They are home! Thanks for your donations!

Monday, July 27, 2009

We Got! _ Fingerprinting is Done!

Our fingerprint approval just came via e-mail! I am off to notarize, verify, and will authenticate on Wednesday! YA-HOO! Thank you Kirk Griffen!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One More Little Step

I just called the National Benefits Center (NBC) and found out that our file was picked up today, and we officially have an officer!!! Please pray for God’s blessings on Kurt Gibson as he QUICKLY accepts our fingerprints!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009


I just got off the phone with CIS and was told that there are only about a dozen in line ahead of us, and our case should be picked up THIS WEEK! I didn’t want to push it too much, and ask the next questions, but if we have an officer, I can’t believe that it will take a month to get through!!! I think that we just had a group of dossiers be sent over last week, so we may just miss the next shipment, but who knows??? We may be DTC sooner than we counted on!!! WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Waiting In Line

I just got off the phone with NBC (not the tv company!) and they said that we are #48 in line for fingerprint review. They are currently working on June 16th fingerprints!!! Oh, the visions of flying through the system have gone out the window! I wonder if I sent super-caffeinated coffee to their office they would get more work done in less time…

OT—I heard from Austin. He hasn’t made it to China yet. One of the girls in their group had a diabetic attack mid-flight and stopped breathing w/no heart beat. The airplane had to dump 30,000 gallons of fuel to prevent the brakes from breaking in an emergency landing in MN. The girl was revived, went to the hospital (obviously) and is in good condition. The plane re-fueled and went to Narita, Japan, but was 3 hours late so the kids had to be put up in a hotel for the night. They will go to Beijing in the morning, but all the flights are full, so the kids will have to be separated. The silver lining? Austin will have “officially” been in Japan, and will have the stamp in his passport to prove it!
Thinking about all that could have gone wrong, how can I stop from praising God for his continued care and protection!?!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Today we had our fingerprinting appointment. We were there before it opened, and I was the first one through. From the time the doors were unlocked to the time we walked out, only twenty minutes passed! I expected it to be like the SOS office, where the waiting goes on and on. Now we are waiting to hear that we are approved. THIS IS THE LAST PIECE OF OUR DOSSIER before it will be sent to China!!! Whoo-hoo!

On another note, our eldest son, Austin, boarded a plane this morning, ultimately headed for China. He will be spending 18 days in Beijing, Changchun, and a couple of other cities, soaking up culture and studying Mandarin. He started his learning of the language when we lived in Shanghai in his freshman year of high school. Last year he completed his virtual classes of Mandarin 1. Now he is combining both of those experiences this summer. Although he would meet up some of the other Confucious Institute students in Detroit, he boarded the plane in Grand Rapids ALONE!!! As a mom, I have prepared him for spreading his wings and flying since he was a toddler, but AS A MOM it was hard to see him go! Thankfully it is only for 18 days, and I have a couple more years of him at home. J I am glad to say that I did NOT cry when he left, although I may have “leaked” a little once his back was turned.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Great Day for a Car Wash!!!

When I woke up to thunderstorms at 5 am, I was worried about the weather for our car wash a few hours later. God had worked it all out without my worrying, and by the time we were hanging last minute posters at 8:30 it was clear, breezy, and warm. Our dear friend Marcia arrived by 9 and we set up the tent, bake sale items, and did the last minute details. By 9:30 some of our volunteers arrived, and we were washing cars by 9:45. More muscle arrived around 10, and for the next 2 ½ hours we worked on a steady stream of cars. There were some friends that showed up and had multiple cars washed, but there were SO MANY that came that we didn’t know. We washed everything from a Jeep with a dog sitting in the back seat (who growled at anyone who dared to stick a hand past the exterior of the car) to LARGE pick-up trucks that we couldn’t reach the top of the front cab, to a boat. Several people also purchased some baked goods from the bake sale. At the end of the day we were blessed with almost $600!!! I am floored and humbled by the generosity of the community!

None of this would have been possible without all the help we received. A BIG THANK YOU to our car wash “staff”: Peter Rau, Cameron Beyer, Matthew Kwantes, Mike Kwantes, Caleb Kwantes (and a few of his friends), Jacob Charron, Bryce Van Oss, Allie Van Oss, and of course, Austin, Hailey, Andrew, and Hannah Fathman! If it wasn’t for Hailey and Allie’s loud voices calling in the cars, I don’t think that we would have had a fraction of what we did! I do think the surrounding neighborhoods were happy that they eventually stopped yelling, though (J), not to mention that Andrew stopped playing his trumpet at passing vehicles…

A shout-out goes to all the ladies that worked at supplying our homemade baked goods for the sale. I don’t have a listing of everyone yet, but THANK YOU just the same! And without the motivation and hard work of Marcia Kwantes, who delegated the baking and worked the bake sale the whole day by herself, none of that would have materialized. THANKS AGAIN!

Thanks to Dave Kempkers for offering the Hamilton Food Center for the location and water usage for the day. Being an adoptive parent himself, I didn’t need to convince him of the importance of the cause. THANK YOU!!!

I am truly blessed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Breaking Out the Bubbles!

Only one more day until our car wash! We still have posters to make and fliers to hang up in strategic places. No telling what kind of “last minute” things will pop up, not to mention who will actually show up to wash. I could try to organize it down to the last detail, but the best laid plans are often thwarted! Not to mention that I feel REALLY funny about instructing my volunteers to work times and duration they don’t want to. The LORD will provide, or else we will have a long day by ourselves!!!
Bless Marcia’s heart, she has made numerous calls for the bake sale part of Saturday’s fundraising. We have our own muffins and breads to make: Hannah has a list of delacasies she wants to bake for tomorrow.
Hopefully the rain will hold off…

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fundraising praises!

We sold them!!! Our hot tub and our boat are now officially sold and gone, and the VISA has been paid off! Praise the Lord! I must admit, I figured that we would have to pay interest on the adoption fees for a couple of months, but God saw fit to bless our efforts. So far we have sold both of those items, plus two chairs. There is a lot more that is not nailed down, so we have work to do! Our garage sale is scheduled for August 21st.

Next week when Austin goes to China, Andrew and I will go in to work for him. My part goes straight to the adoption jar!!! Every little bit counts!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finding Min Zhi

We found “our daughter” from the CCAA listing, which is “adoptionese” for Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs. After taking her medical forms to our doctor, we hurriedly threw together forms for our PA (once again, adoptionese for Pre-Approval) and by 2:30 on 5/20 we had a temporary hold put on her files. We later had our official PA from China almost two weeks later on 6/2. Now our dossier is notarized, verified, authenticated, and waiting at our agency for the last piece to be added. We have our fingerprinting appointment on 7/14, and *hopefully* we will have that approval to get notarized, verified, authenticated, and sent to our agency to join the rest of our dossier within a week. The next step is DTC, which means dossier to china. Then the next step is LID (log in date), and then LOA (letter of acceptance), and finally TA (travel assignment). After all of that, we will be buying our tickets to China!!!

Due to regulations in China, we cannot post Min Zhi’s photo until after we receive our LOA. I can tell you that she just had her 7th birthday on June 19th. She is about 4 feet tall, and weighs about 43 pounds. She is from Wuzhou, China (hence the blog name), which is in the Guangxi province southern China. She speaks Cantonese, but Mandarin in school. We have photos from the past two years of Min Zhi, and I will post them as soon as possible.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why We Are Adopting

Our family spent almost 6 months in Shanghai, China, in 2007-2008. The kids and I had the opportunity to volunteer at a residential center for children with disabilities. We quickly learned to look past the disability and at the heart of the child. Each one had our “favorites”; the ones we would seek out to love on and the ones that sought our attention when we arrived. It was an all-week event to plan for what “new” activity we would do with the children. We all left a huge part of our hearts back at the Center. At the same time, we saw what institutionalized life was like.And these were the “lucky” ones, the ones with parents and enough daily food.

All of that to give a bit of the background of our family, and the seeds that were planted in our not too distant past. Now we are all doing whatever we can do to make this adoption happen.Like I previously said, the anticipated costs went from under 10k to over 30k. In light of this, we have already sold some furniture, our hot tub, and hopefully by Tuesday, our boat. We have a car wash and bake sale planned this weekend. Our kids are going through all their toys and games, cleaning and packaging in preparation to selling them at a garage sale next month. In fact, people from our church are partnering with us to make a huge garage sale to benefit our adoption. We hope to have an adoption awareness dinner in October at our church, possibly with a raffle. Some local businesses in Hamilton agreed to donate a percentage of our profits to our adoption on special days. We also are talking about some other ways to have fundraising for the adoption with a family who has adopted two girls from Guatemala and who understand first-hand what it feels like to look at the looming bills that regularly come due. In fact, if it wasn’t for Marcia spear-heading the fundraising projects, most would still be in the planning stage! She has been a huge blessing!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Where To Begin?

How to start? Where do I begin sharing our journey? Is it way back when I had a Chinese doll named “Ling Ling” when I was a child? Is it when our family had a void created in it due to four miscarriages? The point that REALLY started the ball rolling was when David said, out of the blue, “I think we should adopt.” I think my jaw is still bruised from when it hit the floor last November!

Even then, while researching agencies, countries, costs, timelines, and many different people’s stories on multiple yahoo groups, I had no idea what a winding course we would take. Starting with one agency, wanting to adopt from China but thinking we were not “qualified”, straddling two other countries, and making a “final decision” (HA!) were only steps in a circular path. Now, in a new agency, focused on China, we have found our daughter.

I now realize that God had us take those steps to change and prepare our hearts and minds for what was ahead. When we began, we went with the “low cost alternatives” because we couldn’t imagine spending tens of thousands for a child. After deliberating over decisions of “which agency” and “which country” for months, and taking two steps forward and four steps back, God brought us to a point of David saying, “I don’t care what it costs; let’s just get our daughter.” That was important for him to feel, as our estimated fees have more than doubled since we began!