview can take place. I have submitted my autobiography and am scheduled to have my interview Monday, June 4th at 9:30. Shannon is working to complete his autobiography. Several of you have asked about specific prayer requests that we may have. Please continue to pray that God will provide protection and comfort to our daughter. She has no idea that we are working as hard as we can to get to her. We ask that you pray He will grant her peace as she will not know us and will not understand what is happening when we take her away from all that she has ever known.
Also, we are waiting on several pieces of paperwork to come back. We have done all that we can do on our end and must wait to receive our passports, get confirmation that we have been cleared through the background checks, finalize medical paperwork declaring us to be medically fit, and wait for a variety of other documents to be completed. Please pray that this all happens quickly. We cannot move on to the next step without having each of these items back. Thank you!

How do I get one of those cute t-shirts?

Shannon and I are working with Adoptionbug to raise the money we will need to finance our adoption. Adoptionbug was started by a family who was trying to raise funds for their own international adoption. They now assist families like ours who are seeking to adopt. They establish web pages and provide postcards for advertising for free. They keep $1 from every shirt sold, and put the rest of the profits from the shirts purchased off of our website directly into an account that has been set up for us. At the end of this adoption journey, they will close our store, and send us a check for all profits earned. We are so excited to have been given the opportunity to work with this group.

So many of you have asked how you could help. This is one way to assist us as we work toward getting our child here.

Please check out our store at

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Adoption Story

 We have had so many sweet friends and family members ask for updates as we continue to work toward adopting. We have decided that this will be the best way to keep everyone updated as we pursue our dream of adoption. We know that so many of you are praying for us and this sweet child that we have come to love. Thank you, thank you, thank you for those prayers. It is so amazing to constantly hear that you are being lifted up in prayer. There are many uncertainties that we will face in the months ahead. We are so thankful to have such devoted family and friends who continue to support us in our journey.

Perhaps the best place to start is to repost Shannon's initial statement regarding this adoption. He did such a great job filling everyone in on  what we are doing. 

Christy and I have exciting news to share with you...Several months ago, we began to feel a very strong calling in our lives to adopt a child. We have spent time praying and seeking God's will for our family.  After we began to pray about this situation, our desire to adopt became deeper.   We also held a very firm belief that our family could not answer this calling with any constraints.  That is, we would be obedient to adopting any child to which the Lord led us without regard to gender, ethnicity, age, or location.  God took us at our word and quickly opened doors that led us to a beautifual little girl named Jiang Lanxin (also known as Sasha by the adoption agency).  Sasha is in an orphanage in Xuzhou, China and has cerebal palsy.  Our pediatrician has reviewed the available medical information for her and we are already praying for ways in which we can help her.  

We ask that you join us in specifically praying for the following things:

1.  A quick resolution to all of the required home studies, permits, travel approvals, etc.
2.  The expenses involved with home studies, permits, travel, etc. (We will travel to China for the final adoption        approval).

We already love this sweet little girl and can't wait to bring her into our family.  Some people may believe that we are crazy for embarking on this journey...and that's okay.  We know that we must do what our Lord calls us to do.  While we don't know what lies before us, we do know that we are more confident in God than we are ourselves.  We simply ask that you love us and pray for us as we journey down this path.    

"Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart;You will cause Your ear to hear,to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,that the man of the earth may oppress no more." Psalm 10:17-18 NKJV