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:

meaning of Evan

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 “lù” 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.

39 days

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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Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

First Friday Funding Figures- Update #8, May 2015

Are you shocked? It’s not only the first Friday of the month, but also the first day of the month, and I actually have an on-time update for you. Honestly, it wasn’t terribly hard because not much happened in terms of fundraising/spending on the adoption front in the month of April. But, just the fact that I found time to sit down and post it on the day it was promised is nothing to scoff at! In terms of dollars (spent, earned, saved, and donated) next month’s update should look a lot different!

Tomorrow we are having a massive yard sale. We are blessed with lots of generous people in our lives, who are not only donating stuff to sell, but also their time, to setup, load, unload, bargain, reload, unload again, and just be with us during this event. We even got 5 dozen donuts donated to us, which should help feed those volunteering and make us a little extra cash! I’ll try to update the blog this weekend with the results of this effort. Yard sales are a lot of work! I’d forgotten that minor detail… lol.

We expect our last item to be authenticated this week, and then we can send our dossier to China and a big check to our agency. I. Can’t. Wait.  Not that I’m excited about sending off a big check, but that once we’re Dossier To China (DTC) it will really feel like we’re moving towards bringing our son home. Gah! Every milestone from that point will feel momentous, I’m sure.

So, as you can see from the figures below, if we are looking at a total cost right in the middle of our estimated range, we’re about 58% funded. Hopefully tomorrow’s yard sale will make a dent in what’s still remaining. We’re working on some other ideas, too. I’ll let you know as more details are finalized.

We have been super busy, so hopefully I can update y’all on some other things happening around here.

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In the Adoption Fund Status section, you’ll see a new line added- Blue Star Auto Detailing. Our wonderful neighbor details cars, and is currently donating $10 from every job towards our adoption. How awesome is that? How are we so lucky to have such kind and giving friends? The first job was earlier this week. Woot, woot!

I have added one new section. These are funds that we should be eligible to receive after our adoption is finalized. Praying that we are able to receive these funds so that we can take more time off to bond as a new family, and also take our newest son to see specialists as needed for his medical needs.image009

And of course, in the Google Font “Give you Glory” is our estimated/hopeful countdown.

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(Past Due) First Friday Funding Figures- Update #7, April 2015

I know, it’s Tuesday. I’m really not so good with this First Friday thing, am I? The kicker is that I totally pulled all of these totals on Friday and had this ready to go… just didn’t happen. Oh well. One of these updates will actually get posted on the first Friday of a month. Just wait and see.

So, March. Our Auction happened in March and gave us a $1244.30 boost!Thanks again for all of the folks who participated. It was a lot of fun, and helped us out in a big way! In April, I don’t really expect to see a ton happening on the fundraising front, unless we get some donations from folks. We are filling up the space in our garage for the massive yard sale we plan to have the first weekend of May. It is going to be a lot of work. Right now we are collecting donations for the yard sale, and soon we will be reaching out to see if anyone can help us prepare for the sale (organizing stuff, gathering clothing racks/tables, and loading up trunks the night before) and also looking for folks to hang out with us during the yard sale (to set up, watch our stuff, and peddle wares, then load stuff up to take back home afterwards). From the looks of our garage, we might have to have more than one of these things. I’m also working one wedding in April and a few in May, so by June’s update, the numbers should start looking much different. Plus, by then, we’ll have written some more big checks, so things will look a lot different on both sides of the balance sheet!

So, here are how things are looking:

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I’ve been checking the mail like a crazy lady the last few days, looking for our I800a approval to come, so we can get that last item authenticated and our dossier off. But it’s still not here… Hopefully soon!

In other news, Easter happened.

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And Austin thinks our new minivan is the coolest thing since… himself.

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I hope to have updates for y’all very soon. Good ones! Thanks for sticking with us. If you’d like to donate towards our adoption, in any amount, you can do so here. For every $15 donated, we’ll write your name on a puzzle piece to commemorate your contribution. If you’d like to help out with the yard sale on 5/2, please let me know! Thank you!

Auction Total

Our online auction to raise funds for our adoption closed a couple of weeks ago. It was a lot of fun, and turned out to be very successful! We are very fortunate to have many generous and talented friend who are supporting us on this journey. We are so grateful for all the many ways people have encouraged us, and this auction was a neat way for people to support us with their talents, instead of financially.

The last two weeks have been full of invoicing, answering questions, contacting donors, and shipping items. Yesterday we received the very last payment for an item, and i ma pleased to announce that the total raised towards our adoption (after Paypal fees, shipping costs, and our gift card giveaway) was a whopping $1244.30! Thank you to all who participated!

We still have a couple of items that did not get any bids, and other folks are telling us that thy’d like to donate in some way. We haven’t decided yet, but it’s possible that we’ll do another auction in the future. In the meantime, our garage is full of stuff for the ginormous yard sale we plan to have on May 2. Many people have donated stuff for this event, too, and we are so grateful!

We just cannot fathom how we are so lucky to have such generous, supporting friends. Thank you all, so much, for all of your love. It means the world to us, and will someday mean a lot to a little boy who is waiting for us to go get him. Thank you. Thank you.