Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Travel Approval!

Sorry about not updating you all for so long on our adoption progress. I was going to sit down last Wednesday night and give a not-so-upbeat update on our no-where-in-sight Travel Approval, but news of the Chapman's tragedy that night quickly changed my perspective on things (all things). How could I be so anxious and upset about the trivial matter of when we will travel when they had just lost one of their precious treasures from China and would never see her again this side of heaven? How could I not trust the Lord in my small matter, when the Chapmans were being asked to trust Him in such a HUGE, incomprehensible way? Immediately, upon hearing about little Maria's death, much more than grief swept over me. I also felt convicted. So, I gave my now seemingly trivial matter completely over to the Lord, and began praying, praying, praying for this very heartbroken family.

Coincidently, we found out on Friday that our Travel Approval had been mailed from China on Wednesday. It arrived today at our agency's office in St. Louis. With Travel Approval in hand, our agency requested our appointment with the American Consulate in Guangzhou, and should hear from them in the next few days. Once we have the confirmed Consulate appointment, we are ready to book flights and pack like crazy! It looks like we might just be bringing our son home before the Olympics :o)!!!

Here is our confirmed schedule (updated June 1st, 2008):

Wednesday, June 11th: Leave San Antonio at 8:47 a.m. and fly to Shanghai!

Thursday, June 12th: Arrive in Shanghai at 8:50 p.m.(red dot on map on right)

Friday, June 13th: Tour Shanghai - We are so excited about this, as Max really wanted to do this on our first trip to China.

Saturday, June 14th: Take train from Shanghai to Nanjing (we have to meet our son in the provincial capital, which is Nanjing; yellow dot on map)

Sunday, June 15th: Meet Brock Ji Hao!!!!!

Monday, June 16: Begin adoption process (registration and notary)... our new son officially becomes Brock Ji Hao Goodrich

Tuesday, June 17: Free day in Nanjing

Wednesday, June 18: Free day or sightseeing in Nanjing

Thursday, June 19: Free day or sightseeing in Nanjing

Friday, June 20: Receive all Brock Ji Hao's paperwork and complete forms with CHI coordinator for American Consulate appointment

Saturday, June 21: Fly to Guangzhou (red dot on dark gray map)

Sunday, June 22: Free day in Guangzhou (start shopping, of course)

Monday, June 23: Medical examination for Brock Ji Hao

Tuesday, June 24: Possible choice for American Consulate appointment

Wednesday, June 25: Go to Consulate late in the day and get your Brock Ji Hao's visa

Thursday, June 26: Return home (and smother Brielle with kisses)

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hurting for the Chapman Family

Photo by Tucker Photography, Inc.

Steven and beautiful Maria

I am heartsick and overwhelmed with grief as I try to soak up the reality that, earlier today, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman lost their youngest daughter, Maria, in a tragic accident at their home. I can not imagine the pain this family is going through. Please pray for this precious family.

Maria was one of three daughters that the Chapman's adopted from China. Steven and Mary Beth have made caring for orphans one of their life's missions and have encouraged and assisted many families in their pursuit of adoption.

Over the years, the truth Steven brings through the words of his songs has comforted, challenged, and encouraged me. I wish I had a song to give to the Chapmans that might give them even the smallest bit of comfort at this terribly difficult time.

Steven wrote the beautiful song With Hope for some friends who had lost a child. I cry every time I hear this song. Tonight I pray that the words God gave to Steven years ago would now bring peace that passes all understanding to him and his family.

With Hope

by Steven Curtis Chapman

This is not at all how

We thought it was supposed to be

We had so many plans for you

We had so many dreams

And now you've gone away

And left us with the memories of your smile

And nothing we can say

And nothing we can do

Can take away the pain

The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope

We can say goodbye with hope

'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no

And we can grieve with hope

'Cause we believe with hope

There's a place by God's grace

There's a place where we'll see your face again

We'll see your face again

And never have I known

Anything so hard to understand

And never have I questioned more

The wisdom of God's plan

But through the cloud of tears

I see the Father smile and say well done

And I imagine you

Where you wanted most to be

Seeing all your dreams come true

'Cause now you're home

And now you're free, and ...

We can cry with hope

We can say goodbye with hope

'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end

We can grieve with hope

'Cause we believe with hope

There's a place by God's grace

There's a place where we'll see your face again

We have this hope as an anchor

'Cause we believe that everything God promised us is true, so ...

We wait with hope

And we ache with hope

We hold on with hope

We let go with hope

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother Like No Other

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I'm taking over Tracy's Blog (one day only; no encores please). - Max

Memories that make Tracy the best mom in the world:

Using the full time allotted during college junior year spring break to birth and take care of Brittany - didn't miss a day of school
Staying seated at the table while letting an employee of Cracker Barrel take her new born Brittany into the kitchen to show her off
Caring for Brittany at our first home, a tiny apartment at dirty Chateau Village - we fit in well with all the other creepy tenants
Caring for a family with minimal resources: $8 for two weeks of groceries ($60 phone bill)
Finishing college (an important example) while taking the best care of Brittany and me

Hours and hours of video taping baby Brittany saying “soo big”
Motherhood with minimal breaks for self; breaks like walking in search of dollars with me hoping to find $ to buy ice cream at McDonalds
Playing with kids and Simba for hours in the backyard at Boneham Addition – our first real home
Many stroller walks with Brittany, Brant, and me up and down Boneham Addition’s country road
Working for 75% less as a night transcriptionist (vs. nurse) to have the day hours for the children

Putting up with husband studying seven years for hours a day; helping him get the CFA & CFP
Getting the kids integrated in their new town of Sheboygan (YMCA, dance, ball, hockey)
Leading the family into home schooling in the best interest of her children
Buying a tent and going on many family camping trips at Yogi Bear and other campsites
Vacation planning to bring education into fun vacations: Badlands, Cap Cod, Williamsburg
Taking the family for many nature walks at Maywood and getting excited about barf (owl pellets)
Leading the family along with Brittany into adopting our precious little Brielle
Including her son in her marathon training by wanting him to ride his bike along each time

Leading the family in running and the importance of living healthy
Hours and hours and hours and weekends in encouragement of Brant’s hockey
She sees a little boy in a picture with pulled in ears and no hearing – wants to make his/our lives better
Leading the family along with Brittany into adopting Brock Ji Hao
Spending hours and hours every day making sure the children get the best education available
Sacrificing her time every day to cook, clean and do the laundry – with joy
Walking/hiking often with the family: Eisenhower, Comanche, Govt Canyon, McAllister, and around the neighborhood
Being a family running partner; teaching Brant the benefits of running
Encouraging Brittany in her love for writing and acting; attending all of her events
Making life fun for little B’L: Starbucks, park, pool, games
Transporting and arranging all the kids SHINE activities to show them the importance of others in their lives
Being someone who the kids are proud to tell others she is their mom

Tracy, thank you for all you have done and all you will do!!!??? Also, thank you for doing it in a way that is fun, light, full of energy and excitement. Thank you for being our family’s sunshine!!! We, especially me, all LLLUUUUUUUUUVVV You!!!!!

Happy Mothers Day!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Adoption Day!

It's been TWO years since we first held our smallest treasure. She is the light of our lives, and BOY does she know it! Oh, how God does bless us when we are obedient to His leading, and we are thankful each and every moment that He led us to our precious daughter.

We love you soooooo much, Miss Brielle, and feel so incredibly honored to be your forever family.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another Teenager in the House (and this time of the male variety - K.M.N.)

Today is Brant's 13th Birthday!!

"Now that I'm a teenager, I can talk on the phone AND play wii at the same time!"

My baby boy is a teenager?!?! How did that happen??

Am I old enough to parent TWO teenagers?...

...or maybe the better question is "am I wise and mature enough to parent TWO teenagers?"...

...to which the answer is "mostly likely NOT"

Truthfully, I'm quite glad to have the last several months behind us, and (I think) I'm ready to embrace the years to come. That whole preteen business can be messy at times. Not having any brothers, I had never experienced the male struggle between boyhood and teenagehood. I was also fortunate enough to have missed living with the high, squeaky voice that accompanies this awkward age (watching and listening to Peter Brady's transition a few times was annoying enough for goodness sake). It seems that Brant has almost completely emerged out of that quirky, trying-to-figure-out-who-I-am-in-my-new-skin phase; AND I have accepted the fact that the alien who came down and stole my son has brought him back to me just the way he is supposed to be at this stage in his life - a delightful young man in the making.

I do admit, though, that it wasn't easy to readily accept the fact that my little boy WHO ONCE...

**observed and collected bugs is now using a magnifying glass to burn them in the
hot sun

**loved marine mammals and was a walking encyclopedia of their statistics now
MUCH prefers the wild coasters of Six Flags over a trip to Sea World

**cuddled and loved on his little dog now enjoys shooting "around" him with his airsoft gun

**was too active to take much interest in video games is now a walking video game encyclopedia

*talked in plain English is now using text-messaging-acronyms (things like IDK, IDC, BRB, KMN etc. are all a part of our normal dialogue; notice the "KMN" in my heading - can anyone guess what that might mean???? )

Amidst all of these changes, I am so grateful for the qualities of Brant that have remained unchanged. He continues to be ever-energetic and always on the move. He has always been an extremely hard and competent worker; if given a task, you can be confident he'll carry it out to completion and with perfection. He is organized and loves to clean, which is a HUGE asset to me, especially as our family continues to grow. He is very disciplined, which has made him a great running partner for Max and I. Brant has a quick-wit and is such a fun, lively, and interesting person to be around. He has always been my more affectionate kid, and he still tells me he loves me and gives me big hugs several times a day. He also almost daily thanks me for being his teacher. How sweet is that?!?

Happy Birthday, Brant!

I love you SO much,

and I'm blessed to share life with you!!