Thursday, January 18, 2018

Packing Our Bags- the final week of waiting!

For those of you women who have biological children, imagine being pregnant for three years.  You were told at the beginning of this pregnancy "You may deliver next month, you may deliver next year, or it may take several years.  You may have several false alarms, discouraging diagnosis about your little one, and they may even not make it to birth, but you must be strong and pray, because God is calling you into this pregnancy".  That may sound bizarre, impossible to wrap your mind around, or absolutely fascinating.  But it is the reality for our family.  Almost three years ago to the day, we entered our second paper pregnancy.  And we are fixing to go into labor!

Why all the clothes?  Laundry services are more expensive at our hotels than buying cheap clothing, so it is better to just pack as much as we can!
Paper Pregnancy is actual pregnancy with some stark differences to a typical, healthy physical pregnancy.  It results in a child being brought into a family, but that is about where the similarities end.
There are neither guarantees nor predictable dates.
There may be many milestones and many setbacks, and sometimes there may be years of waiting between each one.
Your child will grow in your heart, not your belly.  That love will grow to such immense proportions you will feel consumed by that love to do the impossible, to spend whatever it takes, to go however far the journey requires, and to exhaust your mind and body to the point of taking years off your life.
But that is your child, and even though there is no baby bump for the world to see, he or she is just as much a part of you as if they were growing inside your womb.
I can make these comparisons, because I've been on both sides of the coin.  Honestly, physical pregnancy, though because of complications could have cost me my life (with my firstborn) and caused me pain, physical discomfort, and sleepless nights, has still been worlds easier on my heart and body than adoption.

I'm not saying all this to make us adoptive families out to be heroes.  We aren't supermen and women.  We are simply called to something absolutely amazing- redeeming a child into a forever family.  A child who can carry our name, and say "I belong to them".  A child who is entrusted to us to be raised in the ways of the Lord, displayed the Gospel to day by day, and trained to be an ambassador for Christ.

Last weekend we took our annual vacation but it doubled as a baby moon!
Lottie Hope is waiting for us.  The medical update sent to the American Embassy was given to us last week after we requested it.  When we read what she is currently doing, we received confirmation more than ever that this little girl was created to be a Dixon.
First day was The Ark Encounter, then second day was this cool indoor center in Cincinnati!
The entire week we have had snow and ice outdoors!  It's beautiful!
Lottie takes around our photos several times a day and points to each of our pictures, introducing us in a non-verbal way.  She is so proud of her family who is coming for her!  She is said to be "a smart girl".  She can't verbalize much at all because of her special need/delays, but she has taught herself signs to communicate.  She helps other children get ready for bed, she helps fold laundry, she loves to hold her friends' hands and give hugs.  She knows the names of every child.  She is said to be "a little angel" when participating in activities in the orphanage.  Her favorite foods are the EXACT same foods our Anna Faith loves.  They have identical personalities, except Anna Faith loves to gab and be the influencer in the group.  Lottie is such a compliant girl I can already see her getting along beautifully with her new big sister.
This week began by finalizing child care schedules, writing instructions, and making out the boys' medical forms

Here is a simple time line of what is ahead:

January 24th fly out
January 25th arrive in Beijing, China
We will visit in Beijing with a former UTM student we hosted, who lives and works in the city.  She is taking care of all the details for us those 2 days and is very excited to be able to host US for a change!
 January 28th take a train to Nanjing, the provincial capital of Jiangsu Province.  It is a province adjoining to Shanghai.
 January 29th we go get our girl!
January 30th sign papers to make her officially ours!
 February 2nd fly to Guangzhou
 February 7th Lottie has a Consulate Appointment to be able to get a Visa to go home to the USA.
 February 9th we receive her Visa and take a train to Hong Kong.
 February 10th fly home!

Up goes the baby gate!  We don't know how brave Lottie will be- she's still learning to go up stairs.
Our boys are going to be staying with 8 different families in our area while we are gone.  They are both excited and anxious.  It has been 5 years since we left them this long and it won't be easy to do it again.  We are so appreciative to the families who are taking time, energy, and resources
to love on them and meet this big need!

Buying gifts at Walmart for about 20 various workers in China, and 18 gifts for our boys for every day we're gone.  Don't forget our travel snacks, extra thick socks and more underwear!

Anna Faith keeps drawing pictures- I can't erase this one in our kitchen.  Note the "5" and "6" (years).  They are on every one she draws!

As much as is possible, we will post daily to share our adoption story with you, just as we did with Anna Faith.  We are so glad you are on this journey with us, praying for us each step of the way.  If you tell us that Lottie is such a lucky girl, I will politely disagree.  WE are the blessed ones.  And she is not lucky.  Luck has nothing to do with her story.  God has chosen her, we answered the call to wait for and seek her out until He said "yes", and we GET to be her forever parents!

Gifts for our boys to open for every day we're gone.  They are mostly their favorite treats , but they will be daily reminders we will really miss them.

Please be in prayer for us on departure day.  January 23rd will be very hard for everyone as we see off our three boys.  They understand this is part of the process, but it will still be hard being left behind.
Please also pray for safety for our entire family during this trip.
Pray for health- we have dodged illness so far this winter but the flu and other illnesses are running rampant right now in our area.  We can't get sick!
Pray for our hearts- that we will not be anxious and we will trust God in every detail of our trip.
On the back of each day's card is a message about where we are, what to pray for, and a Scripture verse to read with a promise.

We love you!  Thanks for remembering us and for all your encouragement!

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