Monthly Archives: October 2013

The beginning

Before we got married, we talked about adopting. Clearly this was something we had to address early on as it is my job. So we both decided we were open to adopting and all was well. During our engagement we talked about adopting first, before we knew it we could have biological children or not. We talked about the positives about how we would get to focus all our time on this child we adopted and not have other kiddos distracting us from connecting with our child and purposeful attachment parenting. We decided it would be sometime in the future, probably a couple of years after we got married.

After getting married, these talks continued. We thought about looking into the adoption of a 3 or 4 year old, perhaps with some minor special needs. We don’t have benefits with our jobs or employer purchased health insurance, so we thought this would be a good choice for our family.

Boy, did God have another plan for us.

We wish we could adequately describe the feeling that overcame our hearts when we first saw this sweet child.  I came across Yan Yiyi’s photo-listing late one Friday night in February when I was babysitting some of my favorite twins. Now, it needs to be said that I have been an adoption social worker for over 9 years–working with hundreds of families adopting internationally and domestically–so I’ve seen my fair share of waiting-child photos. They are all darling. But there was something about this child. To my total surprise I found there was an immediate and visceral connection to this child.

I thought I kept it together, but for the entire weekend, I kept thinking about her. I was praying for her at every chance, praying for someone to adopt her. Praying to get her off my mind.

You see, Yiyi was born with congenital cataracts, and she has never received the appropriate operation. What seems like a simple problem to fix here in the U.S. is a much bigger issue in a developing country with a population over four times the size of the United States. And, she was 9-year-old at the time. We had talked about a 3 or 4 year old…and we talked about waiting a couple of years. 

So I held it in until Sunday when I word vomited it to Brian before church. It went something like this.

Brian: Nik, c’mon, we’re late. I don’t want to be late again this week.

Nikki: I’m almost ready!

Brian: (holding my coat out) I’m holding your coat out, just put it on and let’s go.

Nikki: I can’t put my coat on because I can’t go to church like this because I saw a child on a waiting child website on Friday night and I can’t take my mind off her I think it’s our child and I’ve been holding it in since then but I can’t anymore and I think I’m going to cry so I can’t go to church!

Brian: Ok, that’s a lot of information but this is totally something we can talk about in the car, so please just get in.

We proceeded to talk about this child on the way to church. Brian, being the smart man he is, knows me well enough to have to ask things like her age (9) and special needs. Smart man. Neither of those two things were things we had talked about being open to. He knows me well.

We went to church and prayed a lot and by the time we got home, Brian wanted to know more information and see her photo.

He took one look at her and agreed that there was something different about this child, something that stood out. She quickly became more than just a picture to us.

We prayed over her for a month, while getting medical assessments and more information about her background story. We hadn’t planned to adopt yet, and we certainly hadn’t planned to adopt a blind 10-year-old as our first child–but when we saw her, we just knew we were called to be her Mom and Dad.

We made the official commitment to adopt her in early March 2013. We got pre-approval on March 11. We started our home study soon after and did a ton of stuff to get the paperwork taken care of. We’re now in the throws of fundraising and grant writing, cause remember, we didn’t plan to adopt now so we don’t have a ton of, what’s that called? Oh yeah, adoption savings.

We just got the formal approval to adopt today and may be traveling before year-end.

Yep, that just happened.



New Photos!

It’s hard to believe that our little girl is growing up so fast. When we saw her little face for the first time she probably was just about 8 years old.  Now, she looks every bit 10-years-old. We’re so happy to have these updated photos!

Yiyi photo 2 2013


I hope she had a fun day at the boardwalk.

I want to know the back story to these photos. Like, did they dress her up and tell her that she was going to get new photos done? Did they tell her it would be for her new family in America?  And then did she cut her own bangs right after that? I have so many questions.

Working with so many kids who have been adopted as older children, I realize that their memories fade quickly. Perhaps its self preservation, or perhaps they really don’t remember.

I’m not sure if Yiyi will remember this photo day. I’m not sure if she will be thinking “yeah, I rocked those bangs” and consider a career in cosmetology. Or if she will remember that day as her saddest day as it could have been the day she was told she’s being adopted.

But we will forever remember the photos we got of Yiyi when we realized that our little girl was now in fact a little lady.

And Yiyi, if you are an amazing cyber-stalker and are reading this, lay low on the bangs. Seriously, coming from someone who wore giant glasses and the same outfit for school pictures in 3rd and 4th grade, you will thank me later for this.

We’re adopting!

Hello folks! We’re so very excited to be announcing our adoption on the interwebs. We are so happy to rock this awesome new website created by our sweet friends Rob and Audrey Morrison!

I’ll still keep doing my more professional blog over there at, but try to have more fun and be a little more succinct over here. Succinct…I said I’m going to try! This is the site we will be keeping updated in China to share our journey.

Thanks for joining us on our adoption journey! Reach out to us if you have any questions or anything at all. I’m happy to share more about our journey, or help if you are considering embarking upon your own!