Adoption comes with a slew of emotions – fear, joy, excitement, maybe disappointment. It is challenging, surprising, humbling and a huge emotional and financial investment. It takes very special people, with a lot of patience and love to see the process through. Nate, our warehouse manager, and his wife, Carrie lived through the fear, the disappointment, the joy, the excitement… and the challenge. They have written their story to share with you below! As I reflect over the last month that Cate has been officially part of our family, I can’t help but think of all that it took to get here… We started this journey in Aug of 2016. Carrie, my wife, and I have always been open to adoption, but always had the same excuse- it’s just not the right time... I had just left UPS earlier that year (where I had left a very comfortable salary) and we always thought, adoption is expensive, how are we going to afford it, and are our babies old enough (at the time our daughter, Skylar, was 4 and our son, Wyatt, was 2), and everything else that we could think of not to do it. At a birthday celebration for my wife at Discovery Cove, we floated for about 4 hours down the lazy river where we talked about the who’s, the what’s, and the how’s. We finally decided to put our faith in the call that the Lord wanted us to adopt from China- we said- let’s just do it. And that was that.
After we completed the application, the home study, paperwork, finger prints, paperwork, background checks, paperwork, immigration process, and more paperwork (see the trend?), we were finally logged in and waiting for a match. It was about May or so at this time, so about 8-9 months to get to the point where the US Government would give us permission to adopt from China. There was only one Tuesday, normally the 4th Tuesday of the month, where they would have a “Match Day”. This was when China would release files that have been approved for international adoption and the agencies would be able to match to families. The Tuesdays came and they went month after month and we became very discouraged. Our agency was a little smaller than some of the others so we didn’t get as many files. In 2017, China changed some of their rules and processes for adoptions, making things stricter and files lessened each month for adoptive families. So, we waited and waited and waited... still nothing. Month after month we looked forward to a call that never came, and were always disappointed. More saddened than disappointed, but nonetheless not matched. In 2018 everything was expiring- our home-study, approval for adoption, our background checks, finger prints, medical forms, EVERYTHING... and the paperwork just grew and grew and grew. My wife was so very organized, staying in constant communication with our social worker. We learned that there were two ways to go through the process of adopting internationally… you could play the waiting game as we were or look on the shared list of files that didn’t get matched with the agencies on advocacy websites. Now it was March of 2018… we had everything updated and had connected with several China Adoption Groups on Facebook. We were always scouring the inter webs trying to find our daughter while we waited to be matched. Our mindset was- well we can go look for her- or be matched- either way we are bringing a sweet little girl home!! Then we saw her face!! We stumbled upon a sweet little girl on one of the advocacy websites and immediately asked for her file. She was with another agency but ours was able to get her file and we were locked in, on Good Friday!!! It indeed was a GREAT Friday.
At this point, she was ours and now it was the biggest game of hurry up and wait on EVERYTHING. More paperwork, more waiting. The questions at this point were, WHEN DO WE GO AND GET HER- and how the heck are we going to pay for this?!? We received three grants that helped a ton, but there was still a pretty large deficit that needed to be met. After lots of prayers and fundraising brainstorms, we decided we were going to do two fundraisers- an envelope fundraiser where people picked a number between 1-100 and donated that amount and the other was a T-Shirt fundraiser. We knew we had a bunch of love and support and a pretty good circle of friends and family that had been following our journey- we just didn’t know how BIG that circle was and how much love and support that so many people gave us. It brought Carrie and I to tears many times when people would call, text, donate, pray, and just stop to give us hugs and ask about the adoption. To say we were overwhelmed was an absolute understatement! We ended up getting the funds we needed! On a very sweet note- our babies were so excited when we got her pictures and videos. They wanted to print and hang them all over the house and watched the videos OVER and OVER again! It was such a blessing for them to be able to finally put a face to a prayer that we had all been praying so hard for during the process! They would tell everyone that they have a new sister in China- their China Baby!! After getting our VISAs, travel approval, and our consulate appointment was secured, we were able to book our tickets and hotels- which was VERY exciting because we were finally going to get her!! We left on June 20, 2018… And our lives forever changed.
Before we left, the Natural Life Family threw us a little celebration baby shower for us! Stay tuned for part two where Nate goes into detail about their travel to China, meeting their sweet little girl for the first time and the exhausting (but well worth it) trip home!!