It’s been 441 days since we submitted a letter to China, asking to be allowed to adopt Titus.
This morning we boarded our first flight to take us to the other side of the world and finally bring him home.
In those 441 days since we started the process, lots of things have happened.
The kids were all a year and a half younger, at the beginning of last year’s grade. Now they’re halfway through this school year.
Titus was 2 ½. In just a few weeks, he’ll turn 4.
A different president was in office. Trust us when we say that heading to China under the current regime feels much different than it did four years ago when we traveled to bring home Vivi.
We had two dogs. Both of our old boys have passed away and we’ll have to explain that to Titus, who saw a picture of Heinz in a book we sent showing images of our family.
Two Christmases have past. Two Halloweens, two Thanksgivings.
We have been through countless paperchases, paid a lot of fees, gotten all kinds of medical clearances, been cleared by the government, gone through immigration, answered innumerable questions about ourselves and our history, filed and re-filed lots of paperwork with many different governmental agencies, took one last-minute trip to New York for a visa for a certain pastor, and finally – finally – packed for a 2 ½ week trip that will change our lives forever.
On the other end of the wait is a little boy who has been waiting too. We are forever grateful for the fact that he has been waiting in a foster family, but the whole time, he has been waiting for someone to claim him as their own. We are finally on our way to making him our own.
And during all of that time, through all of the waiting, we have been blessed with such an amazing support system. We literally would not be here were it not for you all.
So we want to say thank you for all of the love, prayers, gifts, time, and encouragement you have given us over the past 441 days.
Thank you to everyone who donated money to help bring him home. Whether you bought an ornament, shopped at our yard sale, pressed $20 into our palms at church, gave us a Christmas present designated for Titus’s adoption, or made a gift through our online account, thank you. We have accounted for every penny and every penny is helping us bring him home. Each one counts.
Thank you to everyone who gave their time to help us at the yard sale, which was such a great fundraising effort. Thanks to those who are helping us while we’re gone – covering for a Sunday School class we’re not teaching, chair a meeting we’re missing, babysit a fish who needs cared for, watch our house in our absence, or fill our fridge with groceries before we get home. Each moment of your time is treasured. Each one counts.
Thank you to the teachers and administrators and staff at the kids’ school, who given them the time away, who have been so kind to prepare homework for them to do while they’re gone, and who most of all simply said, “Go and don’t worry about missing school.” Each encouraging word and generous action is so valuable and goes a long way to reassuring us that we made the right decision to bring the kids. Each one counts.
Thank you to each person that has checked in on social media or emailed us to see how we are doing or to wish us well. We are so thankful to have our journey remembered by you all, and to be counted in your thoughts. Each message has brought comfort. Each one counts.
Thank you to everyone who has ever said, “I am praying for you on your journey.” We covet your prayers more than we can possibly say. This is a hard trip. It’s hard just in terms of getting there and adjusting to a totally different culture and a totally different time zone, but it becomes so much harder when you’re trying to bond with a new child, help him feel like he is part of your family, when you are so out of your element and comfort zone yourself. Every word you have uttered to God on our behalf is cherished. Each one counts.
We have waited 441 days. We have 5 more left.
At the end of these final five days, we will have four children. We will be a family of six. And a little boy will have two parents, two brothers, and one very bossy sister to call his own forever.
Thank you for being a part of this life-changing journey.
Here are some pictures from the start of our journey.
A perfect picture of our family – Tim’s having coffee, the boys are playing their Kindles, and Vivi is telling them all about…whatever.
The first row of Blacks.
The second row of Blacks.
Our boys love their plane rides.
They were also thrilled to ride the tram in the Detroit airport. Liam rode it a year and a half ago when he and I went to China, and it’s been a dream of Micah’s to ride it ever since. It would have been much faster to walk, but we’re all about dreams coming true.