Posts tagged ‘China’

Closer

 

We’ve had a flurry of exciting emails lately—-

 

Bill & Theresa,

Congratulations!!! We received your package today AND we completed the critical review of your dossier! Everything looks fantastic! Job well done! J Your dossier has now been moved to translation and will be mailed to China within a few days! We will notify you via email once your dossier has been mailed, once it’s received in China, and once it is logged-in at the CCCWA.

 

 Then there was this—- 

 

CONGRATULATIONS, Bill & Theresa,

Here’s the news you’ve long been waiting for—your dossier was sent to China today (3/28/2014)!  Hooray!  J

Here’s what to expect for the next month:

The CCCWA will receive your dossier in approximately 3-5 business days. Our China Department will contact you by email once your dossier has been received by our representatives in China and hand-delivered to the CCCWA.

The CCCWA usually logs in dossiers within 3 weeks of their receipt.  This Log-In Date is called your LID, the date that you may “count down” to your referral.  We will e-mail you as soon as we have confirmation of your LID and will then give you instructions on how to download your LID Packet. Your LID will also be posted on your “My Adoption” page of the CCAI website the instant we are notified of it.

Now that you’ve reached this huge milestone, the ladies in the Child Match Department will be monitoring your file and contacting you with regards to any required updates and/or information that’s needed between now and when you receive your match. 

  

 And finally—- (don’t know why I can’t change the font…)

 

Congratulations!  Your dossier has been delivered to the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) on March 31, 2014. 

 
We will notify you by email as soon as we receive your official log-in date (LID) from CCCWA, and then you will be prompted to go to the CCAI website to download Dossier Log-In Date Packet.  This will occur within approximately 3 weeks from now.  Please notice that this wait time can vary due to CCCWA’s LID processing speed.  
 
 
So now we wait for our LID…
joy shatter
 

Unworthy

As I remenisce the wondferful silent auction evening, I keep thinking to myself…

I am not worthy.  

I say “I’m not worthy” not to play the martyr, but to show how blessed I am.  We all want to help eachother…it’s in us.  When we allow that part of us to shine, God takes over and miracles happen.  I see this fundraising experience as a miracle because out of an idea…one idea…people joined to support someone in need.  Most of the guests were friends and family–but some didn’t know us from a man on the moon.  What an incredible thing!  That’s why I say “I am not worthy.”  Who is worthy of such outpouring kindness? 

The night went perfectly. The weather, turnout, EVERYTHING went like clockwork.  My mother and wife are mostly responsible.  When you put heaping amounts of time and energy into something, good things happen.  But even the most meticulously planned events have issues.  Not ours.  It was as though God took care of all the variables. There was a good mix of old and new friends, family and relatives. My Godfather who lives in Naples, Florida came as well as friends I hadn’t seen in years. I was especially touched by the Sisters of the Transfiguration who showed their support and provided insight into the adoption process. 

http://www.ctsisters.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=53

As one guest put it—”if nuns show up then you know it (the party) is meant to be.”  I had to laugh because I couldn’t agree more.

All told, about 100 people showed up–the cream of the crop. I say that because many of them (the majority) stayed till the end.  Out of 70 items offered, only five remained when the bidding stopped. 

(My hypnosis treatment was one of them.  I guess the thought of Billy boy putting someone in a trance freaked out the masses)

3745-HYPNOSIS-DOG

65 out of 70 items sold! That’s amazing considering only a third of the people showed and that’s why I say “cream of the crop.”  Had all 300 invitees attended, the outcome would be the same.  Not to get all biblical on you, but it put me in mind of Jesus dividing the bread and fish. We had a huge hall fit for 300 guests, yet it never felt empty. 

I can only recall one other time in my life (at my wedding) when I was so full of spirit/support/love.  But this night was better.     At the wedding, the enormity of the event swallowed me up and I retreated from the crowd instead of embracing them.  This party was altogether different and I’m blessed to have been part of it.

Thanks everyone for supporting our journey! (There will be pictures of the night as soon as my nephew emails them to me)

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…

The other day I was treating a deaf man and trying my best to communicate with him.  Even though I know a little American Sign Language (ASL), talking with Bruce is usually not a big deal because he’s able to get his meaning across without words or signs. In short–he acts everything out like a 300 pound mime.  Most days, there isn’t much to say during therapy sessions.  Mainly, I want to know if my client is in any pain or what they want to work on…stuff like that.  I may want to discuss things like home safety or pain management, etc. but basically all I do is communicate what we are gonna do…then do it.  With Bruce it’s not that easy.  He’s a class “A”  clown who ends up signing that he hasn’t been laid in days or how his penis is useless (at least I think that’s what he’s trying to say????)  His wife (who is also deaf) thinks it’s hilarious which only encourages his clownish behavior.

I have to admit….he is pretty darn funny.

Even though it’s sketchy at times, my interactions with Bruce are functional, but I wish I could go deeper.  Our talks are shallow, like reading cliff notes of a novel instead of delving into its pages.  When questions get complex, I have to defer to his son who translates for me.  But when the kid isn’t home…I’m lost.  One day, Bruce rambled on and on about the railroad.  I know this only because he gave a few “Choo!  Choo’s!”  I thought he worked on the railroad and tried asking if he was talking about himself, but our language barrier prevented me from getting the whole story.  Later, I asked his son about it and found out Bruce’s father was a railroad engineer for thirty years.  I asked Bruce to repeat his story to his son–so I could understand, but he refused.

After my therapy session, I thought about what it would be like to raise a deaf child.  We’re still waiting to be matched and don’t know her medical issues…but what if Little Panda is deaf?  Will her days be lost in silence? Thinking about that motivates me to learn ASL.  Since Reece is fluent in ASL, I should pick it up easy peasy, right?  You would think so, but that’s not been the case.

Reece works with family’s of deaf kiddos and most days they embrace their child’s deafness.  These are the families who learn ASL or work to empower their child through cochlear implants.  Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum or parents who are indifferent and never learn ASL.  Wouldn’t you want to communicate with your own child?

Am I different?  I’ve toyed with learning mandarin and continue to drag my feet with  ASL.  My excuses are:

Mandarin: there are dozens of dialects in China therefore learning mandarin would be a waste of time and effort

ASL:  first learn what Little P’s health issues are—THEN adjust accordingly.

Both are reasonable excuses, but imagine if I had put a little more effort into learning sign language. Perhaps I would understand why Bruce cares so much about his father.  Perhaps there would be less “closed books” in my life.

I need to get crackin!

Unethical?

Do you think fundraising for an adoption is unethical?

What?

When I hear something totally against what I believe, my initial reaction is to get angry so when I read a post on Facebook about this topic, it fired me up.  After venting for an hour or so, I took ten slow breaths and read the post again. The words “appalling” and “embarrassing” were used to communicate the person’s viewpoint (i.e. fundraising for adoption is wrong.) The source was someone with several adopted kiddos from around the world.

So what?  This group (adopting parents) takes all kinds—right? What I didn’t realize was that the original thread came from an adoptee.  The general gist (in my opinion) was that anyone raising funds to adopt is treating their future child like a commodity–something sold to the highest bidder.  The idea sickened me, because it came from someone who lives that life…a life under the stigma of being adopted.

My mind flashed forward fifteen years.  Little Panda is now an adult and besides hating being called Little Panda, she has many opinions.  Will she be embarrassed…appalled that we asked for money to help bring her from China? Will she see herself as property rather than my daughter?

Complex–this whole deal is so complex. At face value you see a child in need so you follow your heart and do what you think is right.  Then you begin researching and peeling back all the layers involved and see things you never thought you would. For one moment I tried seeing this adoption through my future daughter’s eyes and…I couldn’t do it.  The paradigm shift was just too difficult.

But then I thought of the spark God put in our hearts for this little girl and guess what?….all of my worries vanished.  It’s a recurring theme in this blog (I know so sue me!) but I can’t help it.  God put His desire in our hearts and for some reason he wants the Danner family to include a little girl from China.  I realize this is difficult to understand.  I realize there are children in America…in my town that need love…need a home, but God wants it this way.  He wants us to take this leap and go the distance, all the way to China. So that’s what we are going to do and if people want to help us along the way, I aint stoppin em.

Would I ever have a fundraiser for my biological child?  No. But aren’t baby showers (sort of) the same thing?  This fundraiser/party is a wonderful opportunity for us to receive support from those we love.  As Reece said to me, besides a wedding, there aren’t many opportunities to share your life with so many family and friends.  We are going to enjoy the heck out of it!

Little P. is not a charity case and doesn’t need us to save her.  She is our daughter and our job is to bring her home.  Period.

One Step Closer to the Rising Sun

We received this glorious email the other day….
 
 
Just got the approval for your home study from the Dossier Dept. so I’ll be printing all the hard copies and sending everything to Julie.  She will forward the appropriate copies to USCIS and you for your dossier. Congratulations, you are one step closer!

Amy Kinnell

Adoption Caseworker
CCAI
 
Yes one step closer. 
 
We also secured a place for the party/silent auction with my parents offering to pay for it. Pretty awesome!  Things are falling into place, just like I knew they would.  Now that we know this silent auction will happen the task comes down to finding donations.  There’s many, many options of course.  Family, friends and friends of friends have already come forth with ideas and items.  Also, there’s several companies who provide items (such as sports memorabilia) and will split the proceeds, but how far to take this? immediately my mind begins to say–
 
We don’t know what we’re doing.  What if we don’t have enough items to auction or what if nobody shows? 
 
Worried thoughts  of a busy brain.  But it really doesn’t matter.  I know things will work out. 
 
Just keep telling yourself that Billy boy.  
 
For the first time in this process, I posted on Facebook.  Within seconds (22 to be exact) I had friends reaching out from cyberspace. Most of these friends, I rarely talk to and some I haven’t  seen in years, but there they were, reaching out to help my family. 
 
Amazing. 
 
I don’t care what anyone says (and I know I have said this before) people are naturally good.  I always knew this.  That’s why I chose to work with people on a daily basis.  But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of our inherent nature. 
 
Not to sound cheesy but I was pleasantly surprised.
 
One of first suggestions from Facebook was to use Gofundme.com.  Theresa and I discussed using another website for donations, but once I poked around Gofundme, it became the easiest course of action.  And you know what?  Those wonderful people I was just talking about have already raised nearly $1200.00 for our adoption!  One guy pledged $500!  This isn’t some independently wealthy business mogul either.  The man has his own family (two kids) and was someone I hung out with during my Roger Bacon (high school) days. To say I’m humbled by this experience would be putting it lightly. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that Reece (who swore off Facebook from the beginning) now has her own FB page. Will miracles never cease?  For anyone interested, here’s a link to our Gofundme page http://www.gofundme.com/65meho
 
Like I said, it’s all coming together.  Each experience, each donation, each generous heart brings us one step closer to the land of the rising sun….one step closer to meeting our precious little girl. 
 

The Space Between

We’re still waiting for this home study to be complete and I’m feeling discouraged. There’s still many hurdles to overcome.  Why does the system have to make this so difficult?  I understand we’re dealing with children and it’s best to error on the side of caution in regards to background checks and the like, but the longer this takes, the longer some little one goes without a loving home.  It’s one thing when it’s your child, but we’re talking millions of kids here.  The orphanages in China are literally bursting with abandoned children. Why isn’t a better system in place?    

abandoned

Nobody wants to hear me whine so I’ll stop and instead fill you in on what else is going on (numbered in no order of importance).

1) Finding a place for our party:  We need a spacious venue for my 40th birthday party/silent auction. We investigated a few grade schools, churches, colleges and our neighborhood club but all are out of our price range.  Any ideas? If we can’t find an affordable place, then the auction will not be possible. (Insert frowny emoticon here)

2) Set up donations: We decided to get all our funding options in line before asking for donations. Services will include the chrome buffalo T-shirt drive, silent auction and a website for tax-free donations.  The idea is to get our party set up (sometime in February), then launch everything at once.  It’s a cool idea since the alternative is chaotic emails, letters, Facebook prompts, etc.   This way you get one letter explaining it all.

3) Ordering buttons or a red wrist band: This idea came from Geoffrey Shaw, former CEO of the Asian Bridge http://theasianbridge.org   Shaw discussed his journey (adopting a daughter from China) with me and mentioned an old Chinese legend called “The Red Thread of Destiny.” 

An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

This proverb is commonly used for passionate love (like the Westerners idea of soul mates) however the thread may also symbolize a connection between parent and child.  When a baby is born, he or she is already connected to the important people in their life.  As each year passes, the thread tightens, bringing each destined soul closer to this child.  The Red Thread is popular among families adopting from China with red bands or bracelets worn to symbolize the eternal bond between child and parent. Here’s one good example of the idea that I found online.

http://www.deerpathtrail.com/china/redthread.htm

Rather than red bands, Geoffrey’s idea was to create buttons symbolizing your adoption journey. 

logo-w-ribbon-small

He suggested distributing the buttons to family and friends and saw it as a simple way of sharing your story with others.  “You’ll be amazed at how quickly the word spreads,” he said. “It’s the best fund-raising strategy that I know.”   

4) Opening up: When it comes to our personal lives, Reece and I are not very open. Being therapists, we are better at asking questions and listening than sharing our views with others.  But the truth is, we need to share this story. Not to boast or try to convince others that adoption is the way to go, but to fulfill a basic human need…the need for reassurance.  When you look at adoption stories online you see friends and family rally around the cause, giving their support.  Reece and I plan to build this support by reaching out more in 2014. 

So when we start talking about this scary, life changing process…ask questions, look in our eyes and tell us it will be okay.  We need that more than you’ll ever know.

What’s in a name?

So here we are…waiting on a few documents (our homestudy report and child abuse clearance form) before the mass notarizing process begins. Although I’m anxious about getting through all of this, the waiting is easier than expected.  Why?  Because we haven’t been matched yet.  Once that happens, this waiting-around becomes much more difficult.

As soon as we’re matched (and I hope it’s soon) CCAI  http://www.ccaifamily.org/ will call us to share our child’s medical history.  At that time we have the option to accept the proposed match, or wait for another alternative. It’s a good process since it enables the adoptive parents to make an educated decision rather than keeping it purely emotional. Obviously, there is no guarantee your kid will be an exact match, but gathering evidence is the best defense against future strife.  As much as I hate to say this, some kids don’t belong with certain families and vice versa.

During this waiting time, Reece and I continue to knock around names for Little Panda.  Here’s a short list of our favorites:

Whats-In-A-Name1Aliviababy girl

Madoline

Grace

Izzy

Zoey

Lu Lu

 

 

Okay the last three are my idea and have zero possibility of being Panda’s name but I still love em.  Alivia looks like the real deal but the rest are still contenders.  I’m sure once we meet our little one, her name will naturally fall into place.  Whatever we call her, Panda’s middle name will remain Chinese.  Since China is her birth place, Reece and I feel this will keep our youngest daughter close to her roots. 

Now that the dossier is in motion and there’s time to breathe, we are seriously brainstorming ways to fund this adoption.  Reece and I agree that asking for donations is difficult. Nobody was holding a gun to our head when we made the decision to adopt internationally.  As Theresa said, “Couples go through all sorts of expensive procedures (i.e. in vitro fertilization)  in order to have kids and you don’t see them asking for donations.”  So how do you ask friends, family and others to give their hard-earned money to such a cause?  There’s no easy answer here, but we both agree that whoever gives, should get something in return.

The question is what?  What would be a good thing for people to get back for helping Reece and I out with this adoption?  One idea came from this website: http://chromebuffalo.com/pages/how-it-works  Basically, Chrome Buffalo allows us (or anyone) to sell designer T-shirts with part of the proceeds going directly to the adoption.  Once in place, we will have eleven days to get as many sponsors as possible with each sold T-shirt providing eleven bucks towards our cause.  I think it’s a cool idea, especially since sponsors get something in return other than just gushy feelings. Since I’m writing this blog and have a Facebook account we figured, “why not reach out into cyberspace for help?”

Another idea we’re kicking around is using my birthday to help springboard donations.  Since I’m turning forty this year, why not bring Little P into the celebration? There’s a couple ways we could tackle this (simple party, silent auction, clown rodeo, etc.) Silent auctions are great, but for that to happen, we would need to find a lot of cool stuff to bid on. 

Nick LacheyDid I mention I know Nick Lachey?  No kidding.  The only problem is…I haven’t seen or talked to him in over thirty years. If I could somehow remind Nick of our friendship, then perhaps a silent auction would work.  Heck—one pair of his boxer-briefs alone would bankroll our fare to China!

Speaking of fundraising, one heart-warming donation occurred this week…

Our kiddos attend Immaculate Heart of Mary http://ihm-ky.org/ where fundraising is commonplace.  This week the entire school took part in Tag Day where kids can spend a day out of uniform for twenty-five cents.  All the money from Tag Day went straight  towards our adoption. 

How awesome is that?

 

 

Whenever I hear “this world is full of evil,” humans are parasites,” “people aren’t like they used to be,”  I’m reminded of things like Tag Day, and guess what?  All of those negative, miserable voices lose their power.  I believe that people are generally good.  Do you agree?  If not, take a look here: (Be patient—it takes awhile to load)

http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/cincinnati/Volunteers-distribute-86-000-Thanksgiving-meals/-/13549970/23137764/-/x465xr/-/index.html

Amazing what one group can do when joined by a common purpose!

We all have the ability to change lives. Some (like Gandi or Nelson Manela) change nations while others provide hope in the little things.

Nelson-Mandela

In my humble opinion (IMHO for those who text) the meaning of life is to use your gifts for the benefit of others.  Even one pair of undies can make a difference.

You getting this Nick?

Home Study (Part 2)

Reece and I once again made the two hour trek to Lexington to complete the second visit of our home study process. In less than a month we have all of the paperwork pretty much completed.  Reece is the organize police. I told you she’d have us whipped into shape by Christmas!  The last form standing is the I-800A  which can take up to four months to process and can only be completed once the home study process is over with.  Yeah, four months…makes you wonder what those guys in the United States Immigration Department are doing with themselves.obama

This meeting went a lot better than the first.  Instead of dwelling on paperwork, the discussions trended towards practical issues like picky eating, sleeping schedule, behavioral issues and cacooning.  Yeah, I said cacooning. More on that in a minute.

I think I mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating…studies show that children under the age of three who are institutionalized show significant delays in development.  The reasons are many but mainly young brains need a stimulating environment to develop and thrive.  Our social worker said that most orphanages in China are over crowded with two workers for every twenty to thirty children. I imagine it’s tough for these workers whose main goal is keeping their kids safe and fed but as you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of meaningful activity going on. For a child in this setting, it’s not unusual to spend eighteen hours a day trapped in a tiny crib instead of crawling, exploring or playing. Since critical neural pathways occur within the first three years, the effects of such an environment are profound.

I feel like I’m at work.  Sorry about that.

The good news is that while such an environment stunts brain development, the process can be reversed.  My therapy background helps here.  I spent my first five years as a pediatric occupational therapist and have a working knowledge of early development. In fact I have a whole basement packed with treatment activities, ideas and protocols that I couldn’t stand to throw away when I made the transition from peds to geriatrics.

Buried-in-books-

Excellent!  Thank God I’m a pack rat.

In addition to brain chemistry we discussed issues that may arise when little Panda (we really need to come up with a name) comes home. I said I would talk about cacooning so here goes nothing.

According to Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D. cacooning is a process where the adopted child is kept close to their new parents for the first few months of transition.  This closeness helps newly adopted children emotionally adjust to a new home and family members.  How close? Well that depends on how far you want to take it.  I have read a few blogs where the family spent eight months in virtual lockdown with one parent at home at all times with their adopted child. Here’s one account of the process from Adoption Magazine.

http://www.theadoptionmagazine.com/2012/06/06/cocooning-part-1/

I think eight months is a tad extreme but I do believe that we will need to establish attachment and trust with our Panda.  How we do this is up for debate, but if it means cacooning or regressing our parenting to fit her developmental stage than so be it.

On our way home from our meeting, Reece and I talked about the fear of having an unhealthy child. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl just so they’re healthy.”  Sometimes during the pregnancy process, you don’t know if your child is completely healthy until they are born.  Take for instance our second child, Mitch who was born with a club foot.  My point is, there’s always that unsettled feeling during the birthing process (at least for me there was) that your child will be born with some awful condition.  But this process that Reece and I are going through is different.  This process began with our decision to accept numerous medical issues.  As strange as this may sound, I am more at peace with this process than I ever was with the birth of Ellie or Mitch.

Today if you watch my son run, you’d never guess he had a club foot…someday little Panda will be the same, no matter her issues.

 page-14kids-running-in-park

Money, money, money

We have submitted our forms and now are waiting to be accepted into the adoption program.

Waiting.

I have a feeling that waiting is a huge part of this adoption process and I don’t like it.  When you think about it, our modern society is not conducive with waiting.  Just sit at a green light for more than two seconds and you’ll get my point.  When I’m waiting around my mind starts chattering which is a baaaaad thing for me.  Right now the voices in my head are having a field day with money. The longer we wait, the louder they shout.

Why is my car squeaking?

Friggin ash borers and we have two huge trees right next to the house.

Never noticed that hole in the driveway before.

Where is that water coming from?

$400 for a telephone consultation?

Don’t get me wrong, ever since we made the decision to adopt, I’ve had a calm certainty about it.  But the chattering voices keep probing—

“Will this adoption throw a wrench into my perfect little life?”

Uh, Yeah.

“Will it bring financial challenges?”

Most definitely.

“Will it strain our family and add stress to our relationships?”

It could.

“Is all of this worth it?”

Absolutely.

While struggling with this, I was lucky enough to attend a seminar on positive psychology. One thing I learned during this six-hour course was how money affects our happiness. In fact, studies show a link between spending habits and happiness. It’s obvious that buying stuff will not bring long-lasting joy. Every time I buy a new album on I-tunes I’m reminded of that!  But did you know that people who use money for experiences rather than things are statistically happier? This link explains the concept.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-happiness/201309/how-buy-happiness

I really believe that God used this seminar to help me get over my fear of money. Not that I want pity but the process of adopting a child from China will run us in the neighborhood of $30,000.  There’s a tax break and I have a program at work that will help with cost but in the end there’s around $15,000 that needs to be accounted for.  When Reece and I first looked into an international adoption we immediately saw that number and said,  “No way.  We can’t afford that.”  But after researching  the alternatives: domestic adoption, foster care, kids from other countries, China kept snuggling its fuzzy Panda head up to us. There are many support programs and we will eventually organize a fund raiser to help with the initial costs. I know the money will be there and even if it isn’t, it will not stop us from bringing another child into our lives.  As Reece said the other night, “Even if we need to pay off the dept for fifty years, how could you put a price on a child’s life?”

I hate asking for help…especially when it comes to money.  Maybe it’s because it’s my duty to provide for our family and if I’m asking for money than I must not be doing my job. Yet, when faced with the cost of this process I must learn to put my pride aside and ask. My godmother, Ann Farina was a wonderful lady who taught me about humility. She had polio for most of her life yet was extremely independent, thriving in a society where women and the disabled are viewed as second class citizens. One day while visiting Ann gave me this little nugget of wisdom.  “Billy, it’s much harder to ask for help than to give it. Once I accepted my limitations, I became a good asker!”

Thanks Ann. I finally got it.

(If you are interested, I found some of Ann’s achievements online and pasted them below).

THE HAROLD SCHARPER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The Harold Scharper Achievement Award is presented each year to the graduating senior or recent alumnus who has exhibited the greatest achievements academically, physically, socially, in extracurricular functions, and in professional endeavor during his/her schooling at the University of Illinois or immediately upon the completion of that schooling. It is the highest recognition that the University of Illinois and Delta Sigma Omicron, Incorporated can bestow upon one of its physically disabled students. It is indeed an honor to the recipients and a great example to the many students who will follow in the years to come.

ROSE ANN MAROIS FARINA

Ann, as she prefers to be called, is presently Loan Officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States with offices in Washington D.C. Prior to that she served as a Loan Specialist with the Export-Import Bank and prior to that she was a Financial Analyst for :he Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

In 1970, Ann received the Merit Award for special contributions to projects. In 1971, she received a Superior Performance Award from the Federal Government. In 1973, she was nominated by the Export-Import Bank for the Federal Woman of the Year Award. In 1974, Ann was
elected one of the Ten Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employees of the Year and was privileged to receive this award from the Vice President of the United States.

Ann has compiled a remarkable series of accomplishments, many of them beneficial to her fellow workers, U.S. exporters, commercial banks, and private insurance companies in their efforts to make a maximum contribution to sound export growth.

During her time at Export-Import Bank, Ann has made a number of worksaving suggestions, improved loan officer efficiency and provided better service to the export community. She has helped design new forms of insurance and has initiated improved training programs for non-professionals and para-professionals within the bank. She has analyzed and been responsible for the approval of a number of individual export transactions, many of them problem cases. Because of her outstanding performance, Ann has been promoted twice within the minimal allowable amount of time by the Export-Import Bank.

Her employers have said of her that she is a “woman of strong determination and professional skills and competence, who has exerted a positive influence on people and programs within and outside this agency.” In 1974, Ann was elected President of the Export-Import Banks
Federal Women’s Program. She is among the youngest of those with the rank of Loan Officer.

Ann has also been very active in many civic functions and many functions related to federal employees and many employee benefit programs. She has been in a wheelchair, as a result of Poliomyelitis, since the age of twelve.

We begin the process

We just got back from vacation and our home looks like a refugee camp.  My son’s underwear are laying in a bowl of half-eaten cereal but I don’t care, because ever since this adoption thing started I know everything is going to turn out. Like most people, I stress about small stuff and the adoption process has a lot of small stuff sticking to it.  But whenever my mind goes to freak-out-mode, it’s as though God is intercepting the worries and channeling them through His peaceful voice.

Theresa and I began filling out our application to adopt last night. Since we are adopting a special needs child, we first had to fill out a medical checklist. This intimidating form includes all of the possible medical issues that we would be willing to deal with.  Both Reece (my wife again) and I are therapists (She is a speech therapist and I am an occupational therapist) so we felt confident in our ability to understand each diagnosis and make educated decisions.  That being said—it wasn’t all “cut and dry” and we had to investigate certain medical conditions online.

It was scary.

With each click, we were willingly accepting a challenging issue.  Not only that, but until we meet our child, there is no way of knowing how much their medical issues will affect them.  The Chinese government provides a written evaluation outlining any developmental issues of the matched child, but once there’s a match, how could we refuse a little one in need? Since Reece has experience with deaf children, we decided to accept a girl with possible deafness. Congenital deafness could be a symptom of numerous other issues, but even as I write this, God‘s peaceful voice is telling me “It’s all going to be alright.”  I am thankful for that voice.

We already told our parents about the adoption, but last night, Reece decided to tell her three sisters. Since her youngest sibling (Sara) is in town from Alaska, it was the perfect opportunity.  We’re not pregnant so the etiquette on adoption is a little hazy. How would they react?  Would they stare like zombies, unaffected by the news?  Laugh at us?  Tell us horror stories of other adoptions?  We didn’t know what to expect.  But as soon as I blurted out, “We’re adopting a little girl from China!” all of these concerns vanished. I am very thankful for her family’s warm response. It was humbling to say the least. Sara surprised us by sharing her visions of a little Chinese girl being in our family.  “For some reason I saw a little Chinese girl in my mind,”  she said.  “I don’t know if I’m called for this or not but that’s what I saw.”  Chills washed over me as I listened to her words.

What the heck is God doing here?  I had long given up on the notion that God is personal.  I’ve never doubted the presence of a higher power, but the idea that He (or She) cares about my life is ridiculous.  Why would a being who created EVERYTHING care about my actions?  We are a speck of nothing that is gone in the blink of an eye, yet I can’t deny that something is pushing us forward.  Something is leading us through all of this…something exuding calm excitement and urgency that doesn’t make sense.

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