Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gratitude

I've been a bit weepy lately.  Here is why...

That first day, when we saw Jordan's face, and knew he was our son, we were told that international adoption was about $20,000.  We knew we weren't in a place to pay 20K for an adoption, but felt the reassurance that if we committed to bring Jordan home, God would provide a way.  I assumed that "the way" was to be able to sell our rental home.  But we decided to apply for as many grants as we could, and look for ways to bring in extra income while we worked to sell the home.  Since then, we've come to find out that the adoption will likely cost $30,000.  With our shortage seemingly getting larger, and the time to have it in hand is getting closer, it's becoming harder and harder not to stress over it.   On top of that, our tenants just had a baby and we agreed to let them have a month off of showing the home while they settle into life with a new little one.  So the hope of selling the rental is being put off for a month.

As stress and worry creep in, I remind myself of the peace and reassurance that I was given that God would provide a way.  We're just having to rethink how we will be provided for.  Ryan and I HATE to ask for things.  Really.  It's painful for us.  Not fun.  At all.  We knew the Lord would provide for us, but we wanted it to be through our own efforts.... selling our rental, extra jobs, cutting back on expenses, filling out grant applications.  My incredible friends kept saying that they wanted to help put together a fundraiser, but the idea of asking for other people to donate is very uncomfortable, even the time my friends would put in to organizing a fundraiser seemed like too much to ask for.  But as time passed, and our rental home still hadn't sold, we realized that we were going to have to do some sort of fundraising, or we wouldn't have the money needed to bring Jordan home.  So I started putting a 5K together on my own.  With a little guidance, I was able to do a lot of the early planning and details by myself.  I wanted to have everything in place so we could just ask for a few volunteers to show up on race day, and otherwise, not put anyone out.

But my friends, (have I said that they are the best?) they kept hounding me to let them help.  They called a meeting to organize and delegate responsibilities, they are giving freely of their time and resources and are continually working to make sure our fundraiser is successful as possible.  Far more successful than if we had continued on our own.  Though humbling, knowing that we aren't in this alone is a big, ginormous, huge-mongous relief.  A bigger relief than I expected... and when I think of it, I get emotional.  Oh, and our family?  Also the best.  They have been overwhelmingly supportive throughout our entire adoption process.  As word has spread, we've received some generous donations from friends and family who don't live close enough to participate in our "Jog for Jordan".  We even had a friend, that we've never actually met in person, send a check.  I'm awful at conveying the depth of my gratitude, but nearly every day I have a little gratitude cry... or three.  

Though it's been hard to accept so much help from others, I feel like maybe the reason our rental home hasn't sold as we had hoped, and we are having to accept the help of others in order to complete Jordan's adoption, is because it's been an amazing, faith promoting experience that we need to share with others.  Though we are fairly private people, it's not something to keep to ourselves.  Originally it felt like letting people help would just mean sharing the financial burden of adoption, but it's much more than that.  People are feeling the spirit of caring for those in need.  They are sharing in love and desire to do good for Jordan.  Hundreds of people have heard a little of Jordan's story and care enough to want to help.  And yep, that makes me cry tears of gratitude too.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hike To The "G"

Utah is kind of funny, for a lot of reasons, one being that many of the mountains have huge letters on their sides.  I grew up near the "Y"  For BYU.  Now we happen to live near the "G", for Pleasant Grove, a nearby city.  Ever since moving to our neighborhood, I've wanted to hike to the "G", this Spring Break we finally did!

   I love our view of Mount Timpanogos!

Starting point.

  This isn't a super long hike, but it's a very steep climb.  It didn't help that somehow we ended up on the wrong trail and took a harder way up.  But our kids hiked like champs and didn't complain. 

 
  We have hiked the "Y" in Provo, which is rocks plastered together and painted white.  I was surprised that the "G" is actually thin sheets of metal painted white and weaved through wire.  It kind of looks a little junky up close, but I guess it does the job.

 The kids had fun looking at all of the names of the people who had left their mark and signed the G.  Maddie found Jordan's name, so I took a picture.  It wasn't until I put the pictures on the computer that I noticed the date with Jordan's name... 11/13.  That's Jordan's birthday!  I thought that was a pretty cool coincidence. 

We ate dinner on the G then started back down the mountain.





"We were there!"

 We saw a lot of deer just off the trail on our way down. 


Beautiful sky on the way down.

 We live in such a pretty place surrounded by mountains and I love the view of the lake from above... We live so close to it, but don't usually get to see it like this.  I love it!

 The sunset got really colorful just as we were driving home.  
The kids all thanked us over and over for taking them to the G.  It was a fun little outing that I'm sure they'll often remember when they look up and see the G. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jog for Jordan

  
Having overcome the hurdle of being matched with Jordan, we are now looking for ways to overcome our lack of funds for his adoption.  We have applied for 17 grants, hoping to receive one or two, Ryan has taken on a coaching position for extra pay, he also applied and was accepted for a teacher externship for the summer.  We are continually looking for ways to raise enough money to finish paying for Jordan's adoption.  We are excited that this fundraising event is coming together!  We are praying it is successful and will get us one step closer to bringing Jordan home. 

If you live in Utah, please spread the word! 

If not, but you'd still like to donate, Credit Card/Pay Pal donations are being accepted being accepted on this blog.
or
Checks can be mailed directly to our adoption agency:
6920 S Holly Circle
Centennial, CO 80112
Made payable to CCAI Adoption Services. Memo line should read "For Ryan and Amy Andersen Adoption"


Every little bit helps, and is so appreciated!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

LID


We reached another adoption lingo milestone- Log In Date.  Once our dossier was sent to China, it had to be "logged in" to the CCCWA's (China's) system.  It could have taken up to 3 weeks... but only took 4 days from DTC.  This is good.  We hope things continue to move quickly!  

And since this is a short post, I decided to include a picture of Jordan...  because I can.  Remember how I have 232 pictures of the first year of his life?  Look how tiny our sweet guy was.  That binky is practically the size of his face.  There is something about his eyes in this picture make me wish I was there to hold him.   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Phase Of Life

Our life as of October 7, 2013:

Ryan and I often discussed how excited we were about the phase of life we were soon entering.

With Maddie and Kaitlyn already in school, Enoch starting Kindergarten, and Mason in preschool, I was looking forward to 5 hours a week with NO children at home... 5 HOURS!  It might not sound like a lot, but having gone about a decade with at least one small child in tow, while I shop, clean, exercise, even while I shower, I was ready to squeeze a lot of things into those 5 hours a week. 

And the diapers.  We've spent a small mint on diapers over the years, and are working on potty training Mason, not very successfully, but still... working on it.  We could see how close we were to being out of the diaper stage for good.  I still get a silly smile thinking about the day we are diaper free. 
 
All of our kids are becoming more portable.  They can all dress themselves, feed themselves, and do their own buckles in the car.  We can all go to the movies together and actually sit through the movie.  We are able to do more things all together without someone having to sit out to take care of a baby.  We kind of like it.

Also, Mason's health has improved so much that we hardly ever worry.  We don't go to near the number of doctor's appointments that we used to, we've weaned him off of all of his medications, except Growth Hormone and he actually eats now.  Mason's eating has been some kind of wonderful.  Sometimes I almost forget how hard things had been.  We were chronically stressed the first couple years of his life, much more stressed than we ever let on.

We've always tried to build up our savings, but some bit of life always seems to prevent us from making much progress.  Since draining our savings to purchase our home in 2011, we were finally starting to boost our savings back up.  It has felt so very good to see our savings account consistently growing and knowing that we were becoming a little bit more financially secure.

Apart from our "untouchable" savings, we were also saving to build a deck in backyard.  It was something that we planned to do the summer after we moved in, but Mason's medical needs drained our deck fund time and time again. We were sure that this spring we would finally have the extra money set aside to build that deck.  No more walking out the back door into dirt and weeds.  It would have been beautiful. Additional, we were working towards a truck for Ryan.  Something he's wanted since I've known him.  Something that he's had to put off getting over and over.  Something that I was looking forward to finally give him the okay to go out and get.  
 

Our Life as of October 8, 2013:

We saw Jordan's face.

Knowing that "me time" will have to wait, diapers will keep being dirtied, getting out will be harder, we'll once again frequent Primary Children's Hospital, most likely struggle to feed a child, drain our savings another time, and indefinitely put off all unnecessary purchases... we knew Jordan was our child.

And... knowing all of that, we are still excited for this new phase of life.  It's not the same naive excitement we had expecting our first baby.  We know a lot of what we're in for.  We've experienced enough life to know that even if you think you know what you're in for, you're usually only partially right.  Life won't be as easy, or comfortable as it had been becoming, but we will experience growth in ways I'm sure we haven't even thought of.  We know this adoption experience will benefit our family in ways that living comfortably never could.  It's not the new phase of life we were expecting, but we're happy all the same.
 
Love this pic.  He is just swimming in that onesie!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dossier To China


Last Monday, our adoption agency sent us an email saying they had received our package of documents... yea!  When I asked, they said that it would 9-11 business days for them to complete the critical review of our dossier and another week for our dossier to be bound, translated and mailed to China.  With that in mind, we thought the soonest we would be DTC would be April 3rd.  The next day we were surprised to receive another email saying: 

"We were able to complete the critical review of your dossier today (much quicker than we are typically able to do!) Your dossier is complete and everything looks fantastic! Job well done!  Your dossier has now been moved to translation and will be mailed to China within a few days." 

I had heard that our agency only sends dossiers to China on Fridays, I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I was sure we'd be DTC on Friday and compulsively checked my email all day.  I had started to give up hope of such a fast DTC, but checked my email one last time before heading out to a BBQ and did a little happy dance when I got this message:  

"Here’s the news you’ve long been waiting for—your dossier was sent to China today (3/21/2014)!"

With this step alone, we cut 2 weeks off of our wait.  At this point, every day matters... a lot.  Our best guess for travel has been sometime in August.  But because Ryan is a teacher, travel the 2 middle weeks of August is out of the question, we really would have to travel in July to make it back in time, or we'll have to wait until late August/early September.  I hate to think that we would possibly have to wait an extra month to bring Jordan home, so we are really hoping for another miracle, a super short LOA (letter of acceptance) wait that could mean July travel.  Any prayers would be welcome!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Red Thread (or yarn in our case)

The first time I heard anything about the "red thread" was about a week after we saw Jordan's face for the first time.  Back when we felt he belonged with our family, but were realizing that everything was stacked up against our being matched to him.  I had contacted many people in hopes that someone would help us find a way around the adoption rules that were preventing us from being matched to Jordan.  In a string of correspondence back and forth between "Julia", a China International Specialist, I received this email: 

Dear Amy,

Luo is a darling little guy :) He's so young and his medial need is considered mild, so the chances of him getting assigned as SPECIAL FOCUS are pretty slim. He'll likely go to the shared list and at that point be locked by an agency that has a family with a dossier already logged into China.

The rules state that he would have to be on the shared list for a full 2 months before his status would change to Special Focus. Your best bet is to get your dossier done as quickly as you can and pray for a lucky break (or a red thread) to this little guy. It is a long shot, but I want to be honest with you and not get your hopes up too high.

Miracles happen I see 'em all the time, but it'd be a miracle.

Kindly,

"Julia" (name changed)

I looked up what a red thread was, and learned that there is an ancient Chinese proverb that states that "An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." 

Since I'm a knitter, I like to think that it's actually red yarn that connects Jordan to us, but red thread, red yarn, or not, I know for a fact that Jordan is meant to be in our family. 

Yesterday I received this message from a woman named "Heidi":
 
Hello – I know you don’t know me and I hope this message is not too inappropriate, but when I saw you post the picture of your little one yesterday, I was so so very happy. You see, he was our first referral and after a week of intense research, prayer and soul searching, for various reasons (some of which were personal), we ultimately declined to adopt him. I think it was the hardest thing I have ever done, and my only comfort was the he would find a home somewhere… I know you are probably an answer to prayer for a lot of people who care about him, but wanted to make sure you knew that you are an answer to my prayer specifically. Thank you so much for loving him and making a place for him in your family!


In writing back and forth with "Heidi" I learned that she was the one who contacted the MAGIC Foundation to find out about Russell-Silver Syndrome, which, in turn, lead to Jennifer sharing his information with me.  If it weren't for "Heidi" we never would have know about Jordan or pursued adoption.  This is just one of the many instances were things were laid into place to bring Jordan into our family.  

I believe that God is the tier of "red thread" and has a plan for each of us.  I don't understand why Jordan had to be born on the other side of world and experience the pain and loss that no one his age should have to know, but I know that God loves him and ultimately wanted him to be a part of our family.

Our arms are aching from winding and winding that red yarn to pull Jordan closer to home, but it's a good ache, because we know that eventually we will get to hold him in our tired arms and bring Jordan home.