Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Flights booked - for 5!

Aaaahhhh. It's finally official. On Monday, we got word that our dates are official. We will fly out of Minneapolis on the 14th of January and get our little Sophia - gotcha date - on the 18th (I think). Our official consulate date is Monday the 25th and we are cleared to fly back on the 28th. If this all goes as planned, we will land in Minneapolis at 10:40pm on the night of the 28th.

Why Minneapolis, you might ask? Well, my sister Liz's wedding is on Saturday the 30th! So, pray for no major snow storms or weird flight delays. I'm a bridesmaid and David's doing the message. We have to make it!

Christmas has been very nice. We are still in Minnesota and enjoying the mounds of snow and frozen lakes for skating. One of the fun things Sophia got for Christmas is this beautiful quilt made by my sister Nikole. Lauren is holding it up for the photo. Obviously, Sophia will be able to enjoy this quilt for years to come! One of the cool things about this quilt is that it is stitched with red thread which is a traditional Chinese thing. I can't wait to see her wrapped up in it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finalized dates

The Roux's find themselves in snowy, cold, beautiful northern Minnesota. We are visiting David's grandparents on his mother's side. It's delightful. I went for a run yesterday and I felt like I was in a different world...snow-filled pine trees, lightly-falling, puffy snow flakes and most importantly, no cars or people. It was so beautiful, I almost didn't notice the steep hills...almost.

As of today, we have a consulate date in China and flight dates...finally! We will fly out of the USA on the 14th of January and hopefully return on the 28th. You can pray for the details on that last date as they are a little fuzzy due to some weird complications. We have to be back in the states for a very important wedding. My sister Liz and our dear friend Bevan will be getting married on the 30th.

We would love some uncomplicated details for a change. As our life is anything but uncomplicated, to have things go as planned would be sweet. And unique. Please pray about this!

We will be getting Sophia Meilynn on the 18th and then spending the next 10 days or so in China getting used to each other. The plan is to take the whole family, but as flight details are not yet completely solid, nothing is final! Hopefully, everything will be completely nailed down here in the next day or two.

We are anxious to get our Sophia. Stay with us. Hopefully this is almost over! Have a merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travel Approval!

On Thursday of last week, we got word that our travel approval was enroute from China! This was only 2 days after our official referral paperwork was dropped off at the China Center for Adoption Affairs. It was official yesterday and we are rejoicing!

At first, they were saying we could go on Christmas Eve which was feeling a little quick and more than a little expensive. I can't imagine a more pricey time to fly! We were then given the option of going with a group on January 7 (yes, the very day we were hoping and praying for!). This group is not yet official, so that is really the only down side...the dates are not quite solid yet. We hope to know by Christmas for sure. Pray for other families to get travel approval so our group becomes large enough to be official. We only need 2 more families to get travel and we're set.

Oh, have we mentioned that we named her officially? Sophia Meilynn

Funny, yesterday I was tearing up as I held her little coat and a pair of baby girl socks. I think we might be ready! I even bought my first ever container of formula.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Updated photos of Sophia!

We received more photos from China!!! On Sunday, I wrote to a fun and useful source in China that can sometimes get updated information about your soon-to-be adopted child. She was fast! Yesterday she let us know that our Sophia's orphanage was willing to cooperate and could get us photos and measurements!

She is so much bigger! Of course, the other photos were taken 5 months ago, so she should be bigger! She actually is still pretty tiny - just 16.7 lb and 27 inches. From all we can tell, she's very healthy and doing well. She just needs her mom and dad and sister and brother!

Still no word on when we get to go. We are anxious, but pretty busy which is probably good. Pray for those travel dates!

Friday, December 4, 2009

We're official! We have photos!

We've got the Referral Acceptance! That probably doesn't mean much to you, but it is a very big and important step in the process. We get to post pictures and send care packages and begin to gather stuff we will need for international travel. This very afternoon I took an official Chinese adoption agreement to FedEx and sent it to China! ($51 later...). Expensive, but exciting!

Now we finally enter travel stage. What that means is in the next 2-4 weeks we will get Travel Approval which will get us set up for a travel group and time. Until we get the TA, we won't know exact travel time. Right now they are saying late January which is kind of funny because my sister Liz is getting married on January 30. We will be home for that, so we may have to wait for February if we can't get there in early January. You can pray for January 7. That would be the perfect day.

It all feels very real again. This will be happening any day. We are hoping to get some updated information so we will know more current sizes and development stages. I need to unpack Meilynn's suitcase :( and repack for a 1 year old. Supplies for bringing home a baby need to be gathered and purchased. I'm glad that my Christmas shopping is mostly done! We should be very busy over the weeks to come. Christmas letters will be put on hold as we wait for a photo of our whole family, but we still need to manage the Christmas rush in the midst of all the adoption craziness.

And then there is her name... We have decided to name our little lady Sophia. Her middle name is still being debated (Meilynn or Elliana). We will have to land that plane soon!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A bit more updated information

It has been over 2 weeks now since we were assigned Song Ziyin. There has been no visible progress in the processing, although we are told things are happening and they are expediting as they promised. Note to self...not in control...

We have heard about her current health status, however! On Tuesday, I requested an updated health check, as our most recent data is from 4 months ago. Because of our September experience with Meilynn, it seemed like it might be reassuring to have them check on her. She is just fine! Good to know. They will not complete her cleft lip surgery in China, so that will be scheduled shortly after we come home.

We have been talking consistantly about names around here, and one night, Marcus had an idea. He said, "Why don't we call her Sophia?" Dave and I looked at each other in surprise and said, "maybe we will! We like that one." When asked where he heard that name or what made him suggest it, he said with a shrugg, "I just like it." Sophia means wisdom (very nice) and our other favorite is Elliana which is a Hebrew name that means God answers (also very nice). We are still open to suggestions, but those are our current front-runners.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new baby girl awaits us!

Yesterday at 4:20pm, my phone rang. With one hand I was gripping a dripping paint brush (painting window casings) and with the other, I held my cell phone that showed that all important Virginia area code. Aaaahhh! finally. I didn't put the paint brush down, but held it there and heard the fantastic news that China had chosen another little girl for us! The call lasted 59 seconds, but the excitement that it caused could surely be heard by the neighbors and grips me still.

After I got off of the phone, I hollered the news to the kids. They both came running and screaming with glee! I, of course, had to finish my last window, so 20 minutes later, the 3 of us speakerphoned David to Lauren and Marcus' continued delight. He rushed home immediately. As we sat on the floor in our painting-mess living room, I showed him 4 precious pictures. He said, "Stephanie, she's beautiful!" And I, of course, cried. She is beautiful. I wish we could pass along pictures. As soon as all is official, we will post them here!

So, who is this little lady? Her name is Song Zi Yin for now. She is a baby for real. She's only 9 1/2 months old. She was born on January 4 of 2009. She is healthy and alert and strong and beautiful. She does have a bilateral cleft lip, but that will be fixed up very nicely shortly after arriving here. Right now she lives in the Guangdong province of China, very near Guangzhou where the US Consulate is (this is where the adoption will officially happen.) We don't know when we will get to go get her yet. We're hoping for some time in December, but they can promise nothing. So, we wait :).

We begin again. There are steps to go through and paperwork to fill out. This time it is with a better understanding of who's in charge (certainly not us). And maybe with less of an understanding of Who our God is. He is too big to completely figure out. Who am I kidding! He's so big I can barely scratch the surface. But to whom else shall we go!?

I have been thinking a lot of our Meilynn today. I'm so sad she can't have this. I still long for her and hurt for her lonliness. It's weird being so excited about our new girl when there's another girl who will miss out and whom we will miss out on. It's sobering. I pray for her with a different fervancy than yesterday as I imagine how necessary Jesus is to her - in a way only an orphan can understand. I pray that God would place her in a family or give her Himself in a way I can only imagine.

On a much lighter note, we are still looking for the perfect name. Do you have any ideas? Let us know!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nothing really new...

Well, it has been a while since I wrote, as there has been little to report. We have been waiting, going about normal life, and healing a little. The crying has decreased and I can go about my days without thinking about her constantly.

On the official side of things, a very little bit has been happening. The CCAA had to officially call off the previous adoption, which requires paperwork (and is thankfully done). Then, they have to approve an exception for us to be granted a specific referral instead of being thrown back into the pool to have to fight for the few minor special need cases that come up every month. This approval is assured, but it yet again requires paperwork. As the officials in charge of this approval were touring in America last week, we don't think this part has been officially approved yet. There isn't any way to know for sure though, as... guess what?! The CCAA is taking a holiday until October 12th. Just our luck. (If I don't laugh, I will surely scream.)

To sum up, it will probably be a while. We are not happy about this, but oddly, we are becoming accustomed to disappointing news. Keep praying for us and for Meilynn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today is not easier

Spontaneous outbreaks of tears are both messy and tiresome. It seems it might get more difficult before it starts to get better. We were supposed to fly out tonight, so tonight feels kind of icky. I can't imagine what Friday morning will feel like as that was supposed to be 'gotcha day'.

The latest news I got from the agency is this: "The CCAA said they have to wait for an official letter from the orphanage (withdrawing your previous adoption) before they can officially try to find a new referral for you. The CCAA also mentioned they feel it will take a “longer time, not the next group” to find a referral." Oh goody. More waiting.

OK, so keep praying. That's all I've got.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to square one.

After a very long weekend with no information from our adoption agency, I finally got a call this morning. Very sad news. This little girl we had our hearts set on is not to be ours. The China Center for Adoption Affairs has removed her from the adoptable list because her development is so far behind. From the records we have and what they're saying now, she has regressed substantially since the spring. She is no longer standing or responding to her own name. My heart breaks for her. She probably just needs a mommy and a daddy to love her and she would grow and advance, but we are not to be them. It is very difficult to picture her languishing in an orphanage forever, never really becoming the woman she could have become. Makes me wondere what God has planned for her.

I am quite sad, butI got a head start on the grieving on Friday and over the weekend. Honestly, I expected this type of outcome. I tried hard not to expect anything, but, as I'm sure you understand, that is usually next to impossible. I'm also feeling somewhat relieved to finally have information. It was difficult not knowing.

How do we proceed? Well, China and our agency will make extra efforts to get us a new referral that fits our special needs requests as quickly as they can. What that means timewise is really hard to predict. We could have a referral tomorrow or it could take a month or two. It always depends on the little girls they have available and what their special needs are. Hopefully we'll travel before our expensive visas expire in February.

So, again, we wait. One of my favorite verses in the book of Isaiah is 64:4. It says, "No eye has seen a God besides You who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him." It seems like we're waiting on China or our agency or on a child, but that's not really where it's at. We need to be waiting for Him to act. That is the only thing worth waiting for. No matter what my feelings tell me, I really do want to wait for Him to do this His way.

Thanks again for reading. I will post any updates. If you could still remember us in your prayers, that would be fabulous.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Very Dark Day

I write today with tears in my eyes, a major crying-headache, and a very heavy heart... Boy, I'll bet that makes you excited to read on!

This morning, at 9 we finally got official travel approval with the official confirmation of a consulate appointment. Yippee! We've been waiting all week, so we were thrilled. On to flight bookings and many errands as the time is short.

At 10:51, after spending the morning in prayer, I got a call from our adoption agency. I was surprised to hear the voice of our family coordinator instead of the travel coordinator with whom we've been busy arranging final details. Unfortunately, Melissa had some very disappointing news: we should not count on traveling next week because there is something up with our little girl's health. That was it. We don't know what is up, or how serious. We don't know when we might travel, and we have no way of knowing any of that until Monday morning in China, at the earliest.

Needless to say, I cannot, even now, 8 hours later, get my mind around all of this. I am so very sad. Actually, that doesn't accurately describe it - my heart feels like it has been trampled. I'm worried about this daughter of my heart who is all alone with no one who really loves her and she's sick. She needs her mommy. In the midst of this sadness, is the frustration of not having good information and not really knowing for sure when we'll get it.

Early this afternoon, we got another call from our agency filling in a few details (or maybe they are the same details, but the shock of the first call prohibited me from registering them, I don't know!) The orphanage director called the agency with the caution that she might not be healthy enough. This apparently has to be confirmed by the CCAA (Chinese gov. adoption officials) and we will hear on Monday or Tuesday, if the CCAA person is back from vacation in time. These are some of the potential options: we can come get her right away, we need to wait a bit to get her, or she is no longer adoptable at all (gasp! she's my baby girl!) and we would have to adopt another girl at some point in the months to come. The clarification was helpful yet horrifying and that's where we currently reside.

The kids came home from school, and the first words from their lips were "Any news? Is it official? Are we all going?" The sobbing that ensued from one big sister broke my heart yet again. Is there any end to this well of tears? As Marcus stood next to the crying heap of his women on the couch he said, "Mom, I'm not crying, but I'm still really sad." It is clear that these days will mark my children forever and when they tell stories to their children, they will surely tell this one.

I know that God is good and that He sees the whole picture while I can only see through my little lens. I know Meilynn is not actually alone, but He is with her and loves her way more than I do. I'm trying to find that place of peace and rest, but man it's hard, especially with the crying-headache going on. Pray for that! I have always been rather on the controlling side, so I wonder if this is God's way of making me let go. My illusion of control is rather ridiculous in light of my Sovereign God. This, however is easy to write about, but not so easy to feel.

This weekend will probably be torture in some ways, but Jesus was tortured, so who am I to complain! I'm in good company. Please pray for us...That God would be our sustenance, that Meilynn would be healed, and that we would know our God better.

Honestly, writing this all down has helped. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 31, 2009

We have travel approval!

Hey friends! Let the blogging begin!

Well, today at12:30pm I got a call from Kristen at our adoption agency. The long awaited call... We have travel dates, or at least tentative travel dates! We will be leaving Indianapolis on the evening of the 9th - yes, that is only 9 days away!!! I'm sure you can imagine the chaos. The lists have Tylenol, little bitty socks, hand sanitizer, tiny shoes, visas, baby backpack, travel guides, crib sheets...I could go on and on...and on! And then there are the errands. You can pray that we keep our stuff together!

We will be in China until probably the 24th of September. We aren't sure if Lauren and Marcus will be traveling with us or not. We are hoping, but that is a major prayer concern. Pray that it would work out just how it should.

OK, so now that you're up to date with the now, let me give you the back story:

We started this process 3 1/2 years ago - February of 2006. It seems like eons ago...Our kids were in very different places at 5 and 3 years old. We had been thinking about adopting a little girl from China since when we first got married, so we jumped in, hoping it would take about 18 months or so to do the whole thing - that had been our friends experience anyway.

Well, our paperwork went to China on August 22, 2006 and we were logged into China's system on September 19. And then we waited...and waited. The wait time went from 12 months when we started to 40 months wait for families getting healthy baby girls now (I think). We would still be waiting, but last fall, we decided we didn't want to wait the 6 years it was going to be, and we chose to accept a baby girl with minor special needs. That line is a little shorter. We knew we could get a call at any time with a little one who matched our profile.

Our first call came on May 19, 2009. There was a 20 month old little girl with cleft lip that was available. We were seriously considering her and beginning to get excited. Then, before we had said yes, about 3 hours into deliberations, another family snapped her up. We experienced such disappointment. On top of it all, this was the arrival day for 40 college students for our summer mission project that my husband is in charge of and I am heavily involved with. OH, WHAT A DAY. Roller coaster would aptly describe our emotions. But in the midst of all this there was a peace that passes understanding and a knowledge that thankfully, we are not in control.

Summer Project came with all of it's fun, stress, busy-ness and travel. By the beginning of July we were exhausted, but it was time to move on to the next thing: the bi-annual staff conference for Campus Crusade in Colorado - a 2 week trip plus a week long vacation. In prep for this, I flew out to CO on the 10th of July for some meetings while David stayed in Indy with the kids working from home. At 8am, as I was preparing to leave the Denver airport enroute to Fort Collins for the day, I got another call from our agency. They had another little girl for us to consider. This time she was a 2 year old with pulminary valve stenosis - a fixable heart valve issue. So, David and I, with laptops and phones connecting us, decided this was our little girl! What a day! Needless to say, focusing on meetings all day was a challenge!

We were originally told that we'd go get her in October or November, but every approval kept flying at us in record time, so low an behold, we are traveling next week! We have named her Meilynn Noelle (pronounced maylynn). Her birthday is May 2, 2007. She is my very first dark haired baby and she likes to play with cars :). We don't know if she's had her surgery yet, but we are praying for her heart every day.

Please pray with us! We need it and she does too. We will keep you posted.