Canvas Bags, Notebooks and Explosions

I had visions that one day our son would have a detailed, chronological record of the years/months/weeks leading up to his homecoming via my blog. Those dreams are dead. I am detailed and organized in my own way, which is not the way of logging onto a blog and journaling my thoughts daily. And my thoughts…those definitely are not organized. I’ll start with today and who knows! Maybe I’ll work backwards and fill in the (ahem) five-month gap since my last post.

Speaking of my semi-disorganization, a funny adoption tidbit…the other day our social worker called and as we discussed the next step of paperwork, she referred to such and such a form that we filed last April. I told Jason when we got off the phone, “I think she is imagining a scenario in which I have filed all of these very important documents in a three-ring binder like they told us to.” The reality? I have been shoving said documents in an enormous canvas bag thrown next to my desk. However, the flow of paperwork and the canvas-bag-disaster finally wore me down last Friday and I spent two and a half hours last Friday creating this:

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The cover is a picture the biggest sister drew of herself and her little brother flying kites over the Great Wall. Right? That kid. She knows how to provoke mama tears! While we’re talking about that sweet girl, here’s a quote from November 21, 2012. We were getting so close at that point to mailing our “practice” dossier to our agency and as she considered the child we would one day adopt she said,

 “Just imagining him makes me explode with excitement.”

Well, my friends, I have a little secret. We aren’t imagining anymore. We have a name and a face and we are absolutely exploding with excitement!

On Monday morning, November 25 our social worker called to let me know that the CCCWA (China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption) would be updating the “Shared Agency List” that evening. This meant another chance at being matched with a child. We were cautiously hopeful. I expected to hear from our agency the next morning to let us know that either they had a referral for us or didn’t.

At 7:30 p.m., I was getting the girls ready for bed when the phone rang. It was our social worker.

“I have locked a file for you.” As she began telling me about this precious one, I could barely keep a lid on the crazy welling up in me. Jason wasn’t home so I sent him a text that said,

“Two of your children are waiting for you to tuck them into bed. The third is waiting for us in China.”

The next 48 hours were an absolute flurry of activity. Doctor consultations. Praying. Absolute brain numbness as I spent hours spent studying every angle of the sweetest little face. Our letter of intent to adopt our son was officially submitted Thanksgiving morning. Oh, how we were (quietly) rejoicing around our table that day. (We didn’t let the girls or anyone else in on this news until we had approval from China, which came the next week).

Here we our with our signed Letter Seeking Confirmation that oh, yes, we will adopt this precious boy!

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Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked as we’ve shared our news and my answers:

Does he have a name? We will keep his Chinese name (we’ll share later) as his middle name and he will have an English first name. We are currently in deliberations. 🙂 Have you ever tried to name a Chinese male child whose last name will be Huebner with a husband and two daughters? It may be awhile.

How old is he? He will be two years old in January.

Where is he? He is currently living in an orphanage in Shanghai.

Is he healthy? He was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate. He has had two corrective surgeries and is doing very well. He will need to have additional surgeries eventually.

When will you get him? Typically, the wait to travel after receiving a referral is 4-6 months. The process usually goes like this: a family receives the referral of a child, family submits a letter of intent to adopt that child, family waits for a “Pre-Approval” from China to adopt that child. This essentially means they have taken a quick look at the dossier and issued a conditional approval. Then they translate and thoroughly review the dossier over a period of months and issue an official approval. Did the language like “typically” and “usually” tip you off? This is not our timeline. When our social worker logged on anticipating that our pre-approval would be posted, our actual “real deal” official approval had already been posted! Because our dossier arrived in July, the work of translating and reviewing had already been done. We received our official “Letter Seeking Confirmation” (a letter from China that we sign and return stating we commit to adopting this child) from China week before last. The time between receiving this letter and traveling to China is usually between two and a half and four months! We have moved into the fast lane and could be packing our bags by March!

How many times will you have to travel to China? Just once. China’s policy only requires one trip.

How long will you be gone? Approximately two weeks.

Are the girls excited? Unbelievably. Their joy when we told them was almost too much for my heart to hold. We have had so much fun celebrating together. We are doing our best to continue to help them anticipate their brother’s homecoming realistically. They know it will be a big transition for all of us and that he will very likely have a hard time adjusting to life in a family in a place where everything is so unfamiliar. We’d love for you to join us in praying about that.

How are you doing money-wise? We are doing okay but we have a long way to go. We are over halfway there. The good news is that we can begin applying for grants now that we have a referral. We will be working diligently at this over the next several weeks. We’d love prayer for this as well.

How can we pray?

• Financial provision

• Productivity in the many preparations that need to be made (completing 12 hours of adoption education, reading books, completing visa applications and various other paperwork, etc.)

• Jason and I will be taking a couple of days in January for a mini-marriage/family retreat. Pray that God will give us vision and wisdom for this transition in our family.

• As I mentioned above, please pray that as we prepare ourselves, we will also be actively preparing our girls for the challenges they may face emotionally after their brother’s homecoming.

Well over a year ago I stumbled across this quote,

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for.” (Charles Stanley)

While I wouldn’t label our boy an “object”, I have kept this in mind during those hard seasons of waiting. I have been fully convinced all along that this process would speed up or slow down according to the will of our sovereign and wise Father. We have had our share of slowing and are rejoicing now that it seems He has accelerated us. We have tried to wait well, but boy am I glad it’s almost over.

In lieu of a Christmas card from the Huebners (#notimeforthat), look for us in your mailboxes in the Spring when there will be five faces on our photo greeting. Thanks for journeying with us!

**I won’t be sharing his picture here. We’d love to share in person if our paths cross though!**

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