Monday, June 17, 2013

Up, Up and Away!!!

Oh my goodness, I can't even think straight as I hustle around to get everything done!! My mind is complete mush and I can't even put a simple sentence together!!(maybe because I haven't slept in days!! lol)  I can't believe this day has finally come.  I've never had so many emotions running through me at the same time. It is completely surreal.  I've watched many, many of my friends go before me and have watched their journeys and have been so excited for them, I just can't believe it's my turn.  Anelyn (aka Anley) only has 4 more sleeps without her mama and baba! While this is so exciting, my heart also breaks.  She has no idea what is coming, she has no idea that life as she knows it is almost over as a new life begins.  I can't even fathom what she will feel. She will be so scared and confused but I know my girl will be brave and I know that our Heavenly Father can give her peace and comfort when we can't.  Please friends, pray for this.  Pray for her heart, her health, her attachment/bonding....everything.  I have so many prayer requests, I don't even really know where to start.  We will be taking 7 flights total over the next 2 weeks, 4 of those with a 17 month old!! eeeek!   Pray for all the flights, the paperwork, the touring, our health, Eli and Olivia...the whole nine yards.  I wanted to give our itinerary so y'all can follow along.  Here's what it looks like:
6/18 ~ flight leaves for China 10:16 am (first flying to Detroit, then begins our loooong flight)
6/19 ~ arrive in China (2:40 pm China time...2:40 am US time)
6/20 ~ touring the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Hutong Land
6/21 ~ The Great Wall, Jade Factory and Summer Place
6/22 ~ Fly to Nanchang
6/23 ~ GET ANELYN!!!
6/24 ~ paperwork (Anelyn officially becomes a Rings!!)
6/25 ~ rest
6/26 ~ Visit the orphanage, meet foster mom, and finding spot
6/27 ~ rest/shopping
6/28 ~ fly from Nanchang to Guangzhou
6/29 ~ Anley's medical check, visa photo, visa paperwork
6/30 ~ Tour
7/1 ~ CA appointment!!
7/2 ~  guide picks up visa
7/3 ~ Fly back to Beijing
7/4 ~ Fly home :)  Arrive at airport @ 7:00 pm (those coming to the airport please meet in baggage claim.  We are flying Delta)

Since I am scrambling around today and don't have much time I am going to re-post the blog post about how it will look after we are home.  (please take a moment to read)  From the bottom of our hearts we can not begin to thank everyone enough for their support and prayers during this journey!!
Ok, baby girl mama's coming!! Thank you Jesus for giving us the heart for adoption, we are forever changed!!
"I will gather your children from the east, and bring you from the west" Isaiah 43:5
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you" John 14:18

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Just wanted to give y'all a brief update on where we're at now.  We are still on our very last step, just waiting for them to print our TA (the official  invitation from Ch!na to come and pick up our daughter).  All paperwork is done at this point and they just have to print it.  Well, since nothing has gone normally with this adoption, why should the last step be any different??  They were closed all last week doing a system update (should've gotten TA last week).  But I thought, at the longest it will be Monday.  Sunday night rolled around (which is Monday morning over there) and I got an email from our rep in Ch!na saying they were having problems with the new system and to call back tomorrow.  So I thought for sure last night I would've gotten the email that they finally printed it (it would be Tuesday morning their time).  Well, got an email that she called and the TA department was out doing "group activities".  Seriously??? All I could picture were chinese people out in the back country singing kumbyah and doing trust falls!! Like, you didn't get any work done last week because of the closure, you're closed next week because of the Dragon Boat Festival... can we please get these mama's to their babies please??  My wonderful agency is doing everything they possibly can to get this done for me, but unfortunetly it is out of their hands.  We are on day 14 with no end in sight.  Most everyone gets TA between 7-14 days...unless you're the Rings' :)  I'm just completely baffled by all the "unheard of" delays we have encountered. I was prepared for one or two, but every single step?? Nope, not prepared for that.  I've already gotten the award for the most delays the agency has ever seen!! yay me!! That was one award I could've done without! lol
So anyway, here we are stuck again.  I had it figured out to leave next Tuesday if we got TA at the beginning of this week but that is looking more and more not possible.  We truly should've traveled  in March but ya know, that's  a different story.
 The only thing I can somewhat relate this to is you know when you really have to go to the bathroom...I mean REALLY have to go and the closer you get to the toilet, the harder it is to hold?? Then you get to the bathroom and someone is in there, and not only one person, but there is a line of like 100 people?? Yeah, that's pretty much what it is like the closer and closer we get.  Except multiply that times a million because it is your child.
So, come on people, I don't care if you can't print on the new system...get a piece of paper, napkin, toilet paper..anything and write it with a blooming crayon for all I care!! lol
I know God's got this and I know His timing is perfect...And I also know satan is still fighting, still trying to destroy Anelyn's redemption story but I've got news for him...This mama is and will continue to fight and fight until she is where she belongs!!  I hate that she is 6 months older than when we first laid eyes on her but I know God can make that time up once she is in our arms.  So friends, just continue to pray...pray that these roadblocks will get out of the way once and for all!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh, ya know, just still waiting...

So my last post was last Tuesday and it talked about the Article 5 not being picked up and then the closure of the USC in Ch@na due to the white powder incident.  So, fast forward a week later and still nothing.  I almost have to laugh about it or else I would be in tears all day everyday!!  But, mama bear ain't playin anymore and I was on the phone ALLLL day yesterday up until midnight fighting for my daughter.
Our rep that lives in Ch@na has been calling USC (US Consulate/Embassy) where my paperwork is stuck.  They pretty much told her to quit calling and they will call her when everything is ready.  Um...ok??? She did finally find out that they were still waiting on the correct paperwork from CCCWA.  Not quite sure if they had even requested it yet at this point.  Not quite sure what they've been doing with my case other than letting it collect dust.  So anyway, I called our Ohio Congressman yesterday to get him involved in helping move things along per advice from my awesome adoption peeps on Facebook.  He is sending them an email and they will have to respond to him in a couple of days as to what they are requesting.  Well, I still couldn't just sit here and wait.  So, at 9:00pm our time (9:00 am china time) I decided to call Ch@na myself.  Yep, you heard it right...I told you, mama bear ain't messin anymore!!  I got thru to the staff that is handling my case and she was very difficult to understand nor do I think she understood me too clearly.  But I managed to get out of her that they have requested the paperwork from CCCWA.  Still couldn't get out of her what they are requesting.  Progress, right??  So, I immediately emailed our in country rep and asked her to call CCCWA to find out if they had got the request and if they had sent it yet. She emails back saying she called but they don't understand what she is talking about.  Ok, it's midnight and I now try to go to sleep still with no answers and no one seems to know anything about where this paperwork is.  Also, while at softball a dear friend says her husband works with someone that has connections in the White House and she was going to get them working on that.  Ok, so all in one day I have talked to my agency, the congressman, Ch@na and now getting the White House involved.  Yep, that's me, standing on my hind legs ready to fight my way to her!!! Didn't sleep all night of course and got an email that came in around 3:30 am from our rep saying that she finally found the right person to talk to and they said they already sent the paperwork!! Hallelujah, at least I know they found the paperwork and it was sent!  Now, I'm not quite sure why they told me they haven't received it yet. Oh well...progress, I will take any and all progress.  So, you better bet your bottom dollar I am calling Ch@na tonight again to inform them that YES, they do have the paperwork, quit dilly dallying and issue my Art 5, like NOW!!!!! In a nice, loving way of course.  *wink*
So, just wanted to give you an update since it has been a week in case y'all were wondering :) I'm still here, she's still there, but I am giving it everything I've got and I'm not gonna stop!!! Keep those prayers coming...I know we can pray her home!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Last week one emotion, this week the complete opposite!

Here's the latest update as to what is going on with our adoption.  We were supposed to be on day 5 of our TA wait but unfortunately, our Art 5 did not get picked up last Friday from the US embassy in Ch@na which means we still wait.  Was not given a time frame as to when it would be ready or anything.  They are requesting more "paperwork" from the CCCWA.  This was the one thing I was counting on being consistent in this adoption.  Everyone I had heard of always got picked up on their scheduled day.  This is par for our course with the past 18 months.  Now, as if this wasn't bad enough, I got word Monday morning that the US embassy in Ch@na is completely shut down now due to a suspicious "white powder" found.  This is where our paperwork is.  That means, nothing is all.  This closure affects so many people, it is horrible.  There are families there on their last leg of their trip that are now stuck because that is where the Consulate Appointments are held.  I can't imagine having to rearrange flights and hotel stays and not being able to come home until who knows when!  Please pray hard for everyone this closure is affecting.
Now, let me just share my heart for just a moment since it is too hard to talk about in person.  I know God is bigger than this, and I know that He knows the end result and I fully trust that.  It doesn't make it any less hard.  Anelyn is my child just like Eli and Olivia are my children...there is no difference. I could not love her any more if I had birthed her myself.  She is already a part of us, a part of our family...she is so prevalent in our house.  Honestly, it is like someone has kidnapped my child and they are just telling me to sit back and be "patient".  I'm sorry, but when your child is missing and you can't get to them...patience is out the window.  I know it is hard for people to comprehend this love, I never imagined it myself, until now that I feel it. I am utterly and completely in love with a child I have never met.  But none the less, she is mine and she is being kept from her family due to red tape.  It is sad, heartbreaking and totally unfair.  She is now 5 months older than when we first saw her...5 more months that we have missed seeing her smile, hearing her voice, watching her walk, giving her love and 5 more months she has been without her family.  I know God is in control and He will bring us through this and she will come home and it will all be a distant memory but there is another aspect to this.  Satan HATES redemption!  Adoption is redemption!  Satan is doing everything in his power to keep this redemption story from happening.  But I've got news for him.  He is NOT going to win!  I will fight tooth and nail to bring my daughter home and I will not stop until she is completely redeemed and in the arms of her forever family!  God is writing her redemption story and it must really be a doozy since we have faced a battle in every aspect of this adoption...I can't wait to see what God has in store for her!!
I am asking you to be praying for these issues.  We were supposed to be on a plane 2 weeks from today but now there is no possible way.  Now, we are going to run into the government shut down at the end of May and another closure in June for their Dragon Boat Festival.  So, who knows when we will be traveling.  The closer we get to the finish line, the harder the wait is and now to have these crazy delays thrown at us, it is quite frankly unbearable.  We were SO close. Needless to say, my heart is shattered into a million pieces.  I am so utterly angry and sad and every other emotion, it is hard to concentrate on anything.  My arms and heart physically hurt and ache to hold her.  Thank you so much to everyone who is covering us in prayer right now...I can tell you, I feel them so keep them coming.  It is the only thing getting me thru right now.   Please pray this gets resolved as quickly as possible, pray for my heart, and keep praying for Anelyn. I will keep you posted as I get new information.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The room and such

Miss A's Room and what's been happening :)

Here are a couple pics of Anelyn's room...

All we need is her!!

We have been busy bees around here trying to get everything done before we leave.  So far, so good! We got all the flower beds done, mulched and flowers planted...the garage sale is done...and we've been tackling a few things on my to do list.  (I kind of have 5 lists going right now, don't judge!! lol )
There's still quite a bit to do but some of it we can't do until we get TA (travel approval from China).  We can't book flights, hotels or anything until that TA comes and then it's gonna be on like donkey kong to get everything done because we are hoping to leave just about 5-7 days after TA!!! I'm going to go have a nervous breakdown now, thank you very much!! We did go to Babies R Us and get the rest of the stuff we were needing ( like stroller and such) so I feel much better about bringing her home and having a few things ready at least.  We have our doctors appointments Thursday to get another one of our shots and to get all our prescriptions we are going to need to take with us (and there is  A LOT!!)  For instance, antibiotic for both of us, cipro for both of us (for traveler's diarrhea, awesome huh??) and many more.  I need to make all Anelyn's doctor appts too.  She will have to see an International Adoption Doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital and be put through the ringer to test her for everything and to see what shots she had in China.  They will check vision, hearing, stool for parasites, motor skills, lots of bloodwork and so on.  She will also see a cardiologist upon arriving home since she has a small hole in her heart.  I can't wait to see what he has to say.  I am praying it has healed itself on it's own.  Please join me in prayer for that need please.  I am also praying that there are no or minimal surprises medically.  One of my dear friends in the adoption community brought their little boy home who was supposed to be completely fine, to finding out he has some serious, scary and complicated medical issues.  Please also pray for this dear breaks my heart!

You know, even though we have prepared for this day to come for many, many, many years, now that it is almost here, it is completely surreal!! I mean, am I seriously going to be standing on The Great Wall of China in a few weeks??? What??? Am I really going to finally be holding the daughter I have prayed for for 15 -20 years?? What???  I can't even put into words my emotions and feelings, let's just say I'm a bit overwhelmed and a bit crazy right now (I know I've always been crazy but this magnifies it by a bajillion).  Those of you that see me often or my family or friends, I apologize now if I forget stuff or act weird.  My brain is complete mush and I can't seem to complete 2 thoughts!!

Anyway, our Article 5 pickup is scheduled for pick up this Friday May 10th.  We officially start waiting on our TA that day!!! It can come anywhere between 8-21 days.  However, China has ANOTHER holiday at the end of May which will delay the issue of TA's.  So we really need it to come before they close on May 25th. As soon as that comes, we are on a plane the next week!! Ideally, we are really hoping to be on a plane 3 weeks from today.  That way it is the last week of May and PJ's work vacation will line up.  (His new year starts June 5th and he hasn't taken any vacation days this year thinking we would've for sure traveled by now).  So that way he can take 1 week still in this year(last week of May) and 2 weeks in the new year (June) and still have 1 week left to take later in the year.  In order for this to happen, we need a super fast TA.  Like an 8-11 day one.  EEEEKK!  Can you also be praying for this too??

I have mixed emotions as we get closer and closer.  I am of course super excited but then a part of me gets very sad.  Sad for the foster mother who has cared for her since the day she was abandoned.  Sad for Anelyn as she is going to loose everything she has ever known.  There is a good chance they will send her to the orphanage a couple weeks before we come so she could be going to the orphanage very soon which breaks my heart too!!  I know redemption isn't pretty and we are about to walk that hard road but I know that after God is done restoring her heart, it will be beautiful, it will be whole, it will be family!

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers, it truly makes a world of difference and I know they will carry us through this journey!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Friends and Family...please take a moment to read!

Since we are on our final stages of our adoption process (and I have a minute to think today) I want to share my heart with you.  I want to share with you things I have learned (from other adoptive parents, from adoption experts and from our social worker).  Even though it seems as though this journey is nearing an end, when we come home from the airport, the journey is truly just beginning.  As hard and emotional as the paperwork stage has been and longing and craving to have our baby girl in our arms, it is no comparison to how hard, exhausting and emotional the days ahead will be with her home.  It will not be rainbows, glitter and will be raw, it will be trying, it will be draining, it will be hard friends.  Even if the transition goes as smooth as it possibly can, it will still be hard.   I promise I'm not being doom and gloom, I'm just being real, I'm just being honest and sharing what I've learned from others who have traveled this road before me.

As long as we have all loved Anelyn and have been dreaming of her and staring at her picture, we have to remember she hasn't been loving us, she hasn't been dreaming of us...she has no clue what all she is about to go through and that breaks my heart for her.  She is about to loose everything she knows. She is about to go through more than any child should ever have to go through.  She has a foster family. In her eyes, she has a mommy...a home.  We are about to rip her out of her family, her home, her life and expect her to  leave with complete strangers (very white strangers with red hair)...a new home...a new mommy, daddy, brother and sister...a new smells... Again, my heart breaks for her heart.
This will be nothing like bringing a baby home from the hospital.  She will be almost 1 and a half with her own personality, with her own comforts, with her own sense of security.  We have to show her that we are her parents, that we will be there forever when she needs us, that we will NEVER abandon her, that we are her forever family no matter what!  This takes time...lots and lots of time to restore her heart.  You know, God, our heavenly Father heals, redeems, restores wasted years and mends broken pieces but how long did it take us to believe that, to trust that whole heartily?? It will take Anelyn several months to learn we are her forever family, coming to mend her broken heart, restore her life and try to fit back together the broken pieces of abandonment.
I would like to share with you what these next few months need to look like.  I am writing this in hopes that no one would be offended once we arrive home because of how different this will look compared to bringing a baby home from the hospital.

We welcome anyone and everyone that would like to come to the airport when we arrive home with Anelyn to be there :)  Although we will be a hot mess after traveling for approximately 29 hours and have who knows what kind of fluids all over us!! But we welcome you to come and get a peek at Anelyn!! I will give travel details when I get them!!

Now, here's where it gets tough.  Here's where we ask for your help and support.  After the airport, we have to hunker down as a family for a while.  Through everything I've learned, been told, and  taught (at our 13 hour adoption class) it takes 12 weeks for a child who has been abandoned to get "attached" and "bonded" with their family.  That means WE have to meet her every need in order for her to learn this.  Her needs that we have to meet are these :  feeding, holding, rocking, bathing, changing, every time she cries, we pick her up and attend to her....all the things you do with a newborn for them to learn who mommy and daddy are.  They say PJ and I are the only ones that should meet these needs or else she will be confused.  I know this seems strict and you may think I'm crazy and that's ok.   We only get one shot at this attachment thing, and if we mess it up, she will have attachment issues forever (like with a spouse...)  I know you all are so excited to hold her and believe me I will probably be wanting help and relief, but in order for this thing to work, we have to stick to this.  All the adoptive parents I have talked to have said "we should've been stricter in the beginning".  Never once have they ever said we were too strict. Some have said that because they took their child around people too soon, the child attached to anybody and everybody, even complete strangers.  We don't want that.   Remember, this is temporary.  And if we put ourselves in Anelyn's shoes and remember what all she is going through, how confused she is, I know you all will want to support this.  Is this necessarily what I want...NO...are you kidding me??!! I'm going to want to take her everywhere and show her off to everyone but I can't.  Not for a while anyway.  I'm sure we will welcome a couple guests to come over to our house after a little bit and you can play with her on the floor and stuff like that, just no feeding, changing, rocking.... that sort of thing.  We have to build those parent-child relationships from scratch!
We will also be doing things that may not look "typical" with a 17 month old.  We have to go back to the basics to gain the trust and bond.  We will be giving her bottles and rocking (this kind of close bodily contact and eye contact builds trust).  I know she shouldn't be on bottles at 17 months but remember we are starting from scratch just like you would an infant.  Discipline may look different than it did with our other 2 children for a little while.

It will be a while before we go anywhere with lots of people around.  Once again, this will confuse her and may trigger her fear and grief.  When we do make it out and about, please feel free to wave or smile at her and to interact with us as we are holding her.  In general, we plan to keep her near us, just as we would with a new baby, but if you see her seeking food, comfort or affection elsewhere, please re-direct her toward us.

I promise I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful, I just want things to go as smoothly as possible and enable Anelyn with the best transition we can.
Oh, on a side note, I apologize now if I am super grumpy after we get home...this chick does not do well on no sleep!! And I hear the jet lag is NAAASTY!!!

I can' thank you enough for your continued support and excitement during this journey.    Please continue to pray for the many things we still have to go thru as far as paperwork, travel arrangements, flights, Eli and Olivia, everyone's health and especially Anelyn's heart.  Hugs to you all!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013



After 58 days from our PA (pre-approval) we finally received the phone call that our LOA (letter of acceptance)  from Ch@na arrived at our agency on 4/1 (April Fool's Day)!! Rather fitting with how everything has happened!  Relief doesn't even begin to describe how I felt!!  I was always paranoid in the back of my mind that somehow Ch@na was going to say no or something because our LOA was taking 5 times longer than everyone else's. I got word on the previous Thursday that Ch@na had sent it out so I already knew that it was "on it's way"!!  This is the official, beautiful, motherload of paper from her country that says YES to us adopting her and yes, we ARE her parents!!  We know that from LOA to travel time is normally between 8-10 weeks so that would put us at the beginning of June.  That night we celebrated by going to Build a Bear to make Anelyn's bear.  They overnighted our LOA to us to sign the next day.  It arrived as the kids were getting on the bus via FedEx!!  The kids wanted to watch us sign it so we took it down to their school and invaded the principal's office to sign our LOA before we overnighted it back to the agency.  I made a blank copy for the kids to sign also :)
So what happens now...
Well, we filled out a bunch of more paperwork (our visa applications, I800 form (that declares her an immediate relative to us), her visa application...
Currently, our I800 is at USCIS in the process of being approved.  I talked to our officer this afternoon and it should get approved on Monday.  Then they mail it to NVC to approve her visa (I think).  After a few days there we get "cabled" (paperwork goes to the US Embassy in ch@na via email) and we wait 2 weeks for Article 5 drop off and pick up.  All of these steps are very confusing and I'm not even sure I have them squared away in my brain!!  After Article 5 pick up we then will be awaiting our TA (travel approval).  Once we have our TA, we can be on a plane the next week!!!!
So, I have been busy packing, packing, and packing.  Trying to clean and ...Oh, we decided to have our big yard sale NEXT WEEKEND!!! We always wanted to have it before we traveled to help raise money for our travel expenses and next weekend is the only free weekend we have until we are on a jet plane!!! So, we are having a yard sale!
I am anxiously awaiting next week because 1. we will get our I800 approval which means another step crossed off the "steps to Anelyn" list and   2. our agency will be back from Ch@na with hopefully some pictures and a video of miss A!! Um...this week really needs to hurry up because this momma really needs to see her baby!! My dear friend is in Ch@na now getting her daughter and she FaceTimed me this morning and oh, it makes me ache to go!!  I can't wait!! Even though it's gonna be hotter than hot when we go and humid as all get out, I'll just be a stinky, frizz headed mess, but I don't care!!

Here's some things we know about our daughter (per our paperwork)
1. she is stubborn
2. she can wave "welcome" and goodbye
3. she is active
4. she has to sleep beside foster mother's bed with foster mom patting her back (oh heaven help me!)
5. she doesn't like strange places and will be upset and want to leave
6. when someone has food in their hands she will keep silent and reach for the food (sneaky little thing!!)
7. her favorite foods are meat soup/fish soup/boiled eggs (oh my goodness gracious!!)

It looks like we have our work cut out for us! lol

Here are the things you can continue to pray for:
1. The rest of the paper work steps to go smoothly
2. Anelyn's heart as she grieves the loss of her foster family and begins to bond and attach to us
3., trains, hotels, luggage and communication with our kids at home
4. Overall health...for hubby and I, for Anelyn, and for the kids at home and their caretakers
5. we travel to three cities within Ch@na as well as the flights to and from there
6. Adoption process...Her passport and visa to be granted quickly, her medical exam to go well, and no other paperwork problems!
7.  Eli and Olivia {and the people caring for them}...that they don't miss us too much as I know we will  miss them tremendously!!
8.  The HEAT...silly, I know but we are going when it is going to be plain, flat miserable there and this red-head gets overheated easy and I'm really afraid I'm going to be a hot, grumpy mess!! Not to mention having a 17 month old strapped to our chests!!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers! We are going to pray this girl home and I know God can prepare her heart for us!!