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Friday, December 30, 2011


Someone asked me to post a video of Melia.  Here is one that we received shortly after we were matched.  (Around the end of June 2011).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


One more round of fingerprints.  If you go back and check previous posts, you'll see that fingerprints is a common theme throughout the adoption process.  The government really REALLY wants to make sure that we're not felons!

Monday, December 19, 2011


We threw the nursery together in less than 48 hours!  Not bad.  Still have a lot to do!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Here we go!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray...

...we got our LOA!

The LOA is a letter of acceptance from China that moves us one step closer to bringing Melia home! On Monday we can now send in a form to the USCIS for another approval from our government to bring Melia home. Our agency estimates travel to China in 3 MONTHS!!! That means we could be meeting our little one and a half year old right after the first of the year! WOW! Our life is going to be turning upside down very soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More pictures



Another round of pics!

....and yes, we're still sitting around waiting. Maybe end of September we'll hear something? Now we're thinking that we won't travel until early next year. Darnit.





Sunday, August 7, 2011

Not stayin' silent

No real update going on here, but I didn't want to stay quiet on the blog front any longer. We just got back from a family vacation to Colorado today. A 7 day road trip mountain adventure. During the trip, I had a little picture of Melia sitting on the dashboard. Basically, when I went to look at the fuel gauge, I saw Melia staring at me instead. That always made me smile.

Then Katie and I would say the same thing over and over again, "What are we going to do when Melia comes home?"

Oh, how this little girl will change things. Of course, so far, EVERY one of our first 3 kids changed life dramatically as we knew it before. That only makes sense. A human life tends to do that.

I welcome the change.

And BTW, still no word on the court date or Letter of Acceptance from China yet. Maybe another couple of weeks?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another round of paperwork

Well, we spent the majority of the evening going through another round of paperwork. A placement agreement, the DS-230, a Foreign Travel release document.... yada yada yada.

And let's not forget the last invoice from Holt. (gulp!)

So tomorrow, we'll get a bunch of these things notarized and then it's back to waiting. At this point, I'm thinking we'll hear something within a month. Of course, I totally made this timeline up, but why not? One month sounds reasonable to me.


ALSO - We got a recent medical report showing Melia's oxygen saturation is at 100%. She has a potential heart condition so we were eager to see that she is doing so well. Yea!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another update

Well, things are rolling now! We received yet another email regarding Melia.

Here are some of the highlights:

I made the orphanage send her to a group home on July 6 this year because I thought she was matched with a family and it would be better to let her experience some family life. She is in a very nice group family. Actually I met all group homes, and all the parents are friendly and very nice to the children and they do really treat the babies as their own.

Please let the family know Xin Ai is doing very well at this group home, she has improved a lot. (I do really think the family is lucky to have her, she is very lovely and is one of my favorite babies. I believe she will bring great joy to them!)

How awesome is that? She is "lovely" and "will bring great joy". Sounds good to me. We couldn't be more excited.

We also watched a webinar regarding the details of our traveling. (Have I mentioned how awesome Holt International is and how organized everything has been with our adoption?)

Compared to our "Wild West" adventure in Russia, it seems that this trip will be a piece of cake. One experienced adoptive family said that their China travels were like "a senior citizen tour" compared to what they experienced in Russia. I'm starting to think the same. They even have optional day tours that we can participate in during our down time. (Down time occurs over the weekends when the government offices are closed).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A fresh start

Hello! And welcome back friends! Yes, it me, Ryan! After a very long gap, I have officially decided to jump back on the Blogging adventure wagon. My long time readers know that this used to be my blog, with Katie occasionally adding her tidbits. Then one day, she started her own blog. Things we're going well, until I abandoned this blog and now Katie is trying to run BOTH blogs! It's not fair, really.

But it's all my fault, I jumped over to Facebook and lost my desire to blog. But today, I decided that I can handle both. Every kid deserves a blog, right?

This is for you, Melia. Daddy loves you, so I give you the story you deserve.

So without further ado, here's today's update:

We found out that Melia was moved to a "group home" this past week. Kinda like foster care. Now that she has a family, it is apparently common practice in China to treat the children favorably and get them into a foster family. We're, of course, thrilled for her and also hoping that things are going well. The report made it sound like she is getting along great. As a matter of fact, so far all the reports make it sound like she gets along with just about everything and everybody. We couldn't be happier for her.

Just a reminder to you all, as far as where we are: We're patiently waiting for a travel date at this point...... so we'll wait.


..... still waiting......

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Pictures!!

Last night we came home to find three new pictures and two videos of our sweet Melia!!!! We were so excited to see and hear about her, but it also made our hearts' ache even more to bring her home. We are hopeful that she will be here before the end of the year, but we are confident that God will continue to watch over His and our beautiful beloved daughter in China until we get to her.

Isn't she a beauty?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Introducing our daughter...

Melia Xinai Horner






We are so excited around here! To find out more please read my blog HERE!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things are stirring...

...I can't go into details yet, but prayers are welcome. More details some time next week, I hope!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Comfortable Lives

Anticipating Melia coming home to our family, to her family unsettles me. We are getting into such a rhythm, a flow out her in West Omaha.

Each morning my 5,6 and 8 year old make their beds, brush their teeth, get dressed without help from mom. This is after a peaceful night of rest. They rarely need me at night anymore. In the morning I can go running while Ryan makes their breakfast. Hallie pours her own milk. Why would I go back to diapers, up at night, carseats that I buckle, naptime schedules? Why would we upset our comfort for another child?

Ryan and I went for a walk about a week ago (while the kids slept soundly and our Hannah stayed at home in case they woke...what luxury). As we walked I expressed my fears, the unsettled place in my heart that questioned upsetting the boat. That's when my gentle, wise husband sweetly reminded me that our lives are not made for comfort. We were called to this adoption because God's ways are not our own and His plans are better than ours. We can never get too comfortable with comfort or we are surely outside of God's plan.

This beautiful conviction jolted my heart. It woke me from my lazy sleep and inspired me to press on and see God moving and working so amazingly around me. I am more than supplied with all I need and could want, but my daughter is lonely and without her mama, her family. My selfish heart is now being pushed out by Christ in me. Christ pursues me and loves me and with him I have the strength for all things. I believe this truth and rejoice that the veil of selfish desire was lifted as I walked and talked with my best friend, Melia's daddy.

I am reminded once again to see God, know God and trust in God all the time. What He has ordained is all good, all the time. I just need to open my eyes to always see it.

So, with an aching joy in my heart I rely on Christ's power to patiently wait for my daughter to come home. I trust in God to be her provider and guard her always and certainly while she is away from her mommy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's off to China

Our Holt representative in Oregon called to say our dossier was great and that they would be mailing it to China tomorrow! Hip Hip Hooray!

At that point we wait for China to log it into their system and then we are available for a referral. We think our first chance for getting Melia's referral will be the last week of July. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

Jacob keeps saying he doesn't want to see her picture until this birthday because he wants it to be something special on his birthday. It would be wonderful if we could give him that as a birthday gift the first week of August!

Fortunately, we know it is in God's trustworthy hands. So, we will wait on Him and His goodness.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almost there!


Yesterday I came home to find a FedEx bag from our Washington DC courier at the front door. All our documents had been certified by the State Department and the Chinese Embassy!!! We were most impressed that our documents had been personally signed by Hillary R. Clinton!

So, last night we made more copies of everything and today we will send it all off to our agency in Oregon and then wait for our match! Praise the Lord! Melia's homecoming may be here sooner than we ever dreamed.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Off to D.C.

All the papers were state certified!! They have been mailed to Washington D.C. and now we wait (hopefully not more than 3 weeks) to get them back!!

Meanwhile, we are getting very excited around here about a new sister and daughter. Hallie is writing books and journals dedicated to her sister and telling all her classmates about the process.

Jacob has also shared about Melia at school and one of his classmate's Mom called me for advice because they are also starting a Chinese adoption!

We are holding the hope of Melia in our hearts as we wait. Praise God for the process and how is changes us for good!

Monday, May 9, 2011

State Certification

We are getting dangerously close to an approved Dossier!!

We have collected all the necessary documents and headed down to Lincoln today to have them State Certified at the Capitol. Unfortunately, not all the documents had an attestation clause and so I had to have the notaries in Omaha (three different ones) resign the documents in the presence of the person who originally signed the documents. Ugh!

I have done this before so you think I would have done it all correctly the first time, but no!

The good news is that all the notaries and signers were available today and were kind enough to get everything signed appropriately (I think). So, tomorrow I will try again.

If I succeed, and that's a big if, then my next step is to mail our documents to a courier who will deliver them to the US State Department and the Chinese Embassy.

I'll let you know tomorrow if I was successful...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some News

On April 8th Hannah, Ryan and I got our FBI fingerprints taken at the Department of Homeland Security Office here in Omaha. We knew it would take 1-7 weeks to get our I-797 back from the government.

So, we have been getting all our other dossier paperwork together so when the 797 comes in we can keep this adoption moving forward.

Well, we got a call today from someone at a government office saying our 797 was approved and that they sent it to us but it got returned as undeliverable address.

Seriously! They are supposed to know everything about us so that we are worthy of adopting a child (we already adopted one) and they don't know where we live or how to get a letter to us!

Really, I am not bitter! I just find it a bit comical!

Anyway, they fixed the address and it is on it's way to us! It should be here tomorrow or Wednesday.

Then , I will be off to Lincoln for State Certification and all the while calling a courier service in Washington D.C. to deliver our documents to the US State Department and then the Chinese Embassy! This is getting exciting!!!

We love our Melia!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My dream last night...

...was of course about Melia! I love it that she has started to enter my dreams. (By the way, this is Katie).

So, I was auditioning for a high school musical at St. Pat's High School (we are not catholic??). I was really excited because Hallie was getting to audition too and I thought it would be cool that we were both in a show together. Somehow I did not seem alarmed that she and I were both of the age that we could simultaneously audition for a high school production. At the end of the audition I said to Margie, my friend who was doing the auditions, that I needed to get home and hold my daughter, Melia. I remember feeling such an ache to hold her in my arms and an urgency to get to her fast.

Then, I woke up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Holt Connections

#1...A few weeks ago a delightful Asian woman approached me at church to say hello. Very quickly she asked if we were adopting from China using Holt. Come to find out...my good friend, Beth has this woman in her Sunday night bible study and it had come up in conversation that we were adopting from China using Holt and that this woman was adopted as a young girl from Korea with Holt! I am looking forward to sitting down with her and talking for a long time but in our brief Sunday morning discussion she mentioned that she was in one of the first groups of children brought over to the United States for adoption in the mid to late 50's!

#2...One of the doctors that I work with adopted a little girl from China about three years ago with the Child of Promise Program. We have had the opportunity to talk about his experience with Holt and the blessing his daughter has been to their family.

#3...One of the volunteers at the Holt Auction, who is of Asian descent, works in the childcare center at Lifetime Fitness where my kids spend time while I work-out.

#4...Did I mention that two of the gals I run with have both adopted two children with Holt International!

I am so thankful for the Holt community that we are becoming more a part of every day! I am also thankful that Melia will have an entire organization cheering her on and supporting her as she grows up in our trans-racial family.




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holt Auction

Last night Ryan and I attended the annual Holt Auction and Gala. Each year people gather to raise support for orphanages or programs sponsored by Holt International to help orphans around the world. This year, the money raised was being sent to Ilsan in South Korea. This is a special needs orphanage run by Mollie Holt. She is the daughter of Bertha and Harry Holt who founded Holt International and were instrumental in beginning International Adoptions in the 1950's.

This event was amazing. Several times tears sprang up in my eyes as stories were told about the love that so many have for hurting, lonely children around the world. Ryan and I really sensed the community of Holt adoptees and adoptive parents and were blessed by the abundant generosity of so many. Well over $100,000 was raised in one night by 350 people to support two group homes for special needs children in Korea and to help with renovations in the well- used existing homes.

As if the atmosphere of love and the out pouring of gifts was not enough, the organizers of the Gala were able to bring Mollie Holt to the event from her home in South Korea. Her humble, giving heart was evident in her demeanor and words throughout the evening.

What a blessing to find this agency! Anyone considering adoption should look in to using Holt to facilitate the process of bringing their child home. And, if you are not considering adoption but ever wanted to give your monetary support to a reputable, Christian-based organization that was fighting for the voiceless children in the world then Holt is a wonderfully amazing organization to give to.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Timeline

Hi friends! This is Katie. International adoption is slow...just because we have not updated recently does not mean we are not moving forward but sometimes things seem to move along at an agonizingly slow pace.

We did get the approval from the USCIS to get our FBI fingerprints on April 8th! To do this we go down to the Department of Homeland Security by the airport and get our fingerprints taken.

I also went to a Holt seminar last night and the director of the China program was there to answer our questions and explain the process more completely. Here is the timeline as I see it for bringing home our precious, Melia.

April 8th fingerprints...1-7 weeks to have our fingerprints approved and receive our I-800A form...one week to gather the rest of our dossier material and have it notarized...one day to take it to Lincoln for State Authentication...send to Chinese Embassy in D.C. to get it doubly authenticated...wait 1-4 weeks to get our finalized dossier and then send to Holt to submit to China...at that point we can receive our referral, we should expect a referral in 1-6months from the Child of Promise Program...From referral acceptance to travel is 4-6months.

So, by my estimation the earliest Melia would come home is November of this year and the latest is April of 2012.

Most referrals of children are between the ages of 1 and 2 so that means our Melia is probably alive right now.

If you are reading this I would ask you to please send a prayer up to heaven for our daughter.

Our prayer requests:
~for her safety
~for healthy and enough food
~Christian caretakers to hold her, sing to her, talk to her
~Health. That she would stay free from colds and infections
~That God would prepare her heart and her eyes and her ears for her American family
~Peace in her mind and heart that surpasses understanding
~Attention from caregivers to help her learn attachment

Thank you for your prayer support of our daughter. We will keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Homestudy - Check

OK.... We're done with the homestudy!

Next on the list is to submit our I-800A. I think my last post said I-900. I was wrong. I'm sure you can understand how I might not be able to keep all this stuff straight.

Anyway, we're moving right along. I'll let you know when something moves forward.

... or I may post a cute picture of my kids if they do something cute enough.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Homestudies

We had part 2 of our homestudy last week. Nothing major to report. I am continually amazed as to how easy and uneventful the early stages of this adoption seem to be. Of course, this makes for one heck of a boring blog and for that I am quite sorry.
Don't worry, things will pick up once we get the referral. Of course, by then we'll be nearly done. For those that don't know, a China adoption only involves one trip, so once we get a referral and a travel date, we're practically done!
Next week, Katie and I have our last and final homestudy meeting. From there, we'll have everything we need to file the I-900. (What used to use be the I-600A when we adopted Zac) My guess is that we'll get everything back from the US gov't within 2 months and then we'll ship off our dossier to China!
From there, it's anyone's guess as to how long it will take.
Feel free to make your bold prediction now.

I'm going to say: We'll get a referral on my birthday: October 26.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More evidence of normal children:


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good class

We had a good class this weekend. There were 7 couples there. All of them adopting internationally. Naturally, Katie and I went into this class thinking that we knew everything. The biggest take away for us was gaining awareness of the fact that we are adopting a child from a different race.

Honestly, this was not something that we have pondered a whole lot. Up to this point, we simply thought "whatever.... it doesn't bother us".

But we haven't thought about what Melia may think of the whole thing. We began doing an inventory of her life. Her parents: White. Her siblings: White. Her teachers: White. Her extended family: White. Her neighbors: White. Her doctor: White. Her dentist: White. Her piano teacher: White...... White. White. White.

You get my point. Katie and I realized that after our adoption of Melia, we will no longer be a "white family". We will indeed be a mixed-race family.

I'm not even sure what this exactly means, but this class and our new awareness is a good start. I'll keep you posted as I figure things out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PIP Class

Now we're moving along!

This coming weekend, Katie and I will be traveling to Iowa for a "How to parent your adopted child" class. This was one of the requirements from Holt (our agency). I tried to get some sort of waiver hoping that 3 years experience would count, but no-go.

I have the attention span of a 10 year old, so I'm not looking forward to sitting in a classroom for two days.

But I AM looking forward to a Road Trip vacation with my wife!

(yes, even a 3 hour road trip to the middle of Iowa counts as a Road Trip Vacation)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homestudy Part 1

We had our homestudy today. (Part 1 of 3) It brought back fond memories of Zac's homestudy. For those that don't know, the first part of a homestudy is basically where we sit around and talk about ourselves for a couple of hours. I can't think of anything I love to do more than to sit around talk about myself. Therefore, the homestudy was quite a wonderful time!

I can't help but think how stressful and intimidating a homestudy may be for first time parents. For us.... not so much.

As I travel upon the road leading me toward 4 children, I find that fewer and fewer events cause me stress and intimidation.

Case in point, as I type this blog entry I am mostly unphased that Zac is screaming for Hallie to let him out of the dog kennel. Ho hum. Just another small moment around here.