Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5 Years, 7 months, and 21 Days

That's how long we "officially" waited for a referral for our 6th and final child!  Yes, you got it, we know who Reese is!  We received the call last night at 9:24 that GW had locked-in a file for a precious (and I do mean PRECIOUS) little girl.  We cannot share a picture yet or give all of her information, but she does share a part of her name with Reagan's Chinese name, she is in the same province as Ethan, and her birthday is in the Spring (she was born in 2011).  She was not healthy when she was abandoned, but is cured  from the bacterial infection that she had and seems to be healthy and developmentally on track!  She is so adorable!  She reminds me of our friend Lindsey Bauer but she has our friend Klaire Wilson's cheeks!  We are in love with her!  It's crazy to say that our family will be complete when we get home with her!  This is our last time waiting for a referral, what a FABULOUS feeling!  I think I can make it thru one more round of paperwork, knowing it is the last time to update a homestudy, the last time to pay for stupid fingerprints, the last time to spend a fortune on medical visits for all of us, the last moment of the unknown!  She and Ethan are very close in age so it will be kinda like twins!  I am so excited when I think about all the fun we are going to have with them! 

Our prayer is that we will be able to adopt them both in one trip.  Obviously, this is a financial help, but it will also be logistically difficult if we have to make two trips.  We do not want Ethan to wait any longer than he has already, so when he is cleared for adoption, we will go ASAP.  We are going to attempt to get Reese's paperwork done in record time and try to bring her home, too.  However, if we can't, it will mean Tim will probably have to travel alone to bring Reese home because we won't want to leave Ethan with anybody else when he will just be getting settled into life as a Tucker.  These are all things that we will be praying long and hard about in the next few weeks and we would appreciate your prayer support as well.

A little bit about last night...........  We knew it was a possibility to get a referral because GW had told us they would be looking for Reese during File Release Night.  We tried hard not to get our hopes up and I actually did a pretty good job putting out of my mind for most of the day.  Then after dinner I started really getting anxious!  Tim and I tried to guess what time the call would come, if it did.  He thought 8:00, I thought 10:00, so I kinda split the difference and thought maybe 9:00.  We got the girls to bed (or so we thought) and settled down to watch tv.  I was thinking we should do something to distract ourselves and just when I was about to suggest something, the phone rang.  It was 9:24.  We argued for a second who was going to answer it, I was so nervous I didn't want to, but he handed me the phone so I answered it.  Kim was on the other line and she immediately informed us that a file had been locked-in for us!  She told us all about her and we asked some questions and she said she would email her file, which included pictures!  During our conversation, Nosey Ryleigh appeared at our bedroom door.  We gave her the "get out of here right now wave and point".  When we got off the phone, she came back to the doorway and said all the girls want to know who called.  In typical Ryleigh fashion, she asked a string of 20 questions including "was it Great Wall, was it about Ethan, are you going to China"....  We were smiling from ear to ear and told her to go away while we looked at the pictures and read all the information.  The next thing we know she is bounding back up the stairs saying "I figured it out, it's File Release Night, and we got Reese's referral".  That little stinker doesn't miss a thing.  We hadn't even talked about it being File Release Night.  So we broke down and told her to get the other girls (who were waiting in the kitchen trying to hear what was going on!).  We pulled up the cutest picture and gathered them together and turned the computer around so they could see.  There was a lot of oohing and aahing and happiness all around!  We are so blessed!  It was a priceless family moment.


Friday, October 26, 2012

On the Road to Recovery

Thanks to all the prayers on Ethan's behalf, he is recovering in stable condition in Beijing.  We still hope to travel within a month to bring him home.  Here's the latest picture that Half the Sky took for us.  So thankful that they care so much and know how much pictures and updates mean to us!  I think he looks great!

We are enjoying a very rare day off for all of us today!  The girls had so much fun playing in the leaves earlier.  Their squeals of joy made my heart so happy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good News!

We got word that Ethan's surgery was scheduled for today at noon China time, so by the time we got the email, he should have already been out of surgery and hopefully on his way to a quick and full recovery!  Our hearts are heavy that we could not be there with him, but we are happy that he is getting the care he needs.  Please join us in praying for our little guy to be ready to come home soon and for all the people in control of our travel plans are working diligently to make sure there are absolutely no delays.  We appreciate all of you who continue to follow our journey and support our family with your prayers, gifts, and love.

We are so excited to be involved with an adoption fundraiser for our friends, Angie and Jason.  They are adopting a sweetie pie from Thailand.  We are helping them with an event called "Band Together" where several Worship bands are going to each perform.  Kind of a Battle of the Bands without the competition aspect of it.  We are hoping to raise lots of money for their trip and to plant more seeds of adoption in our community (although there are many adoptive families already!).

I'm also excited for our Bright Beginnings' Brainy Bunch Art Show tomorrow night.  The kids have worked so hard and Ms. Tiffany and Ms. Donnie have done such a fantastic job teaching them different art concepts.  I can't wait to see it all set up and watch the kids come in and show off their art work.  And then we all get the day off on Friday!!!!!!!!  WOOOOO HOOOOO!  It's been a long time since we have had a day at home. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ryleigh!

My sweet little tummy baby is 12 years old today! Can't believe how quickly time has gone by. Ryleigh changed our lives so much and she is the reason we love parenting so much that we have continued to grow our family. Even though she has her moments of whining and she can be a brat sometimes, she is growing into a beautiful, caring, Godly young lady and we are so proud of her! I am so blessed to be her mom! Had some bonus time with her today because she got sent home from school with a headache and sore throat (but really she was fine). I have to admit it was nice to spend time at home with her and relax for a few hours. Here are some photos of Ryleigh party last weekend. When we thought we were leaving for China, we changed the date of it. And also pictures of her opening presents this morning and having cake after dinner tonight. Apparently we are stretching this birthday out as long as possible!

We started our day with an email from Half the Sky with new pictures of Ethan. So sad that somebody shaved his head. It makes me sick to think about the humiliation of that. He is still a cutie pie and I can't wait to hold him and kiss those cheeks. Take a look for yourself...

Our update from GW said that they will be scheduling Ethan's surgery for either next week or the week after and then there will be a 2-3 week recovery time before he will be cleared to travel. It is hard to know how to feel. I don't want to be too excited because things seem to change so frequently, who knows how long this will be the plan. It would be the best birthday ever for me if I could have him in my arms on November 20th. Lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and special days fall in November and December, so hopefully we can add Ethan's Gotcha Day to that list. Have I mentioned how ready I am to have him home???????????????????????

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ethan Update (FINALLY!)

We got news this morning that Ethan did make it safely to Beijing to a Children's Hospital. Half the Sky is taking his case over and going to pay the $16,000 that it is going to cost to do this surgery. If anyone feels led to donate to this amazing organization, please visit their website www.halfthesky.org. We don't really know anything about a timeline for us to travel. Nobody seems to care that he is going to have his second heart surgery without his family by his side. This whole experience has really made me see that to some people adoption is just a business. Some people can close their hearts and turn off any kind of emotion about orphans. I just have a completely different mindset, even if it doesn't involve my children. I see it at Bright Beginnings, at church, in our community. Some people just don't get that every child deserves an environment that encourages them to be the best they can be. My son deserves a mommy to comfort him when he is scared in the hospital and when he is in pain after his surgery. I don't know how to deal with all of my emotions related to this topic. I love children so much. I love working with them, teaching them, parenting them, watching them grow into little people. I am so blessed by my girls and I just want Ethan home so he can be a part of our family. It is tearing me up inside to not have him home. Specific prayer requests: Pray that the doctors and nurses taking care of Ethan will have steady hands in his surgery and caring hearts to love on him. Pray that GW will work on extending our travel approval and that it will not be a big deal to extend it (we have not heard from the travel coordinator even though we were told she would answer all of our questions. IMAGINE THAT.) Pray that somehow, some way Ethan will feel our love and that God will protect him from germs and complications. Pray God will heal him quickly. Pray that we can travel very soon and bring Ethan home. Pray for us to receive Reese's referral soon. Thanks a million for continuing to follow this blog. It will be so much more interesting when Ethan is with us.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Communication

We have heard nothing concrete about Ethan's trip or condition and quite frankly I am super mad about that. How hard is it to send an update for goodness sakes. We just want to know what is going on with our son. When we don't hear anything, we start to imagine things and go crazy trying to figure things out. Someone told me today that I am such a strong woman. I needed to hear that because I certainly do not feel strong. I feel frustrated, exhausted, and discouraged. The only way I am strong is because Jesus is on my side. I can't believe we don't get to leave on Thursday. How can things keep changing so drastically? It's so annoying. I want to hold him so badly it hurts. I want to kiss him and tell him everything is okay. I want to tell him how many people love him. I feel like for every person that is supporting us in our efforts there is another person causing delays. Yes, I am a Debbie Downer today... waah, waah, waah...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ethan's Moving

We were informed Friday that Ethan is being moved to Beijing. Two months ago that is exactly what we wanted so Half the Sky could be in charge of his care. It is absolutely infuriating that it has taken this long. GW has consulted with another cardiologist who believes the same thing Dr. Tong does. We heard every scenerio of what could go wrong if we travel with him before his pacemaker surgery. It is very scary and we do want to make sure we are putting his needs first and not just thinking about how badly we want him home. I am so frustrated that I got my hopes up on Tuesday. I dove into the packing and preparing because I really thought we were headed to China very soon. I don't know how much more of this we can take. Our prayer is that we can still leave on Thursday and that we will be there with Ethan for his surgery and can bring him home in a timely manner. Delays will come if it takes the doctors in Beijing a long time to evaluate him and come up with a plan. Please pray that everyone involved will work efficiently without making mistakes. Our family has been blessed in ways only God could have orchestrated this week. We will share all the details when our journey to Ethan is over and we have him home safe and sound. Our financial miracle has come also and we will definitely want to tell the story when the time is right. God is so good all of the time. We are experiencing blessings that wouldn't have been possible if we weren't allowed to go through the storm we have been in. God's plan is perfect! I am so thankful for the way He is working in our lives and the lives of people in our community. Ryleigh had her birthday party last night. She has such awesome friends. I am very thankful that she has surrounded herself with Godly girls. It's been fun to watch this group of kids grow up! They had stayed up most of the night and had a lot of fun. We survived and so did the basement, so I guess we can chalk it up to another successful party! So many things are going on and I can't seem to keep focused on things to blog about. We love hearing about how our family is impacting others. Please share if you feel like Ethan has changed you! Someday we will be able to tell him all about it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I do not like rollercoasters. When we go to Silver Dollar City or Six Flags, I really prefer to watch while the kids ride. That's the good thing about them getting older! I think it is more fun to watch other people screaming their heads off or smiling from ear to ear with pure happiness! I don't mind sitting at the exit watching and listening to people. I enjoy seeing happy little kids and goofy teenagers and adults acting like little kids and goofy teenagers. It makes me laugh to watch naughty kids and think about how lucky I am to have such great kids :) Anyway, the point of this is that we have been on an adoption rollercoaster for so long and I am ready to get off. I think we have done enough twists and turns and we are ready to come to a nice stop at the exit. My call from GW this morning did not go as planned. I was expecting them to call with a consulate appointment and our Gotcha Day date and travel arrangements. But that's not what we got. Instead we got somewhat of a lecture about how the CCCWA has been talking to the orphanage and the hospital and they are very concerned about Ethan traveling. They think that us being in China with him for two weeks will be hard on him. Here's the deal... we are concerned, too. First of all I am concerned that my poor son has been living with heart problems that can be corrected with a pacemaker for over a year and a half and NOBODY has been willing to give him the care he needs (well, at least nobody with any power). He has been given crappy care by doctors who do not specialize in pediatric cardiology. This is why God gave us Dr. Tong. I believe in him and feel so confident that he knows what he is talking about. He is willing and able to help Ethan. He has consulted with us and is willing to talk to GW tomorrow, which is what they requested. He is going above and beyond for no reason other than he is a good doctor with a good heart. I am so thankful for him. Second, I am concerned that my poor son has been sitting in a hospital bed for over 2 months. He doesn't get a chance to play or run or be a two year old boy. GW said one of the concerns is that he won't be able to walk around with us for two weeks. DUH!!! I am going to carry him. If he doesn't want to walk, he's not going to have to. We have a great backpack carrier to put him in and we are both willing to hold him all the time! He needs a chance to play for goodness sakes. Third, I am concerned about our family and how everything is on hold. This has been emotionally draining for the last two months on so many levels. We are concerned that is we don't get him home soon, there are going to be major problems. We can't spend any money because we are waiting on China. We can't make any plans because we are waiting on China. We can't commit to anything because we are waiting on China. We can't fully do our jobs because we are waiting on China. We are not serving at church as much as we would like because we are waiting on China. We are more on edge, more grouchy, more emotional, and more irritable because we are waiting on China. We are at the mercy of people who do not think the way we do about children. I am certain that they cannot possibly understand why or how we can love this little boy we have never met. And how we can want him so badly when he is so sick. Since we adopted Reagan we have tried to embrace the Chinese culture and want her to be proud of where she came from, but lately it is hard to feel that way. Obviously, China has blessed me greatly, but I am sad for the people who are missing out on so much because they do not have Jesus in their hearts. He changes everything and He is the reason I can love Ethan. I am praying in His name that we can get this adoption over with and move on with life. My heart, my arms, my mind ache for Ethan to be home. Please pray for all the necessary doors to be open in a timely manner and for Ethan's health to remain stable until we can get him home to the care he needs and deserves. We are planning to leave on the 18th, please pray we can! Thanks to all of you who are riding on this rollercoaster right beside us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GW called early this morning with great news! Ethan has been cleared to be released from the hospital and the orphanage doesn't want him in their care because of his condition, so they said there's pretty much two choices: 1. Go get him ASAP or 2. Have him moved to Beijing to the China Care Home (where they would assess his condition and decide if surgery should be done now). So, we are opting for going to get him ASAP!!!! Which means we will have to leave by October 18th for our travel approval to still be valid. It was issued in July and apparently if it expires it is difficult to get it extended, which would delay our travel significantly. We are going to skip all the tourist stuff and go straight to Nanjing. We are cautiously excited and really freaking out! The first thing I thought about was not being home for Ryleigh's birthday. We are working on changing her party to this weekend. Praying all of her friends can still come and we can get it pulled off. Ryleigh is very sensitive and she is nervous about us going back to China and sad that she can't go. Please pray for her to realize that Ethan is the best present she could ever get! I am blessed to work with such an amazing group of women who were so encouraging and happy for us today! I have complete confidence in them while I am gone. Ethan will be blessed to have the best teachers in Lebanon! He's going to be spoiled and home and school! Please pray for smooth sailing and no issues at Bright Beginnings while I am gone. I am so preoccupied by everything that needs to be done but I wanted to share our news with all of our blog buddies. Thank you for all of your prayers and for continuing to remember our family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Praying for Good News This Week

The CCCWA is open again so we are praying that we will hear a response to Dr. Tong's letter soon. We hope that common sense will prevail and the people in charge will release Ethan to be adopted to us ASAP. We also pray that Reese's referral will come soon. We are not thinking there is a chance to complete both adoptions at once, but at least we will be able to move forward and get this family COMPLETE! We had a week full of blessings... Monday morning I got to go to an assembly for all the 2nd graders who were being recognized for being the most responsible in their class. Yep, that's right, Reagan was the one chosen for her class! So proud of her!
She absolutely loves 2nd grade and Mrs. Bechtel. We are thrilled that she is learning so much and loving school! Isabella has joined FFA and she received her Greenhand degree last week. This whole world is new to us, but it was a pretty cool ceremony (except for the teenagers in front of us who wouldn't shut up) and we are proud of Isabella for getting involved. I have been very impressed with the ag teachers and so happy they can help foster Isabella's love of animals.
We were also blessed this week by some very generous people who gave us some gifts that are really helping us. We are overwhelmed once again by the generosity of friends and neighbors. We are so thankful! We are also excited about some ministry opportunities that have been placed on our hearts. We are looking into the Safe Families program and starting one at Lifepoint. God is opening doors, as well as our hearts to helping children in a different way than adoption or teaching. Praying for wisdom and guidance as we pursue.
Bright Beginnings had its 5th annual Wheel-a-Thon fundraiser and Saturday. Although it was very cold, it was a success! We have so many awesome families and so many people pitched in to make it fun for the kids! It's always fun to spend time with the families and watch the kids having such a great time! Reagan did fantastic riding her bike without training wheels! I love how all my girls and Tim help with every BB event. I am proud that this ministry means so much to them, too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

7 Years Ago Today...

7 years ago today, we saw Reagan's sweet face for the first time! Can't believe it's been that long! I will never forget sitting in our kitchen playing cards waiting for the phone to ring. Back then, parents knew that the call was coming, so Tim had taken the day off of work and my friend, Jill took care of picking Ryleigh and Brett (who I was babysitting)up from preschool. We were beyond excited and nervous and it was a very long morning. We got an email that said the package was there and we had a referral, so we knew without a doubt we were going to "meet" our little girl. When they called they told us her information and said they would email the pictures. We ran downstairs to the computer to open the pictures and couldn't believe how cute she was! Tim's first comment was that she looked like a Reagan! He printed the pictures in 16 x 20 posters so we could study every detail. We looked up her province, city, and orphanage. We had a list of people that we called to share the good news. I remember calling my friend and fellow adoptive mommy, Sheri first because I knew she would share our excitement! When Jill brought Ryleigh home, she and Brett and Jordan and Rylee (Jill's kids) looked at the pictures and oohed and aahed over how cute she was! It was such a special day! Over the past 7 years, our hearts have been changed so much and it all started with our little Reagy-rooster! So many lives have been changed and touched because of this precious child that God gave to us. She is growing into such an awesome, Godly young lady. Her school pictures are so adorable and she looks so grown up! I am so proud of her and in awe that God blessed us with her! I wish I could thank her birth parents for giving her life and making sure she was safe. I am sure they could never imagine the amazing child she is. I pray that God gives them a special peace and comfort when they think of her. Happy referral day, Reagan (Gan Po Xin)!
We have a new reason to celebrate this day now, too! My nephew was born this afternoon! Augustus Wayne joins my brother's other 3 kids and doubles the amount of boy cousin's my kids have! So glad Ben is not alone and that Ethan will have a cousin to play with! What a blessed day! No news from China. The government is closed until the 8th for some kind of holiday. We are praying the when they pass along the letter from Dr. Tong that they will release Ethan to be adopted. He is still in the hospital and still on medication, but his heart rate has been "well above 60" according the latest update. I get very sad thinking about him sitting in a hospital bed all day and night. I pray that the nurses find ways to interact with him and that they have a heart for him and try to do special things for him. It is so tiring waiting and waiting and wondering and wishing. Tim and I laid in bed last night and watched the video of him and laughed at how cute he is saying no and starting to get mad! I can't wait for the day that he is throwing a tantrum and I get to see it and deal with it! I got a taste of a great 2 year old fit today when Caysie was in my office with her mommy today. It probably doesn't make sense to anyone, but I would give just about anything to have him screaming and saying "no" to me like Caysie was to her mommy. It made me miss him. That is what I was preparing myself for when I returned home from China with him. I was ready for those moments, now things just seem quiet and lonely. God has given me the strength to keep going, though, and I know that His way is better than mine, even when I don't understand it. We really appreciate the love and support that continues to be poured out on our family. Our specific prayer requests are that we can travel soon, that our girls will be okay while we are gone, and that some or all of the grants we have applied/reapplied for will get us the financial means we need to complete Ethan's adoption. We would also love to get Reese's referral so we could possibly make just one trip to complete our family. That would be the best outcome from all of this mess! Thanks for the prayers.