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

Monday, March 27, 2017

"If-Then"


I mentioned in our last post that I had more I wanted to share, but I didn't have time right then.  This will be a long post, so go ahead  get comfortable.  As we drove home from our Spring Break trip recently (March 17, 2017), I was enjoying the view out my window and thinking.  I was thinking about March 17th, 2003- fourteen years ago. We lived in Albuquerque NM and Adam and I had dropped Hannah and Brooklin off with a friend and driven to the hospital, where I was scheduled for a D & C. It was the same hospital I had delivered both the girls at.  We had not planned to have a third child, but we were thankful.  We had gone in for an ultrasound and I knew pretty quickly that it did not look like it was supposed to.  So here we were, facing the loss of our unborn child. I remember laying in pre-op, hearing people chattering around us and just feeling so sad and alone.  Even though Adam was so sweet and he was right there holding my hand.  It was so hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we had lost a baby. It was surreal.  During that same time-frame Adam received a phone call for a job offer back in Texas.  We had interviewed only a few weeks before that.  He accepted.  10 days after my first D & C, late at night, we headed to the hospital where I would have to undergo a second D & C, the first one was incomplete.  A week later we were pulling out of Albuquerque, moving to Texas.  Our heads and hearts were reeling. Happy. Sad. Busy. Old Chapter. New Chapter.  Hellos.  Good-byes. So much in such a short period of time.  God was faithful through every single thing!

After getting settled in to our new city and job, we knew our family wasn't complete. After several months of trying and praying, fear and doubt began to creep in.  Would we be able to have another child?.  I then remembered three little outfits I had packed away back in 1997.  Three little boy outfits that we didn't need since we found out our bundle of joy was going to be a girl (que Hannah).  I found those three little outfits.  I placed  them on three little tiny baby hangers. I hung them in the front of my closet as a reminder of God's faithfulness and I began to claim the promises of God's Word that spoke of His faithfulness and health.   November 2004 brought huge exciting news-we were pregnant.  We were excited, but I felt fear as well.  I chose to be like Sarah-to judge my God faithful. And He was.    July 28th, 2005 our sweet baby Jack made a grand entrance and our life has  been so full and blessed by all three of our children on this earth.  We know we have a little one waiting for us in heaven too.  

So, back to my looking out the window and thinking, as we drove home at Spring Break.  My mind went to "if-then".  If we had not lost a baby, then we would not have Jack.  If we did not have Jack, then we would not have been sponsoring Fang Tao.  If we had not started sponsoring Fang Tao then we would not be adopting him........ God is in ALL of it.  We know that.  My mind was blown.   He took a hard, sad situation and He has brought beauty from it-all these years later. March 17th, 2017.  Three beautiful children who love and serve God.  And one we are working hard to bring home soon.  OH, I know God loves writing these stories.  He carries us through the dark times, and dances with us through the good. He provides what we need through each and every season.  

Maybe you are in the midst of a full on happy dance or in the throws of the deepest, darkest storm.  He is there.  Judge Him faithful Who promised.  He will not leave you.  Do not forget Him in your joy or curse Him in your sadness.  Grab hold of Him and DO NOT LET GO-He's got you.


God Bless,

The Harris Half-Dozen



Sunday, March 19, 2017

LOA Please!

And thank you so much!  Yes!  We have received the official Letter of Approval or also know as Letter of Seeking Confirmation from Adopter!  This means we have been approved to adopt Fang Tao!  There are still a few steps ahead, but this is a big deal and we are rejoicing.  We received word over Spring Break and boy did that just add to the fun!  I have some more I want to share, however, I need to go get things organized as we head back to school and "normal" routine this week.  I will leave you with this line from Need To Breathe's new song Hard Love-"But there's a reason that the road is long, It takes some time to make your courage strong..."  This entire song is awesome, but those two lines really got me.  This has been a long road, but it is paved in faith and trust and lots of prayer.  We all know that some of the best things in our lives were not easy, but well worth it.  God is faithful and good.

                                                                           ~LOA~

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Translation Please!

And thank you!  Today (02/09/2017) we received an email from the adoption agency saying that the dossier has been translated and is awaiting review.  Woohoo!  It's always nice when I decide to sit down and blog to have a new update. Speaking of translation-Adam has been working on Mandarin lessons.  I am so impressed, it is NOT an easy language to learn at all.  We obviously want to be able to communicate with Fang Tao and others when we are in China.    It hit me the other day as we entered the month of February that Fang Tao has just spent the last January of his life without a forever family.  That was such a deep and wonderful thought!  Thank you Jesus.   Since we haven't received any photo updates from the last one a couple of weeks ago,  here are a couple of pictures from when Fang Tao was a little fellow.

 Isn't he just adorable?

Our adoption journey story continued: At the very beginning of last year we made a cautious inquiry about adoption.  We also, very casually, mentioned it to the kids.  Nothing in concrete, no promises, just feeling things out a bit. God knew that we were about to hit a bump in the road to adoption. We knew that what we were facing meant any talk of adopting was on hold indefinitely.   We both continued to pray, read, ask questions.  And God continued to have our paths cross with other adoptive families.  So thankful for how the Lord works.  We found out in May that Bethel was going to do a huge Find My Family push for all their sweet kiddos throughout the month of June.  Each day for 26 days in June a different child was going to be featured.  At this point, God had done a major work and we were back to seriously seeking God for clear direction about adopting.  We were also praying that God would provide a family, the right family, for Fang Tao.  His feature day came and went, we persevered in prayer.  It became pretty clear that God had found the right family for him-US!  We talked to the kids and our families and in August of last year  we crossed the YES line and began the process.  We had peace and we were in agreement.  So thankful God took us through this process, we have seen His hand all over it.  We trust Him to continue to provide.  So there you have it.  You are up-to-date with how we got here!


                                                         Look at his chubby cheeks!

Interesting Info: I have started an Introduction to Braille class.  I am not reading with my finger pads, but learning the "sighted" version.  I do hope to progress to where I would be able to read with my fingers.  It is a six dot cell system that blows my mind at the simplicity and yet the complexity of it.  Thank you Lord for helping Loius Braille invent this gift all the way back in 1809! It has gone through many varied updates throughout the years.   UEB (Unified English Braille) was officially adopted in the US in 2012.  It includes, letters, numbers, math, computer codes. So far I know all of the letters and numbers.  I need to work on the punctuation.  I am learning Uncontracted Braille right now-which is the simple alphabet, numbers, punctuation and some special symbols.  I've got a long way to go, but I love the challenge and I have always loved learning something new.

If you have a moment and want to watch something interesting (and clean and overall wholesome) simply click this link.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fTBsW7kdo4


Ways to pray for the Harris Half-Dozen:
*Please pray for God's perfect timing in the review of the dossier.
*Please pray for God to continue to keep Fang Tao safe.
*Please pray God be preparing each one of us for this life change.
*Please pray that all we need financially will come in.

Thank you so much,
The Harris Half-Dozen


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Progress

Well, I must first start with some very exciting news!!!  On January 12th (Adam's birthday) we received an email that the agency had received our last two documents from the Houston Consulate-completing our 13 page dossier.  On January 13th we received an email saying our dossier was on it's way to China and now we needed to wait for our official Log in Date (LID).  January 16th-China received our dossier and on the 17th we were officially logged in!!!!!  Things got a little bit loud in the car when I read the email to Adam as he was driving.  We thought we would be waiting about two weeks from the time our dossier arrived until the LID.  We are in a waiting pattern for the dossier to be translated and read over and approved so we can take yet another step towards bringing him home.Then, we received the most precious photos of Fang Tao.  Oh my!! That smile.  He is opening Christmas presents that we sent On December 4th!!!!



In the last blog post I began the story of our adoption journey, today I will continue.  We had been sponsoring Fang Tao for a little over a year when Adam said he dreamt I had a baby.  Like I was in the delivery room having a baby.  I jokingly said something about Fang Tao.  A few nights later, as I was doing the dishes, he asked me how serious I was when I said that.  I told him that "it" came unexpectedly for me. We both prayed for him on a regular basis individually and  I remember the moment in October that I felt I was praying about him not just for him.  It was a bit scary, honestly.  What did that mean?  And for Adam, he had wondered when we started sponsoring him, if this might be the road for us.  Regardless, we knew God was up to something far bigger than us.  We initially sent an email-carefully wording it so as not to raise the hopes of anyone,"we just wanted more information." WOW!  We talked and prayed and read and prayed and talked to a couple of families that have adopted.  We just weren't sure about crossing the YES line just yet...to be continued.


Interesting bit of info: If you are wondering what a dossier is, well, let me tell you.  According to Miriam Webster Dictionary, Dossier  -file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject.Our dossier contained 13 documents all about us!  I gathered the necessary documents over the course of 2 months. Marriage license, birth certificates, police records, home study, physicals and a physicians detailed report, financial documents, passport, 8 photos showcasing our family, fingerprints, immigration and citizenship paperwork....I think that was it??!!  Our home study actually required all of that plus more. Then, once you get all of the originals, etc everything must be notarized.  Then, everything that is notarized must go to the Secretary of State office (Texas for us) to be certified.  That office must verify every notary is legal and up to date.  Then, all of that must go (via courier or personally walked in) to the Houston Consulate to be authenticated-they must verify that the SOS is actually true and correct.  And many of the documents have a shelf life of 6 months-meaning you need to work hard and fast.  So, now that you know about that process-you can go take a nap.There may not be physical labor involved in bringing this child home, but there is a different type of labor. And it is well worth it!!!



We are so thankful for every dollar that has been donated towards Fang Tao's adoption.  We are also very thankful for everyone who is praying.

Ways to pray for The Harris Half-Dozen:
*Please pray for peace over Fang Tao.
*Please pray that God is preparing his heart, mind, and body.
*Please pray for God to lead us to the right and best resources.
*Please pray for God's timing in the paperwork and the travel date.
*Please pray for God to prepare all of us for this transition.

Thank you so much,
The Harris Half-Dozen