The Name, As Promised

We have been completely blown away by the generous response to our Lifesong grant.  In just over a month, we have soared past the halfway mark and are closing in on three-quarters!  So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.  And I owe you a name.  And a story.

If you’ve been around for a while, you have watched our approach to naming our adopted children (who, of course, already have names when they come into our lives) develop over the years.  As I shared in my stories of naming Niko and naming Delia, we really demand a lot out of our adopted kids’ names, and they always manage to deliver.  We want a name that connects strongly to the birth name in some way, if possible making reference to both given name and surname.  We also need to work a family name into it somewhere, and we’re not really two-middle-name people, so this is often a tight squeeze!  Also, all the other rules! Finally, and this is the real sticking point, we have to both love it.

So, shall I tell you the end from the beginning and then take you along on the journey that brought us there?

Our new son’s name will be:

Lewis Christian Young

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When we first received his file, I scoured every inch of it to find his birth name (I confess I looked for it before I read any of the medical information!)  After all, the quest for the perfect name couldn’t even begin without the raw material.  Unfortunately, everywhere that his birth name appeared, it appeared in Chinese characters (which, um, I can’t read), and everywhere that it appeared in English, they had substituted his pseudonym Caden.

Thankfully, not long after we received his file, my friend Rachel and her lovely little tribe were over for a playdate.  I was lamenting my birth name conundrum to her, and having adopted from China herself, she asked if she could take a look at his file.

She scoured, too.  We scoured together.  Still just the Chinese characters and the English pseudonym, everywhere we looked.  We were about to give up, when she had an inspired idea, “Wait a second, show me those pictures again!”

Lo and behold, in every single photo, he was wearing a name tag with his name both in Chinese characters (we cross referenced his name on the file to make sure they were indeed the characters of his name) and written out in English letters:

Loo Chew Yee

(not actual spelling)

Now we were in business.  Rachel helped me to decode the Chinese-ness of his name.  Loo is the surname, Chew Yee would be his official name, but more than likely he’s used to being called Yee Yee.  We pretty quickly ruled out trying to find an English name that would actually sound like what he was used to being called, especially since we were only guessing on that anyway.

I set about searching the meanings of his birth names.  Chew yielded the best meaning, “at the beginning”, and I was so hopeful we’d find him a name that meant the same as his birth name, like Delia’s  But the closest we could find on that front was names containing “Arch”, the Greek word for beginning, and nothing was popping.

I was just beginning to consider abandoning the birth name angle altogether when my long-time name-nerd friend Lindsay astutely observed that his last initial is already Y, like ours!  If we gave him the first two initials LC, he could keep his initials and maybe even have a name with the overall same flow and sound as his birth name.  This was something we could work with (and, glory be!, we hadn’t used an L name yet!).

I made list upon list of L names, but it was always Lewis.  It had such a strong and obvious connection to his birth surname, and it was a name that had been on our boys’ list for years anyway.  CS Lewis is a very positive association for us (I just finished rereading Mere Christianity, which everyone should go do!); in fact, Junie’s middle name is Lucy after the Narnia series.  It just felt like his name from the moment we first considered it.  Doesn’t he just look like a Lewis?

The middle name took a bit more wrestling.  A C family name seemed like it should come pretty easily.  Only it didn’t.  The only male relative either of us had with a C name was Charles, a great uncle on Trevor’s side whom he had never met.  While I love the name Charles, it just didn’t pack the sort of meaningful-family-name punch we were looking for.

C surnames in our collective family tree?  Not a one. We then considered everything from meaningful place names to abstract word names to just keeping Chew as his middle name (and not giving him a family name!?), but in the end, it was right under our noses all along.

My mother’s middle name is Christine (and her initials are LC, too).  She was named after her grandmother, who was also Christine. Christian was the nearest masculine version, and I was delighted to discover while looking through some old documents that my great-grandmother’s given name was actually Christiane (so pretty, right?!), though she went by Christine her whole life for simplicity.  I even loved the (very, very) subtle nod to the meaning of Chew (beginning) in the concept of a Christian’s new beginning in Christ.

One final thought nagged at me, though.  Christian was also the middle name of a dear friend’s son, who tragically passed away about a year ago.  I loved the idea of honoring him as well, but only if it would be meaningful rather than a sad reminder to my friend.  When she told me she would be honored if our sons shared a middle name, our boy’s name became officially set in stone.  Loo Chew Yee would become Lewis Christian Young.

In writing all this down, I realize what a collaborative effort naming Lewis has been, and that is fitting. His life so far has been a collaborative effort. Many have poured themselves into our boy: a birth mother brought him into the world, gave him a name, and made the unfathomably hard decision to let him go.   Who knows how many nannies have cared for him, hopefully with tenderness and affection, and our friends and family have risen up to support us in bringing him home.  In the end he will be our boy, but we realize he couldn’t have become our boy without so many others helping along the way, and for that we are extremely thankful.


A Little Hiccup

I mentioned in my last post that we were still waiting for our immigration (I800) approval.  I was trying to be all casual about it, but already there were some shadows gathering to indicate something was not quite right.  

Last night I learned a new adoption acronym, one I wish I hadn’t had to learn.  We have received an RFE: request for evidence. At first, not knowing what evidence they were requesting, I sort of assumed I had just forgotten to include something I was supposed to send with our application.

Unfortunately, it is a little bit more complicated than that.  Our home study, which is really still just an updated version of the one we used to adopt Niko four years ago, only approves us to adopt a child up to age 7 1/2.  This was the age Pippa was when we brought Niko home, and it was our social worker’s opinion at the time (and Pippa’s as well) that it would be best not to displace her as the oldest child in our family.  Of course, she is 11 now, and that wording should have been changed to reflect that, but somehow, it never was.  Our new little one is 8 1/2.  Sigh.

Our social worker and agency have been very apologetic and have scurried around busily today to set things right, but it will still be about a week before we can get the right documents into the right hands to get our approval.  This is adoption.  And the paperwork is the easy part!

Please pray with us that this will be resolved quickly, and that I will trust in God’s perfect timing even when the delays seem so meaningless.  I am ready to have our boy home!

Back in Business

Did you miss me?

A friend got in touch last week to say she had tried to donate to our Lifesong grant but my blog seemed to be down.  Another friend confirmed it.  When my own attempts to log in failed, a panic began to settle over me.  For eight years I have been chronicling our life here (albeit patchily at times!), and for a day or two, I really believed it might all be lost forever.

Thankfully, my incredibly resourceful husband spent a few days emailing back and forth with a tech support guy and was able to troubleshoot the issue and get us back online.  I have told him that all I want for my birthday next month is a hard copy book of my blog.  I don’t ever want to go through that anxiety again!

But of course, that only explains the last week of my absence.  The few weeks before that were full of the last dregs of summer and the busy beginnings of our Fall schedule.  We are now in full swing with Bible studies, AWANA, and even our first ever homeschool co-op (read: I’m teaching science to children other than my own for the first time in twelve years!)  It’s busy, but so far it’s a good busy.


A little more camping.


This baby girl turned one and a half…


And *this* baby girl turned eleven!


A bit of hammocking… does this count as a sport?


Happy boy…


Happy girl!

We are still waiting for our immigration approval before moving on to the next step of the adoption, but have you seen our thermometer up there?!  ^

We have been totally amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support people have shown through our Lifesong grant fund.  I’ve been thinking maybe we will celebrate the halfway mark ($2000) with a name post.  What do you think?

Ours to Share!

Today was another red-letter day bringing another adoption acronym milestone: LOA! (For timeline trackers including myself in a few months when I can no longer remember: we only just received “soft” LOA on Thursday the 27th, meaning it was “in the system”, so we were surprised to receive LOA today, the 31st!)

Our Letter of Acceptance, indicating China’s approval of our dossier and our family for our boy, arrived with our agency today and will arrive in our hands tomorrow.  Each of these steps seems to usher in another flurry of activity on our end.  In this case, we need to sign and return the LOA to our agency and also quickly send off our I800 application, the final stage of the US immigration process.

My favorite FAVORITE part about this step in the process is that I am now able to publicly share pictures of our sweet boy!  I know many of you have already seen him, but I just love showing him off, so you’ll indulge me, I hope, if I go a little crazy here.

First of all, here is the picture that started it all.  The one that stopped Trevor in his tracks even though I had shown him pictures of dozens of other orphans before.  The one that whispered to both of our hearts, “Pick me! I’m your son!”  How could we say no?

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Here he is doing what I like to call “the China pose”.  I have it on good authority that this gesture means, “I’m awesome!” which he clearly is.

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And here is a sampling of some of my other favorites from his file:

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I mean!

I just can’t stop staring at his sweet face today and thanking God that this huge hurdle is now behind us.  In a sense, he is ours now, although he is still much too far away for that to feel like a reality.

Things could move very quickly from here to possible travel in November, and with that come some quick decisions to be made (who exactly *is* traveling?) and some quick money to be found (see this post about our Matching Grant from Lifesong, if you haven’t already!)  As always, I covet your prayers.

There is also the matter of the name, which has been chosen for some time now… but I think I will save that post for another time.  Maybe to celebrate the next milestone.  Remind me!



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Over the course of our two-and-a-half adoption processes, we have seen God provide for our financial needs in some incredible and unexpected ways.  From generous donations from friends (and strangers!) to currency exchange rates working in our favor to perfectly timed overtime at Trevor’s work.  Each time, there comes a point at which we wonder where the money will come from for the next round of fees, and each time God provides.  This adoption has been no exception.

As we’ve been waiting on the edge of our seats for our Letter of Acceptance (LOA) of our dossier (which still hasn’t come, by the way), God has given us some good news of a different kind: We are being given a $4000 matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans!!!

While $4000 will be a huge help toward our adoption costs, there is the matter of the other $4000.  The money that will be matched.  The money that we need to ask people to give us.  People have already given so generously toward this adoption without our even asking, and that makes it so much harder to write this post.  But here we are.  Asking.

Our pastor joked (or not?) recently that one Sunday some time ago there was a sermon about giving, and that week was the worst week on record for the offering.  With that in mind, I want to tread very lightly here, and say this:

If you have been considering helping us financially in our adoption journey, this would be a really awesome time and way to do so, because your gift will be matched by Lifesong. Here’s how you can help:

1.  Pray with us.  This is an actual thing you can do to help, not just something I say to make people feel better who aren’t able to give.  You could pray that God will help us meet our matching grant, and then when He does, you get to be a part of that and be amazed by the fact that the God who made the universe hears us when we cry out to Him.  Pray for the financial side of things, but also pray that God would be preparing us for this new little person and getting his heart ready to join our family and protect him until he does.

2.  Make a donation.  If you do feel led to give, thank you so much!!!  Here’s how it works: Mail a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo, note our family name and account number (Young #5462) to make sure it gets to our account. Send it to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to our adoption.

Or, to give online go to Select “Give to an Adoptive Family.” Complete the online form and fill in “Family Account Number” and “Family Name” fields (5462 and Young). Note PayPal charges an administrative fee (2.9% + $.30 USD per transaction). Your donation will be decreased by the amount of this fee.

Here is a bit of fine print you need to know about Lifesong (all good things!):

Individual donations $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.

NOTE: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.

Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.

Thank you for considering blessing our family, either by giving, by praying with us, or simply by following along in our journey and cheering us on.

Summer’s End Megan Weekend

Although we may yet squeeze in some more fun, there’s no denying the summer is winding down.  The window fan has been taking the place of the AC for the past week or so, our curriculum “box” is due to arrive tomorrow and I will have to force my kids not to start school right then and there, and I am beginning to lose sleep over the *three* science classes I’ve agreed to teach at the co-op we’ve joined for this coming semester.  Fall is definitely in the air.

But it’s still summer!  And a visit from Megan means…

Endless craftiness…



Birthday catch-up…

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Traditional selfies…

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And a beautiful new family portrait!


Thanks, Meg, for another super-fun weekend!

(I was also going to share about everyone’s new haircuts, but Pippa beat me to it on her own blog.  You can check it out here !)

What’s New?

1.  A toad named Bucket (not that new actually, but now that he’s survived 6 weeks and two camping trips in our care, I’m resigning myself to actually considering him a family pet now.)



2. Two Vacation Bible Schools and a Cow Appreciation Day

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3.  A 9-year-old!  (That makes three of them!)

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Happy birthday, beautiful girl!

4. Another long weekend for Daddy, another camping trip with friends.  Seems to be the way of things this summer.  And that’s just fine with us!

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5. And finally… a Boys’ Room (as opposed to a boy’s room)!  A day or two of decluttering and a new set of bunk beds have gotten Niko’s room all ready for a little brother to move in!


That’s about it!  No news on the adoption front, but that’s okay for now.  We would hope to hear something in a few more weeks.

We’ve submitted all of our paperwork to be officially homeschooling *five* kids this year, and before long we’ll be starting our school year.  We still have more fun to cram into our summer before it draws to a close though!

New Acronyms and More Summery Goodness

I think I’ll start with our most recent adoption excitement, and then back up from there.  In China adoption, everything is very systematic, and there seems to be an acronym for every step along the way.

On June 25th we were officially DTC!  (Dossier to country)  This was a milestone in our process that I was especially thankful to reach, since it seemed like we hit so many delays on the stateside end of things.  Hopefully China will be more efficient!

Then on July 7th, we celebrated our beautiful Bea’s 8th birthday (Happy birthday, sweet girl!), and found out the next day that that day had also been our LID (logged in date)!  Double reason to celebrate!  This basically means that our dossier landed in the right office, and they acknowledged receipt of it.  They will now begin translating it and hopefully approve it in a couple months.  So very thankful and excited for things to be moving forward!


Now, as promised, backing up to share some earlier summer adventures that I neglected to blog about:

A glorious ten-day visit from Uncle Nathan.

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We had such a lovely time, and were so sad to send him back to Scotland.  We were very blessed to receive a surprise package in the mail from him a week or so after he left containing this CD of the book of Romans put to song.  It hasn’t left our van’s CD player since!

We also went on another short camping adventure in late June.

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And then celebrated our nation’s birthday with dear friends last week.


It’s been a pretty great summer so far!

Happy, Busy Days

As you know if you’ve been reading for a while, an unnewsy blog does not usually mean an unnewsy life for us; often quite the contrary!  It seems the longer I put off posting to accommodate the busyness, the more things I have to blog about, and therefore the more I put it off.

We sent our dossier to our agency about three weeks ago, and then unofficially began summer with a three-day visit from dear friends.

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During that visit, a certain little lady found her feet and took her first few consecutive steps!

Since then she has blossomed into a full-time little walker complete with a handful of new words and tricks to go with her new mobility.

After our friends left, we promptly embarked on a lovely three-day camping trip with different friends.  We hiked seven miles of trails and saw 21 waterfalls.  The weather was perfect and the cooking was superb (and more importantly not mine!)

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Unfortunately, we came home to news that there was a problem with one of our dossier documents that would cost us another trip to Harrisburg.  Although the trip to Harrisburg was unfruitful, it seems like our agency have a work-around that should keep things moving.

Our dossier is currently in Washington DC for final authentication before it gets sent overseas.  Please pray with us that this (and the steps following this one) will happen quickly.

After our camping trip we had one final whirlwind week of school before Uncle Nathan arrived from Scotland for a ten-day visit, which we are just the sadder side of halfway through.  But I will leave the details of that for my next update or else this one shall never get finished.

Dossier is on its Way!


Our final missing piece arrived yesterday, the I800a approval letter!  I had been pacing the floor like an expectant father waiting for the mail to arrive, praying hard and knowing that if it hadn’t come that day, we wouldn’t be able to submit our dossier for another week because of visitors and other plans.  Praise the Lord, it did arrive.  It’s remarkable how much easier it is to trust in God’s perfect timing when it lines up so nicely with my own.

We had a crazy adventure today, but the end result was getting our dossier to FedEx just in time to go on the last truck of the day.  It will arrive in our agency’s hands early Wednesday for final authentication and hopefully be on its way to LC’s country in a few weeks.

The kids were absolute rock stars for four plus hours in the van today, and we all celebrated with pizza and lemonade when we got home.


Twenty-four documents have begun their journey to bring us home our little boy.  We pray they will do their work swiftly.  God speed, dossier!