Thursday, December 13, 2007

Personal pep talk

I think a lot of people take time to think about the past during the holidays. It is natural to think about special memories, remember someone who is no longer living, and consider the many ways life has changed.

Last year I spent time thinking about how our life had changed from 2005 to 2006 with the addition of Lindy. I documented some of my feelings in this post. That post was meant to encourage my friends who were so discouraged and disappointed that they hadn't brought home their special family member. They were struggling and oh how I could empathize. Thankfully, most of the friends I wrote this for have their sweet children and are experiencing joy beyond measure. Congratulations Di, Jill, and Shauna! Also, I couldn't be happier for you Heather and Kim. Even though I didn't know you last year, I know it was a disappointing Christmas for you and your families, as well. This Christmas, though, will be magical for all of you!!!

Now, I must read the words I wrote and BELIEVE them all over again. I do. I know God has a plan and purpose. I hold to that. I see it everyday when I look into Lindy's eyes and hold her close to me. Although I don't think we will have our daughter in 2008 or 2009, I know God knows when it will happen and that gives me peace.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The proverbial clock is now on

Today I was getting antsy. It has been more than a month since we were DTC, so I emailed our social worker to find out if she'd heard anything about a log-in-date (LID). I didn't really want to do that because I have prided myself on being the "calm client" who flies under the radar and shows full faith the agency will let us know when there is something to report. However, I did it anyway. Ironically, I got this email this afternoon:

Dear Families,

Congratulations! We have your log-in date (LID) today and the exact date is 11/7/07. As of now we are seeing the wait time to be about 25 months from LID to referral. You can find more updated information on the CCAA website.

I hope this finds you well and congratulations on accomplishing another milestone in your adoption journey!

Honestly, I had hoped our LID would be in October but it really matches our experience with Lindy--DTC 4/15/05 and LID 5/9/05. Our LID with Lindy was around her birthday (unbeknownst to us at the time) but, sadly, we're pretty sure our next daughter wasn't born in 2007 and have doubts she'll even be born in 2008.

Nonetheless, this is not a time to be melancholy and ultra-reflective. It is a happy post for now we know the "clock" is on and we are "officially" waiting and the date on the calendar tells me we're one month down.
Please pray big prayers for us and all the other waiting families. We sure could use them!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Phew...that was close - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Yesterday we got an email from our agency with the subject line "Good News." Here is an excerpt:

"...I am very happy to tell you that you are officially a DTC (dossier to China) family…congratulations! Your dossier was sent to China on October 30, 2007."

Yikes! I thought the good news was going to be our LID. Well, I immediately sent a note back to ensure our dossier had been mailed on October 16th and not the 30th. It was. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but EVERY single day counts in this process.

So we wait...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The good news and the bad news

Good afternoon~
We just got an email from our social worker letting us know we are officially DTC today. DTC is an acronym for dossier to China. In essence, it means our dossier is leaving our adoption agency and being forwarded to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs) in China. We are thrilled of this news.
So, what now? Oh how we wish the news was good. Quite frankly, it is beyond discouraging. Once the CCAA receives our dossier, they will log it in. That log-in-date (LID) is what starts the clock for us. Right now the wait between LID and referral is approximately 24 months. That timeframe could increase or decrease but the wait has been increasing for quite a while now.
Here's a little background to give you an idea of how slow things have gotten. On April 15, 2005 (2.5 years ago and one day) our dossier was sent to China for Lindy. Our LID was May 9, 2005, our referral date was January 25, 2006, and we met her on April 3, 2006. We waited 8.5 months for a referral. Believe it or not, the CCAA is still processing dossiers from 2005. They are FINALLY into December 2005 LIDs. In the 18 months we've had Lindy, a little over 6 months of paperwork has been processed.
Why so long? That is the question often posed to us. That remains a great mystery and we don't think we'll ever know the answer during this lifetime. There are probably several reasons that the wait has increased so significantly.
As crass and awful as it sounds, a lot of it boils down to basic economic principles of supply and demand. In other words, there are more people waiting to adopt than there are available children. Now that doesn't mean there are only a few children in the orphanages--there are thousands. However, so many (NOT ALL) of prospective adoptive parents are requesting non-special needs children who are as young as possible and these days there just aren't as many. That could mean more biological parents are keeping their children--no matter the gender, it could mean they are opting to pay the steep fines to have more than one child, it could mean there are more special needs children, and, sadly, abortion could be on the rise. There are some other reasons such as many of the orphanages don't participate in international adoption and children are being given away to family members rather than being abandoned.
We're torn about how to feel about this. In our hearts, we hate the fact that there are children in any country who are orphans. We don't "wish" for a big surge of healthy abandoned babies in China so that we can finally have our daughter. We know God led us to adopting Lindy and He has led us to China again. So, we will wait...
We believe God can do anything. We believe in his power and might. While we don't have the answers or know the reason behind the delays, we know He does. Our prayer is that God will affect some change in China and allow for this process to speed up by leaps and bounds. We know He can do it if it His will. We pray for all the children and for all the waiting families that it is His will. We ask you to join us in that prayer, as well.
We also petition your prayers for our patience and for us to remain faithful and optimistic about this long journey. There will be discouraging and disappointing days and days where we will question our decision. We know this. Please pray those days will be few and far between and for us to diligently pray for our daughter's birth parents, caretakers, and her overall health and safety.
Thank you with love~
Don & Lisa

Saturday, October 6, 2007

We're tickled pink!

Our dossier is complete and is en route to our agency in New York City. We didn't waste ANY time, yet it still took nearly six months. We are thrilled to have this part of the process behind us. Our social worker will review our documents for accuracy and to ensure everything is complete. Then we hope it won't be too much longer before they forward our dossier to China.

Sadly, because the wait is terribly long right now, many of our documents will expire and we will have to renew them along the way. However, we'll cross those bridges when we get to them. For now, the paperchase is over.

I tied it with a pretty pink bow to remind us we will one day have another daughter.

Don is really the master "paperchaser." He is all about the organizational aspect of it. He takes his profession as a project manager VERY seriously.

The final handoff and last trip to Kinko's for a while. PLEASE be so careful with this package!!! It is our labor of love...

Thank you to everyone who has been part of this chase!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting our I-171H notarized

The day after we received our I-171H, we went to our special friend, Trina's, house. She is a notary public and we were blessed to have her notarize this important document.
Here she is in action...

Thank you soooo much, Trina. We love you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy mail day

For several days now Lindy and I have been trekking our way to the cluster mailbox in hopes of a receiving a very special envelope. Today Lindy was still down napping and I went out there by myself. I prayed really hard on the short walk that it would be in there and today would be the day. I even forgot it was Tuesday and how Tuesday's mail is usually the WORST--all junk.

To my delight, a big yellow envelope was stuffed in there. I tore it open and sure enough it was our I-171H. This document is the key to finishing our dossier.

Thanks to anyone who has prayed for this document to arrive. All the terminology might not mean a thing to you, but your prayers mean the world to us.

Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Twiddling our thumbs

A lot of people are asking where we are in the process...We are waiting.
Currently, we are waiting for our I-171H. This is a form that we HAVE to have from immigration to proceed with an international adoption. Once we get this form, we will scramble to have the remainder of our documents authenticated by the Texas Secretary of State and Chinese Consulate. Then we will send our completed dossier to our agency for them to review and eventually send to China.
The "clock" isn't even turned on for us yet. We're not in line. We're not on China's radar. This is going to be a really, really LONG haul.
Our most specific prayer request is that we will see this oh so important document in our mailbox SOON!
D, L, & L

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Happy Sister's Day

"A sister is God's way of proving He doesn't want us to walk alone." --Unknown
Not only is today Friendship Day but it is also Sister's Day--which seems quite fitting. Although Lindy doesn't quite comprehend it, we tell her she is going to one day have a little sister or mei mei. Occasionally she even talks about her mei mei in China.
As "older" parents we know we won't be around for our girls as long as we might like to be. We're not trying to sound morbid, it is just a plain fact. We know there is often a very special bond between sisters. Our prayer is that Lindy and our next daughter will always share a close relationship together and never feel alone.
So if you have a sister, today would be a great day to tell her just how much she means to you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pottery Barn catalog, Dell Computer catalog, I-600A confirmation letter

If we're playing Jeopardy then my answer is, "What was in The Osborn's mailbox today."

We received confirmation that our I-600A was received and at the very bottom of the letter was a date for our fingerprinting appointment: August 11, 2007 at 9:00 a.m.

I know the adoption jargon doesn't mean a lot to many of you but the bottom line is that it is PROGRESS.

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A special delivery

Yea for the FedEx man!!! He left a nice little surprise on our doorstep yesterday--our completed homestudy. This means we can file paperwork with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Once they process our paperwork, they will send us an appointment to be fingerprinted and process more forms. Please pray it won't take long for us to get the appointment to be fingerprinted. Luckily, that is done here in San Antonio and we don't have to travel far to get that done.

In the meantime, we have a stack of paperwork ready to be notarized and that'll done within the next few days.

"The egg of a bird hatches only when the chick within is ready."--Liam Williams

It is a long time before our chick will be ready, but we pray for patience each step of the way...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doing the happy dance

Hooray! Amy emailed the homestudy for our review yesterday. We looked it over, sent back a few minor corrections, and hopefully she'll make the edits pronto.

Every moment counts, so we don't want to waste any time.

Not much else to report...Just hoping to forge ahead.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two steps forward

We are happy to announce last Thursday we made some progress on the adoption front!

First, we entertained our social worker, Amy Curtis, for our homestudy. We first met Amy back on December 15, 2004. Back then we answered about four hours worth of questions about our life together, our families, our childhood, our hopes, dreams, and expectations. It was the most intimate and frank conversation we'd ever had with a "stranger."

This time, Amy only had a few questions for us and we just provided her with updated information about our finances, health, and families. It was a snap. To make things even better, Lindy was on near perfect behavior. What a relief!

After the homestudy, we darted off to the main police station in downtown San Antonio to get our criminal background checks. I was kind of dreading this...Last time when we explained what we needed and why the clerk looked at us like we were speaking a foreign language. Surely, we weren't the first couple to ever adopt in San Antonio and require a pretty simple document. From the looks we got, you would have thought we were. This time, however, there were no weird looks, no odd questions, and amazingly it was a seamless transaction.

We have a few more things to assemble for the dossier but the completed homestudy is the key to being able to move forward with some big steps of the process. Please pray we get it back for review from Amy very soon!

There may not be a lot of updates on this blog but please know we truly appreciate your comments, prayers, and encouragement as we travel this very long road.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Movin' along...

Yesterday we got a call from Amy, a Gladney social worker, to schedule our homestudy. She's flying in from Forth Worth on June 21st to come visit us. Yea!!! Amy completed our first homestudy when we were doing the paperwork for Lindy and we loved her! She made us feel so comfortable with the process and even gave accounts of visiting with people who had barn animals inside the home.

The homestudy is a big part of the process and once it is complete, we'll be able to work on the other vital components of our dossier.

Progress is being made. It may be at a snail's pace but slowly but surely it will all come together so that we can one day bring mei mei home.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The application is complete...we think

Today Don left the house with an extra special package--the completed application for mei mei. He will be sending this to our agency in New York City today and it should be in their hands sometime this week.

While this is a big milestone, the application is just the beginning of the paperwork we need to complete. It included financial statements, birth certificates, our marriage certificate, medical exams, proof of health insurance, reference letters, pictures of our house and family, criminal records, among other documents and a big fat check.

Some people ask will the process be easier or quicker because we've done this before? No, no, no. We do everything from scratch. It may be a touch easier because we are familiar with the process; however, things change so we don't want to get lax when completing the paperwork. Attention to detail is CRITICAL!

Now what??? We wait to get approved and hopefully our homestudy will be scheduled within the next few weeks. In the meantime we hope we can begin knocking out other paperwork for the dossier which is the packet of paperwork that will eventually be sent to China.

A big thank you to our dear friend, John Skipworth, for coming to our doctor's office yesterday, enduring the almost 90 minute wait, and notarizing a big stack of documents. We can't thank you enough for your help and flexibility.

We'll keep adding updates as we hit milestones...Thanks for praying for us as we race to get everything completed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A letter

My dear daughter,

Although I feel confident you haven't been physically conceived, you have been emotionally conceived. Right now you are a tiny little seed that has been planted in my heart. As your daddy and I complete each new piece of paperwork, you grow just a bit more in my heart and that brings me one step closer to you. One day, we will bring you home and you will complete our family.

It is a long time before I will ever see your face or hold you for the first time. I take comfort in knowing God will be watching you all the time while I can't. He knows all about what will happen and when...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

On Mother's Day, I want you to know you are in my heart and I love you a little bit more each day!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The Chinese characters 妹 妹 represent the words mei mei, which means "little sister." On this blog we will chronicle our journey to bring Lindy's mei mei home.

It is likely to be a longer journey than our journey to bring home Lindy. While this seems unfathomable and discouraging, we also believe in the words found in James 5:16: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

We enlist you as prayer warriors to help make this a smooth process and thank you for accompanying us on this special journey.