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

Puzzle Fundraiser

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1

I know that it wasn’t “by chance” that I read all of Hebrews 11 this morning. You see, my faith is sometimes so weak. I often remind myself of Thomas, who doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. He told the other disciples “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25. I often want the “proof” that God will provide. It’s easy to live in the moment and forget how God has provided in the past.

For many years I have always loved the verse “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 5:26. When I get out of my “Thomas mindset”, and focus on the TRUTH of that verse, my faith in God is so much stronger. You see, it is easy for me to live in the moment and forget how God has provided in the past. Finances have always been so difficult for me to relinquish control of. Maybe it is because I have been on my own since a young age, having to provide for myself and watch every penny I spent so that I would have enough to pay for necessities. It has been easy for Satan to sneak into that area of my life and cause me to worry about “where the money will come from”.

You know what is funny?? God knows this weakness in me and is still, to this day, refining me. He has called me to do many things where the money just hasn’t been there. He called me to minister to college students in East Asia and the US and He provided the funds, He called Dave and I to go to minister to street kids in Uganda and He provided the funds, and now He has called us to adopt Max and is currently providing the funds we need to bring him home.

I’m in awe of all God has done already …He has provided a total of $19,552.07 for Max’s adoption! Here is the break down of our fundraising totals so far:

Yard Sale, Craigslist and Consigning: $3,429.07

Donations: $2,875

AdoptTogether Tax Deductible Donations: $11,100

Wine and Design: $210

Thirty-One Party: $97

Facebook Auction:$883

Cakes: $958

Total: $19,552.07

I am still in awe of how much this process of raising funds for Max’s adoption has strengthened my faith. When we first started going through our finances to figure out how we would pay for this adoption, it was daunting. So many books and articles I read talked about “tightening your budget” to save. We already did that way before starting to adopt: no cable, no car payments, $50/week grocery budget (give or take some weeks),  and we rarely eat out. So, how were we going to bring Max home? Complete trust in God’s provision. He has used so many of you to help pay for agency fees, home study fees, immigration fees, etc.

So far, we are still in need of $10,448.00 to bring Max home. Even though I often doubt, God has already used this blog post and reading his Word this morning to remind me He will provide for the rest of Max’s adoption.

So, now for the fun part: introducing our next fundraiser! Image

Yep, we are going to put that 500 piece puzzle together and would love for your name to be on the back of a piece(s)! We are selling each piece for $10 and hope to raise a total of $5,000 once the puzzle is put together. Here is the double sided glasses from we will use to display the puzzle once it’s complete:

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When you flip the puzzle over, you will see all of the names of friends and family who have donated towards Max’s adoption! What a beautiful representation of the love that everyone already has for our sweet boy.

If you would like to purchase a piece, you can go to our adopt together account to make a tax deductible donation! We will see your donation pop up in our email account and will write your name on a piece and add it to the puzzle.

Here is the link to our adopt together account:

https://www.adopttogether.org/00627

If you prefer, you can purchase a piece in person/mail with cash or a check (it just won’t be tax deductible).

Feel free to email me with any questions at tricia.eshleman@gmail.com

Thank you again for all of your support and prayers! We are truly blessed by our friends and family who have already been a BIG part of bringing our little Max home.

Love,

Dave, Tricia, Landon and Max

Max has GROWN!

Remember these pics?

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These are the only pictures we have had of our little Max since September. This is how I was picturing him until I checked my email this morning and found these….

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Yep, that’s our Max!! He sure has grown a lot in the last year.

As soon as we received out LID we were able to ask the orphanage 5 questions about Max. If we wanted to receive pictures and a video we had to use 2 of the questions to request those. We didn’t receive a video, but were so excited about the pictures that was a ok with us!  You are never guaranteed an update at this time so we’ll take what we can get! Here are the following questions and responses we received:

1.Can we have updated pictures of ______? See attachments, pls.

2.Can we have a video of _______? Sorry.

3.How would you describe _______’s personalityHe is very active and outgoing in a familiar environment.  However, he is kind of shy in front of strangers.

4.How does ________ communicate with his nannies? As his foster mother really knows him, he can show her what he wants by expression, body language.

5.Does ________ take any medicine? No.

 

I don’t know if you caught this, but take a look at the response to question number 4. Max’s foster mother is his care taker, meaning Max is most likely in a foster home! This is amazing news. In China, most orphans are cared for in institutions, although foster care is growing. This means that Max is receiving care in a home and isn’t left in his crib all day to fend for himself. Not only is this beneficial for his development now, it also means more than likely he will  have an easier time attaching to us. Attachment won’t happen over night, and it might be harder in the beginning since he has formed an attachment to one person vs. many nannies, but studies have shown that it is easier when a child has been in foster care.

As I have mentioned on here before, I pray everyday for God to send someone to be His hands and feet in Max’s life. To take care of him and love him like Jesus does. I truly believe God is answering this prayer and is using Max’s foster mother to do just that. What a praise that our little boy is being taken care of by a special lady on the other side of the world. I hope and pray that we will be able to meet her!

I found the answer about Max being shy in front of new people quite funny! Why? Cause his older brother is no where near being shy in front of new people – he has never met a stranger. Maybe Landon and Max will balance each other out!

Oh yeah, how do you like Max’s stylin’ outfit? It looks like Dave is already dressing him! ;)

Quiet Books

Although this post isn’t adoption related, I think you’ll like it! Since February I (along with several friends) have been working on something called a “Quiet Book”. So, what is a “Quiet Book”? I’ll let the pictures explain it :)

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These are the covers I made for my two books. Originally, I was only going to make one but the pages ended up being so thick, and since Max and Landon will be so close in age, I thought it would be best to make two!  Anywho, here are the pages that I can swap out between the two different books…

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I made the trains! See those wheels?!  I had to cut out and sew on 200 of them. We all sewed a total of 20 pages and swapped them so we would have a variety of pages. This was not an easy project, but I love the finished product and I hope it will be something my boys will treasure for many years to come.

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My friend Bethany is the who who organized all of this!  She also hosted a get together back in March to swap the pages we made so we would all have a book. We made the cover on our own and I wish I could tell you how I did it, but I totally winged it with a few tips from Bethany.   I am happy to say I have FINALLY checked the Quiet Books off of my To Do list and the sewing machine is now off our dining room table (and tucked nicely up in the guest room closet for a long, long time :) ).

Log In Date

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We met another milestone today on the road to Max – our LID (Log In Date)! Our Social Worker told us it takes about 3-4 weeks after our dossier is sent to China for LID, so we were pretty excited to only wait 8 days! This means that our dossier has arrived in China and is logged into the system.

What now? We wait for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China to approve us to adopt. This can take 2-4 months and is the wait that everyone says in the longest. If we were waiting to be matched with a child, we would begin that process now. Since we already know we are adopting Max we skip “matching” and move on to the LOA wait. Yes, I know this wait will be long, but 2-4 months seems quick compared to the past 7 months that we have been waiting; although I may not be saying that a few weeks from now! 

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No, Landon, this is baseball, not golf ;) 

I think another boy is going to fit in perfectly around here!

 

DTC

We have some big news in the Eshleman household – we are officially Dossier To China today!! More than likely, if you are in the adoption community, you know what this means. For those of you who are like “what in the world are all these acronyms she writes about”, it is a pretty important step to bringing your little one home!

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Yep, we’re just a tad bit excited!!!

Our dossier (pronounced ―doss-ee-ay) is collection of approximately 13 documents submitted to the CCCWA for permission to adopt a child from China. It contains everything that we have been working on for the last 7 months to get Max home, including a lot of sweat, tears and a ton of prayers. Your DTC (Dossier To China) is the date that your dossier is sent to China. China now has an electronic system set up to send these, but we also have to snail mail the hard copy to them as well. There are quite a few more steps to take before we get to bring our little one home, but it is looking like we will have him in our arms within 4-6 months!

4-6 months means that we will add another birthday AND a gotcha day into the mix of our Fall celebrations. From late September to November we celebrate Dave’s birthday, Max’s birthday, Max’s gotcha, my birthday, Landon’s birthday and Daisy’s birthday. It goes to show we don’t make the plans around here! All I can say is that Max will be a pretty special birthday present for all of us; definitely one we will remember. Another interesting fact is that Max was actually found and taken to his orphanage on my birthday in 2012. This makes me sad, but happy, all at the same time. Oh, the many paradoxes of adoption….

The next step? We wait for our LID (Log In Date) and we get to ask for an update on Max! We should have this in the next couple of weeks.

Please continue to pray for Max to be loved by his care takers until we can become his permanent family. Sometimes I let my mind drift to the worst of situations in institutional care. I have lived in China and have seen the hard places, but I have also seen the beauty and kindness of the people there. God cares for the orphans and I pray daily that He will use someone, on the other side of the world, to love on my boy.

We love you Max!!