Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Moment We've Been Waiting For…..

I have waited over 7 years to write this post, and as I sit here, my heart is full of so many emotions that I can't even describe them all to you. It is hard to put into words how I feel: beyond blessed, overjoyed, very grateful, nervous, anxious, and the list goes on and on. On Wednesday of this week, the moment we have been waiting on for 7 years happened. We received THE CALL….THE ADOPTION CALL….yes, folks, it finally happened!

Many of you may not even know that we have been working on an adoption, or many of you may have assumed that we were not pursuing one anymore since it has been so long (2006). But, we continued to keep our name on the list and do what we had to do to remain active in the system. Deep in our hearts, we knew that if God meant for us to have another child, it would happen. After all, Ansley was a miracle baby.

Month after month, year after year, we would receive monthly updates from the adoption agency. When we began this journey in 2006, the wait was quoted as 6-12 months. For those of you have been on this journey with us, you know that China has changed many regulations. Adoptions seemed to have almost stopped for "healthy children" from China. About a year ago, the wait seemed to speed up a little bit, so we renewed our paperwork. (Something we had not done since Ansley was born.) A social worker had to come back into our home and interview all 3 of us (including Ansley). We had to renew our medical reports, our financial reports, our police reports, our fingerprints….well, you get the picture.

Jill would spend time watching the China Adoption rumor websites to see what dates they were referring each month, and time slowly passed by. This summer (2013), we hoped we were getting close, but again, they slowed down again. Finally, in November, we just knew that we would be in the next batch, only to miss it by one day. So, we waited again. Then, at 11:38am on January 8, 2014, our lives changed forever with one phone call. Philip was in California treating his Dad to a trip to see Auburn play in the National Championship game (Bill, Auburn '66), and Jill was at work. My cell phone rang while I was at lunch, and I knew by the number who it was….it was our adoption agency. When I answered the phone, she said, "Jill? It's Children's Hope, and I have your referral." I can't even begin how to tell you how I felt; I could hardly speak. The first few minutes of the phone call are a blur. I had to run upstairs to my office to get a pen and paper. Several months ago, I had printed out some questions to ask when THE CALL came, so that I would remember what to ask. Luckily, I found those questions pretty quickly. While I was doing that, she conferenced Philip in and gave us the great news together.

She told us about a little girl named Yong (last name) Ning Yu who is waiting for us to come and pick her up in the Hunan Province in China. She just turned two years old on January 1st and is just precious. She told us the orphanage where she is and some other minor details. Then, when we got off the phone, she emailed us medical reports, other information, and 2 pictures!!! (I am so thankful for the technology that we have today. When we started this process, folks would have to wait 24 hours to see a picture since they weren't able to send anything over email back then. And, Philip was able to see the information at the same time I was! My, how far we've come!) She then overnighted the entire package to us, which we received on Thursday. In the package was a letter from the Chinese government written in English and Mandarin that said she was ours if we accept her. That was another surreal moment: seeing our names on an official Chinese government document - wow. She was actually "matched" to us on 12/31/13….one day before her 2nd birthday.

This is all still pretty surreal to me. I have to look at her picture to realize that it is real, and let me tell you folks, God is good. Her medical reports look great, and our pediatrician confirmed that today.

I spent a lot of today completing more paperwork that was very tedious. I think I checked over things 5 times before I sent them!! There were all sorts of different questions that had to be answered just so, or it would throw everything off. STRESSFUL!!! One set of paperwork had to go back to the adoption agency. The other set had to go to the U.S. government. Once the US government approves this set of paperwork, then we will receive a letter from the National Visa Center. We will have to file another form in order to get a visa for her to enter the US. Then, after that is done, we can request a travel approval from the Chinese government. Once we have that approval, we can start planning our trip! So, while I wish I could say that paperwork is over; it's not. The estimated travel time is 3-4 months from now. We will spend approximately 2 weeks in China. We can't wait to go to China to meet her and bring her home!!

The next thing on my list is to prepare a care package to send to her in China. We are able to send 2-3 things. I plan to make her a hard-back photo board book that I have seen on Pinterest, and I plan to send her either a lovey or stuffed animal. We also have to start work on her room!

My goodness; we have a lot to do between now and then. You would think that after 7 years of waiting, we would have things ready. But in reality, we didn't want to do anything until we knew it was really happening. I guess the time has come!!

A special thank you to you, our friends and family...especially those who have been with us every step of the way of this long journey. And, yes, I feel that journey is an appropriate word to use. Without your love and support, we would have thrown in the towel long ago! We are blessed in too numerous ways to mention here. Just know that you are on the top of the list.

Please continue to pray…specifically that the paperwork is filled out correctly, that it gets to where it needs to go, that we get the needed approvals, and that we are able to make our travel plans sooner than later. Please also pray for our family and our upcoming transition. This is probably not going to be easy. Please pray for our little girl. Pray that she is well taken care of, that she knows that someone in the world loves her very much, and that we are coming to get her soon. Pray for the orphanage workers taking care of her now. And, last but not least, pray for her birth parents. I can't even wrap my mind around that right now.

Thanks again for everything.

Love, Jill, Philip, and Ansley

I am going to do my best to keep the blog updated as we know more. I also plan to update the blog while we are in China meeting our new little one.

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