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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We got our I-800 provisionary approvals today!!! YA-HOO!!! Thank you Kirk Giffen! Thank you EVERYONE for your prayers and last-minute ideas on how to get through the system!
I love the fact that God waited for me to get my heart back on track. I am THANKFUL that he didn’t bless me while I was busy fretting. Kind of coincidental that the same day that I gave it to HIM and took my hands off that the PA came…or NOT!!!
THANK YOU, GOD, that nothing happens by chance!
What happens next??? Now we are on to the National Visa Center (NVC), which they will scan into their system and cable the information to Guangzhou. There we will get the Article 5 and it will be carried to the CCAA—who will issue our travel approval (TA). Hopefully we will get our consulate appointment (CA) within the time frame of our tickets to China…otherwise we will have to extend our stay. But that is for another day!
All my best,

Three weeks

We are a sandwich…three weeks behind us waiting for our I-800s to clear, three weeks in front of us until Xi Fan’s 14th birthday. The pressure of the wait is growing more intense every day. My mind tends to want to worry and fret—neither of which reflects God and his power. I came across a quote today by G. Campbell Morgan, who was a great Bible teacher in the last generation. He said,
The supreme need in every hour of difficulty and distress is for a fresh vision of God. Seeing Him, all else takes on proper perspective and proportion.
So aptly said. Why do I take my eyes off Jesus? He hasn’t changed…just my circumstances (and available time) has. Why do I waste my time telling God to get a move-on? He has it under HIS control. I love Isaiah 40:13-14:

Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?

I certainly don’t want to limit his power to my understanding.  Once again, I lift this situation to you, O LORD. I lay it at your feet, and will step back and watch you work it all out. In your timing. In your way. Not my will, but yours.

All my best,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Angel

We just received word that a Christmas angel has been found for us!! This angel has agreed to give a matching grant of $5000 to us!!!
After all the agencies and funds that are made up of hundreds of people denied us, this one angel has stood in the gap.

To say that I still feel “in shock” would be an understatement!

I wish I could know who this person is—I would love to thank him/her profusely!

As it is, I have/am/will continue to offer up prayers of thanksgiving and blessing on this individual. I may not know this person’s identity, but God does, and His blessings are WAY better than mine!

Now we need to bring in the extra funds so we can access this grant. People have been generous with us so far—is it too much to hope that there will be others who will help us also?  

I hope that I can offer something like this to another family in the future! I am truly blessed—again!

All my best,


All matching contributions must be sent to our Lifesong account with “Fathman 939” on the memo line.
The donations are tax-deductible too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I am taking the time to honor a long-time friend. I met him 18 years ago while working in a horse stable. He would run to greet me when I arrived most days. An accident that almost cost him his life led me to adopt him in to our “beginning” family, as Dave and I had been married less than a year. JT moved with us 8 times, being the best-natured during the worst of times (except car rides—he didn’t fare so well!)

After beating the odds for almost 4 years of renal insufficiency, a tumor growing next to his heart was growing rapidly and was closing his trachea—and suffocating him. To add insult upon injury, an abscessed tooth root that blew out his face and a bladder infection compounded his suffering the last week. On Friday, December 18th, our friend, our family member, and yes, our cat, passed on to glory.

We love you, JT.

Monday, December 21, 2009

We’re Not Alone

A fellow sojourner in the adoption trail just posted this. I thought it captured what has been bouncing around in my heart and mind quite well.
Not that it will change anything, but at least it gives words to the thoughts and emotions.
Thanks, Kathleen!
I know how hard it is to Fundraise!!! We are in the same position as Amy.

Isn't it strange that we both have to leave in about 4 weeks, we both started out adopting one child, and ended up with two because of an aging out child. Our aging out child is deaf.

That means for both us that we have an adoption bill of $35,000 - $40,000. Why does it cost so much to bring a child into a family? Don't get me wrong, I know where all the payments go to, but it is so inflated. It would be in the government's best interest to subsidize adoptions. That would lower their care taking bills. You know, I think they need women in charge of these areas, we usually put compassion first instead of numbers.

One of the side effects of fundraising is despair. It is hard to ask for help when you are always the one to offer help when needed. When you do reach out and don't get the results that make you hopeful, it can be quite debilitating. So you pick yourself up, because after all a child is involved, and try and try again. You know that no matter what you WILL be bringing the children home, but at what cost? Wipe out retirement when the husband doesn't have a job, choose to eat and not pay a bill? It is so hard...

All my best,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It’s Not About ME

As I write this I continue to shake my head in disbelief. Some of my friends, many of whom I have never met (yet!), have stepped out in faith to support us in our adoption process. I knew that many were praying for us; now I can see the tangible outpouring of other people’s love and generosity. I am amazed that so many are willing to help! I do realize that the help is not for me but for two little girls in Southern China; not for my family as it is now but for the forever family we will be for these precious children. What a beautiful example of God, who sees us not as we are but who we will become, not as orphans but as blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven. (Ephesians 1:3-7)
Thank you, EVERYONE, for being the hands and feet of our Lord!
All my best,

Friday, December 18, 2009


It is SO FUN to see how God takes our small efforts and multiplies them…
A friend of our family, whom I will refer to as “M” (b/c I didn’t ask if I could share her story…but it is SO BEAUTIFUL I just have to share…and allow her to remain anonymous) has helped us through our adoption process. She has adopted in the past so she understands my feelings and obstacles without my having to expound on them. She has a heart for orphans, and has sought out God’s will for starting an orphan ministry with us in our church.  During our first meeting last month, while we were in prayer for God’s direction, she prayed for God to remove the walls of our hearts to what HE has in store for all of us. M admits that she was praying that for everyone else in the room, but little did she know that God was pointing at her!
 A couple of weeks later she told me via e-mail that she had some big news to share with me, but would wait for church to share. Being the patient person that I am (HA!) I immediately asked her about her news…and put the ultimatum out that if she didn’t tell me, I would assume that she was pregnant. She laughed, saying that it would have to be a miracle of God if she was pregnant, b/c she received a hysterectomy years ago. God heard her laughter and started to move…
M said that she regularly receives newsletters from her agency she used to adopt her girls, but she rarely looked at any of the photos of waiting children. FOR SOME REASON last month when the newsletter found its way into her mailbox again there wasn’t a photo that caught her attention but a short bio about a 14 year old boy from Ethiopia. FOR SOME REASON, God asked her, “Why not you?”
“No, God! I’m all done! I can’t adopt again!”
Why not?
“I have all that I can handle! We’re full!”
You have an extra bed in the basement and an extra seat in the van. There isn’t anything you and I can’t handle together.
“No, God! My heart is in Guatemala!”
My heart is with orphans. Where is your heart???
Needless to say, God won the argument.
Sadly, the first boy was referred to another family, but as M says, there is probably another one out there that has been chosen for her family. She also says that although she laughed at me before when I asked her if she was pregnant, she now FEELS pregnant…in her heart!
I am SOOOOOO head-over-heals happy for M and her family! I am so excited that we will be able to walk through this process with them as they have been walking with us!
Thank you God!

We tried, but…

No matching grant for us. That makes 3 denials, one more to go. I did contact another organization on the recommendation of someone from Family Life Today, but that fell flat as well. The backdrop is becoming more bleak, so God will REALLY be able to show himself to be BIG.
I have said it before but it deserves repeating: we have been SO blessed by other people’s efforts on our account and their encouraging words as well. We are continually humbled by other people going to bat for us! Even if we aren’t helped financially, I feel rich by the blessings we have been given.

On a separate note, our packages were delivered to Hope and Amanda’s orphanages. I don’t know if the girls received them, but we have done what we can to connect with them before arriving. It’s hard to believe that we will see Hope in just over 4 weeks and Amanda in a little under 5 weeks! My heart is racing just thinking about it!!!
All my best,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Behold, I stand at the door and knock..knock..knock!

I have been on the phone our senators all morning. Melissa from Debbie Stabenow’s office has taken my plea and has contacted the in office liaison for USCIS. According to Melissa, our paperwork needs to be in the “lockbox” (which actually is a processing center for USCIS) for four business days. Since our paperwork arrived at 9:38 last Thursday morning, today should be the last day before it gets to our officer’s desk. He has already agreed to process it the same day provided that everything is current and looks ok.
I have learned to ask, and ask again, and ask even again for my kiddos. My area of comfort is always abandoned to get things accomplished for THEM!
All my best,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Have Tickets!!!

David booked our tickets today!!! We leave GR on January 14, arrive in Shanghai January 15th, visit with the Cere Care Center kids (and my beloved Liu Li Wei!) on the 16th, and then to Kunming either late on the 16th or early on the 17th. We will depart from Hong Kong with our daughters on January 30th, arriving home on the “same day” (although we will have endured a 15 hour plane ride!!!).
It’s official! We are going to get our girls!!!
Doing the happy dance,

Please Pray—Again

I am requesting prayer on three different fronts today.

Our I-800s were delivered at 9:38 Thursday morning to the USCIS lockbox—and they are still there. We need a quick approval since we need to travel in a little over 4 weeks! Once we get that approval we can buy our tickets, even without the Travel Approval. I contacted our senators in an attempt for someone with “muscle” to get this governmental agency to move things along. I have contacted my senators SO MANY times in the past months about changing the US Hague policy that makes our adopted kids toxic pincushions…but that soap box is for a different post. I just hope they don’t see my e-mail address and just push delete. Please pray for the approval of the girls’ visas.

Yesterday we received our second "denied" form letter from a grant agency. It seems that, even with our second adoption happening at the zero-hour, we don't qualify. There are two more applications out; please pray that at least one comes through with either a grant or a no-interest loan. We don't have our first adoption even near covered and the second is requiring many payments already. We travel in a little over 4 weeks, and the in-country costs are obviously twice what we originally planned for. We will need to buy tickets within the next few days too. Has anyone seen a money tree in bloom despite the winter weather?

The final thing I really need prayer for is my own heart. Probably coinciding with the denial letter, I started "looking at the waves" instead of focusing on Jesus, became overwhelmed with fear and worry, and started to sink. I KNOW these adoptions are of the Lord, I KNOW that he will take care of the details, I KNOW that I am not alone. It just doesn't FEEL that way right now. Please pray that since "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." (2 Tim. 1:12) Since we act on what we believe, pray that I would believe that "the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed".(2 Tim 4:17)

Thank you, my fellow prayer warriors!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Grant or Not to Grant

We have four requests out for either grants or no-interest loans. One just came back today—Denied. There are three to go…and one that promised that they would give us their decision by next week. May I ask you to please pray that we receive a grant or no-interest loan? It feels so menial, but when the rubber meets the road, we have $40k to cover. The fact of the matter is that we DON’T have it. Like Dave said, it is God’s to provide…and it will be interesting to see through whom he delivers it!  Even if we have to make payments on our visa for the next few years, it will be worth it.  Not preferable, but worth it.
BTW, we leave in LESS THAN 5 WEEKS!!!
To God be the glory,

Waiting Again

This week WACAP overnighted our I-800s to USCIS. We were supposed to receive a tracking number on Thursday; as of today, we are still waiting. However, I know that these adoptions are in His hands—and there is no better place to be!

I was blessed this week by another adoptive mom. Through an adoption yahoo group I met a mom from Long Island. She adopted an 11 year old two months ago who knew Xi Fan—would you believe their foster moms were best friends?  The best thing is this…Jessica, the 11 year old from NY, has the middle name of Hope…the same name we are giving Xi Fan!  It may be a 13 hour drive, but I have a strong feeling that we will be taking a road trip to New York this summer!

This is what is commonly called the “red thread”.  There is a Chinese legend that says the gods tie a red string around the ankles of men and women who will one day marry each other.  The China adoptive community has embraced an adapted version of this legend:  An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances.  The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.

I can’t wait to meet our new daughters!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Got the Word…Again!

China issued us our letter of approval for Xi Fan today! Whoo-hoo!
Now both of the LOAs go to NVC of USCIS with our I-800s.  After they sit in the “lock box” for some indeterminate amount of time, they will be processed and approved by our pre-appointed officer. It takes seven to ten days for the National Visa Center (NVC) to send a cable to the US Consulate to indicate that certain preliminary steps for issuance of a US immigrant visa have been fulfilled. After receipt of that cable, the US Consulate typically takes seven to fourteen days to send the Article 5 letter to the CCAA. The CCAA then typically takes two to four weeks to issue travel approval after the consulate appointments are set up. Clear as mud yet?
Little does China know that with or without their “approvals”, we WILL be going to get our girls before the 19th of January. We may have to stay put a few more days in China, but that is the least of my concerns!
I praise God for delivering these clearances! I will continue to believe that He will see us through.
To Him be the glory,

Friday, December 4, 2009


Our new girls! 

Min Zhi will become Amanda Beth MinZhi (Mandy is close in sound to MinZhi)

Xi Fan will become Hope Katherine XiFan (against all hope, we chose to hope for Hope!)

All the kids in our family have names starting either with an A or an H, so the girls will have their part of our immediate family’s heritage.
Beth is my sister’s name, and Katherine is David’s (maternal) grandmother’s middle name, so they will have their part of our extended family’s heritage.
They will keep their names as their second middle names, so they will retain their Chinese heritage.

We chose to involve our kids in picking out the names. Talk about difficult! It never failed that when some liked one name, the others HATED it. We finally arrived at the place that the majority of the kids are ok with the names with only one disliking each selection.  For all the hassle, however, we felt it was important for everyone to be involved, as the adoptions are affecting everyone.

Just wanted to share a bit of our excitement!

All my best,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Got Word!!!!

I just heard from our agency that Xi Fan’s referral was transferred to WACAP and that we have pre-pre approval for her!  I also heard that since the CCAA is now aware of the time sensitive nature to our case that we may get our pre-approval this week, plus possibly our LOA for Xi Fan as well!!! I am doing the happy dance in my kitchen and can’t seem to wipe this silly grin off my face!
Min Zhi’s paperwork is on hold right now, as we need to submit both at the same time since we are using one dossier. I have never felt so peaceful about being told that I need to wait for one of my daughter’s paperwork to be submitted!
To every person that told me not to worry about the adoption process and timetable while we were waiting for our LOA for Min Zhi—Thank YOU! Had we raced forward (like I wanted) we wouldn’t be getting Xi Fan! 
Going to dance more circles!!!
All my best,