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The dream of adopting a child has been in my heart for as long as I can remember.   In 2nd grade I was obsessed with the movie Annie. At my Annie-themed birthday party that summer, I received an Annie album, an Annie necklace, and an Annie towel. The story of orphan Annie finding a home had captured me – and everyone knew it. “Why adoption?” some people ask. I guess I just can’t think of anything more beautiful in which to invest the life and resources God has given our family.

When Tim and I first met in college, China had just opened up to Westerners, and we were moved by the history, culture and amazing people of China. Tim moved to Beijing for 2 years after college, serving with a campus ministry and teaching English. We were dating long distance at the time, so I went to China to visit Tim. We have so many memories of that trip, including walking along the Great Wall of China, visiting Tiananmen Square, eating super spicy noodles in a dingy underground restaurant and a walk in Purple Bamboo Park when Tim brought up marriage. I said, “I’m really not ready for this conversation yet.” Geez, what was I thinking?!

When we got married, we both agreed that starting a family “someday” was a desire of our hearts. We decided we would try, “down the road,” to have 1 child biologically if possible and we’d try to adopt 1 child from China if possible.

Before our now 3½ year old son Russell was even born, we had begun pursuing adoption through CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International.)  We filled out the application and attended the 24 hours of required parenting courses. Then we sort of stalled out in completing all the paperwork. Part of our stalling out was just neither of us being good at details, but I also think our hearts were catching up with all the realities of adoption. Eventually our agency said we either needed to move forward or close down our file.

With a lot of help and prayer, we finished the paperwork in the fall of 2014 and finally “matched” with our soon-to-be daughter Lyla on January 8, 2015.

We now wait for her to come home! We are filled with awe, wonder, anticipation, and a whole new set of hopes & fears as we await “Adoption Day,” which is a phrase marking the anniversary of when an adopted family finally gets to hold their child in their arms.

To be continued…