Friday, October 24, 2014

And then there were....SEVEN?

Kids, that is!

Let me explain...

I probably will make little sense considering my emotional state right now...

But, I can't stay quiet about God's faithfulness in leading us!

If you want the short version...we just got the approval to adopt a second child from China!  If you don't already know, we had previously been approved to adopt a 4 year old little girl from China.  Now we are adopting both her and a 2 year old little boy!

If you want the very looooooong version.....keep reading.  :)

Let me start back on September 6th.  I was scrolling through some China Adoption sites on Facebook and came across a photo.  Generally, I love just looking at these sites, praying for these kids and watching their parents step forward one by one.  This little boy's eyes just drew me in.  I was actually confused because he was in a pink coat, yet the name read TEDDY.  Come to find out, an adoption advocate was looking for him, but thought he might be locked with a family interested in him at the time.  Apparently a few families has asked the agency that had his file a few weeks before to release it, but no one could find him since then. I asked my agency to look for him on the shared waiting child list, but they had no luck.  They said they would keep their eyes out.  The little boy had just turned two and had albinism.  Besides the color of his skin, he was a typical toddler!  We probably didn't have enough identifying information to search for him effectively.

Fast forward a week and I'm doing an Adoption Fundraising Garage sale at the home of some very generous friends of ours.  An older couple just about fell over when they saw my posters about Frannie, the little girl we have already been match with, being from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.  Their son-in-law grew up there for 7 years and his grandparents still lived there.  They were so excited to share their daughter and son-in-law's contact information with us.  The next day their daughter came by to meet me!  She was so incredibly sweet!  They had a 4 year old boy born in Taiyuan City, lived there for 4 years, visited Hohhot many times and were also in the process of adopting from China!  She offered to translate paperwork or videos any time we needed it during the process.  She was so encouraging and too kind.

Fast forward another week.  On September 19th I get a message from my agency contact that they found TEDDY and we would have 72 hours to decided if we wanted to ask China to adopt him.  Someone had posted they saw him on the shared list and my agency responded right away to get the information needed!  

Whoa.  Heavy.  

I had asked for his file, but I really wasn't prepared to actually have the option to move forward with him.  I was a little shocked, yet excited.  Though, my initial instinct was that Mr. Prince would say no and I've just wasted my agency's time.

I looked up a ton of information about albinism, added myself to Facebook pages for parents of children with albinism, emailed a few parents and learned all I could before Mr. Prince got home.  We talked a lot throughout the night about fees, adjustments, finances, etc.  It was after 11PM when an adoption friend of mine was messaging me who is adopting two children from China.  She had named her kids Eden and Ezra and were were talking about their special needs.  I love both those names and thought the matching 'E' is sweet.  All of a sudden "Frannie and Finn" popped into my head.  Finn, or Finton, was the name we would have named Miracle, our 5 year old, had she been a boy.  While Paul and I talked, I looked up the name meaning for kicks... and stopped in my tracks.

Finton: Irish meaning "fair-haired” or could mean “white fire"

I just laughed.
And then I looked at Mr. Prince in shock. 
Then I covered my mouth.
Then I asked him if he wanted to know what I just read.  He said yes, hesitantly...
But, a smile grew across his face, too.

Of course I'm battling the "Is this a sign from God" thought.  I kept wondering HOW we would know in 72 hours whether or not to move forward with this little boy.   Was this it?  If not, it was kinda freaky!!

We actually sent TEDDY's file to the Chinese couple who offered to translate videos and paperwork that night.  We knew they may not be available, but it was worth a shot!  We were curious what these nannies were saying to him in the video and how he was responding.

I asked many friends to pray the next day.  A couple who had adopted two siblings from another country dropped off some bunk beds for us that morning.  Who better to pray for us than someone who has been in this exact situation, right?  They were happy to pray for us.

Then I ran into another lady picking my kids up from a program for kids with siblings with special needs.  We had met these two Chinese girls at a park earlier in the summer.  My kids got along well with them and wanted me to meet their dad.  I gave him my number for his wife to call me.  She did mid-summer, but I was so busy I forgot to return her call!  Oops!  Well, one of her daughters was at the program and Angelica Pickles, my 8 year old, had given her daughter my number again!  We chatted for a while and I asked her to pray for us as well.  She had adopted an infant 10 years ago and a 7 year old two years ago from China.  She was very happy to pray for us and asked for me to keep in touch.  Very cool.

I also talked to my mother-in-law that afternoon.  See, my mother-in-law had 4 siblings with albinism.  They had a rare recessive condition called Chediak-Higashi Syndrome, which included partial albinism and immune suppression.  They all died young, by the age of 8, from infections.  She told me they all wore glasses and they used a petroleum-like salve to protect their skin 50+ years ago.  One had photophobia, another shook his head to focus.  It was neat to hear more about her experiences with her siblings.  Part of the reason I felt an immediate connection to this little boy was because albinism was in Mr. Prince's family.

Later, I got a voice message from the Chinese couple that they had reviewed the files and were excited to share with us what they heard.  In fact, TEDDY was in the exact city their son was born and the city they lived in for 4 years in China!  What are the chances the two cities they were familiar with were the two cities the two Chinese children we had chosen were from?!  She called me and told me TEDDY seemed to follow his nanny's commands well, had good fine motor skills and didn't seem to have some of the typical orphanage behaviors.  The paperwork didn't have anything hidden in the Chinese that wasn't in the English.  They said there is a fast train between the two kids' provinces, therefore a cheaper mode of transportation if we ended up adopting them both.  She even said she had seen TEDDY on an advocacy site and thought he was adorable and prayed for his family!  She asked to pray with us right on the phone and prayed for clear confirmation or walls so that only God's Will would stand firm.  My heart was full when we got off the phone.

I had been talking to Mr. Prince through percentages all along: 0% means not submitting paperwork, 100% means submitting paperwork to try to adopt TEDDY.  I was pretty much 100% by midday, but I was set that Mr. Prince had to be on board as well.  I wasn't gonna steer this boat alone!  He had been a 55% the night before.  It wasn't long after our phone conversation with this couple that he told me he wanted to submit our Letter of Intent for TEDDY!

Then, I got another email from the Chinese couple that night.  TEDDY's Chinese name pronunciation and meaning! 

Get this...  His name means 'Healthy' and 'Exceptional or Unique'!

I LOVE it!! 

Well, Happy 33rd Birthday to ME.... the next day we submitted our Letter of Intent on September 21st!

On my birthday at church, God truly blessed me.  It was a baptismal service.  I love spending an entire morning singing praise as we watch people profess their love for God and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice!  But today, I watched two little girls who were adopted internationally when they were toddlers, along with their older brothers, be baptized together.  Oh, my heart!  The gravity of the opportunity to bring home a child (or children) and teach them about the love of Jesus that they may not have had to opportunity to learn about in their home country, was heavy on my heart.  And honestly, I just cried.  Not only did those girls get baptized, but another little girl my daughter's age, who is the grandchild of a domestic adoptive family, was baptized that day as well.  The generations that are affected by one couple's willingness to bring in an orphan just broke my heart that day.

We have been called to something much greater than just providing shelter or even love to an orphan.  We have been given the opportunity to lead these children to a Savior and eternal life!

There is nothing more important in this world.

We have been called.  And we have said YES to that calling.  That doesn't make us saints.  In fact, sometimes I think God is crazy for choosing us.  But, if He calls us, I believe He will equip us. 

I talked with a number of families who had adopted or birthed children with albinism over the next few days.  They had nothing but encouragement for us!  Their children all seemed to be doing great with very few adaptions for every day life.

We were peaceful and expectant.  In my heart I could truly say that I was willing to accept, with gratefulness, both a yes and a no.  Obviously a yes would be the step we needed to bring this little boy home, and God would just need to have our paperwork accepted and provide the extra adoption funds.  A no would tell us that this was not the child for us, possibly that we aren't supposed to adopt another child from China (right now).  But, above all, I would know early in the process that I was just bringing home one child so I could let that hope go in my own heart.  As long as there was a possibility, I wasn't going to stop looking and praying for that second child.  My heart had been, for a long time, to adopt a boy/girl sibling group through foster care.  So, the prospect of bringing home two from China was so exciting to me.  But, ultimately, no matter my heart and desires, I wanted God's Will for our family.  I have no desire to bring home a child not intended for our family and try to raise him on my own strength.  So, I was happy to allow God to make this final decision.

The evening of my birthday I asked Mr. Prince how he was feeling about our decision and his only reply was "100%."  :)  He then shared that, although he still had some concerns about finances, mostly long-term, his concerns didn't really matter because if God is calling us, we have to respond with a YES!

Our hearts were united completely.

Less than two weeks later, our homestudy draft was ready to review.  On the paperwork they approved us for one child, a girl under the age of 5.  I was a little confused, so I called the social worker.  The agency had decided, internally, that they weren't comfortable approving us to adopt two kids at the same time.  They said they knew we could likely handle it, thought we were great parents and were happy to support us in an adoption after Frannie had adjusted.  They just weren't positive the transition with two with special needs into a family of 5 biological children, one having special needs, was going to go well.  They needed to be confident, but weren't.  We asked for a reconsideration, but we got a 'No.'

I was crushed.  We felt so sure!  What does all this mean?

Tears, lots of tears.

About 20 minutes after I got off the phone with my homestudy agency, my adoption agency called me.  In so many words, they said they didn't think our homestudy agency made the right decision.  They said they have the unique perspective of seeing these children in Chinese orphanages and they were confident we could do this well.  They said families like ours with lots of experience with special needs are like gold, and they think these two children's needs fit in well with our current family.  They said they could pull our Letter of Intent for this little boy, or we could wait and see what China says.  They said I have the option of obtaining a second homestudy that states we are approved for two kids if we get Chinese Preapproval.  I thanked them for their kinds words and got off the phone.... and cried some more. 

I was really confused for most of that evening.  But then I started to think about, had we gotten this news of only being approved for one kid prior to finding this little boy, I would have simply succumb to the circumstances.   But, we fell in love with this little boy before I knew there would be a road block!  And because of that, I almost felt more confident that God could, and would, work around this obstacle.  We decided over the next few days that if China gives us Preapproval, we would pursue another homestudy to get approved to adopt two kids.

While we continued to wait, I made some phone calls to find another homestudy agency that might approve us for two kids.  The social worker I spoke with was so king and encouraging.  He said because we had a stay-at-home parent, he didn't feel the fact that we had 5 kids, one with special needs and were adopting two at once sounded unreasonable.  He seemed to understand the perspective of an orphanage and seemed to hear my heart in our short conversation.  He couldn't promise an approval for two, but he didn't see any red flags at the time.  We had a back-up plan.

And then we waited.

Our last Preapproval for Frannie came 25 days after we submitted our Letter of Intent.  25 days came.  26...27...28.  It was a long, hard wait.  29...30...31...

Day 32, October 23rd, yesterday, we got an email from our agency....we received Preapproval to adopt TEDDY....or as he'll be known to us...

Finton 'Finn' Scott Kang Te Kellogg, 2 years old
(Don't let the pink coat confuse you!)
You can see a video of him HERE!

You know where the name "Finton" came from, but his middle name "Scott" is from his great uncle who also had albinism (and it's a family name on both sides)!

Needless to say, we are so excited to bring this little boy home along with Frannie Joy!  And the circumstances and confirmations received were more than enough to PUSH us to step out in faith!  And we know God will be faithful in bringing in the finances because this is His plan!

 Frances "Frannie" Joy Yu Tang Kellogg, 4 years old
You can see 3 videos of her HERE!

After weeks of waiting for our Preapproval and our homestudy, being frustrated in the long wait, God spoke clearly about how His job works.  He knows best.  He is the Great Organizer of our lives.  I got the message this time...

That same day we received Preapproval, I also got a phone call from our homestudy agency.  Our homestudy was ready!  It was to be notarized in 24 hours and they were confirming how many copies I needed.  I debating telling them about our Preapproval while we were on the phone, but I do much better with such confrontations through writing.  I decided I would write them one last petition letter later that day for reconsideration considering our Preapproval.  It would save us $2100 and a number of month in the process. 

Well, before I got a chance to write that letter, our adoption agency called us to say that they had petitioned our homestudy agency themselves!  They thought it was in everybody's best interest for us to be approved for 2 and continue to work with this agency that knows us and loves us.  The social worker agreed to continue a 'discussion' prior to the notarization the following day.  My adoption agency asked us to write a letter about our plans to provide for these two children and include the resources we have to support us.  We sent it later that night, and we waited....again.  Thankfully it was less than 24 hours this time! 

Well, we were told today that our agency is willing to work with us throughout this adoption process to it's completion, and is going to approve us for 2 children!  Only God could have orchestrated our Preapproval from CHINA and our homestudy from INDIANA to culminate into this discussion!  And it's just one more of MANY obvious confirmations that we are following God's plan to grow our family!

Needless to say, this is going to be an expensive endeavor.  But, our God owns a cattle on a thousands hills, right?! (Psalm 50:10)  We know he will use other people, fundraisers and organizations to bring these two children home to us!

If you feel prompted to support our family to adopt these two adorable children, we are launching our next fundraiser today!!

We have puzzle pieces you can purchase to help us make a Chinese puzzle for these two kids to play with.  It's an I SPY type puzzle where they look for traditional Chinese items within the puzzle.  We think they will LOVE it and it gives a little excitement and fun to our fundraising (especially for our bio kids!).

Each puzzle piece is numbered between 1 and 100.  You choose the piece you want and donate that dollar amount, or we can randomly draw one or more pieces for you!  When the puzzle is complete, we will have raised $5000!  You can combine your donation with a friend, as well.  We will be writing names on the back of the puzzle pieces so we have a keepsake of those who donated toward our adoption in this way.

To donate, locate the Paypal donation button on the top right corner of our blog.  You do not need to have a Paypal account to donate.  Tax deductible donations can be made at  Just be sure to tell them it's for the Kelloggs!  You can email me at if you have further questions.  If you want to donate any amount, feel free!

I'll update this blog regularly to show which puzzle pieces are still available!

Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to support us as we venture out into this crazy adoption journey!  It has been a ride, for sure!!

(If you want to hear our whole adoption story, you can read it HERE and HERE.)

Please, PLEASE share our story on YOUR Facebook page or blog!!  If everyone who reads this gives just even $1, we will have thousands immediately!!  

God is good, ALL THE TIME!

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