Preston Party of Six

Preston Party of Six

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Emotional Roller Coaster

If you don't like roller coasters, don't adopt.  Just kidding!!!  But in all seriousness, it's amazing how much the adoption journey is like a roller coaster.  There are so many highs, lows, ups, down, turns, and thrills.  One minute you're on cloud nine and the next you're at the bottom of the pit.  But through it all, I'm reminded that God has called us to this journey, His grace is sufficient, and when I am weak, He is strong.

Three weeks from today we will be in China.  I am overwhelmed at this fact.  THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY WE WILL BE IN CHINA.  Yup, overwhelmed.  I'm overwhelmed with all that I need to do in the next three weeks before leaving.  To name a few: having family in town for a long weekend visit; thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and trying to buy things now for that special holiday which is the week after we return home; packing for myself, Shelby, and Jenna; and preparing things for the boys while they are here with Grandparents. 

Lately I've been overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions, too. 

Anxious about the adventure that lies ahead.  Anxious and sad about leaving Nathan and Andrew behind and questioning if we made the right decision to not take them to China, too.    Anxious about the long plane rides there and back.  Anxious about our family changing from five to six.  And anxious about how Jenna will react to us on Gotcha Day and beyond.  ANXIOUS!

Excited about the adventure that lies ahead.  Excited to travel to a new country, the birthplace of our fourth child.  Excited to see Jenna face-to-face, hold her in my arms, and whisper in her ear that I love her.  EXCITED!

Scared about the adventure that lies ahead.  Scared about how I will communicate with Jenna since she doesn't know English.  Scared about so many unknowns.  Scared about how Nathan, Shelby and Andrew will react to Jenna and how she will react to them.  SCARED!

Thankful for the adventure that lies ahead.  Thankful that we will finally get to provide a forever family to the little girl that God has called us to love and cherish.  Thankful for all the love, prayers and support we have been given throughout this journey.  Thankful that Jenna has so many people excited to welcome her home.  Thankful for Lifeline Children's Services and all the amazing people who have walked with us and will continue to do so.  Thankful for God adopting us into His family.  THANKFUL!


These are the primary emotions dominating my heart and mind right now.  The highs of excitement and thankfulness.  The lows of anxiety and fear.  I wish I could say I had no anxiety or fear, but I'd be lying!  I am thankful that God is with me on this roller coaster. 

Lord, help me to trust you in these final weeks before we travel to China.  I confess I am scared and anxious.  Thank you for being with me through every twist, turn, high, and low.  AMEN.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My first "planned delivery"

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the fact that one month from today, I will finally see Jenna face-to-face.  I'm excited, nervous, and so very thankful.  It's surreal...knowing that in one month, Jenna will be in my arms as my daughter!

Not one of my biological children was a "planned delivery." They came in God's perfect timing without me knowing exactly when that day would be, and each time was amazing (painful natural childbirth, but amazing nonetheless!)  So knowing that I will meet my fourth child in one month is hard to wrap my brain around.  By the time November 11th comes around, we will have been on this adoption journey for nearly 17 months, which was the length of time we were told to expect by our adoption agency.  Since the moment we first saw Jenna's face on a computer screen on March 25th, it will be 231 days to our "Gotcha Day" on November 11th when we see her face-to-face.

When I gave birth to Nathan, Shelby and Andrew on their respective birth dates,  I can honestly say it was love at first sight all three times.  I loved my sons and daughter with all my being immediately.  And I can also honestly say that this love has grown over the years.

I also know that I love Jenna without ever having met her.  I know I will love her when I see her face-to-face on November 11th.  And I know that my love for her will continue to grow over the years.  But I have no idea how Jenna will feel about me on "Gotcha Day" or the days, weeks, months, and years that follow.  I know there will be fear initially, but my prayer is that she will grow to love me and allow me to love her.  However, my greatest prayer is that she will grow to love her Heavenly Father and receive His unconditional love for her.

The most amazing thing in all of this is that from the beginning of time, the Lord knew that November 11, 2013 would be the day for my first "planned delivery."  He knew that on that day, I would have the opportunity to become the mother to a little girl without a mom.  And He knew that on that day, both of our lives would be changed for eternity!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Way Ticket

Ever since I last wrote two days ago, my thoughts have been on China more than ever since we are SO CLOSE to finally seeing our daughter face-to-face!  Yesterday, the FedEx van pulled up in front of our house and I have grown to LOVE seeing that FedEx van because they often bring adoption related mail.  And sure enough, today they brought our travel paperwork--two white folders--from Lifeline.  It's hard to believe that of all the paperwork we've had to do the past 15 months, these two folders of essential documents we'll take with us to China are what matter most.

One of the documents inside these envelopes is our Travel Approval, granting us permission to fly to China to bring Jenna HOME!!!

The travel agent I got in touch with two days ago has been wonderful and I'm thrilled to say that tonight we booked three round-trip tickets to China and a one-way ticket to bring our daughter HOME!  I can't begin to express how surreal it was to see He Tong's name on the itinerary to leave Guangzhou, China, and fly with Shelby and I to Atlanta, Georgia where she will become a U.S. Citizen when the plane lands.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!

But even as I type these words tonight, there are feelings of sadness because Jenna will be leaving the only home she has known in her 2 1/2 years of life.  She will not understand what is going on.  She is going to be scared.  She may not want to me to take care of her.

Adoption is beautiful but it is also sad because behind every orphan is a story of abandonment, loss, and grief.   Or in the words of Katie J. Davis, “Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.” (Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption) It breaks my heart that He Tong was abandoned at eight days of life for reasons I'll probably never know.  It breaks my heart to think about her birth mother and the anguish of not knowing if her baby girl is alive or dead.  And it breaks my heart that Jenna will have questions about all of this and only by the grace of God will I know how to answer her questions.   

But the good, glorious news is that He Tong was found on her 8th day of life; she has been cared for in an orphanage for 2 1/2 years; and in just over a month, she will be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket bound for America to be with her forever family.  Praise the Lord!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Time to Book Flights

This morning as I was shopping for groceries in Walmart, as well as looking for some things to take to China for Jenna (thanks to gift cards from the MOPS baby shower back in May), I got an e-mail message on my phone (yes, I can honestly say I am THRILLED to have taken the plunge to get a Smartphone last's been so helpful in this adoption journey).  I quickly opened the e-mail and much to my delight, it was from Karla at Lifeline saying she had our confirmed "Gotcha Day" (the day we FINALLY get to meet Jenna face-to-face) and Consulate Appointment (CA).  I couldn't believe what I was reading, but all I know is that my surroundings became a blur and I just grinned ear-to-ear with happy tears in my eyes.  WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!! (Here are just a few items ready to pack!)

I immediately forwarded the e-mail to Jason, who was at home working and finished getting necessary items at Walmart.  Thankfully I didn't get a speeding ticket driving home since I was overly excited to get home and send an e-mail to the travel agent to start looking into flights for one month from now!!!  And that is exactly what I did once I got the boatload of groceries and items for our trip to China put away.  I e-mailed Todd, a highly recommended travel agent, in Colorado and within a matter of minutes, he responded requesting pertinent information.  Throughout the afternoon we corresponded but are still waiting on a few details before confirming flights to Guangzhou, China, that will leave either November 7th, 8th, or 9th.  Needless to say, this was a wonderful way to start out a Monday!

Then a few hours later, I got an e-mail from my precious sister in Ohio saying that mom's condo is listed and ready to sell, with someone already wanting to look at it tomorrow.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I looked at the pictures of her now bare condo on the real estate website.  So many memories were created in that little place...memories I will forever cherish.  I am especially sad that Jenna will never get to meet her Mimi this side of heaven, or be part of all the memories we have from that special place in Dublin, Ohio.  But I am committed to telling our new daughter all about her amazing Mimi and how excited she was to know that we were opening our hearts and home to a child without a family. 

So today was just another example of the roller coaster of life with ups and downs.  I was on cloud nine with the news of our confirmed Gotcha Day and CA, and within hours I was in tears missing my mom as I stared at pictures of her house that will soon be bought by another family.  Thankfully my Heavenly Father loves me through all these ups and downs and can handle these crazy emotions that I feel. 

Lord Jesus, thank You for never changing...You are the one constant in this life and I admit I need that right now with so many emotions swirling in my heart.  I miss my mom with every fiber of my being and at the same time, I cannot wait to have our new daughter in my arms!!!  Please help me to cherish the month ahead as a family of five.  And please continue preparing our hearts to welcome Jenna and open her heart to us, her forever family.  AMEN.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

This is really happening!!!

"HOLY COW...this is really happening!"  Those were my first thoughts when I got the e-mail yesterday morning from Karla at Lifeline saying she had received our Travel Approval (TA) from China.  HOLY COW!!!  And PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!  Now that we have our TA, Karla will contact the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, when they re-open tomorrow after a holiday to apply for our Consulate Appointment (CA).  Once we get our CA, we can book flights to fly to China and meet our baby girl!!!

As of right now, our plan is to depart from Atlanta on November 7th or 8th, have "Gotcha Day" (the day we first meet Jenna) on November 11th, have our Consulate Appointment sometime the week of November 18th, and fly home shortly after that appointment, just in time for Thanksgiving...and what a special Thanksgiving this will be!

So in the meantime, I have a lot of preparing to do--starting to pack (the packing lists are a mile long!), writing lists for grandparents who will take care of the boys, contacting the bank/cell phone company/credit card company, and many other important duties to get ready to travel.  But I also have a lot of other things "to do" this month--Andrew turns 5 this weekend and Shelby turns 7 in two weeks, so I'm in full birthday party mode for them; soccer season is still in full swing so between practices and games for all three kiddos, I feel like a taxi-service; and Halloween in our little town is a REALLY BIG DEAL...we get nearly 2000 trick-or-treaters every year and Jason's family always comes up from Florida for the festivities.  So the month of October will fly by and then it'll be November, our time to finally go get our daughter in China!!!!

Thankfully, the Lord has been teaching me a lot lately about slowing down and cherishing the special moments that each day brings.  So amidst the busyness of this coming month and the many changes that will take place in our family staring next month, this verse is what I will cling to:

As much as my heart longs to finally hold Jenna in my arms, especially now that we are finally getting so close to that moment being here, I must focus on this precious time as a family of five. In order to do that, my heart must be still, recognizing that God is in control.  All the packing, preparing, and many others things that must get done will happen in due time and they will happen in a much smoother way when my heart is still and focused on Him.

Lord, I am so thankful that you have brought us this far...we are almost ready to travel to China to meet our precious Jenna and bring her HOME!  Please give me the wisdom to spend my time wisely over the next few weeks...there is much to be done, but help me to focus on what really matters with each new day.  AMEN.