Thursday, December 27, 2012

Updated Esther!

Tonight we got some updated photos of Esther.  Earlier this week we sent some some gifts and pictures to her through Ann at Red Thread China.  I can't say enough how wonderful she has been to work with.  She is always so timely and goes over and beyond what she needs to.  I was so impressed that she put our names and who we are in chinese characters on our images and that she sent this to me so I can see exactly the images she sent.

And then here are the images of Esther.  She looks SO much older!  We also got updated sizing on her - looks like she is a size 8/10 in girls and she wears a 1.5 - 2 sized shoe.  Can't wait to get shopping!

 Look - a smile!

We love you, Esther!  Can't wait to get over to you!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Party on, Spring Festival. Without us.

I can't believe nearly a month has passed since my last post.  I knew this month would go fast and that made me happy because I thought we'd be traveling just a couple weeks into January but there have been some new things to consider.

Right now our paperwork is at the US embassy in China.  Someone is looking at the request for the girl's immigration into the United States and giving us the final go ahead.  Once they do sometime next week, our completed paperwork(yes, it's all finished!) will be sent to the Chinese government and they will issue us travel approval.  That takes about two weeks so that puts us at getting travel approval on the 11th of January or so.  And that's where things start getting tricky.

See, in China we will pick up one of our girls, stay in her province for a week, pick up the next girl and stay in her province a week.  After that we head to another city, Guangzhou, to complete their paperwork, medical exams and visas.  That entire process takes 3 weeks or more.

But here's the trick - this year's spring festival or Chinese New Year is February 10 with ALL government offices closed from February 9th - 15th.  That means we need to either get in there and get out before that time - which is pretty much impossible with when we'll get travel approval OR wait until it's all over and go in mid February.   As I type that I know that it just means that we won't go until February but I can't help but think "What if we bought our tickets before travel approval?..." and so on and so on.  Maybe we can!  But there are other things to consider as well.

Andrew is turning 8 on the 24th of January and in our faith that is when children are baptized.  I don't want his baptism to get kind of "lost" in the hustle and bustle of when we get back so it's better to do it before.  And then that weekend Elijah has some major winter camp-out that the scouts have been preparing for for months.  He was really bummed to think he would be missing it.  And then, Andrew is in a play where he is one of the main parts on the 29th, and the 31st is the pinewood derby.  It seems we were just not meant to be in China until February.   But it KILLS me!

In other news, we just sent Esther a book of our family pictures.  Since she is in foster care I couldn't find someone going to the orphanage and send it along like I could with Pearl.  I instead sent some cookies, tea, and a photo book with Ann at Red Thread China.  We also requested pictures at the same time so I am really hoping we will get a Christmas present of pictures of our sweet girl.  Really, nothing could be better than that.  For the book I took some new photos of the boys since the last ones weren't really that good.  I had the boys come and sit on the sofa next to a big window while my older son held a white pillow case to bounce some of the light back on the other side of their face.  And they turned out so authentic and sweet that I can't wait for Esther to see her brothers.  Here they are:
Asher - 3

Asher's crazy face.

Peter - 4

Peter is SO excited for his sisters to come home.

Andrew - almost 8!

Since his funny face went over so well with Pearl he couldn't help but try even harder for Esther.
Elijah - 11

Elijah wanted in on that action.
In the end, I need to trust the Lord.  I need to trust that He is in charge of this whole thing and that we are going exactly when he wanted us to go.  I need to remember that worrying only makes me feel bad and doesn't change one thing.  I will trust.  I'm just so SO anxious to hold my girl's little hands, to fix their hair, to look them in the eyes, and to hug them.  Soon enough, sweet girls.