Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time to break out the sparkling grape juice!

It's time to buy tickets!  On February 5, we got the notice that our Travel Approval was granted from the adoption authorities in China.  The average wait is 3-4 weeks and we got it in only 2!  This was such a relief to us since Chinese New Year celebrations begin on Sunday and all offices will be closed for a week.  We were told we'd likely be traveling on February 28th.  We prayed we'd only have to be gone for 2 weeks so that we'd be home just in time for Josiah's 7th birthday on March the 14th.  He has been asking through this entire process if his sister will be home to celebrate his birthday with him.  Last night at 11 p.m. an email appeared in our inbox.  It was our agency, letting us know that we were not going to be travelling on the 28th because to their surprise, we got a consulate appointment in China a week sooner than expected!  Instead we will travel on February 20!  We couldn't wait to share the news with Josiah when he woke up this morning.  He will get his biggest birthday wish: his little sister home with him.
The last month has carried with it a whirlwind of emotions.  When I (Tonya) went to Honduras with our church team from January 19th to 26th, saying goodbye was so difficult.  It was obvious on the trip that God wanted me there to not only be a testimony to those who needed to experience the saving grace of Jesus, but also to soften and break my heart again for the lost and needy of the world. Now we're planning to travel again for twice the time and with both Kris and I leaving our three boys behind.  Reality is starting to kick in.  We are so excited about finally holding our daughter in our arms and taking her home to be with her forever family, yet we can't imagine what the pain of separation from our three sons will be like.  None of them have ever been away from both of us for more than 36 hours.  We pray the days will go smoothly, quickly, and they will enjoy time with their grandparents and friends while we are gone.
Currently we are looking at plane tickets.  We hope to purchase them tomorrow!  There are still so many small details to work out, and a 2 1/2 hour phone conversation planned tomorrow with our agency should help some of that.   There are gifts to be bought, clothes to wash and pack, money to wire, childcare to arrange, a house to get ready, paperwork to send off, and so many other to-do's in between.  In the meantime, we still have to live life!  The boys are in home school and it has been a struggle to stay focused in class when emails are constantly arriving and needing to be read and the phone is ringing all day.  We still have basketball practice and games, still have church activities and commitments, still have housework and errands, and still have work on the farm.  Stress levels are high!  It has been hard to get to sleep and stay asleep with so many things to discuss with Kris and think about.  However, God's peace has been so real through this craziness in our lives.
The hat I chose to buy for our fourth flower from her mommy and daddy
Last Sunday our Sunday School Class threw us a Baby Shower for Anna Faith.  The pictures we took will be such a special memory for her and us as well.  We hope she will realize as she grows and tries to find "belonging" in her life as a Dixon in the U.S.A. that she will clearly see how loved and wanted she is in our family.  The notes and cards, gifts, encouraging comments, and especially the now 32 hats (and counting) she has received will be assurance that she is loved and cherished.  We already have doctors appointments scheduled so we can begin the lengthy surgical process soon after arriving home.
We still can't believe how smoothly this journey of adoption has gone.  In eleven months we will have gone from being accepted into the China Special Needs program through our agency to holding our daughter in our arms.  So many other adoptive families have not experienced this blessing.  We hurt for those who have tried for years to adopt and either through corruption of foreign countries, birth mothers changing their minds, legalities, or finances are still waiting on God's perfect timing.  We applaud them for their strength and perseverance and know that their patience will not go unrewarded!  The blessing that lies at the end of the journey is so worth the tears, frustration and disappointment.
On February 24th we will have a very special blog post: the story of meeting our precious fourth flower!  This will happen on the last day of Chinese New Year festivities, the day of the Lantern Festival. We will share snippets along the way and hope to have time to share every joy and prayer need with you while we are in China.  Thank you for taking this journey with us.  A new chapter is about to begin!

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