Baby to Toddler

I thought it would be fun to post all of the pictures of Max we have in order that we have gotten them. Ya’ll it’s difficult to watch your baby grow up in pictures, but I am so thankful that we have gotten these little glimpses of him over the past year.

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Final Update

It’s been since April….
A long 3+months….
Since we last saw a new picture of our sweet boy’s face….

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my email and saw new pics of our boy!!

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The only other information we received were his sizes, all in cm and kg. So, after doing a little converting, we think he is about 24 lbs and 2.5′ tall. Shoe size? I have yet to figure that one out, but his feet are 13 cm :)

One if the first things Landon noticed when looking at these pictures were Max’s Mickey Mouse shoes. That kiddo sure pays attention to detail!

Sweet Max, we all can’t wait to meet you!!

T-shirt Fundraiser

Ya’ll – we only have $1,577 left until to raise until we can say we are “fully funded”! We went into this journey with finances being one of our major concerns. As I shared here , finances have always been something I struggle to relinquish control of. God has been faithful and has already provided most of the money that we need to become Max’s family! Here is the breakdown of how God has provided: 

Personal Savings: $2,338

Cakes:$958

Selling on Craigslist/Facebook: $1,184

Yard Sales (2): $2,073.87

Selling at Consignment stores: $250

Cash/check donations before we started our Adopt Together account: $3,135

Adopt Together donations: $12,295

Wine and Design: $210

Facebook Auction: $883

Thirty One Party: $97

Puzzle: $5,000

Total: $28,423.07

How awesome is that?! Even though we are almost there, we still have $1,577 to reach our $30,000 goal. A lot of people have asked me where all of this money goes and I PROMISE it is being used. We hope to travel in about a month so our plane tickets will be the next big purchase! I have tried to keep our adoption timeline updated with the fees we have paid so far, so feel free to check that out for more details. 

So, what’s next? our amazing friend, Raeanne, has offered to organize a t-shirt fundraiser for us! We would love for you to purchase one to help bring in the last funds we need to get Max home. With some help of friends, we designed the following shirts for you to choose from: 

T-shirt Examples - Turquoise (2)

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navy tshirt blog

If you can’t read the verse in the pictures, it is Joshua 1:9 (my all time favorite verse!). On the front, there are 2 hearts connecting Raleigh, NC to Kunming, China – two very special places in our lives! I can’t wait to share my love for Kunming with Max and tell him about where he was born and lived the first two years of his life. 

We will be taking orders until September 1st, so act quick! All shirts are $15 or $20 shipped.

Here’s how to place your order: 

Email the following information to Raeanne at raeanne.johnson@gmail.com

1. Name and address if your shirt is being shipped

2. Color (Turquoise, Heather Gray or Navy) and size (Adult S-XL or Youth S-L)

Payment:

You may either pay on our Tax Deductible Adopt Together account and let Raeanne know you did so when you email her OR you may pay with cash or a check written out to Raeanne Johnson. When you email her just let her know you need her address to do so! 

Can’t wait to see you wearing this stylin’ shirt this Fall! 

 

Visas, visas and more visas

And no, I don’t mean the “plastic” kind of visa that is fun to go shopping with. Since we received LOA, we have been in the midst of more paperwork to get Max home. We sent off I800 paperwork (basically a petition to make Max our son) and received approval for that last week. Right after we sent off the I800 paperwork, we filled out applications, paid the fees and mailed our passports to the China consulate to get our travel visas.

Now? We are in the midst of applying and getting Max’s visa. This past week I was on the phone a lot (or on hold) with the NVC (National Visa Center). Once the NVC received our I800 paperwork, I was able to go online and fill out a visa application for Max as his petitioner. It was quite interesting because I answered several questions similar to “Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization” or “Are you coming to the U.S. to practice polygamy?” Remember, I am filling this out for Max. I sure hope my not quite 2 year old isn’t planning to come to the U.S. to be a polygamist ;) 

In a way, this busy type of waiting is easier because I feel as though I am doing something to get Max home. Waiting for our LOA was difficult because we worked so hard to get to that point then there was nothing…just waiting , with no light at the end of the tunnel. We are still hoping for September travel, but won’t know for sure until about 3 or 4 weeks from now. Our next step is Article 5 drop off and pick up. Honestly, I am not exactly sure what this is, but I do know it takes exactly two weeks and then we wait for Travel Approval. Sooo, we are getting closer and closer! 

We are getting super excited and I have taken some time off from making cakes to get ready for Max and focus on these last steps in the process. We have mainly spent the summer here in Raleigh, but we were able to go on a few weekend beach trips with friends! My friend “Rae Rae”, as Landon calls her, took these awesome pictures of us at the Eastern Shore in VA. She took us there to visit her sweet momma and we were spoiled big time. I love how they turned out! She has taken pictures of our family at the beach for the last 3 years. Thanks Raeanne!

 blog2 blog3blog1 blog4 blog5 blog6 blog7 blog8 blog9 blog10 blog11 blog12 blog13 blog14 blog15 blog16We are enjoying the summer, BUT can’t wait for the Fall to meet our sweet boy!

 

The Last Piece

We have great news about our puzzle fundraiser – it is complete! From the bottom of our hearts – THANK YOU! I must say, this has been one of my favorite fundraisers. Each piece is so precious because each one represents how much Max is already loved by our friends and family. Years ago, some dear friends told me how much it meant to them to have me love on their kids. Now, I understand why. When our friends love Landon and Max, we in turn feel so loved.

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Landon and puzzleThis little guy LOVES doing puzzles so we let him do the honor of putting in the last piece..Landon puzzle1

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Landon puzzle4

Landon puzzle5We raised a total of $5,000 with this fundraiser and only need to raise $1,937 more until we can say we are “fully funded”. We are hoping to do one more fundraiser before we travel, so stay tuned!

I love the double sided frame…check out how beautiful the back of this puzzle is…

back of puzzle3All of the heart pieces represent those who gave anonymously. Thank you! Since I obviously cannot write you a handwritten thank you card, please know we appreciate you very much!

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Xie Xie….Women Ai Ni! 

Thank you and we love each and every one of you so very much!

Love,

Dave, Tricia, Landon, Max and Daisy :)

An Exciting Delivery

FEDEX truck

Yep, that’s me!! And yes, I did ask the super friendly FedEx guy to take a picture of me in front of his truck. I am sad I didn’t think of asking him to take a “selfie” with me. What makes this barefoot picture of me even more funny, was the two year running outside in his Thomas underwear, a paci in his mouth and a blanket on his head shouting “he’s here, he’s here”. Oh, Max, you have a crazy family! Here is our little Landon waiting for the FedEx guy this morning. I knew it was coming so I told him to keep an eye out for the “package man”.

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If you haven’t guessed already, our long-awaited LOA is in that package!! After waiting 84 days for it, I am so excited and relieved to have it in our hands! The next step? Both Dave and I need to sign it overnight it to our agency so they can send in our I800 paperwork to immigration! We have to send the LOA, I800 paperwork, a signed copy of Max’s 30 page profile, copies of our passports, our I800a approval and a signed care plan we wrote up for Max. We can also go ahead and apply for our visas! This is getting real folks.

01377068753f127abe493bfea6fb9b3397bdf7b8feYesterday, we heard from our agency that they had received out LOA and Dave brought home this rose for me….so sweet. I love you Dave.

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01320aac6439cab7f5b1534c67c1c51fbe505ea147Big brother Landon is pretty excited about the delivery too! The little goober always has his blanket on his head. Sweet boy. I can.not.wait. to love on that little brother of his!!

Soft LOA

Before I write about the new news on our adoption journey I’m going to back up to last week, well really the last couple of weeks. If I am completely honest, I was going through a tough time with how slow our adoption process was moving. I felt stuck, stuck in a dry desert is the best way to describe it. Last week we had been waiting 70+ days with no word on where our dossier was. My fears began to consume me.

 “What if our paperwork fell behind a desk on the other side of the world? What if something was missing in our dossier? What if China decided the extra doctor’s note they needed wasn’t enough? What if they decided we can’t adopt Max after all because of my health issues?”

I knew these thoughts weren’t from the Lord, but yet they were there, and no matter how hard I tried to escape them, I couldn’t. So not only was I feeling stuck in an “adopting waiting desert” I felt like I was in a spiritual desert as well.

This is where I want to say THANK YOU to all my my adoption friends who are on this journey with me. Thank you for praying and encouraging me when the wait was so dry. I have been so blessed with friends (who I haven’t even met face to face) who knew the right words to say and understand all these crazy acronyms and wait time! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

 I wish I could say that everything is all better, that the waiting isn’t tough anymore and that I feel so close to the Lord right now, but I can’t. What I can say is that is over the last few days I have been able to slowly give those above fears to the Lord (once again) and slowly come to a place of being peaceful, even among the hardships of waiting for our adoption to be final.

AND, today, we received the AWESOME news that we received our soft LOA! This means our Letter of Acceptance to adopt Max is on its way from China to our agency! Just this past Sunday, our Life Class at church had a prayer and praise event. We spent a good portion of the class praying for different requests and receiving our LOA was one of them. Thank you for all of your prayers!

What does this all mean?! Once our agency receives the LOA they will overnight it to us, we will sign it and send it back to them along with our I800 paperwork. This will be a request to the US to specifically adopt Max. There are a few other steps after that, but we will hopefully be meeting our son in the next 8-12 weeks!!!

In the meantime, we will have some fundraising to do AND a ton more paperwork. Here is a picture of how the puzzle is coming along:

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We only have 51 pieces left until we complete the puzzle! If you would like to help out, you can purchase a piece for $10 by using our AdoptTogether account. To read more about our puzzle fundraiser go here

Max, get ready, your family will be there before you know it!! 

Puzzle Fundraiser Update

 

 

 

 

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Yep, that is the verse I have written in our kitchen. The bright yellow frame is perfect for it because I often need it to capture my attention these days! I have to remind myself daily that God’s timing is so much better than my own. We are on day 49 of our LOA wait. LOA waits can take anywhere from 60-90 days (some less, some more). LOA is our Letter Of Acceptance from China saying that we are approved to adopt Max. After we receive it, we should be able to travel in 7-12 weeks to bring Max home. What makes the LOA wait so difficult is that there really is no way to tell how long it will actually be. And what does this force me to do? Trust wholeheartedly in God’s perfect timing to bring Max home when He so desires. Adoption truly forces you let go of any control issues you might have ;) I can truly say that the lessons God teaches me daily through this adoption journey make it even more clear that this is the path He has called us to walk. 

 In other news, we are now a little over half way to completing our puzzle! Our dining room table has turned into the puzzle table for now…

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My best friend Karoline spend a few weeks with us (before moving with her hubby to Wilmington) and helped us get the puzzle started. You can now get an idea of what the picture is. Is anyone out there able to tell me what the chalkboards say?!

Currently, we have put together all the purchased pieces so we still need your help to complete it! 271 pieces have been purchased so we only have 229 more to go! Will you consider purchasing a piece for just $10 to help bring our little guy home? If so, it is super easy to purchase one through our tax-deductible AdoptTogether account:

https://www.adopttogether.org/00627

If you don’t feel comfortable giving online let me know and we can set something else up. 

Thank you so much to all those who have already bought a piece (s). It truly mean so much to us and Max! 

 

 

“Max Sit Here”

I hear that phrase a lot lately, “Max sit here.” It’s precious. Every time we get a cart (you know – one of those massive, gonna run you over, don’t-accidentally-run- into -the- wine shelf carts), Landon points to the empty seat next to him and excitedly states “Max sit here!!”  When I bought this table the other week from a yard sale ($3 bucks!!) the first thing Landon did was point to the other chair and said“Max”.

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I write about this because not only does it melt my heart, but because one of the top questions we get from people is “Does Landon understand that Max will be his brother?” 

Now, I think the answer to that question is “yes”. He is starting to understand that some of his friends have siblings and that Max will be able to sleep in his room like his friend’s siblings do. He even found a blanket just for Max.

I LOVE it that he is grasping it, but it makes me quite emotional at times. It’s no fun when you run into a friend at the grocery store with no make up on, sweaty clothes and eyes that are tearing up because your son is saving a seat for his brother on the other side of the world.

On another note, we are officially OOT! This stands for Out of Translation. Basically, our dossier has been translated and is being reviewed. Trying to figure out when we will travel has been making my head spin a little. It’s overwhelming that we will be taking such a big trip and making a BIG change in our family and really don’t know the exact date when all this will happen. Thankful that God is in control!

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I am also so very excited to share with you a picture of the little package we are sending to Max and his foster mom! Image

Is that so cool?! There is a woman who is lives in China (a guide who works with our agency, Lifeline) and she has set up a care package delivery service. Basically, she has a list of everything that she will buy in country and she will ship it to your child. We chose to purchase a soft covered picture album and emailed her 6 pictures of our family that said things like “This is your brother Landon who can’t wait to play with you”,etc. She translated what we wanted written on each picture and sent the album to his orphanage/foster home. Here is one of the email responses I received after placing our order:

Hi   Tricia

i called the orphanage today ,he is in the foster family ,once every one week ,the orphanage staff will 
come to see him,they will take the package to him when they come ,i already send the  bill to you ,please let’s me know 
if you did not get it .
please let’s me know if you need any help
thank you very much 
I don’t know why, but this made me feel so close to Max! It made my heart so happy to hear that he is for sure in a foster home. We also sent his foster mother a jade and pearl bracelet. They should be getting the package in the next few days!
Also, if you haven’t already heard about our puzzle fundraiser, check it out here:
So far, we have had 11 pieces purchased!
Love,
Tricia