Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Pictures of our Girl

We are so excited to have these new pictures of Emily! Think I may freak her out if I bite her cheeks the first time we meet?

She's looking at the photo album we sent her of our family!

Born to be a Tiger!!!

Her mama and dada sent her this warm jacket and lovie.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 66... LOA Wait is Officially Over!!!!!!!


Pure joy.

That's what I'm experiencing today. Satisfaction pumping through my veins. Satisfaction that only the love and faithfulness of Christ can accomplish.

66 days after our pre-approval... 66 long days of wondering, waiting, praying, agonizing... after receiving a red flag from the Chinese government and supplying more information to answer further questions... 66 days of relying on The Lord to get us here... our letter of approval (LOA) arrived via FedEx... TODAY.

From here, Seamus and I will sign this very important document and send it back to Lifeline tomorrow, who will turn around and overnight it to U.S. Immigration, along with an application (I800) requesting that Emily be approved for citizenship in the United States. We should receive that approval in about 2-3 weeks. Once Immigration grants approval, they send everything to the National Visa Center who turns around and cables the approval to the Visa Center in China. There are many small steps between now and travel. I'll keep you posted as we hit each milestone. It looks like we will be traveling in early April. Eeeeeek!

Holding this letter in my hands produces a flood of emotion that is almost impossible to explain. This piece of paper is proof that when we fight for the least of these, the ones who God treasures most, the impossible becomes possible. 2 worlds collide. 2 countries have approved us to be the parents of our daughter, Emily Hope Loman. She will soon be ours to hold and to raise, to love, and to promise that she will never, never, never be abandoned again. She will know the same love our children here know. She will never have to feel alone, ever again. She will finally know what it's like to have a mommy and daddy dry her tears and kiss her bo-bo's. This piece of paper brings us one huge step closer to being able to love her the way she deserves and to show her the love of Christ.

Aside from seeing Emily's face for the first time, this has been the best day of our adoption journey. This day outweighs all the hard days put together. This is the joy that God has promised for those who follow Him. Yes, being a follower requires sacrifice and hardship. But the pain that stems from a difficult road is incomparable to the joy that He continues to lavish on us through this process. (Romans 8:18) Had we not ever taken the leap of faith in adopting, there is an incredible amount of joy we'd have missed out on. And we don't even have her in our arms yet! Oh how my arms ache to hold her. Imagine THAT joy! Our God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

We are thanking Him today for His holy spirit that convicted us to pursue an orphan. We are thankful that this orphan is one step closer to losing that label forever! We are thanking Him for His provision and grace in protecting us through the difficult days. We are thanking Him for providing our LOA! And we are thanking Him for our loved ones as you have prayed for us and supported us mightily. Please continue to pray for our family and for our Mei Mei. We must continue to rely on the strength and daily grace of our Lord.


Pure Joy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Very Exciting News!

We just got word from our social worker that China has officially approved us to adopt Emily!

They have issued our LOA (letter of approval). The "what-ifs" have ended. The spaz out session has begun!

In the adoption world, we call this "soft LOA". China will now print and mail our LOA hard copy to Lifeline. Once Lifeline receives it, they will overnight it to us. Upon receiving our hard copy LOA, our official LOA wait will be over!

I will repost as soon as we receive our hard copy. At that time, I'll also explain what happens next.

This is fantastic news for us and for Emily Hope! We're coming, Mei Mei... hold on a little bit longer!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Waiting for LOA... Day 54

Today marks day 54 of our LOA wait. It's hard to remember what all this means so here's a brief refresher. 54 days ago we received "pre-approval" from the Chinese government to adopt Emily Hope. We have been waiting, for 54 days, to receive an official letter of approval (LOA). (Insert hiccup here.) Last week we received a call from our Lifeline social worker alerting us that China has requested additional information from us before they can continue reviewing our dossier (our very large file). We have gathered the requested information and forwarded it to them. Now what? We wait. Again. We have been encouraged not to panic. It's not common to be asked for additional information but apparently it's not completely unheard of. We do expect to be approved for the adoption. It's just an added delay. Sigh. As frustrating as this can be, we are hopeful to hear some very exciting news soon!

I have so many adoptive friends through Facebook who are praying for us and supporting us. It's bitter sweet because all of the friends who were in the same stage as us seem to now be passing us up. I wouldn't trade the connections and encouragement for anything in the world. They have truly become like sisters to me! But this week feels a tad bit lonely at times, even with everyone covering us with love. God doesn't let me get too down. As soon as I start feeling discouraged, He reminds me of all His goodness and faithfulness, His promises to provide and never leave my side. Those promises are forever firm, even in the midst of my sinful discouragement and doubt. God is good y'all and He will bring us to Emily at the perfect moment! That moment won't likely be in March, since last week's request for further information. Somehow, we're okay with that. It's hard but I'm so thankful for a God who constantly reminds me of His goodness. By the way, if you're ever wondering what the key to happiness is, that's it. Focus on who Christ is and all his goodness. That's it. I promise. Everything falls in to place when you focus on Him and not "me".

On a lighter note, we have had the privilege of receiving several recent pictures of Emily. A couple of them are extra special. We mailed a small package to her several weeks ago. We were thrilled to learn that the package arrived. Some of these pictures show Emily wearing a monogrammed dress we sent and her "Bringing Home Emily Hope" t-shirt! I've been trying to process this. An orphan living in China, who we have sought out since March... our daughter now... is wearing the t-shirt (halfway around the world) we had made to help bring her home and to show our love for her. And, the orphanage director cares enough to share this picture (and others) with us! Seamus and I have looked at this particular picture about a hundred times since we received it Thursday. Unreal.

I'm hoping to share an exciting update with you very soon (praying I can tell you something new next week). Stay tuned! For now, enjoy the pics!