Friday, December 21, 2012

No News

We have heard from Holly at Taiwan Xi En (our agency) a couple times this month. Basically, they have not heard anything from the court since November 7. Please keep praying that they will receive our initial decree soon (approval from the court saying that we can adopt Simeon). God continues to remind us that we can trust Him with all things concerning Simeon's life and our lives.

On Christmas Eve (which will be Christmas morning in Taiwan) we are planning to skype with Simeon and Ashleigh (who is keeping him during the week of Christmas). We are also super happy that his presents made it to Taiwan in time for him to open them on Christmas (the package arrived last night). Below is my favorite Christmas picture so far this year. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Pictures - December

On Monday we got new pictures and two videos of Simeon. He is smiling, laughing, and rolling over (in one video we got to see him roll from back to front and front to back). He also likes to stick his feet in the rings on the play mat (see picture below). It is such a blessing to be able to see a little bit of what he's doing and what he's like. We hope to hear soon that the court process is proceeding (no news, yet).

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Wait

Our adoption agency (Taiwan Xi En, formerly known as His Hands Taiwan) hasn't heard from the court regarding Simeon's adoption process since the court date (November 7). This isn't abnormal, but you always hope your case will move faster than normal. :) At this point, we still hope to have Simeon home between mid-December and mid-February.

Two families were able to pick up their babies this month (also from Taiwan Xi En) and it was a huge blessing to receive updates about what Simeon is doing ("Simeon is incredibly sweet and smiles easily"), what the nannies say about him ("I love him so much," "today one of the nannies was reading to the babies from the Bible in Mandarin"), etc. It was also fun to see pictures of their trip and hear about their new little ones. We will get new pictures of Simeon on Monday and are looking forward to that.

Below are a few Bible verses about waiting that God has used to strengthen me. God is so good to us and we trust His timing for our family. And we continue to ask Him (often) to allow us to be with Simeon as soon as possible.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40:31

From of old no one has heard
    or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
    who acts for those who wait for him.
~ Isaiah 64:4

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    he turns it wherever he will.
~ Proverbs 21:1

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Court Date Recap


This week was such a great week. On Monday we were able to skype with Simeon and one of the workers. It was great to see Simeon and to be able to ask questions about how he is doing, what he is like (he loves seeing everything that's going on around him and he giggles more than the average 4-month-old), and knowing how to better pray for him. We are so blessed by the people who are caring for Simeon while we are so far away and so thankful that he is loved.

On Wednesday morning (after the court hearing in Taiwan) the directors of our agency e-mailed us saying, "Court today was amazing, it was so evident that people were praying!" The judge was very gracious and seemed positive. The next step is for a social worker in Taiwan to do a home study on the birth mother and Simeon. Once the judge gets the home studies, she will make her initial decision (this decision is whether or not the government of Taiwan approves our adoption of Simeon). A few weeks after the initial decision she will send the final decision. Once our adoption agency gets the final decision we will be able to book our plane tickets! We are so thankful to God that the court date went well and hope to be holding Simeon in our arms in the next one to three months. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good news!

During our first adoption (of our oldest son), the director of the orphanage we were working with often wrote this verse in the e-mails he sent us:
Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. ~Proverbs 25:25

I think it is so fitting for families who are adopting. This morning we got an e-mail that Simeon's court date has been set for November 7 at 2:00 pm (1:00 am central standard time). Please pray with us that the court appearance goes smoothly (especially since it is our agency's first court date with the new adoption laws in effect) and that Simeon can come home soon!

"Getting spiffed up for court"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


At church on Sunday morning the pastor told a story that ended with God reminding him, "I don't give stones in place of bread." Wow. I had forgotten. I had started to feel like I'd been begging God for bread for over three years and He has been giving me stones. The most recent "stone" has been the delay in requesting Simeon's court date. Now I know that God is good and that all things work for good (Romans 8:28), but after getting a "no" answer to your prayers (or what looks like a "no") for so long, it starts to feel like God isn't listening. But then came Sunday's reminder - "God doesn't give stones." Thankfully, I have friends who have been praying for me, that I would be content in this place of waiting. And God used that little phrase to change my heart, to see the current wait as a gift of bread, not stones. Since then my prayers and my outlook have changed. I have been praying that God uses this wait - to make us more like Jesus, to make sure we have the judge He wants for us. I have been thanking Him that Simeon is being loved well while I am far away.

Matthew 7:9-11
Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Later in the message, the pastor told how he had been thinking about the last supper (specifically in relation to communion) and thought maybe Jesus thanked God for the bread and broke it, he was also thanking God that his body would be broken for us. I don't know if Jesus was thanking God for that, but the idea of it did admonish me to be thankful for the bread God gives me, even when it is the bread of brokenness. So even as it hurts me to be away from Simeon, I can thank God that He knows all things and is taking care of details I don't even know about.

Luke 22:19
And [Jesus] took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you..."

I have SO much to be thankful for in this adoption process - my baby is in a fantastic place being cared for by wonderful people. Many adoptive parents cannot say that during their wait and actually know that the opposite is true. We have the resources to welcome another child into our home. Many, many families around the world do not have enough food to fill their children's hungry bellies. Really. Anyway, I am thankful for these things and for my praying friends, for my pastor who preached the word, for my God who does not give me stones when I ask for bread, and for Jesus whose body was broken that I might be reconciled to God.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Pictures - October

We got some new pictures yesterday, so I thought I would share. :) The documents we sent arrived in Taiwan at their destination at the beginning of last week. I am aching to get Simeon home. Now. I am praying that God will continue to help me walk this journey with Him.

Simeon with some of the things we sent - rattle socks, squeaky monkey, elephant blanket, and "New Berry" outfit
Our sweet little New Berry

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Documents En Route

Our sweet mail lady brought the package of documents (from the Taiwanese Embassy in Kansas City) first thing this morning. She usually gets here around 1:30 pm and today she came as soon as she started her route. She knew we had been waiting for the package and that it was important to us (I explained why it was so important today). We compiled those documents with the ones we had at home and took it all straight to FedEx to ship it to Taiwan. We were a little disappointed that the estimated delivery time wasn't until Monday, but thankful to have the package on its way. Now we wait. :)

The boys found a "tent" to play in

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Paperchase Gratitude

Things I'm thankful for today...

- We weren't expecting more pictures until the beginning of October, but we received an e-mail today with several pictures of Simeon!
- My mom graciously took our marriage certificate to the Iowa Secretary of State so we didn't have to mail it there and wait on the mail to get back.
- The Taiwanese Embassy in Chicago authenticated our marriage certificate even though I had sent the wrong form of payment AND had not included copies of our passports (we were able to scan the passports and e-mail them).
- The Taiwanese Embassy in Chicago quickly processed our marriage certificate and we had it back days later.
- Our adoption agency sent us our translated documents from Taiwan last Monday and we received them on Wednesday!!!!!!!!!
- Our background checks arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday. Our social worker for our home study went to St. Louis on Wednesday (for other business) and picked them up. We needed them first thing Thursday morning and were able to get them from her!!!!!
- We had to authenticate 31 documents at the Missouri Secretary of State. All but one of them cleared their (STRICT) guidelines. The one that didn't pass the inspection came from our home study agency, so I was able to get it fixed and go back to the SOS the same day to finish up that part of the paperwork.
- The boys and I were able to drive to Kansas City today to the Taiwanese Embassy there to have the 31 documents authenticated a third and final time. The woman there was very kind and said she would have them back to us as soon as possible.
- The boys were troopers and did not fuss or complain (much) as we drove around the state getting various paperwork authenticated.
- God has given me a THANKFUL heart. I am so grateful to be walking this journey with Him.

(love that crooked smile)

What's next?

We wait for the documents to come back from Kansas City (hopefully they'll arrive tomorrow; this afternoon they were sitting on the supervisor's desk waiting for approval). Then we send them back to Taiwan. Once our agency has the documents, they will apply for a court date.

And then we wait...for notification of the court date and then arrival of the court date and then the judge's initial decision and then the judge's final decision...and then some final steps (passport for Simeon, physical, appointment to get a visa) and then we TRAVEL.

We would be so grateful if you would pray that we can be with him as soon as possible, that he is well loved in the mean time in Taiwan (we trust that he is), and that we have peace as we wait.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Berry

With great joy, we would like to introduce the newest Berry:

born June, 2012
currently residing in Taiwan

Our adoption agency estimates that we will travel in 6 to 8 months to pick up Simeon, but it could be sooner (3 to 4 months). Of course we are praying for "the soonest possible moment," but we trust God's timing. Older brothers Elisha and Judah are excited to have three boys in the family and we are exceedingly blessed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

At the end of August, 2009 we were put on a waiting list to adopt from Taiwan. Over a year later, we were put on a second waiting list. The wait has been a lot longer than we thought it would be and the verse this blog is named for sustained me.

It is the LORD who goes before you, He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. - Deuteronomy 31:8