"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."--- Kristi Larson
I have really dreaded this moment! I am so ready to move on in this process . With each step it brings us closer to our sweet girl! But I did not have good luck in this stage of the process in the last adoption! Back in '07 I was so careful to make sure everything was perfect ! I called on several occations and consulted with the USCIS officiers to make sure we did not miss a step! So , when we still had not received our reciept by mail by day 60 ,I set up an appointment. We waited for 3 hours to be called up to the counter only to be told that they threw out our application! We were told on the national hotline that you can send a personal check, so we did! Little did we know that our local office does not accept personal checks!
To make a long story short it all worked out and I had my new application , fingerprinting appt. and approval in hand in three short weeks! At the time I could not see the reason for this delay through all of the blurry ,tear stained contacts. But I now know that our sweet Ava was not ready for adoption yet!
So this time around I am going to say a little prayer for a safe arrival and quick processing for my little "pill"! So pardon me while I hold my breath ...I think I will breath again after I get that glorious little reciept in the mail! Can you believe my husband asked me if I was sweating at the Fed Ex place?
We had a wonderful Christmas this year! What difference this past year has made for Ava. Last year she was not sure what was going on with any of the holiday events. This year she was dancing around and singing! She was such a ham and loved being the center of attention!
I found myself thinking of Peyton and wishing she was here. There was definitely someone missing this year. When I would feel a little sad ,I would just look at Ava and think how fast this year has passed and soon she will be home with her family.
Ava took everyone over to the computer and proudly showed off her sister's videos. By the way , she requests to look at Peyton's videos everyday. And if you could see the grin on her face ! Ava is totally in LOVE!
Look out Peyton because your big sister is going to smother you with kisses and hugs!!!!!!!
I will leave you with a couple of photos of Ava this year compared to last . My heart just smiles at the progress of this past year has brought!
We have been running like crazy on the paper trail! Our home study is completed , dossier is almost done and next step the I800A! So today Ava and I took a break from all of the paper craziness and went to the mall to have our first official picture with Santa Claus! We filed in line with all the other kiddos and waited our turn. Well ,the little girl in front of us ,who was exactly Ava's age, started a mass hysteria that spread like a virus through the line. Ava was fine till she took one look at him and that was all she wrote! She did not care who he was or if he had his own toy factory ...she wanted no part of this !
Later on in the day she took one look at that picture and started to cry... again!
So, I will forever treasure this photo because this will be the last! I will not put her through that again!
And for those of you that were at the mall this morning that was NOT me doing an army crawl ,in a pair of high heels, to avoid being in the photo! What's a mama to do?!?! My sweet girl was in distress ! I am not above making a complete fool of myself for my kids. Funny thing is that Nick(15) was with us and was not impressed! Go figure!
But I have to say she still was so cute even though she did not smile!
When we start out on our journey to our children we often look for a connection.Something that jumps out at us that says you are who I have been waiting for. Some parents say I just knew when I saw their face. Other say it was a birthday that they shared with a loved one. And for some it was just a feeling. Whether it was butterflies in their tummy or just plan love at first sight they knew.
We travelled to Russia in July '08 to meet Ava .We boarded a plane with no information other than a little girl on the other side of the ocean was waiting on us. When we arrived we were blessed with such a special treasure, a beautiful baby girl just one week shy of her first birthday. We spent an emotional yet wonderful week with our sweet girl . We squeezed one last visit in before departing on that Saturday. As we walked away, I prayed that God would keep her safe. It saddened us to leave her behind. I wondered if she thought that we had abandoned her like so many had before us. We left our little girl in that hospital knowing that she would be there for her first birthday the following week. We returned home exhausted yet anxious to get back to our baby. That next week on Saturday, July 19th Ava turned one. We were sad knowing that it was just another day to everyone in that hospital. I breathed a sigh of relief on that Sunday that we had made it through that dreaded day and she would never have another birthday alone again. Little did we know on Sunday, July 20th another beautiful baby girl was born, our daughter Xia Ben Pei . That same week we began our wait for our court date. This was the worst part of the process. You give your heart away to your sweet child only to have to give her back and pray that she will be safe while you are gone. As I struggled with my sadness another mother a world away was struggling too. During that same week she held her baby girl for four days and on that fourth day made the decision that someone else could provide a better life for her. My struggles pale in comparison to hers. In the end ,I was blessed with my sweet Ava .In the end , she gave up one of her greatest treasures. Soon to be one of mine.
After we had submitted our LOI for Ben Pei we began looking at names. We had a list of names that we had selected for Ava. Each family member had their original top picks and majority of these had carried over for our ladybug. When Jacob was three and in mother's day out he had selected the new babies name after a little girl in his class. We were at the beginning of this process and were not sure if we would be going to Vietnam,Guatemala ,China or Russia.Either way her name was Peyton. I had always imagined little Peyton to have olive skin and beautiful dark hair.So imagine my surprise when we found out that Xia Ben Pei's nickname is Pei Pei(sounds like pay pay) . So when we originally began this process in 2007 ,God had already etched little Peyton in my heart even before she was born.
We chose Lily as her middle name after my dear ,sweet Maw Maw Lily. She was a wonderful grandmother and she could always make you laugh! She had the most beautiful dark hair just like Peyton. When Jake heard the name Lily he said "I love it Mom". He said it was perfect because in the Peyton's picture that we received there are Lilies in the background! Mind you he is only six years old! Pretty observant for a first grader!
I started this journey back in 2007 looking for my daughter, Peyton. So in the end, I ended up with my beautiful Peyton after all! Little did I know that I was going to be blessed with Ava first !!!! These little sister's already share such a connection to one another.
I must have been a really good girl to be blessed like this ! Or maybe it was my original career choice in elementary school to become a nun!
Now, I am a makeup artist ... but He loves me anyway!
On my way from Heaven, God delayed my trip that day. He said that I was special, and then sent me on my way. But not before he kissed me, Right upon my ear He left his blessed mark to carry with me here. He whispered in my ear right then, that He loved me without doubt, and then He closed my ear up tight, so the whisper won't get out. He told me both my legs were strong and would help me stand up tall. He told me both my arms would work to catch me if I fall. My eyes would catch my memories to store within the pages of my mind, My heart would fill with all the things I would love, so many things, I would find. He told me I could fall asleep to my Daddy's bedtime tales, and listen while my Mother sings of seas and boats with sails. One ear, He told me, could hear the sounds that little birdies make. The other ear was His gift to me, a blessing for my sake. For when I'm feeling sad, He said, my other ear would hear, His whispered words of eternal love, left waiting for me there. (Author Unknown)
I saw this posted on a group that I am a member of . I just love this and thought this was such a great way to begin this post. As many of you know we are adopting Peyton from China's special needs program.Peyton has a deformity of her right ear and nerve palsy on the right corner of her mouth. The palsy is due to the facial nerves involvement in and around the ear. You only see this when she smiles or cries. I have to say that she has one of the cutest little smiles that I have ever seen! We are unsure of the extent of hearing or lack of in that ear but we will find out more when we return home.
We have decided to be open about Peyton's special need for a variety of reasons. One is that Peyton's need is visible.When she is older she can have surgery to correct the ear malformation.Generally that surgery does not take place till she is somewhere between 6-8 years old. Another reason is the hope that other families that are considering a child with this particular need might see beyond this medical label and not miss out on one of the greatest blessings ever.
I have posted some links with some great information about Microtia and Hemifacial Microsomia.If you scroll down the right side of my blog you will find them.
We have been so blessed to have had several families come forward and share their personal experiences with this specific need.The experiences that they shared spoke volumes about how manageable this need is.Microtia was not on our original list of needs.But once again this is just an example of God's plan vs. our plan ... And his is always better!
If I can help anyone with any questions , please feel free to post your email address in the comments section!
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, "plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"God hears all our prayers, and we must trust that He will answer them in His own time. They may not always be the answers we want to hear, but they are always for our good, and teach us to trust in Jesus as we travel the pathways of our daily lives."
Not The Way You Planned
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, 'Someday I hope to be a great treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with an intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'
Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. People will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.'
Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill, look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter, and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree. I will be able to sell it to the shipyard.' The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the men said,'I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,' and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying Kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.
Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said 'Peace' and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined...
We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.
LID – Log in Date DTC – Dossier to China TA – Travel Approval (called other things in other countries, this is the Notice of Coming to China) CA – Consulate Appointment SN – special needs NSN – non special needs PA – Pre-approval (part of the SN process) PAP – Potential Adoptive Parent LOA – Letter of Acceptance – used in both NSN and SN process. In NSN program it is the document that allows you to officially accept a referral. In SN program the CCAA sends it after the LOI and before TA. LOI – Letter of Intent SWI / CWI – Social/Children’s Welfare Institute, what orphanages are called in China
The Starfish Thrower
Once upon a time there was a man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit
of walking on the beach
before he began his work.
One day he was walking
along the shore.
As he looked down the beach
he saw a human figure
moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself
to think of someone
who would dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.
As he got closer,
he saw that it was an
older man and the man
Instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently
throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out,
"Good morning! What are you doing?"
The older man paused,
looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish into the ocean."
The man noticed
there were hundreds of starfish
all washed up on the beach
from a storm the night before.
He watched as the man carefully
continued to pick up the starfish
one by one.
"I guess I should have asked,
‘Why are you throwing starfish
into the ocean?’"
"The sun is up
and the tide is going out.
If I don't throw them in
"But don't you realize
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!"
The older man listened politely.
He bent down, picked up another starfish
He looked at the starfish
as he prepared to
throw it into the ocean,
past the breaking waves and said –
"I will make a difference to this one!"
On my way from Heaven,
God delayed my trip that day.
He said that I was special,
and then sent me on my way.
But not before he kissed me,
Right upon my ear
He left his blessed mark
to carry with me here.
He whispered in my ear right then,
that He loved me without doubt,
and then He closed my ear up tight,
so the whisper won't get out.
He told me both my legs were strong
and would help me stand up tall.
He told me both my arms would work
to catch me if I fall.
My eyes would catch my memories
to store within the pages of my mind,
My heart would fill with all the things I would love,
so many things, I would find.
He told me I could fall asleep
to my Daddy's bedtime tales,
and listen while my Mother sings
of seas and boats with sails.
One ear, He told me, could hear the sounds
that little birdies make.
The other ear was His gift to me,
a blessing for my sake.
For when I'm feeling sad, He said,
my other ear would hear,
His whispered words of eternal love,
left waiting for me there.