Monday, March 14, 2016

Where there is a WILL, there is a way!

Hello friends!

Here I am, slacking again on keeping my blog up to date, but this time I have a good excuse... we have been so busy and having so much fun preparing for the arrival of our little guy that I just haven't felt like sitting down in front of the computer.

At least two or three times a week, a great idea for a blog post crosses my mind, but by the time I get home I just can't muster the energy to sit in one place for enough time to get my thoughts out in a post.

This post will be brief, as it's getting late and I'm still recovering from daylight savings time sleep deprivation, but so much great stuff has been happening I wanted to keep you all in the loop.
"hindsight" edit- who am I kidding?  I don't know how to do "brief"

The day after I wrote my last post, we got news that our letter of intent to adopt our son was accepted, and also that our Dossier (big packet of paperwork) was officially "logged in" to China's system... officially putting us in the LOA wait.  Many people say that the wait for LOA is the most agonizing part of the adoption process, but for us it has been the most fun... we finally know who our child is, and can start preparing for their arrival.  I feel like I'm in the third trimester of pregnancy without the swollen feet and ankles, aching back, sleepless nights, and constant runs to the bathroom.

I have been connecting with many other families who have adopted from our son's orphanage/foster home and have been able to find so many photos of him... such a blessing!

Now, for the moment you have all been waiting for... ready to meet our son? (many of you have already seen photos on Facebook, but in case you haven't, here he is!)

Meet William TianYi Hawkins!

Yep, that's right, we've also decided on a name!  His Chinese name is Tian Yi, which translates as Tian= Heaven, Yi=wish   this prounounced "Tee-En  Yee".  I can't think of a better fitting name... wish from heaven... yep, that's him!
We decided early in the process that we would give him a more traditional first name and keep his all or part of his Chinese name as his middle name.  Because we won't want to take away from the full meaning of his name we will push the two names together, but keep the Y capitalized... TianYi.

As I touched on in my last post, Will has malformations of all four of his limbs, namely his hands and feet.  He was born without any fingers, and only one or two toes on each foot.  But don't you worry, this little guy is going to be running laps around us and proving to us daily that you can do anything you set your mind to.  It is clear his nannies have done an excellent job teaching him the importance of having a positive outlook... he is ALWAYS smiling and laughing in all of the photos and videos we see of him.

I love the name "Will" because it means "determined (protector)".  When we got his file they sent us quite a few videos of him performing various tasks, such as stringing beads, turning the pages of a book, drawing with a pencil, sorting toys, etc... the very first thing that James and I noticed about him was how determined and focused he is.  He does not let his limb difference slow him down one bit, and everything I've read about him echos the sentiment that this little boy is determined to do everything for himself.

So there you have it, we have our Will. :)

We started working on his bedroom, and this past weekend my mom and I went to a couple of consignment sales and to Target to pick up some toys and bedroom decor for him.  I got a great deal on a train table, and wouldn't you know my parents, my husband and I spent quite a while working together to set up the track and "test out" the equipment... :)

We still have a long-ish road ahead of us, and we are still not fully funded for our journey, but I have decided to take a little break from grant applications and constant worry about the funding.  We fully trust that everything will fall into place as needed.

Of course we are still pinching pennies and saving whatever we can (and I've been able to get some overtime hours in at work due to the busy season for mortgages starting), but I was just becoming so consumed with financial worry that I was missing out on soaking up this special time for our family.

Our puzzle fundraiser will continue to run until we travel to pick him up, and as it stands our puzzle is still only 25% complete.  If you would like to sponsor any pieces, please refer to the instructions for doing so by clicking HERE.

 Unless we receive any of the grants we have applied for so far, we are currently about $5,000 short of being able to fully cover the costs of our remaining fees and agency costs.  Knowing that it is unlikely that we will face huge medical costs when we arrive home sets my mind at ease, and if we have to take out a small loan to cover the remaining expenses then we will certainly do that. 

I'm also considering a small yard sale in May during our neighborhood sales, but I'm not sure I can pull it off due to having a VERY busy couple of months ahead of us.  Between now and the time we travel we have 4 baby showers, a wedding (that we are both standing up in), and a few small projects on the house we'd like to get done.... but that's ok!  The busier we are, the faster time will pass, right? ;)

I just cannot explain to you the amount of love we have in our hearts for this little boy, and how quickly it grew.  We think about him all day, we dream about being with him and playing trains, and we talk about the things we will learn together and the experiences we can't wait to share with him.  Our first few months together will likely be very difficult months-  he has spent his entire life in a wonderful foster home with very dedicated nannies who love him dearly and care for him as their own.  He will be experiencing tremendous loss, fear, and confusion.  While we know this, we also know that God has a plan for this child and for our family, and that He will be with us as we walk through the dark days and will carry all of us through the struggles.

I will do my best to keep up as things progress, but there are the steps we are waiting on.

We are currently in day 25 of our "LOA wait", and expect to be waiting at least 2 more weeks before we receive word that our dossier and intent to adopt Will has all been cleared.  At that point we go through a series of steps to get immigration approval coordinated between the US and Chinese governements... a process that usually takes around 9 or 12 weeks.  Then we will be issued travel approval, and about 2 weeks later will hop on a plane to China!

We are in the final months (we hope!) of our lives as a "party of 2".... crazy!  It seems like this journey has gone by so quickly, and at the same time the thought of waiting three more months to meet him seems SO LONG!  We are really crossing our fingers that we will be able to travel in June, but anything is still possible...  there are still a lot of steps to get through, so I'm trying not to get my heart set on anything.  At least we know he's in a wonderful place with people who love him dearly.

We were able to send him a small care package a few weeks ago and received word that he did receive the items we sent him.  I can't really say much, but we were told  that he knows he has a family and seems happy about that fact.
Here is a photo of the items we sent to him:

We put together a little photo album with labels in Mandarin introducing us, the pets,and Grandparents so that he will be familiar with our faces when we meet

If you would like to join us in praying for our son and his nannies, that would be much appreciated.  It's helpful to remember that China is 12 hours ahead of us, so when I am getting for work every morning, he is going to bed.  When I'm going to bed he is likely eating lunch, and when I am eating dinner he is probably waking up.  I try to remember this when I pray for him.  I pray that he finds comfort in knowing that he has a mom and a dad, and that he finds courage to face the huge changes that lay ahead of him.  I also pray for comfort and peace for his caretakers.  I worked four summers at a daycare, and I STILL think of those children I cared for all of the time. I cannot imagine working with a child (and possibly even living with?) for 3 1/2 years and then having to say goodbye, not knowing if I will ever see them again.  They have been there for every one of his milestones- his first words, first steps, first bumps and bruises and illness.  They have wiped his tears, watched him laugh and run and play and soon they will have to say goodbye.  My heart truly aches at the thought that our joy accompanies others pain.  

That's all for now, good night everyone!  Thanks for following our journey!

I apologize in advance for typos or grammar errors....I am too tired to edit the post tonight! Take that, grammer Nazis!