Tuesday, February 10, 2015

where we are

i thought it'd be a good idea to let y'all know where we are in process.
no pictures of george michael or rabbits on trails.

when we were told about luke in november, we had two decisions to make:
1) did we want to proceed with lucy and just leave our contact information with the foster family for (if) when a family adopted luke
2) did we want to adopt luke too
the obvious choice was #2, since #1 wasn't not only a NOT a sure thing, but not even likely.

after we stated we wanted to adopt him too, we had another decision to make:
1) adopt lucy in the timeframe we were going and then "reuse" our dossier and immediately go back for him
2) delay lucy's process so we could bring them home at the same time

we wrestled with this because we wanted lucy home ASAP, but we also knew it would be best for both of them if we adopted them at the same time; and it would also be more financially feasible for us to adopt them at the same time.

we said whooooooa nelly! to lucy's paperwork moving right along so that we could start luke's and catch him up.

we had already received LOA for lucy when we found out about luke, and were realistically 2 months or so from traveling to pick her up. we knew adding luke would extend the process about 6 months out--even with his being prioritized. 

in december, we submitted lucy's i800 and received that approval (you do this after you receive LOA). with the i800 approval we submitted the ds260 for lucy (her visa). our agency is holding at this step while we catch luke up. 

luke's "mini-dossier" was sent to the chinese consulate last week (letter of intent, amended home study, and i800a supplement 3 approval), and since it's only 3 documents it should take only a week to get back. at that point, his 3 documents will be sent to china for review. 
the majority of the entire dossier has been reviewed and approved--this is good! this means they really only have to review these additional 3 documents to send us the LOA for luke. and, i described what happens after that: i800 then ds260. once we send in his ds260 application for his visa, our agency will send his and lucks to china for article 5 pick up, after that, travel approval will be issued. 

here's how we want you to join with us in prayer: 
pray the finger of God slides luke's documents through at lightening speed! 
i hate knowing that all of lucy's approvals are done and we are essentially paper ready to go get her, but that we are "sitting on" them. it's the only way, but, i still hate it nonetheless. 

we are in day 2 of our "a tisket, a tasket, a basket" fundraiser:
we have 19 theme "baskets" up for auction. we are so close to having all the financial needs met for this process. we only need to raise *about* $4,000 more! waaaaahoooooo! :)

you can see the "baskets" up for auction here: 
CLICK ON THE ABLUM TITLED "A TISKET, A TASKET, A BASKET" and view the 19 theme baskets we have up for auction.  

we're coming sweet son and daughter! <3

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

words and the heart

i've always dreamt about what kind of mother i'd be (i've also dreamt of what kind of wife i'd be. ha! was i ever so wrong! ;)).
--i was a pretty awesome fiancĂ© though: 

even as a little girl, in a struggling single parent household, with an overworked and overstressed mommy, i knew no matter what, i wanted to be a ball of positive energy, spiritual encouragement, and sprinkle our household with sunshine and rainbows and have only happy looking spiders. like this:

i wanted to be the mommy who shielded my children, protected them, helped them to believe they were made perfectly in His image, and that there is a beautiful purpose for their life. 
i knew i wanted to be the mommy that first prayed with them when they felt attacked, sad, worried, scared and defeated. 
i knew i wanted to guide my children to first find their identity in Christ, because nothing can shake that. 
i wanted to guide them as they opened their hearts to allow God to plant those seeds and water them. 

many moments now are spent in self-examination and reflection, and i try to remain cognizant of how i respond to stressful situations, let-downs, and hardship. 
do i respond with grace? 
would this be how i responded if my lucy-girl and luke were in the car? if they were beside me? 
what words am i speaking when trials arise? when the enemy attacks? 

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. --luke 6:45

did you know there are power in your words?
what am i speaking life into when life is rough or uncertain? 
we were created in the image of God: God spoke words over dust, and dust became man, and God spoke breath into man, and man lived. we have power in the words we speak. 
we can speak life into people, ourselves, and situations.

the power of life and death is in the tongue. --proverbs 18:21

in the process of adoption you have some control, but also there is so much out of your hands. so many times the aching of your heart cannot be resolved by any person.  
so many times the only balm to ease the burning within your soul is the email that tells you it's time to go get your child.  
but it compares NOTHING to when our children are home. the grief they will experience. the transition they are being asked to make. i believe the process of adoption is hard, but the process of being adopted is harder. 

my heart must become so much stronger. 
there is no room or allowance for a weak heart when my precious lucy-girl and luke are walking through their grief. there is no room for me to speak anything out of the flesh when our family encounters trials. they are watching and listening. i want them to watch a mother who is solidly standing with Christ, and i want them to listen as i speak life into anything we may face together. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

oysters and george michael

like george michael once sang:
gotta have faith...
sure we're talking about two different things, but it you take those three words out of context they apply beautifully to our situation.

back in december we submitted what is called a supplement 3 to our i800a approval. this request a change in approval for number of children, age, gender, etc. 
we were told by our home study social worker there was no fee associated with this, so we mailed it in. 2 and half weeks passed and we received the dreaded pink paper in the mail known as an RFE (request for information). this is sent when more information, material, etc is needed to process the application. we were told there was a $360 fee due for a supp 3, and the approval could not be issued until that was received. and we could not pay it over the phone. 

i'm about to get raw. raw like this tray of oysters. 

i was livid. any virtue left me and i was in a state between crying myself into a puddle in the floor and  wanting to punch something. not really. but kind of. 

i felt like a horrible mother, i should have sent in a blank check just in case. i should have called ahead. i should have....
so much. 
the whole process just became delayed ANOTHER month, because once we sent in the check, it still would take 10 days for them to clear it and process our approval. two weeks ago, we overnighted it and paid $45 to guarantee it would be there by 10:30 a.m. the check cleared a few days ago, so now, we are just waiting....waiting...praying...praying for time

this is a screen shot of george singing praying for time. i call him only george because i believe we are on a first name basis.

once we receive the approval in the mail, the hubs can use his day off to run around town and get it, and a few other things notarized, certified, and authenticated. it's a crazy process: see this post

then, we pay for overnight delivery by 10:30 a.m. again and it is deliver by a man riding a unicorn, sliding down rainbow, playing the kazoo. (our adoption worker assured me this is how it was delivered last time we paid that much for an early next day delivery). 

i know our Father has no ill will upon our children. i know He loves them more. i know that everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen has passed by His Sovereign hands. i know He know the exact minute we will become a family and be together for the first time. 

even though i cannot necessarily trust in any person, organization, office, i can trust in Him. 
He's big enough to cover misinformation of fees due, and delays, and waiting; He's Holy and Loving enough to bring us together in perfect timing. 

the blessing of it all: they are in a loving environment. "one of the good ones".

january 18th was our sweet lucy-girl's 11th birthday. so, we threw her a party, from several 1,000 miles away. we also threw a party for our little dude letting him know he would be our son too. 

here's some pictures of the spectacular occasion:

right before i published this, my hubs texted me to let me know our USCIS officer notified him it was approved on the 26th and mailed out--we should have it by today or tomorrow. hope he's ready for another rat race! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

there are enough families

a few days after I wrote this post, this sweet and precious girl passed away. she is free from pain now, free from loneliness,  and in the arms of her eternal and loving Father. Rest well sweet girl.  

there are a lot of children living in orphanages and foster homes around the world. the numbers vary: 147 million to 165 million.

some of these precious ones are "double orphans"--both father and mother have passed away or are not raising them (either by choice or other), still others are social orphans, while others have families that cannot afford to care for them, so they are handed over to their country's social welfare institutes.

the futures for each precious child (who collectively makes up that huge number at the beginning) vary greatly. some, based off of their special need(s), are left to be institutionalized, still others are turned out onto the streets (and we won't discuss what they resort to in order to eat and live), while others are fortunate and able to remain as staff at their orphanage, and some become "lost"--disappear, as if they never existed.

but, there is hope. the hope is us (you, everyone).
He sets the lonely in families -- psalm 68:6

there is a link at the top of this page, that takes you to another post, detailing why adoption is so expensive. the truth is: not many families can easily afford it. even after all the saving, 2nd jobs, fundraising, donations, grants, etc. there is still a gap, and that gap is often what separates loving people from adopting these very deserving children.

in comes Reece's Rainbow

a wonderful organization that raises money for children with special needs, who are waiting on their forever family.

RR just finished their largest yearly fundraiser (Angel Tree), and there are now many beautiful children with sizable grants. some well over $5,000. this is an incredible boost to helping them find their family...helping their family find them.

you can see the beautiful children that benefited from this year's angel tree here:
epic grants for precious ones!

there are other precious children who were not part of the angel tree fundraiser that have sizable grants too:

this doll tugs at my heart. what a precious soul she is: you can read about her here:
precious girl

her grant is over $15,000, with the country she is located in, a family would only have to provide an additional $7,000 in the due fees/travel expenses.

she is so deserving of having a loving mommy wrap her arms around her, kiss her sweet head at night, and whisper prayers over her.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

pickles and ice cream vs. chopsticks and pleasant goat

this weird thing is pleasant goat:
(he/she is all the rage in china)

there are obscure times i'll catch a glimpse of this weird goat on t.v. in the background of a world gymnastics competition, or in documentaries about girls in china, and it's the closest i can come to feeling my baby kick in the womb. 

while you excitedly talk about your weird cravings and post pictures of your pregnancy concoctions, i crave an email telling us we are at the next step in the process, and pictures of the fedex envelope holding our latest government approval. 

while you reach down and rub the belly that holds safe your child within, reminding yourself your dear one is so near, i eat dinner at a local authentic asian restaurant and listen with a longing in my heart to the background conversations in mandarin, wondering what her voice would sound like. i clumsily hold the chopsticks in my hand, and envision my children laughing at me when we are spending our first week as a family together, in china, while i try to eat all our meals with these two sticks. 

we all come into motherhood different ways: some conceive right away, seemingly on their honeymoon! others struggle for years, and finally see the sweet little pink plus sign they've prayed for, while some find themselves at a last resort of ivf, still others find themselves adopting in addition to their biologicals, or adopting because they cannot have biologicals, and then some, like me, have always known their children will look nothing like them, and choose to adopt to begin their family growth. no matter how we become mommies, the journey is filled with this incredible softening of the heart, tears that flow like a faucet during commercials, movies where a child is kidnapped, and reading stories in the news of ebola orphans, aids orphans, social orphans and orphans of poverty.  each of our journey is filled with thousands of thoughts a day, where we imagine what it will be like when we hold our child for the first time, and we already dread the first time they will be sick, we fear the possibility of bullying for our child, and we all fear for them, at the environment of the world we will be raising them in. we want no harm to befall them, no judgement to be pointed to them, we desperately want to protect them from the mistakes we've made, and build them up in the areas we were torn down.

we all want better for our children. people who think the best of us say with smiling eyes and sincerity they believe our child will be just like us. i want to shout "NO! NO!" i want so much more for her, for my lucy-girl than what i am. i want more strength for my little luke than i have. i don't want them to be just like me i want them to rise above me. i want their lives to be filled with beauty and wonder, i want their spirit to soar, i want strength be so mighty within them it seeps out of their veins. i want their eyes to always see as His do, and not to be as easily tarnished by the tragedies of the world and circumstance. 

we are all mommies, and though we all become mommies in different ways, our desperate love for our children is the same. i just don't have the weird cravings. and you don't have to worry about prefecting your chop-stick usage. :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

the story of luke

God brought us to lucy, and everything since then has been perfectly orchestrated by His hands.

our journey began with this picture:

the last news for lucy is that we received LOA from china (this means they accepted our dossier (the 1,000,000,000 sheets of official paperwork and such) and approved us to adopt lucy), and yesterday i sent the signed LOA and a few other required applications/documents to our government's immigration services for her. now, we are waiting on all those documents to go through the next process (this is only a few weeks) so her visa can be eventually be issued (once she enters the country, she will become a citizen) (i feel like there should be unicorn and leprechauns inside the airport where numerous children like lucy are entering and at that moment becoming u.s. citizens :)).

...in the meantime of all the final approvals being issued for lucy-girl, the director of our agency and a few other individuals associated with traveled to china. while there, they were in the anhui province (where lucy lives) and while in her province, they had a day "off" so they traveled to the city she lives in, and then visited the orphanage/foster home she lives in. and....
while visiting her it was brought to them how close and attached lucy is to one of her foster brothers. they've lived most of their life together, as brother and sister, and love each other dearly. and in the 8 years he has been waiting on a family, not one single family has inquired about him.
we simply cannot take her out of the life she has known and the orphanage/foster family she has loved and lived with; and leave him remaining as an orphan in the process. we have the extra room in our house, and more than the extra love and patience in our hearts, so, we are adopting him too!!!

here is he showing off a picture he drew of him and lucy-girl. :) (we may let him keep the mustache ;)) 

and, here they are together, soon to be forever brother and sister! 

what this means for lucy-girl besides her having her beloved foster brother become her forever brother: we won't be bringing her home at the end of february/beginning of march as projected. everyone involved (us, our social worker for our home study, and our adoption agency) agree bringing them home together best for both of them. so now, we have to submit for a provision to our original i800a approval (this is the american government) to be able to adopt 2 at the same time. lucy's part is pretty much done, except for a waiting game for her visa, and it to make it's way to china, but that will be held off on begin submitted to china while we catch up luke's process.

it's possible we will be bringing them both home this summer. :) 

He does! He sets the lonely in families (psalm 68:6)! 

i am in awe: teary-eyed awe at how He is making our family. what a wonderful treasure, what a blessing, what an indescribable joy for Him to choose us to be the forever mommy and daddy to these TWO precious children, who already love each other so much! 

thank you for taking part in our joy, and loving lucy-girl and luke! 

we'll be able to de-deadmau5 and de-cat his face in a few weeks. :) 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

the greatest of news to be thankful for!

in the (slightly changed) words of freddie mercury:

"we are LOA, we are LOA, we are LOA my friends!
and we'll keep on stressing 'til the end
no time for thanksgiving
no time for christmas
because we are LOA during the holidays my friends!!!!!!!"

LOA, otherwise known as letter seeking confirmation (yeah, i know, the acronym doesn't match ups...LOA=letter of acceptance, but it's also referred to as letter seeking confirmation).

this means that china has reviewed the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 documents we sent them with all the notarizations, certifications, authentications, consulate approvals, fingerprints of God things on them, and accepted them, and said that, "yes! ryan and carmen preciado, you can be her mommy! (and daddy...oops, i leave him out a lot).

now we fill out a few more complicated forms (but for our government) mainly that are for allowing her to immigrate here and become a u.s. citizen through adopt0ion.

the typical timeline from here is 9 weeks to TA (travel approval) and then 2 weeks to travel from the approval to do so.

our agency was in her province 2 weeks ago, and visited her orphanage. they took lots of new pictures of her and even a video of her saying "hi mommy! hi daddy!". but, they have 1,000s of pictures to go through, so, it'll be a bit before they can send them to us. once they do, you'll probably hear me sobbing happy tears wherever you are, and that'll be your cue to come back here and see them! :)

until then, here's pictures of her (almost) completed room. it's in desperate need of cutie-patootie items from landofnod.com, but, we're almost there!

a sweet lady we've never met made this blanket for lucy-girl. oh, the love others have shown her is beautiful! 

mommy and daddy on their wedding day. we knew event hen we'd adopt to begin our family

ever girl needs a cute headband and necklaces

a picture of mommy on her wedding day with all her friend-aunties. also, because we pray her room to be a place of healing, peace, and grace, worship music has been playing in her room non-stop for the last 3 months. it is a wonderful Spirit-filled room! 

if you would like to come along side of us, and help bring our daughter home the link at the top right of the page will take you to our tax-deducible fundraising account. we would be forever humbly grateful for any amount you would donate. thank you for caring about our daughter, and helping to make one less orphan. <3