Musings by Mary Eby- Referral

We have been waiting for the referral for a while – since two weeks before Christmas. The referral is when you get a file with a baby’s picture and you can say yes or no. You have doctors look at the medical file and the pictures and then you give an answer.  Any day now our adoption agency will give us a phone call and tell us we have a referral.  And they will send us the file of the baby in an email. 

It’s not very fun to wait.  I jump every time the phone rings. I can’t wait to see the face of our sweet Baby Eby. It is hard to wait, but I know that it’s all in God’s hands. Sometimes I get tired of waiting. And other times I feel like I want to control everything and I don’t want to wait. But I know that God will give us patience. It’s fun to wonder what Elijah or Bethany might be doing.  Those are the names we have picked out, depending on if it’s a boy or a girl.  

We are also waiting for a van right now. We want to get a passenger van with 15 seats.  This would mean we could take out the back seat for storage and drive my grandma and grandpa places with us too.  We’ve been looking for a van but have not found one that fits our needs. I have been praying that God will give us a van for free soon. I know that that seems crazy, but I believe that God can do it (most of the time). 

Even though it can be hard to wait, and even though it’s hard to trust God at times, I look forward to the day we will get the referral.  I hope that baby Elijah or Bethany is having fun right now in China. But I also hope that we all get to go get him very soon. Sometimes I feel like I miss Baby Eby, but that could be strange because I’ve never met him. The waiting definitely gets to me at times. But I can thank God for the hope of getting the referral the next day. I sure do hope we get the referral soon though. I want to see Baby Eby’s sweet face soon.  Even the boys are getting anxious. It’s very hard to be patient, but it is all in God’s hands.

I sure am looking forward to having another little brother or sister. I love hanging out with the boys, even when they hit or are in a bad mood. They are so sweet. And I sure am looking forward to having another one.  

I love China and I’m definitely looking forward to going again. It’s such an adventure, especially with my little brothers. But the best part is getting a little baby. But it definitely is really fun we finally get to go home. It’s also fun to show the new baby our house. I can’t wait to meet Baby Eby. 

Musings by Mary-Peter’s Gotcha Day

  

 We celebrated Peter’s Gotcha Day on January 26.  His Gotcha Day is on the 27th, but we celebrated it a day early because Mom’s birthday is on the 27th.  And it really was the 27th in China because they’re a day ahead of us.  We ate Chinese food at King Tsin and Peter made us chocolate and sprinkle covered fortune cookies.  


We had a great night.  And the next day we had a birthday to celebrate.

Musings by Mary Eby- The Chinese New Year

How did we celebrate the Chinese New Year?  Well, we had some friends over and ate Chinese food. We decorated our dining room with Chinese lanterns.  We had black and red lanterns at first and soon after realized that was a big mistake.  You never use black on the Chinese New Year.  So we just used red and other colors.  We had lots of fun dressing up in our Chinese clothes.  We ordered food to go from King Tsin, our favorite Chinese restaurant, and had lots of fun with our friends.


We had a blast.  Hannah made her famous moon cakes and we bought other Chinese desserts from a Chinese store.  We also had fortune cookies and rice cakes.  We love the Chinese New Year!!!

Waiting……

The adoption process is a lot of hurry up and wait.  It has been exhausting filling out all the required paperwork, getting letters notarized, meeting with the social workers, getting doctor exams, running to Sacramento to get paperwork certified, then taking that paperwork to San Fransisco for authentication, etc. etc. etc.  I felt sometimes that I was so involved with getting the requirements for the adoption accomplished that I did not have time to sit down and think about what all this busywork was leading to in the end.

I must tell you that waiting is not one of my strong suits.  I am the kind of guy that accomplishes the task as soon as it is given.  I don’t let the grass grow under my feet.  When I have to wait or rely on other people before I can finish my task, I get anxious.  After all, no one can do it better the me!  Am I right, or am I right?  

We have had, and continue to have, periods in this process that require my patience.  Up to now the most difficult wait has been waiting for our homestudy to be finished.  We are currently waiting for God to provide us with a bigger van since we will soon be a family of eight.  

Yet, there is a point in this whole process where I do not mind the wait so much.  The wait for the referral is one of the most difficult, yet exciting waits in the adoption process.  The referral is when the agency calls us with our child’s file.  When my Sarah was pregnant with our first daughter, I remember being so excited that any day could be THE DAY!  It’s kind of like waiting for Christmas morning- except you’re not sure what day Christmas will come.  Any day now we will get THE call that there is a baby in China who will be the next member of our family.  HOW EXCITING!!!  

As we wait I am reflecting on the many blessings God has provided during our adoption journey.  He has laid on the heart of our entire family that this adoption is where He is leading us.  Any of you with children know that everyone agreeing on one thing is a miracle in itself).  When we thought we would not be able to get our dossier to China before some of our paperwork expired, God enabled Homeland Security to approve our I-800A in record time.  The government never works that fast.  God also continues to provide the financial assistance to make this adoption happen.  It is amazing how God provides when we are in the center of His plan.

I have learned that God’s timing is always the best.  I am convinced that the extra time it took to complete our homestudy was because our baby was not in the right place to be adopted by us.  So God had to slow us down.  I am content in waiting for His perfect time and will count my many blessing as I wait for THE phone call.  Then the hardest wait of all will begin.  The wait to hold our baby for the first time.

Our last Christmas Eve as a family of 7!

Christmas Cookies 

Each year we spend a whole day making Christmas cookies.  Cookie Day has always been my favorite.  When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait to get home from school on this special day.  My mom and grandma would be rolling and cutting cookies in the kitchen, and the whole house smelled like anise (the special ingredient in the cookies).  I would get to decorate one whole tray of cookies that would be just mine.  I loved it.  My mom has the same memories from her childhood, and the tradition carries on with our family.  This year was especially fun as the cookies were once again made in the house where I grew up.  


We can’t wait to have another little cookie maker in the house!

Dossier on its Way!

Our I-800A approval arrived in the mail the Monday before Thanksgiving, well ahead of schedule!  We were in Oregon for the week, so we got it notarized, certified and authenticated when we got back.  It took Steve 1 trip to Sacramento and 2 trips to San Francisco to get the job done, but now it is done.  Our dossier is finally complete and it arrived safely at our agency in Virginia on Tuesday.  Tomorrow it will be off to China!  We couldn’t be happier to have it out of our hands and on the move.  God is so good.  And as of tomorrow, we could be matched with our little one any time.  It could take three months or more, or it could happen tomorrow.  It’s in God’s hands.  But it feels good knowing that each day could be the day we will finally see our little  one’s face.

***I wrote this post last Thursday but didn’t publish it.  The picture of Steve was upside down and I didn’t know how to flip it right side up. My sister fixed it for me and now here it is.  But since  Thursday, our dossier arrived in China and has already been logged into their system.  Getting logged in usually takes 1-4 weeks, but this time it only took 1 day! 

A Blessing of a Day

God has blessed us with faithful friends and family.  They freely gave their time and talents and resources to make our fundraiser on November 12 a beautiful day.  We had adorable ladybug cookies.  (The ladybug is a symbol of Chinese adoption.)And a sweet ladybug baby.A little guy who’s excited to be a big brother.

Another excited big brother

A very special delivery from Jane’s husband- hats knit by Jane.  I wrote about this wonderful friend a couple blog posts back.
We are thankful for a beautiful day with our friends and family.

Tomorrow’s Big Fundraiser

Tomorrow is the big day and we are just about ready.  We had lots of fun setting up all the crafts and such out at the winery today.  God has provided all that we need and more for this event through our friends and family.  They have spent many hours creating and baking amazing things for tomorrow.  We are so very thankful.  Please pray God blesses the efforts of those who have worked so hard to help us bring Little Eby home.  And come share the day with us!

The Last Couple Weeks

Right now we are waiting for our I-800A approval from Homeland Security.  During this 6-8 week wait, there are things that happen.  This breaks up the time, which is very helpful for me.  I tend to have a hard time waiting for these things.  The first thing that happens is a receipt notice in the mail.  Very exciting.  We got our notice on Oct. 23.  Next our fingerprint appointments arrived.  We got these on Oct. 29.  This was even more fabulous than the receipt.  They scheduled us for our live scans on Nov. 8.  With our other two adoptions, we received our approval about 2 weeks after our fingerprint appointments.  So if this timeframe is similar, we should be able to get our dossier to China before our medical forms expire- maybe with time to spare.  We are feeling very thankful and relieved.  

Before our dossier (paperwork) can be sent to China, each document has to be certified by the Secretary of State and then authenticated by the Chinese Consulate.  Usually we wait until we have all the documents complete (the last one being the I-800A), and then Steve makes a trip to Sacramento and San Francisco.  He gets everything certified at the Secretary of State first thing in the morning and then drops off the documents for authentication in San Francisco in the afternoon.  Three days later, he picks them all up in San Francisco and sends the dossier off to our agency in Virginia.  They check everything and send it to China.  After months of working on something that has to be done just so, it is a big relief to have it out of our hands.  

This time, we are doing things a bit differently.  Since we are in a time crunch, our family coordinator at our agency suggested that we get everything we have at this point certified and authenticated while we wait for the I-800A.  This means Steve will be making the Sacramento/San Francisco trip twice, since the I-800A has to be certified and authenticated as well.  But it was a really good call on our coordinator’s part.  She suggested this because if there is the tiniest thing wrong with any of the documents, the Secretarty of State and Chinese Consulate will not stamp the documents.  This is a very precise situation.  If they sent us away to fix something, we figured it would be best to do it while we were waiting anyway.  And they did send us away.  The home study was not notarized correctly, so the Secretary of State would not certify it.  Steve had to drive home from Sacramento, then go to the agency in Modesto to get it notarized again, and then drive back to Sacramento to get it certified.  Once he was done with all that, he had run out of time to go to San Francisco that day.  This was frustrating, but it would have been really upsetting if we were doing this after waiting 6-8 weeks for the I-800A.  As of today, our entire dossier (excluding the I-800A) has been certified and authenticated.  Once we get the I-800A approval, we will get it certified and authenticated as well, and then our dossier will be off to China!

While we wait, we are enjoying school at our new house.

My sister and I used to sit here when we were this age. 

Finally!

After weeks of being at a standstill with the adoption, things are finally moving along again. Our home study was notarized yesterday!  This is what we have been waiting for.  The I-800A is the next step and it usually takes around 6-8 weeks.  A notarized home study must accompany the I-800A application.  So when we heard the home study was ready, Steve hopped in the car, drove to Modesto, picked it up, and went straight to the Fed Ex store.  He mailed off our I-800A application, complete with the notarized home study, and it arrived safely at its destination in Texas at 10:30 this morning.  We are so relieved and thankful to be onto the next step.

Now the countdown begins.  We need this step to take less than 8 weeks in order for our dossier to make it to China before our medical forms expire. The timing is in God’s hands and we will trust Him.  But I’m sure a bit of stress will be involved as the weeks go on.  Right now we are breathing a sigh of relief that the countdown has at last started.