Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Kids

Leaving my babies is soooo hard!

Almost all of my worries, sad thoughts, and sleepless nights come back to leaving my sweet children behind. ๐Ÿ˜ข

I will be gone SIXTEEN DAYS!

My parents will help during the day while Erik works. The older kids help when they are around.

I will be gone SIXTEEN DAYS!

When the kids ask "mommy why do you have to go?" I remind them how I traveled around the country or the world for them. But I do understand....mommy's are supposed to stay home. I agree!

 I made a paper chain for the kids to count down the days until mommy, Alex, and Henry Mingyu comes home ๐Ÿ’™ Each link has the date and what city we will be in that day.

A treat bag for each kid (with each treat labeled....didn't want to cause my mom a sorting nightmare later!). I hope the kids are given these treats about half way through our trip.

At Madeline's graduation I asked my mom to take a picture of Erik and I will each child. I got fancy and bought dollar store frames! This is the gift they will get the day I leave.

We got a kindle on amazon prime day for $30. I am not bringing a lap top this trip and blogging on my phone is impossible! I am testing out the kindle blogging with this post and it seems to be working (besides not being able to center the text...oh well!)

grateful, Sandy

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hills and Valleys!

So many emotions today as I:

* Call our credit cards to prepare for international travel
* Load a VPN on our traveling devices (so I can access this blog, email, and facebook)
* Figure out how much cash to travel with 

Still need to:
* Pay for international texting on my phone 
(calling is too much money so hoping to make skype work too!)
* Register with the US Embassy
* Load WeChat on Erik's phone
* Try and load VPN on the kindle
* Make gift bags for kids staying home
* Start packing!

A sweet friend who is adopting Henry Mingyu's foster home buddy sent me this song today


It is sooo perfect - so many hills and Valleys coming my way.

SO THANKFUL THAT I AM NOT ALONE ๐Ÿ’—

GOD is WITH ME during ALL the hills and valleys!!

Thank you for praying for us friends ๐Ÿ’—

Sandy

Monday, July 17, 2017

TWO WEEKS!!!


TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY WE MEET

HENRY MINGYU ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Just typing that makes me feel ALL the emotions!

I had dinner tonight with some sweet foster/adoption moms ๐Ÿ’—


A treasured gift from a friend

God provided this amazing group of women - who get me ๐Ÿ’—

grateful, Sandy

Friday, July 14, 2017

YAY!



PRAISING GOD - we received our Travel Approval  and Consulate Appointment  

We meet Henry Mingyu on July 31  

(Alex and I leave July 26 and return August 12)


grateful, Sandy

Thursday, July 13, 2017

So Excited!



YAY!!

WOO HOO!!

sooo HAPPY to announce we GOT travel approval TODAY!!

Our agency has submitted our request for a consulate date (August 9).

It can take a couple of days - but we are hoping to hear back tomorrow so we can book our airline tickets before the weekend.

The tentative plan....fly to China on July 26 and arrive back home on August 12.

MEETING HENRY MINGYU ON JULY 31 ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

grateful, Sandy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Wait


Oh the wait for Travel Approval....

Just a couple of weeks ago families were receiving their approvals in 2, 3, even 4 days!

We have now been waiting 10 days.....

I am weary....

Every step involves MORE WAITING...

I am not good at waiting...

I am tired of waiting....

o - when - o - when - will that travel approval come?!!

Each day I wake up excited that THIS might be the day....

IF we had the approval TODAY we could have traveled for Henry Mingyu in ONE WEEK!!

Now we are hoping to have the approval in time to leave on July 26....

Two weeks seems long right now - praying it flies by....

Sandy

Shirts!


FIVE more HOURS to ORDER a SHIRT! We are waiting on our travel approval from China. Alex and I expect to be getting on a plane to China TWO WEEKS from today! We can't wait to meet Henry Mingyu  To show him he is a part of a family - he is LOVED  he is a son, brother, nephew, grandson  And BEST OF ALL he is LOVED by God  




Saturday, July 8, 2017

Adoption and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day!

Thursday started out like any other day. 

When we arrived at swim lessons I had a message on my phone asking me if I had seen all posts on the facebook adoption groups. I hadn't. And when I did I thought our world might be crashing in...

"The China Center for Children’s Welfare & Adoption (CCCWA) has issued new qualifications for families adopting from China, effective immediately."

One of the new rules:

You can have no more than 5 minors living in your home.

We have 6 and Henry Mingyu makes 7.

We are DAYS away from getting our TRAVEL APPROVAL from China.

We could have received it THIS WEEK.

HOW can we be SO close to bringing Henry Mingyu home - but yet it feels SO FAR away?!

We prayed, we trusted, we cried, we wondered why, we read our bibles, we sent our urgent prayer requests, we called our agency for reassurance, and we waited....

The BIG question was - WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THE KIDS/FAMILIES IN PROCESS WHO NO LONGER MEET THE NEW RULES?! 

The agencies didn't know - they guessed all would be okay - and we all waited for China to wake up so the agencies could clarify the rules. 



At 9:10pm the messages started appearing:

"From CHI: Fresh from the cccwa, families with PA will not be effected by the new rules!!! "

rep confirmed the same thing, those with LID or PA are not affected ❤



PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!!!!!!

and then on Friday we received an email from our agency:

The CCCWA has confirmed that the new qualifications will NOT apply to dossiers already logged-in. Pre-approvals for families matched to Waiting Children will also still be honored (provided of course that the information presented in the dossier is the same as what was submitted at the time of locking the child’s file).

Henry Mingyu will still be coming home ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Our sense of urgency is SUPER high - praying we get our travel approval on Monday!!!

My heart just BREAKS for all those families affected - all the kids who won't have families racing to bring them home. Can you join me in praying for their broken hearts and that China may in time change their rules?
Sandy

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Visit?

I was excited to learn that this trip to China I will be traveling through Beijing.

It is a "port city" - so one of the ways to enter China.

Henry Mingyu is currently living in Beijing in a foster group home.

I was hopeful that I might get a chance to meet the nannies that have been loving and caring for our Henry. I wanted to take pictures of the home, the bed where he slept, the room where he played etc.

I was also excited that on my THIRD trip to China I would get a chance to see the Great Wall of China.

I asked an independent guide to contact the foster group home for me.
She was able to make contact yesterday and asked if I would be able to visit while in Beijing.
The home said that Henry Mingyu's orphanage does not allow visits to their home.
They have to follow the rules set by the orphanage and the orphanage says no.
I am bummed - BUT I do LOVE that they are rule followers.
I am a rule follower.

I am hopeful that after we get back home I will be able to contact the foster group home again. 
I would love to see if they have any pictures of Henry to share with me.
I would also love to be able to share pictures of Henry as he grows up with the home.

I have had contact with Darren and Bryan's orphanage and nannies since we have returned home. 
They seem to love to see current pictures of the boys.
It makes me happy to have some contact with the boys past.
I LONG to tell their birth families how much they are LOVED 
how much they are CHERISHED
how HEALTHY they are now with medical treatment...
Sharing that with the orphanage and nannies is the best I can do.

Longing to meet Henry Mingyu,
Sandy

Monday, July 3, 2017

Art 5 Pick Up!


YAY!!

We had article 5 pick up today!

It happened as scheduled - but in adoption there are ALWAYS bumps and at each step you don't know if you will hit one. 

That unknown and insecurity is hard....but gives us a VERY visible opportunity to put our TRUST IN THE LORD ๐Ÿ’—

He knows the bumps we are going to hit. 
He knows the VERY best time for Henry Mingyu to join our family.
So we TRY to trust in Him and His timing!

Our agency says it will take 1-2 days for our paperwork now to be dropped off with the CCCWA.
Then the CCCWA will have all they need to issue our travel approval.
(This typically takes 1-2 weeks...but can take as little as a couple of days!)

Once our travel approval in uploaded into the CCCWA computer system our agency can request our consulate appt. From our consulate appt. our Gotcha Day is set!

We will likely travel THIS MONTH!!!!

July 24 and July 31 are both VERY real possibilities for meeting Henry Mingyu ๐Ÿ’—

Back to waiting......

Sandy

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Visas!



Our visas came!

It is getting real!

Baby boy - we are coming ๐Ÿ’—

grateful, Sandy

Monday, June 26, 2017

One Month?

If we have a July 31 Gotcha Day then we would be flying out ONE MONTH from today!!

When I think about this my stomach immediately ties in a knot. 

I am excited about meeting Henry Mingyu...
Scared about how hard the adjustment with be for him...
I am sad to leave Erik and 7 of our sweet children at home (only Alex is traveling with me)...

So.Many.Feelings.

Grateful,
Sandy

Friday, June 23, 2017

T-shirts!


Yesterday we launched a t-shirt fundraiser.

Our dear friend Casey worked with a friend to design the t-shirts!

She set up the Bonfire account!

She is working hard to promote the fundraiser!

We are so INCREDIBLY BLESSED by her friendship ๐Ÿ’—

THANK YOU Casey!!! 
We can never repay you for ALL you have done for our family....we will try to pay it forward!




grateful for your support, Sandy

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our Story

My dear friend Casey posted this on facebook today ๐Ÿ’—

KREPS ADOPTION LOVE STORY
"We've learned with each new child that love multiplies it doesn't divide"
Over the past year I've had the opportunity of getting to know Sandy as a dear friend! She and her husband Erik are the parents of 8 beautiful children, 4 of which happen to be adopted. When we met I thought there was a good chance I wouldn't get the opportunity to walk alongside their family in yet another adoption journey. So when she told me that they were adopting again I was thrilled, to say the least. When she told me that the little boy they were welcoming into their family had limb differences, I LOST IT!!
God really spoke to my heart through Sandy and Erik's newest journey and as a result I had the incredible privilege to help steward their story to share with all of you!
Their journey into the world of adoption began with two domestic adoptions, followed by the incredible heartbreak of two unsuccessful adoptions. God used that heartbreak in a profound way and opened their hearts to China and special needs adoption. The Kreps are now well on their way to becoming a family of eleven.
This family is doing big things for the kingdom and being the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth! Join us in the privilege of stepping into the Kreps adoption story, and fiercely cheering them on as they welcome Henry MingYu home.
• • • •
Not everyone can open their home to a child as an adoptive family, but we can play a huge role by way of financial and prayer support.
• • • •

post

As seen on Facebook today:

Friends...our paperwork hasn't hit a snag (yet!). We have article 5 pick up on July 3 and then we wait for travel approval!!! July 24 is now a possibility, July 31 more likely, and if we don't have Henry Mingyu on August 7 I will weep! 

Sooo exciting!!!! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Village

A sweet friend felt called to come along side of our family when we shared with her that we were adopting Henry Mingyu.

Her son was born last year with limb differences. God used sweet Owen to open our hearts to Henry Mingyu ๐Ÿ’—

Our friend contacted a photographer who graciously donated his services. We have some AMAZING family and individual pictures!!!

We were featured on his blog this week:


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Care Package Filled with Love!



We sent Henry Mingyu a care package!

It is our YOU HAVE A FAMILY who loves you package ๐Ÿ’—

It contained:

A book I made on Shutterfly - and then I cut and pasted Chinese words to each page

A Lightning McQueen car - every boy needs one right?!

A snugly panda bear - that I might have worn around the house in my shirt for a couple hours to give it a mama smell ๐Ÿ˜€

A bag of lolly pops - labeled to share with his friends

A flash drive that hopefully the orphanage or foster home will fill with pictures they have taken of Henry

And a letter to the orphanage explaining that we are Henry Mingyu's family ๐Ÿ’—

We pray that his care givers are preparing his heart for a family - such a big, scary time it will be for Henry Mingyu ๐Ÿ˜ข

The post office said the package should arrive in China in two weeks.

It is first heading to the orphanage. We don't know if they will forward it to the foster group home. Henry Mingyu will most likely return to the orphanage for a week or two before we meet him. He may be given the package then. There is a chance he never sees it. So many unknowns - but we are praying and trusting God with the details that we have no control over.

Blessings, Sandy

Monday, June 19, 2017

More Update Questions/Answers

More of our Henry Mingyu update!

It is so fun to learn about our new son. 

There was another paragraph in the update that didn't exactly match the rest. It started out "He is extroverted and intelligent". Well - THIS paragraph mentions being "introverted".  Hmmm - sometimes it can be a translation thing....but then our Henry's orphanage buddy got his update too and it had THE EXACT SAME PARAGRAPH. So well - I am not even bothering to share that one :)

We do take the updates with a "grain of salt" - but either way - the pictures and video are just adorable!! 


1. What makes him upset? What is the best way to comfort him?

2. What is this most challenging behavior? How is it normally dealt with?

3. How does his medical need influence his daily life?

Ming Yu has been healthy recently. He does not currently take any medication. He grows up at Heng Ai Home (the Home of Constant Love) since May 11, 2015. His developments are pretty good. Just like other same age children. We feel like he is smarter than same age children. He is introverted but he is a slow-type person. But he knows everything. He would be attached to you if you treat him well. He is a little timid with strangers. But he would be your friend if you like him. He would like to say hello to others if you encourage him to. He is very smart and sensible. There is nothing particular that you need to prepare for him. 


We went to Target today and got Henry Mingyu a backpack!

I am looking forward to filling it with little treats to give him when we meet him ๐Ÿ’—

Blessings, Sandy

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Update Questions


We got to ask 5 questions when our agency requested our final update.

I asked friends and other adoptive moms for their question suggestions. Our agency also gave us a list of commonly asked questions.

Orphanages are not required to give updates - but we were crossing our fingers that one would come.


1. What makes him upset? What is the best way to comfort him?

2. What is this most challenging behavior? How is it normally dealt with?

3. How does his medical need influence his daily life?

4. What does he understand about adoption? Does he know he is being adopted?

5. What is a special memory or story of Ming Yu that you can share? (We would love to remind him of his time in your care)

Here are the answers to questions #4 and #5:

       His understanding is that the parents are busy right now, and they will come and pick him up whenever they are available. Sometimes he would chat with the nannies, and he would tell them that the parents are coming to taking him home with pride and happiness. He is looking forward to it.

There are a lot of special stories. He is very obedient and thoughtful. He also helps the nanny to take care of the younger sisters and brothers. He has strong sense of justice. He wants to protect every one of them. He is a loving and smart little child. He likes to lean on you and talk to you too. He enjoys this kind of feeling. He is a very active, smart, and playful kid. We all like him very much!
Reading about Henry Mingyu, watching his video, seeing his sweet face in pictures makes me more anxious than ever to travel to China and meet our boy ๐Ÿ’—


Friday, June 16, 2017

Update!

We FINALLY received our "final update" pictures, video, and answers to our five questions!


He is looking so old!

I love seeing that he gets out of the foster group home!



A smile!


Looking stylish in his blue button up!


His mug shot!

Don't mess with Henry - ha!

The video is adorable!

Henry Mingyu is dressing himself for the day - and is so independent!

He then runs down the hall to put his dirty clothes away.

He is listed as 40 inches tall and 39 pounds.

He is a big boy - compared to our tiny Darren and Bryan!

(Bryan is only 45" and 38 lbs at 6 years old!)

Looking forward to meeting our son!
Sandy

RTF!


RTF!!

and I only had to refresh my email a dozen times today!


Article 5 drop off should occur Monday June 19 in China!

Pick up should occur July 3!

and then we will wait for TRAVEL APPROVAL!

We are coming Henry Mingyu ๐Ÿ’—

Excited, Sandy

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Complete!



YAY We YOU DID IT!!!!!!


We are so grateful to our friends and family who helped us reach our matching grant!!!

$2500 from YOU

+

$2500 matching grant from Chosen and Dearly Loved through Lifesong

=

$5000

for our orphanage donation fee

and JUST in time as it is due this month!
(I KNOW!!! We are getting close!)

grateful, Sandy

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DS260


I only had to refresh my email 25 times - and then at 1:43pm our GUZ # showed up in my inbox from the National Visa Center!

We used this # to fill out our DS260 form
(I only had to call our agency once to clarify their directions - so many boxes to check and information to fill into the form) 

Now to wait for the email attachment version of the GUZ#....

then this is dropped off along with our other documents to the American Embassy in GZ China
(also known as Article 5 drop off).

Every little step feels GREAT!

One more step towards Henry Mingyu!! ๐Ÿ’—

Feeling excited and grateful,
Sandy

Monday, June 12, 2017

i800 approval!


I made Henry Mingyu his first pediatrician appointment today!

It is scheduled for September 5 - sure hope he is home by then ๐Ÿ’— 



The boys and I visited the Chinese grocery store today.

I had to buy this product - JUST for the bag!

Darren couldn't figure out why I would buy it if I didn't even know what it TASTES like! Ha!

AND.....we got our i800 approval!!

WOOT WOOT!!

Average approval is 14 days....we came in at EIGHT days!

Still on track for summer travel - and baby it is going to be HOT!

grateful, Sandy

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Henry's "brother"



Early in the process of adopting Henry Mingyu we realized that most of his pictures included another little boy. We wondered who the other little boy was and if he was being adopted too.


Thankfully he does have a family!

And the other family was much smarter than me - asking our mutual adoption agency to pass along their email address to us (since privacy policies prevented the agency from just sharing our information). 


We are excited to keep these "orphanage brothers" in touch!!

What a WONDERFUL GIFT God has given our families - we have been able to support each other during the stress-filled adoption process. Someone to celebrate our ups and downs - someone who "gets it"!! ๐Ÿ’—


Stephen's mom made this AWESOME picture showing our steps to Henry Mingyu 

We are on step 9 right now!

Hoping to move onto step 10 this week!!

grateful, Sandy

Thursday, June 8, 2017

So Close!



Oh we are soooo close!

15 more pieces! (and our orphanage donation fee will be covered!)

$10 per piece x 15 pieces x 2 (our matching grant!)

=

$300!!!
(and one COMPLETED puzzle ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—)

THANK YOU for helping us bring Henry Mingyu home!


www.lifesongfororphans.org/donate
*Direct your donation to adoption
*Complete online form - be sure to fill in family name "Kreps" and family number "6835"
*Donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE and managed by Lifesong for Orphans
(Donations of $50 or more will receive a receipt from Lifesong)

grateful, Sandy


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2 Stickers!

45 minutes (normally a 30 minute trip - but there was AM traffic)

+

TWO HOURS of WAITING!!
(I was #32 - WHY did it take so long?!!)

+

30 minute drive home

=


2 fancy gold stickers on this (first notarized) and now certified document!

This is the Power of Attorney that I have to take to China with me since Erik isn't traveling.

I now send it to a courier in Chicago who (for $60) will walk it into the Chinese Consulate. For $25 the consulate will authenticate the document.

We are applying for our travel visas too!

This is getting real ๐Ÿ’—

IF we hit all the averages....we MAY have a GOTCHA DAY of August 7!!!

grateful, Sandy

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Dresser!

On Wednesday I posted on facebook that we were in need of a dresser for Henry Mingyu.

TODAY - just THREE days later we had a dresser DELIVERED to our home by a friend of a friend....for FREE! ๐Ÿ’—

I LOVE how God so visibly shows up during an adoption journey ๐Ÿ’—
(During an adoption you feel so vulnerable, that everything is out of your control, and sometimes so under attack - just the perfect time for God to remind us how AMAZING He is!)

I LOVE how when we say "Yes" - those around us support us ๐Ÿ’—


Isn't it just perfect for our boy?

grateful, Sandy

Friday, June 2, 2017

100 Good Wishes Quilt


It is a Chinese tradition to make a child a 100 Good Wishes Quilt.

I am not a quilter or really much of a sewer, but I love the idea behind the quilt. I also love that it is a Chinese tradition. I made one for Darren and for Bryan....so as a good mama I will make one for Henry too ๐Ÿ’—


Bryan's quilt 


Darren's quilt


scrapbook full of wishes


If you would like to participate: we need 100 friends and family to send us a 8 inch by 8 inch piece of fabric and a good wish, prayer, bible verse, or poem. 

There is no cost to you - just the postage to get it here.

Leave a comment here or PM me on facebook for our address

grateful, Sandy

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fish!


It is starting to get real! We added another fish to the van ๐Ÿ’—

grateful, Sandy

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Home and Puzzle Update

A happy to be going home Darren!

Darren is doing really well. His pain seems to be managed well - unless he gets too active. He would like to be even more active, but at this point seems to still lay down when he needs a rest.



AND - we are ONLY 47 pieces away from having our puzzle COMPLETE!!!

www.lifesongfororphans.org/donate
*Direct your donation to adoption
*Complete online form - be sure to fill in family name "Kreps" and family number "6835"
*Donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE and managed by Lifesong for Orphans
(Donations of $50 or more will receive a receipt from Lifesong)

THANK YOU TO OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FOR ALL THEIR PRAYERS FOR DARREN AND FOR HELPING US BRING HENRY MINGYU HOME ❤

grateful, Sandy