Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I just added a video below of Kalia dancing. I love watching this and know you will too.

That pretty much sums up how I feel. I feel like I am nine months pregnant with no end in sight. I was two weeks overdue for both Blake and Emma, so I know all too well the physical and emotional feelings that go along with it.

I am so ready to be done! I feel like this adoption is like a never ending roller coaster...

We certainly were not planning on adopting again anytime soon. I knew that eventually I would return to China for another daughter. I knew when I left China with Jaxon and Drew that somewhere was a little girl that I would one day call mine. I also knew she would be older, closer to Emma's age.

I kept these thoughts and feelings to myself because I knew Matt would probably have me commit ed for even bringing it up, so it was just best not to say anything. So, I just "looked" and I advocated for other kids.

I first saw Kalia's face back in July of 2010 (yes, we had only been home with the boys since May). I thought she was absolutely beautiful, but her special needs terrified me so I wouldn't even open her file. She was listed as having spina bifida, tethered cord, and Hep. B. Those were all needs I thought were way too complicated for our family.

Camp Tiger- Ming 208

I still said nothing to Matt, or anyone else for that matter.

Then, a few weeks later, I was in the car going through the bank and I got this overwhelming feeling that I needed to go home and look at her file. Honestly, I had pretty much given up on adopting again so soon after coming home with the boys. I knew that financially there was NO way we could do it. But at the same time, I could not shake the feeling that I needed to look at her file.

So, a day or so later, I opened her file, read through it, and didn't really see anything that stood out. Her birthday day was December 1, 2001 which was my due date for Emma (she was born December 11), but other than that, there wasn't any flashing lights or arrows pointing anything out, but something deep within me told me she was my daughter. I can't really explain it, but I knew wholeheartedly that she was meant for our family.

I was also able to watch some videos of her during an interview with our agency's staff as well as see her dancing. I was sharing her videos with a friend one day and became very emotional while watching them. I started crying and when my friend asked me what was wrong, I just said, "she is my daughter, I know she is my daughter, now I just need to convince Matt."

I decided to wait it out until August. I told myself that if she was truly meant for our family, then she would still be there in August. The kids would be back in school and things would start settling down.

So, August came and went and she was still available so I started bringing up the possibility of adopting again and sure enough, Matt thought I was insane. I mean we hadn't even been home with the boys six months. I let it go, and just prayed that if she was meant to be our daughter, God would open Matt's heart once again.

In September of 2010, we submitted out LOI for Kalia and set a goal to be DTC by January, February at the latest.

We needed to schedule out 6 month post placement for the boys so we just did that and a homestudy update all at once. The social worker came out and saw how great the boys were doing and approved us to add Kalia to our home as well. We were on cloud nine.

And then the games began...

Because Matt is considered a disabled vet, he uses the VA hospital for all his medical needs so he had to go through them for a physical. Apparently when requesting a physical everyone who is anyone needs to sign off on releasing the information. So, what should have only taken a week or so to get, took Matt over 3 months to get.

Our goal of being DTC pretty much went out the window. We submitted our I-800A application in February which took forever because of our paperwork being misplaced. But finally, it was approved and we were able to move on to the next step.

In an effort to save time and money, I opted to hand carry our paperwork to Indianapolis to get it authenticated. What was supposed to be a day trip turned into a bit more, and even more.

Finally, it was April and we were ready to be DTC. Our dossier was set to go out on April 26th, and then we were hit with the ultimate roadblock. Our family was hit with a bombshell like you couldn't imagine. I honestly wasn't sure we were going to come out on top of this one, but we relied solely on our faith that if it was His will for Kalia to join our family, then He would make it happen.

Finally, on June 3, 2011 we were DTC! We were all over the moon. We were all so excited to finally be moving forward.

We were officially waiting for our LOA. The average wait time for LOA was about 30-45 days so we were thinking we would travel during the fall. I guess I should have expected us to NOT be "average" by now. After waiting 132 days, we received our LOA! Apparently our dossier had been "misplaced."

We kept on truckin though and submitted our I-800, got it back fairly quickly as well as our approval from the NVC. Of course I was calling and checking up on it daily.

As of December 2, the only thing that we are waiting for is our TA. Boy does it feel good to say that.

I honestly cannot believe that after 16 months, we are still waiting for Kalia. As I look back on everything that we have gone through to get to this point, it is almost unbelievable. I NEVER would have thought we would still be waiting to bring her home.

Last year at this time I was thinking how awesome it was going to be to have her here with us this year for Christmas. I was excited at the thought of celebrating her 10th birthday with her. Emma was looking forward to sharing the first days of school with her.

We have watched as other families have brought there children home who started the process long after we did.

It has truly been heartbreaking for me. I have had many pity parties for myself. Many nights where I have gone to bed praying and praying for God to speed things up for us so we could get Kalia home. I have had moments where I have questioned whether we were doing what He wanted. I have shed more tears this past year than I probably have in a my lifetime.

And then reality hits me and I have to remind myself that as much as I think I am, I am ultimately NOT in control. I must remind myself that He is the one who set us out on this path. He is the one who pointed us in the direction of Kalia, and He will be the one that will be there when I am finally able to wrap my arms around Kalia for the first time. It WILL happen. It obviously won't happen in my time, but when it does, it will be perfect because His timing is always perfect.

I got a phone call today from one of the places we applied for a grant. They were calling to do a phone interview. I think it went pretty well, it sounds like they are going to give us a grant, there is just one more step before it will be set in stone. One of the things she asked about was if we got TA today, how quickly would we be ready to go. I told her that the only think that is standing between Kalia and me is our TA, oh, and money. She laughed and said that she was hoping they would be able to help us with that.

Seriously, though, after 16 months of waiting, it is hard to believe that we are finally this close and yet it seems like we are still so far away. I am hoping and praying we get TA this week. My biggest fear this whole time was that we would get TA and not be able to travel because we wouldn't have the money. I am starting to think that is going to come true.

I know things are tight right now for alot of families, and Christmas probably isn't the best time to be asking for help, but I know it can be done.

We are giving away and iPad bundle along with some other pretty awesome prizes. Please check out our fundraiser to see how you can help there to be one less orphan in the world and to make a few Christmas wishes come true.

When we brought Mylee home in May of 2008, I had no idea the impact one little girl could have on me and our family. What started out as a dream of mine has turned into so much more. I cannot imagine our family without any of our kids whether they have come to us by birth or adoption.

We have told the older kids (Blake, Jaxon, and Emma) that Christmas is going to be pretty scarce this year. We just don't have the money and what we do have is being saved for out adoption fund. I asked Emma if she could have one, just one thing for Christmas what it would be. All year long she has been asking for an i-pod touch so I thought for sure that is what she was going to ask for. She surprised the heck out of me when she answered with "the only thing I really want for Christmas is Kalia. I really wish she could be here."



Aaron and Erica said...

Felt led to make a donation today. May God bless you and your family as you wait for the good news that you can travel soon!

Lori said...

Oh, Mandi! I can't believe it's been 16 I know you've felt every single minute of it though. I admire how you've stuck with your conviction to bring her home, as hard as it's been. It speaks highly of your resolve to serve the Lord.

Love you, friend!

Sherrie said...

I sent a donation a few days ago, I hope you received it as I have not heard anything. Hope your TA comes quickly, and the grant as well. Sherrie

Diane said...

She's adorable! I hope you have a couple of cute dance outfits to take with you in her size.

MJ said...

I made a donation today using the chipin, I'm not sure if it worked but hopefully it did. I too am facing roadblocks in the form of my family. I've been quietly following your story and felt led to speak up today. My thoughts are with you.