Sunday, February 24, 2013

LOA Signed, Sealed & Delivered!!!

Here it is!!! This is the piece of paper we were waiting on!!
We HAPPENED to be spending the weekend in Birmingham this weekend with our friends The Lee's - so we were able to meet with our social worker and sign this VERY important piece of paper and get it mailed off!! Here's a pic of it being signed!!!
We met in the parking lot at Lifeline!! :) Signed on the car hood!!! ;)
What a blessing to have received it this weekend!!! It was our prayer to get it by the 22nd and wow...we did!!! How awesome!!

The is some really confusing paperwork we are waiting on now. We didn't have to do it last time...but with the Hague Convention...we are now having to do it.  So...the next few weeks will be waiting on those items to go through.  

We've  been told to apply for our Chinese Visa's. We will begin that process this week!! Wow!! It's getting close!!We're also beginning to look into travel. Karla, our social worker told us that she thinks because three weeks in April is a  BIG business Trade Fair in China...that we will more than likely go mid-May.  So...that's what we are going to be aiming for.  

She also told us that we will be wiring our money to China when we get our Travel Approval. There are SO MANY things we need prayer for now. I have wrestled with how often to keep before everyone our prayer needs for His financial provision for the completion of this adoption.  I really don't like to keep bringing it up. But it truly is one of the most overwhelming parts of this process.  So continue to pray for God's miracle provision.  He knows the need and we trust HIM with all that is in us to make it work.  We trust him...and we know that HE will not leave us hanging. Thanks for your prayers concerning this.

We also are preparing a Medical Travel Kit to go.  We have been instructed to take any kind of meds we could possibly need when we go. Just so we won't have to purchase it there.  Last time we purchased the Orphan Allies Kit....but they no longer sell them. So we will be compiling all the meds (prescription and over the counter) and stuff any of us might need for travel.  Pray that God gives us wisdom and remembrance for everything we may need to take.

We will begin focusing on packing light. So we need LOTS of prayers for packing light for 5 of us for two weeks! :) I'm guessing May there will be warm?? I need to ask my friends who have traveled to China in May. 

We wanted to send a BIG THANK YOU to all our friends and family who have continued to bless us through this process.  We are so humbled and grateful for God blessing us with such special people in our lives.  We just wanted to let you all know how much it blesses us for every single thing you all have done for us and for Shep. We KNOW you are doing it as unto the Lord and our prayer is that God multiplies every single thing back to you one hundred fold!!

We promise to keep you posted. Things will begin to happen more often now that we are so close!! MAY will be here before we know it!!! Have a great week!
Mark & Buffi

Friday, February 22, 2013

Three BIG Letters!!!!!

Made these three letters with all the wrappers of the Valentines Chocolate I've been eating, and eating while we've been waiting!!! WHOOHOO!!! We got our LOA TODAY!!! This was the most amazing news!! And we just HAPPEN to be headed to we'll be able to sign the papers and avoid the delays of mailing it back and forth!!!

It's not going to be too much longer now!!! We will keep everyone posted what we do next!!! We just couldn't WAIT to tell you that we got the best news today!!! AMAZING!!! Thank you Lord!!! We are all very excited!!! We're coming to get you Shep!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We awoke this morning to a WONDERFUL email from Karla. wasn't our LOA...we are still waiting on that.  But we did get two new photos of Shepard as he received our care package. We were so excited!!! While our hearts were so excited to receive these photos of him, we were also a little sad...because we could see he was very pensive in these photos. We know his little world is about to be turned upside down. He may have just found out about us...We don't really know.  But we could tell he was thinking a lot about what he was seeing.  At least he has the photo album of pictures of all of us!

Anyway...we are so excited to share these photos with you. Please join us as we continue to pray for him. These weeks before we go to China and get him are critical.  We are praying that his foster home talks to him a lot about his family coming for him.  We know God can prepare his heart.  Thank you for your prayers!!! Here are the pics!! Thank you all so much for your prayers, your encouragement and support.  It means a ton to us.  Blessings!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Travel Meeting Weekend!!

We just got back today from our China Travel meeting in Birmingham.  What an exciting time!! It was SO GREAT to see our social worker Karla again...and wow..there were a ton of families who are adopting right now.  We were so surprised.  It is so much different that it was six years ago for us. There were just a hand full of us back then.  What a blessing to see there are so many more families who have stepped up, answered the call and said yes to adoption! What a blessing!! is what we found out at our travel meeting!

- Once we get our LOA (we are on day 50 of a 60-90 day average wait) We will submit our 800 Provisional paperwork.  We will then get a receipt of our actual 800 approval. This will take approximately 2 weeks.

- After we receive our provisional approval we will then wait for our cable letter from the NVC (National Visa Center).

- Once we receive our cable letter then Lifeline will submit our Article 5 letter to the US Consulate.  The takes approximately 2 more weeks.

- After our Article 5 letter is picked up, the CCAA (Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs) wll initiate our TA (Travel Approval process) Our TA should arrive 3-4 weeks after our Article 5 letter arrives at CCAA.

- Once we have TA (Travel Approval) it will take approximately 2 business days to get a confirmed CA (Consulate appointment)

- Once we have our CA we will likely travel 10-14 days after it is scheduled.

So what does this all mean?!?! WELL....If we get our LOA right at the 60 day mark (which you NEVER could go a lot longer! It did with Sadie) Anyway...lets just look at it from our day 60 wait for LOA.

Let's just say February 19th is our day 60.  
Add 2 weeks for 800 approval
2 more weeks for Article 5 

3- 4 weeks for Article 5 to arrive at CCAA
2 more days for Confirmed CA
And 2 more weeks to leave.  

That leaves us POTENTIALLY leaving by April 30th.  

OBVIOUSLY these are just average waits with NO delays...and probably best case scenario situations. gives you sort of what we're looking at regarding travel!!! It will generally be around that time frame.

Lots of info...but we want you guys to be praying for us as we are still waiting!!!

We have to purchase and bring with us approximately 10-12 gifts in the $5 - $10 range for our guides.  These gifts have to be made in America or something specific to our state or area.  If you have any cool ideas...send them our way!!

We also have to purchase our orphanage director and child's orphanage care giver a little nicer gift.  Would love suggestions or thoughts on this as well!!! We need to keep the cost as low as possible...but still let them be nice and thoughtful gifts!! :)

We just found out that the orphanage Shepard is from has Scabies pretty badly.  :( So sad.  We are praying for our little fellow that when he goes there from his foster home that he doesn't get them.  But...we were told we need to bring a prescription for Scabies just in case.  We are grateful we have friends that are doctors and can get us these prescriptions!! We were told now that Walmart has gotten to China...we can purchase most anything we need there...but they don't recommend us purchase medicine there. So we will need to take every kind of meds we can think of with we'll be prepared.  Praying for the orphanage there that some how they will be able to eliminate that issue.

There was SO MUCH INFORMATION covered at our travel meeting.  It would probably bore you if I went into it all.

Please continue to pray for
-  Shepard as his little world is getting ready to be turned upside down.
-  For the rest of the finances to come in so we can take this trip without going into debt.
-  For our faith to stay strong and not waiver in all the "unknown" places we are walking right now.  HE is our Rock and our Fortress.  Pray that we will remember HE is where our strength comes from.

We are SO GRATEFUL for each and everyone of you!!! THANK YOU for following our blog, for praying for us, for encouraging us and for being our friends!!! You are a blessing!!! We promise to keep you posted!
Mark & Buffi
p.s. We are creating an email distribution list to let everyone know when our blog has been updated...Social Media Sites are blocked in China.  If you don't want to sign up to receive our blog updates in your email inbox (you can do so at the top right of  our blog) Send us your email address if you haven't already done so and we'll add your email address to our distribution list.  We want to keep everyone informed!!! Thanks again for the prayers!! Blessings!

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Post Last Night

Thank you all so much for your encouraging notes and words.  I do want to let you know that my post last night was not meant to be a "downer" or a post to communicate that we are discouraged.  Actually...yesterday was a very encouraging day where God unexpectedly provided $525 toward our adoption expenses.  It was SUCH a blessing for us!!!

Up until now though...this blog has basically been informational, and I wanted to transition it to be a place where we share what we're experiencing and share our feelings.  We documented our last adoption via blog and we created a book for us to save and for Sadie to have.  We wanted us all to be able to look back and see how God did amazing things and how walking in faith is sometimes doing it even if you are nervous or a little unsure of how things are going to work out.  It has been SUCH a blessing for us to look back and see God's hand in so many situations!

So...I am SO SORRY if my post seemed like it was lacking in faith.  It was just the raw, and real emotions of what we're feeling.  But Praise God....we are not dependent on what we feel...we are dependent upon what God says in His word!!

We are encouraged and excited about what the future holds.  EVEN in the midst of uncertainty!! We hope to be able to begin to share more of our heart here on the blog and less just information.  Because even when we are in China...there are a FLOOD of emotions and things that we will be experiencing...and we need the prayers of our friends and family holding our backs!!

Thank you ALL so much for your prayers...your encouragement...your participation in all our fundraisers!!! It has been amazing so far!! We are blown away that God has provided over $15,000 so far!! It truly is a miracle!! Now...we're waiting to see what He is going to do to provide the rest!! We are hopeful and encouraged!!!