Saturday, December 19, 2015


I meant to post this a few days ago, but with the craziness of the holidays, I didn't get a chance to update everyone. Our dossier is finally on its way to China!! After so many weeks of fighting for the papers that we needed, our completed dossier was mailed out on Tuesday. That was two days past our deadline, but the Chinese officials agreed to grant us a few days grace, so everything is fine. We are thanking and praising God that he moved all of the obstacles and allowed us to continue Jonathan's adoption. The hardest part of the adoption is now behind us (except for continued fund-raising), and now we wait for China. As we celebrate Christmas this year, it is hard to know that Jonathan is so far away, but this will be the last Christmas that he ever has to spend alone. As always, thank you all for your support.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Immigration Approval

Wonderful news! Our agency contact called us tonight to tell us that we got our Immigration Approval! We are so excited. Thank you all for your prayers! We had a bit of a scare when our agency contact told us that we had forgotten two forms when we mailed our papers to China. We dropped everything we were doing, ran home and found them on Greg's desk, and overnighted them to our agency in Hawaii. We still aren't quite sure how we missed those when we sent everything else, but the important thing is that we are back on track with that now. Please keep praying that we do not hit any delays in the Authentication process. As long as we don't run into any problems, we should meet our deadline to send our papers to China!! Again, thank you so much for your prayers, and please don't stop praying!

Friday, November 20, 2015

We got it!

I want to share a huge item of praise from today. We got the letter from my doctor!! Greg picked it up and sent it off to our agency. Now please keep praying that we get immigration approval soon. Thanks for all the prayers and support.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Drama

We are still having a terrible time getting those last few documents for our dossier. Greg's birth certificate arrived this morning, and now it is on its way to our agency. But we still need the letter from my doctor. A midwife in the same practice had said she was willing to help us with this, but then had a family emergency and had to leave the state! I can't believe how many obstacles we are hitting with this one letter. We have been trying to get this since June! Please pray that we will be getting this soon. We need to have this tomorrow! We are running out of options.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A brief update

We have a little bit of news about Jonathan's adoption, so I want to give everyone and update and ask for more prayer. Many of the pieces have come together since our last update. We did (finally) get the new version of our home study and send that on to USCIS. Our agency had their ability to notarize and authenicate documents reinstated, so we do not have to go to Columbus or mail things to D.C. We have managed to recollect most of our documents (even though they didn't have to be notarized, most of them were considered "expired" from China's perspective since the process is taking so long). And God has provided all of the money that we need for this step. We recieved a very generous donation and a grant, and that covers the entire fee required to submit our dossier, plus a littl bit left over for our next step. We are thanking and praising God for all of these things.

But there are still a few huge obstacles in our way, and we need your prayers as we work to overcome these. We still need three documents in order to submit our dossier, and we need them very soon. The first is our immigration approval. We have submitted everything for that and are just waiting for USCIS. The second is Greg's birth certificate. Greg's father is picking that up for us tomorrow and will send it to us. The third is the letter from my doctor. No matter how hard we try, we do not seem to be able to get this letter. I don't understand why this is so difficult right now, but we have to have this letter. Please join us in praying that we will get this in time to get our documents to China. 

Sometimes this seems impossible to us, but we know that all things are possible with God. We are praying that He will bring our son home to us.

Monday, November 2, 2015


The last few weeks have been very discouraging for us. As you know, we had waited for months to get our completed Home Study, and as soon as we had that, we submitted our form to the US Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services. We then heard back from them that they needed additional information from our Home Study agency. We were shocked and confused. We had never heard of them asking for this information before. We contacted our adoption agency so that they could help us figure out exactly what CIS wanted from us. Then they explained to our Home Study agency that they needed to write one additional paragraph at the beginning of our homestudy. They even helped with the wording of this paragraph. As far as we know, the Home Study agency has not finished the update they needed to do, and now the woman who was handling this for us us out of the office all week. We are frustrated and discouraged by the fact that they do not seem to understand the urgency here. Then, we found out last week that there has been a change to the requirements for our paperwork, and the majority of our forms will have to be redone. This is not our adoption agency's fault, and they are doing everything they can to help us, but this is still terrible news. All of our papers are due in China by December 13th, and I don't know how we can possibly have them all redone and submitted in time for that. We are going to do our very best, and pray that God will give us speed. Also, we are still short of the funds that we need to submit our dossier, and we have to have that very soon now. We have submitted our first grant application, and have started on a second, so please pray that God will bless us on that front as well. It all feels pretty dark and hopeless right now, but we know that all things are possible with God, so we trust Him to make this happen.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

More home study drama

In my last update, I mentioned that our home study was finally finished, and we were thrilled. Well, it seems like nothing is going to be as easy as we expect this time around, because when we got the home study, we discovered a few small but critical mistakes in it. We contacted the home study agency, and they were very understanding, and agreed to fix the mistakes as quickly as possible. We emailed them a statement of what the homestudy should say, and they printed them off and sent them back out to us. Imagine our disappointment when our home study arrived for the second time, and there was STILL one critical mistake in it. In their hurry to get our home study back to us, they had missed one of the corrections. They apologized again, and corrected it one more time. This time, the let Greg proof an electronic copy before printing it out, and he said it looks good. The home study finally arrived yesterday for the third (and hopefully the final) time, so we are hoping to send our paperwork to USCIS in Monday's mail. In addition to the frustration with the errors, our home study agency told us that they were very sorry, but they had accidentally sent us an outdated fee schedule, and we owed them another fairly large fee right then. We were feeling pretty discouraged.

But God graciously provided us with encouragement when we so badly needed it. I also posted that we were going to be having a Jamberry fundraiser, and I am happy to report that it was a huge success. As a result of that fundraiser and other donations that have come in since my last post, we have the funds that we need to pay the extra fee to our home study agency, and still almost $200 more toward our next agency fee. We are still short of the money that we need, but we are closer than we were, and we are very thankful for that. We know that God will supply all that we need in His perfect timing. Many, many thanks to everyone who participated in the fundraiser or donated to our adoption. You have know idea what a huge source of encouragement you were!

Thanks always for your prayer and support.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fundraiser and update

After weeks and weeks without anything to report, we finally have good news. We learned yesterday that our home study is finally done and on its way to us. YAY! Neither of our other home studies took anywhere near this long, and we have been struggling with a lot of discouragment as we waited, but we know that God's timing is always perfect, and we trust Him to bring Jonathan home at exactly the right point for him and for us. We should have our home study in hand by Monday or Tuesday, and then we can submit our form for USCIS approval. We have the form completely filled out already, so we just have to drop it in the mail as soon as the home study arrives. At that point, we will also be able to start filling out grant applications. God has provided all of the funds that we needed for our pre-approval fee, the initial agency fee, our home study fee, and USCIS fee. We are very thankful for that, but we are several thousand dollars short of the money we will need for our next agency fee, and we have to pay that before our dossier can be sent to China. Please continue to pray that God will provide all of the funds that we need, and that our adoption will not be delayed.

We do have a fundraising opportunity that we are excited to share with you. We will be holding a Jamberry Nail wrap fundraiser from Monday Sept. 8 through the following Sunday. During that time, 30% of everything bought through Jonathan's party will be donated to his adoption. I will be sending out facebook invitations to many of you to join Jonathan's party, but if you don't get an invitation and would like to participate, please contact me and I will happily add you. I know there are some who follow this blog, but aren't friends with Greg or me on facebook. I can highly recommend these nail wraps to anyone. They really do work as advertised and come in many fun colors and patterns. I have used them with great success on my sister Kathryn. Because of her significant cerebral palsy, it is very difficult for her to hold her hands still and flat long enough to have them painted, and they chip almost as soon as they are finished. When we use the Jamberry wraps, they look nice for a full week. It is fun for her to be able to have fancy nails like her sisters

Kathryn is showing off her Easter wraps, and the confetti wraps she chose for her birthday party.

As always, thank you for following our story, and for all of your support as we work to bring Jonathan home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A quick update

I realize it has been a long time since we posted anything here, and some of you are probably starting to wonder what happened to us. These last few months have been pretty hard. We have both been struggling with sickness, and our normally crazy pace of life seems to have hit a new level. Things seem to be calming down for us now, but we would really still appreciate your prayers. Our church and families have done a wonderful job of helping to support and encourage us, and we will never be able to tell them how thankful we are. I wish all adoptive families had church and family support like we have!

When we last posted, we had just submitted our pre-approval documents to China. We are very thankful that China did give us their approval to begin the adoption. Another item of praise is that we received enough donations to pay our first agency fee. To those who donated, thank you very, very much. We still do not have the money to pay for our homestudy, but that fee isn't due quite yet, and we know that God will provide in His own perfect time. We are continuing to work on the daunting list of forms that we have to submit to our homestudy agency. We aren't finishing those quite as quickly as we had hoped, but we have been chipping away at them.

One of the truths that God has been making very clear to us through this process is that He is the one who will bring our son home to us. In our own strength, we can do nothing. Our sickness and struggles have reminded us just how weak we are. Our prayer is that God's glory and power will shine all the more clearly because of our weakness.  The verse that comes to mind again and again as we pray this is Zechariah 4:6, "Then he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.'" We pray that everyone will clearly see that it is only by God's Spirit that our son will come home to us. This verse is even richer to me than it would otherwise be, because Jonathan's middle name is Zechariah. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

He has a name!

First of all, we want to ask that you bear with us a little bit, because we haven't gotten the "look" of this blog updated yet. It still has the very feminine theme that we were using for the girls' adoption. Updating this so that it is more appropriate for our son is on our list of things to do. It just hasn't happened yet.

Now, for the really exciting part of this post - we have chosen a name for our new little boy. Greg and I spent several days discussing options, and in the end, it was Josiah who suggested the first name that we chose. We have decided to name him Jonathan Zechariah. Jonathan means "Gift from the LORD," or "The LORD gives," and Zechariah means "The LORD remembers." We know that there are some aspects of his diagnosis that are uncertain and a little bit scary. Caring for an autistic child might be the most difficult thing we have ever done. In light of this, we wanted to chose a name that made it very clear that we consider our son a valuable treasure and not a burden. No matter what lies ahead for us, he is a gift. It also seems to us that he is very sad and that he feels all alone. We imagine that he feels forgotten, and we want him to know that God has never forgotten him, and has had a plan for his life from the very beginning.

We have been working hard on the adoption process, and we have made pretty good progress. We finished the packet of documents to send to our agency in order to request provisional approval from the Chinese Adoption Authorities, and are hoping to hear back from them any day now. We have also finished the initial application to our home study agency. Once they process that paperwork, they will send us the longer formal application packet. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are thankful for how much we have accomplished already

We also got our first donation! Someone left an anonymous gift for us at church last Sunday. We don't have any idea who you are, but thank you very much! It was nearly the exact amount needed for our application fee to our agency, and it was a huge encouragement to us. We are praying for more donations, because we will need nearly $3000 soon to pay the first of our large agency fees, and then almost $2000 shortly after that to pay for our home study. We don't have any idea where this money is going to come from, but we are trusting God to provide it in His perfect time. In some ways, these early fees are the most difficult, because we will not be allowed to apply for most grants until after our home study is completed, and we have not had any time to pull together elaborate fund-raising events.

We do have our very first fund-raising opportunity running, though. Many of you may remember that we had a store front set up with JustLove coffee during the girls' adoption. It did not bring in a ton of money, but every little bit helps. We contacted the company, and they have given us permission to raise funds through them again. The link to our store front is in the side bar of this blog. Right now it probably still says that the proceeds will benefit Isabelle and Hallie. We will get that updated with Jonathan's name soon. We are also hoping to set up and Amazon affiliate link soon. Stay tuned for more details about that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Big News!!

As the title of this post states, we have some really big news. First though, I'd like to give a quick update on each of our kids.

Josiah (6 1/2), Gabriela (5 1/2), and Matthias (almost 4) are all doing very well. They are healthy and developing well, and the older two are really enjoying their school work. Mikaela is 5 1/2, and continues to amaze everyone. She speaks in complete sentences, or at least long phrases, almost all of the time now. Isabelle is also 5 1/2, and her progress in the last 18 months has been incredible. She doesn't even seem like the same child. A few months ago, she had surgery to correct the alignment of her eyes, and this seemed to improve her vision quite a bit. She has transformed from the awkward, anxious child that we met in China to a beautiful, confident, happy little girl. She and Mikaela are constant companions and best friends, and the keep us laughing most of the time. Hallie is still much more of a baby than the other two, but she is making progress as well. Her eating continues to improve, and her favorite foods are now macaroni and cheese and yogurt. She is not quite walking yet, but cruises everywhere, and often takes half a dozen steps at a time. She still does not talk much, but she is learning some sign language, and has just starting stringing signs together in short phrases. Victoria is now eight months old, and she is a happy, social baby. She eats well and plays well with the kids. The biggest challenge with her is that she still is not sleeping all the way through the night. After eight full months, I would love a night of uninterrupted sleep!! We were able to get an updated family picture this fall, and it really shows how much the kids have grown.

And now for the big news -- We are adopting again! We have just committed to the adoption of a little boy in China who will be three years old next month. That makes him exactly one year younger than Matthias, and Matthias has already announced that this little boy is his new best friend. I can't wait to see the two of them together. The agency is calling him Lewis, so that is the name that we will use until we have chosen his new name. Lewis has an extra thumb on his right hand, unilateral microtia, and possibly autism. His challenges will be very different from anything we have faced at this point, and we are a little bit nervous about that. More than anything else, though, we are excited about our new son and eager to get him home.

As with our other two adoptions, we are starting this process without any of the funds that we need to complete it. We don't have any idea how we are going to raise the $35,000 it will take to bring our son home, but we know that God will provide everything we need to follow His leading. As always, if you feel led to help us with this, you can make a tax-deductible donation to The Shepherd's Crook Ministries. Just be sure to mark your donation for "Lewis Godwin."

Please pray for us as we walk through this process. Pray that we will work quickly and diligently so that we can get through this process soon. Please pray for our son as he waits in an orphanage so far away.