Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fisherman


My son is what one could say "Born to fish!". Caleb has been fishing since he was only a year old. So determined, focused, and patient when he is in his element...fishing.

Last weekend he had the ultimate day on the water at Allatoona Lake. He spent the day with his dad which made it all the more special to Caleb. So proud of my oldest baby :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Backpack

Well as you can see, Ian did get his wish for a new packback.  I bought him a new one, but no lock and key ;)  Ian had a good time playing with some bubbles and at the park this weekend. 
I hope that we can go to some of these fun places when we get there.  I hope that Travis and Ian like each other, and that they get to have some "fun" while we are in China.


Oh and here is Ian showing off his new family!



And here is a reality picture of Ian "showing off" his new family-haha. 
Yes, I will have my work cut out for me for sure with our new addition ;)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dumpling Time

We spent time at Chinese school today making some dumplings.  Shelby loved them, Elise was very focused, and Faith was a pro dumpling creator.  Lots of fun!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I-800 Approval

One more approval closer to Ian today.  I called the NBC and they officially approved our I-800 this morning.  Now his paperwork will be mailed to the National Visa Center where the US will give the final approval to allow Ian into the United States-woohoo!!

So what does all this gibberish really mean?  That I am still on track to board an airplane on April 27th!

For the "Babies" Post on RQ

Since we finally have our LOA, I wanted to introduce my Rumor Queen friends to our new addition we plan to bring home in May.  Here is our new addition, Ian!



He is 8 years old living in Xi'an CWI.  We found him from an advocate post on RQ back in Sept and submitted our LOI on Sept 21, 2011.  We are very excited to be bringing him home soon :)

You can read his whole story here if you have the time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Village

Just read this post and my oh my how true it is.  I know it is long, but if you are part of
"my village" then it would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for being my village, couldn't do it without you!

http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/02/how-to-be-the-village

These were my favorites out of her list:

3. For the next few months, do not assume the transition is easy. For 95% of us, it so is not. And this isn’t because our family is dysfunctional or our kids are lemons, but because this phase is so very hard on everyone. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to constantly hear: “You must be so happy!” and “Is life just so awesome now that they’re here??” and “Your family seems just perfect now!” I wanted that to be true so deeply, but I had no idea how to tell you that our home was actually a Trauma Center. (I did this in a passive aggressive way by writing this blog, which was more like “An Open Letter to Everyone Who Knows Us and Keeps Asking Us How Happy We Are.”) Starting with the right posture with your friends – this is hard right now – will totally help you become a safe friend to confide in / break down in front of / draw strength from.



4. Do not act shocked if we tell you how hard the early stages are. Do not assume adoption was a mistake. Do not worry we have ruined our lives. Do not talk behind our backs about how terribly we’re doing and how you’re worried that we are suicidal. Do not ask thinly veiled questions implying that we are obviously doing something very, very wrong. Do not say things like, “I was so afraid it was going to be like this” or “Our other friends didn’t seem to have these issues at all.” Just let us struggle. Be our friends in the mess of it. We’ll get better.

Sweet Saturday

Look who I get to hang out with all day! You should be jealous :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Adoption Credit

I never thought that I would be excited to file my taxes.  Well this year...YIPPEE!  We are expecting a big fat refund for Elise's adoption last year.  Yes, to the tune of $13,360!!  The IRS is offsetting our $30K of Elise's adoption expenses (includes all agency, paperwork, and travel costs), by giving us a clear refund of $13,360.  We will of course be using the refund to travel for Ian.

This refund is what has helped make all of our adoptions affordable.  Unfortunately, this adoption credit is due to expire at the end of this year unless something changes.  Here is a brief explanation:

2012 — The tax credit will be $12,650 per child. Families who adopt children with special needs will be able to claim the full credit regardless of their qualified adoption expenses. Other adopters will have to have qualified adoption expenses.

The credit will NOT be refundable, meaning that families can benefit only if they have federal income tax liability. Just as before 2010, families will claim the credit with their 2012 taxes, use what they can that year, and then can carry any remaining credit forward for five additional years until the credit is used up or time runs out.

2013 — Only families who adopt special needs children from foster care will be eligible for up to $6,000 in the adoption tax credit.


So we are hopeful that something will be done to extend the credit; however, I fear that with the congress budget cuts it will not be :(  This adoption credit is what makes the process affordable to most families.  Investing $30K to bring a child home to a safe forever family is still worth it, but it does help tremendously to cut that number almost in half when you factor in your IRS refund.  I pray they will continue the credit in some form or fashion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chinese Massage

Anyone who has experienced a massage in China should read this hilarious detailing post about his recent massage "therapy".  Give yourself a full 5 minutes to make it all the way through the post.  Guarantee you will be laughing out loud!

Looking forward to all 3 of us getting some "normal" back/foot massages soon though :)

Hmmmmm

Maybe she is related to KISS ;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video of Ian

Received this new video of Ian.  Kobe was asking him about what he "needed" mom to buy him.  I am happy to know that it just a few short months, my son will no longer need a lock and key for his things.  NO one will ever be stealing his food from him ever again.  He also simply asked for a desk lamp to use as a nightlight so he isn't scared at night.  Unfortunately the orphanage won't let him have a light even if I sent one right now.  Can't get him home soon enough!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

John Waller Live Surprise

 

Check out how our church blessed us this morning!  Yes, a surprise private concert by John Waller :)  See below a small clip of him singing the great song that has helped me through the torturous "waits" for my babies in China.  What a blessing it was to share with him personally what his song has meant to me...While I'm Waiting!!

Private Concert

video

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kisses from Katie

Excited to finally get to read her new book!

"Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. Adoption is also difficult and painful. Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the Gospel in my living room. And sometimes, it's just hard." (Kisses From Katie pg. 72)


"My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to "help out these poor kids." I adopt because God commands me to care for the ophans and the widows in their distress." (Kisses from Katie pg. 73)


The truth is that if only 8% of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left. This is the Truth. I have the freedom to believe it. The freedom, the opportunity to do something about it. The truth is that He loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible to act." (Kisses from Katie pg 91-92)

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's HERE

Okay Okay, well maybe I was just a little obsessive and angry impatient. 
Turns out today is a GREAT day!


This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.--Psalm 118:24

Just Sayin...


Day 90

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This Little Piggy

Went hehehe all the time at home :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Changed

To have a nice 4-wheeler.  To not always be broke. To pay for my own college and car. To help orphan charities.

This was written by my eldest son Caleb after being challenged by a financial speaker to write down the reasons he wanted to be financially successful. (I forced invited Caleb with us to the "grown up" seminar about finances on Sunday night.)  I will admit I teared up a bit after peeking over his shoulder to see what he was writing down.

As you can see, adoption has not only changed me, it has changed our entire family-
FOR THE GOOD!

One of the most common thoughts and opinions of non-adopters others is, "Aren't you worried about how this will affect your real children? Don't you think you are taking away from them?" 

To this I can honestly answer... YES, I hope to take away from them their selfish behaviors, greediness, self-centerness, impatience, intolerance, and inability to give to others in need. 

Judging by my 12 year old's goals, I think we are off to a good start!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Seeing Red

Yes, you must look close but it is indeed there....Ladybug!
(ladybugs are supposedly the good luck charm for China adoptions)
Guess we will see just how much "luck" this little one brings me tomorrow :)