I should have written this post Friday evening after our second home study visit.  I’m sorry, I know so many of you have been praying God’s favor over us through that and I should have been more prompt with this update!  We felt physically exhausted and relieved after our visits so we needed some time to recoup I guess.  Our visits went very well.  We all had our interviews (yes, even the kids had individual interviews without us present) and the house walkthrough was so much easier than I expected.  Our caseworker is very disarming and passionate about helping families be prepared to adopt.  Her parents actually founded Hope for Orphans and she has adopted siblings and children… so she has an “adoption pedigree” so to speak. She’s a wonderful lady and I’m looking forward to hopefully partnering with her to expand our local church adoption ministry.

By the way, we did get the convertible bunk beds that we were hoping for! They are perfectly used and worn, solid wood, and were super inexpensive. 🙂

Here is what the boy’s room looks like now…IMG_4807

I will be posting a DIY post about the superhero pallet art soon! Those literally cost me $5 each!

What’s next? I always get this question, so I’ll go ahead and beat you to it!  We are waiting for the home study to be finalized (should only be a couple of weeks) and then we move on to filing our I-800a (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The fee for this is $720, so that is the next large amount that is due. After that our next large expense is about $3,000 and will pay our 2nd agency fee and the cost to submit our dossier to China. We would appreciate you joining us in praying for the funds to pay for that $3,000 when the time comes. We have had many generous donations and are so thankful that we have been able to pay $4,712 toward adoption expenses already! You guys rock!

The Ugly Truth

This is going to be kinda long, but hang with me.  It will be worth it!

To preface (this is the Ugly Truth part):  Part of our home study included us having to complete 12 hours of Hague-compliant parent training, and reading The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, among a few other articles. Anyway, all the information we received in the parent training was very… honest? And possibly pessimistic? I’m not sure how to describe it, but basically I was sort of freaking out.  We learned a lot about the issues that a child that has spent a considerable amount of time in an orphanage setting might have.  I understand that it is necessary for us to know these things and have realistic expectations, but I started to question if we should be adopting at all.  It’s likely that Ezra will have attachment issues because he’s never had a healthy relationship with an adult and will be severely delayed physically and mentally because he doesn’t have access to stimulating experiences.  I want to believe that love will conquer all!  However, it’s not healthy to assume and not be prepared.  I’ve been praying for him (and us) and asking God to work a miracle in our family… I pray he will easily integrate into our family!

Here’s where it gets exciting!  There are sometimes Facebook groups of people who have adopted or are adopting from a specific orphanage so that they can exchange information and pictures and etc.  I had been looking for the one Ezra is in, but haven’t had any luck, so the other day I was scouring the internet for others who have adopted from the same orphanage.  I came across a blog from a family that adopted a 13(?) year old girl from Ezra’s orphanage last year!  I contacted the author asking if she knew of any groups. She said she could certainly connect me with others who have adopted from there.  She also said that her daughter might know Ezra!

Then I got this message from her:

“Turns out my daughter knows your son!!! She said she loves him and played with him almost everyday. She began to cry when I told her he has a family working to bring him home. She has spoken of him before but I didn’t realize who he was. My goodness that made my day! She said that is so cool. She said he’s been there since he was little. His nannies really like him and he’s smart. She said he has a good personality.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I read it aloud to Billy, choking back tears, while I tried to process what exactly I was feeling.  Suddenly, Ezra was more real… he wasn’t just a picture and a few paragraphs… but also, I had confirmation that he is being well cared for.  I am cherishing those words during this time!

She also told me that his nickname is Xiǎo Bái, which means “little white,” but they don’t use it in a mean way, it’s endearing.  I’ve been reading through her old blog, and finding little things that are just so reassuring right now.  Like the fact that her daughter had been wanting to go to church and she knew about Jesus already!  If you know anything about China, you know that is huge!

If you want to follow along with her current journey to bring her son home, here is a link to her blog.

Please join me in praying for Ezra! We are praying for God to seamlessly integrate him into our family, to protect and prepare him. Thank you for supporting us and going on this journey with us!