On December 17th we finally got the IL state approval for our homestudy. There are 4 individuals I thank for helping that process get done. First of all I thank the Lord for having His hand in that. On a Sunday afternoon I got a call from my co-worker's sister urging me to get people involved to help. That was a phone call out of the blue I did not expect and it's what I needed to convince me that I needed to get things rolling since I had decided I'd just wait around and be patient and leave my caseworker alone! Thank you God for using this person (and my coworker to tell her about us!) to facilitate what was not going anywhere anytime soon. Not sure I updated the blog, but our homestudy got lost in the mail??? I still have to investigate that. Then, a big thanks goes out to Mike Unes' office again because they are the ones that initiated and made the calls to get things going and prompt others to figure out what was going on. All in all though, for whatever reason, we were not to be in China in Jan. So, I am predicting right after the Chinese New Year which is from Feb. 10-25.
So, as of right now everything is done on our end as far as paper work and getting our extension (our finger prints were about to expire already!) and we are just waiting for all of our approvals from USCIS (our country's homeland security). Lulu will soon be approved to enter the US and we will soon be approved, again, to adopt her. Then, appointments will be made for us in China to complete everything there once we get our Travel Approval from China. I believe/predict that is about one month from now to get then we will be given our dates for travel.
In the meantime, we moved the "office" down to the basement and set up Lulu's room upstairs. I went shopping to get some organizational things and toys. It took me 3 hours just to put her little kitchen play station together! What a deal at Targ*t! Clearance for half the original price! Still things to do to her room and closet, but I will decorate more when she gets here because I want to learn more about her personality and also take her out and see what kind of things/colors she likes. This is special because she's never had anything of her own before, having lived in institutions, so I want her to really feel like she has her own things and a say in her things. (To a point! HAHA!)
While I was putting her room together (last night) someone else I didn't even know until now was writing me a special email telling me about her trips to Maria's Big House of Hope and explaining that she has gotten to spend time with Lulu on her two trips there over the last 2 years. WOW! What an amazing email it was to get, another blessing from the Lord! She started praying for Lulu's forever family a year and a half ago! That is when we saw her picture and started praying about/for her too!!!!! I mean, can you SEE God's divine hand in this???
Here's Lulu's room so far:
I'm leaving some things in packages until she gets home so she can open things too. I obviously have some wall decorating to do, but that will come as I get out and get ideas and also get to know her personality. All the stuff you see sitting around on her dresser and bed are some things that are going with us to China. And, yes they do all fit in a suit case! That is where they use to be until we got her room done. Thanks Jeff for selling me the great furniture and matching linens! It was all meant to be! You'll have to show your daughter and let her know that her old furniture will be a part of a very special story and little one's life!
Not sure if I am going to paint her room yet. I feel like just dressing it up with wall art and curtains for now. I really owe my "big" girls a room make over, so I feel that needs to come first, plus it'll give me a chance to figure out what we truly want to do to Lulu's room. She may hate pink and I don't even know it! I doubt it though! I do know I want to search for a red rug though!
Thanks for your prayers! Keep praying all will continue to move along, and that all the paper work and dates will be set before the CNY! Everything shuts down for 15 days so if we don't get dates before then, we will have to wait through all of Feb. probably and not travel until March.
We are feeling so very blessed, and I just can't believe I will have another little daughter in my arms soon. This is a very different adoption than our first one when we adopted our sibling group. They were much older (except Kaden) and we shared them with their parents through visits for years before we knew they'd be ours forever. So, I was not able to fully decorate and shop for them like this, and fully bond with them on a certain level knowing they were to go back home. It's hard to explain, but for me this time is different. And, I've been able to "know" Lulu through pictures from the time she was a baby which has been a huge blessing and not something that normally happens. By the way, did you know that adoptions are HUGELY decreasing every year yet we have more orphans than ever? Is this something you could pray about? I am reading a book by Mother Teresa and she says that abandonment and loneliness is the worst kind of poverty known to mankind. THAT breaks my heart and confirms even more to me that ALL children need and deserve a loving family. I know why I'm here. I fail a lot as a mother, but at least with that vision I can continually get myself back on track, daily. (Sometimes hourly!)