Hannah Claire Shi Lin

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our Darling Daughter

I thought that we had to wait until our LSC was signed and back in China before we could post pictures of Shi Lin (Hannah's Chinese name), but I found out we can post them now! I've been waiting since August to do this!

This is the first photo I saw of Shi Lin when I got the informational documents on her:

In the next to photos, she was about 18 months:

This photo shows a close-up of her ear. She has what is called "microtia," which is an ear deformity. I struggled over whether to post this one, because I don't want people thinking of her only as a child with a deformity, because she is much more than that. Then I realized I don't want people to be uncomfortable around her, so I want everyone to see her ear, get that part out of the way, and then when they see her in person, her ear won't really be an issue, and they can concentrate on getting to know the amazing little person I know she is.
Needless to say, I think Shi Lin is the most beautiful little girl I've ever laid eyes on, and can't wait to hold her in my arms. From what we read about her, she is quiet and shy (like her Mommy) and loves to be held. Aside from the information we have about her, I have strong feelings that come from God, I believe, that she has a sweet spirit, that she will fit in so well with our family and that things will go pretty smoothly for us.
We are told that we can now send Shi Lin care packages! I can't wait to do this! We can send photos of us that are labeled with who we are, so she can start to get familiar with us. In the care package we can also include gifts. I'm so glad she is old enough to understand the idea that she has a family now and see pictures of us, and know we are her family.
I already have four large plastic storage boxes full of clothes for Shi Lin, ranging from sizes 3 to 5, so something has to fit her! I recently bought a couple of nightgowns for her which I will probably bring with me to China. Now I've got to get socks and some other miscellaneous things. I'll probably bring a couple of outfits, but not really knowing her true size, we'll buy a few outfits for her while we're in China, when we have a better idea of what will fit her. I can't wait to see her in cute little girl's clothes!
We ask for continued prayer for Shi Lin, for her safety and care until we can go and get her within the next 2 or 3 months.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I just got a call from our agency that our Letter Seeking Confirmation, or LSC, has arrived in their office! What this means is that China has officially approved our adoption of Hannah! The paperwork will be overnighted to us, we'll send it to the Amercian Consulate, then they'll process it and send it back to the CCAA (China Center of Adoption Affairs). Once they receive it, they'll notify our daughter's foster mother that she has a family and we'll be able to start sending photos and gifts to our little Shi-Lin (Hannah's Chinese name). I'll also be able to get more photos of her and post them online for all to see!

This news would make my day on any day, but particularly on this day. Miles woke up early this morning with some kind of stomach bug and has had diarrhea and been throwing up most of the the day today, so the phone call I got from Great Wall was such a welcome surprise!

It looks like it will probably be late March or early to Mid April when we travel! We'll know for sure our travel date in 1 or 2 months from now!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I got an email this afternoon notifying us that our Log-In-Date is October 23rd! This means that on October 23rd, our Dossier was logged-in to the CCAA's computer. Our travel date will be based on this date, and everyone who has the same LID as ours will travel to China at the same time. I don't know how they determine when our travel date will be, so at this point, I'm still assuming it will be 5-8 months from now, although, I have heard of it happening sooner for some people. So we just need to be prepared for the possibility of it happening fast, just in case!

We are now waiting for our Letter Seeking Confirmation, which, as I understand it, will be the final, "official" approval for us to adopt Shi-Lin, and we'll be getting emails updating us on where our Dossier is in the process.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Orphan Sunday

I was just listening to a broadcast on the Focus on the Family website, and at the end they mentioned "Orphan Sunday." I've never heard of this, and apparently, this is the first official one. It's on Sunday, November 8th, and is to raise awareness of adoption and helping to take care of orphans. From what I understand, churches around the country will be holding Orphan Sunday events, and there will be a live event on their website, http://www.orphansunday.org/.

I feel it's one of my life's missions to raise awareness about children around the world who will never have the chance to know what it's like to be part of a loving family if no one adopts them. I plan on watching the Orphan Sunday event, and I hope others reading this will too. If you're reading this blog, you obviously have some interest in adoption, so please take every opportunity to spread the word about what a wonderful thing it is. And if you're thinking about adding to your family, please consider adoption as a way to do that. Remember those millions of children who only want someone to call "Mommy" and "Daddy," that children are children no matter where they come from and that they can add so much to our lives and we to theirs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dossier in China!

I got a call from our Dossier Consultant at Great Wall last week, and she said our Dossier has arrived in China! It seems like it's been a long journey to this point, and it was so good to hear. From here, we are waiting on our Log-in-Date, or "LID." It could take up to 2 months for us to receive this date. We're also waiting on our official approval to adopt Hannah, and I'm not exactly sure when to expect this.

About a month before we travel to China, we'll get our Travel Approval, or "TA." We don't know when that will be, but we're told 6-9 months from now. So we're looking at sometime between April and July of next year as the time when we'll finally be able to go get our little girl.

I've taken a couple of the online Hague Training classes, and am looking forward to taking the rest of them. I've read one book, Silent Tears, by Kay Bratt, which is a very eye-opening true story of an American woman living in China who volunteers to help take care of children in an orphanage. I pray every day that Hannah is living in better conditions than the children in that book. According to the information we have, she is in foster care and is very close to her foster mother, so I hope that means she has it better than a lot of the stories I've heard.

I'm now reading another book, which seems good so far, The Connected Child, by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine. So far it is really good, making me aware of how we'll need to treat Hannah for a while, giving her all the love and nurturing she may have missed out on and devoting our time to making her feel safe and secure, before taking her out to be around a lot of people. Please keep us in your prayers that God will prepare us with what we need to handle whatever Hannah's needs are.

Miles and I are learning some Mandarin words and phrases in hopes that it will help to ease Hannah's transition to her new life. So far we know "hello," "goodbye," "I love you," and "Let's read a book." I found a wonderful website (http://www.wku.edu/~yuanh/AudioChinese/parent.html) that has lots of phrases specifically for parents who are adopting from China. I also am occasionally listening to a CD that teaches Mandarin, but the website I mentioned is better for our needs. There are lots of practical phrases, like, "I need to go to the potty," etc., that will help us a lot more than things like, "Can you speak English?" Miles picks up the words and phrases faster than I do, to the point that I keep having to ask him, "Now how do you say that again?", and he usually instantly replies with the correct answer!

So that's what we're doing right now, using this long waiting period to prepare for Hannah's arrival home. We won't hear any news for a while, and there's no more paperwork to gather, so now we have time to concentrate on everything else. We're planning to have a realtor over by the end of the month to look at the house, in hopes to sell it soon, and get into a larger house before we go to China. We could certainly bring Hannah home to this house, but it would be pretty cramped, and we'd like to be a little ways out of town and have more space outside for her and Miles to run around and play together. Please keep us in your prayers about this too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dossier Submitted

Well, we finally made it--finally got all the paperwork filled out, letters written, appointments made, then everything notarized, certified and authenticated, and this morning I FedExed our Dossier to our adoption agency. If all goes well, if everything is there and complete and correct, they'll be sending to China on Friday! It's a huge relief to be done with this part of the process.

Next, Chip and I will be taking online classes to fulfill the 10-hour Hague Training requirement. I'm really looking forward to doing this, because the classes will cover issues like attachment and bonding, traveling to pick up your child, what life is like inside an orphanage, becoming a family, etc., a lot of things I've been wondering about and want to be prepared for.

Beyond that, we'll be waiting for our DTC date, which is the date our Dossier arrives in China. When we travel will be based on this date. We'll also be getting our "official" approval from China, and then we can post photos of our little cutie! Hopefully it won't be too long!

I was thinking the other day of a song that makes me think of Hannah, of longing for her and wishing she were not so far away, but at the same time gives me strength to hang on until the day we meet her:


Somewhere out there,
Beneath the pale blue night,
Someone's thinking of me,
And loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there,
Someone's saying a prayer,
Then we'll find one another,
In that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star,
And when the night will start to sing
A lonesome lullaby,
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the
Same big sky.

Somewhere out there,
If love can see us through,
Then, we'll be together,
Somewhere out there,
out where dreams, come true.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We Found Hannah!

I didn't think it would happen this soon, but we found Hannah!!! On Thursday I requested information on a little girl from the shared list of waiting children. Friday afternoon I got an email with her file attached. I forwarded the file to Chip while he was at work and then I called him. We discussed it quickly, then I called the Waiting Child Program Manager at Great Wall, and talked with her about how everything works. Basically, if we wanted to consider this child to adopt, we would need to "lock" her file to prevent anyone else from looking at it. She recommended that we have a doctor who specializes in international adoption look over her file first, but we decided to go with our heart, skip that step, and move forward. The information in her file told us she is healthy and we just felt that this little girl was Hannah.

Hannah is 3 and a half years old and was born with microtia of her left ear. "Microtia" means "abnormal smallness of the external ear." We've done research on this condition, and found that most children with this condition have normal hearing in the ear not affected with microtia, and in some cases, treatment is available to restore their hearing in the affected ear. There are also amazing treatments available to reconstruct the external ear to a more "normal" appearance.

Our daughter is a beautiful little girl, such a little cutie! She was born in February of 2006, so she's right at 2 years younger than Miles. We are told that it should be 7-9 months until we travel to China to get her. We can't wait to have two kids running around here!

Thank you for all your prayers thus far. Please continue to pray for us and for Hannah.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Waiting Child

Chip and I decided recently that we would like to adopt a little bit older child after all. In the beginning of thinking of adoption, this is what we wanted, a little girl closer in age to Miles so that they would grow up together and have a closer bond. Then after talking with our social worker and learning about the harsh conditions in some Chinese orphanages, we thought we might should adopt an infant. But lately, it has weighed heavily on our hearts that we really want a little girl 2-3 years younger than Miles. We want them both to have a playmate close to their age, someone in our family to identify with and someone with whom to share common memories of growing up.

We've prayed about this and it just feels like the right thing for us to do. As a result of this change, we are now pursuing the "waiting child" program, and are looking for a little girl with some possible mild special needs. Because of switching programs, we may have our little Hannah with us much sooner than we had thought, within 7-9 months, as opposed to 3+ years, if we find her soon. I say "find" her because with the waiting child program, we have the opportunity to look at available children beforehand and request information on them. Then, when we decide to pursue a particular child and everything goes well, that is the child we get to adopt. So, rather than someone else matching us with a child, we have more of a say in being matched.

We ask that you all keep us in your prayers about finding Hannah. We know that God has already chosen her for us; he knows exactly which little girl is our Hannah Claire. She is somewhere in China right now waiting for us to come and get her. Knowing that is exciting in a way, but also makes me more apprehensive and so anxious to finally see her in person. We need prayers for patience and for God's guidance.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Approved at Last!!!

We've been waiting several weeks, but our home study has finally been approved!!! We can now go forward with completing the I-800A, which is the last major document that we have to submit and have processed. It still may be a few more months, but we are now well on our way to getting everything in our dossier submitted! What a relief!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home Study Submitted

Well, we finally got in all our paperwork for the Home Study into our social worker last week, and she submitted it for review to Great Wall. It takes about 3 weeks to find out if it's approved, and there are usually changes that need to be made. So it will probably be a several weeks before we know for sure that we are once and for all eligible to adopt.

Friday, March 20, 2009

One Step Closer

Week before last we sent off our adoption documents to Austin to be certified by the Secretary of State, then got them back yesterday. So I made copies of everything and this morning repackaged them and sent them to the Chinese Consulate in Houston, where the documents will be authenticated, meaning we are one step closer to getting all our documents ready to submit our dossier to our adoption agency, Great Wall China Adoptions.

We applied for our passports about 3 weeks ago and had to provide certified birth certificates that were sent in with the applications. I didn't think to make photocopies of the birth certificates, which I now need to complete our home study, so I'm going to check the status of our passports tonight. If it looks like it will be a while before we get them back, we'll go ahead and order more birth certificates so we can finally get our home study in to Great Wall and, Lord willing, approved.

As I said in my previous post, as much as a pain as this "paperchase" might seem, I actually find it enjoyable! I guess it's kind of like pregnancy. For those of us who had a very uncomfortable one, it was a pain that was not without reward. And that's how I see the hassle of assembling all the paperwork. At the very end, when I'm standing there holding my baby in my arms, I will know all that "labor" (and years of waiting) was SO worth it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paperwork Pregnancy

I've heard people refer to the process of adoption as a "paperwork pregnancy" before, and now I see why! We are slowly but surely getting all the paperwork filled out and notarized, then getting ready to send it to Austin to be certified, then to Houston to be authenticated. Tomorrow we're all three going to apply for passports and get police reports, as well as getting some more documents notarized afterward. Miles and I have had our shots and physicals, and Chip's physical is scheduled for Friday. At times it seems a little overwhelming, but overall, it's really not as bad as I thought it would be. I put off even getting started on it all for a long time (too long), but now that we've started, it's actually moving along pretty quickly.

I'm actually finding recently that I'm enjoying this part of the process! I like the challenge of getting it all done, knowing that all the hard work will lead us to the reward of our precious daughter.