The Thomas Family by Slidely Slideshow


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Closer every day.

"How long until we bring Heart home?"

Since Weston asks this question at least once a day, I decided I needed to come up with a better answer than "we don't know" or "we just have to wait". It always sounded so negative and he was never satisfied with my response. So now I'm trying to put a positive spin on things by saying "We are closer to her every day!". It doesn't make the wait any shorter but it does seem to make a difference in how he (and I) feel when that question comes up. And it's true, we really are closer every day!

Lately, Brooks is showing signs of understanding that somebody else will be joining our family. I asked him the other day if we should let his little sister use his carseat and get him a new one when she comes home. His response made me smile (aside from the selfishness of not sharing his seat- he is 2) because he said "No! I use my seat. Heart gets a new one!" It made me smile because it was the first time he called her Heart completely on his own.

Brooks calling her Heart leads me to another topic; which is a question I get asked from time to time. "So are you really naming her Heart?" As precious as it is that Weston gave her such a sweet nickname, we do not plan for that to be her name. :) We do have a couple of names in mind that will reflect his nickname for her but we are waiting to officially choose one until we know exactly who she is. So for now, she is our Heart.

We have been busy busy lately as we prepare for Weston to start kindergarten and Nathan to move into private practice next week. Being busy helped make the wait for our U.S. government approval seem a little less painful. The unexpected shorter wait time may have helped too. We submitted our I-800A in mid June and thought we would be waiting 50-60 days to get approval. My hope was to be approved before my birthday at the end of August. Much to our surprise, we received approval on July 23rd which was just 37 days after we submitted our application!

So now I get to set a new birthday goal and this will be a BIG step forward. We are hoping to have all of documents on their way to China (aka DTC- documents to China) by my birthday. There are a few things that have to happen with our documents before they are ready but if all goes smoothly, being DTC by the end of August is feasible. I am very ready to have all of these important papers out of my hands.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

And now, we wait.

A post by Kait...

I've spent almost 32 years on this crazy earth. Between losing my Dad to cancer as a teen, living with a chronic illness which has required major head/neck surgery, and Weston and I being the victims of a parking lot robbery and abduction, it's safe to say that life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I've had some incredibly high points, but also some pretty low lows. Following each of these low points, I (with some serious help) have slowly clawed my way back into "normal" life, and brought with me a new perspective and a deeper understanding of what it means to truly rely on God.

As we embarked on this adoption journey, I knew we had a lot to learn. I read about how much this process can stretch and test you personally, as a couple, and as a family. We were ready to accept and face whatever came our way. What I wasn't ready for is a new kind of trial - the kind that comes between the highs and the lows. The kind of trial that doesn't call upon your flight or fight response, or take 6 months of post surgery recovery time, or require you to walk through the stages of grief.

Most of my trials have come in with a bang and left me flat on my face with no where to go but up. This trial is different, and with it comes a slow, steady ache. With it comes a struggle for answers as my sweet son whispers questions to me as I tuck him in at night "But when is she coming home, mommy?" This trial brings with it a longing for what is to come, and challenges my desire to not wish away days, because all in all, these are really good days. This current trial is wrapped up in a single word: wait.  

If you have asked me recently where we are in our adoption process (and thank you so much for asking), I have probably rattled off a list of documents we've been gathering or told you about our home study and then I ended up saying "and now, we wait."  And now, we wait. Wait. The thing that scares me the most about this trial is that we have only just begun. I've said this before but the uncertainty of the wait that lies ahead takes my breath away. My faith is being tested in ways it hasn't been tested during trials before, because I am not broken and hopeless this time. We are full of hope and doing everything we can to make this adoption happen but the majority of this process is completely out of our hands.  We must wait. 

For some people, the relatively short amount of time we have spent waiting so far is a drop in the bucket. We know people who have spent years upon years and even decades waiting, yearning. In light of our current circumstances, I can not tell those people enough how much I respect them for their faithfulness.

If life is a roller coaster ride, I like to picture us currently sitting on the incline, on our way up to the highest point. You know, the "click click click click click" part as you are slowly pulled upwards on your way to experience the most exhilarating part of the ride. That's the part of the ride where you have time to think, to contemplate, to anticipate. It brings with it fear and excitement, and you remind yourself that you actually wanted to do this. It will be worth it. You are locked in, you're committed, you've surrendered to the ride. And now, you wait.

As I was thinking about this post, a verse that was one of my Dad's favorites came to mind and seemed the perfect way to end:

Isaiah 40:31

  But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles; they will run, and not be weary; and they will walk and not faint. 

Working hard at their bake sale.

For those who are wondering exactly where we are in this process, we have officially completed our home study, yay! It was a really great experience and we loved the social worker who conducted our study. Now, our home study has been submitted and we are currently waiting on our I-800A approval, which is the U.S. government's approval for us to adopt from China. After that, we will submit our dossier (a whole bunch of documents put together in a pretty package) to China. Once they have received our dossier we will be eligible to be matched with a child. Once we are eligible, we wait. :) This will likely be our longest wait but it will be so worth it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Our Theme: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

I wanted to share this song today for those who may be weary. It has become a sort of theme song for our adoption. As we walk through this process filled with unknowns, we have been reminded that all we are asked to do is step out and let God lead. I wake up most mornings feeling weak under the weight of the emotional, physical, and financial strain that lies ahead; but I am constantly reminded that we are not walking alone. I hope this encourages you today no matter what decisions and difficulties you are facing. You do not have to walk alone.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Heart...

The night we told the boys that they would be getting a baby sister from China, I was unexpectedly nervous. Adoption was something Nathan and I had always talked about, but I realized that night that we had never talked about it with them. I felt guilty for 1) not talking more openly with our children about orphans, and 2) not doing more research about how to explain the adoption of a sibling to my children. I'm a researcher, so the fact that I hadn't at least read a book, research study, or blog post about this topic baffled me. I spotted an old globe that I had bought at an antique store a while back, and quickly decided that if I had trouble finding words to explain adoption to the boys, we could at least talk about where China was to get the conversation going.

I quickly taped construction paper hearts over the United States and China and my preparation was complete. Shocked by my nervousness but excited to share our news, I walked into the kitchen where Nathan was sitting at the table with the boys. I'm really not even sure how we started the conversation, but it was quickly evident that I didn't need to know the ins and outs of explaining adoption to my five-year-old, because his sweet, innocent little heart was already there, way ahead of me. He understood what it meant that there was a little girl on the other side of the world waiting for a mommy, daddy, and big brothers. He understood that God gave us big hearts with lots of love in them to share. He understood that she didn't have to grow in mommy's belly in order to become part of our family. He understood. Not only was he understanding, but within minutes he was beaming with joy and pride as he talked about his baby sister. 

We asked him what he thought we should name her and his response brought tears to my eyes. He thought long and hard and then answered..."well, I think all of the girl names are taken, Mommy. But we can name her Heart, because I know I'm going to love her." Since that night not a day goes by without Weston talking about "Heart". He has told strangers at Starbucks, all of his friends and teachers at school, and anyone else who will listen. It is a bit confusing to hear him tell it, but I just let him talk. I can't get enough of his excitement. He points out hearts everywhere we go (and they are suddenly everywhere). The other day we even had a giant puddle in the perfect shape of a heart right outside our front door. He weaves her into his conversations as if she has been a part of our family since the beginning. 

Here's the thing: I know adoption isn't simple, but I'm trying more often to take a step back from all the research, worry, and waiting. I want to enjoy these moments of excitement and wonder. I want to be right there with my children as their eyes are opened to a world far beyond what they have ever known. It's a world that desperately needs the love that we have to share. And for now, it's a world that holds our Heart.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Journey Begins...

The Thomas family is growing! We are so excited to share the news that we've begun the process of adopting a special needs child from China.

Nathan and I have many reasons why we have decided to adopt and I am sure we will talk about all of them as we go along. However, the one reason that we feel should always be our focus is that our family has love to give and there is a child somewhere who desperately needs love. We have never been more sure of a decision, and yet the uncertainty that lies ahead is daunting.

Our decision to adopt from China's Waiting Children program came after many conversations and a lot of prayer. We are preparing ourselves (the best we can) to embrace whatever struggles may come from adopting a child with special medical needs. We know we are not alone and we are grateful for the friends and family who have been and will continue to be supportive of our family through this process.

The goal is to keep this blog up to date as we make our way through the adoption process.  You are welcome - in fact, we would love for you to follow along and join us on this journey! We are not the first to walk this road, and we will not be the last. Our prayer is that we will continue to be encouraged by the stories of those who have opened their hearts to orphans and that we will encourage others to share love, in any capacity, with those in need.

We can't thank you enough for your prayers and encouragement.

Nathan, Kait, Weston & Brooks