Thursday, October 19, 2017

Travel Adventure Part One

Our trip to China was scheduled for June 7-24th.  That is a very long time and don't worry I am not going to do a moment by moment journal about this.  However, this is an exciting adventure to share so I will be breaking this up and sharing it over the month of October.

We  prayed as the adoption process was nearing its last couple of months that God would help the timing to work out so that the kids would be done with school and that we would be able to travel and have time at home with Nate for the summer.  We wanted to get to know him in a more relaxed setting without the pressures of school and busy schedules.  God worked out every detail and it was time to book 5 tickets to China and 6 tickets home!!!  What a thrilling time.

The morning of June 7th arrived, the boys room was ready and waiting, bags packed, and everything was in order.  We just had to wait for our ride to the airport and off we went.



       
   Sweet Jack said early on when we talked about adopting Nate, "Well, we have bunk beds!"


At the airport a few minutes after 4:00 am on Wednesday, June 7th!




Made it to San Fransisco!






     Meeting up with Nick and Whitney with The Archibald Project!  They interviewed the
                                    kids and Adam and I as we waited for our flight to Beijing. 
                                                That certainly helped the time pass quicker.



                                         ****************************************
                   
                      Here are a few pictures that The Archibald Project took while we waited.




                                                  Photo credit: The Archibald Project

                                                 

                                                   Now let the 13 hour flight begin.







To be continued...............



Monday, October 16, 2017

The Archibald Project

I am interrupting my own blog posts about our trip to China to go in depth about something God orchestrated with this adoption.

There are so many God moments we have witnessed throughout this entire adoption process.  One of those special God things was having the huge blessing and privilege of having our adoption documented.  Not just by anybody, but by The Archibald Project.  This was something that we did not seek out, however one of the employee's of Bethel had it on her heart and as God would have it, all the details worked out.  You see, older boy adoptions are very, very low.  The fact of being an older boy in and of itself is considered a special need, not even considering that most also have a special need.  What we felt God put on our heart, was out of the realm of "typical" or "common" or "comfortable".

Tabitha Terlunen served as the sponsorship coordinator for Bethel and was the one that helped us as we began our sponsorship of Nate back in 2014.  She had a vision for the work of Bethel to be highlighted and child advocacy as well.  Turns out she had wanted to work with The Archibald Project and contacted them about that and also documenting an older child adoption while they were in China -ours! 

Lo and behold, Nick and Whitney Runyon, founders of TAP, live right up the road in Austin, Texas. They don't really spend that many nights there because they travel all over the world shedding light on the orphan crisis, locating and sharing about wonderful orphan care organizations and simply loving on and caring for those that have no voice.  Their hearts are just simply amazing.

So on the morning of June 7th, the Harris 5 boarded our plane in San Antonio as the Runyon duo boarded one in Austin and we met up in San Fransisco a few hours later.  During our layover before the BIG flight to Beijing, we had fun getting to know each other  a bit and they got to really hear about the beginning of our journey.  I admit, it was also nice to just have the emotional support of well seasoned travels along with us. We just cannot thank Nick and Whitney enough for the beautiful work they do, not only documenting but advocating.  Their heart is that there is not just ONE answer to the orphan crisis, and they are working hard to really look outside the box.  I love that they have a heart to research and locate ethical orphan care organizations because these children are some of the most vulnerable and who knows what is happening to them.  But there are many wonderful organizations out there doing a wonderful job.  Bethel is one of those.

You can learn more about both The Archibald Project here and Bethel here.  These are two organizations that I believe in and pray for and love dearly.  I pray you feel the same after you take some time to click and read.  Keep an open heart.....you just never know what our sweet Father might whisper to your heart.  Lean in, silence the fear, and listen.


Friday, October 6, 2017

TA-Yippee Yay!!!

I know one of the previous blogs was about TA, but I must share just how BIG this is as I begin to share our travel adventures.  So I may have mentioned before what a huge process adoption is.  ALL of the paperwork and ALL of the prayer!!!  In this process there are so many abbreviations for so many different parts but let me tell you, TA is what you wait this whole time to hear.  TA or Travel Approval-this means you are officially and formally invited to go get your kiddo.  All that stands in your way is a solid travel date, an ocean and well, packing.

A bit of an aside......As we were in the midst of the adoption process, we discussed and prayed about taking our three bio kids with us.  Adam wanted them to go and I was digging my heels in a bit.  I had so many emotions and thoughts about it and I just wasn't sure it was the best idea.  At some point though, God swayed my heart and we applied for their passports and prayed like crazy that the timing would work out so that they would not have to miss any school.  Although, they would have been super happy about that-haha.  We were now not just packing for two people to travel internationally, but for 5 people there and 6 people coming back!!!



I really hate dislike packing. I began to read packing lists on blogs, checked in the adoption Facebook groups I belong to and felt so overwhelmed.  It feels like you basically have to plan and pack for every possible scenario, yet you have a bag limit and the bags have a weight limit.  We did it.  Thanks to some wonderful friends who allowed us to borrow their space savers and suitcases.  One bag per person all under the weight limit.  The only thing I forgot to pack was the dry shampoo and I found some in China.  Not too bad if I may say so myself.  June 7 could not come fast enough and there wasn't much sleep going on the night before we flew out.  Our travel story is long and I will be breaking it up and sharing it over then next few weeks, so keep checking back!



Blessings from The Harris Half-Dozen

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welcome Home Nate!!!

Well, I finally sat down and focused long enough to blog!!!  I can hardly believe how fast the time is going.   Nate ran into our arms and our lives on Sunday, June 11th, 2017.

                                                 Photo credit: The Archibald Project 

We are so thankful for every person that donated financially towards our adoption.  We pray God blesses you tremendously.  We are also very thankful for every person that has prayed for our family.  You have carried us through a very emotional and HUGE time in our family.  Your investment is eternal and we are so very appreciative.

We are all settling into our new normal. Things are going pretty well.  We take one day at a time, which is what we are supposed to do anyway.  It worked out well for us to have the summer together, getting to know each other and bond before school began.   I'm so proud of our three bio kids as they have been so helpful, caring, and compassionate.

God is faithful and He is writing an amazing story.  I can't wait to share about our time in China, along with some photos over the next few weeks.  Thank you for your patience thus far.


God bless,
The Harris Half-Dozen




Monday, June 5, 2017

Countdown!

It is amazing to me that all of the paperwork, praying, reading, paperwork, talking, planning,  and did I mention paperwork, is all coming together and our son will soon be joining our family.  This journey began in the summer of 2014 with a simple sponsorship.  To be standing in the place we are in, watching God write this story, I am in awe.  Seeing how He has answered so many prayers, provided in ways beyond our human comprehension-just WOW! .  Little details coming together.  HUGE details coming together.  Trusting God on a whole different level.  Steps and decisions requiring both peace and faith.  Li Fang Tao will no longer be an orphan and we will no longer be "just sponsors".  He will be part of a family, created in God's timing and in God's way.  We have also given him a new name, Nate. It means  God gives.  Yes, yes He does.  Faithfully, graciously, perfectly.



As this story has been unfolding, and as we have blogged (albeit few and far between) you have had a small window into our world.  We know this story is bigger than us, the Harris Half-Dozen.  We want to be an encouragement to others who might find themselves considering adoption.  Considering older child adoption.  This world of technology is amazing, helping people connect and stay in touch, find helpful resources, etc.  Sometimes I find myself wanting more info, wishing so and so would post an update about this or that.....but patience is required.   We will update as we have time and are able (emotionally and physically).  We so appreciate you sharing in this story and appreciate your patience as we tell it.

We have done everything we know to do to prepare and yet we know the actual reality of this new journey is yet to be walked out.We are so appreciative of every bit of encouragement, prayer, and financial donation so many of you have generously contributed.  Please continue to pray for our family as the REAL work begins.  I will list specific things to pray at the bottom.

One thing I thought might be helpful for anyone meeting Nate, is how to introduce yourself to him.  Because he is blind, I recommend this each time you greet him, although he will likely become very familiar with some of you and know you by voice.

1) Gently touch his arm or shoulder and say, "Hello Nate, this is Nancy, how are you?"
2) And don't forget that he hears just fine and you can speak directly to him.




Ways to pray for The Harris Half-Dozen:
*Safe travels
*Health for all 6 of us
*Smooth transition
*Wisdom for decisions







Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Drumroll please........We have TA

The lllllooooooonnnnnnnggggggggg awaited TA arrived and we are thrilled.  It's like finally having a due date.  We will be traveling in June, going to China as a family of 5, coming home as a Half-Dozen!!!!!!



Ways to be praying for the Harris Half-Dozen:
*Pray for Fang Tao's heart to be prepared as best as it possibly can be for a family.
*Pray for him as he leaves all he has ever known.
*Pray for our travel-smooth, peaceful, safe.
*Pray for health over all of us, no sickness.
*Pray for good bonding and attachment.
*Pray for emotions to be calm.
*Pray for safety for each of us as we travel, while we are there, and our return home.


I think that is enough for now.  We so appreciate your prayers and sharing this journey with us.

Blessings,
The Harris Half-Dozen

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the 4th Be With You (Or at least Article 5)

I never intend to have long gaps between posts, but there is so much to be done and I like to post when we have an update.  Woohoo....We received the email today that lets us know our Article 5 has been issued.  Some of you know exactly what that means.  Others of us, not so much-me included.  I do know that is the last BIG step before Travel Approval (TA) is issued.  So I did a little research to help me understand exactly what Article 5 issue means and here it is:
"Submit an immigrant visa application, Form DS-260 , to the Embassy or Consulate responsible for processing immigrant visa applications for the child’s country of origin. If everything has been done in the required order and the child is likely eligible to immigrate as a Convention Adoptee, the Embassy or Consulate will issue a letter, called the “Article 5/17 letter”, notifying the central authority of the child’s country of origin that the child appears to be “eligible to enter and permanently reside” in the United States following the completion of the adoption or guardianship in the child’s country of origin."

*This information was taken from https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/us-visa-for-your-child/hague-visa-process.html *

Now that we have a better understanding of that, TA is next and boy are we ready and also not ready-haha.  Adoption nesting is a real thing-and it is in full swing.  Every corner of the house has been/is/will be cleaned.  Bunk beds are assembled.  Packing list is L-O-N-G!  Visas are submitted.  Prayers are being prayed.  We are so excited. 



Ways to pray for The Harris Half-Dozen:
*All travel plans to come together very easily
*Determination and organization to get everything done for travel
*Peace in all of us
*God will prepare Fang Tao for this huge transition
*God will prepare us for this huge transition
*For health over each one of us leading up to travel and during travel
*Supernatural hedge of protection upon us and Fang Tao 
*Good bonding and attachment on this journey

Thank you to each and every one of you who have already donated financially.  We are so grateful.  If anyone wants to make a final donation, simply click on the right side (Reece's Rainbow) ***It works best on a computer and goes directly toward our fund.  You will receive a confirmation email that states our account specifically.  Electronic devices do not work the same.  It is tax-deductible.*** To those of you who have been praying with us-thank you.  Please don't stop now!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We will keep everyone posted!!!!

The Harris Half-Dozen