We got new pictures and video this week of our Eliza Joy! I wish I could share them here. Please feel free to ask us (or any of the aunts, uncles, and grandparents) in person, we will be delighted to share her sweet face. Since I can't show them here, you will have to settle for a picture of our three stateside children. They are cute too. ;)
The update we got from her orphanage shows that she is tiny for her age (she will fit right in!). They say she "is a personality, likes to participate in activities by herself, likes freedom, doesn't like being limited, and is eager to get attention and love." Sounds like a Fleenor to me!
We also were surprised to find out that she had the first of several corrective surgeries she will need for cleft lip/palate in November of 2019. Her cleft smile has stolen our hearts and is framed all over the house, and we can see from the new pictures that her repaired smile is just as beautiful.
Truthfully, I feel two ways about this news. I am relieved to know that she is getting the care she needs at what seems to be an excellent center. We are encouraged by every picture and video we receive that she is getting regular attention and care from people who love her. I also wish we could have been with her for what was no doubt a scary and painful experience. We are ready to be her parents, and it's hard to know your child has gone through something difficult without your support.
So the basic timeline going forward is this (minus any expectation of time frames, because no one can predict that now): We are waiting for China to approve our match with Yu Yi. As soon as we receive this letter, we will complete the two part immigration application we began as part of our dossier last year. When we receive the immigration approval, we will apply for a Visa for Eliza. Then our agency will begin working with China to plan our travel.
Yep, still traveling internationally. To China. In 2020, the year of the global pandemic.
Good thing we've learned to be comfortable with ambiguity.
We don't know when we will be approved to travel, if we will have to be quarantined on the front or back part of the trip (or both!), if we will get to see our daughter's birth country like we hoped, we don't really know anything. But you know what? We didn't know any of that stuff three weeks ago, or a three months or years ago, and we are still closer today. We are still on this journey. The Fleenors are still going to be a family of six. Eliza is still our child, and whatever comes on her journey or ours, we will face it together.
I hope that you can find some comfort in this idea as we all face the ambiguity of global pandemic. We don't know when things will look different than they do today, but they will. And we are all still here together. We can still care for each other. We can still show each other empathy and grace. Whatever comes during this season of quarantine or in the season after, we can face it together.
Thanks for staying in it with us these last three years. I think it will only get better from here.
So we have an announcement...
We've been matched!!! Our beautiful new daughter, Yu Yi, is 3 years old and she lives in South China. We locked her file and submitted our Letter of Intent today!! We wish we could share her precious face here on our blog, but that will have to wait until we have her home in the States. In the meantime, here are some pictures of her new family throwing a spontaneous party last night out of sheer excitement!
The two characters of her Chinese name was beautifully translated by a Chinese friend of a friend: "'Beyond, higher than others' This girl must be very smart and strong. She will be able to do things beyond others' expectation in the future. 'Happy and Joyful' The happiness and joy is from the peace, the comfort and satisfaction from the bottom of her heart." What a beautiful blessing over our daughter's life!
It's hard to describe what it means to me to bring this wonderful news to you, or how light and happy my heart has been these last two days since we knew she was ours. This blog space has held the darkest days of my life. The last three years have felt like loss after loss after loss, most recently my precious Nana only one month ago. It has been a long, dark winter. But Spring is finally here, praise our merciful God!
There are lots of questions about what comes next. The short answer is: more paperwork between us, the State Department, and the Chinese Government. Then travel! But also, the Coronavirus, so we are holding all timelines loosely. I'll post more updates as we go along, but for today...
Elizabeth Joy Fleenor, we can't wait to meet you!!!
Josh and Emily
We hope that by sharing our steps, challenges, and milestones of our adoption, you will see yourself as part of the community we hope to build around our child as she grows up.