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!