Welcome to our story...

God has richly blessed us with a big, fun family...
We have 10 children... 3 homegrown & 7 born in our hearts!

Blake... our oldest is 25 and has a heart for the Lord. He enjoys; church, family, mission trips, making music, playing guitar & drums at church, and writing.

Brianna Faith... is 21 and has a compassionate & tender heart. She's a wonderful big sister. She began talking to us about adoption when she was 11 yrs old. She is "Faith in motion"

Brent... is 17 - he's an awesome guy! He's in highschool. He has a special heart for family and God. He loves sports! Brent loves to laugh & is full of life!

Bethany Lidia... now 15, joined our family in August 2006 at 9 yrs old. She's from the beautiful country of Guatemala. She started school for the very first time (at 9 yrs old) and is now in 9th grade. Lidia's passion is sports & dancing!

Benjamin Ross... 15 yrs old. We first saw his picture in April 2007 & came home in May '08. Ben is deaf, but his special need is that he needed a family. Ben loves making home-runs & hanging out with family & friends. Ben is from Tianjin, China.

Briella Xiyao... our beautiful 15 yr old daughter from Fujian Province, China. She joined our family in July 2009. She's always wearing a big smile! She has a passion for the deaf & very proficient in sign language. She loves basketball!!

Bellamei Ying... our Inner Mongolian princess. Bellamei is 14 yrs old and held my hand for the first time on July 18, 2011. She has melted into our big family seamlessly and it is truly an honor to be her mommy.

Brinley Grace FuChuan... is 9 years old and joined our family in July 2007. She's from Jiangxi Province, China. She has the most gentle, sweet spirit... she's an angel!

Bayla Shea Chao-Yu... our youngest. She's 9 yrs old, 5 months younger than Brinley. Bayla's from Hunan, China & came home at 11.5 months. She's bright, funny (and spicy!) We can't get enough of her hugs & kisses.

and our caboose... Braxton Emanuel Jordan - 8 yrs old? (see post below) He's from Guangdong Province and is now officially our son!

This 1 min video shows how we've GROWN!

Double Happiness in China...

Look at those smiling faces!
Here's a picture of Brinley & Bayla on the 3rd morning together at the hotel in Nanchang. God, you are so good....thank you for entrusting us with your beautiful children. Brinley Grace, we're taking you home :0)

Coming Soon.....

This is Brinley Grace, just 5 months older than Bayla. She's in Jiangxi Province, China and we should be traveling to get her this July-August. Yay!
These are all the pictures we've been given so far from our agency...can't wait to see a smile on that pretty face :0)

Preparing for Travel.....

As I prepare for our trip, I'm reminded of a couple of cultural things we experienced there in 2005 when we went to get Bayla... the crazy traffic and the squatty potties. Here's an example.

Brianna and Brent are getting ready for their trip to Tampa, they leave tomorrow. Lidia's getting ready for her stay with Carol, and their camp trip together, and I'm busy finalizing details for all the kids, paperwork, and travel stuff. Getting close now... 5 more sleeps and we're OFF !!

Travel Approval !

Things have been so crazy around here, I haven't had a chance to post this news! On Friday, 6/22, we received our travel approval. Everything about Brinley's adoption process has been wonderful. Lifeline is a great agency. We will fly out on 7/17. We'll fly Charlotte to Chicago to Beijing. Then a few days later, we'll fly to Nanchang (Brinley's province) and we'll be there for 6 days. Then we'll fly to Guangzhou and be there for 4 days, completing our Consulate appt at the US Embassy and other details. Then, we'll take a train ride to Hong Kong, spend the night and fly out of Hong Kong the next day back to Chicago, spend 1 night in Chicago then on to Charlotte. Blake, Brianna, Brent & Lidia are all going in different directions... Brianna is flying to Tampa to stay with Grandma Jordan for 9 days, then she flys back and is home for 1 day before leaving with the highschool volleyball team to Appalachian State Univ for volleyball camp for 4 days, then returns home and will stay with her good friend Kayla until we return. Brent is flying to Florida to be with Aunt April and his cousins... it will be so great for Brent to spend time with his cousins Brad & Frank. Lidia is staying locally with my very good friend Gabriela. Her daughter is best friends with Lidia. They are going away for a 1 week camp trip with the church... fun !! Blake will stay home and hold down the fort (and take care of Maggie, our lab, and take care of Lidia's new fish). And last but not least, Bayla is going with us. I think she is quite nervous about the plane. When I talk about it, she doesn't want to chat about it. I also see a little concern on her face when I tell her that we're going pretty soon to get Brinley... and that Brinley's in my heart too, along with everyone else. Hopefully she won't be too jealous, although I know some jealousy will be normal. We are one of 7 families in our travel group from Lifeline, so I think it will be a super-fun trip with our group, and of course my good friend Sandy (she's a blast). We have a few things about our itinerary that are a little "iffy" and we are praying that God's favor will be with us on this very far journey.
There is a possibility that we may receive an update on Brinley next week. That would be awesome... the last one I have of her is from over a year ago. I wonder if she has been sent back to the orphanage from her foster home. She is a world away, but I'm feeling closer to her with each passing day.

LOA is HERE !!!!!!!!!!

This is the wonderful news we've been waiting for...LOA (letter of acceptance). It is the final piece of paper sent to our agency from China. We are to sign it with our final **YES** that we want to adopt this child. We will receive it Fed-Ex tomorrow from our agency, sign it, Fed-Ex it right back tomorrow, and the agency sends it DHL to the CCAA (China Center for Adoption Affairs), who should get it by Tuesday. Then within 2-4 weeks, the CCAA issues TA (travel approval). Once they do that, we typically should fly out within 2 weeks. Soooooo, that means we could feasibly be leaving in 5-7 weeks...probably somewhere between July 4th and July 25th. We will be gone approx 15 days or so. I am so thrilled that it will be before school starts. Now, I have SO MUCH to do!! ...make reservations for our hotels, int'l flights, and our in-country travel (we will be flying from Beijing to Nanchang, then from there we'll fly to Guangzhou, then either fly or go by train to Hong Kong, then back to Chicago, and finally home to Charlotte) order our visa's, gather orphanage gifts, packing, exchanging money, ordering NEW U.S. bills (we must pay in brand new bills), converters, check travel restrictions...Oh My! and most importantly arranging who will keep Brianna, Brent, & Lidia. Blake will stay home and hold down the fort, take care of Maggie (our lab) and the fish. And of course, Bayla will be going with us. We are still hoping for an update on Brinley...maybe a new picture, or measurements. The last report I have on her is over a year old.
p.s. Blake safely arrived in Croatia...waiting to hear more from him soon!
The song playing in my car when I got the call today was, "How Great is Our God"... all I can say today is "Amen"

Very proud of Blake...

Here is a little photoshow of Blake's graduation party. We are very proud of the man he's become. He will start college this fall and wants to be a highschool or college teacher. Blake is in the air at this very moment on his way to Bosnia for a 9 day mission trip. Last summer he went to Brazil on a mission trip. This time it is just Blake and 2 other men. It is a Christian outreach using music ministry. You can learn more about it by visiting www.smallpersonmusic.com He will land in London in several hours, then take a flight to Croatia, then on to Bosnia. Please pray for his safety and for God's favor as they carry out their heart's work.

Stow-Away !!

This is my best friend Sandy! We've been friends for about 9 years. She is a super-great person, and a lot of fun. Sandy went with us to Guatemala on one of our visits when we were adopting Lidia. Now, she's going to China with us...yay!! Through our adoptions, she's getting to see the world :0)
Hopefully we'll be flying over the North Pole soon (today is day 64 of LOA wait)
Thanks for all your love and support Sandy...
Love ya!

Meet Fu ChuanFeng! (click on picture to enlarge it)
Her orphanage-given name means Blessed Abundant River. We will name her Brinley Grace FuChuan (abundant blessing). She was born (estimated) on Nov 1, 2003, and found at 10 days old at the gate of the Fuzhou City Medicine Company. She was taken to the Fuzhou City Orphanage in Jiangxi Province, China. We are told that she is presently in foster care. Her last report was when she was 2 1/2 yrs old, and at that time she was 24 pounds and 86 cm tall. The report also said that she is extroverted, active, speaks sentences in Mandarin, expresses her thoughts & needs, potty trained, likes to mimic and dance, knows her body parts and asks people to take her outside. She is now 3 1/2, so that last report is a year old. The agency says we may get another update before we travel. Bayla's measurements at 2 1/2 were virtually the same in height, head size, chest size & foot size, except Bayla was 3 pounds heavier. Who does her personality sound like? .....Bayla!! I have a feeling these 2 girls will be close sisters & friends growing up. They will enter school together and share the same room.