Saturday, July 29, 2017

To Lily Grace on the eve of Gotcha Day...

It seems surreal to be typing this, but in just over 24 hours your daddy and I will be meeting you for the first time and our adventure together will begin. Tonight will be the last night you sleep in your crib in the orphanage. Tomorrow will be the last morning you wake up to the familiar faces who have cared for you for the first almost 15 months of your life. You will be leaving everything you know and be traveling to an unknown place and given to two people who you have never met.  I can't imagine how scary the day must seem to you. So many new experiences.  So much unfamiliarity and scariness.

But what I hope you feel sooner rather than later is the love and security that we want you to know! We have loved you since we first saw your picture on Good Friday and your daddy looked across the table to me with tears in his eyes and said, "That's our girl!".  I know it may take awhile for you to fully grasp the love we have for you. You are so loved, little one! So many have prayed for you! The Lord knew from the beginning that you would be part of our family and has already been knitting you into the hearts of each of us.  Your sisters are so excited to meet you!  Your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and so many others are waiting for the day they can meet you too!  You are already apart of our family.

We want to you to know how much Jesus loves you too! He has a beautiful and wonderful plan for your life.  We are so excited to share with you everything He has done to care for you along the way.  His works are miraculous and amazing and we can't wait to see what life has in store for you!  He has already used you to teach us so much about His Grace and provision along our journey to you.  Our trust in Him is so much deeper because of you.  You have already been such a gift and we haven't even met you!

So sleep tight, little one.  It's going to be a wild ride!  We don't even know what we are going to feed you! ;) Tomorrow you will be an orphan no longer.  Tomorrow you will have a momma and daddy and two sisters who can't wait to meet you. Tomorrow, Lily Grace Ya Xuan, is finally the end of our wait and the beginning of a lifetime of love and memories together!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

We're going to CHINA!!!

What a week this has been!  We found out on Monday that our Article 5 was finally completed and sent on to the CCCWA to await issue of our Travel Approval (TA).  Travel Approval is needed before flight and necessary appointments in country are allowed to be booked and is the last step in the long list of our paper chase process.  We were so grateful for the hoopla of the Article 5 to be behind us.  We still don't know what was adjusted that lead to the issuing but in the end it doesn't matter to us as long as we are one step closer to Lily Grace.

So we felt like we were back in the game again!  We could look at dates and begin to make more solid plans for travel, the girls at home, etc.  There is A LOT that goes into not just traveling across the world to bring home a child but also leaving two little ones home that are starting preschool and Kindergarten for the first time while we are away!  (Also a doggie who needs to be cared for!)  We have an amazing family and village that is coming together to help us with this huge endeavor.  I can't even begin to express how amazing each of these people are!  We will never be able to express our gratitude!

So we decided if we could get Travel Approval (TA) soon enough we would try and leave next week (yes we are crazy!) so as to get to Lily Grace ASAP and get home to not miss as much of Taylor's start of Kindergarten.  If not, we hoped we could at least travel the following week on 8/2.  So today we were out running many errands with the girls and I called our agency to ask a question.  During my phone call another number from the agency beeped in.  I flashed over and it was our Agency contact and she said, "I just wanted to let you know that your TA is in the system!"  Yikes!  Crazy!  Praise the Lord!  That was a quick turn around like we prayed for.  She initially suggested we wait until 8/2 to travel but after hearing our thoughts she agreed that we could try for leaving NEXT WEDNESDAY!!!

YALL WE ARE GOING TO CHINA NEXT WEEK!!!  HOLY MOLY!  Well, pending a few other things, but we booked airline tickets today.  So we are kind of in crazy mode right now.  I have all the feels.  I'm getting weapy thinking about how grateful I am for all of you.  How amazing the Lord is and how perfect His timing really is.

And to top it off, as if we even needed any more amazing news today, the Lord in His infinitely loving and grace giving way, orchestrated our goal for our matching grant to be matched today!  I can't even talk about it without getting choked up.  Y'all, that is the Lord!  We don't deserve this and we give Him all the glory and hope to use Lily Grace's story to show many others His love.  We still have puzzle pieces available but it is filling up quickly.  As I write the names on her puzzle pieces, I am humbled by the incredible people He has knitted into our lives.  This will be such a treasure!

So pray for us these next few days (and weeks!).  Pray that plans come together.  That we have the calm minds to remember all that needs to happen for China.  That we get everything we need planned for Taylor and Madelyn at home.  For our parents who will be watching the girls for us while we are gone.  For first days of preschool and Kindergarten to go well without us!  For the friends and family that will help with our dog, house, and entertaining the girls while we are away (watch out you might be receiving a call!).  And for Lily Grace, who's world is about to be rocked.  Thank you for loving us so well!

Thursday, July 13, 2017


So here we are, just still waiting on our Article 5 pick up.  Yikes, this is no fun!  Over a 3 week delay at this point and still waiting.  We are doing everything possible to "speed" the process along.  Including making phone calls to China in the middle of the night (working hours their time) to discuss the logistics of where information is listed in medical files, etc., etc. and then relaying the correct information back to all other necessary parties.  It feels like a giant game of telephone, except each step is delayed by 12 hours due to the time change.  But that's what you do for your kids right?  You stay up until all hours of the night doing what you need to do to take care of them.  No matter if it costs over $2/min to talk on the phone, just to have a chance to convince the person on the other end to re-look at the information that he already has to make a decision that will allow you to move on to Travel Approval and fly halfway across the world to bring your baby girl home.  It feels desperate sometimes.  And then I remember. . . God's got this.  He knew this would happen.  He is not surprised and He is not desperate.  So I place my confidence in Him.  Not in our government, or China's government who seem to be so difficult and slow to respond. The Lord can change our cirmumstances at any given moment.  So I just trust in Him and His timing.

Amazing shirt my Aunt Linda found at the beach!
Lily Grace has her own brand! :)
Meanwhile, in God's amazing grace and provision, we found out that we have received a $2500 matching grant through Lifesong for Orphans and funded by our wonderful church, Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, TN!  Wow, what an amazing blessing!  We are hoping to raise $2500 and then the grant will match with another $2500.  Such a tangible way the Lord has continued to show His presence and encouragement to us throughout this journey.  Our total adoption expenses will end up around $38,000 when all is said and done so this will certainly help ease some of the burden towards the end which seems to be so expensive.
This is the puzzle for "Pieces of Love for Lily Grace"

To raise the funds, we are selling puzzle pieces for a 262 piece puzzle that will be displayed in a double sided frame in Lily Grace's room.  We are calling our fundraiser "Pieces of Love for Lily Grace" and each piece is $10.  We will write the names of each person on the back of the puzzle piece it represents so we can tell her about the many family and friends who have encouraged, supported and prayed for her and our family along this journey.  We are off to a great start!  About 33% of the pieces have been claimed!  We can not say thank you enough!  

Would you consider purchasing a piece for $10 for your family, each child,
grandchild or special person in your life?
I was not prepared for how overwhelmed I would be to see the names represented on the puzzle pieces.  As I look at the names, I am reminded about how good God is too us.  He has placed so many amazing people in our lives.  We have seen Him work in so many of your stories.  We have seen Him bring children into families who waited so long for them,  He has shaped us as parents through encouragement and friendship from you, He has brought you into our lives to share and carry our adoption worries and struggles, and He continues to show up in the amazing plans He has in each of your lives.  I am beyond humbled for myself and my family to be surrounded by such amazing family, friends, coworkers, adoption family, and church members!  If you would like a piece, you can donate to or send a check payable to "Lifesong for Orphans" with "Wallace 7071" in the memo to ensure the money goes to the correct account.  The check can be mailed to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

We so appreciate all the support, prayers and well wishes we continue to receive.  A huge prayer request is that the US Consulate would receive the clarification they want in order to issue our Article 5 so we can continue to Travel Approval.  If you could pray for this we would be so grateful!  And continue to pray for Lily Grace's safety until we arrive!  We just want to get to our girl!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Delayed. . .

Well we are still awaiting the pick up of our Article 5 from the United States Consulate in Guagzhou, China.  It was supposed to be ready on June 22nd but it could not be picked up.  After some "research" we found out that there is some discrepancy in the medical paperwork and one of our required files.  Due to the discrepancies, the  Consulate is requiring the CCCWA (China Adoption Agency) to clarify before they will issue the Article 5.  At this point I believe it is all a matter of semantics and paperwork issues and we are just at the mercy of when someone decides to get the paperwork completed. Of course, I really have no idea what the true problem is and who all is involved and if the Consulate will be satisfies with the additional information they received.  Again, we find ourselves in a position where we have no control and must just sit back and allow God to do His thing.  When I found out we were delayed I said, "OK Lord, we've done this once, I can do this again."  And I have found myself much calmer this time-most definitely a God thing!  I won't lie, it is disheartening to see families who received their approval the day we should have, receiving Travel Approval, booking flights and hotels, etc.  But I know it will all work out in the Lords timing.

A friend at work who has been through the adoption process sent me this quote and I love it!  So true and such great perspetive!

It's a weird feeling for our timeline to be completely out the window now.  I had so many dates planned in my head.  Everything was worked out perfectly and with my plans we would be to China and back home the week before Taylor started Kindergarten.  But again, the Lord had to put me in my place and remind me that my plans really don't matter and it's all about His plan in this situation and in our lives.  He needs no help.  He created the world and everything in it.  He brings orphans into families and beautifully redeems their story and our lives when we invite Him in.  So He doesn't need little ole me to figure out the timing for Him.  I also realized that I was so inwardly focused on our trip and this adoption that I was doing a terrible job of looking around at this world of hurting people I encounter every day.  It's a good reminder that just because our lives get busy, we still need to seek out opportunities to love on others who need encouragement and prayer each and every day.

On a fun note, our care package for Lily Grace arrived safely to China and should be at her Orphanage today!  It's crazy to think that she may be seeing pictures of our faces for the very first time!  We have known her for two and a half months and she has had no idea.  Even though she is too young to truly comprehend, it is so amazing to think about her seeing the faces of her momma and daddy and sisters and grandparents and family that already love her so much!  Even her doggy, Peyton!  I pray that the orphanage receives the package safely and shares the items with her and takes pictures for us! Matt and I both have been wondering how they sleep at night at the orphanage.  We talked about it last night.  Does a nanny sleep in the room with all the babies in the cribs?  Do they stay awake?  Is anyone even in the room with them?  So many questions and so many unknowns but we hope the time comes soon when we won't have to worry about all of those things and she will be home safe and sound with us.

Taylor talks about Lily Grace all the time!  She is quite the budding artist and always drawing pictures of our family.  She never draws a picture anymore without Lily Grace.  This is a picture she drew the other day of Lily Grace in China (to the left with the China flag) and the rest of us in the US (on the right with the American flag).  At the bottom is the airplane that we are going on to get her.  I love that the Lord is working on her heart to prepare her for Lily Grace's arrival!  Madelyn on the other hand. . . we shall see!  She is pretty possessive these days in her 3 year old way and continues to talk about "her crib" and "her room". . . so that should be fun.  ;)

Matt and I just celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary last week.  We were able to go out dinner and spending some time together- something that will surely be a rarity soon!  I found this picture and it's rare to have pictures of just the two of us together without kiddos!  Who would have known what adventures awaited us on this day 8 years ago!  The Lord has blessed us indeed!

Pray with us that the paperwork in our Article 5 would be resolved quickly.  This week will be two weeks that is has been delayed.  Pray that the CCCWA submits the paperwork that the Consulate requested and it would be enough to resolve the discrepancies.  Also pray that once it is completed that we receive our Travel Approval quickly and we can book flights without too much of a price hike.  (Tickets to China two weeks out from travel is not cheap!)  And pray for Lily Grace.  That she is safe until we get her.  That her nannies are caring for her and loving her until we can be there to care for her.  Thank you friends for being a part of our journey.  We hope to have good news soon!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lily Grace updates!

Y'all!! We got our update from Lily Grace's orphanage and we are just more in love every day!  She looks to be doing great!  We were able to send 10 questions to have answered as well as requesting photos and videos and we are pretty happy with the information we received.  Sometimes the questions aren't answered well and there are times when you may not receive videos but we got 3!  She is so dang cute!  I find myself doing the same things I did with Taylor and Madelyn when I was pregnant with them and they were born.  I remember looking at the expiration dates of the cheese when I was grocery shopping and getting excited when I started buying cheese that was at or past my due date.  I did the same thing once we had a pretty good idea of general travel time for Lily Grace and we are way past that mark!! ;)  The next step is looking for the expiration dates on the milk.  Am I the only crazy one that did/does that stuff?  Oh well. . . I also found myself counting her fingers and toes in all the pictures and commenting on her long feet and toes (my other girls had short chubby feet!).  She also looks like she might have some flat feet like her daddy!  Many of the things I did with Taylor and Madelyn, I am doing when we get new pictures of Lily Grace to soak up!

Also, some of the information is just something so sweet and we will cherish forever.  For instance, they said she loves to climb (yikes!) and seems to have no fear.  This sounds like her cousins!  They have not found anything that she is afraid of.  They also referred to her as an "active and naughty girl". . . I LOVE IT! Maybe not in high school but we have time to work on that! They also mentioned the name of her favorite friend which is just so amazing to know and be able to tell her as she grows up.  I'm pretty sure he is in one of the videos.  We were also happy to hear that she sleeps through the night. . . And all God's people said "Amen"!  Let's not let that Wallace child trend end!

We are so close to bringing her home and this new update just makes us more and more anxious to get to China and get our girl!  Our Article 5 pick up is scheduled for next Thursday and if all goes well with that, the only thing we will be waiting on is TRAVEL APPROVAL about a week or so later (fingers crossed).  Holy cow, we are close!  A little over a month away!

We are sending off her care package to her orphanage tomorrow.  We have included an outfit, a panda lovey, a beanie baby, a small toy, her photo album of her family, and a flash drive and camera with hopes to receive more pictures and videos of her first year.  There is no guarantee that the package will make it to her or that she will receive it so we have duplicates of most items.  We just want to start loving on our girl!

Lily Grace's care package!

Pray that the rest of the process continues to proceed smoothly.  Pray that Lily Grace stays safe until we can get to China and get her.  Pray for the precious nannies and caretakers who are filling in the gaps and caring for these sweet babies and children.  Pray for the many sweet families we have met along the way through this adoption process.  Some are just at the beginning, some are right where we are, some are about to meet their children, some have been home a short time and are in the trenches and some have been home for awhile but each of them hold such a special place in my heart!  Thank you for your love and support for our family!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


We have been busy little bees in the Wallace household these days!  As Matt says, I'm in full "nesting mode".  From a paperwork perspective we have made HUGE progress!  We received our 800 approval (US Government approving us to adopt Lily Grace officially), our Chinese VISAs are completed and we have received them, we received our GUZ# (big deal but not worth going into!), completed the initial process for Lily Grace's VISA which she will receive in China prior to our departure home, and received our letter from the National Visa Center stating they had forwarded our information to the US Consulate in China.  Whew. . . everything on our end that we can do at this point is done!  Tomorrow, our agency's facilitator in China should complete our Article 5 drop off at the Embassy and it will be picked up 2 weeks later.  This step is the process of reviewing all the paperwork, forms, etc thus far to make sure everything is correct and ready to go.  If so, once the pick up occurs, the paperwork is sent from Guangzhou to Beijing where the Chinese Adoption Agency headquarters is. We then wait for our Travel Approval (TA).  Once we have TA we can book hotels, flights, etc but not until then.

Signing Lily Grace's LOA and sending it off to China!
LOA signing, Letter of Action/Approval

At home, we are working on preparing for another little one joining the family!  Matt has been working crazy hard and helping to organize and arrange everything for Lily Grace's arrival.  He worked with our niece's boyfriend, Andrew, and friend to move essentially half of the furniture in our house one day!  I'm not sure Andrew will ever come back after all we had for him to do, but he and his friend were unbelievable helpers for us!  Our niece, Kayla, also helped clean and organize!  Taylor and Madelyn now share their new big girl room.  Madelyn is out of the nursery to make room for Lily Grace and they have loved their first few days together in their new room.  Madelyn has adjusted beautifully to her big girl bed.  We are so grateful.  And now, thankfully, we have a place to put Lily Grace's clothes and other items we have been slowly collecting and washing and purchasing!  It really is coming together!

Madelyn's first night in her big girl bed!

We are hoping to receive and update for Lily Grace in the next couple of weeks.  We are also in the process of sending off a care package to her in her orphanage.  We are including an outfit, lovey, small toy, camera with hopes that the nannies will take photos of her and her friends and caretakers at the orphanage, and a photo album of her family here so she can learn our faces and names.  We pray that she receives the care package but know there is no guarantee.  My sweet co-worker, Ying, who is from China was kind enough to translate the names of everyone in our photo album so the caretakers can teach Lily Grace who we are!  I am so grateful for her help and encouragement through this process.  It has been neat to have her perspective and understanding along the way.  The Lord is so good to place such special people in our paths throughout this journey!  

Ying, translating our names into Mandarin for Lily Grace's photo album!

Friends, travel is close!  If all goes as planned we will be leaving NEXT MONTH to bring Lily Grace home!  It seems to be happening so fast now.  My mind is racing with everything left to do, all the money left to pay, travel plans, adjustment once we are home and everything in between.  But I know the Lord is faithful.  He will provide everything we need in His perfect timing.  He is never late!  I am anxiously awaiting our trip and the day we meet our Lily Grace.  I am thankful for all of you for praying for us and supporting us along the way!  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Introducing Miss Lily Grace YaXuan Wallace!

It's hard to believe I'm typing this post!  We can finally announce our long awaited and prayed for little one is coming home soon!  And she's a GIRL!  Craziness!  I didn't think that would be the case.  Matt said all along we would be matched with a little girl and I continued to remind him that it would not be the case for so many reasons (all very accurate for the record).  But obviously God had different plans.  And apparently thinks we will survive teenage years with all the estrogen (yikes!).

So how did we get here?  The Lord is amazing and He orchestrates His perfect plan with the most amazing precision and care.  I will try to summarize the events of the last month for you.

On Thursday, April 13th I came home from picking up the girls.  In the garage I checked my email on my phone and saw an email from Wasatch Adoption Agency (not our agency at the time).  It was an update email with new and current children listed with their agency.  I saw a little girl with a blurred out face and a description that read "rare opening for a family with a Log In Date to China (LID) for this very young girl".  I was immediately interested in learning more and sent a quick email to be "high on the list" of inquiries.  I went inside and showed Matt and he agreed that we were very interested but we both knew that there would be MANY people interested in this little girl.  He told me "If she's meant to be ours it will work out."  I went to bed that night and prayed, "Lord, if this is our child, work everything out for us."

The next day, Friday April 14th and GOOD FRIDAY, Matt and I were both off of work and so we decided to take the girls for breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  We were eager to hear more about the little girl.  I mainly wanted to know where we were in line and how many people were in front of us to even know if we had a chance at reviewing her file.  As we waited outside for a table I checked my email and there it was. . . a file with pictures, videos and medical information about this little girl.  I skimmed through the information quickly and showed Matt, who was immediately smitten.  He said, "That's our girl!"  I still didn't know where we were on the list so I called the agency and asked.  The voice on the other end of the phone said, "You are first.  You are first in line."  Everything went fuzzy.  I looked at Matt and held up one finger saying, "We are #1 on the list!"  He started yelling, "Tell them we want her!"  Cars were whizzing by, our girls were running around crazy, and I could process what I was hearing.  "How is this possible?!" I said.  "This doesn't happen.  People wait years for this kind of situation."  She went on to tell me about policy changes, no families with their agency currently with a Logged in Dossier to China, etc, etc.  But in the end God.  God orchestrated this girl for our family from before we officially committed to China and in His perfect way.  Agencies and timelines and norms and my "I know how this is supposed to go down" didn't stop Him from fulfilling His plan.  Looking back at my initial communication with this agency, the timing lines up to when this little girls birth mom was first pregnant and maybe even finding out she was pregnant.  I will never know the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy or birth, but I will forever be grateful for her commitment to life for this precious baby!  How amazing for the Lord to begin to connect the dots and build relationships with an agency that we didn't initially begin the process with, and would one day, over a year and a half down the road, send an email, that I would just happen to open and inquire about a little blurred out face.  God, you are AMAZING!  While eating breakfast Matt looked at the pictures, and with tears in his eyes he said, "That's my girl."  I so wish I would have snapped a quick picture for Lily Grace one day, but for me, I will ever forget the look on his face.  From that moment, he knew she was ours and had such a peace about things.  This was so important going forward for me because the coming weeks required patience and trust in the Lord's provision.

Celebrating Lily Grace with my sister and her family!

Cousins celebrating Lily Grace!

We went through the process of switching agencies and the paperwork required.  Then we had to wait for her file to officially be assigned to the agency.  After a nerve-wracking two week wait, we learned that the agency was officially assigned her file on Friday April 28th.  Then we had to receive approval  from China to switch agencies.  The tricky part was that the new agency only had Lily Grace's file for 3 weeks before it was back to the Shared List.  All the letters were sent to China and arrived within days of the file being assigned.  Beautiful.  Until I received on email one day saying. . . "CCCWA did not think our letter of support was 'supportive enough' of you as a family".  What?!?! It went on to explain that all the letters state the same thing and they just need to send a new letter to China, etc.  I was initially not concerned.  Our agency wasn't concerned so I was good.  Then the days went by with no word from China and less days left for our new agency to have Lily Grace's file.  I started letting the devil whisper all sorts of things to me.  I was a total stress ball.  The whole time, Matt said he felt a peace.  I did not feel at peace.  I was worried.  Compounding things was Lily Grace's first birthday on May 8th.  That day coming and going with still no word and I began to think worst case senerio.  I had many talks with the Lord.  I knew He was in control. I believed He would take care of things; whether that meant she was ours or not.  But, I could not shake the worry.  I learned and heard so many things during that waiting period that really challenged and strengthened my faith (see previous post!).  In hindsight, I really believe that the additional wait was built in for the Lord to show me a few things.  I heard a couple times that during trials, you have to lean on what you know about the Lord and not what you feel about your circumstances.

Celebrating Lily Grace's 1st birthday!

Finally, on Wednesday May 10th we got the news that our new LID was in the system and our Dossier was switched to the new agency so we could officially be matched with Lily Grace!!! Praise the Lord for that wonderful, long anticipated news!  I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  Then the next day, May 11th, we received word that China had given us LOA (HUMONGOUS AWESOME DEAL!) for her in the system.  Just trust me if you aren't up on the adoption lingo. .  it's important.  Basically it is China approving us to adopt her.

So now we are back in this mini paper chase world again.  We need United States approval to adopt Lily Grace, VISAs, travel approval and consulate appointments among other things.   And of course one depends on the other.  Not near as long and definitely much more exciting this time!  We hope to travel end of July to bring her home.  It will be a two week long trip. More on that later!  So sorry for the long post but the Lord has been up to a lot over the past month.

We have loved you for so long Lily Grace and we are so happy to have a face and a name now!  We are coming for you soon sweet girl! :)