Friday, April 27, 2007

Ready, set, go....

I used to be a big journaler. I'm not quite sure where that has gone as I've gotten older....Life gets busier and my business gets less dramatic I guess. :)

Today's a big day. Josh and I have had our paperwork logged in in China for 16 months now. For those of you just jumping in, that's about 10 months longer than we thought we'd be waiting and we've got a bunch more waiting to go. I'd say 4-5 months until referral. Little did I know when I bought cute summer dresses on clearance in the fall of 2005, my daughter wouldn't actually get to wear them until summer 2008! What can you do??? At least she will be well dressed by the time we get her because I have every season covered in three different sizes!

My grandparents are celebrating their 65th anniversary today!! They are both 89 years old. My mom took them out to dinner. I wish I could have been there. Having family spread all over the US is a big bummer. Josh and I are about to celebrate our 5th anniversary and although those years haven't always been easy by any means, the hard work is so worth it. I love him so much and I can't imagine how much love one person must have for another to have a relationship that withstands 65 years of betters and worses, sicknesses and healths. I pray that Josh and I get to 65 years. Oh my, we'd be 93!!!

This was also the last day of my first week as the Minister to Children and Families at The Rock La Roca United Methodist Church. I resigned my position at the rescue mission and joined the staff of our church. The Rock is an inner-city church and we're just trying to figure out what it means to be salt and light in a very diverse neighborhood with a very, very diverse congregation. I can't believe I get to spend the best hours of my week investing in kids. This position is a culmination of all of my life experiences, my passions and my education and I'm now doing what I was meant to do. That's a really great feeling.

Shortly into the adoption process I realized that I wouldn't be able to put Katelyn into full-time daycare once we got home. I know that lots of people do it and their kids turn out just fine, but in my gut, I knew I just couldn't. It's taken so long to get her home and I just want time with her. And I prayed and prayed for a solution, because the reality is that I need to work full-time for us to make ends meet. God has really blessed us. Josh has a great new job driving a bus for the city which allowed me to be able to take a pay cut and go on staff at the church. It all balanced out and because my schedule is so flexible, Katelyn will get plenty of time with me and with Josh and hopefully we'll need a minimal amount of childcare. There will be many times that she'll just come with me and can play while I get things done. Whoo hoo. The timing of it all was so amazing. I had wanted this job for a year and a half but couldn't even pursue it until it was a full time position. Josh went on staff at LexTran 2 weeks before they posted the full-time postition which meant he got a great raise and excellent benefits. If they had posted the position even a month before I wouldn't have been able to apply. God's timing really is perfect. Knowing that because I've experienced it in my life time and time again is the only thing that gives me peace right now as we wait for our child to come home. I know that she will be just perfect for our family. I can't wait to meet her...I bet she'll laugh a lot. That will make me happy.

Friday, April 6, 2007

This is all of the info that was on our other blog regarding our adoption I'm just cutting and pasting it here....

After two years of trying to have a child, Josh and I began looking at adoption as a viable option for us. We both felt strongly that we didn't want to spend a lot of time and money on medical procedures that may or may not result in a child when there are so many children in our world in need of a loving home.
Both of us were not settled on the idea of adopting domestically simply because we really didn't know if we could handle birthparents changing their mind at the last minute. We felt like we had waited so long already and wanted a more secure secure as you can get with adoption anyway!
We decided that we would love to have a little girl, as young as possible and would like to adopt internationally. China was the country that fit where our hearts were being led. On July 21, 2005 as we sat in our living room and realized that we had stopped saying "if" and started saying "when" we adopt, and we knew that we had made our official decision.
By this point we had done our research and thanks to the input of our dear friends that had already adopted internationally using an agency that is based inLexington, we felt comfortable with our decision to use A Helping Hand Adoption Agency (AHH) for our adoption. Their website is for anyone wanting more info. They work solely on adoptions from China and Guatamala.
So on Monday, July 25th we turned in our official application to AHH and by Wednesday the 27th we got word that we were accepted to move forward. So the paperchase began!
(Now go down to the bottom and scroll up to read in chronological order....)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2007 02:24 PM, CST
And the months keep going by! We have waited almost 14 months now since we were logged in. We're actually getting closer now though. I think we'll be getting our referral sometime between late-June and late-August with travel sometime in Sept-Nov. I can hang in there that long. It's already mid-February and we still have lots to do around the hopefully that will pass the time quickly. They have given referrals for families logged in before Oct. 13, 2005 and we're Dec. 27th. Only 74 days worth of people in front of us!
This weekend is Chinese New Year, so Josh and I are going to try out a new Chinese restaurant after church on Sunday.
It's been so cold here. I'm going out to CA for a conference in a couple of weeks and will get to see my grandparents and then spend a few days in Phoenix with my parents on my way back to Lexington. I can't wait to see everyone and enjoy temperatures that are above freezing!
We are in the process of updating ALL of our paperwork for the adoption because it's expired. Oh yippie. We've been to doctors and banks all over. We even had to have a letter from the vet saying our cats were fine with kids and their vaccinations are up to date. Can you even believe it??? There's just so much red's really frustrating. We just want our daughter home.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2006 04:56 PM, CDT
Last week we received word that we were receiving a $2,000 grant from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation for the adoption. What a blessing! $2000 that we are not going to have to pay back. We knew when we started this process that God would provide for us...we just didn't know how. Little by little we see the plan unfolding.
We have Brandon and Ashley this weekend and we took them to Boyd's Orchard. They had a whole play area with a straw castle and a huge slide. We ate carmel apples and picked out pumpkins. It was a fun day. Although I couldn't help looking around at everyone there with their kids and wishing that Katelyn were here already. Last year at this time I had no idea that we would still be waiting. With the holidays approaching, the wait is harder. Fortunately with this being our busiest time of the year at work I'm staying busy.
I haven't started the nursery yet, I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. With China only getting through 2 weeks of referrals at a time, it could be another 8-9 months of waiting. What a horrible thought...hopefully something will happen to speed it all along.

Finally...China does something quickly! They just posted that they are done reviewing documents logged in before Dec. 31, 2005. So we have offically been reviewed and are approved to be matched with a child. That is a big sigh of relief on our end. Now we just wait. My prediction is that we'll be in China for our 5th anniversary (May 18th).
We worked in the yard this weekend...reseeded the lawn and planted trees in the front and back yards. They're little now, but I love that they're the same age as our baby. I told Josh...just imagine 10 years from now when we have this great maple tree in the back yard and we take a picture of Katelyn as she heads off for her first day of 5th grade!! :)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2006 06:04 PM, CDT
It's been so long since I've written in this journal. There hasn't been a whole lot to tell. For some unexplained reason, China has slowed the referral process way down. There are many rumors as to why, but nothing official. When we started this process the wait was 6-7 months from the time your paperwork was logged in in China to referral. Now it's at almost 14 months! Can you believe it's doubled in less than a year's time. Yeah, we can't either.
Today is 8 months exactly since all of our paperwork was logged in. We thought we'd have all of the info on our daughter and would be preparing to travel....but instead, we are waiting and watching as each month the wait gets longer. Now we truly have no idea when our referral will come and it would be a MIRACLE if they picked up the pace and we even got it by the end of the year. There is just no way that we will travel this year.
We have both just rolled with all of the changes until this month...this month has been hard. There are so many unknowns. If they would just tell us when the referral of our daughter would come it would be bearable...even if it were a long time.
On a more positive note, we have been trying to be productive with our wait. We put up a privacy fence in the backyard to create a safe place for the kids to play. I painted and decorated the downstairs bathroom and the upstairs hall bathroom (blue with cute for the kids). My goal is to paint the whole interior of the house. I've had two yard sales (making $685) with things my brother and some good friends gave us as they all just moved out of state and purged a bunch of their things. I've had a paper route for the past ten months and we've paid off Josh's student loans, the rest of one of our vehicles and a bunch of credit card debt. Horrible schedule (up at 4 or 4:30 EVERY morning) but a great feeling to get some of the debt taking care of before we add a baby to the mix.
We were asked for more information from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation. We've heard this is a good sign as everyone who receives a grant is asked for more info when they are seriously being reviewed. It's not a guarantee, but we are praying really hard. (It would be about $3000) They said we should know something around the beginning of September.
We wish we had more to share....oh, we did decide that we would hold off on choosing a middle name for Katelyn. We are really feeling like it is important to keep part of her given name as a middle name. She will come to us with so little...we don't want to take anything else from her.

MONDAY, MAY 08, 2006 04:17 PM, CDT
I know that it's been a long time since I've written, but there's really been no news...except that the wait is long! At this point we are just praying that we'll be able to travel before the end of the year. And I was worried that we'd be traveling in the heat of summer...not anymore. We've been working a lot and paying off debt and that's a blessing. Josh's student loans are paid off!!! We just applied for a grant from Shaohannah's Hope Foundation. They're a Christian foundation that gives money to families who are adopting internationally. It looks like the average award is about $3,000. That sure would help! We won't know anything for 3-6 months though.

TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2006 12:36 PM, CST
Last night Josh and I went and got Katelyn's crib and matress (I had a coupon to save $25 and we needed the crib anyway) and because we spent over $75 we got a free umbrella stroller (and it's cute)! The garage is getting crowded. Now we have to start putting things together...yikes. I leave for California on Saturday and I can't wait for a week away. I'm going to a conference for work and so my trip home is fully paid for. Yippie!

TUESDAY, MARCH 07, 2006 09:17 AM, CST
Yesterday we received our "brown envelope" from the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China. It basically says that we've been approved to adopt and it has a bunch of paperwork that we need to bring with us for Katelyn's medical exam, visa, etc...It was just confirmation that our government has everything here and there. Reassuring for sure! Guangzhou will be our last stop before we leave China, so the consulate having everything together is a good thing so we can leave and come home with our daughter as a US citizen.
The wait is moving along. I organized my night stand and dresser this weekend and cleaned out my jewelry box....just trying to do all the random little tasks before we have a baby in the house. Then forget organizing drawers.
While mom and dad were here last summer we got an accent table at a yard sale for $5 and it's been in the garage for six months. So I painted it and made it look all weathered and now it's finished and in our living room. It turned out great and I already had the paint. Nothing better than a $5 piece of furniture!
So my projects continue as we pass the time....Now that spring's about here I'm ready to start on the nursery!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2006 03:11 PM, CST
Well, yesterday was officially two months since our dossier was logged in in China. Part of me feels like time is standing still and part of me feels like it's flying by. In the grand scheme of things, this year of our we so minimal compared to the years we pray we'll have with our daughter. She's worth the wait.
We got word today from our adoption agency that they just got a batch of referrals in for 22 families with log in dates around mid to late May. 19 of the 22 babies were 6-7 months old! That's a really young batch. We're hoping that will be the case for us and we'll get Katelyn as early in her life as possible. That would still make her 8-9 months by the time we come home with her....Who's kidding who? We'll rejoice no matter how old she is!!
All is well here! In the past week and a half we've bought the glidder rocker & ottoman (white wood with pink pads!) and the stroller (the one I wanted was on clearance and I had a gift card so it was $80 instead of $130). Whoo hoo. The boxes are in the garage and I forsee them piling up before too many months go by. It's nice to have enough time to get the bigger stuff gradually!
I'm determined to pick on project around the house and tackle it this weekend. We don't have the kids and the weather's supposed to be more excuses!

Ladybugs are a symbol of good luck in the Chinese adoption community. I don't know where this started but ladybug sitings are always worth mentioning....
So this morning I was throwing a load of laundry in the washer and out of the corner of my eye I saw something crawling on my shoulder and thought it was a spider. As a turned my head and was about to flick it off, I realized it was a ladybug....Please note...I was in my house and it's February...winter...I haven't seen a ladybug in six months. Josh told me to write the date down....maybe Katelyn was born today!! Maybe God was just telling me to "be still and know that He is God." Either way, it was encouraging and a reminder that each day that passes brings us one step closer to our daughter.

MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2006 12:34 PM, CST
Waiting...waiting...waiting....We're learning patience like we've never known before. But on the bright side....ONE MONTH DOWN! :)

THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2006 04:33 PM, CST
Boy, I've got a story for you. A couple of days ago a man from Lexington Leadership Foundation came and visited Josh at work. (Lexington Leadership Foundation is a Christian organization in town that is dedicated to networking organizations and churches to help meet their need and provide services in our community.)
So this man hands Josh an envelope and tells him to open it. In the envelope was a check for $1,000 made out to Josh! Lexington Leadership Foundation is a local organization that is part of a national organization. There was a man that donated $300,000 and asked that the national organization distribute $15,000 to each local foundation and have them designate 15 individuals in their community who were "Street Saints"...or people investing their lives in serving the poor and homeless. Josh was picked as one of the 15 for Lexington! Yeah, I know, how AWESOME is that??!!! Beyond the $ it is truly an honor. I'm so proud...I've already can too.
Josh wants to use this money to pay for his plane ticket to China "to get our baby" his words.
When we started this process we weren't sure where the money would come from to pay for it but we knew it would come. God's provision is pretty amazing...and so creative!
So we're pretty excited this week. Tomorrow it will be 1 month since our log in date. Time is actually going by quickly. Only 7-8 months to go until referral (we hope).

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2006 11:45 AM, CST
YIPPIE! We have a Log In Date....We were logged in in China on December 27th! That's great news. I was afraid that everything would take longer than a month to get logged in because of the holidays and that would throw us into the January group....So based on current timelines...we should be getting a referral sometime in Sept. or Oct....It is so nice to have a date! Confirmation is a beautiful thing!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2005 01:16 PM, CST
We just received word last week that it's now taking 8-9 months from our log in date in China until referral. So sad. There's just more people adopting children from China now (great for Chinese orphans though).
So now it's looking like we won't get a referral until September or October and then travel a couple of months after that.
We remain hopeful that in a few months they'll pick up the pace again.
I do pray that this was our last Christmas without Katelyn...and for that matter Thanksgiving.
So we keep waiting....

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2005 08:07 PM, CST
Our dossier was sent to China today! WHOO HOO!!! Now it all seems real. It's strange not to even know whether or not our daughter's even been born yet. Pretty much by the middle of January or so it will be safe to assume that she has. I'm going to be a mommy and she's going to be really cute. So you should all spoil her because I"m spoiled and I turned out all heck, keep spoiling me too. :) Oh yeah, and Josh.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2005 10:41 AM, CST
YEAH!!!! Our dossier is back from Washington D.C. all signed and sealed and it will be going to China on FRIDAY!! Whoo hoo. I can't believe it's finally we're official and we officially start waiting. It should be about 8 months until we get our referral. It takes 2 weeks to get translated and then another couple of weeks to get logged in with China's Center for Adoption Affairs and then about 7 months until referral. So it should be early August and we'll have pictures of our sweet girl. Thank you all for lots of prayers and encouragement.

Our I-171H finally came yesterday! Glory...Halleluiah! We found out that it had been approved on October 13th and for whatever reason the document never actually got to us. What a horrible time to have something get lost in the mail!!! So this morning, I had the document notarized, certified at our county clerk and then drove to the capital building in Frankfort and had it state sealed. Then I went back to the adoption agency and handed it over to our Family Advocate who had a FedEx envelope all ready to send all of the documents in our dossier to the courier they use in Washington D.C. to be authenticated at the national level. Because of Thanksgiving next week it will take a few days longer than normal, but our agency should be sending our dossier to China on Friday, December 2nd. So based on this, we're projecting that we'll get our referral the beginning of August and travel to China the beginning of October!!!
The amazing thing is, if this document had come when they had originally been approved we would be scheduled to travel right in the middle of when we have our big fundraising banquet at work that I am in charge of and that would be a really bad time for me to be gone. And...Guangzhou, China, which is the very southern part of China is supposed to be miserably hot and humid in the middle of summer and everyone who adopts has to go through this city at the end of the trip because it's where the US Consulate is and where the adoption is the trip will be much more enjoyable in the fall. All this to say, God's timing is perfect and we know that He has just the right child for us next fall.
For now, I'm just SO happy that the paperchasing is over. Now we do a lot of preparing and more waiting.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2005 02:46 PM, CDT
Still waiting for our form from Louisville. We're on day 57 now! Good grief!!!! Yeah for state government offices .... ;) I can't wait to post something different than this message. Maybe when I get home there will be something in the mail....

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2005 03:32 PM, CDT
We're still waiting for our I-171H to come from Louisville. We've heard everything from 46-76 days to get this back. We're now on day 41. Hopefully soon.
We've started to transform the office into the nursery. We're going to have the "office" in our bedroom now. Fortunately our bedroom is huge so it will all work.
I've got "Lazy Daisy" yellow paint for Katey's room. We bought a used changing table when we started trying to have a baby and it's been used as a shelf for toys and games in Ashley's closet since then. :) So we've gotten that out and are going to sand and paint it. Very exciting. I want to get the painting done this fall so we can work on the room little by little over the months to come.
I just bought paint for our bedroom and bathroom also. I figure if I don't get all of this stuff done before the baby comes home it may never happen!
Keep praying for us that this paperwork would come from Louisville!

Josh and I have decided to name our daughter Katelyn Grace McDonald! We are going to wait until we get our referral next spring (hopefully) and see what her Chinese name is and whether or not we'll give her a second middle name that will incorporate part of that name.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2005 12:24 PM, CDT
Waiting....waiting...waiting....I think this will be pretty typical of the months to come. All we need is one approved form from Homeland Security and we can finish up and send the whole dossier out to China.
Josh and I went to our local chapter of Families with Children From China group. They meet once a month and it's a great chance for us to build relationships with other families that are adopting or have adopted from China. Everyone was really nice and there were many little Chinese girls that were there that had been adopted...they were healthy, happy and well adjusted...and they loved their parents and siblings. So that was reassuring. The evening's activity was making Chinese dumplings. YUM! Making them was fun but then we got to eat them too. There was a very nice Chinese lady there instructing us.
On Saturday night Josh and I sat down with Brandon & Ashley and told them they would have a new sister next summer. They were really excited. We've got a great National Geographic video called China's Lost Girls and we were able to show them part of that video so they could see some of the footage of families in China bringing their daughters home. I think that helped a little to explain. They wanted to know if they could play with her and sing her to sleep. Brandon wanted to know if we would bring a brother home also! We said, one kid at a time please!

Okay...consider yourselves caught up! Whew...It's been a very full six weeks! In the midst of that the mission has its big banquet and silent auction that I'm in charge of this week and Josh started a new job a few weeks ago. Our heads would fly off if we weren't holding on tight.
I've started buying some clothes for the baby. She should be 7-10 months at the time of referral and then 8 1/2 to 12 months when we actually travel to China (most likely sometime next summer). I've bought some 9 and 12 month stuff...I know I should wait...but it's just not going to happen. In my defense, I'm buying summer stuff super if she can't wear it someone's getting a great shower gift down the road! You think I'm's already sent two boxes of stuff. Like mother, like daughter. I put a picture in our photo album of the crib set I found so everyone can say, "Ooohh,ahhh". We're painting the nursery yellow and we're getting white furniture. I'm doing a heart theme. Ashley currently has the market on butterflies and flowers in our house.
Josh just doesn't get as excited about everything like I do...I'm kind of a junkie for the baby stuff. He is pretty cute though...he gets this little look on his face when he's covering up that he's thinking it's cute too. I'm on to him...he loves all of this.

8/1/05...And we're off...birth certificates requested...marriage license requested...police reports requested...domestic violence/child abuse checks's appointments made...filling our a zillion forms! We had our first meeting with our social worker, Kristen to start our home study. She is really nice and I know that will help as we work on this huge piece of our dossier (The dossier is this huge packet of papers that gets send to China...everything has to be notarized, county certified, state sealed and nationally sealed..then it can go to China....good grief!)
8/3/05..We sent off for Josh's passport and sent mine to get my name changed from my maiden name. I'm running around to banks to get them to sign paperwork. We really want to rush through all this beginning paperwork because it can really hold up the whole process if we don't stay on top of it.
8/5/05...Josh had his physical...The cooties aren't so bad they'll keep us from adopting. I was worried. Hee hee. We're working on our adoption aplication letter that gets sent to China and our autobiographies that help the social worker write up our homestudy (an 8-10 page paper on our entire life).
8/8/05...I had my physical and I'm not crazy enough to be kept out of China...yet...Playing phone tag with the nice people at the health insurance company. Just getting them to sign my form may make me crazy.
8/10/05...We had our second home study meeting (which counted as our 2nd and 3rd meetings...there are four). She met with Josh for an hour, me for an hour and then both of us for an hour. We shared our life story...talked about our we will discipline our child...gave her a tour of our house...etc...She really is great and it wasn't bad at all...just long after a long day. One more hurdle jumped. If everyone had to go through all of this to have a child...
8/17/05...We have my birth certificate and police report for CA. We went today and got our FBI fingerprinting done in Louisville. I told Josh that neither of us can ever get into any trouble because we would be found quickly. Now if we could just get his birth certificate from Indiana...darn Hoosiers!
8/22/05...Had our last homestudy meeting! Now Kristen just has to finish writing everything up. Yeah!!!
8/24/05...Our employer letters are done and notarized. Josh just changed jobs this week so we had to have one from both places. Nothing like telling your new employer that you have paperwork for them on your first day! Praise God they were very kind.
8/26/05...I couldn't stand it anymore. Josh's birth certificate is holding up our flow. The homestudy will be done the beginning of next week and we have to have a copy of his birth certificate to send in the home study to INS where we'll get our last document for the dossier. So..I drove to Indianapolis and got it!! And got it state sealed while I was up there to boot....get out of my way we're ready for our kid. :)
8/29/05..Yeah, okay, the passport came in the mail today. Figures...
9/1/05...Home study is officially done, notarized and on its way to Louisville. Now we wait 30-60 days for our precious I-171H so we are cleared to adopt an international orphan. Once we get that we get it authenticated at the county and state levels...which involves Melissa driving around like a crazy person to downtown Lexington and then Frankfort. Then our agency uses a courier service to send everything to Condoleza Rice's office in Washington D.C. so she can sign and seal everything...I'm sure she does this personally...We get everything back in 8 days and then Friday of that week it all goes to China. It gets translated and logged in and then we get a referral 6-7 months after that log in date. When the referral comes we'll get pictures, what medical info they have, what orphanage in which province she's in, her age, height and weight...Oh, that day's a long way off!
9/7/05...We closed on the home equity line on our house...So we know we can fund this whole endeavor...