Tag Archives | adoption


On Monday, we got our “soft LOA” (Letter of Acceptance)!  I would have posted sooner, but we were rushing around to finish up our I-800 paperwork which can be filed once the hard copy of the LOA arrives via mail or email probably next week – but we wanted to be ready in case it came this week!  Anywhere we can cut off a day or so or overnight something, we do…every day counts!

I remember when we got our LOA for Philip and how quickly things went after that step.  There are quite a few steps (back and forth between US Immigration, China, Our Agency, The Consulate, etc.) that happen next – it’s confusing but thankfully some adoptive mamas who have come before have made guides for those of us like me…it can make your head spin the first time AND apparently the second time too if you’re preggers and can’t remember what you did just 8 months ago…

Also, it was encouraging news that our agency said it may not be impossible for us to be with WenXuan in China for his birthday!  So please pray with us that we can be there with him by November 28th.  Also, please be praying about Rand and Philip staying behind this time.  That is what I lose the most sleep over right now!

These two boys can’t wait for their older brother to be home with them!

Philip and Rand

(photo by Meredith Macy Photography)

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More news…

MD Wedding pics-9

(Photo cred: Meredith Macy Photography)


We are still waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China – this is the last major approval before we get our travel approval and we think we should get it in the next few weeks (based on the time it is currently taking other adoptive families to receive it).  Once we have our LOA we will travel within 3 months to China – it was exactly 3 months with Philip’s adoption.

In the meantime…the Lord has blessed us with a miracle…a baby!  We were surprised to find out I was pregnant and my due date is April 2nd.  We had an ultrasound today and it looked a LOT like it is probably a boy but we will keep you posted on that since it is really to early to tell “officially.”

We told the boys this afternoon and they were really excited.  Rand can’t stop smiling and talking about “the baby in mommy’s bump.”  We told WenXuan a little over a week ago (through a contact/friend who was visiting the orphanage) – since he’s our oldest, we thought he should get to know first!

Throughout our adoption journeys I’ve been asked the question a lot… “do you think you’ll ever have another baby?” While sometimes this catches me off guard as not really anyone’s business, I usually try not to be offended and share what’s true:   I have always had a desire to have more biological children and I believe that desire is from the Lord.  I have prayed “Lord, if a baby is not something you have in store for us, if you would take that desire away”…and the desire has never gone away.  Sure, it has taken to the back-burner lately as all we’ve been able to think about are Philip, WenXuan and also some really special kiddos we know about in China and are praying for the Lord to send them families, but the desire of having another baby has always been there.

We had help with Rand and our doctors told us it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant without help, but that it was probably unlikely.  For the past few years, we’ve just left that up to the Lord to decide for us and truly have believed that if HE wants us to have another baby that HE will guide us to the help we need or make it happen!

I do think the Lord also knows me so well and my heart for adventure, even though I never expected my next adventure would be adding THREE children to my family in 1 year!!!!  But we are up for the challenge and have never felt so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  A little over 5 years ago I remember being so sad that we didn’t have any children and now am experiencing the overflowing joy of knowing we will be a family of 6 by April – it is truly incredible.

And we know what everyone is thinking…who knows what that crazy Smith family is going to tell us next time they say they have news!?

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While we waited

Most adoptive parents, during their LOA wait, get their child’s room ready, figure out what they need for traveling and start to think about things like packing, what the child will need upon return, etc.

We decided to renovate the kitchen.

Here’s what it looked like 9-10 weeks ago…


Then about 5 weeks ago…


3 weeks ago…



















There were definitely parts of the process that wore on me, but I kept reminding myself I “decided to do this.” The most annoying parts for me were:

  • The thick dust on E V E R Y T H I N G.  Not just in the kitchen. I laugh when I think back to the first 2 weeks when we actually left up pictures and furniture thinking “oh, it won’t be in the way”  HA.
  • Not being able to cook on a stove for 10 weeks
  • Being in an unorganized mess for Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas

BUT…I have to say the good parts far outweighed the bad.

  • I love projects – this one was just slightly bigger than my other ones to date and, because of that, more fun
  • Being able to problem solve and help come up with ideas and solutions
  • Picking out new everything (I’ve never had a new dishwasher or fridge before! It is amazing and I appreciate it so much!)
  • Wes, Rand and I have adored the skilled people who have been working on this project and especially our carpenters and contractor.  I am actually dreading that there may be no one here next week in the kitchen…(which also means no more Johnny Cash sing-a-longs or people for me to fix coffee or divide my lunch with)
  • There is something extremely satisfying with having a vision and being able to work with other people to see it happen!  For example…here’s a before and after of our pantry-turned-coffee area.  It’s not completely done yet, as we are waiting on some doors, but you get the idea.





I will try and post more before and after photos soon! We are almost there…

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