Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sweet Girl

Dear Hannah,
Over the last couple of weeks I have been praying in earnest that we would get to you before the Chinese New Year shut down.  It occurred to me often, while I was praying, that there may be two foster parents on the other side of the world, praying in earnest that we might NOT get to you before the Chinese New Year, just so they might have a few more days with you.  I know God has heard all of the prayers of His people and is responding to each of us according to His will.

The time is near, Hannah girl.  Soon, we will come to you.  Soon, your little world, all you've known for two years, will be turned upside down.  Adoption will become a glorious mess.  Brokenness, heartache, grief....but God promises to restore our joy in the morning.  He will comfort you and we will too, the best we know how.  I am counting the days and it is such a strange feeling to be all mixed up inside like this.  I simply cannot wait to hold you in my arms, stroke your hair, sing sweet lullabies, and drink you in.  However, my heart is so, so burdened and heavy.  The day is soon and it will not be a happy day for you.  You will be so scared, so sad, so broken and confused.  I pray God is paving the way in your little heart to understand, somehow grasp in your innocent mind, that what He has planned is what is best for you.  My heart is heavy at the grieving I am about to witness and the road we are about to walk together.  It will be a beautiful mess.

So many days, so many months, leading up to this time.  I am so anxious.  I cannot wait to meet you, but also a little scared about the journey there.

I love you, so much.  I hate what you are about to go through.  You have been a precious, loved daughter from the moment we saw you.  Sweet girl, we are coming.....soon.  We adore you and cannot wait to meet you and make you Burris forever.

We love you and we will see you so very soon. 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


When we began this adoption we truly had no idea how we would finance it. We had ideas, but honestly, none of the math we did put us entirely over the finish line.  Filling out and submitting our application to adopt was a huge leap of faith in many ways, one of them being with our finances.

We have been so humbled by the gracious, generous, enormous outpouring of support we have received to assist us in making our dreams of adopting Hannah become a reality.  We received a grant.  We got a matching grant (that will likely be fully met by the end of this week).  We got an anonymous gift of brand new five dollar bills in the mail--a big stack of them!  We had another anonymous gift sent to our agency on our behalf--$1,000!  A family sacrificed a bonus for us while the children in this same family thought of ways to help us financially and made their own sacrifices to help us.  Our family has given us money.  Our church family will hand us an envelope during worship and we'll get home to find a note and a check tucked inside.  Our friends have given us money they likely didn't have to spare.  A friend made a quilt and raised over $600 through the raffle ticket sales.  We have sacrificed savings and all gifts.  We raised close to $200 through a 31 fundraiser. God has been so big.  Not once have I feared making a payment to our agency.  Only one time did I get nervous about our wire to China and rapidly He provided and the fear disappeared.

We are so humbled and thankful for all He has done for us through this adoption process.  To each one of you who have helped us, thank you.  We haven't been able to write all the thank you notes we wanted to write.  We don't even know who some of you are.  Please know that your gift is not taken for granted and Hannah will know one day of the army that worked to bring her home.  We are blessed, humbled, and so thankful for your sacrificial gifts. 

Nobody Said This Would Be Easy

No one told us this thing called adoption would be easy.  All of it is hard and I know this bit of hard beforehand is really just the training ground for the really hard of living it out and working with a child through trauma and brokenness.  The home study was hard.  The paper chase was hard.  The waiting is hard.  The unknown cause of many delays is even harder.

Three families from our agency got their LOA the exact same day that our family did.  Each one of those families is getting on a plane to go to China tomorrow.  They will have their little ones in their arms sometime in the middle of the night Sunday.  I am thrilled for them.  I cannot wait to watch their journeys unfold.  Only, when we connected with them we thought for sure we'd be witnessing those journeys unfold on a personal level--with them, in China.  But we won't be doing that.  We'll be one of the many cheering them on from the states.

I have been communicating with our social worker to try to figure out what I need to prepare my heart for.  We are dangerously close to having to sit through the Chinese New Year.  Today I heard back from her.  She communicated with another social worker at our agency.  The one who handles the TA's as they come in and sets up the Consulate Appointments.  She is pretty good at her timelines and figuring out when things might happen.  Her response to us today was that with our current timeline, it does not look like we will make it in prior to the New Year.  We will likely get our TA issued, but will not be able to travel until March.  I know the job of the social worker is to give us worst case scenario so that we can be pleasantly surprised.  So I know this is worst case scenario.  But I am also afraid to hold out hope.  I trust her estimation.

I am heartbroken.  A floodgate of tears that I'd somehow stopped up since we got our LOA is open again and I cannot turn it off.  To the depth of my soul I want to get there.  Now.  I know God has a plan.  I know God has a reason.  I know God's timing is perfect.  I know this.  This is my mantra.  I repeat it over and over and over again.  I give the same advice to other prospective adoptive parents.  When I get caught up in the calculating and counting days and asking around to see how long processes are taking for others, I stop.  I say my mantra.  God has a plan.  God has a reason.  God's timing is perfect.  There is purpose in the days you wait and purpose for you to wait as long as you are.  I know I am speaking truth to myself because God's word tells me this is truth.  However, I am desperate for this truth to penetrate my heart and act as balm to my wounded mama's heart.

Despite this information I am going to continue to boldly ask the Lord to somehow open doors for us to be able to go prior to March.  I know our God is a God of miracles and I have seen Him move swiftly in so many areas.  I am going to trust Him.

Please continue to pray boldly for us to get the opportunity to go prior to the Chinese New Year.  Please also pray for me to find peace, regardless of what the outcome is.  Nobody said this would be easy.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Struggling to Hang On

I'm holding on by a thread.  Emotions are high today and tears are flowing.  Freely.  We got an update on our Article 5 today.  It wasn't what I wanted to hear.  We hit another delay.

Our Article 5 was dropped off on December 18th. This process is typically a two week process. Ours would have been due to be picked up on January 1. That was a holiday, so we assumed we'd be picked up on the 5th, which is today. From here we'd be off to Beijing and waiting on TA. Well, we got word today that our Article 5 won't be picked up until Thursday, the 8th. Our two week Article 5 wait just became three weeks. Our papers likely won't make it to Beijing until next week for the TA wait to begin. Most of you will say, "Oh, it is just three extra days, it won't be too bad!" The trouble is that we will likely get TA, but now that the CCCWA is back open, many TA's will be issued. As TA's are issued, Consulate Appointments will be claimed and days will be filled. There is a very real possibility, with each passing day, that we will get our TA and not be able to secure a CA until AFTER the Chinese New Year in early March. It is not impossible for us to travel prior to CNY, but with each passing day, that chance gets smaller and smaller. 

Mama's out there, you know my heart. The thought of potentially getting Hannah in late January or very early February vs. having to wait until is way too much for me to handle. Please join us in praying that we might get Hannah prior to the Chinese New Year. Please, please pray. Families that got their LOA the same day we did are all getting on a plane to get their little ones in three days. THREE days. And here we sit. Delay after delay. I know God's plan is big--way bigger than mine and way better than anything I could dream up, but oh, how my heart longs to hold this sweet little girl of ours. So, so badly.

I didn't know how great the ache to go was until this moment of thinking I could be weeks away from Hannah vs. another few months.  This is such a gut wrenching, difficult process.  I remember shedding a few tears when my due date came and went when I was expecting Jacob.  I was so uncomfortable and just....ready to meet him.  This is a far greater, more magnified emotion.  When you reach this point you physically long to touch your child.  You dream about them.  Your eye places them in photographs you take of your other children.  You schedule appointments and most of life around "when we'll be in China."  Yet so much of it is unknown.  I said this before.  I know God knows.  I know Gotcha Day is planned very specifically on his calendar for a certain day and time.  And I know His plan is far better than mine.  I know all of those things.  I do.  I really, really do.  And I trust them, but despite all of that knowledge, I struggle to get it down to my heart, where the tears bubble up and the longing resides.  I so want Hannah home.

Today, doors feel like they are closing and opportunities feel like they are slipping away.  No doors are completely shut and so I rest in this: "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or Him be the glory."  Ephesians 3:20,21

God, you can do awesome things!  Please allow us to get our little girl home before Chinese New Year!