Tag Archives: adoption matching

The Match… And the Name

Thank you so much for all your kind words last week when I shared about matching with our new little one.  With each passing day it becomes more and more real to me that we have a son on the other side of the word!

Just a few minutes ago I went back and read the posts (part 1 &  2) I wrote sharing the details of the events leading up to our match with Esther three years ago.  It wasn’t hard to see God’s hand at work in the process and in my life as well. To this day when I look back at my spiritual journey during the week we had to wait on matching approval for her stands out as one of the major life events that God used to draw me closer to him.

I’m excited to see God at work in the matching of our son as well.  The waiting process was drastically different, I’m not sure if that’s due to the busyness I experience as a mom to two or because we had already traveled this road once, but it still makes for a great story.

The days before we had a son. 

Early June – After officially being in the China program for over a month Michael Luke and I decided to start seriously looking at the waiting children.  The children on the special focus list can be viewed at any time… even before beginning your homestudy.  Sometimes parents like to wait a while to seriously look at the list because once you match your child is just waiting on you to finish all the steps required before your travel.  So they are essentially getting older while waiting on you.  So while we could have waited until we got a few more to-dos knocked off our list we also didn’t want to find ourselves at the end waiting on a child to become available that fit our “child desired” list.

So we began reviewing the list of waiting children. Michael Luke being a little bit more organized than me (ok, a lot more organized) created a spreadsheet with all the children that fit the age range we were looking at.  From our shortened list we began to read each child’s profile and watch any videos that were made available.

Early on our little guy began to grab our hearts and attention. We kept coming back to his file and prayed that God would lead us to the child He had for us.

June 20 – The adoption timeline events and rules are different from country to country so Michael Luke and I were still unsure of how everything worked at this point.  What happened if we wanted to “officially” review a child’s file?  Did the child go on hold within our agency or with all agencies?  Did China require a waiting period of seven days like Hong Kong where other families could speak up and be considered for a child?  Our social worker, Sarah was more than happy to answer our questions for us and we began making plans for placing the little boy that was creeping his way into our hearts on hold.

Within a few minutes of letting Sarah know of our desires we received an e-mail with his information, pictures, and a video. Whereas Esther came with 100’s of papers with family history, medical history, and history of daily life the e-mail contained 27 pages about him… half of which where the English translation of the original Chinese language which I guess is Mandarin. So in a nutshell there isn’t much we know about him. We do know he is guesstimated to be 17 months old,  he weighs about 16 lbs, and is around 28 inches long.  Just like with Esther though much of his history I will keep private because that is his story to tell.

Shortly after receiving his file Sarah called us and talked with us for about an hour.  We went through the files together and then she prayed with us asking God to guide us in our decision about whether to adopt this little guy or not.

June 23 – I feel like the decision making process this go around was a lot harder than with Esther.  There are several factors that contributed to this.  First, with Esther we were approached and asked to consider a specific child.  In this case, we had access to lots of files and wanted desperately to know which way God was pointing us.

Because of that I find it no surprise that I am currently working through Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Bible study.  As a little side note it is absolutely amazing! I feel like I could learn from the study over and over again.  Through Experiencing God I have learned that I have to look for where God is at work and then make a decision to join him.  This was my prayer in choosing a child, “God which child do you have chosen for me?” It seems simple but this small but radical approach is what guided us in our decision and gave me complete confidence in our decisions.

Salt Lake City Bed

We were in Salt Lake City staying with some good friends of ours when we placed the file on hold and just as we walked into our hotel room in downtown Salt Lake city for the Young Living International Convention my phone rang. It was a call from the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham. We had e-mailed the files to them to review and for help making the most out of what little information we had received.  It was a very informative phone call and we were amazed at what all they were able to glean from the 27 pages of information.

Still at this point I wasn’t quite sure if this guy was who God had planned for us.  Ok, maybe I was sure but I kept trying to question God.  But with each question He responded with an answer. His voice came through the Word, through prayer, and through circumstances that He had me encounter in Salt Lake City.  It was amazing and so much fun to find and hear God around me.

July 1 – I may have been a little slow but I finally realized that God was letting me know he was the one.  Michael Luke felt the same.

We were at peace. When you know you are following God’s leading all doubts and fears are gone because any other decision would have been wrong.

letter of intent

July 5 – Around lunch time Michael Luke emailed Lifeline to let them know that we wanted to submit a letter of intent for this little guy. I was excited but knew that he still wasn’t ours. There was still the possibility that someone else could be submitting a letter of intent at the same time or that they would think we just weren’t a good match for him.  So we just had to wait… an estimated two weeks.

Now, let me just add that at this point in Esther’s adoption process I was a basket case. We had to wait 10 days to find out if we had been approved for her.  And during this time I had the hardest time waiting.  Waiting knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to make her mine. It was all in God’s hands.  It seamed as if my stomach were always tied in knots.  I would pray and give the situation to God and sometimes within minutes I would try and take it back in my hands.  True spiritual growth happened here and God taught me to rest in Him.

So this go around I really didn’t fret or worry about it.  Honestly, I didn’t think about it all that much. I knew He was in control and that there was NOTHING I could do.

July 8 (4:50) – So, we went on vacation to Biloxi  with my parents to a lumber convention. We had fun at the beach, swimming, and eating.  And then Friday afternoon when my phone rang I saw that it was a 205 area code number and felt like I should answer it.  It was Sarah and she wanted to know if I had a few minutes to talk and if Michael Luke was available too.  My heart almost sank because I feared she was calling to let us know that another family had been approved.  I mean, it had only been three days.

Thankfully, we were at the tradeshow at the Beau Rivage with my parents so I left the girls with my mom and ML and I went out in the corridor and found one of those old rooms (well it seems old now) with phone booths in a row.  It seamed like a fitting place to talk on a cell phone in private.

Sarah didn’t waste anytime but let us know immediately that we had matched with our little boy. We were so excited that there were tears streaming down our cheeks and a permanent smile on our faces.  It was more than hard to keep it a secret the rest of the weekend while we vacationed with my entire extended family.  We did though.

Now

Now we wait… and complete the remaining steps at their appointed times.  We are officially through with the homestudy update though and are finally moving on to our dossier and our I-800 (immigration) paperwork. Woohoo!

Hopefully sometime early next year I will be able to scoop Judah Stanley up into my arms and give him a big hug from his mommy.

Judah Reveal

Yep, we finally named him… but that’s a story for another day. 🙂

Judah has a beautiful middle name but it is his name given to him by the nannies at his orphanage so we can’t share it because it is considered identifying information about him.  Once he is ours and on U.S. soil I will be happy to share though.  

 

 

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From Hong Kong City to Hong Kong (Part 2)

I really didn’t meant to go so long between posts but the past two weeks have been incredibly busy.  Noah and I and sometimes Michael Luke have been traveling off and on but we are finally back home and there is nothing like waking up in your own bed.

Today’s post is Part 2 of From Hong Kong City to Hong Kong where I am sharing our story of how we matched with Esther, the little girl we are adopting from Hong Kong.  Today we are continuing with…

The Days Before Esther

Thursday, July 4

At the end of our last post I left you waiting.  Waiting for the rest of the story… the happy ending.  Thursday, July 4 was our second day of the seven day waiting period.  Michael Luke and I both slept in. Like most smart phone addicts we checked our e-mail as soon as we woke up and found three e-mails from Angie, our social worker with Lifeline Children’s Services.  The e-mails contained pictures and video that were taken the day before of the little girl we hoped to match with.  We were ecstatic!  For the first time we got a glimpse of her personality and absolute cuteness.  We watched the video over and over.  Each one was only a couple of minutes long but each revealed so much about her.  She had a sense of humor, could jump and feed herself, and at almost twenty-eight months could sing her ABC’s.

As precious as these videos were it made us fall in love with her even more. And while that is a good thing it made waiting to find out if we matched with her even harder.  Harder because we couldn’t help but picture her in our family.  To dream that we would be able to bring her home someday.  There was nothing we could do about the waiting though so instead we turned to God in more prayer.  Trusting and knowing that he was in complete control.  Isn’t it nice to rest in that?

Monday, July 8

Monday I just couldn’t take it anymore!  I was trying my best to wait but had several questions that I felt like Angie could answer.  So I gave her a call.  I found out there was no way of knowing if any other families had already submitted a request to match.  Looking back I think it was best that I didn’t know.  Angie was also able to give me a little more insight as to when we could expect a decision from Mother’s Choice.  Up until this point ML and I knew there was a seven day waiting period but didn’t know how long Mother’s Choice would need to look through all the families and choose the best one for this particular child.  We found out a decision would be on the tenth… the immediate end of the seven day waiting period.  This was exciting news because whether we were chosen or not it was nice to know that we would not be waiting for several weeks.  Seven days was already long enough.

This meant we could hear something from Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong as soon as 8:00 P.M. Tuesday, July 9 because Hong Kong is twelve hours ahead of us!

Tuesday, July 9

Tuesday came and passed slowly.  It was like waiting on labor to start.  We knew it was coming.  We just didn’t know when.  Noah and I tried to keep ourselves busy during the day but by the time supper got here the minutes were creeping by.  ML and I put Noah to bed early so we would be free to talk if Angie called.  Lifeline is incredible to work with.  Angie our social worker had told us that she would let us know as soon as she heard something from Hong Kong… no matter what time of day/night it was.

The minutes kept ticking by. ML left the house around nine to go pick some friends up at the airport and take them to their house.  He was instructed to call me immediately if he heard anything from Angie.  A call never came.  We stayed up late.  Later than usual.  I went ahead and made a batch of my laundry detergent to pas the time.  Finally, around eleven thirty we decided to call it a night.  Since Angie lives on the east coast we figured she had probably already gone to bed since it was after midnight where she lived.

Sleep didn’t come easy to me that night.  I continued to try to rest in God’s sovereignty but really struggled.  Sometimes it’s really hard to do that when your emotions feel like they need to tell God what YOU think would be best.  Yeah right, like I actually know better than God what would be best for the situation.  This entire waiting period was definitely a wonderful time of spiritual growth for me and I have no doubt that is exactly how God intended it to be.

Wednesday, July 10

Wednesday morning came.  We figured if we were going to hear anything from Angie it would probably be before Michael Luke left for work.  We knew Angie would already be up by then and would probably check her e-mail as soon as she woke up.  We never heard anything though so ML left for work and we expected to start the whole waiting process over that night.  Thinking maybe it was taking longer than expected to decide.  Maybe for some reason they weren’t in the office yesterday.  Who knows?  I was sort of dreading the whole waiting process all over again but had begun to accept it…. until.

Until, I was getting ready to jump in the shower that morning. The phone rang.  It was Angie and I was incredibly nervous to answer it.  Regardless of the answer this was going to be a life changing call.

I answered.  Angie sounded a little groggy and hesitant… almost cautious of what she was about to say.  Immediately, I began to get nervous and to expect to be gently let down.  To be told that another family had been chosen.  That was not the case.  Thankfully, Angie isn’t one to leave you hanging.  She immediately let me know the good news and apologized for taking so long to call.  She had just woken up and checked her e-mail because she had stayed up so late waiting on the e-mail to come through from Mother’s Choice.  Unfortunately, she had fallen asleep before ever receiving the e-mail.  It was ok.  I was just beyond excited that we had officially been matched with Esther!

I immediately called MIchael Luke at work to share the wonderful news with him.  We were both so excited and could hardly believe we had matched with our little girl, Esther.  He gave me the go ahead to call our families and to send them the e-mail we had typed up (just in case) the previous night with all of Esther’s pictures and videos.  It was a crazy morning.

Noah and I went to the hospital to meet ML for lunch that day to celebrate and because we needed to get some paperwork notarized immediately.  I think Michael Luke was as proud that day as the day Noah was born.  He was showing everyone he saw Esther’s picture and telling them about our new little girl.  It was sweet.

Hong Kong Adoption

That night we were still on cloud nine and decided to celebrate by going out to eat at Hong Kong City.

20130718-202700.jpg

A local Hong Kong restaurant here in town.  It was nothing fancy but we thought it fit the occasion and made us feel a little closer to our daughter.  It was a wonderful way to bring our waiting process to a close and start a new one.

Waiting until we travel to Hong Kong to bring her home!

Isn’t God great?

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Family Friday: Esther

Warning!!! This post has a surprise ending.

On our last Hong Kong adoption update post, our dossier had just been submitted to Hong Kong, the time frame for travel was potentially looking longer than originally expected, and we still had not matched with a child.

Matching with a child…. What does that mean?

Matching or matched are terms used in adoptions which imply that an orphanage or government agency has granted a family approval to proceed forward to adopt an available child.  In Hong Kong, matching can happen two different ways.

Our adoption agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, partners with Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong.  Mother’s Choice provides a home to children who have been abandoned.  They first try to place the children with a family from Hong Kong.  If an in-country family is not found for a particular child, then Mother’s Choice begins advocating for the child a family in the U.S.  This is done by placing the child on the “Waiting Children” list available to the four U.S. agencies that are licensed to work in Hong Kong.  The information is then forwarded from the agencies on to the families seeking to adopt from Hong Kong.  At this point a family can request to be matched with a child on the list.  Mother’s Choice then lets all other agencies know that a family has requested a match and gives a window of seven days for other families to also request a match with that particular child.  Once all requests are received, Mother’s Choice then selects a “match” based on which family would be the best for the child.  Remember, the adoption process is about what’s best for the child.

The other route to match in Hong Kong is after receiving dossier approval from Mother’s Choice the dossier will then be sent to the Hong Kong Adoption Unit.  Once they approve the dossier, they begin looking through all of their files of children available for adoption.  A child’s file will be chosen based on the Child Desired Form and sent to the waiting family for review and possible approval.  If after reviewing the files, the family doesn’t think the child would be a good fit for them, they can send the file back and request another file.  This continues until a family accepts a file and requests to move forward with the adoption process.  This second route is a little longer than the first one and one of the reasons why the projected timeline was longer than ML and I were originally hoping.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about the second route anymore because as of Wednesday we officially matched with a little girl from Mother’s Choice that we are naming Esther!  Surprised?  Me too!  I’ll be back next week to share how the whole process of events unfolded, but in a nut shell, up until two weeks ago we knew matching so soon was a possibility but honestly didn’t really think it would happen.  When people asked, “How soon?”  We would always reply, “It could be any day or several more months.”  Well it looks like God decided to take the “any day” route, and boy are we happy, as you can tell from my Instagram post on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Adoption

On cloud nine today!

Even though we have matched with Esther, we haven’t adopted her yet, so a lot of her information is still considered private… including pictures of her.  So while I would love to show you her beautiful smile and adorable face, I can’t until she is officially ours.  In the meantime I can tell you that she is eight months older than Noah and has quite a spunky personality.  She speaks both English and Cantonese (smart little thing)… unfortunately, ML and I only speak English.  We look forward to bringing her home with us and are excited that we get to be her “forever” family.

Update:  Our original intentions were to keep the birth order but lots of prayer and falling in love with this little girl we knew she and and Noah would make wonderful sisters.  

So how did we decide on “Esther.”  Like Noah, we knew we wanted a less common Biblical name.  We came up with a list of several Biblical girl names we liked and pretty quickly decided on Esther.  Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after a girl.  Esther herself was an orphan raised by her uncle and her heroic actions are credited with saving the Jewish race.  In Hebrew Esther means “star”… a name that is very fitting for the Esther of the Bible and a name that will surely be fitting for our little girl.  We named Noah, which means movement, while she was still in the womb, and she has certainly lived up to her name.  I can’t wait to see Esther fulfill hers!

Esther is a fascinating book of the Bible and filled with comic relief and silent references to God.  If you have never read it or it’s been awhile, it’s a good book to add to your reading list.  I’m so glad that I finally got to share the news with yall and will definitely share more updates as we get them.  Thanks again for all your prayers and please don’t stop.

hongkongharbor

source

P.S. Travel to Hong Kong is still uncertain because there are several steps in the adoption process that we lack.  For instance, we still need approval from the Hong Kong Adoption Unit and that can take up to eight weeks.  All in all we hope to travel to Hong Kong by the end of the year to bring our little girl home.

P.P.S. For the full journey of our adoption, visit the Hong Kong Adoption tab at the top of the page.

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