Happy Friday to you! Ever since we got official approval for Esther things have been a little bit crazy around here. We have been trying to work on the scrapbook album and video to send to her in our free time. We also received an update on Esther the other day. It was so exciting to hear how she is doing. She still doesn’t know about us but will once the orphanage receives the album and video. So we better get things moving!
With her latest update we were given her current metric weight and height, and Chinese clothing size. Thank goodness for conversion charts! We also got to find out a little bit about her current likes and dislikes. For instance, her favorite foods are candy and cake (typical two year old), her favorite color is pink, and she loves wearing dresses. She is such a little girl! It was so exciting finding out her current likes and dislikes and hearing little glimpses of her personality in the e-mail.
We also got permission to send her a gift with our video and scrapbook! A gift picked out by us! Something we selected and touched with our own hands and then send it to Hong Kong for Esther to touch and hold. Talk about being excited and nervous at the same time.
Michael Luke and I decided on a recordable storybook, I Love You Head to Toe, and a stuffed panda to match. Let me tell you, it is hard to find a good recordable storybook. I thought those things were everywhere but apparently they are a little hard to come by. We searched B & N, Toys R’ Us, and finally Lifeway before finding one that we felt like would be the perfect story to read to her. Each page describes something that we love about her and will be read by Michael Luke and me. This way she will already begin to hear that we love her as well as become familiar with our voices.
While out and about the other night we also came across a miniature stuffed panda bear. Like 1-1/2″ tall! We couldn’t resist buying it to use in the dollhouse that we are building Noah for her birthday! A little reminder of our journey to bring Esther home!
While we are busy knocking things off our to-do list let me know what you have planned for the weekend. I hope it involves resting…. I could sure use some of that. What Fall activities do you have up your sleeve? I’ll be back next week sharing all our Fall decor and more!
On our last Hong Kong adoption update post, our dossier had just been submitted to Hong Kong, the time frame for travel was potentially looking longer than originally expected, and we still had not matched with a child.
Matching with a child…. What does that mean?
Matching or matched are terms used in adoptions which imply that an orphanage or government agency has granted a family approval to proceed forward to adopt an available child. In Hong Kong, matching can happen two different ways.
Our adoption agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, partners with Mother’s Choice in Hong Kong. Mother’s Choice provides a home to children who have been abandoned. They first try to place the children with a family from Hong Kong. If an in-country family is not found for a particular child, then Mother’s Choice begins advocating for the child a family in the U.S. This is done by placing the child on the “Waiting Children” list available to the four U.S. agencies that are licensed to work in Hong Kong. The information is then forwarded from the agencies on to the families seeking to adopt from Hong Kong. At this point a family can request to be matched with a child on the list. Mother’s Choice then lets all other agencies know that a family has requested a match and gives a window of seven days for other families to also request a match with that particular child. Once all requests are received, Mother’s Choice then selects a “match” based on which family would be the best for the child. Remember, the adoption process is about what’s best for the child.
The other route to match in Hong Kong is after receiving dossier approval from Mother’s Choice the dossier will then be sent to the Hong Kong Adoption Unit. Once they approve the dossier, they begin looking through all of their files of children available for adoption. A child’s file will be chosen based on the Child Desired Form and sent to the waiting family for review and possible approval. If after reviewing the files, the family doesn’t think the child would be a good fit for them, they can send the file back and request another file. This continues until a family accepts a file and requests to move forward with the adoption process. This second route is a little longer than the first one and one of the reasons why the projected timeline was longer than ML and I were originally hoping.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about the second route anymore because as of Wednesday we officially matched with a little girl from Mother’s Choice that we are naming Esther! Surprised? Me too! I’ll be back next week to share how the whole process of events unfolded, but in a nut shell, up until two weeks ago we knew matching so soon was a possibility but honestly didn’t really think it would happen. When people asked, “How soon?” We would always reply, “It could be any day or several more months.” Well it looks like God decided to take the “any day” route, and boy are we happy, as you can tell from my Instagram post on Wednesday.
On cloud nine today!
Even though we have matched with Esther, we haven’t adopted her yet, so a lot of her information is still considered private… including pictures of her. So while I would love to show you her beautiful smile and adorable face, I can’t until she is officially ours. In the meantime I can tell you that she is eight months older than Noah and has quite a spunky personality. She speaks both English and Cantonese (smart little thing)… unfortunately, ML and I only speak English. We look forward to bringing her home with us and are excited that we get to be her “forever” family.
Update: Our original intentions were to keep the birth order but lots of prayer and falling in love with this little girl we knew she and and Noah would make wonderful sisters.
So how did we decide on “Esther.” Like Noah, we knew we wanted a less common Biblical name. We came up with a list of several Biblical girl names we liked and pretty quickly decided on Esther. Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after a girl. Esther herself was an orphan raised by her uncle and her heroic actions are credited with saving the Jewish race. In Hebrew Esther means “star”… a name that is very fitting for the Esther of the Bible and a name that will surely be fitting for our little girl. We named Noah, which means movement, while she was still in the womb, and she has certainly lived up to her name. I can’t wait to see Esther fulfill hers!
Esther is a fascinating book of the Bible and filled with comic relief and silent references to God. If you have never read it or it’s been awhile, it’s a good book to add to your reading list. I’m so glad that I finally got to share the news with yall and will definitely share more updates as we get them. Thanks again for all your prayers and please don’t stop.
P.S. Travel to Hong Kong is still uncertain because there are several steps in the adoption process that we lack. For instance, we still need approval from the Hong Kong Adoption Unit and that can take up to eight weeks. All in all we hope to travel to Hong Kong by the end of the year to bring our little girl home.
P.P.S. For the full journey of our adoption, visit the Hong Kong Adoption tab at the top of the page.
First I would like to thank everyone for their kind words about our adoption news. We appreciate all the conversations, texts, messages, likes, and comments that let us know y’all are behind us 100% and are continuing to pray for us. Even if our adoption story is beginning to sound a little bit like “The Girl Who Cried Adoption.” We are beyond excited with the switch to Hong Kong and have no doubt that is where God wants us and we don’t even begin to question the road he has lead us on to get there. Who said all roads were straight and without traffic jams anyway?
Today I thought it would be fun to share a little bit about Hong Kong, what the trip will look like for us, and a little bit about the matching process.
Michael Luke and I have had such a fun time learning about Hong Kong. Since this was our second to time switch countries we knew the drill for the required readings that help each couple learn about the country their next child will come from. Rather than bore you with history lesson I’ll share a few highlights.
Hong Kong is not a country but a territory of China (“One country, two systems”)
Hong Kong was once a colony of the British Empire then Japan took control with the British later resuming control and finally China taking the reins in 1997.
English and Chinese are the official languages. Which is great because I really don’t see myself learning a Chinese dialect in the next few months.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and therefor one of the most expensive places to live. For fun, ML and I watched some House Hunters International shows that took place in Hong Kong. Apparently it is highly unusual to have a oven in your house since almost all cooking is done entirely with the wok. Which leaves the question… how do they make brownies, cake, or cobblers?
The city has an amazing skyline that puts on a light show nightly and is best viewed from a boat in the harbor. I might have to conquer my fear of boats on water for this.
The food is supposed to be amazing! Need I say more?
What The Trip Will Look Like For Us
There’s not a lot of real concrete information on this but unlike Peru where our in country stay would have been 28 days this trip will only need to be about a week long. Some people might consider this a plus but ML and I were really looking forward to being out of country so long.
Despite the visit being short I am looking forward to it… except for the almost 24 hours worth of flying and layovers that will be needed to get there. Jet Lag! I don’t even want to imagine what that is going to do to Noah. That girl likes to move! Speaking of Noah, she had her passport photos made last week and I snuck in a few candid shots.
We figured we better get a move on it since we could be traveling by the end of the year. As we find out more information you can bet that I will be back to share more about the trip.
The Matching Process
With Hong Kong you can match with a child at any point in the process or once you get to the end Hong Kong will select a child to present to you based on your child desired form. Michael Luke and I already have access to the waiting children list. So far there hasn’t been one available that meets our needs but we are hopeful that one will become available soon. If a child does become available that we feel look would be a good a fit for our family we can then request more information and put a hold on that child. If we make it through the whole dossier approval process and still haven’t matched with a child then Hong Kong will work to present you with a child that they feel will best work with your family. In that case you can then review the file, pray for God’s direction, and either accept the child or ask for another match. So for now we are hoping to match with a child off of the Waiting Children list. Both routes could lead us to Hong Kong by the end of the year though.
So there you have it. A little about Hong Kong, our trip,and the matching process. All this adoption stuff can get a little confusing… even for me. Hopefully, this helps to clear some stuff up though. Has anybody ever visited Hong Kong? Or maybe you are just a huge fan of Chinese food? I feel like I need to expand my Chinese cooking skills now.
P.S. If you have missed any of our adoption posts or can’t remember it all because we through you for a loop every time check out our Hong Kong Adoption tab at the top of the page for all our adoption posts.
P.P.S. For more cool Hong Kong pictures check out my Hong Kong Baby board on Pinterest.