This past weekend, snowpocalyse came to visit. The kids were out of school for an entire week. Karate and basketball were both canceled, and so were all our church services. We were getting a bit stir-crazy. So…lots of thoughts and prayers for Mia. Lots of playing with the boys and soaking up this time as a family of four, soon to be five.
On Friday, John got a call from Colorado. I knew immediately it was our agency headquarters and so he answered right away. Hoping for good news (like LOA soon), but hearing John’s end of the conversation, my hopes fell.
The CCCWA (reviewing our file in China) had let our agency know that they needed additional information concerning our income.
Here is some background: When we applied to be considered by our agency (a year ago), we KNEW that income was going to be an issue. There is a set amount needed per family to be considered “acceptable” in the eyes of China. BUT-the income requirements have recently allowed for families to be considered, even if they don’t EXACTLY meet those requirements, based on the cost of living in their area. This is the only way that we felt we were able to apply in the first place. The cost of living where we are is very low, and we felt that God was opening this little door and we would try to go through it. Our agency accepted us, which made us feel that they believed our income and cost of living would be accepted by China as well.
When we went through our home study process this past summer, income was again discussed. We provided all documentation and everything we could to show our income was as close to those guidelines as possible. Before our home study was complete, John received an additional contract and I became an Independent Beachbody coach. We discussed these additions to our case worker, though she felt we had enough information without those two pieces. So, we continued on with the process.
Now, with the request of additional information, I felt frustrated, sad, and irritated that our additional income was not added in back in the summer. John continued to explain his stipend amount and my average income from coaching each month…and I held my breath. The lady on the phone said that they would have a social worker in their office put that information in a letter to augment our file with the CCCWA. Then, we just HOPE and PRAY that China accepts this letter. If not, we may have to go through the entire document approval process all over again for these two additions to our income (which took us about 4-5 months the first time). Of course, my mind went to worst-case scenario, while hoping for the best. However, John informed me that the last thing she said was that this information helped, and to maybe expect our review to be finished before Chinese New Year (which falls on February 8th this year). Despite my melancholy, John explained that the agency worker made it sound like this kind of thing happens fairly regularly and isn’t necessarily a “setback.”
For a momma who is terribly missing her daughter, any kind of “additional information required” FEELS like a setback to me. So, we pray. And pray. And pray.
The boys don’t really understand the ins and outs of the paperwork process, they just know they want their sister home NOW. They are SO excited. Owen is planning to take care of her, teach her how to read, and show her how to do everything. Camden says he will help feed her and play with her. Both boys pray out loud for her every single night and pray that God will bring her home soon. Camden has decided to make sure he prays for her at every meal, too: “God is great. God is good. Thank you for our food. Be with our sister. Amen.”
Otherwise, things remain the same. I am feeling extra pressure (from myself) to switch around the kids rooms, decorate for both the boys and Mia, but not actually accomplishing anything but adding pins to Pinterest. We keep SUPER busy with karate, basketball, all of John’s jobs keep him away a lot, and I am building my business, training my coaches, and working from home all the time. Marathon training is in full swing, with double-digit long runs every weekend and shorter hill and speed work runs during the week. Sometimes I wonder if I chose the best time to take on another 26.2, but God knows what I need, and that time on the road is precious and calming. Running friends keep me sane, and stress is somewhat relieved by pounding the pavement.
We are still trying to fund-raise and find time to do more with that. I opened a savings account this week for the money that we have collected so far. A running friend hosted a make-up party for Mia and I am always reminded of God’s blessings through others.
I mentioned this hiccup in our adoption agency group on Facebook, and let me tell you–God has just blessed us TREMENDOUSLY by the support of those families. The photos I have placed in this blog post were the verses and encouragement that were given to us by those parents. They have been there. They understand. They are holding us up in prayer, too. God is GOOD!!
Continue to pray for us, for Mia, and for the CCCWA to accept a letter for our income, rather than holding up the process. Hopefully, our next update will be LOA!!!