About Mrs.Martin

Learning to live through love.

Evan Day

We know you have been thinking and praying for our family, and can tell- today could not have gone better! We met Evan at 11:30 this morning, and he walked in wearing his Charlotte Hornets hat and holding the picture book we sent to him early this year. When we picked him up, he pointed to our pictures! We’re grateful that the orphanage took the time to prepare him for us. They gave us a DVD of pictures and video, and a memory book. We can’t wait to look, watch and get the book translated. His nannies wrote in the notebook we sent, too, so are looking forward to getting those entries translated also.

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He was a little apprehensive about Chris at first, but now seems to prefer him. He didn’t cry when left with us, and would not let go of our hands. He is a good eater, and tonight he gave us lots and lots of laughs to treasure. Guys, we are so blessed and thankful. He’s in his crib, now, being very quiet and trying to sleep. I’m sure we are distracting him…

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We visited the grasslands of Inner Mongolia today. We drove a dune buggy, drank fermented mare’s milk, made wishes at the Oto, tried Mongolian cheeses and jerky, and ate Mongolian dinner in a yurt. It was very cool.

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Back at the hotel we played basketball with a laundry basket and some soft balls, and colored. Chris tossed Evan in the air and on the bed, which got lots of giggles.

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Tomorrow we sign the docs to make Evan officially adopted. 🙂 Hoping and praying for another awesome day!

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China or Bust!

Today’s the day! I’m sitting in the admiral’s club at the airport, sipping on my jamba juice, and trying to think of what to write. I have so many things to share, so many thoughts going through my head, so many emotions… I also am realizing that this will be a short post, since I’m typing on my phone.

So… First, let me say thank you. Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, encouragement, and support. You have gotten us this far in our journey, and we appreciate you! Please continue to think of us as we travel to bring Evan home.

This morning, Chris and I took Austin out to breakfast. We talked about our trip, and were trying our best to get him to understand that we’d be gone for a while, but that when we return, he’ll have a brother. I think he gets the brother part…. It’s the period of time he doesn’t get. At one point he told us we’d be gone for five weeks (as he held out his hand to show five fingers)! Thankfully it will not be five weeks. We know he’ll have a great time with his grandparents, and he has lots of fun in store for him.

When we dropped him off at daycare, we took our last photo as a family of three…

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We are excited to explore China; less excited about flying there. Thrilled that we’ll finally get to hug the son we’ve been praying for; anxious for him, as he is about to lose everything he’s ever known. I cant tell you how eager I am to hear his voice, his laugh, and even his cry. I can’t wait to introduce him to his brother via a video call next week, too. There’s so much that we’re anticipating….

We know you are excited for us, and eager to meet Evan. When we return home, though, we will be in a period known as “cocooning”, where we will be focusing on establishing bonds and attachments with Evan. We will be staying home as much as possible, and limiting outside interaction. We want you to meet Evan and show him the love you’ve been pouring out on us, but we ask that you bear with us during this time. We don’t know how long it will take. If you do stop by, please keep your visit brief, do not hold Evan, and any gifts need to be given to us to give to him. I know it sounds weird, but it’s very important that we do things this way until Evan understands that we are his primary caregivers. Thank you for your support in this way!

Getting Ready, or, a Summer Update

I’ve been really bad about updating the blog. And there’s so much going on to share! I don’t quite know where to start… I will tell you though, that this will probably be mostly pictures. 🙂

Well, first, I should say that we got our Travel Approval! Our TA came in on August 27, in time to make a September Gotcha Day. Our prayers for September were answered! But, due to some circumstances, we are not travelling until October. It’s hard knowing that we could be in China RIGHT NOW, but we are still here waiting… But it’s ok. We’ll be boarding a plane to China in 21 days. Here’s hoping we make the most of our time here, but that these next three weeks go by quickly!

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While we wait, we I’ve been nesting like crazy! I just finished refinishing a dresser and nightstand that were mine as a child, to go in the boys’ new room. It was my first time attempting anything like this, and I think they turned out pretty well. The beds are put together and made up, and artwork is on the wall. We just need a few details, like a picture of our boys together to put in one of the empty frames, and we’ll be done! I think it’s coming together nicely.

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My grandparents came for a visit, which was so awesome. They were here for two wonderful weeks. It was full of conversation, food, and family. They were helping me with learning Mandarin so that I would have some useful phrases on hand while we’re in China. They also gifted us with a tour of Beijing that includes hotel, so we’re now able to sightsee a little bit of China while we are over there!

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The ladies of my small group surprised me with a shower to celebrate Evan. It was very sweet and thoughtful, and lots of fun! There was Chinese food, and Chinese lanterns, and an American Flag cookie cake. There were also fortune cookies with hand written “fortunes” that were scripture and quotes about families, children, and adoption. It was so cool! I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life, and thankful for people who are excited about Evan coming home as we are!

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As far as we can see, even with the added cost of traveling during Trade Fair, our adoption is fully funded! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us! Your support means so much to us!

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There were a couple Myrtle Beach trips.

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Chris and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last week. My parents kept Austin Friday and Saturday nights so that we could have a nice dinner on Friday (our anniversary) and go to a music festival to see our favorite band play the following day. It was awesome.

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And lastly, I’ll just say that this was the summer of trains, swimming lessons, and Okra.

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What’s in a Name?

Some of you may already know what we have decided to name the little boy we are adopting. For the rest of you, this post is the big reveal! Super dramatic, right?? I have been meaning to write this post forever. I didn’t because, well, aside from life being crazy (but wonderful!), I just felt like it was very final, and… well, what if we changed our minds??

Chris and I love names. It’s fun seeing how one of us reacts to a name that the other suggests, sometimes seriously, and other times to get a laugh. We love rolling names over our tongues and seeing how they feel and sound. More than a pleasant sound, though, we want our children’s names to have meaning. We pored over names for this child. Did we want the meaning to tie back to his past? To our hopes for his future? Should it tie to his story? Do we even want to change the name he was given? It was tough to decide what to do. In the end, we decided that we would not legally keep his Chinese name. But he will always have it. Just as I have a Chinese name that my grandparents chose for me, he will always have his Chinese name too. It just won’t be on his American citizenship papers.

So, for his first name, we chose the name “Evan”. Depending on the origin of the name, it has several different meanings. The American and Hebrew meanings are the same: Stone. We thought this was appropriate, because the city he comes from is a mining town. The Celtic meaning of this name is “young fighter.” As a baby with a special need, abandoned at just a couple of days old, our little one has already overcome so much, so we thought this meaning, too, was appropriate. Lastly, we learned that the Welsh meaning of the name means “God has been gracious.” We feel this applies not only to our little boy in his young life, but especially, too, to our own lives, where the Lord has shown favor and mercy. So there we have it. His name will be Evan. And on this baby name website, they include a “SoulUrge number”  and an “Expression number” that relates to each name. It’s some horoscopey, nonsense numerical value, I’m sure, and I put no stock in these things, but I thought the one that corresponds to Evan was interesting, none the less:

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The second name for him was harder. We know of many families who adopted from China and kept their child’s Chinese name as their middle name. Is that what we wanted to do, too? The name he was given at his orphanage was chosen by his orphanage director, not his birth parents. While the meaning was nice, it just didn’t resonate with us. If he were older, we’d have thought more about keeping his Chinese name, or letting him make a decision, but we decided that giving him a new name is what worked best for us and our situation.

As with most middle names, we were testing out the string of first name-possible middle name-last name to see what sounded best. The names we thought sounded the best following Evan just didn’t have the meaning that we felt would be significant to him (or us) in any way. So we changed tactics. We looked at the meaning of the city where he’s spent his whole life. It is known as the “deer city.” I jokingly suggested “Buck”, but Chris turned that down in a heartbeat. (Part of me thinks it’s super cute and hope it ends up as a nickname one day!) We asked a friend in China to help us breakdown the name of his city, to see if we could use any part of the Chinese word, and that started us down the path to the name we decided. The Chinese word “lĂč” means “deer”. So we looked to see if there were any names that contained “Lu” in it, and researched the meaning of the many names we found, and asking for input from our family.

As we were going through the names, we realized that if we chose a name that begins with “Lu”, instead of containing it in the middle or at the end of the name, it would be even more special to us for a couple of reasons. First, Evan’s initials would be the same as Chris’ dad. That would be cool. Secondly, my grandmother’s name is Lucinda, so it would start off the same way as her name does. So it would kind of connect Evan with our families in a way, which we thought was pretty awesome. I’ve always liked biblical names, and the most obvious male biblical name that starts with “Lu” is Luke. We went back and forth over that one as we searched through other names, but finally, we decided on a variant of Luke: Lucas. It means “light”. We hope that we are changing the outlook of Evan’s future, giving light, but most importantly, we hope we are raising a son who will be a light to others. We have a name picked out for a girl if are ever blessed with one, and her name also incorporates the same meaning. So we thought it was perfect.

It’s pretty much official. We’ve written Evan Lucas on official documents now, so I guess that’s what made me feel ready to share. Thanks for your patience! Austin talks about Evan with us, and his name is used in conversations in our home all the time. It’ definitely solidified the name in our hearts and minds, and I can’t wait till I can hold him and say his name aloud, with his sweet face looking back at me…. which, in case you are wondering, is in 39 days!!! I’ll write another post on all that has happened soon.

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First Friday Funding Figures- Update #11, August 2015

Hi y’all! I have your August FFFF post, but it’s going to be very short, because we are about to pack up and head to visit family. There’s just never enough time! So… in July we wrapped up our restaurant.com fundraiser, had another Moe’s event, had another yard sale, a Mary Kay party (or two), and sold more puzzle pieces. I didn’t have time to make the pretty cost/fundraising breakdowns that I normally use, but guys. GUYS. You have helped us get to 91% Funded. I could scream! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! We are almost there!

And speaking of “almost there”…. Did you notice that it’s already August? August. Where has the summer gone? If we travel in September, we could be leaving in a short 5 weeks! If we don’t make September (and yes, we’re still in danger of missing those dates), we’d be leaving in less than 9 weeks. We’ve got a lot to do in that short period of time! We’ve still got $3,660 to raise, and have a wine and canvas party, another Moe’s event, a bedsheet fundraiser, and finishing out our puzzle to help us get there. We have to finish decorating the boys’ room (which includes refinishing a dresser and nightstand), look for stuff (a high chair and car seat for grandma’s house, diapers, etc.), and get our adoption education completed, as well as preparing ourselves for travel.

We’re so excited, but I tell ya, not knowing when we are actually going is hard! If we go in October, our hotel and flights could be much more expensive due to a huge trade fair going on in China at the time. But, it would give us those extra 4 weeks to save, fundraise, and get ready. And the weather between the months is very different too, so we can’t even think about what to pack until we know when we’re going. Gah. I know we’ve been praying, and asking you to pray for September, and believe me, I want to get my boy home as quickly as possible. But now, I just ask you to pray for peace for our hearts no matter when we end up going. It’s so easy for me to get anxious and worried, and you know what? Ultimately, the end result is the same, whether we travel in September or October- Our family of three becomes a family of four!

Correction- 74% funded!

I realized that I was missing a line item for the grant we received a couple of months ago. Once I added that in, it bumped us from 72% to 74% of our goal!

image001 (2)So, even though we still have quite a bit left to raise, things are looking better than they did just yesterday! And, just a reminder, we are having our second fundraising dinner at Moe’s tonight! Please grab your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or whomever, and stop by for dinner! You can even get your food to go, give me a hug, and go on about your evening! We’d appreciate your support! Thanks!

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Numbers and Letters

I completely overlooked posting a First Friday update last week, as we were heading down to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and I had a ton on my mind. I was hoping for a phone call, an email, something to tell us that our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) had been issued. I was also working for the majority of the day, and had to help Chris with some Tobu stuff before we could get on the road. I also braided my whole head to try and have some beachy waves for the weekend. Oh, and I had to drop something off at my parents’ house. So… I just completely forgot.IMG_20150703_114953491_HDR The beach was a great trip. We stayed Friday through Monday, and the long weekend was just what we all needed. It was full of family, friends, great weather, love music, fireworks, and food. What more could we ask for? Oh, and on Monday we finally got word that our LSC/ Letter Of Approval (LOA) is on it’s way! Yes! It only took 41 days. 41 very quick, but equally long days, if that’s possible.

Austin built his first sand castle, and loved holding sparklers. He brought his football and basketball everywhere we went, and asked to go to the beach every single day. I think he loved having lots of time with us, and he was not a happy camper come Tuesday when he had to go back to “school.”

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So, as for adoption updates. Lots of things happened last week. We were moved from “in review” to “to be matched”. And on Monday we found out se have soft LOA, which means our approval is heading to our agency right now! It should be on US soil this week! Next for us, is US immigration stuff. Visas, and getting our boy approved to be adopted here. From the timeframes we’re seeing of those going before us, it looks like we can expect to travel in 8-12 weeks! Yes, that’s white a range, but it just depends on if there are any hold ups, typos, holidays, etc. But, September is looking very likely, now, and we are so excited! And just to secure a September date, we went and bought ourselves some concert tickets for our anniversary. The concert is on 9/23, so, I’m willing to bet we will be given dates that overlap it! I think a little China trip is worth missing the concert, though! 😉 We can see the light at the end of this long tunnel. Please be praying that things move smoothly and quickly as we progress! To celebrate (and hopefully help our nannies prepare our son for travel), we had a toy airplane sent to the orphanage.

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So in the next 8-12 weeks, we have to finish some education, figure out our travel stuff, finish (we’ve barely started) the boys’ new room, and do our best to prepare our little family for the big change that’s coming. That, and raise about $10,000. That’s, like $1000 a week, y’all. Holy guacamole. Where do we even start? Well, tomorrow we are having another Moe’s dinner, so hopefully that helps a bit. I have this weird feeling that we won’t have nearly the turnout that we got last time, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to come eat with us, please stop by! You don’t even have to bring the flyer this time. And we’ll do another Moe’s dinner next month, and one in September if we’re still here.  We are not doing a yard sale this weekend, but the next few weekends we definitely will be. We’re still selling puzzle pieces, hoping and praying for a grant, and you will soon see us asking if anyone has hotel and airline miles they can donate to us. We’ve also been selling random things here and there, and I am working a wedding in August. But we’re running out of ideas… and time, for that matter. Not that we’re complaining. The sooner we can bring our little guy home, the better!

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Here are our First Friday Funding Figures, on this second Tuesday of July. We’re 72% there, folks. It’s hard not to stress about that remaining 28%, but honestly I know we will be fine. The Lord will provide a way for our little family to be together, I have no doubt!

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image009 (1)image008On a completely different note, Chris’ disc golf store is open for business! Please check it out! We’ve got two birthday parties this Saturday, and some of our favorite folks are in town, so we’ll visit with them on Sunday. I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting to mention…. Guess it will have to wait until the next post!

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