Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our adoption journey takes a new direction....

Well, it's just amazing how the Lord works in the lives of His children! We were planning to use the agency FFC to complete our adoption from Taiwan, and we firmly believed that this was the path that we were to pursue in order to bring our baby home. It seemed to be confirmed in many ways. Having done a seemingly exhaustive study of all routes of adoption to Taiwan, there was only one agency (FFC) with which we felt comfortable. And they were going to stop accepting applications in mid October 2007. Thus, we quickly filled out their application packet and submitted it to them. We were approved by the agency and jumped right into our home study process. I wonder if feeling comfortable with only them and the fact that they had an upcoming moratorium was God's way of more quickly launching us into the adoption process. We were planning to wait until the first of the year to begin our adoption, but with the adoption time frame lengthening in Taiwan we are so happy that we followed God's leading and jumped in with both feet in late September 2007!

During our home study process, I received an email from a new friend in Florida. Of course her name is Anita too! She shared some personal information regarding her own adoption journey to Taiwan, and as a result I began to feel a leading within my spirit that we should revisit the options for routes of adoption in Taiwan. We spent many hours again researching agencies working in Taiwan, and just couldn't see any other route for us apart from FFC. We decided that when the Lord is not giving another clear direction, we should simply "stay the course", and so we did.

Next came a post on the internet from my friend Sarah about her own adoption journey. She was so excited to announce that she is adopting her next child independently from Taiwan. That's right, without the help of a US adoption agency! I couldn't believe this. Jarrod and I didn't even know that this was an option in Taiwan. Sarah was so excited and shared how her facilitators in Taiwan pray prior to making referrals of an orphan to the adoptive family, in order to place the child with the family that God has planned for them. They do not go in order of their "wait list", but instead are Christian missionaries who actually PRAY to know the Lord's will prior to placing a child. WOW! We had to write Sarah to find out more about the process. We spent the next few months speaking with Deana and Luke (the Christian missionaries) in Taiwan, researching our state laws on independent adoption, and speaking with people who have spent time talking with or are currently in process of adopting with the assistance of Luke and Deana. We also spent much time in prayer.

Jarrod and I had also been praying about financing our adoption. How could we afford 20-25K for the adoption? Going the independent route, the adoption costs would drop by half, thanks to the willingness of the Pan's to assist with our adoption without charging any fees at all! That's right, they do what they do out of a sincere love for orphaned children! Could this be a HUGE answer to our prayers?! The more we found out, the more excited we became.

We decided to apply to Luke and Deana and see what the Lord had in store. Six of our dear friends wrote reference letters for us and we emailed our application to Taiwan. Our application was submitted to the Pan's on Dec. 13, 2007. We were still "staying the course" with FFC, without any change in plans. We just couldn't close the door to this opportunity if the Lord was leading us in this direction. We prayed that God would guide Luke and Deana in the review of our application and that they would follow His will for our adoption, even if that meant saying "no" to helping us.

One other interesting thing that happened as we waited and prayed for direction: In case you don't know, the name of the city where Luke and Deana live is Taitung, Taiwan. One day I was on the internet reviewing some emails. I decided to click on a link regarding children's items. The link had nothing to do with adoption or Taiwan. And there, on the site, was the name Taitung! Hmmmm.....that's interesting..... Jarrod and I couldn't help but smile at each other!!

Our home study was finalized on December 31, 2007. On January 7, 2008, we received an email from Deana Pan notifying us that they are willing to assist us with our adoption! On that same day (Jan. 7) Luke and Deana also notified all of us that they would currently not be accepting any additional applications for adoption assistance. WOW! What a huge answer to pray right in the midst of our 3 week fast! Our God is an awesome God!

It has been amazing to see the Lord work thus far! He has provided for us every step of the way. After much prayer for direction, we feel a great relief and peace in working with Luke and Deana to bring our baby home from Taiwan. We are sooooo excited!!!

On January 22, 2008 we submitted out home study and I600A application to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We have received our confirmation that it was received, and are now awaiting our fingerprinting appointment date.

On January 23 we submitted our dossier to Taiwan, and are now "paper ready" for our referral! Now we await our baby's photo and medical information, which could come at any time within the next year. After we pray over and accept a referral, we will have more paperwork to complete and submit to Taiwan, and then our case will enter the Taiwan court system. The court process can take many many months, and the length of time can vary greatly due to the judge's schedule and how quickly that particular judge makes a decision regarding our case.

We ask for your prayers for the following:

-That the Lord's perfect will be done and that the correct child is referred to our family, the one whom He has planned to be a part of our family since before time began.

-For a wonderful foster family for our baby while he/she is in Taiwan awaiting our arrival. Our baby could be with this foster family in Taiwan for many months. Please pray that they will provide all that our baby needs, and that the baby will be in a very safe and loving environment.

-For the Pans as they serve the Lord as Christian missionaries in Taiwan. They are praying for financial assistance and the Lord's direction as the strive to establish a children's home/orphanage in Taiwan.

-For biological mothers who desire to place their baby's for adoption, but don't know where to turn, to be able to connect with the Pans.

-For health, peace, and safety for our baby and his biological mother. Also for his biological mother's salvation in Christ.

-For a safe and speedy court process for us in Taiwan

-For our travel arrangements to Taiwan and clear direction for child care arrangements for Matilyn and Matthew during our travel to Taiwan.

-That the baby will have a smooth transition into the family, and that Matilyn and Matthew will have a smooth transition as well.

We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support during this wonderful life changing journey. We pray that the Lord will bless you all as you have been such blessings in our lives!


Monday, January 28, 2008

More Good News!

Our I600A was received in Memphis! We received a receipt today from the Dept. Of Homeland Security. Jarrod held the mail in his hands and said, "Now how often do we receive something in the mail that says 'Department of Homeland Security'!" We both cracked up! Adopting a baby is such an amazing journey! We will now be checking the mail for our fingerprinting appointments. Yes, that's right, our fingerprints must be run through the FBI database prior to the US approving us as adoptive parents. We are praying to have our I600A approval within the next 2-3 months.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

God Knows Your Heart

Tonight our church family had a wonderful ladies meeting! We had just completed a fast and we shared what the Lord is doing in our lives. We also had a wonderful time of prayer together! While many people know that we are in the process of adopting our child from Taiwan, many do not know that Jarrod and I have been praying about beginning an adoption ministry through our church. During the meeting, God spoke directly to me through one of the precious women in our congregation. Frances looked at me and said "the Lord knows your love for the orphans, because He loves you the same way. He will bring it to pass." I knew in my spirit that this was a direct word from the Lord for me, confirming that He is leading and guiding us as we step out in faith for the precious orphaned children! It is so exciting to serve the Lord, and I just can't imagine life without Him! What a mighty God we serve!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Doin' The CRAZY Dance!

This is often the scene during family time at our house. Just some crazy fun! The only difference is that I am not joining in, since someone has to hold the camera.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Doin' The HAPPY Dance In Tennessee

I hold in my hand the result of tons of time, work, and prayer. Today we received our home study in the mail! YAHOO!!!! We are soooo excited to finally receive it. It was finalized on December 31st, so 2007 went out with a bang. It feels great just holding it in our hands, knowing that it's DONE! We will be submitting our I600A and home study to the US government within the next day or two. Now we will be checking the mail often for our fingerprinting appointments! LOL! We are one step closer to bringing our precious little one home from Taiwan. We are so thankful to the Lord for His provision every step of the way. We have so much more to tell, and will be posting more very soon. We serve such an awesome God!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Linus In The House

We have our own Linus, only instead of a blankee he chose a towel! I laughed so much when I saw him flying around the house like this!



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!

We are so excited to see what all the new year will bring. Perhaps a referral of a baby brother! :)

Here is a link to two nice panoramic views of the Taipei 101 during the New Year celebration. These photos are from 2006, but fun to view. Enjoy! Here's to a blessed 2008!


Have you ever experienced Obleck? It is quite interesting, to say the least. You know how you stir together corn starch and water to thicken food? Well....that's Obleck! Although, I have to admit that I have never placed my hands into the stuff prior to this evening. Squeezing it or applying force to it creates a solid substance, but release the pressure on it and you have a liquid again. Obleck.......a great time to be had by all!


1 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
2 to 7 drops food coloring (optional)
Mix water and food coloring together. Slowly add cornstarch. Do not stir. Let the mixture stand for 1 to 2 minutes. Pick a handful of the oobleck up and squeeze it until it forms a hard ball. Open your hand and the oobleck will turn from a solid back into a liquid. If it gets too dry after awhile, just add a bit more water.

Note: After allowing the mixture to "sit for 1-2 minutes" it was solid. We did need to add small amounts of water at a time and mix with fingers just until it became a liquid. This worked great and was easy to do. Enjoy!