Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Year Later: More Big News

So much can happen in a year.

12 months ago on June 19th, 2014 we received some amazing news from China.  We were given Preapproval, or preliminary permission, to adopt our Frannie Joy.  Also on that day, our little boy (that we wouldn't commit to adopt until September) turned two.  We celebrated like crazy that day and shared our excitement with our 5 biological children.  I'll never forget how that news felt.  After 10 years of following our hearts, we were finally going to adopt!

This has been probably the second most stressful year of my life.  The year Myra was born with a brain injury and collected so many scary diagnoses still ranks #1.  But, that hard year is what led us to this hard year.  God never promises that we won't have to go through tough times, He just promises He will be there with us.  And, no doubt, He has been here every step from Myra's birth in 2009 to the year of crazy adoption stuff!  And also helped provide $52,000 for this adoption!  We only need a few thousand more!!

Well, a year later, we have good news again!


After a 32 day wait, which normally takes only 7 days, we finally have that piece of paper that gives us a GO to plan our trip to China!  And I hope to travel there with my mom in as little as a WEEK!

It's happening, people!!  I cannot believe it's really going to happen!  Soon I'll be snuggling these two hurting little people that I've been dreaming about for a year now.  I.cannot.wait!!

I'm coming Frannie and Finn!  I'm really truly coming!!
Happy 3rd Birthday Finton!  Enjoy time with your foster family.
We should know travel dates and details next week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Waiting STINKS

We are now 15 days into our Travel Approval wait.  Average wait times are 7-10 days.


The first week I checked my email hourly.  Last week I woke up in the mornings anxiously hoping to find good news, but was disappointed each day.  This week...I haven't even asked my agency whether there is news at all.

Anytime you get a date in your head, it's often hard to let it go.  Kind of like my pregnancies I talked about in my previous blog.  I'm feeling like I'm about to pass my due date (June 4th was my original travel date) and go waaaay overdue.  Usually there is nesting involved up until that point, but after my due dates my motivation always took a nose dive.  And I was just stuck waiting.

That's where I am.

Waiting stinks.

But, I know in my heart that God's timing is best and I can hold onto that.  He has planned this for longer than I could fathom and I can trust His judgement.

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him.
Ecclesiastes 8:6

So, that's my depressing update.  No news.

I hope next time I blog I'll have an awesome itinerary to share!!

Until then, I'm praying for peace for myself and continuing to pray for Frannie and Finton and all the changes they are about to experience.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 
John 14:27

Sunday, May 24, 2015

1 Year Ago Today

One year ago today we submitted paperwork to our agency asking China to adopt 'Yulia' on Reece's Rainbow.  We had just been through a whirlwind spring after being denied the adoption of sisters from the Philippines....twice.  (You can read more about that HERE.)

But, I couldn't deny what I felt when I watched 'Yulia's' videos.  Over and over and over.  And watched THIS adoption day video over and over and over.  And cried.  The ugly cry you cry when no one is looking.

We submitted paperwork knowing we could be denied adoption from China based on our number of kids and/or our income.  We had to request waivers from China for these things.  After being denied the sisters, I wasn't sure I could take more rejection.  It had been 10 years pursuing our love of children and I was so, so tired of waiting.  I truly felt this was a calling on our lives, but I did not have the patience of Abraham for God's promises.

We waited 3 loooong weeks to hear from China.  I can say, I truly had a peace, no matter the outcome, by the end of those 3 weeks.  I wanted God to confirm this decision for us and it needed to be out of our hands.

We got Preapproval to adopt 'Yulia' on June 19.  We had already named her Frances "Frannie" Joy after her great grandmother, whom she shares a birthday with, on Memorial Day 2014.

Which, by the way, is when our son turned 2 in China.  The son we had never even seen a photo of at this point.  The son we wouldn't see and pursue until September.  The son we wouldn't get Preapproval for until late October.   The son we would eventually name Finton 'Finn' Scott.

God knew the whole time.

One year.  It's been such a long year.  Probably the most stressful year of my life.  Adoption paperwork (for me) completely trumps having 5 kids under the age of 6.  You just have no idea unless you've been through the waiting, pressure, notaries, post office visits kissing package as they leave, checking email more times a day than you can count.  It's emotionally exhausting.

But, here we are.  One year later.  And we are almost there!

My 'dream adoption' was of two kids under the age of five who were of a different culture.  I really wanted a multicultural family.  And I really wanted young kids.  I let that dream go a number of times when considering foster care.  And when we found the girls from the Philippines who were 9 and 6, I was totally on board.  But, that was my original dream in my heart from early in our marriage.  I thought we would adopt mixed children from America.  Mr. Prince would have loved little Hispanic children.  Never in a million years would I have guessed our children would be Asian.  I have always thought Asian children were some of the most beautiful children with their slanted eyes and dark hair, but I never imagined I would have the opportunity to raise one of these beautiful children, let alone TWO!

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

I am loving this song right now, as is sings my heart....

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

God gave me those desires in my heart.  He gave me the blessing of Myra, which opened my eyes to the plight of orphans with special needs all over the world.  He gave me this secret love for people with Down Sydrome since I was a little girl. 

I am standing on a mountain top for sure!  My dreams have come true and they are perfect for our family.  Because God knows us better than we do.  He is so very faithful.  Why do I ever doubt?

We are not perfect parents.  I am not supermom.  I make mistakes daily.  But, I am willing to go only because I know God has gone before us. He has hand chosen these children for our family.  It is His strength I will pull from and His grace I will need to forgive me when I mess things up.  

And so I'll sing....
Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Countdown Has Begun

I remember making count downs for all my pregnancies. 

My first one I drew little Winnie-the-Poohs on note cards and put them on a metal ring to flip each day.  I used that for a few kids, until it got lost in the shuffle of little kid stuff, and I had to create a new one for my last two kids.  But, every single time I got down to ZERO DAYS, I still had to flip that darn countdown!  I ended up writing "1 day overdue, 2 days overdue, etc" on the back of each of the note cards.  I was late with every child.  6 days, 3 days, 10 days, 14 days and 3 days.  I expected it by #4, but I can tell you...that still didn't make it any easier to flip that countdown!

Well, being 2015, my countdown has been upgraded to a digital version.  Duh.

Well, I just have to say...I don't want to get past the ZERO DAYS mark this time!!  (commence kicking and screaming)  I think it's only fair that I get a break this time around.  That I have the opportunity to 'get my baby' on the day I was originally planning to.  Right?  It seems a reasonable request after waiting extra for the 5 others....

Ok, my pity party is over.

Well, I am still planning to leave on June 4th.  We still have not received our Travel Approval.  I think we need it by early next week to still be able to travel at that time.  And, the Chinese government will have to award us our first request for the Consulate Appointment or the whole trip gets pushed back 3 weeks. 

I've been overdue for FOURTEEN DAYS and it was excruciating. 

I'm not sure I can last 3 weeks without a mental breakdown.

So, PLEASE PRAY we get this Travel Approval SOON!!

Look at me!  I've been packed for over a week now!  It isn't making my wait any easier, though.  I've packed...and repacked...and repacked....and repacked more times than I can count now.  When my girls find me in the office shuffling stuff around they just roll their eyes now and say, "Mom!  You can't possibly fit anything else in there!  Stop messing with it!"  LOL!  They will admit, though, it's fun to shuffle through Frannie and Finn's backpacks and look at their cute, tiny outfits. 

There are days I wish so badly I could take them with me...all my kids.  And Paul, of course.  But, I know in my heart going alone (with my mom) is the best option.  My bio kids need a parent at home.  And my new kids need a parent with undivided attention.  And if I took my girls, Frannie and Finn would think they had 3 mommies, no doubt! 

These attachment techniques we plan to implement, things such as no one comforting them or rocking them on their lap besides mom and dad, will be hard for my kids to follow.  They will have to fight their instinct with every breath.  But, they do understand.  At least understand enough for their little 7, 9, 10 and 12 year old minds.  It will be hard for me to give these toddlers as much attention as they will need between housekeeping, meals and Myra's needs.  I remember bouncing between my little kids often, reading one a story, building blocks with another and nursing another on my lap.  It was easy back then.  I feel like with  my bio kids being older, possibly struggling to respect our bonding time, watching mom and dad drop everything to attach to these kids, they are going to need even more quality time and reassurance than they do now!  Sounds emotionally draining already.

But, we will survive!  I know we were called to this but I also know we cannot do it without God's strength and grace.  

I watched a video of a little girl tonight meet her parents for the first time.  I really cannot watch too many of these videos or I'll just start crying and never stop.  But, she was also Asian and had Down Syndrome and they gave her the same little Asian doll we plan to give Frannie on the day we meet her.  And I lost it.  I have no idea how our kids will react when I meet them, but I still cannot wait to touch her tiny little ears, hold her pudgy little hands, run my fingers through Finn's clear white hair or watch their beautiful Asian eyes as they sleep.  

We are so close.  But two weeks feels like an eternity every day.  

Please continue to pray for our process to go smoothly and for these two kids, who may have no idea we are coming for them.  My world is about to become a whole lot brighter, and their world is about to be shattered.  Adoption is beautiful, but it's also born out of tremendous loss and trauma.  I can't fix my children's past, but we are so, so, SO blessed to be a part of their future!

Financial update:  We received a matching grant from Lifesong today!  And it has already been matched!  We had a family member planning to send us a generous donation, so they were able to send that donation to Lifesong for them to match it!  We are still around $6000 short for all our adoption expenses, $3000 of that is for travel costs.  If you wish to donate to our adoption, you can use the Reece's Rainbow link on the top right corner of our blog! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Blessings Abound

I can't recall if I had posted about this previously, but I have another huge praise report!

A very long story short, we had a very loved nurse leave our home to take another job recently.  This left 3 days of nursing care not covered for our daughter with cerebral palsy, Miracle.  This nurse had been with us for over 3 years, so it was an emotional change for all of us, and left me stressing about how these hours would get covered while I'm in China and Mr. Prince is working.  Since I homeschool, I only have a nurse here 3-6 hours a day.

See, I don't just let anyone in my home.  Since we are home all day, our nurses need to be tolerant of lots of kid chatter, tolerant of our faith and really mesh well with me.  They have to snuggle with my baby and treat her like a precious little girl, not just a patient.  I'm pretty picky and have some pretty high expectations for these nurses.  Because of this, when our beloved nurse left, I flat out told my husband, "There is absolutely no way I will get used to a nurse in just a few weeks and feel comfortable enough with them to leave them full-time with my baby!"

I've seen the YouTube clips of caregivers throwing children across the room, force feeding them and many other horrific things nanny-cams have caught.  I.ain't.goin'.there.  I'm with my nurses most of the time and I get to know them well.  I need time.

But, apparently I haven't yet learned that I really shouldn't give absolutes when God is involved...

We had a nurse train in our home last week.  When she arrived I gave her Miracle's paperwork and told her the training nurse would arrive soon.  I wasn't very friendly.  I don't want a new nurse, can you tell?  Throughout the day I didn't say much, but she overheard me talk about my concerns regarding new nurses with the agency staff.

About halfway through the day, she said she had something she wanted to share with me.  She told me she knows both sides to home care.  She's a nurse, but she's also a foster mom who hires an agency to care for her foster son while she works.  She said she understood my concerns with new nurses and is very picky herself.

That meant the world to me and I turned by back to work on my computer so she wouldn't see the tears forming.

Later in the day she shared with me that she had been a NICU nurse and how much she loved working there.  I could hear in her voice her love for fragile kids and I knew that day I could trust this nurse with my Miracle.  

Only God.  Seriously.

And then I found out today that all my hours are covered for June with both of my 2 main nurses (one of which is my SIL)!  I can't believe it!

Now, July's coverage is a different story, so we are praying hard I travel in June!!
Regardless, I'm sure God has it all worked out already...

We are currently waiting to get our Travel Approval!  We expect to see it some time after 5/18 and hope to get it by 5/21 in order to travel in early June!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another Way to Help: Our Adoption Wish List

We are a little more than a month away from travel.  I cannot believe it!

It has been suggested to us to make a public Amazon Wish List.  This allows others to see what is still needed for our trip.

If you want to help us prepare, you can either:
1) purchase items for us through Amazon and ship them to us
2) find these items at another store
3) gift us with used items
4) donate to help us cover the cost of these needed items

We have been blessed with so many that have helped us so far and we are so grateful!

Donations can be made to our Reece's Rainbow FUND  or Paypal at

You can see our Amazon Adoption Wish List HERE!  There are two pages

This will be available until around May 10, when I'll have to purchase the items so I get them in time to travel in early June!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We are Almost There!!


So, here is a fairly confusing flow chart of the China adoption program. I remember looking at it at the beginning of our process and not having any clue what all the abbreviations stood for.

What you can get from it is, this process is NOT easy and there are many steps I've had to follow these past 11 months.

But guess what?!

I just completed steps 9-12 in the last week!!  We only have 5 more steps to go!  And actually, those all go really fast!  We expect to get our official Travel Approval in the next 3-4 weeks!

Time is ticking and I have so much to do!
Please continue to pray for our family!! 

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him. 
Ecclesiastes 8:6

Cheat sheet for flow chart:
DTC: Dossier to China (paperwork that proves who we are that takes months to collect)
LOA: Letter of Acceptance (official paperwork that matches you to your specific child in China)
TA: Travel Approval (needed to book flights, hotels and CA)
CA: Consulate Appointment in Guangzhou, China (to make the adoption official)