Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Father's Heart - 1

Billy here.... I'm sure I am violating some unspoken blogging rule by getting into this blog-versation that Shanna started! But, I figure my role as Father to Eli earns me a few lines of space. -- While the Thunderbird Jets fly test runs around our home, kids experience the last week of school, our home is looked at every few days for potential sale and I work on a very new work project, a little boy named Eli, Elias to be more exact, spends his days within the small and non-eventful orphanage he now calls home. At this very moment he sleeps, one day ahead of me. I wonder; is he cold, is he lonely, did he eat or get cleaned up before bed? Did someone tuck him in and say goodnight, or did he fall asleep restless and needy? I wonder how things happen in the morning. Does he enjoy waking up or is he grouchy? I wonder how long he goes each day before hearing a loving voice or receiving caring attention. Does someone sing with him or tickle him? Can he find a toy to play with? -- Realizing there are hundreds of thousands of kids in this type of situations, I find it strangely easy to focus on just this one little guy, my new son Eli. -- I am listening to an audio book about the Google Story, yes the technology company. The way America provides the environment for 2 young guys to build one of the largest and most influential technology companies in the world out of their garage illustrates the vast ocean of opportunities soon to be available to Eli. America and the Ramsdell home will be a refuge for him and though he does not know we are coming, there is a date on the calendar and a time on the clock, somewhere near in the future, when his destiny will drastically change. Being passed from the arms of his caregivers to his forever family will mean a transformation in every area of life. We thank God ahead of time for every opportunity he will realize while being in our family. We also thank God for giving us the love and ability to open our heart and home to him. -- We pray, more than anything, that the God of the Universe, Father God Almighty, would visit this little boy each and every night until we come, speaking and singing His love over him, causing his heart to long for the Father in Heaven and feeling comfort and peace. -- If I could speak to him now I would call him by name. I would tell him, "Elias Ramsdell, you have been chosen by God just as I have. To leave the life of an orphan and to live forever in the arms of Father God, a son so deeply loved that nothing will ever be the same for you. You will never go hungry, never be alone and never live a day without the love of a family. Watch for us, we will be there soon, we love you."
Until that moment, I fight the distraction of this great adventure and go back to work.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer, Glorious Summer

There are certain things that just scream summer to me. When you live in Colorado, every season is beautiful -- but you wait and watch for summer with great anticipation! You're pretty positive it's going to arrive, and then comes one more wet, cold, maybe even snowy shower that literally dampens your expectations. Summer does come though and while it stays it's glorious!

Today, Memorial Day, is perhaps that last cold, wet day of Spring. Just maybe, summer will arrive tomorrow. If it does, I'm prepared! Here's my list of things I must do this summer...

1. Fly to China and adopt a little boy whose life will be forever changed. Ours will change as well...and we can't wait!

2. Send Elizabeth off on her second international mission's trip, Germany! Try not to cry and act anxious every day she's gone.

3. Find a Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand and frequent it often; Settle on a snow cone if I must; As a last resort, there is always the ice cream truck, but I'm a little grossed out by that.

4. Walk to the park with the kids and lay by the fountain until I get sunburn on my cheeks. Feed the ducks even though the sign says not too.

5. Make the drive to Denver and lay by the wave pool in Six Flags at least 4 - 5 times; Ok, I might have to settle for standing in the kiddie pool.

6. Camp. Even if it means sleeping in a tent. Choose a camp ground close to the movie theatre so we can go see Transformers.

7. Grill and Eat the most spectacular burger on the planet.

8. Nuture the few plants in my yard and hopefully eat some home grown lettuce and tomatoes.

9. Spend a few lazy mornings reading my Bible as long as I want.

10. Remember to kiss my husband and hug my children more often. Do this after crushing them in a game of badminton in the back yard!

I also reserve the right to: plan a couple spectacular vacations for the fam in my mind (Washington DC and the Disney Cruise come to mind!) -- and start saving my money for them!, sell the house, clean out closets, plant more flowers that I can afford, hike, hike, hike, go out to 'adult only' dinners with friends, read pointless fiction books, start a nature journal like Mr. Spiderwicks, go fishing, bike the Santa Fe Trail, try the incline, Aerobics for an hour, etc. etc. etc. But...we'll see!

Hope your summer is a memorable one as well!

Initials and dates

There's a lot of initials involved with international adoption: LID, LOA, MCC, LOI, TA, DTC, (LOL) to name a few. And who can state the importance of adoption dates and timelines?

For those less familiar here's the run down of the adoption alphabet from our start date to where we are now.....

* We first attended Orientation at Chinese Children Adoption International in Denver, Colorado with application in hand in Feb of 2006.....8 months before our little boy was born.

LID (Log.In.Date.) 4/17/07 - this was the date the chinese government received our official stack of paperwork (dossier). Our dossier has been holding our spot in line ever since.

MCC (Medical.Conditions.Checklist) 9/24/08 - on this day, we turned in a form to the adoption agency stating exactly which "known" medical conditions we were open to accept...this decision ultimatley led us to our "match".

LOI (Letter.Of.Intent) 4/2/09 - today we officially accepted a "match" for Zhang Wei. We actually found and chose this boy ourselves from our adoption agency's website. We submitted our letter stating that we intended to adopt him.

PA (Preliminary Approval) 4/8/09 - we received an electronic acknowledgement from China today saying that we were tenatively approved to adopt Zhang Wei.

LOA (Letter Of Acceptance) 4/15/09 - today we received an offical, electronic letter from China saying we were actually approved to adopt our little guy. We must now resubmit our stack of LOA paperwork for a second approval!

LOA #2 (Letter of Acceptance - 2nd fililng) 5/15/09 - today we have recieved official notice that our second filing has made it to the Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs. We are hoping to travel within a month!

TA (Travel Approval) ??? - we are currently awaiting notice from the Chinese Government that we are approved for travel. The travel approval is good for 5 months. At this point, we'll be able to book plane tickets!!!

We are also anxiously awaiting our Gotcha Day (day we actually get Eli), Family Day (day we finalize our adoption of Eli) and of course the greatly anticipated "We've actually returned to America and can take a breath Day!" ;)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The beginning - but not the beginning beginning

I thought I should start my families blogging experience with a nice L O N G blog about how Billy and I came to be married. After all -- it's hard to appreciate where we are if you don't know where we've come from. Enter...my four bio kids trying to finish up their school year, a husband immersed in a busy career and ministry, a relator whose trying to sell our home, clients and students of my ever growing music studio, and well...you get the point. A long, romantic blog about our glorious beginning may never happen.

While you wait for that amazing blog -- here's a quick list of 10 things you need to know about the Ramsdell's.

1. The God of the Universe pursued us. When we realized this, we responded to Him. He graciously set our feet on a path to follow Him. Our life is NEVER boring.

2. We think being married and being parents is fun --- most of the time. We're not a perfect family, but we are a forgiving family.

3. We have the most creative, brilliant, energic bunch of bio kids in the history of bio kids who have no appreciation for cleaning their rooms. They have a life -- and we have our kids!

4. We love sunscreen, the beach, a tan, a good book and a great Jon Egan song.

5. Speaking of music, we love music. I play piano and Billy plays the CD player. We have kids who play guitar, recorder, dance and sing. We have 5 IPODS and over 1,000 CD's.

6. We think going to church, praying and serving is a good time.

7. We believe that every once in awhile Cheez-It's, Oreos and/or Cereal makes a fine dinner.

8. We'd vote for a 4 hour/4 day work and school week if we could, but in reality we'd all be far too serious to stick to it after awhile! On most days we work long and hard.

9. Because we believe in working long and hard -- we LOVE vacation and we LOVE our down time. We can plan and pull off a family vacation better than any family I know. We're crazy about it actually. We also love Friday nights snuggled on the couch watching a movie, going to the movies anytime, taking walks to the park, skating, swimming, riding ATV's, hiking, shopping, and blogging.

10. We are on a journey right now to a little boy in China we plan to name Elias Zhang Wei Ramsdell. We'll call him Eli for short. He of course doesn't know that he is waiting for us -- but shortly -- he'll take the plane ride of his life and become a Ramsdell. His life will NEVER be BORING.