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
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Showered with Love

Sunday was such a special day for our family.  My sister-in-law and friend hosted a shower in honor of Maeli at our church.  Our church is a church with a burden for orphans.  The love shown for Maeli and the support to help bring her home will forever be a reminder of how our church family is demonstrates God love!

I'll post some photos from the shower tomorrow.  It was perfect!  What a blessing to share it with four of my Chinese friends.

An update on the adoption process:
I love to talk about our adoption!  It's a passion and a burden for children to find forever families.  Many have asked: "When are you traveling?"  The answer.... We don't know.  We are hoping for the end of April at the latest.  However, on February 15th, we received a request for more documentation for the US Immigration Service.  Our agency's In-China rep is in the process of getting the documents collected so that we can submit them to Immigration.  We are hoping to have them by the end of the week.  Please pray that the paperwork we submit is exactly what USCIS needs and our application can be approved so that we can move one step closer to bringing Maeli home.  We will then be about 5-6 weeks from travel once our application is approved, unless we receive an expedited Article 5 (next step with the US Embassy) which we are also praying for.  

Maeli received her care package this week!  The email we got said that she was very excited about her package and especially loved the recordable photo album.  I can't wait to make those faces in the album a reality for her.  One of the volunteers showed her how to take photos with the cameras we sent.  They said she was clicking and grinning from ear to ear.  It's such a relief knowing that there are wonderful people there caring for her and preparing her for the transition.  The volunteer says that Maeli laughs and has the most beautiful smile and twinkle in her eye when she talks about us.  That makes my heart smile!  I know that is God preparing her heart for what is to come.  For that I am so thankful! 

We received a few new photos as well.  She is growing and gaining weight, which are glad to hear.  She was very thin when she arrived at the orphanage.  This means she isn't going hungry and her smiles in the photos look very genuine and happy! 

The volunteers also said that Maeli's English is "getting pretty good!"  I'm sure Maeli's little sister will appreciate that!  I can only imagine how Emma will react when Maeli doesn't understand what Emma is saying!  We have talked about how Maeli may not understand and we have to be patient...  We'll see how that goes, lol.

Next week I will be attending the Created 4 Care Retreat with other adoptive moms who share the same passion for children and orphans.  This is a much needed retreat and I'm looking forward to spending some extra one-on-one time with God while learning more about how to be a better mother to my adopted girls and homegrown boy!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Answered Prayers

The past two weeks have quite possibly been the most difficult weeks of my life. I've struggled with patience and allowed myself be become consumed in things I can't control. I've prayed for mercy and for God to move mountains. I've asked our family and friends to join us. And I've asked BIG things from God, knowing that his timing is perfect and praying that His will and mercies make this part of the adoption process as as possible. I've prayed specifically for Maeli and that He would fill her belly, that she not be hungry, that He would fill her heart and that she wouldn't feel lonely, and that He would prepare her for our family and get us there before she had to spend another birthday without a family. God answers prayers! Maeli's story is a testimony. This process is a testimony. I can't wait to share with her all the ways God has worked to bring us together.

On Friday, February 1, 2013, God answered another prayer. At 12:58pm, my phone rang. It was our social worker from our adoption agency. Our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) had arrived! I began to sob as she explained the next steps to bring her home. I was in awe at how God had shown great mercy and blessings to her. I was in awe at how my faith had been challenged and how God came through and showed His glory and power.

Jumping for JOY!

Based on recent timelines, we received our LOA 2-4 weeks from "normal" processing times. Typically families travel 8-10 weeks after LOA. There are still a few steps on the US side to complete before China will issue travel approval. So celebrating her 13th birthday with her in China is definitely a possibility if things continue to progress smoothly. We are cautiously optimistic!

So what happens next?
-File I800 application to gain approval from immigration in the United States for her to leave China (this was sent Friday and arrived at the lockbox facility this morning). This process takes about 3 weeks
-Our approval and file is cabled (or electronically sent) to the embassy in China where they process her visa. Article 5 (regarding Maeli's visa) is approved. This takes 2-3 weeks
-Wait for Travel Approval from CCCWA. About 2 weeks
-Travel to China!

- Jessica