Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Our littlest girl.. Part one

The story of our sweet, little girl began many months ahead of announcing her adoption to ya'll...

Back in April I visited two orphanages in China where I had the opportunity to meet many children who are in need of families.  I asked ahead of the trip to meet the children with thalassemia in particular, since as the mama of two with this medical need, I've seen first-hand the difference that care in the US does for these precious kiddos.  Before leaving for China, I'd already seen the picture of our wingman and read his file.  I really thought he was supposed to be ours but I also had been given the unique opportunity to go on an advocacy trip to China.  I knew how important this trip was, but I also felt pulled to that sweet little guy.  So I prayed about it and God gave me complete peace that I needed to go on the trip to China and trust that little wingman's future to him.

As we walked into the doors of that first orphanage, I expected to meet a few kids with thalassemia.  Once we arrived I found out I would get to meet nearly all the kids with thalassemia that day.  When we walked into the library where we'd be meeting kids, I walked in and saw the cutest little girl sitting quietly waiting for us.  As soon as I saw her I looked over at the agency rep and asked him if she was one of "my" thal kids.  He asked someone on the orphanage staff and she said yes.  A few minutes later, Gongzhan and I were going through the list of children and giving them English names for advocacy.  When we got to her, he told me to choose a name that started with an "L" and I told him "Lila"...

That day in the orphanage I was privileged to get to know many amazing children.  The kids with thalassemia have my heart and I tried to spend time with each one of them individually so that I could better "know" them to advocate back in the states.  When it was time for lunch, we headed to a special room and sweet little Lila sat next to me and another precious little girl, Helen, sat on the other side.  These two sweet girls were absolutely precious.  I just laughed going back and forth between them, watching Helen mix everything into her bowl while Lila went to town on her sweet and sour pork!  By the time lunch ended, Lila had eaten all of her sweet and sour pork, all of my sweet and sour pork, and a little more of another friend's sweet and sour sauce! :)  She had captured my heart a little bit were her beautiful little face and sweet smile.

We spent some time coloring and I kept thinking what a great sister she would make for Laila. They were the same age with the same medical need.  How cool would it be for them to grow up together and always have each other?? But then reality set in as quickly as the thoughts began... I already felt pretty sure I'd seen our next child.  HJ needed a family.  Chengbin had been praying for a brother.  We were going for a boy.  This girl couldn't be ours.  We would be going for a boy and that was that.  I started giving myself an internal pep talk about it.  Then I heard more about this orphanage and how few children's files get prepared compared to how many children live there.  The odds of any child getting their file prepared for adoption was slim.  Even if the orphanage did prepare it, the odds of it getting to a specific agency for us to adopt her were also slim to none.  Knowing this helped me push any thoughts of bringing home this little girl far away.  I pushed it completely out of my head.  No worrying, no wondering, nothing.  The facts didn't lie, this girl was not a part of our plans.  The truth is I met so many amazing kids on the trip.  All of them need families, all of them deserve more.  When we got home, I actually took nearly a month trying to get my thoughts back together after everything I'd seen and experienced in China.  That trip broke my heart into a thousand pieces and I grieved that I couldn't bring home a few of the special ones that I'd met there.  I'd met a special little guy in the next orphanage that I knew we would be able to bring home...

Once I got home, we did decide to begin an adoption and we did decide that we would be bringing home that sweet boy I'd felt was ours even before this trip.  Unexpectedly, even to me though, was that I felt like he wasn't all...  I felt like God was saying two... And I just kind of assumed that two would be the sweet little boy I'd met in the second orphanage during that trip.  The little one who had a prepared file.  I continued to advocate for that little guy and it began getting harder and harder to advocate because I wanted him to be ours.  One day another family asked about him and I didn't even want to respond.  I stopped what I was doing and prayed.  I prayed for God to help me push my thoughts and feelings out of this.  I asked him to help me to trust in him and his plans.  I asked him to take away my own thoughts and desires and replace them with his, because what I wanted most was to trust in him, his timing, and his plans rather than trying to force mine.

That night, he answered me.  It was loud and it was clear and it was shocking.

That night, my agency sent me Lila's file.  Her file had been prepared, it had gone onto the shared list, and of all the agencies in the world that could have pulled that file, my agency had pulled it.  And they had sent it directly to me.  I opened the file and looked at her picture. 

"No way I just got her file" I kept saying to myself.  "No way you just sent me HER file God!!"  "Are you serious God??!! HER photo? HER file?? Did you seriously just do this????"  All my thoughts of the plans I had wanted to pursue were gone.  Peace flooded me.  God was not just answering my prayer a little bit, but he was filling me with faith.  He was in charge, not me.  He can make anything happen.  Why was I considering forcing my will when he could so clearly do anything and might have so much bigger and better plans than me??!!!  I pulled up my facebook and responded to the family who'd inquired about that sweet little boy earlier in the day.  "God's got this," I kept telling myself.  Then I pulled her file up again and read her story and my heart broken into a billion pieces.  This was our daughter.  This was what God meant by two.  This was the reason he had sent me to China; so that when our daughter's file was sent to us, I would know she was ours..

To Be Continued... ;)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Thank You Letter to our Village

When we started Chengbin's adoption nearly 4 years ago we had no idea how much it would change our lives for the better in every possible way.

One of those ways is our village.  Some of you have been around long before my constant adoption Facebook posts & some of you came to us through adoption and orphan advocacy & some of you came to us from our Cityhope Family.  Our village is big and filled with amazing friends and family who truly support our crazy God-sized hopes and dreams.  We are constantly blessed by all of you, but today we feel extra blessed.


Because two amazing friends worked tirelessly to put on this auction to raise money for our adoption expenses and hundreds more donated items and got into some heated battles to win those items!!! Every single one of you who donated or bid or said a prayer are responsible for blessing our family!

Thank you all so much for helping us get what we need to bring home our babies!!!! We are excited to announce that you guys raised over $3,500 for our adoption! That is incredible!!!! We are praising God for his amazing provision through his people.  It's just amazing and we are so very grateful to all of you!!

We have a few more fundraisers set for the weeks ahead.  We'll try to get a few great prizes ready to raffle off ahead of the holiday season and the shirts and Mudlove bracelets will be shipping early next week.  We've also applied for 9 adoption grants.  We received 1 denial, but are waiting to hear back on the rest of them.

We have a ways to go in funding the additional expense that goes along with bringing Little Miss home, but we truly are blown away by the success of this auction and by the support of our village!!!

Thank you everyone! We love you all and are so grateful for your support in helping to bring our kiddos home!! 

The Wilks Family

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Our Progress & Our Girl

Our dossier has made it to China, been logged into the CCCWA's system and is in translation.  This means that, due to our request for expedite because of the kids' medical conditions, we could receive our LOA (approval letter from China) any day. Many families have received approval around 30 days after their dossier was logged in.  Ours was logged in on the 18th, so we are hoping to receive an approval in the next few weeks.  Once we receive LOA we will complete the final group of US approvals (USCIS, National Visa Center, & US Consulate in China) and wait for China to issue our Travel Approval!!  This portion will take between 2 and 6 weeks, but we are hoping and praying its on the shorter end of that.

The biggest reason for requesting an expedite is our new daughter... She was the first child I laid eyes on during our trip in April.  Little Miss is an incredibly special little girl, who is the same age as Laila and has thalassemia just like her brothers and sister.  What makes her situation even more serious is her heart.  Her heart has a couple of issues that come from a life of being undertransfused. While she waits for us in China, she continues to not receive the level of transfusions she needs which places more stress on her heart and her body from the lack of blood oxygen.  Please pray for her health, for her safety, and for God's continued provision in quick paperwork and funding.

We are not allowed to share pictures from her CCCWA file, but since I have met her I have some of my own!!! ;)

This is me and Little Miss in China. :)

I'll tell you all her full story very soon!!  How God turned our one into a two, but I didn't want to wait any longer to share our news and our prayer requests!

Thank you all for your awesome support!!! We are beyond blessed by each and every one of you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Previous China Timelines vs Now

Adoption Timelines

Chengbin's adoption
  • November 13, 2012 Applied to Agency
  • December 15, 2012 1st Homestudy Visit
  • December 29, 2012 2nd Homestudy Visit
  • January 30, 2013 Homestudy Complete
  • February 10, 2013 Mailed I-800
  • March 2, 2013 Received biometrics appt card
  • March 5, 2013 Walked in for Fingerprints!
  • March 11, 2013 USCIS Fingerprint Appt
  • March 12, 2013 USCIS approval
  • March 15, 2013 LOI
  • March 18, 2013 Dossier docs to Agency
  • March 20, 2013 Preapproval!
  • April 15, 2013 DTC
  • April 27, 2013 LID
  • May 9, 2013 Status changed to "in process"
  • May 23, 2013 I-800 to Lockbox (med expedite)
  • May 28, 2013 Letter Seeking Confirmation!
  • May 29, 2013 I-800 Lockbox to NBC
  • June 14, 2013 I-800 Provisional Approval
  • June 17, 2013 I-800 reissued due to error
  • June 19, 2013 NVC approval cabled
  • June 20, 2013 Received PDF
  • June 21, 2013 Art 5 dropoff
  • June 25, 2013 Art 5 pickup (med expedite)
  • July 12, 2013 TA email (med expedite)
  • July 12, 2013 Received Consulate Appt
  • July 29, 2013 GOTCHA DAY

Laila's adoption
  • Nov 10, 2013 Started 2nd Adoption
  • Dec 8, 2013 1st Homestudy Visit
  • Dec 21, 2013 2nd Homestudy Visit
  • Feb 22, 2014 Applied to Agency
  • March 20, 2014 LOI
  • March 26, 2014 PA for Laila
  • April 7, 2014 Homestudy Approval!!
  • April 7, 2014 Supplement 3 overnighted
  • April 30, 2014 Walked in for Fingerprints!
  • May 9, 2014 Supplement 3 approved
  • June 4, 2014 Dossier To China
  • August 14, 2014 LOA
  • August 15, 2014 I-800 approval (expedite)
  • August 22, 2014 NVC approval
  • August 26, 2014 Art 5 dropoff
  • August 27, 2014 Art 5 approval
  • August 29, 2014 Dropoff at CCCWA
  • September 22, 2014 GOTCHA DAY!

We received our log in date (LID) yesterday!  So now it's time to start our latest timeline on the sidebar of this blog! :)  Things have changed quite a bit with China's system since our last adoption, so now our caseworker will be able to track our dossier as it goes through the process at CCCWA.  We are very excited to see some progress and hope you'll all pray with us for expediency in the process and for HJ & Little Miss's health & well being while we wait!

Thanks for following along!