I can hardly believe that I actually typed the title above. 2 Days, only 2 days until we leave for China. I feel like I have been waiting years for this moment. That being said, you would think that I would be completely prepared and ready for Thursday. WRONGO! Nope, I have tons of stuff to do to prepare. We compiled our paperwork this evening so that is prepared which is good. I paid bills tonight but some of them haven't arrived yet so that stinks. Now I have to have family look out for them so they can pay them on time for me. I still have to pack. I have packed nothing. I have some stuff sitting out on the table ready to go into a suitcase but I still have to pack all of our clothes and the baby's clothes and so on and so on. I finished writing lists for family who will be taking care of our house and our fur baby's. I did about 6 loads of laundry today and ran errands. But still tons to do. But I couldn't be more excited about being completely out of my mind right now. I need to be up very early in the morning so that I can finish everything. Tomorrow is the last day to prepare. I am simply amazed that on the 1st of the new year we will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime to our miracle. God answered our prayers indeed. We are going to be united with our daughter during the Christmas season. We are going to be parents in 5 very short days. I wonder what she looks like. I wonder how big she got. I wonder how scared she will be. I wonder if she will cry when we pick her up on Gotcha day. I wonder.....but soon I will know. And soon she will be loved forever.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Halainah, our most precious baby girl, we are finally coming to get you:
January 1st - 12:15 pm flight from Newark NJ to Beijing
January 2nd - 3:00 pm arrive in Beijing
January 3rd - 9:00 am orientation and tour Tiananmen Square and Temple of Heaven
January 4th - 10:55 am leave Beijing to Nanchang for Gotcha Day, 4:30 united with our daughter forever, 7:30 - 8:30 Paperwork and more paperwork
January 5th - Halainah officially becomes our daughter
January 6th - 8th - undetermined, sightseeing and tours will be arranged later, will receive Halainah's passport
January 9th - 3:20 leave Nanchang to Guangzhou
January 10th - Paperwork
January 11th - Free Day
January 12th - Halainah's Medical Exam
January 13th - Visa Appointment
January 14th - Oath-Taking Ceremony, 8:15 pm take train to Hong Kong
January 15th - 11:25 am flight from Hong Kong to Newark NJ, We are coming home finally as a family of 3.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:35 PM
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We want to wish all of our family and friends a very blessed Christmas. Christmas Eve was beautiful and crazy at the same time. My mother-in law, father-in law, both sister-in laws, their husbands and all of our beautiful nieces and nephew came to spend the day with us. My mother-in-law did all of the cooking, thank you mom. I was supposed to help but we received the awesome news around 1:00 about China giving our clearance. After that it was complete mayhem. We only had 2 hours to book our flight which was astronomical in price since everything is so last minute. I was completely stressed out and it was hard trying to coordinate the trip and juggle Christmas Eve at the same time. But thank goodness family understood and Tony and I joined dinner when things finally settled down. It was supposed to be a no gift Christmas this year but my family spoiled us rotten and broke the rules. Tony and I were the only ones that stuck to the rules due to the financial hardships we are enduring right now. We want to thank the family for their generosity. We are truly blessed by God for having an amazing family.
We attended midnight mass this year at Saint Lucy's in Newark, NJ. Wow, the service was amazing, truly amazing. We are so thankful for all of God's blessings and our miracle Halainah Grace. She is most certainly our miracle from God.
Christmas day was quiet. It was difficult to not have Halainah with us celebrating the birth of Christ but we are also ecstatic that we will leave to go get her in 7 short days. I have the chills still thinking about it. Of course, my mind was elsewhere today. I even forgot the presents for the kids. Who forgets the presents on Christmas day? Oh I am losing it that's for sure. All of my family was thrilled for us and wished us a safe trip. Most likely we won't see most of them until we return with Halainah. It was so surreal. I can't believe we will be with our daughter in 10 days. Gotcha day is January 4th.
When we got home, we watched a couple of Christmas movies and put together Halainah's highchair, stroller, jumperoo and exersaucer. Now our house really looks like a baby lives here. Tomorrow we are going to start packing a little for Halainah and putting away all of the wonderful presents that we received for my shower. My mother-in-law is staying with us for a few days to help us....thank god. I need her more than ever.
We are so close, I can't believe it...only 1 week left, somebody pinch me to see if I'm dreaming. We received the most wonderful Christmas present. I prayed so hard to be with Halainah for Christmas. But my prayers were still answered, on Christmas eve, we received another miracle by having our clearance from China. God is great.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:08 PM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Not much time to write...have a full house of family members and what a crazy day. We are leaving on January 1st. That's right JANUARY 1st. We received word from our agency today that our clearance was in with the Consulate. It is official. We are off to China. What an amazing Christmas present. To be given this awesome news at the time of Christ's birth is the most amazing feeling. We have been blessed throughout this entire adoption. I have so much to do but must get through the holidays first. I will keep everyone posted. We leave in 8 very short days. Halainah our most precious baby girl, you will be in our arms before you know it. We love you very very much and can't wait to hug you and love you forever and ever.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 4:39 PM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Oh Boy, where do I even begin? So apparently this last mountain that I thought was moved, wasn't, or should I say, not completely. So immigration cleared our fingerprints on their end but needs to send our clearance to the National Visa Center. Than the National Visa Center needs to send it to China. Well we are not sure how long this will take to straighten out. So in the meantime, our agency scheduled our Consulate appointment for January 13th. Which means we are supposed to leave on January 1st. First of all, holy cow how will I be ready in such a short time? Second, there are way too many things up in the air. We need to book our flight now, however we can't with a clear mind unless the fingerprint situation is cleared up. We can leave for China on the 1st but if everything is not squared away we may not be able to return home until it is cleared. That is really risky, we could be stuck in china for weeks. So needless to say, I wish I could be excited. I wish I could start packing. But I really don't know which way to go with this whole mess. I am literally so broken and exhausted from all of this. Please pray that somehow, by God's grace, this will all be cleared up.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:10 AM
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Things are moving along for us this week, praise the Lord. A few mountains popped out of nowhere but God zapped them right away and we are headed straight to Halainah. Our travel approval arrived around 5:00 this evening. YIPPEE we have been waiting 4 1/2 months for this day since the day we were matched. Were going to China, Were going to China to get our beautiful daughter! Our agency needs to set a consulate appointment for us first. Once they do that our trip is based around that day. Our agency seems to think we will be leaving either the 1st or 2nd weekend in January. Only 2 - 3 short weeks. Please pray this time frame works out. If they can't book a consulate appointment for mid January than we will be traveling in February because of Chinese New Year. No thanks, I want to hold and kiss my daughter in January. Wow I can't believe we are so close. I have so much to do and so little time, but that's ok. Hopefully we will know on Monday when our consulate appointment is and we can book the trip of a lifetime. Baby Girl, we are so close. Only a few short weeks and mommy and daddy will be with you forever and ever. We love you so very much and can't wait to kiss and hug you and snuggle forever.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:25 AM
Friday, December 19, 2008
Usually when an obstacle is placed in front of me, my natural reaction is to panic. Last night I will admit, I did panic about our missing fingerprints, but only briefly. I sat down on the couch said a quick prayer and thought. I instantly remembered 2 months ago that I had a hard time setting up the appointment with immigration to update our fingerprints. Tony also reminded me how a few short days ago, our mountains were moved by the Lord, and that we should not panic and simply trust in him. Meanwhile, I remembered I had mailed in a request for an appointment but never heard back. After numerous phone calls, I was given an e-mail address and was told that was the only means of communication. Well, a very nice woman at immigration responded back to me the very next morning and gave us an appointment. I immediately thought of her. She helped me out before, why not now? So I sent her an e-mail and pleaded our desperate case last night. Well this morning I called immigration at exactly 8:00 since that is when they opened even though I sent an e-mail. I felt helpless and needed to do all I could. I spoke to 2 people there and both of them told me that I had to send an e-mail that there was no one I could talk to and it would take 3 business days to get an answer. I pleaded and pleaded my case but no one was hearing it. I hung up the phone and just buried my head and prayed "Lord please help me." A few seconds later the woman whom I e-mailed last night that had helped me 2 months ago sent a reply back to me stating that she has already prepared our new I 171H and would mail it today. She also took an extra step to help us and asked for our agency's fax # so that she could get it to them right away. Long story short, she faxed it to Tony so that we had it in our possession and we took care of delivering it to our agency. This women heard my desperate cries and responded quickly. She came into work this morning at 8:00 and by 8:30 she came to our rescue. I am so grateful to her that I plan to write a letter to her boss letting him know what a valued employee he has. She at least deserves that from me. She also requested a picture of Halainah so that she can hang it on their "Wall Of Happiness." That's so cute. So again, the Lord has moved our mountain and I am simply amazed of his glory. I am expecting a few more mountains before we leave to meet our daughter but the Lord will move them, I am certain of that! Our agency was shocked when I delivered our new I 171H to them stating that they have never had anyone obtain this so quickly, especially from the government.
Thank you Lord!
We are now awaiting Travel Approval and our Consulate Appointment. I should hear from them on Friday. I will keep you posted. Please please pray for travel in January. My arms literally cannot wait until February to hold my daughter for the first time.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:00 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So let me start off on a positive note. Our agency called today and said that our Travel Approval is on its way. We should have it by Friday. I should be jumping up and down for joy. I should be running out to Walmart to pick up all the travel necessities that I have been meaning to buy. But nope, it cannot be that easy because there is always a huge mountain that keeps getting in our way. So we potentially have Travel Approval BUT we cannot schedule a consulate appointment because Tony and I don't have fingerprint clearance. So our fingerprints expire on 12/26/2008. In August when we were matched with our daughter we knew there was a chance that we would not be in China for December. So I started the process to get our fingerprints done again. We finally received an appointment which was on 10/22/2008. We received a receipt and we were on our way. Well as it turns out we never received a letter or an updated I 171H to prove our fingerprints are clear. I tried so hard to be on top of everything. I did not know that the clearance was missing. Well now I need to get in touch with immigration to try and get proof. We are also up against Chinese New Year too. With this setback and Chinese New Year we just may not travel until February. I am just tired...so tired from all of this. Part of me just knows how hard it may be to obtain this clearance. But the other part of me is trusting fully in the Lord that he will move this mountain like he has moved every single other one that has been in our way. Please keep us in your prayers so that we can resolve this massive issue.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:10 AM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"And Jesus said unto them ... , "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to younder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you."
Can God move mountains? Absolutely, and my heart is so full of his glory that I know that there is nothing too small or too big for God. As long as we live in a loving relationship with God, no problem is too small or too big for us. No matter how trivial a problem may seem, you need to see it as a significant chance to correct ourselves. No matter how huge a problem may seem, we need to face it confidently and solve it by changing ourselves in God's way. What we should move first with prayer is not mountains, it is we ourselves.
Last week a huge mountain appeared out of nowhere right in the path of Halainah's adoption. Tony and I were completely thrown off our path. Our reaction was to panic and lose control due to stress both emotionally and financially from this journey. You see, we should have believed in God that he would take care of this mountain in our path. I need to pray for Tony and I to trust fully in our Lord, for he will provide. God has not brought us this far along our journey for anything to get in our way. I pray for the peace in knowing this is true for I have full faith and confidence in our Lord.
God has moved our mountains through family this past week. I have not posted this week as I needed the time to fully absorb the massive support and love that our family has given us. I have seen the work of God so much this past week. It amazes me, simply amazes me how lucky I am to have the family that I have been blessed with. I am forever grateful to them all. I pray that I can somehow repay them for their generosity. Not so much repay them monetarily but by giving myself to them in their time of need and knowing when they are at their most desperate hour and coming to their rescue through Jesus.
Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Mario, how can I possibly thank you? How can I thank you for all that you have done? How can I ever repay you? You see, magically they erased our worries and magically they produced the missing link. May the lord lead me to them in their darkest hours so that I can save them in all the ways they have saved me, this I pray. I love you more than you will ever know. We thank God for you every day. For God has moved our mountain through you.
My daddy, thank you for your support and praise and for knowing only like a father would know how to make me feel like I would be safe no matter what. Thank you for making me feel like a kid again and giving me such an awesome Christmas present. You see, he sent me a Christmas card telling me that I have been good all year long (I really have...that wasn't a lie :) He gave me a choice of 3 presents but I could only open 1 envelope. I chose envelope 2 for many reasons, but mainly because of my mom. And I won a round trip ticket to China. Yup that's right....I never win anything. It was a Christmas present I will never forget. P.S. I still believe!! Thank you daddy for giving me a magical moment that will last a life time. We thank God for you everyday. For God has moved our mountain through you.
And thank you to Tony's dad, for knowing in his heart that we have had our share of obstacles. For knowing that we just could not take another road block emotionally or physically. For knowing that this last mountain was blocking our vision to see God's power. He knew that we were on our knees praying. He came forward showing how powerful God really is. We thank God for you everyday. For God has moved our mountain through you.
You see, without the help and support of family this adoption would not be possible. It is not about the money. It is not the money that has helped us. It is the security. You all have given us our security back. The same security that was taken away from us is now back. You can't wrap that up and tie it with a bow. Yet you all knew how to give our security back. I don't know if you all know how much that means to us. We feel stronger than ever. We feel we can keep going forward. You have shown us that Family is the foundation of our lives. Without you, we simply would not be standing with our chins raised high, anxiously awaiting our little girl.
We love you, and we thank God for you everyday.
God Bless you!
Thank you Lord for moving our mountains and for blessing us with the most wonderful amazing family. We are so very blessed. We shall never doubt your power.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 12:28 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I wanted to quick write a post to let you all know that we have been very busy preparing for our new daughter and working through the obstacles that have been thrown our way. I ask that you bear with us until we can discuss all that has happened. In the mean time, please shift your prayers to another family as they need your prayers way more than we need them right now.
Please pray for Josi's family.
Josi's adoption was final, the only thing her family was waiting for was an embassy appointment and she was supposed to come home before Christmas. Instead, Josi and her foster family were killed in Guatemala.
I am so deeply saddened and my heart is so heavy thinking about Josi's family. It honestly makes my obstacles and worries seem so tiny. I pray that they receive the peace of Christ.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:54 PM
Monday, December 8, 2008
We are not giving up on our daughter. The meaning of her name Halainah Grace is "shining light of God." Even though it may feel like we are in complete darkness right now we can still see the light of God at the end of the darkness. We have been in contact with our agency and we are trying to figure out a way to work through this $2000.00 road block that is in front of us right now. As I don't want to post the options right now as they are still being discussed, I wanted to let everyone know that we are not giving up. Halainah is our daughter. She happened to be born to her birth mother in a land far far away but she was born into our hearts a long time ago and will remain there forever. I want to personally thank everyone who has left comments, e-mails, phone calls, donations (from strangers no less which is deeply touching) and prayers. We will overcome this obstacle. I am not really sure how at this moment but we will travel to China to bring home our daughter, that I am certain.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:46 PM
Friday, December 5, 2008
Honestly, I cannot deal with anymore set backs with this adoption. One step forward and 10 steps back. One smile for happiness and than a million tears of frustration and despair. We were matched with our daughter on August 13th. 4 months later we still don't have Travel Approval from China. We just heard from our agency a few minutes ago. Guess what? China just increased their orphanage fee. They now want an additional $2000.00. Yup that's right, $2000.00. So the adoption of Halainah Grace, our daughter is now on hold. If we cannot come up with this money we cannot travel to China. On top of this $2000.00 we still need to have enough money to travel to China, stay there for 2 weeks, and eat while we are there. At this point I'm completely numb. While I want to believe that this was God's plan for us way before we even knew it, I feel like some evil force is doing all they can to stop this adoption. As all stands now, we cannot move forward unless a miracle happens and money starts to grow from trees.
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 11:08 PM
Swept away is a such a beautiful song which Geoff Moore wrote for his daughter, Anna Grace, whom he and his wife adopted in 2000 from China. He has since adopted Ashley Rose in 2004. I cried the first time I heard this song because it reminds me so much of Halainah and our long journey to find her. You can listen to it in my playlist at the bottom of my blog. This song is also a reminder of God's love for all of us and how he swept away all of our fears when he died on the cross so that we can spend eternity with him.
Written and performed by Geoff Moore
We would say your name
A hundred times a day
Like speaking words in faith
And with a mixture of
Hope and fear and trust
We prayed for the strength to wait
And dreamed of how we'd feel the day
You'd be in our arms and…
Caught up in our love
Home to stay
You'll never be alone
You'll be amazed
At how much you are loved
Your life will never be the same
Once you're swept away
What once was just a dream?
Is reaching up for me
And I hold her in my arms
Lord thank you for the way
You held her all those days
That we had to be apart
And now I see the impossible dream
Is holding me and I'm…
Caught up in your love
Home to stay
I'll never be alone
And I'm amazed
At how much I am loved
My life will never be the same
I've been swept away
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 1:55 AM
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I am asking everyone that is following our journey to please say extra prayers for us especially at Church this Sunday. We are still awaiting our Travel Approval from China. If we don't receive it very shortly than we may have to wait until February to bring our daughter home. The 2009 Lunar Year which is the year of the Ox, begins on January 26, 2009. Chinese government offices will have a one week holiday and the U.S. Consulate will be closed for several days in observance of China's most important holiday. Our agency is stating that most of January will be unavailable for family arrivals in China. We found out last night and I couldn't even bring myself to type a blog I was that upset. How could this be? I have prayed so hard to be able to hold my daughter on Christmas day. That is not going to become a reality. But now we may have to wait 2 more months. Nope, that is unacceptable. So please lift us up in prayer so that we can be united with our daughter in a few weeks. The power of prayer is tremendous!
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Posted by Proud Parents of Halainah Grace at 10:20 PM