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!

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!

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.

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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!

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”

Yard Sale #3, and OOT!

So next stop on our acronym parade- OOT! OOT stands for out of translation, which means our dossier is done being translated by the CCCWA (Chinese adoption officials), and is now being reviewed! After review, which seems to be taking just a few days, then our file is matched with our son’s file, and we get LSC/LOA which means Letter Seeking Confirmation/Letter Of Approval. So we’re really close to being done with this part of the process! We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, folks! And if there are no hold-ups, (prayers please!) we should be on track to go get our kiddo in September!! SEPTEMBER! Please, please continue to pray that September is the month we leave to get our boy!

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So… if we were to leave the very last week of September, that gives us just over 13 weeks before our life changes forever!

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*Google Font’s “Give You Glory”

Depending on how you look at it, that can seem like a very short or pretty long time. I’m thankful to know that summertime usually flies by, and that September will be here in a blink of an eye! We have a lot to do during that time. A last batch of education, preparing the boys’ new room, and fundraising. A lot of fundraising. We still have about $10k to raise, and only 13ish weeks, so we know that we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. How can we raise almost a thousand dollars a week??

Well, the good folks at Moe’s have offered to host a monthly fundraiser dinner for us until we leave for China. How awesome are they? They are even going to put a poster in the window a week ahead of the planned events to help us draw more folks! We had such a wonderful time last time, and were taken such good care of. How could we turn them down? If we have turnouts like the last time, we’ll probably make $1000 between all 4 of the events combined. That would help us a lot! So if you are in the Ballantyne area, please plan to be with us the second Thursday of every month for the next few months! We’d appreciate it!

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In addition to that, we’ve been so blessed by family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers who have donated to our yard sales. We had the big one in may, another one about 2 weeks ago, and had one this morning, despite impending thunderstorms. The rain held out today, and we made $815!! Last time we made $805, and at the big one we made almost $2,000.  We have so much stuff to sell, that we will continue to have yard sales every two to three weeks until we can clear most of it out. I can’t imagine we’ll make these large amounts every time, but man, we are so thankful that we have thus far! Yard sales are a lot of work, but these numbers make it so worth it! And God kept the rain at bay until 5 minutes after we got everything back in the garage!

There are a few items I’m selling online, that are bringing in some cash, too, so we might make our $1000/week goal for this week. We’ll see if we can keep up the momentum! We’re still selling restaurant.com gift certificates, so please buy one for yourself, one for a friend, and share the link with anyone else that might be interested! And of course, we’re still “selling” puzzle pieces for $15 each, and we will write your name on the back of your pieces! Our puzzle is almost 3/4 of the way complete. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it thus far! We can’t wait to complete it, frame it, and hang it on our wall!

So that’s our update! Our dossier’s moving along, and we are plugging away at the fundraising. We know that the Lord will provide the funds we need, and in His timing, so we are not really to anxious about the money. Not yet, anyway…! We appreciate your prayers and support more than you know!

First Friday Funding Figures- Update #9, June 2015

You know what day it is! I can’t believe this is update number nine! What a long time it’s been already… But it’s getting closer to the finish! Things have been crazy busy for me, but I was determined to get this post published. I mean, it’s just a few images, really! I will not give you an excuse today!

So last month was a good one as far as fundraising goes. We had our huge yard sale, which made us almost $2000, and we were awarded a $1000 grant! We got a tax refund that went straight into our account, and managed to save a bit, too! I really need to do a good audit of our accounts and our fees, but as the numbers stand today, it looks like we are 63% funded! With (hopefully) 4 months to go, and $13,846 (ish) left to raise, we are going to kick it into high gear! Please pray that we hear from the other grants we applied to, and that we would have successful fundraising over the summer. Next week we have our Moe’s fundraising dinner, which should be a lot of fun! I hope we get a huge turnout and make a lot that night. I’m looking forward to it, just because it’s like a big party with a bunch of friends where I don’t have to do the cooking. Ha!

In addition to the Post Adoption Credits chart I added last month, I also included a Post Placement Expenses chart. Looks like those credits are going to end up going back out in one way or another. I didn’t even include the possible medical trips we could be taking, because I just don’t know how many, and how long the trips will be… so it’s hard to estimate. Here’s how the numbers are looking:

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image008 We still have a ton of stuff from the yard sale, so I think next weekend, or really any weekend this month, we will be having another one. We’re looking into different rewards credit cards, trying to see how we can rack up airline and hotel miles to save us some of those costs. If you have any you’d like to donate to us, let us know! I have one more fundraiser in mind, that we might do in July, but other than that… I’m just praying we find the funds! We are scrimping and saving, and doing everything we can think of, but if you have any ideas, please share them!

Yesterday we got an update on our boy. It had pictures of him in the Hornets hat that we sent him, which made me so happy! I know it made my parents happy, too, as the hat was their contribution! He’s got a little piece of our home with him, now! The update said that he knows he is being adopted, and that the nannies read the picture book we sent and tell him who everyone is. I wonder what he thinks when they read it to him… is he anxious? Confused? Happy? I wonder how much he really understands about what a family even is…

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When I showed Austin these pictures, he asked about their hats, and then he picked out his own “bed” in the picture of the cribs. He’s starting to get it. Somehow, he’s starting to get it.

Folks, we appreciate you keeping up with us. We appreciate your support and prayer. Please keep praying for things to move along without issue, and that we would be traveling to China in September. Thank you!

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