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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!!!