Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's in a Name

We have a small update in our adoption. We are officially Out of Translation (OOT). We were OOT on March 14th, which is Cade's birthday. That has to be a good sign, right? We are now waiting for Letter of Acceptance (LOA) sometimes called Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC). This is where Ch*na officially gives their approval for us to adopt Emma Grace specifically. If we get this quickly, then June travel is still a possibility. If not, then it will probably be July before we travel :-(

Names matter. In our family, all of the boys have a family middle name. Before we knew who Emma was, we thought that we might use part of her Ch*nese name in her name. We knew it would depend on what her name meant. Some children available for adoption are given names that identify them as an orphan or mean things like the location that they were found. When we found out Emma's Ch*nese name, we were happy to find out that her name means Rain Drop Song. Unfortunately, we can't pronounce it. We decided to not use any of her Ch*nese name in her name. Mark has already nicknamed her "Rain Drop". I have wanted to use Grace in a girl's name for a long time. I like the name, plus I feel like it is the by the grace of God that we are bringing this daughter into our family. We really felt that we needed a family name also. I didn't want her to be the only one without a family name. The problem is that I had a hard time finding a family name to go with Grace. Mark wanted Ann (his mom), but that is part of my middle name, and I am not fond of my middle name. I just couldn't do it. We finally made Grace the middle name and are using a family name as her first name. My maternal grandmother's name was Clara Emma. She did have a heart for children in children's homes and children without families. I remember how often she talked about a children's home that she used to work at when she was younger. It felt right. Plus, I like how Emma Grace sounds, and the boys approved. We are so happy that she now has a face and a name. Now we just want her HOME.

- Jenna

Friday, March 8, 2013

What We Don't Know

I haven't updated in a while because there are really no updates.  We are in a waiting phase, and it is painful. We are currently waiting to be Out of Translation (OOT) also called "in process".  I expected to already have reached this phase, but we have not.  Our agency is great, and the director is doing a wonderful job of checking on our status.  I am not doing as good of a job with patiently waiting and remembering that this is God's timing, not mine.  I really want to travel in June, but that is looking less likely.  After OOT comes the all important Letter of Acceptance (LOA), which is Chi*a's official approval for us to adopt Emma.  This "typically" comes about a month after OOT.  We need to have LOA in March in order to have any chance to travel in June.  That is looking less likely every passing day.  I am trying to remember that it is not the end of the world if we have to wait until July to travel.  We are going to be able to get our girl and that is the most important thing.  A month in the grand scheme of things won't matter, right?  I would appreciate prayers for the process to speed up and for my mental health during this wait :-)

It is a very strange feeling to have a daughter you don't really know much about and still you miss her.  I can't wait to discover her personality, her likes, her dislikes.  I long to hold her and to see her interact with her brothers.  We have very little information about her.  We received an initial report and an updated report.  Of course, we can't be guaranteed that these reports are completely accurate.  Since it is the only information we have, we might have read over it a few thousand times.  One thing that we will never know is her birthdate.  What a loss that will be for her.  She has been assigned a birthdate, but she wasn't found for about 6 weeks after her birth.  We can guess that her birthfamily loved her and really wanted to keep her, but they could not.  It is important to know that in order for her to have received the medical care she needed, her family would have had to pay for the medical treatment completely before the treatment could happen.  If her family was not wealthy, then this would be impossible for them.  Of course, this is all speculation on our part.  We most likely will never know the answer to the question of "why".  We do know that after she was found she went to her current foster home within a month.  She has been with this family every since.  We have learned that she has an older foster sister and an older foster brother.  We are hoping that will help her adjust to siblings.  Her city has an excellent reputation of having wonderful foster homes.  We truly feel that she is being well taken care of and is loved.  It really helps to know that.  We are fully expecting her to grieve deeply when we take her away from the only family she has ever known.  It will be difficult at first but is beneficial in the long run.  Kids attach better to their new families when they have had few caregivers and when they have formed an actual attachment to their caregivers.  We also learned that she currently sleeps WITH her foster parents.  Mark and I looked at each other and said, "Oh no!"  We know that she will be sleeping with us at first and have no idea how long it will take to transition her to her own room.  We are planning on doing whatever she needs.  We have learned that she has 8 teeth on the top and 8 teeth on the bottom.  We have her measurements, so now I am buying some clothes in the 2T size.  I hope the measurements are accurate!  We don't know much about her cleft.  We don't know how severe it is or if she has had any surgeries.  We are prepared for her to need surgeries, speech therapy, and orthodontic work.  We are told that she talks and has normal mental development.  We are told that she likes affection and minds.  We have also been told that she is potty trained.  PLEASE let that be true!  She is described as outgoing and friendly and as someone who enjoys playing with other children.  She is also described as brave.  Poor baby is going to need to be brave with all the changes headed her way.  She also seems to like balls, playing outside, and cartoons.  Her initial report said that she liked cats, but that was done more than a year ago.  Her initial report also talked about how much she liked her foster grandfather. I can't wait to get to know her.  Hurry home Emma Grace!!