Saturday, April 27, 2013

Adoption Is Not For Sissies!

As I type this post title, I have a smile on my face! It really just cracks me up. Not long after our 3rd little boy was born I found a t-shirt that said "motherhood is not for sissies". If I had that shirt on, you knew it had been a rough week! It's possible I wore it alot! I still have it in my closet because it reminds me of how far we've come and takes me back to some days that weren't so fun! If moms are being honest, being a mom is HARD. Do we love our kids and have beautiful days of fun and laughter? Absolutely! However, there are alot of days in the trenches that we find ourselves day dreaming of our life before these demanding little creatures, and of another day when they're all grown up and making their own meals and spending their own money! Again-this mom is being honest. My sweet cousin has a young toddler and she has hit the hard days. For some reason, she has an image in her head that this June Cleaver has loved every minute of motherhood and never have complaints about day to day. I told her she just remembers the rainbow days because I have definetely had whiny days of complaints! Some days Eric probably wished he hadn't called home to check in!

Soooo-adoption. Same motto. It is NOT for sissies! Today marks exactly one year since we started this process. On April 27, 2012 we turned in our first application for adoption. I naively thought that application was the worst of the paperwork. Anyone that has adopted should be laughing out loud right now! After that was the homestudy application that explored our lives all the back to birth. I think it was around 25 pages?? Then medical exams and child abuse searches and the kids medical records and even the DOGS had medical reports! Finally after 4 months, our dossier was mailed to China. Huge. Again, naively thought "whew that was hard. glad that paperwork is done!". Ha! We found our Ella Joy and guess what?? Yep. It continued. At this point you, the emotions start flooding in. Now you have a face and a name to your new daughter. You will jump through hoops to get the paperwork done as quickly as you can because she is waiting. Every day is another day she doesn't have a family. Your days are spent preparing for a new child, waiting on an approval that just leads to another wait for yet another approval. There is so much frustration because when the documents leave your hands, it is 100% out of your control. We sit and wait for the powers to be to do there jobs. China has lots of holidays. Great for them. If you are waiting on anything from China, 3 days of holiday can be brutal. That is 3 days that nothing is being done with your docs! 3 more days added to the wait.

The last 6 weeks I haven't posted any updates. Honestly, unless you've gone thru adoption, it's just confusing at this point. I could tell you all day long that we got I800 approval and then it was sent to NVC and then we were cabled, and so on. Basically, the last 6 weeks have been a bunch of red tape between China and the U.S. allowing us to become Xiao Mei's parents. As of last Tuesday, April 23rd, she is now officially approved to come to the United States as our immediate relative. We are now waiting on one more thing-approval from China to visit their country. Travel Approval (TA). This normally takes anywhere from 1-4 weeks. There is no rhyme or reason to their processing. I've seen a few people get TA in a week, and a few have taken over 3. We will see. But guess what? China has a holiday April 29-May 1st. Not even joking.

Last month we found out by accident, that Ella Joy had been moved out of her orphanage and into foster care. Our agency had no idea and it took a few days to learn about her new home. It was the strangest feeling that our daughter was somewhere in the world and none of us knew where she was. We don't know why she was moved either. We do know that she is in a great place and she is happy. We are so very blessed because this isn't always the case with orphans from China. She has been taken care of and nannies have loved on her. I feel like the transition from orphanage to foster and new nannies will help her with the transtion to us. Can you imagine what is must be like to live without a family? I can only think to compare it to an American child living in daycare 24-7. Never having parents pick you up at the end of the day to take you home and tuck you in at night.

The has been a year of ups and downs. So much excitiment when we felt like we were moving forward and alot of frustration when it felt like we were stuck. Life continued on for our family as well-ups and downs in both our family life and our adoption life. It has been a HARD year. Our adoption folders and notebooks have grown large enough to require a plastic tub. We have created a new room in our attic-more on that at a later date! Now I am shopping and organzing and checking things off of my list like a mad woman preparing to travel to China for 2 weeks. Funny-Eric and I are taking a vacation to the other side of the world and I don't see it as a cool place to visit. To us, it's a place we have to go so we can pick up our daughter. While all of the travel prep is going on, we still have 3 boys that need us. We are full up on baseball and soccer games and the end of school year activities. To say I struggle to focus would be an understatement.

As I type this, next to me is a new packet with documents to complete and sign before we can travel. I have no idea what is in that envelope because I was on my way somewhere when the mail came and I just set it aside for later. Today is later. After soccer and before we assemble a crib. (Yes. A crib. Yikes!)

This ramble is not meant to scare anyone away from adopting. It is just the truth. I wonder how many less children would be born if people had to go thru an adoption like process before getting pregnant? Please understand I am not complaining(not at this moment anyway). Adoption, like motherhood, is an amazing journey. We have no regrets. I think about all of the children in the world that need and crave a family and out of the millions, God led us to one. One child He designed to be ours. My hope is that one day Ella will read this and know how much we wanted her. Her life story until now is not a good story. I want her to know how loved she was before we ever held her in our arms. We jumped thru hoops, poured our lives into paperwork, and traveled across the oceans to bring her home. Someone recently said that your bio children aren't a choice, but the adopted child is chosen. I want her to feel extra special as she grows knowing that we CHOSE her.

Adoption is NOT for sissies, but motherhood isn't for sissies either. Simply put, it is hard but I wouldn't trade any of it. Not even for one day. The rewards are endless and worth all of the days that aren't so June Cleaver. For now, this June Cleaver is ready to go to China!


  1. Oh Jennifer, soooooo been where you are only a short while ago and I have to say being on the other side of it, it is so wonderful when they hand you your child. China seems like it happened so long ago. Take and soak in every moment. China is amazing adventure and one we miss. Praying you get your TA soon and praying for safe travels. It is hard to have your heart and mind in two places. Trying to function and love the ones at home but yearning to hold the one far away. Oh girl we are praying!!!!!!!!

  2. Gee I wonder who that cousin is? Maybe the one who lived with you and saw first hand what an awesome mom you are:)

  3. It's the home stretch. Keep checking off that list (well lists!). I know the waiting is so hard but remember I told you each day is one day closer to having her in your arms. We will keep praying for her to stay safe and you and Eric to safely get to her and return.

  4. Our first daughter, Alianne - pronounced Allie Anne, was 9 months old when she was placed in our arms - she is now 17! Our second daughter, Elizabeth, was 3 weeks shy of her 3rd birthday - she is now 15! It took Elizabeth about a day to realize she loved all of the attention and maybe the two strangers that were at her beck and call were alright. She loved the bath tub and stacking cups and her back pack filled with wonderful surprises. We took enough back pack toys to renew the surprises for our trip home. What an amazing journey is a head of you! How blessed we are that God chose this path for us. Your family is beautiful! I will remember you in my prayers as you prepare to bring your daughter home! Blessings, Deb From Carmel, Indiana

  5. Congratulations! Your daughter is such a beauty. Adoption defineatly takes faith, hope and love! It's a marathon and you must pace yourself. We are at the same place as you guys. Our approval left for GZ on 4/23. This is our second adoption from China! We became first time parents in China and had a wonderful experience. It was an awe-inspiring trip that changed our lives. Hang in there and bring tissues for the plane because when you board, you just won't be able to believe you are finally going to embrace your daughter. Blessings from Washington State

  6. I wish you rest & peace on your journey. I wish you courage & strength to get you through the next few hours, days, months ahead. I wish you patience to get there & serenity when you leave. But most of all, I wish you love. Love for you, Eric, Connor, Grayson, Brooks & Ella Joy. I thank God everyday for the wonderful family He has blessed me with. Now we will gladly welcome Ella Joy with open arms & a huge space in our hearts for her to stay & join this wonderful family. All our love, Wendy, Kiley & Doyle