Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Finally Introducing...


our little princess 

Faith RenLan Serna

These two pictures are the pictures that were included in her referral. These were the first pictures we saw of our daughter.

The pictures below are the pictures we received in the update the day after we sent in our answer. 

Isn't she gorgeous! 

We had a hard time naming her because we had so many good and meaningful names that we could give her! We finally settled on Faith because God has taught us so much about our faith through this process and our faith has grown so much! Her Chinese name is Ren Lan and so we are combining those for her middle name.  I hope she loves her new name as much as we do. 

 As you can tell, the kids are SO EXCITED! 

We are waiting for our family to be complete!

Everything is moving really fast now! Our agency was guessing it would take about a month for us to receive our LOA (Letter of Acceptance from China). We locked in Faith's file on September 3 and received our electronic LOA the next day!! We then got our hard copy of the LOA on the 8th so instead of 1 month, it took 5 days! Our immigration paperwork was sent off last Thursday and our agency says that once that is sent off we can expect to travel in 9 -12 weeks. So that puts our new timeline to travel to China sometime between mid-November to early December! We are praying she will be home so we can celebrate Christmas with our completed family! 

We are so in love with this little girl half a world away and are counting down the days when we get to hold her for the first time! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Memories of Grandpa

This past Sunday afternoon, September 7, 2014, the world lost a great man. 

George Melvin Burris was 87. For the past 16 years, we all lovingly called him "Grandpa". 

Grandpa was one of the sweetest men you will ever meet. He was a man of few words, so when he had something to say, you listened. He loved games, card game, dominoes, horse shoes and washers were some of his favorites, but he also loved to watch sports on tv. He served 20 years in the Air Force and loved spending time with his family. 

My sweet Selah broke into sobs when I told her of Grandpa's death, saying, "Now I have no more Great-Grandparents. What am I going to do without any Great-Grandparents?" In the last two years we have lost 4 grandparents. 3 of them in less than a year. It has been hard on us, but at the same time, we are so blessed that our kids were able to know and spend time with their great-grandparents. They have memories that they can carry with them and that it is a gift that we are so thankful for. 

Grandpa was a special man and will always have a special place in our hearts. He will be missed by all who knew him! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Adoption Update I Have Dreamed of Writing!

We have been MATCHED!!!!

We have seen our little one's face - and it is adorable! 

I can't give many details about her on the blog yet - but just trust me - she is beautiful. 

However,  I can blog about the call and the incredible days leading to our decision to proceed in adopting her. 

I got "The Call" on Tuesday, August 12. Our first day of school was the day before and I had thought of making cookies for our first day, but never had the time. On Tuesday afternoon, we finished school and it was too hot to go outside, and so I decided to make the cookies then. I didn't realize that the recipe for the spritz cookies I had decided to make would make 8 dozen cookies! So I was busily making batch after batch of dainty, pink spritz cookies when my phone rang.

I looked at my phone and saw that it was a Colorado number. Our agency is in Colorado. My heart skipped! The sweet voice on the other end introduced herself and said that she was from the waiting child department at CCAI. I could barely form a response to her! She proceeded to tell me that she had a file that they would like for us to review if we would be interested. She let me know the age of the child (2 1/2 years) and her medical needs. She also told me that she is adorable, so if there were any doubts, we may not want to look at her picture! I told her we would love to review it! (Of course!) 

I immediately called Byron - my heart still beating hard - and he didn't answer! I left a voice message and a text and he called me in less than a minute. I told him we had gotten "The Call" and that I promised I wouldn't look at the email containing the referral until he got home and we could look at it together.  (That was torture!!) 

We waited to open her file until after we had the kids in bed. When we opened her file, the first thing we saw was her sweet little face. She has the cutest little button nose and the most precious little mouth. Then we began reading and we were overwhelmed to say the least. Her needs are much more than we envisioned - and more than we had indicated on our checklist. But, even though we were overwhelmed, we didn't feel like we were ready to say no. 

We spent the next week and a half praying, getting pediatric doctor opinions and really educating ourselves about her specific needs. We sought advice and prayers from dear friends and family. We asked the agency to see if they could get any updated information on her - there were some big gaps in her file that we were hesitant about - but we weren't very hopeful in receiving the updates before we had to make a decision. Finally, on Sunday, August 24th we both felt like we would be moving forward with the adoption, though we weren't ready to make a firm decision. We decided we would continue to pray until Wednesday and make our final decision then. We would sleep on the decision and then email the agency with our final answer on Thursday or Friday morning. Byron knew I was ready to say yes the week after the referral, but he wasn't quite as ready. 

On Monday - just one day after we talked about waiting to make a final decision on Wednesday - Byron came home from work with the sunflower in the pictures above. Sunflowers are my favorite flowers and every once in awhile Byron will pick one for me. After work on Monday he saw a sunflower patch near the hospital so he picked a flower for me. On his way to his truck he looked down and saw the ladybug on it. Ladybugs are a symbol of China adoption. The ladybug stayed on the flower all the way to the truck, all the way home from work and all the way from the truck into our house. Once Byron walked inside our house, the ladybug flew off the flower and landed on the piano. After praying for a clear answer and for wisdom, Byron said he knew his final answer when he saw the ladybug. We emailed our contact at the agency on Thursday night saying we would like to move forward in the adoption. Friday morning we were sent an updated health report, more pictures and a video of our little girl. The updates showed us so much more than we were expecting and solidified our decision. After seeing the video and new pictures Byron said, "OK - now lets go get her!" 

So what is next? We submitted a letter to China of our intent to adopt (LOI) this little one. Now we wait on a letter back from them (LOA) accepting our intent. Once we have that we apply for immigration and visas. Our agency said we should be expecting to go get her in January!! 

We are all in love with this precious girl and so excited for her to be our newest family member! Please join with us in praying for our little one, that she will grow stronger and healthier each day, that she feels safe and secure, that she is being fed and nurtured regularly, that she is being held often and affectionately. Pray for those caring for her, that they will be sensitive to her signals and respectful of her boundaries, that they are interactive and responsive. Pray that God's presence will be there with her and her caretakers. Also pray that God will start preparing her little heart for a new home and her new family. We can hardly wait to hold her in our arms!