Ready or not….

Have I mentioned we don’t have a freakin’ clue how to do an international adoption? Thankfully we’re not going into it completely blind, having done an adoption before.

But holy smokes.

I’m part of a group on Facebook full of families that have adopted through the same agency we’re using, or are currently in some phase of the adoption process w/ Living Hope. I feel like every week I’m reading a post and asking “Newby Q: What is ____?” LOA, LSC, DTC, LOI, PA, TA, 1800A, 1800. It’s adoption alphabet soup up in here, y’all.

But- and this is the most relief inducing ‘but’ so far….

WE ARE FINALLY SUBMITTED TO CHINA FOR OUR WAIVER. I have to sit here for a second for that to sink it. Considering how far we have to go in the process before Yuan Li is in our home and under our care, it may seem like a drop in the bucket. Or even a drop in the ocean. But it’s something. You fellow adoptive/adopting families out there know exactly what I mean. I was getting to the point where I felt we were never going to get any traction.

I had my psych eval done and was waiting for the report to be written. You can read about that ordeal in this post. The day of our deadline for this, the report finally got submitted to our agency in order for them to look over. They had a few suggestions on changes before sending to China so I contacted the psychologist’s office to relay the suggestions. And then I waited. And I called. And I waited more. Blerg. Our agency had given us another deadline extension to get our crap submitted. That deadline fell on a Monday and I sent a tearful email on Friday to our caseworker telling her I didn’t know what to do anymore. We were at the mercy of someone else coming through for us, and I didn’t feel like he was going to. I was frantically looking for more options in order for us to keep going. I got a reply from Lynn on Monday that started out saying she would call the doc, too. Mid-email she breaks paragraph and says, “Oh! I just heard from his office. I have your report and changes.” And just like that- our first of what is going to feel like thousands of interactions w/ the People’s Republic of China was sent.

Not gonna lie to you- I sat in my chair and cried sobs of relief.

And now the fundraising begins. We need to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 in roughly a year.

Commercial break: If you’re reading this and you’ve been feeling a tug on your heartstrings for adoption, if God’s been quietly whispering to you, or He’s agressively putting a country and its orphans (or the foster system!!) in your face multiple times a day, never letting up- DO NOT LET FINANCES be your meager excuse for not being obedient. Not having the money sitting in a savings account should never be a deterrent. Say “yes” and you will begin the most insane roller coaster adventure of your life. You’ll most likely get beat to a bloody pulp in the process and scream obscenities. It happens. No judgment here. But you will be absolutely blown away by the way God provides. People will crawl out of the woodwork to support you. Your friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s teacher will advocate for your to-be son/daughter on FB and someone in Alaska will donate $5 to your Paypal account when they only have $8 in their bank account. It happens.

Reminds me of this: (Jesus talking to his disciples) “And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” ” Luke 22:35 ESV

We’ll be looking for multiple ways to fundraise, but so far, here’s what we have:

  • Photography. I’m trying to shoot until my fingers are numb. If you’re in the Midland/Odessa area and need family photos, senior photos, newborn photos, etc., I want to do them! Contact me at
  • I’ve created a Pure Charity project for Yuan Li. If you’d like to help us out, go to Pure Charity’s site and create an account, then download and install the PC widget on your internet browser. When you shop online w/ companies that have partnered w/ PC the widget will pop up in the corner-click on it. Follow the prompts it gives you and a percentage of what you spend gets donated into your Pure Charity account! Then, whenever you want, you can log on to your PC account and put your accrued money towards whatever non-profits/projects you want to give to. Search for us under THE STEPAN FAMILY ADOPTION. It’s such a cool thing! Some of the companies partnering w/ Pure Charity are Apple, Lowe’s, Barnes & Noble, Target, Old Navy, Gap, Best Buy, TOMS, + tons others.
  • We’re an affiliate! Click on this link and bookmark it onto your bookmarks toolbar. Every time you shop Amazon w/ our link, it gives us a little commission. How cool is that?! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Natalie Seitz for turning me onto this! (While you guys are at it, go show her some blog love. She’s an adopting momma, too, that’s in the thick of it. If you want to see an example of grace during the waiting season, she’s a good one.)

And because I like blog posts w/ photos better than posts w/out photos… here’s some kiddos for you. I remember watching them this particular day and having a little ache in my chest for the days when Yuan Li’s going to be doing this w/ them. He’s quite the little artist.

paint time

paint time

Of, through, and to Him…

Sarah + crew



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