Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Friday, March 30, 2012

Travel Dates Set (Phew)

Early this morning our agency Let us know our dates have been confirmed. Yippee!

Here is a what we know so far:

April 18th - Leave Durango
April 19th - Arrive in Beijing
April 22nd - Fly to Zhengzhou
April 23rd - Gotcha Trigg and Ivor!
May 3rd - Take Oath
May 5th - Depart out of Hong Kong to return to USA
May 6th - Arrive Home As A Family Of Seven!

Once we get a solid itinerary we will post it!



So Many Blessings

Twenty-three days into the wait for our travel approval, I was starting to feel hopeless. I know, it sounds crazy. Everyone else knew it would show up, but I started to feel like it was simply not going to happen. I put a phone call into the church, asked a couple other friends to pray with me about it and wa-la! At noon I got the email that it had arrived, just as I was getting home. What a feeling! They presented us with the departure date of April 18th. We agreed, and they will confirm with the Consulate to make sure this will work and then we can start booking some tickets. If it crosses your mind today, please pray that date will work, I can't imagine it being any longer and as we get closer to summer, plane tickets are rising. Currently, they are at a low, let's hope it stays that way.

Let's rewind a week. In effort to distract myself, I decided to get out their cribs. I had purchased them at a consignments sale for $20. They were a bit scuffed, but I convinced myself it was no biggie, as the twins would not occupy them long. We started to set them up and there is hardware missing. I got on the crib's website and searched to see how I could order new hardware. Apparently, the cribs have been recalled due to 11 injuries and 1 death. Fooey. Irritated, I followed the steps in ordering the replacement panels and add a note to the company asking if they could throw in a set of hardware. Yesterday, just 5 minutes after I got our Travel Approval, I round the corner to find on my doorstep two BRAND NEW cribs. They replaced the whole crib. Thank you Lord. What a sweet little kiss from above, and confirmation that He wants the best for our little guys.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. - Deuteronomy 7:9

Tyler, Rance and our friend Cord threw those cribs up in no time! I love them. They are perfect. Here is their space, coming together. My girlfriend, Jessica and I are going to figure out a way to put their names above their beds. It's starting to feel like we are really about to be parents to two little 18 month olds. Eeeeek!



Friday, March 23, 2012

While We Wait

While we wait, we wonder, we imagine, we prepare, we pray, we even FEAR. Yes, it is true. If you have ever adopted, you probably know what I am talking about. There is so much excitement and curiosity, which is what we prefer to talk about. What we prefer not to talk about, but is still there, is the fear. I have moments where I feel nervous about what is about to happen. I worry about the plane ride with 3 kids in tow one way; and 5 on the way back. I get nervous about the financial aspect. I get nervous that I am not enough. What if I feed Ivor something he cannot chew and he chokes? What if I forget Trigg's medicine? What if...what if...what if...?

However, I know, God has His hands all over this situation. He will see us through.

If you ever wonder if Satan exists, do something that speaks directly to the heart of God and he will rear his ugly head. Throughout this whole process, I have not been worried or concerned. Now that the time is so near, it seems as the devil himself, is hard at work trying to scare me, and make me feel inadequate.

Thankfully, all I have to do is go back on my own testimony. When I was just a little girl, I would pretend I had twins. I got twin Cabbage Patch kids for Christmas one year. Oh, I remember the joy! As I got a little older, I ordered twins baby dolls from a magazine, except they were African American. I remeber pretending they were adopted. Ten years ago, I miscarried a twin. One year ago, I met twins in an orphange in Africa and when I returned home, I showed their photo to my husband. He asked, "When you adopt, can you actually request twins?" Well, not really. And that was the exact answer our agency gave us. Not long after that, I remember kneeling by my bed, asking God, "If there are twins out there, that need a home, please allow them to find us." A few weeks later, I got the call that shook me to my core. "Twins." Twins? Really? OH-MY-LANTA! Did I really expect a referral on twins? Honestly? No. Does this even seem real yet? No, not yet.

Then, I pull up photos of those cute little boys, and my heart melts. I worry already about diaper rashes they may have right now. I worry about changing their formula. I feel horrible about their upcoming loss of their nannies. I am ready. I can't wait to finally hold them in my arms and rock them to sleep. I am so anxious to get to know their personalities and learn about their likes and dislikes. I am excited to finally be able to snap off my own pictures instead of stocking Love Without Boundaries Facebook page everday, hoping they appear. I can't wait to see them peacefully sleeping in a bed, in a home, amongst a family. I dream about birthday cakes and Christmas mornings.

We have sent a total of 5 family albums to Ch*na and it appears the 5th one actually made it! Here they are, having a tug-of-war over our photos. A gentle reminder of the many disputes two 18 month old's are going to have around here!

This photo shows a closeup of Ivor, with Trigg in the background pointing and laughing with the nannies at our album. What must he be thinking???

Join us in praying for our Travel Approval. We are 17 days in to the wait! Hopefully we will get it early next week!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Mini Paula Deen

The idea of home school used to scare me (there are times I still worry some) but days like today make it very rewarding. It all started with "Paula Deen's My First Cookbook." Zoe checked it out at the library and was instantly INSPIRED. She loves the ladies accent, and today she discovered that she loves her recipes as well. She thumbed through it last night and carefully selected tonight's meal. Initiative. We took a trip to Albertson's today, list in hand, and she gathered her ingredients. Organization. This evening, she proudly cooked stuffed shells, heated up a loaf of bread and served it with a salad! She.was.beaming.

Reading Comprehension. Math. Confidence.

Complete with placecareds...

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!
Psalms 113:9



Friday, March 9, 2012

Wrapping Up Our Adoption Quilt

Since we are officially in the "Waiting on Travel Approval Boat," (yay) I am setting my sights on finishing our "Piecing Together Our Family Quilt." We are humbled and honored by all the people who have so generously given to our Adoption Fund. We feel so blessed and are very moved by how many of you expressed through your kinds words and donations support of our adoption. Our costs have risen slightly, as we have decided to include the children on our trip to China. Tyler had raised funds to go to Europe, but fell short and was not able to go, so he is able to use those funds to pay for himself. We feel it will be a life changing, unforgetable trip for him. After much prayer, weighing out pro's and con's and plenty of pondering, we came to the conclusion, Zoe and Rance also need to be included in the last leg of this journey. We feel it may prevent resentment as well as create some very happy memories from our first couple weeks of a family of seven! We are so fortunate my mom has volunteered to come and help with the kiddos, and we continue to get encouragement from God that we are making the right decision and He will continue to provide as we pursue His children.

Quickly, I wanted to share a verse I came across last night as I was studing about finances:

From the Message:

Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back-given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Luke 6:38

I felt so comforted by this. We are not adopting to get some good marks with God. However, it is comforting to know, He will reward our efforts, and more importantly, He will see us through. He will continue to provide, He always has, He is SO faithful.

Again, thanks so much to all of you for your prayers and support. Your names are hand embroidered on our family quilt, and we will never forget your kindness. I can't wait to wrap it up and share the finished product, with two little cutie patooties parked in front of it. Oh how God has planted so much love in my heart for these litte ones, and we cannot wait to bring them home!!!

Many Blessings,


Just in case you have forgotten how cute they are...

Monday, March 5, 2012

An Ivor Jude Spotting!

Thanks to the World Wide Web, I have made a connection with a lady from Chicago who is in China RIGHT NOW adopting Ivor's adorable friend. In her last update from the care center, it was implied that her little one had a close bond with our son, Ivor. Miraculously, she was able to locate me and let me know she was headed for China and would be in the boys care center. Of course we were excited at the possibility of getting some more pics, (you can never have enough). She and I even had the opportunity to speak before she left. I am feeling so blessed by the people I have met on this journey. It is very exciting to think Ivor will be able to keep in touch with a friend he made in his first year of life. How precious these little ones are, and how precious are those very first bonds they make. It breaks my heart to be tearing the babies from the only life they know, from the nannies who have loved them so, from the beds they know, and the environment they are familiar with. However, I know they can't stay there forever, it is only a chapter of their lives and I am so grateful for it. It is best they come home to a family and a life where they will have opportunities and unconditional love.

A special thank you to (you know who you are) for the darling pictures of our sweet boy.

Many Blessings,