Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's A Family To Do?

So, it's 8am and you're dressed for the day.
You're house is relatively clean.
You're awaiting your Social Worker's arrival at 9am.
What's a family to do?
To keep from turning into a ball of nerves
you bust out your best plan.
Biscuits and the family edition of Connect Four.
The biscuits are yum.
The kids are contained.
And you laugh.
Oh yes, exactly what your soul needed.
Loving laughter. :)


The boys have both been interviewed.
They were interviewed together.
Jennifer said they were very polite.
I haven't probed Joseph for the full scoop yet,
but apparently James mentioned that he tore his pants yesterday.
Jennifer said he was very upset about it.
Poor kid, he fell of his bike and tore the knee of his new pants.
But really, they were only play pants.


I've completed my interview.
Our interviews took place at the kitchen table.
The boys patiently waited in my bedroom with Andy.
Joseph and Andy on laptops and James playing his DS.
They said I took too long.
Hello, this is big! :)

Now Andy is mid-interview.
I'm on the bed blogging.
The boys are playing in the backyard.

Once Andy has completed his part then we'll meet back together.
Jennifer said we'll discuss the next steps.

W-h-e-w.
Almost finished with yet another step.
PRAISE YOU LORD,
all GLORY is YOURS!

I'll update again after we're all through.
God's blessings, Sarah :D

Monday, December 28, 2009

CHRISTmas & Home Studies

Hi all, I hope you had a very Merry CHRISTmas!
Little Miss Emily Margaret may not be here yet,
but she had a pretty good CHRISTmas as well.

She got her first Santa gift...

A ladybug pop up toy.
No worries Emily Margaret,
James is breaking it in for you! :)

Franny & Frandaddy got her an Auburn football bear.


Franny also bought her first granddaughter a tea set.
And she insists that it's to play with.


Boompa & Gigi got her a beautiful cross Waterford crystal ornament.


Last but certainly not least, Nana & PaBill, Nanny & Op, Boompa & Gigi and Uncle John & Aunt Rach all donated money to our adoption account! We're a lot closer to bringing her home than we were before Christmas. Thanks everyone!!! :)

Tomorrow morning we have our 2nd home study visit.
We had to reschedule because our social worker Jennifer had the flu.
So the house is clean,
and the autobiographies are written and emailed in.
We also finished off what seemed like a ton of other paper work.
Here's Andy writing his adoption statement.

For those of you who love a good cry,
call me sometime and I'll share our adoption paperwork with you.
Nothing is more beautiful than your husband pouring out his heart.
God is bringing us through this and when He delivers us on the other side,
we'll stand closer together and have a beautiful daughter too. :)
I'll let you know how tomorrow's visit goes.
God's blessings friends, Sarah :D

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Good morning all!
Yesterday while Andy was finishing up at work, Santa visited.
The precious girls in his office showered him with gifts for Emily Margaret.

First I had to share this gift tag.
It reads,
From Our Home To Yours.
Oh Emily Margaret,
I can't wait until you're in our home! :)

Here are all the gifts.
Check out her first sippy cup,
it's Auburn.
I can't wait to see her sassy self sipping some soda at a game!
She also has her first Halloween costume,
it's Mickey Mouse. :)
The jeans are hand me downs, we love girly hand me downs!

The stuffed bear plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Twinkle, twinkle little star, oh how I wonder where you are?
I'd say someone put a lot thought into that gift. :)

Last but not least, the part that made me cry.
All Andy's co-workers donated money towards our adoption account.
W-O-W.
Talk about a beautiful gift!

Thank you all so much.
God is using you to nudge us a little closer to our Emily Margaret.
You're her Christmas angels!

God's blessings on your CHRISTmas friends! Sarah :D

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Assignment of a Lifetime

Good morning all!
I just finished my morning devotional and had to share.
It's from Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Today's message spoke about accepting the assignment of a lifetime,
just as Mary did with Jesus.

The words read...
"Have you ever said "yes" to God for what you believed was the assignment of a lifetime? When you said "yes" did you know you would never be the same again? I love the story of Mary - young, sweet, innocent Mary - who accepted the assignment of her lifetime.
I can only imagine what she was thinking when the angel Gabriel announced she would give birth to the Son of the Most High. Mary was also given details of how this son would be conceived. Without hesitation her response to this assignment of a lifetime was, "May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38, NIV).
Has something like this ever happened to you? Has the Lord spoke to you through His Word and prayer and in your spirit you sensed Him telling you something that seemed outrageous? Has He asked you to say "yes" to an assignment that would change your life forever? You shook your head to loosen the cobwebs and push out anything possibly obstructing your hearing. You walked around bewildered for a couple days, wondering if you really heard right. You replayed the scenario in your mind to get a clearer picture of the experience, but still could not get a handle on it. Then out of the blue you received confirmation. God used a pastor, scripture, song, friend, family member, or a situation to confirm the word He spoke to your heart. If so, like Mary, have you responded with a song of praise to the Lord?"

As I read this message, I knew God was reminding me of the calling we have with Emily Margaret.
The calling that on most days, I feel so unqualified for.

Then I read on to the power verses for today...
Psalm 139:13, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (NIV)
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

Over the past few months,
Ephesians 2:10 has become our adoption verse.
That's when I knew that God was giving me yet another confirmation.
He's using my willing heart to do His good work.

Thank you Lord for leading me to do your good work.
Work that is so over my head that it has JESUS written all over it.
Thank you also for sending me needed encouragement.
Just so I know I'm hearing you right.


Note: Our 2nd home study visit has been rescheduled.
Our social worker emailed me Sunday, she has the flu!
I'll keep everyone posted on our next meeting.

God's blessings on the assignment God has given each of you,
AND a very Merry CHRISTmas! Sarah :D

Friday, December 18, 2009

Waiting For You

Every year as part of our Christmas tradition,
we buy both boys a special ornament.
This year our Emily Margaret joined in.

A sweet friend emailed me a this link to S. Wise Designs and said I should check it out.
I invited James (our hopeful big brother) to chose the ornament design.
As soon as I saw the little Panda Bear holding a wishing star I knew it was perfect.
Today it arrived on our doorstep.

So Merry Christmas Emily Margaret!
Your family is patiently waiting for you to join us.
God's blessings friends, Sarah :D

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1st Home Study Visit

Hi all,
I'm sorry serving up the details has been a bit delayed.
Yesterday proved to be a big day.
We started out with our home study,
grabbed a quick lunch to hash out the details,
then I had a lactation consult with a friend and her beautiful 2 day old baby girl,
and finally we celebrated my Mom's birthday last night.
I was beyond functioning by the time we made it home.
But after sleeping late this morning I feel much better! :)
I think God used a busy afternoon to keep me from over analyzing our visit. Thank you Lord for your infinite wisdom!

Our visit was scheduled for 9am.
We got the kids up early and ready for school.
Andy picked up biscuits for us and Duchess donuts for our social worker.
Joseph made his bed and straightened his room,
without being asked I might add. :)
James' was a bit grouchy, so we just let him play after breakfast.
While Andy took the boys to school I showered.
Andy wore jeans and a dress shirt.
I went with jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt and my fluffy vest.
Cute and comfy.

Jennifer arrived a few minutes early and was super nice.
She had on jeans so that made me feel better about my wardrobe choice.
She didn't eat or drink anything, although we offered.
But she did take her fresh donuts with her.
When you offer stranger food do you always feel obligated to say things like,
I promise, we don't have cooties?! :)


We spent about 2 hours sitting in our living room talking.
At first it felt weird to be telling such personal details to a stranger.
And then I kept thinking how surreal it was to finally be having our visit!
Thanks Andy for asking me to turn off the ceiling fan.
But how were you know I hadn't cleaned it in 2 weeks?!


So as we sat under my dusty fan here's what we discussed...
1. We talked about our marriage. How did we meet? What was our first date like? Did we have a big wedding? You know I busted out the wedding photo album! Once we laid the foundation of "us" we progressed into the nitty gritty. What are your strengths as a married couple? What are your weaknesses?? Who handles the finances?? What does a normal disagreement look like in your home?? Let me tell you, we were honest. We told her we send the kids outside, get real with each other, probably yell, then talk it through, come to an agreement, I might cry, then we move on. We told her we both pray about our marriage, that is was very important for us to be on the same page.
2. She asked about our kids. What were they like? What did they think about us adopting? We talked about our parenting style. And because Andy and I are the chattiest married couple, we told lots of stories about our kids! The good, the bad and the discipline. :)
3. Then we moved onto what our family and friends think about the adoption. And let me tell, I told her all the people who weren't fans of our choice. The cool thing is that she and her husband are in the process of adopting their first child. A little boy from Korea. She totally understood how your closest loved ones could be your harshest critics. But we focused on the good. We talked about the extraordinary amount of love and support we've received. The friends and family who've given encouragement, helped with fundraisers, and the donations that we've been surprised with!
4. Of course she touched on our finances. Had anything changed from our application information? I did clarify that throughout the adoption process if anything changes in your household you report it to the agency. New job, someone staying with you for awhile, marriage problems, medical changes. They keep up to date on everything. Which I guess is good. The more they know you the better they can represent you.

Next we toured the house.
She looked at every room.
The focus was on Emily Margaret's room.
My plan is to combine my office with Andy's and then convert my office to her room.
My vision is that once she's older she can play in her room while mommy works. :)
The room that will be hers is actually the formal dining room.
The main stipulations was that it was large enough, check, that it had a window, check, and proper ventilation, check.
In the state of Alabama each child does not have to have their own room.
BUT, to adopt from China they do!
So, our social worker will submit the report but we might have to make changes.
That would mean the boys sharing a room and Emily Margaret having one of theirs.
Joseph's comment last night when I told him?
But mom, we could always change it back, right??
Yes son, absolutely!

The checklist requires that we have smoke detectors by the bedrooms, check.
We also needed a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen, uhm no check.
Who knew?
We weren't total losers, we did have one in the garage.
No worries Emily Margaret,
Big Daddy's already committed to taking care of that before the next visit!

We scheduled our next visit for December 22nd.
During the next visit she'll do individual interviews with each of the Hinson four.
Please Lord, let little James be on his best behavior!
Our homework assignment?
Complete and turn in our autobiographies before we meet.
We also have Child Abuse and Neglect forms to complete and send in.
All adults and children over fourteen living in the home must submit them.
Since Joseph will be fourteen in May, yes, fourteen he'll complete one too!
We also have to mail in our finger print paperwork.
Oh, I'm also thinking I'll finish decorating for Christmas and get all these boxes out of the house!

Because I'm result driven I had to ask...
did we pass our 1st home study visit??
Her answer,
Yes!
HOORAY!!!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
We couldn't make it down this long path without you!
God's blessings on your afternoon, Sarah :D

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ready?!

Hi all, happy Thursday!
I just wanted to let you know we're still on for the home study visit tomorrow.
And-I'm-s-o- ready-for-this-process-to-finally-begin!
Hooray, hooray! :)

I'm glad that today I'm finishing up the house.
It's not perfect.
But with the help of the Hinson boys it's right on schedule.
As I've dusted and mopped my mind has wondered things like...
1. Will our social worker look in our closets?
2. What should I wear?
3. Could I offer her breakfast?

I'm not sure if our social worker will be like Nanny 911
OR
more like a Mary Poppins.
Hmh??

By this time tomorrow I'll be able to tell you for sure. :)

Thank you God for the peace and joy over this process that you are providing. Please continue to rain down your blessings on the Hinson four, who long to be five.

God's blessings on your day, Sarah :D

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chinese Calendar

Tonight Big Daddy treated us to take out for dinner.
We did one of our favorite take out runs...
Daddy & James got Guthrie's and Joseph & I got Chinese food.
YUM!!! :)

James went in with Andy to pick it up.
While they were checking out the cashier gave James' a prize.
He was so excited to show us.

It's a Chinese calendar for 2010!
James says now Emily Margaret will know what day it is,
once she joins us of course.

Emily Margaret, you may not need a calendar
but I think your double dose of brotherly love will come in handy.
We love you and think about you constantly!


God's blessings, Sarah :D

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful this Thanksgiving

Hi all!
I hope this post finds you still stuffed full of turkey and dressing.
We are! :)
This year we have a few extra blessings to be thankful for...

First and foremost, our adoption agency has decided to work with us financially.
What does that mean?
Instead of us having to put off our home study until we have the full first payment.
They have agreed to take what we have now (about 1/3) and we can send the remainder as we have it.
HOORAY!!!
That my friends is better than fried turkey,
and you know that's good! ;>
We are probably looking at saving 2-3 months time doing it this way.
That may not seem like much from where we sit.
But when you're growing up in an orphanage, 3 months is a long time.
So, next Friday is the BIG day.
I absolutely REFUSE to reschedule it! :)

Second, we are beginning to take in donations of STUFF.
Stuff, as in, garage sale items.
For those of you who didn't know,
this past summer I participated in 3 yard sales and loved it!
Ok, for the most part. :)
As friends and family clean out their STUFF they call me and I take it off their hands.
Once the weather warms up I'll yard sale my heart out.
The best part?
Every dime raised with go into Emily Margaret's adoption account!

Speaking of adoption accounts, did I mention that we opened ours?
I was tired of keeping money in a basket.
Since I didn't want to put it in our family account,
opening an adoption account made sense.
Our commitment?
Any additional money raised with be donated to help other family's adopt.
After all the love we've been shown I look forward to paying it forward.

Finally, I'm looking into doing basic blog makeovers for others.
I'm thinking e-a-s-y stuff.
Like photo headers, installations, etc.
After almost a year of blogging I've learned a lot.
So why not put those skills to good use?
Any blog help I do will be for donations to Emily Margaret's adoption account!
In all honesty I would have never thought of it on my own...
thanks Holly! :)
At this time I will not have set prices.
So, if you're interested just shoot me an email.
I'll be glad to help make your blog a little more beautiful!

Whew, I think that's all for now.
You keep us in your prayers and I'll keep you posted on our progress!

God's blessings friends, Sarah :D

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Update

Good morning all!
Before I kick into mommy overdrive I wanted to share an update with you.
After emailing back and forth with our social worker we are postponing today's visit.
At this time we are seriously lacking adoption funds.
Don't despair, God is providing...
Tonight is our sweet friend's Christmas Bazaar.
She joyfully picked up several Glory Cakes and Christmas ornaments to sale for me.
My mom committed to donate $100 on the first of December.
And last but not least Emily Margaret might be the needed motivation for our friends to quit smoking.
The wife told me earlier this week that she and her husband are talking about quitting smoking.
They want to donate the money they would have spent on tobacco towards our adoption.
WOW!
God is good and He is providing the most unique ways to fund our mission.
Thank you for all your prayers and messages of encouragement!
God's blessings on your day friends, Sarah :D

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fundraisers & Home Studies, Oh My!

Hi all!
Today I'm preparing ornaments to be sold as a fundraiser.
A super sweet friend is hosting a Christmas bazaar tomorrow night.
Although we'll be unable to attend, she's agreed to sell anything I send.
HOORAY!!!
More money to put towards Emily Margaret's adoption.

Today I'll also be working in my house like a crazy woman.
We're not certain but we might be having our first home study visit tomorrow.
No fears, I won't switch into OCD mode and pull an all nighter.
Through prayer I've decided, I'm not perfect and won't pretend to be.
My home is cluttered and lived in.
But most importantly it's loved in.
So I have from now until school pick up to do my thang. :)
Yes, God and I will walk, or run through this day together!
I'll keep you posted on how things turn out.
Keep us in your prayers.
God's blessings on your day friends! Sarah :D

Monday, November 16, 2009

Smile for Emily Margaret :)

Hi all!
This weekend we had our family Christmas card / adoption pictures made.
(Click here to check them out)
It just so happens that my little sister is an amazing photographer.
So what started out stressful, ended with laughter and smiles.
And the one thing that kept us focused??
That we were smiling for our Emily Margaret!
God's blessings on your day, Sarah :D

Friday, November 13, 2009

According to Andy

Hi all!
This week has been a productive and busy one.
Cleaning, running kids, working, you know the kind of week.
That would explain why last night as we finally collapsed on the couch,
I was too tired to process this story...

First off let me say that Andy and I love to talk about our day.
We learn so much from the people God brings in contact with us.

As Andy was telling me about one of his patients and her daughter,
he made mention that this adult daughter was adopted.
He said that in general conversation the patient asked him if he had any children.
He replied yes, I have two boys.
She said no daughters?
He answered, well yes and no.
Yes, I do have a daughter... somewhere.
You see my wife and I are in the process of adopting a daughter from China.
No, she doesn't live with us yet.
But we know that we have a daughter.


As I type this with tears running down my face all I can think of is all the people who ask me what Andy thinks about us adopting.
I'd say he's on board. :)
You see, God has prepared a path for us and this child.
She is ours, she's being born from our hearts.
And one day our paths will merge and she will live in our house as well!

Thank you Lord for the perfect plans you have for me and the mate you sent to accompany me.

God's blessings, Sarah :D

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finger Prints

Even though we had to reschedule our first home study visit,
I couldn't let today pass without feeling like we were making some progress on the adoption front.
So wanna know what we did??
We busted a trip to the police station for finger printing.
Of course I took along the camera so we could properly document our adventure.
I mean really, this was a blog-able moment! :)

The officer that did the prints was super nice.
Especially considering that we had to have 4 sets made, each.

Here's the up close and personal.
Would finger prints for adoption be the equivalent of a positive sign on a pregnancy test??
Hhhmmm... ;>

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.
Each card has three rows of prints.
That made time for lots of interesting conversation!

When we made it home I told Andy I wanted a picture of us holding the prints and smiling.
You know, like a victory shot.
Here's his idea of a picture with his prints.
I promise this man has no criminal record!

Finally, here we are together.

We love you Emily Margaret, wherever you are.
I can't wait to hold you in my arms and share all these stories with you.
One thing's for sure, you're gonna have one heck of baby book!
God's blessings on your day friends, Sarah :D

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

God Is In This

For those of you wondering if us adopting is really a good idea,
I have to say...
God Is In This.
Yesterday afternoon I emailed our social worker.
I was talking to her about rescheduling our first home study visit.
Remember my Halloween trick??
Well I'm here to tell you that being on crutches at my age is not easy.
As in, forget doing extra stuff, I can't even keep up with my normal activities.
Add that to the fact that I'm still unsure of our financial backing for this adoption,
and you have yourself a fine reason for me to feel the need to reschedule our home study visit.

So, after talking to the social worker (who by the way was a complete angel) I jumped in the car to pick up the boys from school.
I backed out of the driveway and saw Kay sitting in her truck.
Once I realized who it was I ran, ok hobbled, over to her to see what was going on.
WARNING:
Go ahead and grab a kleenex...
She got out of her car and handed me a $500.00 check to put towards our adoption.
Speechless, I have been absolutely speechless!
How do you ever begin to pen the proper thank you for such a beautiful gift?
I just can't even wrap my head around it.
And that is when it occurred to me...
God Is In This.
I'd say He's more like all up in it! ;>
Now Andy and I have the finances to start our finger print and criminal background process.
And yes, we will consider our trip to the jail as our Friday date!
So here's the rundown on donations so far:
$20 via the Chip In here on the blog,
$120 from the sales of Andy's Glory Cakes,
$500 from Father Bob and Kay.

Now, here's my question for you...
What type of account should I open to put this money in??
Should I donate it to the Chip In on my blog or do I open a checking/savings account marked for Emily Margaret's adoption?
Right now it's in a basket on my dresser along with all the loose change James' has found and donated.
How sweet is that??
My boys always think of the adoption of their baby sister anytime they see loose change!

Thanks for all the feedback I can't wait to hear your thoughts.
God's blessings on your afternoon! Sarah :D

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mom's Modo

While cruising around the internet this morning I came upon this quote. I thought of all the moms, especially those pattering down the path of adoption, that this pertains to. I'm considering it an explanation to my life! ;>
*Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming "holy crap what a ride!"* Author Unknown
God's blessings on your day! Sarah :D

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hi, my name is Sarah and I feel the need to introduce myself.
I am a child of God,
wife to the most adoring husband,
mother to two handsome and adventuresome boys
AND
one baby girl.
Oh I know you haven't met her, it's ok, I haven't either.
But one day this child that is born from my heart will meet us all.
We'll laugh and hug and yes, I'm sure we'll probably cry too.
And God will look down on us and He will smile,
knowing that His will has been done.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and contributions,
we have a baby girl to meet!
God's blessings today and always, Sarah :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

God Is Providing

Hello bloggy friends and family.
I realized I've been MIA and it's time for an explanation...
I've taken the past week to pray for God's provision.

Although I haven't blogged about it, my head and heart have still been consumed with our adoption.
My heart has been heavy and my mind has wondered how this will all come together.
But you know God is good.
I asked and He provided.
Last week He sent me a small monetary gift every- single- day.
Through a blog donation, fundraising efforts, breastpump sales/rentals, and even a lunch bought by a good friend He provided enough to keep me going.
Going??
Yes, going, along this adoption path He's guiding me down.

This week He has sent me new friends that are traveling this same journey.
Ah, the way He uses a stranger to deliver a message of encouragement, beautiful! :D

So, now that you know what's been going on in the adoption world I have an update.
I have officially been contacted by our social worker.
We have our first home study visit set for November the 6th at 9am.
Great right??!
YES, absolutely!
But I need God to come through BIG time on this one.
I know, BIG time is HIS specialty.
I tend to think of our family as reasonably clean and normal so the actual visit doesn't worry me.
My concern is that we will have a large sum of money due during that first visit.
Do I rely on self and cancel the visit until I can work enough to come up with the money?
No, I don't feel that's His answer.
Once again I will fall on my knees in prayer for His provisions.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Oh, and if UPS delivers a package of $$$ to your door please send it my way! ;>
God's blessings on your day friends, Sarah

Friday, October 16, 2009

Love Without Boundaries

Hi all and happy Friday!
It seems like God has done so much in the last seven days.
The comfort and love HE has provided is absolutely indescribable.
HE is so full of mercy.

As you know God has made it quite clear that Emily Margaret will come to us through the special needs program.
While we are still getting our game plan going I have been doing tons of research.
Research on adoption, China, special needs, fundraisers, financing options.
All I can tell you is that it's a good thing I'm ADD and frequently changing course comes natural for me! :)

Last night I just couldn't get my mind to simmer down.
So while everyone else dozed off to sleep I slipped into the living room.
With Tiger curled up beside me I lulled myself with blog hopping.
I had stopped by the site Love Without Boundaries before, but this time was different.
Their work was so much more real to me.
I couldn't help but smile at all the beautiful babies that benefit from their services.
Basically they have two homes that are specifically for infants with cleft lips/palates.
They take them in and offer them high calorie feedings with special feeding devices and lower child to Nanny ratio.
Exactly what those sweet babies need.
Once they have them in good health they bring in a team that performs all of the needed repairs.
After their surgery and recovery period they return them to their previous orphanages to be adopted into their predestined forever families.
All I can think is WOW!!!
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So please, take a moment to check out this wonderful mission work that is taking place in China.
But most importantly, keep these precious babies in your prayers.
You never know, one of these angels could be Emily Margaret!
God's blessings on your weekend, Sarah :D

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcome...

When I opened the front door this afternoon I had an exciting package on my doorstep.
It was the WELCOME packet from our adoption agency!

James was soooo excited,
he couldn't wait to open it.
He just knew there was a picture of his baby sister.
Yeah, I think this journey just might be the longest for him. :)
So, we will be celebrating lots of paperwork, home study visits and even our trips to the police station for fingerprints.
Oh what we won't do for our kids! ;>
God's blessings on your evening, Sarah :D

Adoptive Friends

Good morning!
Monday morning I visited friends who recently adopted from China.
They are friends from church who also have two older children.
When they discussed adding a third they decided adopting was where God was leading them.
Their new addition, Tessa, is 10 months old and absolutely beautiful!
As I sat in the floor with Tessa it brought joy and peace to my heart.
My friend talked all about her adoption journey...
the good, the bad and the ugly.
Like the 4 hours Tessa spent crying that first day in the hotel.
We talked about attachment and bonding.
I learned specific orphanage behaviors.
Did you know that most of their babies suck their finger for comfort?
Makes sense, there's no way you could keep passies for all those sweet babies.
She even showed me the bottles they used in the orphanages.
Yes I know, I'm nosy...
I couldn't help but want all the details.
I can see where the orphanages are absolutely doing their best to provide for their babies.
They just have limited resources.
I was also able to see the incredible progress that little Tessa has made in her few short weeks at home.
Home, isn't it amazing what a forever home can do?
God certainly used my visit to create a much needed network for our families.
I have a go to girl for questions and encouragement and Emily Margaret already has a friend waiting to play!
God is good like that, providing for our needs before they even arise.
May God richly bless your day, Sarah :D

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend Full of Thought

Hi all,
I hope you're enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon...
we are. :>
I'm sorry my last post was heavy.
My heart was filled with fear and doubt.
After Friday's phone call I really wasn't sure I was up for this challenge.
Not that we aren't on board with adding to our family.
I certainly believe that the joy in our home will multiply as the number of children increases.
I just didn't know if I could maintain my sanity during a 6 year adoption.
So I thought it was time to update you about what transpired over the weekend.
Andy and I decide that we should step back and prayerfully consider all of our options.
We were both pretty down so we didn't talk much on Friday.
As I was piddling around the house Saturday morning the phone rang.
Andy answered it and passed it off to me.
It was a sweet friend of ours from church.
He and his wife recently adopted from China and he was calling to find out if the rumors were true.
I explained that yes we were in fact praying about adopting from China as well.
I told him how strange it was that God would have him call me when he did.
I explained our phone call from the previous day and all the emotions that had followed.
We spent the next half hour talking about adoption.
He talked about their 4 year process and the beautiful baby girl that made it all worth while.
And ya wanna know what happened?
God used that phone call and the flooding of encouragement from loved ones to say this...
All I ask is that you follow me.
Do MY work and let me worry with the details.

I am still unsure about a lot of the so called details.
I'm ok with that, we're going to take this one step at a time.
I wonder if without that melt down if I would have the same peace about pursuing this adoption that I do now?

One last thing that came from this weekend...
For quite some time now I've felt that not only is Emily Margaret out there,
but that she will come to us through the special needs program.
Andy and I had decided that we would pursue a healthy child and then make it known that we were open to several special needs.
You know, why not just ride the fence and see what happens??
Umh no, God doesn't work that way.
So from this day forward we will strictly pursue the special needs program.
Because really, we all know that Emily Margaret will be special! ;>

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers this weekend.
God has used you more than you will ever know.
Because just as a dear loved one wrote,
Jeremiah 29:11 says
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

God's blessings and love, Sarah :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Update

Happy Friday everyone!
I wanted to let you know that we talked to our social worker this morning.
Karla is her name and she's so knowledgeable about adopting from China.
Can you imagine having a job where you connected children with their forever families?
She gave us an overview of the international adoption process.
I wrote just as fast as I could, so here's my take on how this works.

Our first step is to mail in our first of four payments to the agency.
Yes, I'm certain we have $2,242.50 hiding around here somewhere!?
God bless Karla, she was very understanding that I wouldn't be mailing that check out today.
We'll prayerfully consider how we will meet that financial obligation.

Next, our second step is to meet with Jennifer, another social worker, to start our home study.
The home study consists of 3-5 meetings between the Hinson four and Jennifer.
She will review our file and lives in depth to make sure everything is in line.
Karla was very kind to explain that there usually isn't anything that would prevent us from adopting, just things that we might have to work through.
Of course I needed examples.
She said criminal records, health and finances are the main areas.
Whew, I don't know what I thought she would say but I think we can handle those areas! :)
At the last meeting of our home study process we will meet at the adoption agency with Jennifer and Karla.
We will begin to discuss what the trip will be like.
Karla said that she will prepare us for those first few days with our child.
The entire home study process typically takes 3-4 months.

During the home study process we will also be collecting other needed data for our dosseir (dah-see-A).
Karla says completing the dossier normally takes about 6 months.
Once our dosseir is complete it will then be sent for approval.
It must be approved through DHR and then with the Hague representative in Chicago .
After receiving final approval it will then be sent to China.

Once our dossier is approved in China then we will be officially logged into the system.
At that time we will be sent a desired child form.
With God's guidance we'll mark the special needs we feel comfortable with.
Karla encouraged us to spend time researching the special needs.

Finally, with the guidance of our desired child form they will match us with our child.
Once the referral is made it is sent to us for our approval.
After accepting our referral then we will begin travel arrangements.
Karla explained that the travel to China was a wonderful experience.
We even discussed the ability for us to take the boys with us!

So, wanna know our thoughts??
The thought of waiting 5-6 years for a healthy child is a little overwhelming.
I don't know that we really wanna go that route.
The option?
The referral for a special needs child is about 6 months.
But, the age of the special needs child once they come home is about 2 years old.
That's compared with 9-12 months old with a healthy child.
The special needs doesn't scare me, but the age does.

I called Karla back and explained our fears.
I told her that I wanted to be honest with her about what we were thinking.
We talked about the other countries available and even about domestic adoption.
I told her Andy and I would spend the weekend talking and praying about where God is leading us and call her first of next week.

Here's what I know...
He will calm our fears,
His plan will stand the test of time,
He will provide the needed resources,
and I am certain that He will use all of this to His glory.

Please continue to pray for our family.
Your love, encouragement and prayers are such a blessing!

God's blessings on your weekend, Sarah :D

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quick Update

Good morning!
I wanted to share a quick update with you.
Our social worker called yesterday afternoon.
She said our Adopting from China handbook is on it's way via FedEx.
It's a zip file for us to print.
She recommended that we have it printed at an office supply store...
ugh yes, I asked the question you're thinking, and it's THAT large! :>
We're also set up to do a conference call with her to find out more about our next steps.
And last but not least I received my book from Amazon, The Lost Daughters of China.
Gotta love Amazon, $5.99 and free shipping!
Looks like I've got my work cut out for me the next few days.
I'll keep you posted!
God's blessings, Sarah :D

Monday, October 5, 2009

Now What?

I'm still beaming with excitement about being accepted by the adoption agency.
The weekend consisted of many small celebrations, as we shared our news with family and friends.
Most everyone has been supportive.
It's so encouraging to have everyone praying for us.
When I asked James if Daddy had told him about our approval he said,
"Yeah I know, I'm gonna be a big brother".
I think he's proud and that makes me smile!
Joseph wants her to be here n-o-w.
In typical Joseph humor he said if it took 5 years to adopt that we'd be over it by then.
Umh nope, not happening! :D
So, now that we've gotten the ball rolling, what next?
We'll be contacted this week by our agency social worker.
I'll know more then I suppose.
In the meantime I've ordered a book about adopting from China.
It should be here tomorrow so I'll let you know what we learn. :)
For now I want to share this image from my kitchen...

Isn't that the sweetest thing ever?!
I bought it on clearance at Target in Auburn.
It was the weekend Andy and I decided to pursue this dream.
I came across it when I was unpacking the groceries and I just hung it on the cabinet handle.
I can't take it down, it causes my heart to flip-flop.
Just think, at the end of this very long road there might be a baby girl who calls me Mama wearing that ruffly suit!
God's blessings on your week, Sarah :D

Friday, October 2, 2009

Her Name Will Be Emily Margaret

Hi and welcome to the first page of our adoption journal!
As you know, we have spent the past few months in prayer.
After many long heart to heart discussions, legitimate questions rooted in fear and tears that were always followed by laughter, here we are answering God's calling to add a daughter to our family.
We're not sure of where she will come from, how we will fund this adventure, or when she will join us...
but we are certain of this, the WHO that will bring her home is our Lord and Father, God Almighty.
And when she joins us...
Her Name Will Be Emily Margaret.
Thank you for your visit, your words of encouragement and most importantly your continued prayers.
God's blessings, The Hinsons :D
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