Sunday, December 22, 2013


Sigh.  Due to the government shutdown, we are still waiting to get our FBI background check processed.  Apparently they are quite backlogged.  A check that used to take only days, is now taking months.  It's frustrating because, until we get that background check completed, Jia's adoption is at a complete standstill.  We had been getting things done at record speed, hoping that if we hurry, we could possibly get him home before the MAGIC Convention this summer so we could take him to see Dr. H, or at least before the next school year starts so Ryan, who is a teacher won't have to take time off when we go to China... but the longer we wait, the less likely either of those scenarios will be.  Waiting is hard when you know there is a cute little guy who really needs to be home, seeing doctors, getting the love and attention he deserves and attaching with his family. 

In general, the amount of information and communication about adoptees is amazingly scarce.  I feel extremely lucky to have the pictures and information we do have.  But we're not allowed to contact Jia's caregivers to get updates, we just have to wait for any information that is given to us.  We knew that Jia had spent most of his life in the care of a great foster care organization, but that in preparation to be adopted, they sent him to his home province.  Where exactly?  We weren't told.  All we had to go off of was that the address we were given to send packages to was for the orphanage he was first taken to, so we assumed that he was back at that orphanage.  That weighed on me.  I had no idea what kind of care he would receive in an orphanage, and if they were aware of his increased risk of hypoglycemia or how often they should be feeding Jia to avoid hypoglycemic episodes.  But, I received an email the other day letting me know that he is now at another foster care organization in Henan.  I researched it like crazy, and as far as I can tell, Jia is in good hands until we bring him home.  They even mentioned that they are feeding him every two hours.  Whew!  That was such a huge relief to hear.  If we have to wait, it's easier to do knowing Jia will be well cared for.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Yarn Ball Christmas Wreath

Look at this beautiful wreath my friend Carrie made me for Christmas.  I love it!  She said she found the idea on Pinterest and knew she had to make it for me.  Did I say I love it??  Because I LOVE IT!!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Iron Man Hat

I used Lucia Liljegren's Earflap Hat Pattern Generator and modified this Deathflake chart by Art Fiend to make an Iron Man hat for Enoch's 5th Birthday.  I didn't really love the end result, I couldn't quite nail the ironman face with so few stitches to work with, but Enoch thought it was the coolest... and that is what matters.

Friday, November 29, 2013

More Jia In Our Lives

Jia's foster care organization has a Facebook page that I follow.  They often post pictures of the kids that they care for.  One day I saw a picture and thought, that looks a lot like Jia.  Then I looked a little bit closer and thought, that IS Jia, just not a picture that I've ever seen of him.  I clicked on it and it took me to THIS PAGE, where Jia was featured for Preemie Month.  It was like an early Christmas getting to see so many new pictures of our sweet little guy! 


HERE is a link to our only video of him.  

We've had a lot on our plate in November, I'm not just talking about our Thanksgiving dinner plates either.  Of course working on the adoption has been a lot.  Our FBI background check is taking much longer than expected and some of our paperwork has had to be redone because our home study agency and adoption agency have different expectations. We also had our tenants move out of our rental.  We've been hoping the rental would sell to help finance our adoption... but no such luck.  We had a very hard time finding new tenants because November/December is NOT the time of year that most people are moving.  (Also not the time of year we want to be paying two mortgages) After significantly lowering the rent we were able to find a family to rent it.  We've also had our daughter, Kaitlyn's, baptism to prepare for.  And the lack of white dress shoes in November is aggravating to say the least.  Altogether, it's been a pretty stressful month.  

Last week we had to see the doctor to have physicals exams for our adoption. Through routine blood work they found that I have Hypothyroidism.  So now I have an excuse for how tired and spacey I've been.  When the doctor went over the list of symptoms, I was surprised at how many I have but had just written off as getting older and being busy raising kids.  I've started medication, so maybe I'll be a whole new woman... or not.  

I just think I need more Jia in my life.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jia's 1st Birthday!

[I promise I will eventually work knitting back into my knitting blog, but for now, our adoption is kind of taking over]

Before we were even matched to Jia, I told Ryan I wanted to celebrate his first birthday... 
...just in case we were matched to him.  

Ryan didn't think it was a good idea to let ourselves get too excited... 

...just in case we weren't matched to him.  

Luckily we found out we were matched to him before his birthday so we could celebrate with out worrying about it.  We would have much preferred to have Jia with us to celebrate his 1st birthday, but it was fun to celebrate him all the same.  

 We had Chinese for dinner.  I busted out the bowls I bought in china and everyone attempted to eat with chop sticks.  Some with more success than others.

We sang Happy Birthday and everyone blew out one candle for Jia. 

 Hahahahaha!  Mason and his funny faces!

We love you and miss you Jia!  Can you miss someone you haven't met?  Yes, yes you can.  
Happy Birthday!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Adoption Story: The Miracle

After we were told that Luo was being adopted by another family, we were obviously sad.  Interestingly enough, I was also slightly relieved.  I had been wearing down.  Ryan and I were spending all of our time completing paperwork at a record breaking pace.  (Our social worker said she that if there were records for completing paperwork, we were surely breaking them)  I wasn't sleeping at night because my mind was too busy trying to think of any other possible thing that we could do that might somehow help bring Luo home.  Trying to do what everyone says is impossible is completely exhausting.  So I was sad, but slightly relieved, and also confused.  From the first time I saw Luo, I felt sure he was meant to be in our family.  Why did I feel that way if we couldn't bring him home?  And would I feel that strongly about any other child?  And if I did, could I trust myself knowing I had felt that way before and was wrong?

So when Luo was matched with another family we decided to relax a little.  Our new focus was on choosing the right adoption agency.  We struggled with that decision.  Although I had heard great things about them, I didn't really want to go with CCAI, the agency that had originally had Luo's file.  They serve a lot more families than the other agencies I was looking at, meaning a longer wait time to be matched.  And I was also slightly miffed that they matched children with families on a first-come-first-serve basis, rather than with the family that was best suited for the child's needs.  (Obviously- for selfish reasons) There were four other agencies that we were deciding between.  I knew who I wanted to go with, but didn't feel sure enough to turn in the application.  We decided to spend a day fasting and praying that we could make the right decision.  At the end of our fast, we decided we shouldn't count CCAI out, even if I wanted to, so we put them back on the list.  Then I decided to email them one last time to be absolutely sure Luo was going home with that other family. 

The next day was the day that we got Timothy's file, the cute little guy that we knew wasn't ours.  That same day I also got a response from CCAI telling me that the family that was going to adopt Luo BACKED OUT!  That rarely happens.  Not only that, CCAI was able to get his file back!  Still, we were told that there were others who needed to see his file before us and if none of those families decided to move forward, we would get to see Luo's file.  On top of that, there was still the problem of getting our dossier done fast enough to even be eligible to be matched with Luo.  But we finally felt at peace with signing with CCAI, even knowing that being matched with Luo was a long shot.  So we signed with them.  The next day I got another email that completely blew me away.  Luo's file was changed to "Special Focus"... meaning a family could lock his file without having their dossier complete.  That was HUGE!  I did a happy dance and felt like doors were being opened.  We knew CCAI has a lot of families waiting for children, so we assumed it would take a month or two before we would get the chance to see Luo's file, and that was only if every one of the families ahead of us decided to pass on his file.  Unlikely, but still, it made being matched with Luo more of a possibility than it had ever been before.

Then, only two days after we officially applied with CCAI, I got the phone call of my lifetime.  Pam, from CCAI, called to let me know that somehow Luo's file didn't fit with anyone else's Medical Needs List and we were next to get his file.  I started sobbing right there on the phone.  I could not believe it.  I told Pam that of course we wanted Luo's file and called Ryan who was shocked as well.  We got Luo's file.  There were lots of new pictures, and even a short video.  I was all amazement and gratitude while I looked though everything.  We have submitted everything we need to in order to lock his file, received our pre-approval, and everything from here on out should just be hoop jumping.  Luo, well actually we found out that Luo is his last name, his first name is Jia- Luo Min Jia- is going to be our son!   

And now pictures.... the agency said they have never seen a file with so many pictures:

Jia was tiny.  He weighed less than 3 lbs when he was brought to the orphanage.  Such a fighter.

 Oh my gosh, isn't he so stinking cute?  I'm so grateful he will be a part of our family. I can't wait to bring him home!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our Adoption Story: The Process

I have to say that, in so many ways, the process of adopting has been much more heart wrenching that I had anticipated. 

Because of how big a problem human trafficking was becoming, China has pretty well limited international adoptions to special needs only.  I think that was a smart move on China's part and are happy to adopt special needs because those kids really do need homes.  One of the first steps we had to take was to fill out a Medical Needs Form.  It's basically pages of medical conditions, most we've never heard of, that we had to check "yes" or "no" to.  First we had to look up what each condition was, then go through and decide what we were willing to take on.  But thinking about your future child, and going through a list like that is hard!  Would you really want to say no to a child just because they are missing a leg?  Or have dextrocardia?  Or are an albino?  If we had a biological child with any of those conditions, we wouldn't turn them away.  So the first time through the list we starting checking "yes" to a lot of things... but then we remembered that we have four other kids to think about, and we knew we didn't want this adoption to have a negative impact on them... so we started unchecking some conditions, like albinism... we are outdoors people, and you have to keep albinos out of the sun... that would drastically change how we spend time together as a family.   We've gone back and forth on some conditions several times.  It's just so hard knowing that there are kids with these medical needs that need a home, all while trying to be realistic about what is best for your family.  It's heart wrenching to know that a good number of the kids with the most severe problems will never have a family.

When we were told that a family had decided to move forward with Luo's adoption, we were sad.  We were told so many times that it would be a miracle if we got him, so we weren't surprised when we didn't, but it's hard to feel so strongly about a child, and then have to forget about him and start thinking if not him, who?  We did start looking at other children's photo-listings.  There have been a few that have made their way into our hearts.  The first was a boy named George with clubbed feet.  Something about his picture drew me to him.  He was listed with an agency that we weren't interested in working with, but Ryan and I both liked George.  A few days ago his picture was moved to the "Angels" page.  Meaning, he had passed away.  Apparently George also had a heart condition that we didn't know about.  Sweet little George, whose picture we had gone back to, over and over, died without a family of his own to mourn for him.  Heart wrenching


Then there was Timothy.  His pleasant/mischievous/happy smile completely won us over.  Ryan was especially taken with Timothy.  But information on Timothy was limited to a few photos, a 16 second video of him playing peek-a-boo, and a reference to the fact that a second CT scan was not needed.  What the first CT scan was for, we didn't know.  We requested more information, but the woman in charge of his file was in China and we had to wait for her to get home.  The days we had to wait for his file, Ryan and I watched those 16 seconds of peek-a-boo over and over with silly smiles on our faces wondering if Lou doesn't get to be ours, could Timothy possibly be?  When we finally got his file and read through it, we knew right away that Timothy's needs would probably exceed our current abilities.  We knew it wasn't right (heart wrenching), but we will always remember and love darling Timothy and pray that another family will love him and adore him too.