This week has been a big week with more progression towards bringing our daughter from China HOME!!! As of last night, our home study is fully approved and on its way to Birmingham to Lifeline, our adoption agency. This 18 page document that tells our life story...the good, the bad, and the ugly...will be submitted along with other documents to the U.S. Center for Immigration Services (USCIS). After their approval (I am thinking positively!), the home study and several other documents make up our dossier, a collection of documents necessary for international adoption, will be submitted to China in order for us to be approved for adoption. So although we have many more steps in the process of the Lord uniting us with our daughter, I am elated that as of last night, we are moving one step closer to that glorious day!
Not only was our home study approved this week, but Jason and I made it public this week that we are organizing a race that will serve as a fundraiser to help us bring our daughter from China home. R.A.C.E. for the Orphans will be Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Coweta County Fairgrounds. There will be a Tot Trot (ages 4 and under), a 1 mile Run for Fun, and a 5K race. Walkers are welcome, too! Not only will the inaugural R.A.C.E. for the Orphans be a fundraiser for our family’s adoption, but our greater goal is to Raise Awareness, Compassion, and Education with regards to the 153 million orphans worldwide in need of a loving, forever family. Jason and I are very excited about this opportunity and pray the Lord will be glorified through our efforts now and in the coming years, as we would love for R.A.C.E. for the Orphans to become an annual event in our community to help fund adoptions for other children needing a forever family.
Finally, we are excited to announce that our daughter’s name will be Jenna Jean. We believe a person’s name is important and should have meaning, and the name Jenna Jean definitely has meaning for Jason and I. We have always liked the name “Jenna,” but it also has significance to us. A dear family friend of ours from college is named Jenna and she was adopted as a baby. She grew up in a wonderful, loving Christian family and once she was married and a mother herself, she embarked on a journey to try to find her birth parents. Her adoptive parents were fully supportive of Jenna doing this, and not only was Jenna successful at finding her birth parents, but her birth parents and adoptive parents have spent time together over the past several years, enjoying life with their daughter, her husband, and their grandchildren. To Jason and I, this is a beautiful picture of God’s grace and how He delights in adoption.
The name “Jean” is also very meaningful because it was my mother’s middle name. As I sit here writing this in Ohio from the home she lived and died in, I think back to this past summer when I told her about our decision to adopt. She was so excited for us to welcome a daughter from China into our family. My mom’s legacy will not only live on in the lives of our three amazing biological children, but also in the life of our precious Chinese daughter that never got to meet her “Mimi,” Linda Jean.
In order to preserve Jenna’s Chinese heritage, we plan to incorporate part of her Chinese name into her American name. But just as God changed the names of several people in the Bible after a significant encounter with Him (Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul), our prayer is that Jenna’s new American name will be one way that demonstrates her new life. Ultimately, our prayer for Nathan, Shelby, Andrew, and Jenna is that they will each experience the reality of II Corinthians 5:17, which says “...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The Lord doesn’t just want to change our name, but our entire life. Our prayer is that Jenna Jean’s life will be forever changed by becoming our daughter and a daughter of the King!