Friday, September 13, 2013

DTC....Dossier To China, September 13, 2013!  A huge step forward in our current adoption.  We are officially a waiting family!  While this is such exciting news, it is also the beginning of the unknown.  The "paperchase" is a busy time in any adoption, a time where you are busying yourself with all of the sometimes overwhelming processing of documents to prepare them for their final submission to your agency.  Once it is all done, the busyness suddenly halts and you are left to a quiet time of questioning when your little one will be revealed.  Let me reminisce....

Our Colin....I took pregnancy test after pregnancy test, all negative, all within days of each other.  We went on our annual beach trip and I specifically remember an afternoon walk with my sister and mother where I told them something was definitely not right and I was going to go to the doctor upon our return home.  Of course, on our drive home, Ryan and I made one last stop at a drugstore to purchase yet another pregnancy test, we even debated on buying one or two and decided two would be best since we just knew it would be negative.  The following morning, I took the test and it was positive.  Finally, the answer we had been anticipating.

Our many ways he was our "surprise."  I just knew that it would take me forever to get pregnant with our second child - no reason for me to suspect this but for whatever reason, it was set in my mind.  However, with cereal cravings galore, I decided early one morning that a pregnancy test was in order.  I didn't even tell Ryan my suspicions.  With Ryan at work, Colin and I set out on an early morning WalMart run, purchased a test, and boom, there was Pryce, our joyful surprise.

Our Mason-Kate....we completed our paperwork for a healthy child under the age of 12 months in October, 2006.  At that time, we were told to expect to wait 14-16 months for a referral.  So we settled into life in the present and prayed for our daughter.  10 months into the wait, we realized our expected wait time would be much, much longer.  In fact, 7 years later, we would STILL be waiting for our Mason-Kate had we not switched to the waiting child program.  We switched in November, 2007, and we were matched with our MK just 5 weeks later.  The call came late one afternoon, a call that I missed.  The message from our agency stated that they had a question about our application and to please call them in the morning.  I honestly thought they had a question and I was anxious to answer it so we could be matched with a child.  With that in mind, I called them first thing the following morning.  No answer.  I was playing tennis and a friend said, "I bet they have a child for you!"  And I shrugged it off thinking there was no way they had a child for us yet, it had only been a few weeks since our change in programs.  The call finally came around lunch and our beautiful MK was referred to us, a day I will never forget.  She was 10 months old and waiting for us in China!

Our Maddox....Maddox's story parallels Pryce's story.  We began the paperwork to adopt and we calculated that the process from start to finish would take 2 years.  We began in May, 2010, sent our dossier to China in September, 2010, and miraculously got a call in the middle of the night in September, 2010, that our daughter was waiting for us in China.  We held her in our arms for the first time on March 13, 2011, just 10 months after we began the entire process.  A sweet surprise!

So I write all of this to say that we are in that phase of the unknown.  We know our paperwork is in China and we know we will likely get a match in the upcoming months.....but when?  We have NO idea.  And I will admit that I am not a fan of the unknown.  Maddox reminded me last night to relish in today and look forward to what is to come.  She shouted, "I am a FAN of God's PLAN!" So we wait and pray for our precious little one in China while we trust in His plan for our sweet Mary-Gentry.  We can't wait to know your face and hear your laughter and wipe your tears.  Our prayer for you today is that you know love and that your heart is being prepared for your place in our family!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Our Adoption Testimony and Matching Grant Information

"It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone.  To serve someone.  To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light.  This is the dream, and it is possible."  Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie

Dear Family and Friends,

Our quest to adopt has been a fabulous journey, one that began for me in childhood and sought my heart as an adult.  Our story began after we suffered two miscarriages yet still desired to parent another child in our home.  While I researched agencies and countries, Ryan prayed fervently for peace with adopting a child into our home.  God stood strong and held our hands as we embarked on our first journey down adoption lane right into the arms of our beautiful Mason-Kate.  What began as a non-special needs adoption with the two of us hands-down saying “no” to correctable special needs, ended with us having our eyes wide opened to the orphan crisis that is more real than we had ever dreamed.

Two years later, with a stirring in our hearts, we began the chase to bring home our second daughter, Maddox.  We plugged forward through the paperwork and received her referral late on a Sunday night during the month of September, 2010.  Where Mason-Kate had been born in a very prosperous province in China, Maddox was born in the poorest province.  She was tiny, a mere 5lbs at birth and suffered from the same special need as her big sister, cleft lip and palate.  Our travel confirmed what we had been told, Guizhou was far from a prosperous province.  Our drive to the orphanage is forever in my thoughts.  Mud.  Filth.  Beggars.  And, yet, we learned that our Maddox had been placed into the arms of a Christian foster family and cared for by them from birth.  We were fortunate enough to meet the foster family and the happiness they expressed towards her and our family on Gotcha Day was insurmountable.  

To say we were wrecked by seeing the suffering in Guizhou would be an understatement.  We came home with an even larger passion to help find homes for children left behind.  We have made it our goal to guide others through the process of adoption, be it a domestic adoption or an international adoption.  We see the look in a person’s eyes when we mention those two daunting words, “special needs,” and then we invite them to our home for one of our adoption gatherings.  These “gatherings” take place in our home every six weeks.  One stands in the presence of God when he looks on at the children from China in our group - the children with clefts, the child with bilateral microtia, the child literally left to die yet saved by a missionary who was not scared of his intestinal deformities, the children with a heart defect, the child born prematurely, the children born with meningocele, and the children who are still waiting to come home to their families (and our group!) forever.  Twelve families, twenty one children, a true testament of faith.  

Our adoption road has led us down many avenues. First and foremost, our growth in faith with our Lord Jesus Christ. He was dealing with two parents who clearly had their own plan for their family yet He stood stronger and meticulously shared His plan and, oh, how much greater His plan always is! Second, our girls and their lives.  We look at them daily - they are both amazing! They would have been shunned had God’s plan not been revealed in their lives.  Lastly, the many friends and acquaintances we have been allowed to share our story and personal testimonies with.  Adoption is our calling, His calling for us, and we are humbled by his gracious blessings as we continue along the path.

Today we find ourselves answering God’s call for our family once again as we dutifully pursue to adopt a waiting child in China.  She is known to us as Mary-Gentry.  With the help of our friends, we were able to raise $8000+ in our initial fundraising efforts.  This amount was used to prepare our dossier.  I am happy to report that as of Saturday, August 31, our dossier is en route to CHINA!  We have concluded the first “trimester” of our third adoption!

As most of you know, the adoption process is costly.  We estimate that our current adoption costs will total $32,000.  With this in mind, we are thankful to announce that our church family at Warren Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia, has partnered with Lifesong for Orphans and committed an Adoption Matching Grant of $5,000 to help pay our adoption expenses!  Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us meet this matching grant and cover the remaining adoption expenses to bring our baby girl home?  Our goal date is October 30, 2013! 

IF you feel led to give, checks can be made payable to “Lifesong for Orphans.”  In the memo, please note our “family account number - 3885” as well as our “family name - Drafts” to assure it goes to the correct account.  No amount is too small. Please mail your donation to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, Illinois, 61744.  Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners).  100% of your donation will go directly to our adoption AND will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000!  

Another option is to give online.  Please visit  Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.”  Complete the online form and fill in “Family Account Number-#3885” and “Family Name - Drafts” fields.   

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each of you for your continued prayers and support!  Please continue to pray as we proceed.  We will likely get a referral (a child match) in the next six months.  We pray daily that her heart already knows our love for her!  

In Christ, 

Ryan, Beth, Colin, Pryce, Mason-Kate, and Maddox