God is writing another story

God is writing another story. It starts with 3 Johnsons, a ministry to unwed mothers in Taiwan, 2 passionate God-loving ladies, an 18 year old girl and 1 tiny baby. Let's see where the story goes...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Whirlwind of Activity Around Here

I have the bleary eyes and sleep deprived body to prove it! ;)

Since we learned on Thursday that Selah is legally a Johnson, I have been on a mad race to the finish line.  I don't know where (when) the finish line is, but international travel is looming in our near future.  I have been "nesting" like crazy-- dragging all of Noelle's old baby (toddler) items out of storage and cleaning them.  I've organized the baby dish section of the kitchen cupboard.  I've made lists of things we still need and have been registering at baby stores for our shower next month.

Eric and I also pulled suitcases and bags out of the attic to see what we have for traveling.  We have one mongo suitcase and an odd assortment of smaller bags.  But the mongo suitcase that went to China with us will unfortunately not be taking a trip to Taiwan.  You see, I've been talking with my friend Cindy-- Taiwan adoptive parent 2 times over and somewhat of a travel pro.  She and her husband highly recommend traveling with only carryon bags.  And friends, that is what we intend to do!  Google has been a tremendous friend of mine as I have embarked on this travel-light plan.  Yahoo Group friends and my crew on facebook have also been very helpful.  Airlines and hotel recommendations have also come in handy.  You know, I really think we can do it.  The challenge is On!

Part of the "carryons-only travel" is the 1 Quart Bag for Liquids rule.  Praise God for itty bitty bottles and the toiletry travel sections at WalMart and Target.  I will somehow cram every product we need into 2 small ziplock bags.

After the news Thursday morning, I also realized that we had to move quickly to renew our expired fingerprints.  U.S. Immigrations will not let us bring Selah home on expired fingerprints.  I had been procrastinating a bit, but mailed out our fingerprint request the very same day.  I do hope we get something in mail soon telling us when to go to Atlanta.  That will be the last bit of red tape (on our end) to complete the adoption process.

Here's the thing.  I have gotten much accomplished, but still more needs to been done.  Noelle's room has to be painted (we promised it would happen before Selah arrives).  Safety gates n such need to be installed around the house.  The travel agent needs to be called to start making hotel and flight arrangements.  My house needs to be scrubbed and floors sterilized (or close, anyway) before a crawling baby comes exploring.  And some other stuff.  Can't quite think what.  But trust me, there is more.

Ahhh the crazy, wild pre-travel ride of International Adoption.  I LOVE it!!! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fluffy Cheeks

Ok, so I said I'd be adding lots of updates to the blog this weekend.  I've got lots to tell--it's all in my head.  I've been quite the busy beaver for 2 weeks when it comes to adoption related activities.  Posts will be forthcoming.  Soon. :)

Here's a little pic from our good news Skype session Thursday.

Noelle describes her new sister as having "Fluffy cheeks"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

FINAL DECREE!!! Selah is our DAUGHTER!!!

Watch this video from our Thursday morning skype session with Selah and Sara and Ashleigh from His Hands.  It explains everything...

God has gone above and beyond any and all of our hopes and expectations
in this adoption process.  May His name be glorified!!
I'm now a mother of TWO!!!!  Oh. My.Word.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :):):):):)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WE HAVE **HUGE** NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But you'll have to wait just a wee bit longer to find out (unless you are on facebook).  I am exhausted by the week we've had so far and plan to turn in early tonight.  I do hope to post lots of updates here on the blog over the weekend. 

BTW, I have now OPENED the blog so anyone can read.
THAT is a huge hint about what has taken place in our adoption...


pssst...you're gonna love it...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Box Is On Its Way!

I just returned from the post office where I shipped out a care package to Selah.  I included a couple of "size 9 month" summer outfits (yay Target Baby!), although I'm a little worried now that they will be small, judging by recent photos.  Our girl is growing well...and is quite well fed! lol  I also sent along a soft blanket which I've been sleeping with, since experts say that allowing the baby to get her new mom's scent aids in bonding.  Noelle slept with a little stuffed monkey head (yes, no body, lol) so she could be involved as well.  I found a soft photo album online and filled it with close-ups of our faces, the 2 kitties and a picture of Selah's bed. 

The last item is for the nannies.  Absolutely The.Most.Delicious. chocolate truffles I've ever tasted.  They are from Earth Fare and are made with creamy, smooth organic chocolate.  Mmmmm they will love these!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here's How Things Stand

Things seem to be progressing quite well towards the finalization of Selah's adoption. 

On July 6th, about a week and a half after the court hearing, a court appointed social worker came to the House of Hope to do a home study on Selah.  The social worker is writing up a report for the judge, and assuming the judge is satisfied, she (the judge) will issue First Decree.  This simply means that she intends to finalize the adoption.  If no biological family member comes forward within 10 days to contest the adoption, the judge will issue Final Degree, which means Selah is legally our daughter!  This could be sooooon.... :)

We also learned that Selah is having a physical conducted next week as part of the process to get her visa from AIT (the American consulate in Tawian).  There is some other paperwork that goes to AIT, but this is an important step in the process.  When all of the ducks are in a row with AIT, the consulate can issue us a visa appointment = we travel to Taiwan!!!

Boy, I just love the way all these items are getting ticked of the check list towards completion!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

House of Hope - Moving Day VIDEO

If you are interested in seeing the inside of the new House of Hope facility, please take a look at this video.  You will also see some of the babies (including Selah) and nannies in their new environment.


I THINK we have good news :)

Something came in the mail today.  Letter number 5 or 6 from the IRS in regards to the status of our adoption tax refund.  All previous letters have contained messages of "delay".  This is the first letter that sounds like good news!!

"We are pleased to tell you we did not make any changes to the tax reported on your return.  We will be returning any original documents you sent relating to your return in a separate envelope.  If you are due a refund, we will send it to you within 6 to 8 weeks..."

It sounds like a check is on its way.  End of August, early September.  Just in time to travel to Taiwan.

Thank you, Lord!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Switched back to Taiwan - whew!

We received a very important yet nondescript looking piece of paper in the mail this week.  It was from immigration services letting us know that we can now bring a adopted child from Taiwan (not Ethiopia) home to the U.S.!  It took our new Taiwan home study, several supporting documents, $410, a phone conversation with an immigration officer, 2 months of waiting, and we are good to go...until October 15.

Will we make the deadline???  This has been a HUGE concern. 

The desire to avoid paying for a "possibly needed" home study update and almost $1000 for new fingerprints/filing a new I-600A application is something that seemed eminent.  What if we don't get Selah and arrive back home to the U.S. before October 15??!  That would be big trouble.  Recommended refiling: 90 days before expiration.

Here's the GOOD NEWS:  According to the immigration officer I spoke to on the phone, even though we used up our "1 time free change of country from Taiwan to Ethiopia" and we paid for a 2nd change of country, we still haven't used our "1 time free I-600A extension".  Woohoo!!!  We thought using our "1 free change of country" voided any other "freebies" from the government.  Apparently not!  So praise Jesus, we can mail in a little form with no money, get a fingerprint appointment in Atlanta and get an additional 18 months to travel to Taiwan to pick up Selah!!!

Woohoo another 18 months!!

huh? wait. umm, not really excited about the 18 months part.
let's get this show on the road before October!!! :)