Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jesus, only Jesus!

Amazing day for our family and all I can say is look at God's handy work!  His story is magnificent
and His timing is wonderful (even when I don't realize it).  He works out the big things and cares about the little things too!  His ways truly are higher and so far ahead of my short seeing and small minded human self that I am only beginning to figure it out!  We received news that our Dossier made it across the world safely to China on 12/26 after being sent from our adoption agency on the 22th. . . Praise God!  That started the wait for our LID (Log In Date to the CCCWA. . . China's adoption/welfare system).

So pause and let's talk about the fact that MY SISTER HAD A BABY TODAY!!!!  I have a new niece!!!  Yippeee!!  I can't wait to meet her in a few days!  Poor Ty (my nephew) is seriously out numbered on our side of the family with 4 girls currently and him being the only boy!   Little Andi Lee arrived this afternoon and is cute as can be!  She is named after both of my grandmothers and I know they would love her so much!
Andi meeting her older sister and brother!
So heading home, I checked my email and I received an email from our agency that as of today we are officially logged into the CCCWA in China which means we are LID!!! Another huge step!  And on the same day my niece was born.  It was overwhelming to think of how the Lord orchestrated these two major life milestones to culminate on the very same day and how so many steps had to occur to get us to this point and it lead to the same day?!  What is this?  It's almost too much to bear. I called Matt on the way home to tell him and he said, "Let me guess, you want to cry?"  I mean, I am a mess these days!  The goodness of the Lord is just too much for me to take!

So now we wait for a call.  We don't know how long it will be.  Days, weeks, months, who knows.  God's timing is perfect and His timing is where I want to be. . . And try not to worry (not completely there yet).  I read a quote by Ann Voskamp in The Greatest Gift (which is the Advent book that I am currently on December 10th in. . . oops!) that says "Worry is belief gone wrong.  Because you don't believe that God will get it right."  Wow, that it powerful and convicting for me.

We look forward to what 2017 has in store for our little family.  New adventures for sure.  We hope to share God's love and grace with those we meet and share life with.  We hope to be blessings to you just as so many of you have been to us!  Happy (almost) new year friends!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas to CHINA from the Wallace Family!!!

Stockings for everyone including our little one in China!

We received a pretty amazing Christmas present today from our adoption agency!  An email staying the following:

Here’s the news you’ve long been waiting for—your dossier was sent to China today (12/22/2016)!  Hooray!  J"

I'm not going to lie, I had to fight back the ugly cry when I read those words.  It's hard to explain to those who have not gone through the same process.  However, this is such a huge relief and celebration after over 6 months (7 in our case) of appointments, phone calls, computer modules, meetings, fingerprints, set backs, celebrations, tears, trips to governmental buildings throughout the state, sending precious documents to couriers to complete sealing processes, and so many more things that are hard to put into words.  We have completed a HUGE milestone!  HORRAY!

So what next?  Now out dossier will arrive to China in a few days and we will be "logged in" with the  Chinese Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) and we will have a log in date (LID). This is when we will have the opportunity to be open to many more matching opportunities with children.  From this point we could be called with a potential match in a day, a week, a month or months. . . who knows!  We will literally just be waiting for a call.  Once we accept a match I am told we travel between 3-5 months from that date so I am hoping we travel this coming Summer but there are still so many unknowns.

For now we are just grateful for God's grace and goodness He continues to bestow upon our lives.  I have been so reflective lately and find myself lying in bed thinking of our next little one.  Who are you?  How old are you? Are you walking yet?  What are you doing?  Are you having a good day?  I pray your caregivers are taking good care of you!  I am working at St. Jude this Christmas and I can't help but think how fitting it is this year for me to be taking care of other children since halfway across the world someone is taking care of you.

There is a Third Day song called Merry Christmas and whenever I listen to it (throughout the entire year and even before we decided to adopt from China) I come completely undone.  I feel like we are literally living it out this year.  It's surreal and exciting and heartbreaking and amazing all at once.

So this Christmas hug your family tight and think of our little one so far away!  We are getting closer and closer to getting there!  We are so grateful for your love and support along the way!  God's perfect timing will make it all come together at just the right moment and we long for when that moment comes.  Merry Christmas friends!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

So close!!

Well, we are still in the paper chase, but so close to being done!  Our Dossier, which consists of 13 documents that have to be created and then certified by 5 different groups from Memphis up to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. is almost complete!  We sent 12 of the 13 documents to our courier in D.C. last week to go to the U.S. State Department and then the Chinese Embassy for the final seals to complete the "sealing process" for each of those documents.
Drinking from my Washington D.C. Starbucks mug on the day Matt FedEx'ed our
Dossier documents to the US State Department and Chinese Embassy in Washington!
Now we only lack one document which is the I800A and basically is the United States Approval for us to adopt a child from outside of this country.  This required paperwork, money (of course!), a finger print appointment for Matt and I and now we are awaiting an approval.  I may or may not be calling almost every day to check and see if we have been approved yet.  Once we are approved and receive this document in the mail, we will complete the "sealing process" (notary, county clerk certification, TN Sec of State, US State Dept and Chinese Embassy approvals) for this document and then ALL OF OUR DOCUMENTS will go to our agency for review and translation and the SENT TO CHINA!!!  This is a huge deal and we will celebrate and you will know when this happens!

Our fabulous finger printer to the left and lovely manger who approved us to walk in for our appointment early.

We took our documents to Nashville for the Secretary of State sealing for our Documents a couple of weeks ago.  Matt wanted to make a fun day trip out of it, so he flew us there and back.  It was a fun little getaway for just the two of us. (And a good excuse for him to get some flying time in!)

Best lookin' pilot I ever did see!

It was a pretty early day and I was a little grumpy (Matt said my Kind bar I had for breakfast was not working ;) ) and tired.  I was driving to the airport to meet Matt after droping the girls off and thinking about how tired I was.  I realized that my lack of sleep was probably very similar to how it would be if our little one was home with us right now.  I don't know how old he or she is, but I'm guessing an infant currently and if home with us now I would be getting less than full nights of sleep most days anyways.

I also had a moment during lunch in Nashville when I was "starving" and looking for a place to find food.  As I thought about how hungry I was, the Lord said, "You think you're hungry, think of all the people around the world who feel like this every day all day and don't get to walk up to a Chick-fil-A and order food." WOW, that will get your attention quick and snap you back into a grateful mindset.  I have so many blessings in my life that I don't even realize what they are on a day to day basis.  Thank you Lord for a warm bed to sleep in and food on the table for my family and I each day.  Thank you for the opportunity for us to be able to bring another child into this blessed life you have graciously provided for us.  Help me to not take it for granted!

Our Adoption File Taylor named "JoJo" :)

We first met with Carole, from our Home Study agency to pick up our Home Study and have it notarized in Nashville.  We then headed over to the Secretary of State Office to have all of the douments sealed by their department.

Meeting Carole from Adoption Assistance to get our Home Study!

Getting closer every day!

We finished our paperwork and made it back to the airport ready to head home.  We were on time and things were looking good.  AND THEN, when looking through the documents we realized one of them was filled out incorrectly!  Holy Moly! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Check them before you leave? Yes, yes that would have made perfect sense.  In fact, my lovely hubby even mentioned something about that and I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "They are professionals babe.  They know what they are doing."  So rush, rush, rush back to downtown Nashville, into the building that requires security clearance and back up to retrieve the corrected document and back to the airport to head home to get the girls before the end of the day.  So much for laid back, huh?  Oh well, we got everything done in the end.  And apparently they mistook Matt and I for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (I mean we do look JUST like them) as we had a Cadillac pulled up planeside upon arrival to the airport and we pulled it right back up to the plane when we left.  Pretty fancy huh?

I mean, this is service!  Our rental car pulled up plane side ready to go!

Matt made me promise to put a picture of the plane's instrument panel in the blog post. ;)

In the meantime we will just wait for our government approval and apply for some adoption grants to help with the financial aspect of the adoption.  We are are looking forward to having some big steps completed soon to see months of hard work paid off.  Thank you for continuing to encourage and pray for our family!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Still Chasing Paper . . .


So I figure we are more than overdue for an update! We have been in a little bit of a lull over the past month or two.  Matt and I finished gathering most of our necessary documents and completing our part of the home study so it was time to sit and wait on others to complete their tasks before we could proceed to the next steps.  I have to admit, at first I was a bit frustrated with the waiting, however it has been a nice reprieve.  

In the meantime we completed our t-shirt design and collected orders from family and friends-many of them you!  We so appreciate the support we have received!  We know that the Lord has placed so many of you in our lives to encourage us along the way and we are so grateful!  The t-shirts are being printed now and we are hoping they will arrive in the next week to us so we can begin to distributing them.  I also took on a new endeavor as a Matilda Jane Trunk Keeper in order to help contribute money towards our adoption funding.  For those of you who are not familiar, Matilda Jane is a company of clothing for babies, girls, tweens and women and it is absolutely ADORABLE and fantastic.  I have enjoyed using one of my "hobbies", as Matt refers to it (AKA buying cute and quality clothing for Taylor, Madelyn and myself), and sharing it with others while providing towards our adoption.  It's a win for everyone!  You can see the clothing at and look me up! (Jenn Wallace, Trunk Keeper #3223)

Today Matt and I continued our paper chase with a visit to the County Clerks Office in Memphis.  We have to have each of our documents that are notarized confirmed by the County Clerk (and of course each there is a fee for each document ;) ).  We had the sweetest lady helping us.  Each step is so stressful in the process because if anything is messed up you have to start the whole thing over again for that document.  And the rules are CRAZY.  Like "Don't mess up the staples or it will look like you tampered with the document and you will have to re-do it."  WHAT THE HECK?!?  So every time she stapled I watched with sweaty palms. . .seriously, not joking.  If I survive this process without hypertension I will be amazed.  Next the documents go to Nashville and then Washington D.C. and then the Chinese Consulate (also in D.C.) and then to CHINA in the Dossier!!!!  That will be a fantastic day.  We still lack one document called the I800A which is the governments approval for us to adopt a child from another country.  This approval can take up to 90 days (holy moly) but we are hoping that it will be more like 45ish days.  We shall see.  This will be the last document we wait on for the Dossier (AKA large pack of documents that goes to China).
Our sweet friend who helped us at the County Clerks Office!

We literally had to search through these books for a notary that wasn't in the computer system.  Matt was pretty sure I was going to be arrested for taking this picture!

Outside the County Clerk Office with "The Adoption Files Box"

So that is our update for now.  Still paper chasing.  But getting closer all the time to seeing the precious little one that the Lord has chosen for us!  I think about what he/she is doing now.  I pray for him/her as I am certain he/she is born.  I pray the Lord covers him/her with His feathers and protects them from pain and sorrow and keeps them safe until we can come to bring him/her to their forever family!  I was in Sunday School (I still call it Sunday School even though I'm a grown up now) the other day and a verse we read jumped out at me and brought tears to my eyes.  The Lord was telling me that He is still in control, as He always is and I so easily seem to forget.  I love this verse as it is so fitting for our family right now.
I also LOVE the song by Natalie Grant called "King of the World".  It talks about how we can sometimes forget how great and mighty and powerful and AMAZING God is.  After all if He created this whole world, I'm petty sure He can handle all of the "goings on" of the world as well.  So when I get stressed that things aren't working on MY timeline or how I want them to go, I realize it isn't about what I think should or shouldn't happen; but that I serve an All Powerful, All Knowing God who's got this under control!  Praise the Lord!  Here are a few of the lyrics:

When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the kind of the world

Ohhh, you set it all in motion
Every single moment
You brought it all to me
And you're holding me

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Adoption Paper Chase...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for all of the kinds words of encouragement and prayers you have given us since we have shared the news of our adoption journey with you. These sweet gestures mean the world to Matt and I!

To update you on a little more of the details, we are currently in what the adoption community refers to as "The Paper Chase".  We have spent about 3 months collecting various birth/marriage certificates, address records of where we have lived since 18 years old, background checks, child abuse clearances, doctors appointments, pet health records (!!!), updated passports and the list goes on!  We are completing our home study and then continue with more paperwork to complete what is called our Dossier. This is basically a group of various documents that is notarized, approved by the county, state, US and finally embassy prior to being mailed to China to give China a picture of who we are.  Let me tell you, it's not for the faint of heart but worth every moment I know!  We don't know for sure but we will likely not be matched with our child until our Dossier is received in China. The Dossier takes about 6 months on average to compile.
One of our fabulous paperwork sessions!

So about our child, we do know a little.  We said we are open to either a boy or girl up to 2 years old. We also filled out information about certain medical conditions we feel comfortable with. A great part of my excitement in this journey is seeing how the Lord reveals His plan to us.  Much like when I was pregnant, I have a picture in my mind of what our child will look like (gender, age, medical needs, etc).  But most of all I am confident in the Lord's plan and know He has our perfect little one already knit together and being prepared for us as we are being prepared for him/her.

We think (very key word...think!) we might travel sometime next Spring or Summer to China to meet and bring our little one home.  The trip is about two weeks long and we will be in various parts of China during the that time.  After that we take the short (ha) flight back home and begin our life as a family of 5!

I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the Lord's provision for us during this time! The ways in which He has showed up are unbelievable to me, truly we serve a mighty, loving, kind, gracious and powerful God!  I have a journal documenting every single thing He has done so I can be reminded.  He has shown me in tangible ways that He truly knows how to meet our every need, and in ways that are better than I hoped for! We pray and know that He is providing peace for our little one like He is providing it for us.

Again, we are so grateful for all of the sweet words. Thank you for praying and loving on our family-it means so much!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

ADOPTION!! Here we go!!

So. . . after a 2 1/2 year hiatus from blogging I've decided to start it up again to share our adoption journey.  In the meantime, since my last post, we have added Madelyn to our crew (who is now 2 years old! Holy moly I had completely neglected anything that resembles blogging about the fun exciting times we've had since she came along.) So, here we go!  Hoping this will help keep everyone updated on our journey to our newest little addition to our family.  The Lord has already taught us so many things in the past year as well as showing himself in many ways and I just know this will be a time of growth in our faith.

Many of you know that adoption has been something that has been on our hearts for a while.  About one year ago Matt and I began to seriously work towards beginning our adoption journey.  We had no real "place" we necessarily wanted to adopt from.  I have always be drawn to international but equally love domestic as well.  We were basically open to many countries, including the US, and we just thought that we would work towards many places and the same time and go with whatever place got us our child the quickest.  Ha!  We learned immediately that it doesn't quite work like that.  Each and every country's process is so very different and the requirements are different, requiring you have to choose your country before anything else can start.  So dang, first "road block".  I initially felt my heart being tugged toward China.  We looked into China and quickly became scared of the process there.  So we looked at a few (or many) other countries to see how their process worked.  Then we had Orphan Sunday at our church and, aside from squalling THE ENTIRE TIME, I started to wonder if God was leading us to domestic adoption.  We met with two different fabulous agencies in Memphis and thought we had found where we were meant to be.  A weeks into that processes a couple of things happened to shift our course yet again.

First, I read a post from Ann Voscamp (, where she announced that their family was adopting as well.  She mentioned in their journey how there was no dramatic "fireball" showing them what to do.  After months of praying she still didn't feel like she had a clear answer.  Her husband finally said, "Let's do it." And as she writes, "you can only walk so long before you get to a fork in the road and you've got to take a stab at faith".  Wow!  This was where we were!

Secondly, I was watching a YouTube video ( from Francis Chan and his wife from a marriage conference.  I still remember being in the kitchen cooking dinner while Matt was at the playground with our girls.  I was listening to the video and all of the sudden the "marriage" discussion was talking about adoption.  What?!? The Lord was bringing so many things into our lives to confirm His plan for us.  So naturally I started bawling again.  (Which I realize is pretty much my baseline, but this adoption thing has taken it to a whole new level.)  My key takeaways about adoption from listening to Francis and Lisa were:
     -What if we didn't do that?  Look what we would have missed at on!
     -Why wouldn't we assume adoption, unless we hear a voice from heaven saying "Stop".  That is    what the bible is about.  Assume action.
At that moment the Lord continued to press China onto my heart.  I talked with Matt later that night, discussing all that I heard and was feeling and he looked at me and said "Let's do it!".  Whoa, we had made our decision, one year after we started at China we were back here again.  This time with confidence that this was where the Lord had our next child.

This was my fabulous plan to spell "CHINA" with our hands.  Looked so much better in my head! ;)

After that, things went pretty smoothly.  We picked an agency, found a home study agency and began preparing for a journey to our child.  We can't wait to share this journey with you.  I'm not going to lie, it's exciting, and nerve wrecking, and frustrating, and plain terrifying at times.  But as I said earlier, the Lord's hand is on this journey and we have already seen His provision and grace along the way.  We can't wait to see how the journey continues!  We appreciate your prayers as we journey along!