Happy New Year! It feels so good to be able to say that we are going to China THIS year, and it feels even better to be able to say that we will hold our daughter NEXT month, Lord willing! This has been such a long process, but we are getting so close now!
We have 2 short steps left. Right now, we are waiting on our Article 5. What's that you ask? Honestly, I'm not totally sure...but we really want it! Actually, it is a letter issued by the US Consolate in China, stating that Ayla's immigrant visa and all other paperwork is in order for our adoption. It takes 2 weeks to get this letter issued. Then the Article 5 will be picked up and delivered to the CCCWA (China's Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption), where we will be waiting for the very last step- Travel Approval, or TA!! Once we get it, we book tickets and get on a plane within 2 weeks. TA generally takes 2 weeks as well, but New Year's is apparently a much bigger deal in China. The CCCWA will close for Chinese New Year (January 23) for a whole week...right in the middle of our countdown to TA.
We are praying that somehow our TA will be issued before offices close that week. It won't necessarily mean we will travel any sooner, but it would be nice to have an extra week to book tickets. Ultimately, we know that God is in control, and we rest in knowing that everything will work out in His timing. He will provide for what He has called us to do.
As I look back over the past year, one of the greatest blessings of 2011 was gaining some amazing friends through the "Red Thread" coffee group. We are all in the adoption process, and almost all of us are adopting little girls from China. It has been amazing to be on this journey together. We have celebrated together and cried together. Most of all, we have seen God's hand directing each one of our stories in ways that only He could do! A couple moms have now brought their precious daughters home, and most of us are still waiting. When we all met, we were all in different places in the process. You always had someone ahead of you that could answer questions, and someone behind you who needed to ask them. As the process has moved forward though, several of us are now in the same place and may even travel together! To say I am thankful for these ladies would be a huge understatement! I can't imagine being on this journey without them. I know we are all excited for 2012...when our coffee group will become a play group!
So, please be in prayer for us as we wait just a little longer. Scooping up Ayla may be the end of this process, but really, it's just the beginning. Ayla will have a mom and dad, and we will have a daughter. We will get to know each other, and her story will merge with ours. Her life won't suddenly get perfect, but we will go through the good and the bad times together as a family. Life is about to change, and the sweetest moments are yet to come!
This makes me think about my own salvation. So often, I think we look at our salvation as our ultimate moment with God...the climax. Yes, it was a miraculous day when God adopted us into His family. But, it too was just the beginning. It would be ridiculous to imagine going to China, meeting our daughter and then completely ignoring her after that. If that was our plan, why on earth would we have even bothered? It wouldn't make sense. In an infinitely bigger way, we have a Father, a perfect one, who continues to pursue us and wants to spend time with us. Our life story belongs to Him. Adoption doesn't mean life becomes perfect; it means we have a Father who never leaves us even when it's not. Becoming a part of God's family changes everything, and while it is miraculous, the sweetest moments are yet to come.
May this New Year be full of sweet moments with our Father, so we can love others well for God's glory!