Friday, December 31, 2010

Copied from Sunday, November 28th, 2010 Travel Blog

I can blog!

We are here in Beijing, China and Kevin was able to get me connected to my blog - so happy now.  I have been missing telling about our travels.  You see, in China anything with the word "blog" in the title is sensored - but there are ways around it.

I only have a short amt of time right now so I'll give a quick rundown and then add more later.

Day 1 - Thanksgiving Day -  flights from Indy to Chicago and then Chicago to Beijing

Day 2 – Friday – still on the plane and arrived in Beijing at midnight
Day 3 – Saturday - visited the Forbidden City, saw the flag lowered at Tiananmen Square, visited where the city gates used to be on the edge of the city.
Day 4 – Sunday – had Chinese breakfast, visited a Christian church in the morning, had Greek food for lunch at a mall, went shopping at a mall, and had a traditional dumpling meal for dinner.
Day 5 – Monday – we are going to the Great Wall this morning and leave soon. 
Now that I am connected I will give a lot more details later.  We are all well and having a wonderful time.  The children are doing great!
At the airport in Chicago - we should be leaving soon!
Laurel is getting goofy waiting 8 hours at the airport!
On the plane to China!  Excuse the blurriness!


Copied from Thursday, November 25, 2010 China Travel Blog

Okay, I was really tired on this post below.  Not sure WHAT I was thinking, but I'll go ahead and copy it anyway...

Twas the morning of Thanksgiving... (4:29 am!)

and all through the house, the children were nestled...
all snug in their beds...
dreaming of plane rides and snacks...
and a new sister to add (to the family!)

Mother and father were busy at work...
making sure all the bags were packed safe and secure...
weigh them all 10 times just to make sure (that they aren't over China's 44 lb rule!)

Don't forget the cords to the cameras, laptop, video camera, DS and more!

Daddy will work on the last minute business work,
while mama stuffs the luggage and checks her list
(Mama thinks she has checked her list about a gazillion times and it still isn't all checked off!)

Sleep will come soon (or so I have heard)
As the time of our leaving draws nearer and nearer (couldn't think of a rhyme!  It is 4:30 in the morning!)

So on this Thanksgiving night as you take a peak outside (plane leaves Chicago at about 8:00),
be sure to listen for the call from the air,
as the Burgess family exclaims to one and to all -
We're heading to China!  Come one and come all!
5 B's in a hive will be five no more -
we get our new sister (and daughter),
and become 6 B's in all (in the hive)!


(Copied from Saturday, Nov. 13th, 2010) Welcome!

Just a quick first post to welcome you on our journey to China where we will add a precious Lyric to our family of 5! 

We will be having a memorable Thanksgiving this year as that is the day we leave to get our daughter.  I'll have to plan some entertaining, fun things to do because we're spending 8 hours in the Chicago airport!  

The kids wanted to know if they will get extra food on the airplane - doesn't everyone stuff themselves (just like the turkey!) on Thanksgiving Day?  Hmm... I wonder if the on-board meal will include turkey, stuffing and cranberries? What the kids don't quite realize yet is that we aren't on the plane to Beijing until about 8:00 at night, so their Turkey dinner would have to be in the airport - maybe I can pack some cans of canned cranberries and a can opener in my carry-on...


Hello! We are back, are well-rested, and are doing great!

On our way to China!
We have been to the other side of the world and back again - bringing home with us our adorable new daughter, Lyric!  Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers for us while we were away - and THANK YOU to Joe who took us to the airport and brought us home again - and to the Mast, Treen, and Glass family who tended lovingly to our home and our chickens while we were away.  I had expected at least a couple of chickens to die (usually lose a few in the winter), but they all survived and are much fatter than when we left.  One of them, (finally!), started laying eggs for us!  It's about time they started earning their keep around here :)

I had set up the other travel blog while we were away, but what I am going to do now is copy it all over into this blog and then delete it from the other.  This time, I'll get pictures added to it!


Saturday, November 13, 2010


Great news!  We have happily received our travel approval!  I created a new travel blog that is by invitation only for our travels.  If you would like to follow along please send me an email at and, please, tell me how you know me (like through a specific yahoo group, family member, friend on facebook...) so that I can approve you.  Otherwise, I will probably copy the posts from the travel blog onto this blog when we return and you could read it then.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us on this journey to our daughter.   We are still trying to raise money for the orphanage donation we have to make.  Any amount you can donate will help both our family with the adoption costs and the orphanage our daughter has lived in since she was 3 weeks old  - she is now 3 1/2.    I have heard that the orphanage is a good one - but that it is a poor one.  As a thank you for any donation you make we will put your name in a drawing for the chance to win one of the gifts on the left.  I would love to see the donation tracker on the right move closer to its goal and to present some of you with a great "thank you" gift from the drawing.

Please pray in the upcoming weeks that Lyric's transition into our family is a smooth one and that she attaches well to us.



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Orphanage Donation update and waiting for travel approval!

Call me crazy, but I really enjoy putting together yard sales (and not only because of the financial blessings we receive from them!)  I enjoy them because I get to meet and talk with so many wonderful people.  I pray that we were able to touch the hearts of some who we spoke with as much as what mine was touched!

If you take a quick look at the Orphanage Donation Tracker on the right side of the blog you'll see that we have already been blessed with raising just over $600 for the orphanage donation!  A huge thank you to everyone who donated and/or shopped at the sale!  We saw many people who donated even though they didn't buy anything and many who donated more than what we were asking.  People stopped to shop just because they saw our signs that said "Child Adoption Fund-raiser"!

On the left side of the blog are what I call "Thank you gifts".  Everyone who donates online, by mail, or in person for the orphanage donation will have their name entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of these gifts.  Not everyone will win (sorry!), but please know that you do have our sincere thanks and gratitude for the donation.  The donation is really also a fee for our adoption - so not only do you help the children, you are helping us as well.  It goes right to the orphanage where our daughter has lived since she was about 3 weeks old (she is now about 3 1/2).  We are praying that we raise way more than the required monetary donation, that way we can purchase and take with us physical items I'm sure they need more of - like jackets for this winter, diapers and formula for the babies, and shoes!

On the right side of the blog is where I'll post the names/blogs/websites of the individuals who donate items that are offered as the "Thank you gifts".   Please be sure to visit any links!  Anyone who would like to donate a "thank you gift" can send me an email at 

If you want to be updated when we add to the blog, just fill in your information on the right side under where it says "Subscribe to Orphanage Fundraiser", and you will be emailed when we update the blog.

Oh - ways to donate can be found on the right side of the blog.  You can donate online through the chip-in button, mail a donation, or you can even make a tax-deductible donation!

On a final note - we are now waiting for Travel Approval from China to go get our daughter!  Yeah!

With sincere thanks,

The Burgess family

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Adoption/Orphanage Fundraising Sale Fri 15/Sat 16th 8 - ?

Thank you to everyone for coming!  It was a great success!  And thank you to the family who let us have the sale at their house :) 


This is the approximate amount we need to raise for the orphanage donation/fee.  It is called a donation, but it is really a set fee and will be determined by the exchange rate when we travel.  It goes right to the orphanage in Liupanshui City where our daughter has been living for the past 3 years of her life.  Our daughter, Lyric, won't benefit from it because she will have her family.  It is for the children that are left behind.  Some of these children will be blessed with families.  Many won't.  In China, orphans are allowed to be adopted internationally until their 14th birthday.  After that, I believe they can only be adopted in China until their 16th birthday.  And after that, no one.

$5,250.  That's what we have to raise.  It isn't what we want to raise.  We want to raise more than that.  When we are in China we will be going to our daughter's orphanage in Liupanshui City.  We have to see where she has lived for the past 3 years of her life.  She has been fed there.  She has been clothed there.  She has been held there.  We want to leave something concrete, like books, clothing, shoes, or educational toys.  Anything we raise, any donations beyond the $5,250 will be put towards purchasing supplies for the orphanage.  We are blessed with so much.  To be able to give, it's, well, it's good that we have the opportunity to do so.

This weekend we are having a fund-raising yard sale, and anything we raise will be put towards the orphanage donation/fee.  On the 30th of this month we are also having, with two other adopting families, a tea-luncheon.  I'll post more about the luncheon later, but the proceeds from that will be split with the two other families.  Our share of the proceeds will also go right towards the orphanage donation/fee.

If you would like to make a donation you can do this through the chip-in button on the left or you can send it to us at:
Kevin and Karen Burgess (Adoption)
P.O. Box 456 
Plainfield, IN 46168

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation we have been able to set up an account with a wonderful not-for-profit called Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries.  Their website is  You can donate through their website by going to the "donations" button on the top right and then clicking on "Family Grant Donation" or you can mail a donation to:
Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries
1417 N. Lincoln St.
Spokane, WA 99201

All donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Checks must be made out to:
Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries and please, do NOT write our name anywhere on the check, but include a note saying where you would like the money to go (to the Burgess family). If you have any questions you can call them at 509-465-3520 or their email is Just let them know you would like to make a donation for Kevin and Karen Burgess.

Please stop back by soon.  We are in the process of collecting some thank you "gifts".  Anyone who donates to the fundraiser from now until Thanksgiving Day (not including at the yard sale or tea-luncheon) will have their name entered into a drawing for an opportunity to win one of the gifts.  Some of the gifts include a gas card for $50.00 to Speedway gas station, DVD's and whole-bean coffee from Honduras!  I'll post pictures soon.

We would also appreciate prayers for the success of raising the orphanage donation/fee and for a smooth adoption journey.  Thank you!

The Burgess family

Monday, September 20, 2010

From America, with love...

With every adoption, a mother and father hopes their child is being prepared for his/her new family.  We pray that Lyric is being prepared for us. 

Through many different adoption yahoo groups we have heard about a wonderful lady in China who owns a business called  Red Thread China.  Among other things, she organizes and sends care packages for adoptive parents to orphanages throughout China.  The picture we have below is the one we sent to Lyric.  There is one difference between what we ordered and what is being sent though - we didn't order the adorable doll.  Ann surprised us by adding it to the package at no extra charge.  What a wonderful blessing.  If anyone needs to send a care package to their son or daughter in China, I highly recommend using Ann from Red Thread China!

The package includes the doll, mooncakes for the staff and maybe for Lyric, a 24 exposure disposable camera, a soft photo album,  and a letter to the staff of the orphanage. 

The camera is so that the staff will take pictures of Lyric in the orphanage and with her friends.  We hope to get this back when we get her.  You don't always, but that is the hope.

The photo album has 10 pictures in it of our family, including one of Lyric.  Some adoptive parents have said their children never saw the album they sent, but they did get it back when they got their new child.  We will bring more pictures of our family when we go - including ones of Lyric's grandparents, our house, chickens and cats!

The letter to the staff at the orphanage thanks them for caring for the children and for Lyric.  It tells a little bit about our family, again with the hope that the staff share some of the information with our daughter.  I copied the letter below the picture.


Dear Caregivers,

Words can not describe the gratitude and appreciation we have for you providing for our daughter, Min Xin Yu, and the other children in your care.  “Thank you” is too simple a word, but we mean it sincerely.

Please let our daughter know that her family is coming for her soon.  We have pictures of her, and she has already been given many kisses and hugs!  She will have a mommy and a daddy, two big sisters (12 and 9) and a big brother (11).  We have a warm, soft bed all ready for her in a room that she will share with her sisters. 

Min Xin Yu will not forget China.  We will teach her about her heritage.  She will have an uncle and an aunt who live in China.  Her uncle is an American and her aunt is Chinese!.  They are very excited about Min Xin Yu joining our family.

Min Xin Yu will be loved and cared for by everyone in our family.  She is a blessing to us that we will cherish forever.

With grateful hearts,

The Burgess family.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We got our provisional approval!

We are one step closer to getting Lyric!  The next item we are waiting for is a letter from the National Visa Center that will confirm they also received our provisional approval.  We should get this next week. 

Since it is getting closer to the time we can travel, it is easier for me to post the rest of the steps we have to take before we get our travel approval:

We are now waiting for a letter from the National Visa Center - 1 to 1 1/2 weeks (by Sept 24th)
1 week for our agency to get our paperwork to China (by Oct 1st)
2 weeks for the Consulate to sign our Article 5 letter (by Oct 15th)
3 to 4 weeks for Travel Approval by (by Nov 12)
We will leave anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks after we get the Travel Approval (by Dec 17th!)

Not many steps left to the finish line!  I tried to be really conservative with the numbers because there are a lot of events/holidays that happen towards the end of the year in China that could slow down our travel.  Hopefully, I will be able to take off some weeks as time goes by.

For today, we are struggling with getting a passport-type photo of Lyric to send to our agency.  One photo is too big and another one has her hands in the photo.  We don't have many choices though.  Kevin is going to try to get it done today.  Then we can send in some forms with the photo to our agency and be ready when we get that letter from the National Visa Center, which we can just email a copy of to our agency.  I even heard of how some people have gotten the letter emailed to them and then they just forwarded it to their agency.  I'm going to look into this!

Talk to you soon,


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Love those "nudges" from God

I love "nudges" from God, and I love to see Him working in the lives of those around us. 

Just recently a dear lady, a complete stranger to us, acted on the nudges she had been receiving.  You see, awhile back I decided to see if anyone else who was adopting would be interested in fund-raising with me and my family.  It's a long story, but now there are three of us (with our families) who are working together to help offset the cost of some of the adoption expenses.  When one of us has completed our adoption, we have another family who is ready to step in to fund-raise for their adoption as well.  Our plan is to continually help one another with adoption fund-raising efforts, even after our adoptions are final.

Awhile back we were interviewed by a reporter from our local paper about how we had all met, why we were adopting and working together, as well as about our upcoming yard sale.  This dear lady saw the article in the paper, cut it out and saved it.  She kept feeling like she was supposed to get into contact with us and, thankfully, she listed to those nudges by the Holy Spirit and finally did! 

Our first introduction to one another, other than by email, came when she invited us to her house.  She served us a lovely Victorian tea luncheon while we discussed fund-raising ideas and got to know one another.

One of the ideas that God had placed on her heart was to have a tea luncheon where grandmothers could bring their granddaughters or mothers could bring their daughters and so on.  I thought it was a wonderful, fun idea that could not only serve to bless our efforts but that could also make some wonderful memories for those who come to the tea luncheon as well.  

We are now in the process of finding a good place (or places!) to hold the luncheon and after that we will work out the finer details.  We have thought about including a speaker and/or live music, door prizes, pictures and so on.

It is wonderful to have others to fund-raise with, and I thank God for those that I am working with now and that He put them into my life.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Lyric Xinyu Burgess"!

I just want to snatch her right up!

So happy!
If you look closely, you can see her mismatched socks - she will fit right in here!

"Xinyu"  is her first name in China and will be her middle name here.  It means "fresh rain" or "new rain".  

"Lyric" is a name that is growing in popularity.  It basically means "words set to music".  It was originally Greek, meaning "sung with a lyre" and doesn't seem to have a traditional name meaning like "Karen" is said to mean "purity".  When I think of the name "Lyric", I think of "song of my heart" so now it officially has a meaning as a name :)  

Paperwork update!  Kevin is just now sending out our I-800.  This is the beginning of the process that allows us to get Lyric into the United States.  When I get a travel time-line figured out I will be sure to post it!

Please pray that we don't run into any issues with the I-800.  Lyric's medical says that she has low hemoglobin and hypoevolutism, but an update from the orphanage said that she was only delayed by about 12 months and that she does not have "disease of short stature".  We are approved to adopt a child that is healthy or with minor correctable medical needs, and we are hoping that she will qualify as such.  If not, we will need to send in our home study update (which we already have done) with about $340 to get her approved for her needs and this will delay our time-line.  So - praying that she gets approved!

In His name,


Friday, August 20, 2010

What a wonderful day for a "wok"!

Opened up my email today to such a wonderful surprise.  About a week or so ago I entered a contest on a blog at     (don't forget to head over and check out the blog!) where the writer, Cheryl, was hosting a giveaway for CSN stores.  Turns out - I won a $50.00 gift certificate! 

That $50 is going towards a wok with a steamer attachment.  I have been wanting a wok for a long time, but haven't bought one because it is more of a "want" then a "need", so now I have a good reason to go ahead and treat myself to a new cooking "tool".  Hopefully, I will be spoiling the rest of the family (and friends!) with some good food too!

I haven't tried them yet (looking forward to having them in China!) but I want to see if I can make something called "steamed buns".  They look really, really good!  Here is a link for a  Steamed bun recipe on  

Anyone for Chinese?

- Karen

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Imagine my surprise a few days ago when we got a phone call from our agency.  They were calling to tell us that our LOA had arrived!  LOA stands for Letter of Acceptance.  Even though we already told China that we wanted to adopt the little girl we were referred with our Letter of Intent, we still have to check mark a box and sign our names saying that we do, indeed, still want her on the Letter of Acceptance.

The main reason I was so excited to get the LOA is because it came so early - I wasn't even thinking about it yet.  The given time-line is 60 to 90 days, and we received ours in only 25!  What an amazing blessing - we would really like to travel by December!  (Secretly, I am hoping for the end of October).

There is only one other major event that takes place before we can travel to get our daughter and that is when we will receive travel approval or "TA" for short.  After we get this, we can travel in as little as 2 or 3 weeks.

In between the LOA and TA is a bunch of other little milestones and hurdles that we have to meet - and we are already working on our first one.  Because our new daughter was diagnosed with special needs that weren't apart of our original home study, we need to have an addendum added to it.  That addendum won't be done until Monday, and then we have to get it approved by CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services).  All this will add to the waiting game.  After that, we send away for something called our I-800.  Right now, the paperwork is "all Greek to me".  Once I become fluent in it, I will translate the time-line here so everyone can see how we are progressing.

I'm going to see if I can get our daughter's pictures figured out so I can post them on here.  (I'll post her new name also!)

Until next time,


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Experiencing really early adoption nesting syndrome!

I should really be organizing this next school year for the kiddo's (I have it written down on my calendar that we are starting this coming Monday!)  But, alas, I couldn't ignore the loud calling I kept hearing from the bedroom upstairs where our newest daughter will be sleeping.  Over and over again I heard "Clean me!  De-clutter me!  If you do it now, you will save time later!"  What could I do?  The "calling" kept getting louder and louder, and before I knew it I found myself heading up the stairs and into "the room". 

That was it.  The room had me.  I enlisted Carissa's help (oldest daughter) and we started re-arranging furniture.  Actually, we took the dressers out of the bedroom and put them in the room right next to it.  This other room served us well as a sewing/library/game room.  At one time it was a home office.  Now it gets to be a dressing room/sewing room! 

Earlier in the day, Kevin mentioned that maybe Carissa would like her own room - but I said she really likes sharing a room with her sister, Laurel.  They would miss each other - a lot!  Later on I asked Carissa about it - she wanted to stay where she was.  Oh, how I love that!

Their bedroom will have 3 beds and 3 nightstands.  Each girl also gets their own little nick-knack shelf on the wall next to their bed and we let them put up pictures/posters etc.  It isn't a big room, which is why we had to take out the dressers.  I have thought about getting bunk beds, but the way the room is designed they wouldn't fit very well.  We will have to decide if we want to get a toddler bed or a twin bed.  One with drawers underneath would be nice but I would also like it big enough for me to cuddle with her in it - which is why I am leaning towards a twin even though it would take up a bit more space.  As it is, I already know that I'm going to have to find something to hold Carissa and Laurel down in their own beds while I get cuddle time with their new sister!  Carissa is already planning her strategy on how they can hop/jump from one bed to another and all end up in the same one!

My plan with de-cluttering and re-organizing the bedroom now is so the girls don't have too many adjustments at one time.  A few months ago I had them make drawer-space.  We are trying to ease them into having another sister.  I think it even helps Tyler, their brother, ease into it a bit as well.  He was a bit surprised today to see the bedroom re-arranged.  (Someday soon, I pray, we will have a brother for Tyler and another son for us!)

I will leave you now with another picture of our sweet girl in China.  It is one of my favorites.  When I get the other ones ready I will post those as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Introducing our new daughter!

 I couldn't figure out how to upload the pictures of her that we had in her file, so I took a picture of the picture, cropped it, put a frame around it, and uploaded it here - so it may be a bit blurry or out of focus!

Here is what her file has to say:

She was born on July 3 and is now 3 years old.

She does have low hemoglobin, so we will get that checked out when we get her home.

The file also said that she has "hypoevolutism", but with the update we received it showed her thyroid levels all in the normal range, so we do not believe her to have this.

She is about 12 months delayed, both physically and mentally - which they expect with proper nutrition she should catch up just fine!

She is 2 feet 5 inches tall and weighs only 19.81 lbs!  She is tiny!

She likes mimicking and dancing.  What fun!

I'm not sure if I can put her Chinese name on here or not, so I think I will hold off.  I can tell you though, that she was given her name because she brings people much joy and laughter like spring rain.  You can't see her joy as much in the picture above, but you will see it when we post her other pictures.  She is one who really lives up to her name!   I'll get them on here later when I have more time. For now, I have some other not so little ones who are calling for their lunch!

We do have a bit of a disclaimer - although we have pre-approval to adopt her, it isn't official until we get our final travel approval to go get her and we have her in our arms with the paperwork signed in China.  With God's grace though, we will continue to move closer to holding her in our arms and make this child forever ours on paper, for she is already ours in our hearts.

The Burgess Family

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Orphanage Fundraiser coming soon - and we need your help!

We are now looking for donations of gifts to use as "prizes" for the fundraiser!  Do you have something that you would like to donate towards a good cause?  Were you given a Christmas present last year that you simply never ended up using and have found you just don't need?  Are you creative with arts and crafts, sewing or painting? Have connections with an area business that you could approach to ask them to donate - or run your own business? No?  How about a gas card or gift card? 

Our goal is to raise money for the orphanage where our daughter is now living.  The money won't be going to help her directly, but it will help the many children who will be left behind.  By offering the opportunity to win a prize in a drawing we are hoping to encourage many, many people to dig deep into their pockets and donate to a great cause.  Please, don't hesitate to get in contact with me (Karen) at  and let me know how you would like to help.

We realize there are children all over the world who are in need and that this is one of only many causes you could give towards, but please, open your hearts.  Pray about it.  Give what you can.  If you find yourself in a position where you can't give monetarily or even non-monetarily, then the gift of prayer is something that we surely welcome - and it's free!  Pray that we not only get to that $5,000 mark, but that we go way beyond it!  Pray that this fundraiser is a success, that others may see this blog, follow our journey and have their hearts opened to adoption - as well as to our Savior!

Kevin and I are really excited about this opportunity - please spread the word by sharing our blog with others.  The more who know about it, the more successful we believe it will be!

Thank you!

Karen and Kevin

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Updated paperwork/yard sale

Kevin and I have completed what we needed to for our home study addendum, but as it turns out, some of our paperwork had just expired - by days.  We had to fill out papers for another CPS (Child Protective Services) check as well as another background check in our county.  No big deal on getting it done and everything went smoothly.

I wanted to tell you about the yard sale we just had with two other ladies who are adopting as well.  One family is adopting 3 from Ethiopia and one family is adopting from Congo.  The days of the sale were really, really, hot and humid, and it was a lot of working getting everything done - but again, we were blessed to see God's hand at work.  At one point, because we had so many items left to sell, I made up a sign that said Adoption Fundraiser, went to a very busy street corner and walked back and forth - praying - and hoping nobody would come tell me that I couldn't hold my sign up where I was.

I knew the sign was drawing people in because I got a "thumbs-up" at one point from some ladies driving in a car with big grins on their faces and even had people stop to ask where the sale was.  I did this for about 1 hour and 45 minutes with a break 1/2 way.  I remember praying that someone would come to make a larger donation (I was kind-of thinking in the $1,000's of dollars range but, hey, we would take anything!).

When I got back to the sale a lady came up with her small son.  She asked us some questions and said that he was adopted - the cutie that she was holding.  After more questions, she put her had in the donation jar and said she made a donation and then went on her way.  A few minutes later, Katherine (the one adopting from Ethiopia), reached in the jar and we saw that there was a $20 added to the other $1.00 bills.  I asked her to take out the $20 to see how much was there - the woman, who I believe was used by God, had given us ten $20.00 bills - $200.00!  Can you believe it?  I can.  It wasn't the $1,000's that had crossed my mind earlier, but it was that larger donation that I had prayed for.  God IS Good!

At one point while I was away from the sale holding up my sign I guess some people drove by in their car and threw some money out the window!  I never found out how much it was, but I wish I had been there to see it!  I guess they yelled something like, "Happy getting babies!"  What a hoot!  I want to do that for someone else some day!

Time to clean up around the house a bit and make a grocery list - I'll post more about the orphanage fundraiser that we are going to be starting soon.  I'm really excited about it!  "Thank you gifts" or "Prizes" are involved where those who donate to the orphanage have an opportunity to win something.  One of the "thank you gifts" is a brand new machine sewn quilt from Texas that my mom donated.  It is beautiful - and later on I will post pictures.

'Till next time -

Karen and family

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wahoo! We just got Pre-approval!!

Wow!  This was completely unexpected!  Usually when you send in your Letter of Intent it takes an average of 1 to 4 weeks to receive the Pre-approval, but we just had ours submitted on Thursday and got it today!  That was really quick.  I hadn't even begun to think about when we were going to get it yet!

Pre-approval means that our application to adopt Min was received and that the China Centre of Adoption Affairs agrees to move the application file into the procedure for the adoption of special needs children.

We are now getting a home study addendum to include the special needs that were listed with Min's file and waiting for the Letter of Acceptance.

The time from the PA (pre-approval) to LOA (Letter of Acceptance) is 1 to 3 months.
Then, from LOA to TA (Travel Approval) is 6 - 8 weeks.
Then, TA to final travel is approximately 3 to 4 weeks.

Just wanted to tell the world about the quick Pre-approval!



We LOVE how God works!

Well, Thursday morning Kevin and I were down in our basement working on getting our Letter of Intent together to adopt "Min" when our agency emails us that they just received an update from the orphanage in China and to stay by the computer - that they would send it shortly.  Boy, did we stay by the computer!

I have to admit, I did start getting a little nervous.  In the past, whenever we asked for an update on a child, the update always came back that there was something a bit more severe with the child than what we thought we could personally provide the best care for - so with this soon-to-be-arriving update, I was nervous.  We had already decided that she would become our daughter, no matter what.  We would provide the best care for her that we could, but still the doubts crept into my mind that her need(s) would be more severe than we thought we could properly care for.

Minutes passed (which seemed like A LOT longer!) when we received the update.  It said that she does have a physical and mental delay of about 12 months, but that the People's Hospital of China believes that she only needs to have good nutrition and nursing in order for her to catch up.  She does not have disease of small stature (which is a part of the hypoevolutism diagnosis), her body is in proportion, just tiny compared to other children her age.  We do not know about the low hemoglobin diagnosis, but will have her retested once we are back in the states. 

I love the way that God confirmed this adoption.  We had already decided to adopt Min, no matter what issues she had,  and were in the process of sending in our Letter of Intent, when we received the updated information - and it was a great update!  Yeah!

Also, we had an adoption fund-raising sale this last weekend in which I will post more about later.  Once again, God worked in wonderful ways!

Please bear with me as I am updating the blog! 


Karen and family

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's a Girl!

Yeah! Tuesday morning we were blessed to receive in my inbox the referral of a very cute, just turned 3-year old girl from China.  I wish that I could post pictures of her here for all of you to see.  Gosh, it's hard to believe that we will soon be parents to four children - when we go get her they will be 12, 11 and 9 - and she will be 3 1/2!

The little girl who we pray will become our daughter (we are sending a letter of intent to adopt her to China tomorrow)  has big eyes and is smiling in almost every picture we have of her.  We are very grateful to already have 7 different pictures of her.  She does have a special need listed, it is called hypoevolutism.  Most doctors here in the states have never heard of it before so we will have her completely checked out when we get her home.  It was also noted in her file that she has low hemoglobin, which could be that she has some type of anemia.  Whatever her needs are, it doesn't really matter. We will do our best to care for her and love her unconditionally as one of our own.  (She looks like she will add a lot of giggles and laughter to our lives.) 

So when do we travel to go get her? It could be December - but we are hoping for much sooner than that!

Praising God for this wonderful gift,

The Burgess Family

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's been a long time since I last posted!

Sorry for not posting sooner than this about the few things that have happened within the last month or so!  I'll try to give you a brief rundown now.  We did get a referral last month and although it was hard to do it, we decided to turn the referral down..  The little girl was 14 months old and had some special needs that we weren't familiar with and we didn't know the extent of what those needs were.  It's hard to make a decision like that.  Once you have a child you will do whatever you can to provide for them and give them the best that you can.  But with adoption, you have a choice - and it isn't always easy.

We had to make that choice a second time today.  There is a little girl with a diagnosis of CHD (has to do with her heart, which was repaired) and an umbilical hernia.  The repaired CHD wasn't a problem, neither was the hernia or the club foot, but looking more closely at her file it seems there are a host of other things that aren't quite right with her.  These needs, again, are ones that we felt our family would not be able to provide the best care for. 

So tonight... tonight a new list of children comes out.  I am praying now that we not only get a referral from that list, but we find out who our future daughter will be as well!

I'll try not to let so much "grass grow under my feet" before I post again!

In His name,


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Puzzle Fundraiser is almost done! Sponsor a piece today!

Our puzzle is gathering dust on a table in the corner of a room.  With only 217 pieces left to go (that seems like a ton of pieces but we started out with 750), I know we can do it!  Plus, I kind-of miss figuring out a new way to take a fun picture of it - I try to include chopsticks in every updated photo.  If you look back to some of the older posts you will see the kind of fun I was having.  I think the one where the pieces look like the face of a pig is cute!

How does it work?  For every $5.00 donated we add a piece to the puzzle.  When it is all done we will write the names of every one who donated to it on the back of the puzzle, glue it all together and hang it in our new daughter's room. 

I love this puzzle because it was made to look like the panda's are, oh!  I almost said what the finished product looked like!  (You can get an idea it from the picture - but it looks really neat when it is all put together, and I hope you will check back often to see how it is going!)

Thanks everyone!


Friday, May 28, 2010

No match.

I would have posted before now if we had been matched off the last list.  Nothing though.  No email, no picture, no call.  Have to wait another month...

One bit of good news is that a little girl who I would have loved to have had as a daughter found a family.  I advocated for her before on this blog.  She had waited for so long.  My husband and I had decided to ask our agency to find out if she was still available for adoption (because we wanted her).  Turns out she was recently matched with a family.

Is it selfish to say that I wanted her for myself?  I found out about the match on my birthday.  I know it is good that she will have a family soon. They are so blessed to be able to bring that precious girl into their family.   It also means that God has another little girl planned for us.  Can you guess that I am ready to find out who she is?

Waiting in Him,


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let the fund-raising begin - again!

Summer is coming and fund-raising is once again in the works!  This Friday I may be meeting with a couple of other moms who are also adopting and need to raise money to help ease the financial burden of adoption.  We will be doing a brainstorming session to come up with a few ideas that we can put together for this summer.  Some ideas so far include a huge yard sale along US 40, a pancake breakfast with a company called Chris Cakes, and a Longaberger Basket Bingo Party.   They all sound like a lot of fun to me, especially since the proceeds means that more children are able to finally have a family.

A new list of children available for adoption from China should be coming out within the next couple of weeks.  I'm praying that we will finally be able to see our new daughter's face this month.

On a good note, it seems as if once we do find out who our daughter will be we may get to travel to get her about a month sooner than what it would have been last year.  If we are blessed with the referral this month, we would probably be traveling in the fall to get her.  Laurel, our youngest, will turn 9 on October 17th.  It would be a lot of fun to celebrate with her in China!  (Oh my, the girls just found a lizard in our basement!  Ahh - it just landed on me when Carissa was showing it to me!  Now they are talking about keeping it as a pet.  Time for me to intervene!)

In His name,


Monday, April 26, 2010

The night the list comes out...

We were told last week that a new list of waiting children was being released from China, so Kevin and I were cautiously hoping that our new daughter would be on it.  For months now, when we were told that the list was coming out, we would stay up late into the night waiting to see if our little girl was there.

This is what our lives look like the night the list comes out...

I sit in front of my computer in the basement, while Kevin is upstairs on his.  I'll usually be checking my email or reading other lady's adoption blogs while every once in awhile I'll click back over to our agency's private yahoo group to see if any of the children's files were posted.  When it is nighttime here in the states, it is daytime in China, which is why we stay up late into the night each time a new list of children is released. 

Last week I managed to make it to about 12:30 pm and my eyes were so heavy I almost fell asleep at the computer.  That's really early for me, but we had stayed up late the last few nights so I talked myself into going to bed and headed up the stairs - leaving my computer on in case I changed my mind.

I know that God is in control and that His timing is perfect.  I do have to remind myself of that once in awhile though.  Sometimes, I want His timing to be my timing.  I tell myself that if He meant for us to find out who our new daughter would be with that new list, then I would hear about it in the morning from our agency.

With a bit of guarded hopefulness in my heart and thoughts of an unknown daughter in my head, Kevin and I crawled into bed.  I think he was a little surprised that I was ready to go to sleep so soon, without waiting for the list to be posted.  In the past we have stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning.

I finally fell asleep only to awaken again at about 2:30 am with the list on my mind.  Quietly, I crept out of bed and down the stairs so as to not wake anyone.  Sitting in front of my computer I was happy to see that some files were just being added.  With each new file that was posted I would look closely to see if it would hold information about our daughter.   There were a lot of adorable boys posted, but not so many girls.  The posting was slow so I dragged myself back up to bed where Kevin sleepily asked, "Anything?"  I told him that files were being posted, but not many and none that I felt was our daughter.  I quietly climbed back into bed, falling asleep with the unspoken hope that God had decided, after all, that our daughter was on that list and that we would wake up in the morning to an email from our agency.

Morning came quickly, and I once again found myself in front of the computer, checking my email  for any word from our agency.  Nothing.  Disappointed but determined, I tell myself that this wasn't the right timing.  It will be so much better when God does show us our new daughter.  It will be perfect.

As I start to head back up the stairs to let Kevin know, the phone rings.  It hardly ever rings before 8:00 am at our house.  A quick thought passes through my mind that just maybe it is our agency calling us instead of emailing.  Maybe they have a referral for us, maybe they have our daughter.  I anxiously pick up the phone and say "Hello?", only to hear my darling husband sleepily say with a note of hope in his voice, "Anything?"  He had called me from his cell while he was still upstairs.  A little disappointed that it was Kevin and not our agency who was calling, I told him "No, no email."  and that I was coming back upstairs.  He quietly said, "Okay" and hung up the phone.  I could hear the bit of disappointment in his voice as well.

As I climbed the stairs once more, I told myself that maybe next time, maybe next time it will be His perfect timing...

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  NIV   Ecclesiastes 3:11 


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our dossier made it to China and was logged in!

I had a very nice surprise this afternoon when I opened my email to find a message from our adoption agency.  It said that our log in date (LID) was on 3/25!  Our agency must have worked fast on translating the documents.  I didn't expect to get that LID until next week, so I wasn't even looking for it! 

What makes this date so important to us is that now we can get a referral from the next list of waiting children that is released - (if there is a child who meets our "parameters" and if there aren't families ahead of us with the same parameters - like the age of a child and requested special needs).  So when does the next list come out?  It could be released in about 2 weeks!

I'm off to read some history and science to the blessings we already have - out on the deck on a beautiful, warm sunny day!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our dossier was sent to China!

All of that paperwork we worked for months on is finally finding its way to China!  Last week we were able to get all of my medicals (blood work) updated and were able to get the information to our agency so they could send out our dossier.  They sent it on Thursday, March 18th!  In adoption talk, this is called "Dossier to China" or DTC for short.  It usually takes about 3 weeks for the paperwork to be "logged in", which means this is the date that China officially recognizes as the date they received our paperwork.  If we get "logged in" by the time the next special needs list comes out we may get our referral!  (Which means we could find out who our newest daughter will be next month!)

As a family, we have continued to thank God for all of the blessings He has given us.  Not only for the 3 wonderful kids we already have, but for having our eyes opened to adoption.  I have to be honest though - once you adopt one - it's hard to stop!  And we haven't even completed this one yet!  Our children are already thinking a little beyond their new sister and are aiming for another brother!  Hmmm.... we have heard that Guatemala was opening back up :)

In His precious name,


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If all our paperwork is not correct then...

we scramble to get it all done correctly so it can still be sent out this Thursday!  With everything we have to remember with the adoption paperwork I neglected to pay attention to when I originally got my Lab work done.  It was done - oh, about a year ago...  and it's only good for a year, so - it's off to the doctors we go!  I need to get an HIV test, a urinalysis, and blood test that checks for Viral Hepatitis and Liver Function.  Kevin had to get this done as well, but he had his done later in the year so his is still good.

There is a blessing in all of this scramble to get the lab work done - we don't have to get it notarized, authenticated by our state and again authenticated by the Chinese consulate before we send it in.  Otherwise, it would have been at least another month before we could send in our dossier.  Our doctor just has to sign the lab work and we can get it to our agency - that is a big relief and a blessing!

The Burgess Family

Thursday, March 11, 2010

If all our paperwork is correct...

it should be sent out next Thursday evening (March 18) to China.    I am really hoping that we don't have to redo any of the paperwork, but I won't be surprised if we have to either - there was a lot of it! 

The Burgess Family

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our dossier is on its way!

Kevin took our dossier (translation: pile of important paperwork) to Fed Ex today and sent it on its way to our adoption agency for review!  They will get it tomorrow (Wednesday), review it and let us know if we need to change or add anything.  Once it looks good they will send it on its way to China!  It feels so good to have the paperwork out of our hands (we had it locked in a safe!) and working its way to the other side of the world :)

We were originally waiting to send in our dossier until we received a referral, but China changed the process for how they make special needs children available for adoption - for the better, I believe.  It used to be that individual adoption agencies could have their own individual list of children, to kind-of get the word out and help find a family for the children.  Now, the only way an agency can have an individual list is if they host a child's camp in China - then the agency can post pictures and information about the camp kids. (Hopefully this will lead to even more camps for the children in China!)

So where do all the children go that aren't on the individual agency lists any more?  They go on the shared list - the one that all the agencies who work with China have access to.  The shared list was there before, but now you have to be "logged in" (have all your paperwork in China) if you would like the referral of a child who is new to the shared list.  Once a child has been on the shared list for a month, then you don't have to be logged in to pursue the adoption of that child.  The goal is to make it so that a child doesn't have to wait as long to get home to their new family - it should make the process a lot quicker for a family to go get their child because the paperwork is already done.  What great news for those precious boys and girls who need a family!

I'll let you know when that paperwork leaves our agency's hands and moves on into China!

In His name,


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free Coffee Giveaway!

Post a comment here or
Send an email to for one entry,
If you would like two entries simply post a comment on your blog or on facebook with a link back to our blog/giveway.  Be sure to leave me the link of where you posted so I can count it as two entries.

That's all you have to do for a chance to win a free 14 oz. whole-bean bag of Honduran coffee!  For every 25 posts we will give away 1 bag of coffee!  (up to 4 bags)  Be sure to leave a way for us to contact you if we draw your name!  The last day will be on Tuesday, March 9th and we will draw names on the 10th.

Here is what the coffee label says:
"This 100% shade-grown, Arabica coffee is from the Marcala region of Honduras, known for producing premium quality coffee.  The coffee is high-grown at over 4,500 feet, producing the finest beans and giving this medium body coffee an exquisite flavor and a smooth finish.  This is a 14 oz bag of dark roast coffee, purchased from small, family-operated farms at a fair price."

If you would like to purchase a bag or two of the Honduran coffee we do have some bags left to sell.  We have them priced at  $10.00 a bag plus the cost of shipping.  Just shoot me (Karen) an email at and we can work out the details.

Thanks for visiting - and please spread the word about our giveaway to friends, family, yahoo groups... anyone you can think of :)

The Burgess Family

Monday, February 15, 2010

In the "Top Ten"!

Our family is officially within the "top ten" waiting families who are adopting from China through our agency - Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA)!  There are a few families ahead of us who are open to adopting a little girl up to 3 years old, but of those we are open to a few more special needs than what they are.  So.... this means we could see who our next daughter will be within about 3 months or less!  Makes me a little nervous!  Getting a referral and accepting it can be best compared to taking a pregnancy test and having it show positive!  I remember those first moments after finding out we were pregnant with Carissa (our first daughter) - all the feelings and emotions that came rushing in - I was happy, scared, joyful, and nervous all in a matter of seconds :)

On a side note - Kevin recently went to Honduras on a short missions trip to help a wonderful organization called Give Hope 2 Kids.  They have been working on setting up an orphanage in Honduras for about 3 years now and pray that in 2010 they are finally able to get permission to bring children into the homes they have built.  Their website is if you want to take a look at all they are accomplishing.  One of the things we like best about what they are doing is that they are striving to become as self-sufficient as possible on the land they have purchased for the orphanage!

Kevin was able to bring back some wonderful coffee from Honduras for us to sell for our adoption.  My next post will be about a free give-a-way for a bag of the coffee and will include directions on what to do if you would like to purchase a bag or two!

Thanks everyone!

Karen (aka The Burgess Family)

P.S. The puzzle is looking great -  Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Started a new blog!

I am so excited about the new blog that Kevin and I were able to build called  The Gift of a Family.  Our main goal of The Gift of a Family is to raise money for our adoption and to donate towards other adoptions at the same time.  We have done this by becoming affiliates with some excellent character-based companies.  One is Lamplighter Publishing - a Christian-based company that sells excellent character-based books (which our family happens to love!).  Our other affiliate is called Just Love Coffee - a business that sells wonderful fair trade coffees from other parts of the world.  Not only do they donate to an orphanage in Ethiopia, but their only affiliates are families who are raising money because of adoption expenses.

We would love for you to take a look at our new blog at  

If you are ever in need of some great reading material or a cup of coffee - please think of us :)

Thank you!

The Burgess Family

Friday, January 29, 2010

Advocating for a precious little girl from China

This adorable, precious little girl is on FTIA's (Families Thru International Adoption) designated list of children.  She has been waiting since March 2009 and her file will be returned in February.  I was told she may get placed on the shared list or another agency-specific list, but she may not either.  Many children are not made available for adoption.  Everything in her file says that she is a bright, happy, on track child.  In one photo, she is standing with a little lego stuck on her finger!  They say her favorite thing to play with is a toy telephone :)

Her name is Dang Hong and she has had an operation every year since she was born.  One in 2007, one in 2008, and one in 2009.  She was born with bladder exstrophy.  A doctor described it best as a hernia of the bladder.  Here in the states, such a condition would usually only require 2 or 3 surgeries - but hers was not done correctly and the doctors tried to fix the first surgery at least one time - but that repair did not work.  Basically, her bladder isn't in the right position so she will need a surgery to correct this and then another surgery when she is 5 or 6 years old with the goal of having her develop continence.  Our surgeons here are very successful with this type of surgery!

She looks like a happy, confident child.  Her little arms look like they were made for hugging!

If you would like, you can email me at and I can pass on the contact information at FTIA or you can contact them directly.  She is on their FTIA only list of children - group 2.  The rest of the children in group 2 will have their files returned as well so please take a look at them as well.  There are 14 of them!

We are praying that a family is found for this precious girl.  Please, pass this information on to any group or blog you are a part of.  Feel free to give out my name and email address as well.

Thank you everyone,


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Searching and searching....

Searching and searching and searching and... that is what we have been doing - searching for our next little girl - and waiting. There is A LOT of waiting (and did I mention searching?) during an adoption. For weeks now we have been waiting for China to release a new list of children to the shared list so that either our agency could refer us a little girl or so we could find one ourselves. Nothing. Nilch. In the past we had asked about many little girls, but they had already been put on hold with another family - that's good though because I know that even though I don't know who our daughter will be yet - God does - and He will have the perfect one for us... at the perfect time!

It's hard looking at all of the children. Really hard. At the age of 14 children in China are no longer able to be adopted into a family. When I look at the children on the lists, it's really hard not to let myself think about those boys and girls who won't have a mom or dad to call their own. And then there are the children with the medical issues. Money and some good doctors could help so many of them physically. A mom and dad to call their own could help even more. We'll take one!

We never did send in our dossier - even though it is finished. We decided to hold onto it for a little bit so we could look at the children on other agency websites. The dossier is burning a hole in my pocket :) I want to be able to send it in so much! China allows certain agencies to advocate for children who, for a short time, are only assigned to their agency, so we may actually find our next daughter through another agency other than the one we are working with now. There is also a great website at where agencies post children who are available for adoption from all over the world. It's a great site - and I'm on there often :)

We made great strides in the puzzle piece fundraiser. If you look at the picture here and at the Christmas-framed one you can see that a lot of pieces were added to it. Yeah! I love the panda bears in the picture and how it looks like they are climbing out of the frame. You will be able to see it more clearly once we get it all put together. If you would like to help with that (putting it together) we would love a donation :0 Every $5.00 that is donated gets one puzzle piece added to the puzzle. We are going to write the names of those who donated on the back of the puzzle, glue it all together, and hang it in our daughter's bedroom. It takes a lot of people to make an adoption come together. All the pieces have to fit together exactly in order to make it work. I know that years from now, when I look at the puzzle hanging on the wall, I will remember all of the people (friends and strangers) who helped to put it all together. Thanks everyone!

In His name,

The Burgess Family

P.S. One of the gifts given to me for Christmas was new photography software - and I love it! It is Adobe Photoshop, and I was able to figure out how to do the picture above with it. Thanks Kevin! (He bought me the software).