Monday, June 30, 2008

June UPDATES!!!

I just about died when I saw her with that head band and dress! We sent both of those things to her, along with the pacifier clip and pacifier that is in one of the pictures!
Please pray we get to travel very soon! I actually feel a physical ACHE in my heart that she is so far away and doesn't even know us... I know it might sound weird for those who have never adopted and wonder if it's possible to love a child that you didn't give birth to... but I am finding out that it's true and I know it's only because she is one God has given us.
We didn't receive a detailed update about her life, but we did receive her latest weight, height and head circumference...
I had Aaron check the US growth chart for a female her age and found the percentile for each.
Height: 62cm (24") (15th percentile)
Weight: 6.72kg (14.82 lbs) (50th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16"(25th percentile)
Our boys' head circumference are (just for fun) Noah (21"), Calvin (21 1/2"), Michael (20")

This one is my favorite... she looks SOOOO cute!!


Her smile in this one is so precious! I need to go get her!!


This is SOOOO cute! It also made me cry when I saw it because I can't imagine what the birthmother is thinking....holding her baby like that and making her smile and then knowing she can't keep her.... so heartbreaking.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Booster HBV shots

After some discussion with the pediatrician and the pediatric infectios disease specialist here in town, we decided to just give Calvin & Michael one more dose of HBV immunization to hopefully give them a boost. The chances, according to the infectious disease specialist, for our boys contracting this virus through casual contact with Anna is not very likely, so he thought just for our peace of mind, we could just give the boys a booster shot. So, we did that this afternoon! No more shots and blood work (hopefully!) for a while!

Now, we just need to hear that we received Final Decree and then our Travel approval!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

COURT DATE!!!

As I was driving the boys to swimming this morning, I heard a beep on my cell phone and it was an email from Fei at ASIA... the subject said "First Court day" so I excitedly opened the email while driving (which, I know I shouldn't do because it's dangerous, I just couldn't help it). All I saw was 6/26! and I squealed with excitement and told the boys we have a court date!!! This is amazing news because in general, court dates are not given out this quickly. I am thanking God for speeding things up on our behalf. I've been praying all along that God will just move the paperwork quickly through the court system and that nothing will hinder the process. That means tomorrow night at 6:30pm PST, our case will be heard in the Taiwan courts. Our agency rep said in the email that this hearing is for the birthmother to give up her rights and that if all goes well, a final ruling will usually follow 5-6 weeks later. She predicts we'll travel in late Sept or early October... although, I am secretly hoping that the judge gives a final ruling right away and not have to wait 5-6 weeks. That will be so great if we could travel while the boys are still on summer break from school. It sure would simplify things for us to not have to pull them out of school. It is all in God's timing though so I am trying to remain calm and live in His peace.

Please pray for a quick ruling!!! :) :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The boys' turn...

I broke the news to our boys that they will have to get their blood drawn to make sure they are immune to Hep B.... they were not very excited about it, but they were all so brave and said they would do it for their sister... So, Aaron & I took them... we really wanted Michael to go first since we thought he would likely be the most fearful, but because of the way the paperwork was entered in the computer, they had to draw Noah's first... that went really well... no tears... Then it was Calvin's turn.... he really looked nervous, but it went great... again, no tears..... but then it was Michael's turn ... even though he had been so brave, he broke down and began to cry... ALOT... and this was BEFORE they even started. Thankfully, Aaron was with him and I was still trying to get our paperwork worked out at the front desk... I heard him cry what seemed like FOREVER and the whole time I just wanted to go rescue him... but, they got it and he survived!

We were really hoping that they all would show immunity to Hep B., but when Aaron got the results back from the lab, it showed no immunity for Calvin & Michael .... which means, they will probably have to either get the whole series started again, or do a booster shot and then another blood test to see if it shows immunity... It makes me sick to think about having to go through all that again... especially with Michael.

Here are some pictures of the boys after the blood draw... I am so proud of them for being so brave! Noah even told me that if he could somehow give away his immunity to Michael, he would just so that Michael wouldn't have to do it again... He is such a sweetheart and I just know he is going to be such a great big brother to Anna. They all will. God's blessed me with 3 wonderful boys that are so caring.



Michael


Calvin


Noah

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We are immune!

Aaron & My blood test came back for Hep B titres and it looks like I am VERY immune to Hep B and Aaron is immune also.... you are considered immune with a certain # (which I don't understand), and 18 is considered immune... Aaron's number was 48 and mine came back at 150+....

Now we have to test our boys... not looking forward to that...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blood test

Today, Aaron & I went in to get our blood drawn to check for our HBV titres. Since Anna has tested positive for HBV, we need to make sure we are immune to it. We have both had our Hep B vaccincations so we should be OK, but it is recommended that we know for sure. We should have the boys tested as well, even though they all have had their vaccinations too.... I am not looking forward to having their blood drawn.. Michael already struggles with just getting shots. I think getting blood drawn is more traumatic. Part of me wonders if I should just let them go for now and wait until we test Anna here before we make the boys go through this, but, I know that I would feel better knowing that I am protecting our boys. I've been trying to read up on HBV so that I am aware of how to take care of Anna once she is here. The more I read about it, the more I am learning that it is a very manageable condition. Still, I am praying daily that God will heal her completely. I keep thinking back to the day that I first saw Anna's picture and Aaron opened the fridge at his office and found a bag labeled "Hepatitis B Vaccination". I really feel like that was a confirmation from God... 1) That We were supposed to go ahead and petition to adopt her and 2) That God was saying she will be "vaccinated" from this disease... i.e., healing) Only God knows and time will tell how things pan out... Healing, or no healing, her life is in His hands and we are trusting Him 100%.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Earthquakes and prayer request...

I woke up on sunday morning, June 1st, to a report that there was an earthquake(6.4) in the Phillippines and southern Taiwan. Anna lives in Taipei, which is located in northern Taiwan, so I was relieved to know that she is safe, however, an hour or so later, I heard of another earthquake (6.0), this time it was felt in Taipei. I am fully trusting God will protect her so I am not losing sleep over that, but it makes me want to travel even sooner to go get her. In my spirit I feel like God is doing something with these earthquakes in Asia.... but, that is for another day and not what this post is about... I am requesting for prayer....

Before I make my request, I want to tell you a little bit about the Taiwan adoption process...

In Taiwan, the adoption is final before you travel. What happens is

1) You receive your referral (in our case, Anna is our referral)
2) Our dossier gets sent to Taiwan (I believe the orphanage) (ours was sent on May 28)
The dossier is a stack of paperwork that basically proves who we are and our "qualifications" for adopting her... it includes medical reports of Aaron & I, our financial report, an employment verification for Aaron and a non-employment verification for me, our state certified and authenticated homestudy, power of attorney so that a rep from the orphanage can be in the courts and sign on our behalf, an adoption agreement, our approval form fro the INS office stating we are allowed to bring an orphan from Taiwan into our country for adoption, (I might be missing a couple of other info, but basically that is our dossier)

3) Our dossier gets translated into chinese and it enters the court system in Taiwan.
(The courts will assign a judge to the case, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to 8 months!!) It all depends on the schedule of the courts and the schedule and possibly the personality of the judge.

4) Once the case is logged into the "system" and a judge is assigned to our case, a hearing date is set...(I am assuming that a hearing can be scheduled right away, or it could get delayed) this is where it gets a little bit mysterious and there are probably many steps in between that I just am not aware of...

5) On the hearing date, I believe the judge is responsible for going through the case... some of the things he/she will need to determine is to make sure that first, the orphan is truly an orphan and everyone that may be able to claim her as a dependent is presented and makes their final relinquishment. In our case, Anna doesn't really have any family members other than her birthmother. The birthfather disappeared as soon as he found out the birthmom was pregnant and she has not had any contact with him since that time. Her mother does not even know about her pregnancy since she kept it a secret. The birthmother chose us, so I believe she has already done her part in relinquishing Anna to the state, which, in my mind should be a very easy case. Ofcourse, the judge's job is to also make sure that Aaron & I are legitmate and hopefully the paperwork proves that we are great candidates for parenting Anna. Once the judge has had time to go over everything and those who he wants to question are present, he can make his final ruling right away (although, I believe there is a mandatory 10 day period after final ruling to make sure the birthmother has a chance to change her mind). Sometimes, though, the judge can ask for a 2nd hearing if he/she doesn't get enough information to make a ruling right then.
Once the final ruling is made in our favor, the court process is over and Anna is more or less ours for good! After that happens, we are given notice by our agency and we can begin to make travel arrangements! Our agency will make an appointment at the AIT (basically the US Consulate in Taiwan) and the US side of the paperwork for bringing home Anna begins. It usually takes about a month to get her paperwork, visa, passport in order and during that time, we'll be making our travel arrangements to go get her.

Now that you know all that, and knowing that this could be as quick as 1-2 months or as late as 8+ months, (Those who have done adoption paperwork state-side, know how each state and its government offices can be super quick, or VERY slow or somewhere in between, can get a good idea how the Taiwan process works too....it's basically the same... ) Our prayer request is as follows:

1) Anna will know we are her parents and attach to us quickly (we know God can cause that to happen so that's our prayer)

2) That we have FAVOR with the government in Taiwan and will be given a very quick hearing appointment and that the judge will grant us final ruling on the same hearing.

3) That we will travel in the perfect time that God has... I personally would LOVE to travel in July(although that would mean our hearing HAS to be scheduled THIS month and have a final ruling by the end of the month.. God can do that if He wants) because the boys will be out of school and it will give us a good month to adjust before school starts and they wouldn't have to miss school to go get her. God's timing is perfect though so we know God will work out those details.

4)That God would prepare Aaron & my hearts (and the boys too) for adding Anna to our family. It's been 6 years since I've had a "baby" in the house and although I am SO excited, I know it is also a very demanding time. We want to make sure we are all prepared to work together.

5) A great family bonding time with the boys and for Aaron & I to have some couple time before our life gets busy.

Thank you for reading ALL of this... your prayers mean alot and if you want to, you can even leave your prayer in the comment section ~ but don't feel obligated to.

Blessings!