Monday, August 28, 2017

Hey, Jude

Everyone, this is Judah Lev, or Jude if you prefer. Judah means "the praised one" in Hebrew, and Lev means either lion (Russian) or heart (Hebrew). Jude, our little Lion.

As you can see, he's got quite the little strut going on, and much like his brother enjoys noodles and biscuits. According to the ayis, he is never full and always wants more. One and a half bowls of noodles is quite a lot of noodles to still be wanting more. Sounds like we'll be increasing our Ming Shee order on the reg.

He'll be three in May 2018 (which if you're still following along, you'll realize that's about three or so months younger than I'm getting the twins I've  always wanted).

According to the information we got, he's fairly extroverted and obstinate at times. He can share with other kids and likes music. Sound like anyone else you know? He's also pretty independent and although a bit younger than Jet, can do things that Jet is yet unable to do (but we're working on--let's go PT!)

When the ayis pass out biscuits, all the other kids take theirs and run off but he points to his mouth instead. The ayis tell him "no, no, hold out your hands" and he'll slowly hold out his hands to take the biscuit before eating it.

There are obviously a lot of medical unknowns. Derek and I for sure assumed we would be waiting a lot longer and that our son would have medical needs similar to Jet (CHD). That's not actually the case so we'll be venturing out once again into a whole new world. I'm fully expecting to be able to add orthopedic knowledge to my resume. And of course, things may not be all that they seem on paper as well so we are prepared for that too.

If the timing of everything works, Derek will be traveling sometime between January and March to bring him home. Chinese New Year is in the middle of February this year, so we'll see how that effects our timeline.

One thing that we're very thankful for that we didn't have the opportunity to do with Jet is that we can sponsor Jude, and by sponsoring him not only will we receive quarterly updates (with pictures) but also ensure that he's receiving adequate food, housing, education, medical needs met, etc. Since travel is a bit farther out than the ten week whirlwind we had with Jet, those updates will be very welcome and of course we will share what we can when we can.

Now, has anyone seen Finding Nemo? I'm assuming sometime in the last fifteen years you have at least once. Remember Nemo's "lucky fin?" Jude has two lucky fins, and he's pretty awesome just the way God made him.
As it turns out, there's a Lucky Fin Project that you can check out for more information.

We'll be keeping his FB Group private a little longer--anyone can join but until we're home, just like with Jet, we prefer to keep things on the private side.

If you'd like to know how you can support us in the coming months, here is a list a things to pray for: 

*For a traveling companion for Derek. If you're interested in an all expenses paid trip to China as a glorified luggage carrier, documenter (that's not a word), and support system, please let us know. 
*For our finances to come together. We are launching the puzzle pieces again this week and hope to continue on with our Etsy shop. Again, traveling much sooner than expected (although still five-ish months out) is a stretch but we know God will provide what we need, when we need it. 
*For Jude and for Jet, as both of their lives are going to be changing pretty drastically in the next six months (and us too, if you think about it). 
*For the process and paperwork to go smoothly. There are a million little things that could pop up that we have no control over. 

Thank you friends. I have a bunch more photos and videos, but here's one last picture (more available on request): 

We think he's pretty perfect. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

I've Been Here Before...

Beginning on Sunday this past week, my nerves were up and my spirits were low. I was starting to get that "we'll never be matched" feeling. I logged onto Rainbow Kids one night and starting emailing every single agency that had a possible match for us; most of them replied that they weren't interested in transferring--and one replied that the file I inquired to see was actually via Taiwan...which since we've already started the China process doesn't help much. Ha!

On Wednesday, I even went so far as to email the assistant manager at our agency's Waiting Child program and asked for a few numbers/wait times. The last time I had done this was May 1st, so I felt I deserved some major kudos for holding off as long as I did. Of course, she was very sweet and said I can ask her any time I wanted but currently for a few of the conditions I inquired after had wait times as long as 24 months--boy or girl--essentially doubling the time that we had been told in May. Other wait times were still the same, but what our hearts were set on made us realize it might actually be a year yet before we were matched. 

A year. 

That night I asked Derek if we should revisit some of the kids' files that we'd reviewed in the past few months but had previously decided that we weren't the right family for them. Derek talked me down off the ledge, as I was pretty close to just saying forget it. Let's change countries, so we can just do something. Let's say yes just so we can get moving. I don't like to sit around and wait; I'd rather be doing

So I doubled up on my efforts that night and started emailing and researching more advocacy sites and on Thursday afternoon I even called an agency begging to see a file. Actually begging. I am 99% sure they thought I was a crazy person, and I don't blame them. We all know by now patience is not my strong suit. (I know, a shocking revelation. This blog is full of them.) This kind lady said she would send over the file and explained how transferring worked and I responded (in a very polite way) "I don't care about that; let me see the file so my husband and I can move forward." (I really do promise, I was much more tactful.) 

At that point, for me, seeing the file and getting a doctor's review were technicalities. A necessary evil that we needed to do before we submitted our LOI. I was ready to start typing it up, site unseen. But then fifteen minutes passed. No email. Twenty minutes. No email. Thirty minutes. No email. A good friend I was texting with said she offered up a quick thirty second prayer for the email to be sent and patience for me. Forty minutes. Fifty minutes. 

Friends, let me tell you, when you know a very important email is coming you will refresh every thirty seconds--am I right? 

For a total of fifty nine minutes I sat on the couch and did nothing but hit update and refresh. 

Then, exactly one hour to the hour, our own agency called--not the one I was anticipating. My initial thought and fear was that they found an issue with some of our paperwork or that there were yet more changes to the China program...given our news the day before the last thing I expected was a referral for a child. 

Except that it was. 

And as soon as we read this file, we knew. This was why we were waiting. This was why we didn't get the other email. This was why we weren't matched yet. This was why I couldn't find a brother for Jet. 

What I thought would be a good match for our family--what we thought would happen--as it turns out, wasn't what God had in mind. Not even close. 

And suddenly, I remember being here before. Feeling this exact same way eighteen months ago. How quickly we forget that when we try to take control of a situation, we are saying "no, no, Lord, I've got this, please, you do your thing and I'll do mine." Which is exactly what I did. And where did it get me? Again? Stressed, sick, anxious, sleepless, etc. 

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. Psalm 62:5

How many times have I looked at that verse in the past two years? How many times have I posted that exact image? I was scrolling through my IG and saw it, and it immediately struck me--right between the eyes. Sometimes, truth creeps up on you and others, well, it gives you a wake up call like this. 

So here we are, once again, with a referral that's exactly what we didn't know we were looking for. All the minutes and hours and doctor reviews and file reviews and emails that I was searching out...weren't in vain, no--many kids find their forever families due to their parents' due diligence and research. But I was looking in the wrong places. I wasn't waiting or asking permission. I was barging ahead, assuming that I knew the plan.

I didn't.

Today, one day after the call, we submitted our LOI to our agency for our precious little boy.

Everyone, please meet Judah Lev