Here we are, just 6 days away from leaving for China and Samuel's adoption process is only getting its fourth post. I guess that may be fitting for the 4th child and truly represents the chaos of managing a household with 3 young children while also managing a medically expedited adoption process.
On March 25th I saw this sweet little boy's face for the first time.
With Bryan's permission, I asked to see his file and we were put on a waiting list of families who were interested in him. It wasn't until April 1 that our agency notified us that we were next in line to review the file of Wu Chi Le. By April 10, we made the decision that this little guy was our next son and submitted our letter of intent to the Chinese government to adopt him. A week later on April 17 we received pre-approval and things have not slowed down since.
We will have Samuel in our arms on August 17-- exactly four months after receiving pre-approval from China. The speed of this adoption, the amount of work required to make it move along quickly and the amount of information I have had to learn and manage has been mind boggling. There hasn't been much time to update the blog with each step -- and if I had, it would have required daily posts because it seemed there was always a step being started or completed, a document being notarized or overnighted, or another phone call being made to keep the ball rolling.
In addition to stacks of paperwork and government approvals, we have done lots of other things to prepare for Samuel to join our family:
Bought new bunk beds for the room that Joshua & Samuel will share
New spiderman sheets + bedding in their Super Hero/Super Brothers room
Cleaned out drawers to make room for more cute little boy clothes
Tested the Beco toddler carrier that is on loan to us from my friend Stephanie
Set up a toddler bed in our room for Samuel. He will sleep here when he comes home for as long as he needs to so he can be close to us.
Added a 4th car seat to my sexy minivan!
Caleb talks at least once a day about how many kids we could adopt if we had a 12-passenger van!!!
And this week we finally started packing the giant piles of stuff that had been accumulating on Samuel's toddler bed in our room
I'm working to cross more things off my To Do list before we travel. We've got 3 kids and 2 dogs to make plans for, and thankfully have 4 amazing parents who are willing to step in at a moment's notice to take care of the kids-- and they do so with giving, supportive and joyful attitudes that many adoptive families do not experience when they are growing their family. We are blessed. I have realized that having a short time to prepare before we travel is helping me prioritize the things that truly need to get done (print out all relevant adoption paperwork!) versus the things that are not important (clean out the playroom!).
We are eager to get to China and meet the new son that God placed in our hearts. We are ready for him to be more than just a name on a page and pictures that we show people on our phones. We are ready to know what he likes to eat, what his voice sounds like, hear him giggle and see him play. It is hard to imagine what he will be like and if (and when?) he will like us. If I spend too much time thinking about the 'what ifs' I lose sight of what is true about this process and about our life.
We can say with confidence that God has called us to adoption, equipped us for adoption, and walks alongside us in this and every other adoption. We are grateful to have the enthusiastic support of our family and friends. We would be honored to have you follow along this journey to our sweet Samuel.
We would appreciate prayers in the days and weeks to come:
-for the days we have left at home with our 3 precious kids-- that it would be quality, stress free family time that would bless them and us
-for Caleb, Joshua & Hannah-- for God to prepare their hearts for us to be gone for 2 weeks
-for Samuel-- that he would receive a blood transfusion next week in China in preparation for his adoption, for his heart to be prepared to leave his foster family and beloved nanny, and for him to trust us and bond to us quickly
-for our parents at home as they care for our kids, which is no small undertaking!