Video of Ya Nan Singing-at 8:30 on video

Our Beautiful Ya Nan

Our Beautiful Ya Nan
From the moment I saw her, I knew she had my heart...

Our Timeline

8-21-12: Saw our Daughter's face for the first time
8-31-12: Decided she is indeed a Johnson
9-17-12: Home Study Visit
9-24-12: Home Study Visit
10-18-12: I800A received
11-5-12: Walk-in Fingerprints
11-28-12: I800A Approval
12-17-12: DTC
12-27-12: LOI
1-17-13: OOT
2-1-13: LOA (China approved 1-29)
2-4-13: I800 received at lockbox
2-15-13: I800 request for evidence
4-26-13: RFE sent
5-1-13: I800 Approved
5-6-13: GUZ #
5-7-13: Cabled
5-9-13: Article 5 Drop Off
6-11-13: Article 5 Approved
6-13-13: Article 5 Pick Up
6-21-13: TA
Leave for China!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Care Package for Maeli

As Chinese New Year approaches , I wanted to send Maeli a care package with a few gifts and a card from us.

We included an outfit, journal, hair bands, and a couple of cameras for her to enjoy. My favorite is the recordable photo album that has pictures of our family with bits of information written on each page in English and Chinese. I was able to record a short message in which I told her we loved her. I just hope she can understand what I said through my southern accent, lol.

We also included candy and craft supplies for her to share with her friends at the orphanage. The children are learning to knit so we sent some yarn as well.

After learning that she is quite attached to our family photo, I made her a pendant necklace that she can wear until we come get her. Dad is on one side and mom on the other.

A special thanks to Vivianna, my dear Chinese friend who translated everything so that Maeli could read what we wrote. Vivianna has been a blessing during this process with translating and providing information. We hope our sweet girl receives her package before Chinese New Year and knows just how much her family already loves her!


Friday, January 18, 2013

In Process...

We received some wonderful news yesterday!  As of January 17th, we are "In process!"  In the adoption community, we call it out of translation (OOT).  This means our dossier has been translated into Chinese and is in the process of being reviewed to be approved!  Typically, LOA's are approved 4-6 weeks after OOT.  It is likely that we will get approval toward the end of February.  We are still praying for an earlier LOA in order to get to China before her birthday.  This is unlikely, but as I've mentioned before, God is an amazing God, and we are specifically praying for His will and His provision to bring her home before her birthday April 12th.

I learned this week that China's spring import and export fair is April 15-May 5.  This wouldn't affect our first week as we will be in Zhengzhou, China in the Henan province for the first week of our trip.  This is where we will have Maeli's gotcha day and also process some provincial paperwork.  However, the second week is spent in Guangzhou where the trade fair is held.  During this time airline prices as well as hotel prices significantly increase and in some cases are doubled.  This is another reason to pray for a super fast LOA in order to get our sweet girl before the trade fair.  There are a few days that the trade show is inactive during this time, but pricing typically remains elevated.  We trust God's perfect timing and know He hears our prayers.

Please join us in praying for Maeli, those who are caring for her, her friends who are still in need of a family, and that we receive our LOA soon.  Thank you for sharing in this journey with us!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Learning English

I've spent the past few days brainstorming phrases that Maeli may need to communicate to us during our first days together.  We will have a guide in China, but our guide won't be with us when we are at the hotel and during our "bonding" time.  We plan to use translation apps on the iPad but I also want to make some flashcards with simple phrases in English, Chinese, and pinyin that we can use to communicate wants, needs, and emotions.

So while I've been studying Chinese pinyin, Maeli has been studying English.  I received an email today with photos of our sweet girl working hard in English class.  It's neat that while I am focusing on Chinese and how to make her transition less stressful, half-way around the world she is focusing on learning how to communicate with her new family.  This is such a blessing to know the orphanage volunteers are preparing her.

Here is the latest update:
Li, Ya Nan is so excited about being adopted!  She looks at your photo and the biggest grin spreads over her face! She had us to print another photo for her. She already really loves you guys. She will be a joy in your home. You will be so proud of her!  She is practicing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; Row Row Row your boat; and Oh Susannah in English.  She really likes It's Yesterday Once More  by the Carpenters; but cannot sing it yet.  She is trying.  She is practicing the days of the week, the months of the year and the seasons in English.

Doesn't that just make your heart smile?  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Growing Pains

Yes, we are LID! We were officially "logged in dossier" on December 28th. This means our dossier (adoption paperwork) is being processed by the CCCWA. I've been hoping that we were but when I spoke with our social worker yesterday, she hadn't heard. She received an email today... What a wonderful birthday surprise! When they finish processing our paperwork, they will issue our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). We will travel approximately 8 weeks after LOA. Hypothetically, we could receive LOA as soon as a few weeks. However, it is realistic that we will wait approximately 2 months. A 2 month wait would mean that we would miss Maeli's birthday. I am fervently praying that we get LOA quickly. I want this process to be God's perfect timing... Our God is a big God and I will continue to ask for a miracle.

This past week has been one of the most difficult weeks in the process. I think missing Maeli at Christmas, not knowing if we had been logged in (nothing processes until we are logged in), and coming to terms with the fact that we will likely miss her 13th birthday hit me hard... God has called me to be Maeli's mother He has woven the same love and protection I have for Chase and Emma in my heart for Maeli. The hard part of this is that I know where Chase and Emma are. I know they go to bed full and fed with hugs, kisses, and warm clothes. I know they are safe. Most of all I know that they know they are safe, secure, and loved. Our precious Maeli is half way around the world and I am helpless and unable to "mother" my child. It's a helpless feeling... I just pray-pray that God will wrap His arms around her and put people in her life to show her love, compassion, and security. He's been faithful in allowing us to have updates from American volunteers at the orphanage who report that she is excelling, learning English, and is clinging to our photos we sent. This makes my heart jump with joy and break at the same time. The volunteers say she grins big when she looks at our family photo and even had them print her an extra one. I'm glad she is excited when she looks at our photo. She should have more than a photo, and that breaks my heart...

I find myself feeling guilty. Guilty about having fun, doing things without her. I find myself wondering what her reaction to all the new experiences will be. I find myself being sad and even angry that my little girl is having to experience such loss and loneliness at such a young age. Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family. But adoption is hard and full of loss for the child, the birth family, and even the adoptive family. So I try to put it all into perspective, when my heart is breaking, it's means my love is growing and God is preparing my heart for a lifetime of motherhood to a little girl who grew not under my heart but in it.

- Jessica