Adopting a child won't change the world, but for that child their world will change.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Time Has Arrived

The tickets have been purchased, hotels reserved and our consulate appointment made.  We will meet Jayden Matthew (Jia Jian) on Monday, April 9th and Seth Zhang Yun (Dusty) on Thursday, April 12th.  Just setting up this trip made me tired.  We will be gone 18 nights and the longest time we will be in one hotel is 5 days.  There will be nine planes, five hotels, unknown number of bus/taxi trips and one train ride.  I can't say that I am looking forward to the trip, but I am looking forward to meeting our boys and getting them home. 

Please pray for Richard and I that we will be patient with each other because we are going to be exhausted.  Also pray for the boys that will adjust well.  Jayden has been with his foster family for almost three years and Seth has been with his foster family for close to ten years.  They are leaving their home, school, friends, family, food, everything they have ever known and going to a strange country with strange people.  Lastly, pray for our family at home that everything will go smoothly.  We have many people helping out to make sure the kids are well taken care of and I know they will be. 

God has been so good and faithful throughout the last 13 months and I know He will continue to be.      

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We have Travel Approval

First I need to say a big, huge thank you to all of you who participated in the Kindle Fire give away.  It was a success as we raised $1100.  We are now within about $2600 of our goal.  We also received two more grants this past week which was wonderful news.  That is why we think it took longer for us to get our travel approval.  God knew we needed the extra time to get some more of the money in place.  It took a little over a week for our TA and now we have to get our consulate date pinned down.  Our social worker told us yesterday that she thought we could do it on the 12th of April which means both boys would have to be picked up, adoption paperwork finalized, medical exams and TB checks finished.  Needless to say that is not going to happen because there is just not enough time to get it all done before we would need to be in Guangzhou for that appointment.  There is another Chinese holiday that we are having to work around.  Tomb Sweeping Holiday is April 2nd, 3rd and 4th so all of the government offices are closed.  Our agency is also trying to work around the trade show that is in Guangzhou where we have our consultate appointment.  All of the hotel prices are significantly more during that time, but Seth's birthday is coming up and the trade show lasts three weeks so we don't have time to waste.  The consulate appointments are booked for the 17th, 18th and 19th and they do not do appointments on Fridays.  Our China coordinator is going to try to get us an appointment on the 16th or else we are praying there has been a cancellation on one of the other days.  We should know tomorrow.  I think I am about ready to get off of this roller coaster ride :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

A big THANKS to Michelle for putting this together for us!!


We are hosting a giveaway of a Kindle Fire (worth $199) in order to help raise the last bit of funds before the Sanders family travel to China to bring their two beautiful sons home (Seth/Dusty- age 13 and Jayden - age 4). They are traveling in one to two weeks. Let's spread the word and make this happen for them!!!

Here's how it will work:


We are only running this through Saturday (March 24th) at noon, CST!

1 chance=$5 donation


5 chances=$20 donation


20 chances = $50 donation

**Anyone can get one entry just by leaving a comment that you told a friend about this or posted this to your Facebook page. **

If we do not receive enough funds to actually purchase the Kindle Fire, we will split the earnings with the lucky winner.

TO ENTER:
Please visit the Sanders paypal account and note- SALE in subject line so that we know it is for the Kindle. This is important as we can only determine by notes the difference between an entry and a donation!!!

If you are local and would like to enter the giveaway, please feel free to contact Michelle Sherer through fb or email: michellesherer@yahoo.com and I will be happy to collect it and enter you in the giveaway.

WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SATURDAY, MARCH 24th at NOON (CST)!!!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!!! 
Michelle

Good news and bad news...

Wow! What a day yesterday was... It started with an email in the morning from our China coordinator asking if we could Skype with Seth at 12:30 p.m. on March 15th China time.  I, of course, said yes thinking we had about 36 hours to plan and get some extra sleep since it would be 11:30 p.m. here.  Then I realized that the 15th there was actually the 14th here so we had about 12 hours to plan...needless to say there was not much sleep to be had in the Sanders house last night.  Richard had to be up for work at 2:45 a.m. so he tried to go to bed at 8:30 with the kids.  I could not sleep because I am in major nesting mode and was also baking for Ned's upcoming bake sale fundraiser. 

At 11:30 p.m. one of the orphanage staff instant messaged us and said that Zhang Yun was on his way from school and would be there shortly.  At 11:40 he arrived so we called and there he was...looking very handsome, nervous, but also curious and very smiley :) 

We talked to him for about 20-25 minutes. He did not try to talk any English to us which I understand being our first meeting and all. He told us that he loves to play basketball and played for his school's team. He seemed to like it when I told him two of that Riley and Samantha also played basketball for their school. He also said he was going to be able to bring his guitar with him.   We woke the kids up so they could see him and he took time to wave and smile at each one of them. He even noticed that Brian and Destiny were missing and was asking where they were. I explained that Brian was married and had his own house and Destiny was spending the night somewhere else (she was at her dad's, but I didn't want to get into that right then).  I told him that Samantha was only a month younger than him and they would be in the same grade to which he got a big, kind of embarrassed smile.   He asked when we were coming to get him to which we said a couple of weeks. He seemed surprised so quickly, but also very happy. The translator said he was excited about coming to the USA. That is when I told him about Ned and Lucky. I had the picture of the three of them, held it up so he could see it and then pointed to both of them. I explained that both boys were being adopted by families who lived very close to us. I think it took a second to sink in, but once it did the expression on his face was PRICELESS!!   He was very excited about this new information. The last thing he asked us was if we had picked a name for him. I told him Seth and they all laughed...this was the same reaction we got when we told Maylin's family (our adopted daughter from Taiwan). I am sure our names sound so foreign to them and I am not sure that they heard me clearly. I told him we could talk about it later and he could keep his Chinese name if he wanted. We thought it went great and the orphanage said if we wanted to talk to him again just to message them.  Richard even thought when the call ended that Seth looked a little emotional.  This has made us more anxious to get over there and pick up both boys.

Now, more good news...the family adopting Lucky has submitted their LOI which is a letter to China that they want to adopt him.  They are moving full speed ahead as they have only until August to get this completed.  We were so happy about to hear this as it has already been quite a roller coaster ride for this wonderful family. 

Okay, the bad news.  We received a letter yesterday from one of the grant foundations that we were denied.  Of course I was disappointed and a little worried how we are going to come up with remaining $8500, but God has performed too many miracles at this point getting all three of these boys (Dusty, Ned and Lucky) as well as Jayden here and I know he is not going to stop now.  We have one more grant pending so we keep praying about that and need to find some more stuff to sell :) 

Keep praying for the boys and the other families!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moving fast!!

I knew there would come a day when all of sudden everything would move extremely quickly.  Our file was cabled to the embassy in China on Friday.  I called our agency this morning and she said that Seth's article V paperwork will be dropped off tonight while we are sleeping and picked up on the 14th or 15th.  Jayden's took two-and-a-half weeks.  At that point the boys files will be together...hallelujah!!  Then everything will be faxed to the CCCWA(The China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption) so they can start working on our Travel Approval.  They are also sent a hard copy and as soon as they receive the hard copy which should be Monday, they will fax our travel approval to our agency.  Our social worker told us to be ready to go sometime between March 23rd and the 30th.  We are hoping to beat the big trade show that is coming to Guangzhou April 15th because all of the prices are tripled during that time.   

With Maylin's adoption it was the same way...we got our approval to go and ten days later we were leaving.  It is a mixture of excitement and total anxiety of having to leave my kids and traveling across that very large ocean of water. 

I am praying that God will continue to provide me with the same peace I have had throughout this journey...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our awesome agency!!

I need to give lots of credit to our adoption agency, A.A.C. Adoption and Family Network in Colorado.  They have done a phenomenal job with both adoptions.  Their China coordinator, Judy, has gotten us three updates on Jayden with photos and the last one was a complete surprise.  I asked her this week when Jayden would be taken back to the orphanage which is a standard practice and she asked us if we wanted him to be placed back in the orphanage or left with his foster family.  What a special blessing for Jayden.  He will only have to go through one major disruption of his little life instead of two.  

Judy has talked to Seth (Dusty) on the phone I believe four times in the last six weeks.  I sent her an email and asked her if he had been told about us and she said,

"Yes, the orphanage staff told him about your family, I talked to him twice, one was before Chinese New Year right after Nicole talked with your family ,the other was last Thursday the 9th of February.
 
The first time when I talked to him, he was not 100% sure about be adoption, the staff said he knew there were 2 families checked with orphanage ahead, and took many photos and questions, but that was it, he felt quite disappoint .

 
Last week when I talked to him, he was very happy to know your family is there waitting for him, and be adoption is coming to true, he is getting exciting for adoption , for joining new family, we told him that you coming for two boys, and he is working hard on study English now.

And I mentioned Skype between him and your family.

Dusty was not sure about it, I gave him my cell phone No. Told him take time to think about it, and just let orphanage staff know when he feel ready to Skype with you."
 
 
She also talked to him this past Monday on the 27th of February and this is what she said,
 
 
"I talked to Dusty this Monday,
He is getting more exciting go to the state.
And he start writing the letter to you.
I will talk with him this Saturday, I will let him know about his friends:)"
 
I had shared with her that we were trying very hard to find families in our area to adopt his two friends.  I thought it might help him to know that there was a possibility they would still be together and as of today his buddy Ned has a family adopting him that lives about 20 minutes away and Lucky has some families that are inquiring about him one of which lives an hour away.  What an amazing testimony to these boys of how much God loves them that he was able to take all three of them from China where they were born thousands of miles away and put them with loving families that live close to each other.
 
 
Today, I received this email from Judy after asking her if Jayden (JiaJian) had been told about us and if we should send some photos to him. 
 
 
"Nanchang orphanage staff, Ms.Li said Jiajian was told about adoption, and Wendy sent your family photos to JiaJian at the same time we sent it to ZhangYun, Ms. Li printed
those photos and gave to the foster family to let JiaJian has it already,
and ZhangYun is ready for Skype:)"

Seth is now ready to Skype with us.  What wonderful news!  I must say that I am nervous, but excited at the same time.  Richard and the kids are just excited  We are hoping to get it set up for this weekend. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Seth's (Dusty) I800 Approval...FINALLY!

We got Jayden's I800 approval from our government in two weeks...start to finish.  Seth's took two weeks and two days and his was supposed to be expedited!  But, I will share the blessings that I have found in this process with our Homeland Security. 

When we first applied to USCIS for approval to adopt and bring home a foreign child, we were assigned an officer.  I have spoken to Officer Gillen several times regarding Seth's paperwork which she said would definitely be expedited because he was an aging out young man.  They had the file all last week, but there are several departments that it goes through.  I talked to our officer in the morning on Friday, the 24th of February and she told me she should have the file on her desk that afternoon to approve.  Well...I called in the afternoon and was told she had just left on vacation for all of next week and our file was transferred to Officer Gray so I left a message for her. 

Monday morning I called to talk to Officer Gray.  All I will say is she was not helpful...at all.  She said to call back in 3-4 days to check on our file.  She would not even look in the computer system to see where it was.  This was expedited???  Our adoption agency social worker told me to call USCIS back and ask for Officer Jones.  Once I explained our situation to her she said she would check Officer Gray's desk for our file and since Officer Gray was going to be so busy doing our old officer's work she would offer to process our file.  Finally...blessing number one.  Any adoptive family that has had Officer Jones working on their file has nothing but wonderful things to say about her.  She goes over and beyond the call of duty.  On Tuesday evening, I received a phone call from Officer Jones which was after hours I might add.  She stated there was a paragraph missing from our homestudy addendum which would have said we were approved by our social worker to adopt a child up to the age of 14.  She stated she would give us 24 hours to have this correction emailed to her or she would have to put our file on hold and issue a Request for Evidence. 

I immediately called our homestudy social worker who found the mistake, quickly fixed it and had it emailed to our officer the next morning after it was notarized.  Blessings number two and three.  If we would have had Officer Gray, I sincerely believe she would have just sent out the Request For Evidence and not called us.  And...even though our homestudy agency made a mistake they sure were able to fix it fast.  Our I800 approval was issued this morning and should be overnighted to the National Visa Center.  Our file will be there for a day or two, then cabled to China and by the end of next week Seth's paperwork will be together with Jayden's.  Praise God this roller coaster ride is almost over!