Her name and a care package!

 Lu XueChun
I don't know when this picture was taken, but it had to be sometime 
in Lucy's "2's".. as she is 3 now and this picture was one of the first ones taken for her file which was created sometime this past April/May:

Her chinese name is explained in her file:
On admission the staff in this institute named her Lu Xuechun.

Lu is the abbreviated name for Hefei
which is also the uniform surname
for children admitted by this

Xue means that she is glittering and translucent,
as well as beauty, like a snowflake;

Chun means she is innocence.

When Sean and I first started talking about names for our future daughter last February, we had a couple of conversations about the name, "Love".. we really wanted to incorporate that somehow.
We totally forgot that his grandmother's maiden name is "Love"

After we sent our LOI to adopt "Steffie" on Lifeline's waiting child list, we began talking and praying about her name.  We tossed around several names, but we really liked "Lucille" and "Lucy"
Lucille means "daughter of light"
Our family is also fond of the Chronicles of Narnia..
In "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe," Lucy is the one who walks through the wardrobe into a new and different world from her own.  She was innocent.. and when she walked into Narnia, it was snowing.  We felt this name reflected her Chinese name, "Glittering, Like a Snowflake, Innocent"
It all sort of fell into place for us and she became:

Lucille Love Kirkland

Right now as I write this post it is 1am here and around 2pm in Hefei City where Lucy lives.
From what I understand, her care package is supposed to be delivered today.  Long Story Short, the lady who does the shopping and translating had a baby so our package got held up for a couple of weeks.  But on Friday, she sent me an email with choices for the doll and blanket and I got to choose which items she would receive.  Here is a picture of the items and letter telling the nannies that we are Lu XueChun's family and asking if they could please try to let her know...

I am not sure if Lucy has ever received a personal gift before.. something that was chosen specifically and uniquely for her.  I get the feeling that she lives at the orphanage and not in a foster family, but I am not totally sure yet.  So I am imagining that right now she is experiencing that for the first time.

Presents!! The knowledge and hopefully the understanding that someone out there knows who she is and is thinking about her.. I love the happy little doll!.. And a pillow with our crazy picture on it.. I hope she isn't totally confused by that..I mean we look nothing like her or anyone she sees on a daily basis, so I can imagine that if I were her I might be a little scared of us...praying that isn't the case..

  I wish I could be there to see her receive this and see her reaction and try to tell her.. I am your momma!! But for now, I only have my imagination.. and what matters to me is the knowledge that she is the Lord's.  From the day she was born, He has been carrying her in his arms and surrounding her with armies of angels. Long before I even knew she existed, He has loved her and provided people to care for her, and protected her. 
And that is what He continues to do - for Lucy, and for all of us.  

So while the sense of feeling out of control in this situation is new to me, it is not new to him.  It makes me realize how many times I am trusting in my own abilities to care for, to provide for, to protect my children here, how often I think I am in control of a situation, when really the Lord is in control.  
I may not be there right now to see her receiving this, but He is. And He is more than enough.  
That's all I need to know. 


Time is on our side.. yes it is..

Lucy Love,
I have been struggling a little bit today with knowing that it is going to be 8-9 months at this point until we can travel to China to pick you up little one!  Now that there is a face to our daughter it CHANGES EVERYTHING.  But I have also been encouraged to hear SO MANY who have walked this road before, tell us that God's Timing is always perfect in each adoption.  I had been thinking through all of this when I logged checked my email to see that yet another mom from the Hefei group had gone on and offered encouragement of this nature at the exact moment I was fretting over the 9 months we will wait.. Here is what I found in my inbox from someone who does not even know me.. ( am omitting her personal info)

You are 3 right now and will be close to 4 when we bring you home.  Our estimated wait is 9 months.  I am not expecting that our story will be exactly like hers, but my was this encouragement to me.  Our story does not look the same as anyone else's.  It is our story and the unique timing of it all, although it does not look perfect, is what led us to our perfect match.. YOU! And God is still working out the timeline, but I want to be able to show you one day the series of events that led us to you... Praying that these 9 months will be short for you, that God will restore the time where you did not have this crazy family to hug and kiss and love on you, and that you will bond and attach to your parents and siblings in your time.. That we will have realistic expectations and be patient with you while you figure it all out.. That God in His perfect timing will prepare each of us for your arrival.  We will wait as long as it takes... You are worth it.

March 2011 - Talked with Lisa Kelly (China Adoption Coordinator at Lifeline Adoption Agency)
Jan 2012 - Decided to start the adoption process.. Started with the intention to adopt from UGANDA..
 (you can read our post by clicking here)
Jan 8 2012 - Filled out our First HS application
Jan 11, 2012 - Sean got Fingerprints for FBI
Jan 15-20, 2012 - Painted the Adoption Canvas
Jan 20, 2012 - Laura got Fingerprints for FBI
Jan 20, 2012 - Dr. Form for the Kids completed
Feb 10, 2012- Shared with Friends and Family that we're adopting
Feb 14, 2012, - First meeting with Social Worker from initial HS..
Feb 22, 2012 - GBI Fingerprints taken
Feb 28, 2012 - Requested Copies of Birth and Marriage Certificates
April 11, 2012 - Decided to Switch to China for Adoption, spoke with Lisa Kelly again, she remembered me!
April 17, 2012 - Filled out Official Application with Lifeline
April 20, 2012 - Official Acceptance from Lifeline
May 10, 2012 - First phone interview with social worker, Bekah
May 10/16,  2012.. The window of time the other girls from Lucy's age group were adopted and the Moms visited and took these photos that included Lucy :)
May 30, 2012 - Lucy on the other side of the world, has her physical for adoption file (2 1/2 years old)
June 4, 2012 - First HS visit with Bekah - went so well - we loved her!!
June - August.. - Things got busy, and we grew weary of the paperwork :)
August 12, 2012 - Georgia China travel meeting, Peachtree City - We met Andrea, Amy, and Lily and heard from Karla Thrasher all the details about Traveling to China
August - October 2012 - Lots of visits to Lifeline China's waiting children lists ;)
September 26, 2012 - Second Dr. Form completed for Kids
October 17, 2012 - First Glimpse of Lucy
October 19, 2012 - Discovered that a friend of ours is adopting a little girl from the SAME ORPHANAGE as Lucy - can't wait to share more about this. :)
October 22, 2012 - Stayed up Late into the night gathering and filling out all the LOI documents
October 24, 2012 - All LOI docs in to Andrea, waiting on one clearance before we can send LOI
October 24, 2012- We name our daughter! Lucille Love Kirkland (will share meaning in a sep post)
November 1, 2012 - Lifeline is clear to send our LOI - First day of Orphan Awareness Month
November 1, 2102 - Laura gets blood work for Medical Docs.
November 2, 2012- Sean and I go out for Asian dinner to celebrate and afterwards to Starbucks to knock out our Autobiographies while the kids STN with Grandmother!
Novermber 3, 2012 - Sean and I spend the morning finishing our Autobiographies and head to get Re-fingerprinted for GBI a second time.
November 4, 2012 - Orphan Sunday - We pass out rice and beans at Church, I wear a red necklace because I am carrying Lucy in my heart and praying we will get PA soon..
November 6, 2012 - Get a call first thing in the morning.. WE GOT PA to adopt Lu XueChun "Lucy"
Might I add that this was election day, but the election was about the last thing on my mind ;)
November 7, 2012- We shout to the world that she is ours!!
November 12, 2012 - Order a care package to be sent to Lucy - doll, blanket, candy, pillow with our picture on it.
November 14, 2012 - Individual interviews HS meeting with Bekah Benke
To be continued....

Daddy Getting GBI Fingerprints made 11/3


A window to Lucy..

Good Morning! Wanted to share with y'all this amazing blessing.  I have connected with some other moms on Facebook from our same orphanage who were there in May and adopted littles from Lucy's same age group! A couple of their little girls say they remember her and that they were friends! One of the ladies went through her trip photos and posted this picture from her trip in May.. 
At first glance I was not sure if it was our Lucy or not.. the one in the front with pink pants and striped shirt, touching her little belly..
But the more I looked at the picture, I could tell by her ears, hair line, and the way her little lips look that this was probably her.. just a little bright in the hallway and she is squinting and probably thinking, "Hey, you lookin' at me?!"

Then I awoke this morning to find that another mom that visited about a week later so graciously took the time to go through her trip photos last night and look for any photos of Lucy. She posted this on our FB group for me..
It really is our Lucy!!

  It is like a window into her little life.. and she is looking right at the camera.. Can't believe I awoke to this beautiful surprise this morning! Oh my, isn't she just the most beautiful thing!? I just want to reach through that window and snatch her up and kiss those little cheeks!!

Just last night we arranged for a letter and care package to be sent to her orphanage through a 3rd party service in China.  When Lucy gets this package, they say that she will "know" that she has a family now.  We picked out a snuggly blanket, doll (they say she likes dolls), candy (of course), and a pillow that will have our family's picture ironed onto the front of it, so that she can become familiar with us.  The pillow was a little bit more expensive, but we splurged for it because we know that Lucy cannot hear the letter and are not sure how they will "tell" her that she has a family waiting for her..  But they say she is a smart girl and I am hoping that she has observed her other little friends being adopted a couple of times and will "get it" when she sees our photo.  Either way, it is so cool to know that she will hopefully be able to sleep with that little pillow in her bed.  That we will be with her in some little way.. That she may know that we are coming ...

Praying for the other littles in their group that they are listed for adoption and find a family soon!


Our First glimpse of Lucy

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

On the morning of Wednesday, October 17th, a precious little girl was added to to the waiting children list on Lifeline's website.  This is the first glimpse I had of that little girl..

She was listed as "Steffie" age 3 and her Special Need was listed as "Nerve Damage in both ears"
We immediately requested to put a hold on little Steffie. This meant that we would have 2 weeks to decide if we wanted to pursue her by sending an LOI (letter of intent) to China to request that we be able to adopt her. I had a quick conversation with my friend Andrea at Lifeline(our agency).. I call her my friend because that is what she has become! She and her partner Amy have the incredible job of praying over the China families and matching them with the children that come available according to the Special Needs checklist each family fills out. (More on Andrea and lifeline in another post, because they certainly deserve their own post!! ) She emailed me Steffie's file and I was also able to see a sweet little video of her.  Thus, a seed of hope was immediately planted in my heart that this may very well be the little girl who would one day become our daughter! 

After talking with Andrea that morning, I stepped into the shower and began dreaming about this little one.  Hearing impaired was a need that I had not really considered, but now that I had this little face before me, I thought, "Why not?!"  My mind was going 90 miles an hour with so many thoughts:

I need to learn sign language.
She may never hear my voice.
She may never hear worship music. :(
She has never ever heard a sound.
It is really loud at our house, but to her it won't be. :)
We will learn ways to love and minister to her that don't include talking.
Even though she cannot physically hear OUR voices, she can still, and will still hear HIS voice.
She will probably be scared when she meets us.
We are up for this challenge.
It will be a blessing to us.
She will teach us new things.. 
She is on the other side of the world and has no idea that a mom in a different time zone has seen her picture, knows about her, cares for her, and is falling in love with her.  

I envisioned her playing with our other kids, running in the grass, laughing and falling in heaps on the ground.  I envisioned Zoe holding up flash cards to teach her letters and words. I envisioned Finn smiling and laughing at her.  I envisioned Henry wrapping her in a full body hug.

All this and I had not even talked to Sean.

You see, just the night before, I had had a mini moment of panic, where I'd called our Home Study Social Worker and thrown out all my hopes and fears... And asked her opinion on whether or not we should put our adoption on hold while we got settled into our other property so that when she came home she would not have to transition to more than one home.  My main concern was dragging her through all that transition. She said that she had another family in a similar situation, but that she wasn't too concerned about it, because it may be good for an adoptee to be part of moving to the new place with the family.. and feeling part of the new start together as a family. Interesting point. But she said to take some time and pray about it.  To see how God would lead.

Who would have known it would be the very next morning?? God doesn't mess around.  God loves adoption.  It is His first priority. He knew that our daughter was on the other side of the world, and he knew the night before as I was having that conversation, that just ONE DAY LATER, He would reveal our daughter to us.  I HAD NO IDEA!!

I stepped out of the shower just 30 minutes after placing a hold on "Steffie".. I checked my texts and had a text from my dear friend Amy that read "Can't get you off of my heart in my quiet time this morning.  Praying for whatever plans God has for you today, sweet Laura"  This is a sweet sweet mom friend and spiritual encourager for me.  She has also experienced the miracle of adoption.  Here we are, not yet finished with our Home Study.. no where NEAR thinking God had a match for us yet, and God lays me on Amy's heart at the very time we were catching our first glimpse of "Steffie!" Confirmation. Ya think!?

Yet I was still wondering if after the mini moment of panic the night before, what Sean would say.  Would he think I was crazy? I texted him to call me when he had a chance.  Then I pondered all these things in my heart.

I was surprised when I talked to Sean to hear him say, "This is the LORD!"  "We prayed and He answered, by opening this door the very next day."  That is one thing I love about my man.  He is a faith person.  He recognizes when God is speaking and moving.  I was completely relieved.  I was worried he would think I was crazy for wanting to pursue this precious little one.  Instead, he immediately recognized it as the Lord's plan.

After all of the events of the day, I couldn't get something off of my mind.  For many years I have struggled with the desire to add to our family through the miracle of adoption.  I have strived. I have cried. I have wondered and waited and tried to control and figure out.  I have scoured the internet for faces on Rainbow kids and other waiting children sites.  I have watched countless families adopt and thought, "When will it be our turn?" Yet this day, the Lord put this precious little face in front of me without any effort of my own.  He initiated.  He opened the door. He opened our hearts to this specific one. He answered our prayer. He confirmed it through other believers. And all we had to do was walk through the door.

Isn't God Amazing?


Waiting for Lucy...

In January 2012, we began our home study to adopt.  We've been listening to the Lord and doing a lot of paper chasing, dreaming, and waiting for God to identify the one whom we would call our own..

This is a picture of our current family: Sean, Henry (6), Finn (2), Zoe (8), and Laura
Thanks for joining us as we experience the miracle of adoption!